Titus performed practical tasks for Paul in various cities. When Paul left Crete, there was still work that remained to be done. Paul wrote this letter to Titus to give Titus instructions on what needed to be done and how to do it. Consequently, this letter to Titus is very practical.
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Thanks for visiting Bible Mountain. This is the 17th lesson in a series of lessons on the book of Titus. In this lesson we’re going to look at the fourth verse, and talk about Titus himself and the practical nature of the book of Titus.
The first verse tells us this letter was written by Paul. The fourth verse tells us it was written to Titus. In order to understand this book, it’s helpful to understand who Titus was, and why Paul wrote this letter to Titus.
Titus is mentioned in four different books in the New Testament. He is mentioned in 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 2 Timothy, and Titus. It’s interesting to me that he is not mentioned in the book of Acts. It’s obvious from what the Bible tells us about Titus that Titus was a companion of Paul. He traveled with Paul and worked with Paul during the events that are recorded in the Book of Acts, so I find it interesting that Luke did not mentioned Titus.
Having said all that, let’s see what the Bible does say about Titus. Let’s start in Galatians. Galatians is a letter Paul wrote to the church in Galatia. In chapter one Paul recounted his previous life before he was a Christian when he persecuted the church. He mentioned his conversion. Then he wrote that three years after his conversion he went to Jerusalem and met with Cephas. Then he did some traveling in the region of Syria and Cilicia. In chapter two, we read the following:
Gal. 2:1 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
One of the early debates within Christianity was whether or not Gentiles had to be circumcised and obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved. The answer to that was no. One of the proofs of that answer was that Titus was not compelled to be circumcised, and he was allowed to be part of Paul’s ministry team without being circumcised.
That’s what we learn about Titus in the book of Galatians. Now, let’s go to the book of 2 Corinthians. Corinth was one of the cities Paul visited on his missionary journeys. After visiting Corinth, he wrote them a couple letters. One of them was 1 Corinthians. A second letter was 2 Corinthians.
In the second chapter of 2 Corinthians Paul told the Corinthians about some of his past missionary work. He wrote about visiting Troas.
2Cor. 2:12 Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia.
Paul was looking for Titus in Troas, but Titus was not there. Later, in chapter seven, Paul picked up the story about his visit to Macedonia. Let’s start reading at verse five.
2Cor. 7:5 For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.
The pronoun your refers to the Corinthians. We see that one of the things Titus did for Paul is he worked with the church at Corinth. When Titus went from the church of Corinth and joined up with Paul, Titus brought comfort to Paul. We also see that the church of Corinth also comforted Titus. Let’s go down to verse 13.
2Cor. 7:13 For this reason we have been comforted. And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
The church at Corinth refreshed Titus. In chapter eight Paul started telling the Corinthians that the churches of Macedonia wanted to give money to help the Christians in Jerusalem. Let’s start reading at verse six.
2Cor. 8:6 So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well.
Paul urged Titus to go back to Corinth and help the Corinthians make a contribution for the saints in Jerusalem. Later in chapter eight, in verse 16, Paul wrote about Titus’ response.
2Cor. 8:16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord.
At the end of chapter eight, Paul made a statement about Titus. Let’s read verse 23.
2Cor. 8:23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ
Paul called Titus a partner and a fellow worker. Titus very specifically did a lot with the church in Corinth on behalf of Paul.
With that as some background, let’s go back to Titus. Let’s read the first five verses.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of the elect of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to Godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which the God who never lies promised before the beginning of time. 3 He revealed His word in its proper time by a proclamation with which I was entrusted according to a command of God our Savior. 4 To Titus, a true child according to a common faith. Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Titus 1:5 For this reason I left you in Crete, in order that you might set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in each city as I commanded you,
As I mentioned earlier, verse one tells us this was written by Paul. Verse four tells us it was written to Titus. Titus was part of Paul’s entourage. Titus traveled with Paul, but there were also times when Titus was sent by Paul on a mission to a particular city. We see in verse five that one of the places Titus acted on behalf of Paul was in Crete. Apparently, Paul at one point was in Crete. When he left Crete, he left Titus behind so that Titus could set in order the things that were lacking. One of the things that was lacking was elders. Titus was supposed to appoint elders. Paul went on to list the qualifications for elders.
This overview of the life of Titus tells us the book of Titus is very practical. Titus performed practical tasks for Paul in various cities. When Paul left Crete, there was still work that remained to be done. Paul wrote this letter to Titus to give Titus instructions on what needed to be done and how to do it. Consequently, this letter to Titus is very practical.
For us Christians living in the 21st century, Titus is also practical instruction for us. As we think about being 21st century Christians, there’s a lot of relevant information in the book of Titus that we need to learn, study, and implement because it is instructions on how we should live our lives and operate our churches.
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