Introduction to Titus Part 1 (series)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Introduction

“This is a short epistle, but it contains such a quintessence of Christian doctrine, and is composed in such a masterly manner, that it contains all that is needful for Christian knowledge and life.”
—Martin Luther
I. Unique Place in the Bible
Titus consists of three short chapters written over twenty centuries ago to a little-known missionary on an obscure island by an aging senior missionary—“can there be any relevance here for modern-day Christians?” Actually, it has a great deal for Christians today, in fact, If it only contained the words of Paul (and many liberals will not even grant that) it would still be of interest to history buffs.
But this book, as well as the other sixty-five books of the Bible are God's words, not Paul's. Therefore it makes a contribution that no other book can make. The subject of elders (preachers and deacons) supports a similar teaching found in 1 Timothy. Some would say that it is only a repeat of the 1 Timothy teaching. But you will find that God uses repetition through-out the Bible, and especially in the OT.
Probably the most loved passage in Titus is 2:11–14, concerning the doctrine of grace. when He wants His people to grasp certain principles.
II. Authorship
Paul is the accepted author of Titus as well as the other Pastoral letters.
III. Date and Setting
The Mediterranean island of Crete is 156 miles long and up to 30 miles wide, and its first-century inhabitants were notorious for untruthfulness and immorality (1:12–13). “To act the Cretan” became a phrase, meaning “to play the liar.” A number of Jews from Crete were present in Jerusalem at the time of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11), and some of them may have believed in Christ and introduced the gospel to their countrymen. Certainly, Paul would not have had the opportunity to do evangelistic work during his brief sojourn in Crete while he was en route to Rome (Acts 27:7–13). The apostle spread the gospel in the cities of Crete after his release from Roman imprisonment and left Titus there to finish organizing the churches (1:5). Because of the problem of immorality among the Cretans, it was important for Titus to stress the need for righteousness in Christian living. False teachers, especially “those of the circumcision” (1:10), were also misleading and divisive. Paul wrote this letter c. A.D. 63, perhaps from Corinth, taking advantage of the journey of Zenas and Apollos (3:13), whose destination would take them by way of Crete. Paul was planning to spend the winter in Nicopolis (western Greece), and he urged Titus in this letter to join him there upon his replacement by Artemas or Tychicus (3:12). Paul may have been planning to leave Nicopolis for Spain in the spring, and he wanted his useful companion Titus to accompany him.
Besides the general themes that Titus shares in common with the other two Pastoral Epistles, Titus gives a fine concise summary of how a believer should embellish the doctrine of grace with godliness and good works. Many today who seem pleased with the doctrine of grace apparently have little interest in displaying it in good works, or even godliness. Such an attitude is wrong and suggests a misapprehension of true grace.
Paul sums up the theme perfectly: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” (3:8a).
IV. Theme
Besides the general themes that Titus shares in common with the other two Pastoral Epistles, Titus gives a fine concise summary of how a believer should embellish the doctrine of grace with godliness and good works. Many today who seem pleased with the doctrine of grace apparently have little interest in displaying it in good works, or even godliness. Such an attitude is wrong and suggests a misapprehension of true grace.
Paul sums up the theme perfectly: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” (3:8a).
V. Survey of Titus
Titus, like First Timothy, was written by Paul after his release from Roman imprisonment and was also written to an associate who was given the task of organizing and supervising a large work as an apostolic representative. Paul left Titus on the island of Crete to “set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city” (1:5). Not long after Paul’s departure from Crete, he wrote this letter to encourage and assist Titus in his task. It stresses sound doctrine and warns against those who distort the truth, but it also is a conduct manual that emphasizes good deeds and the proper conduct of various groups within the churches. This epistle falls into two major sections: the appointment of elders (1); setting things in order (2–3).
Appoint Elders (1): The salutation to Titus is actually a compact doctrinal statement, which lifts up “His word” as the source of the truth that reveals the way to eternal life (1:1–4). Paul reminds Titus of his responsibility to organize the churches of Crete by appointing elders (also called overseers; see 1:7) and rehearses the qualifications these spiritual leaders must meet (1:5–9). This is especially important in view of the disturbances that are being caused by false teachers who are upsetting a number of the believers with their Judaic myths and commandments (1:10–16). The natural tendency toward moral tolerance among the Cretans coupled with that kind of deception is a dangerous force that must be overcome by godly leadership and sound doctrine.
Set Things in Order (2–3): Titus is given the charge to “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (2:1), and Paul describes Titus’ role with regard to various groups in the church, including older men, older women, young women, young men, and servants (2:2–10). The knowledge of Christ must effect a transformation in each of these groups so that their testimony will “adorn the doctrine of God” (2:10). The second doctrinal statement of Titus (2:11–14) gives the basis for the appeals Paul has just made for righteous living. God in His grace redeems believers from being slaves of sin, assuring them the “blessed hope” of the coming of Christ that will eventually be realized. Paul urges Titus to authoritatively proclaim these truths (2:15).
In chapter 3, Paul moves from conduct in groups (2:1–10) to conduct in general (3:1–11). The behavior of believers as citizens must be different from the behavior of unbelievers because of their regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. The third doctrinal statement in this book (3:4–7) emphasizes the kindness, love, and mercy of God who saves us “not by works of righteousness which we have done” (3:5). Nevertheless, the need for good deeds as a result of salvation is stressed six times in the three chapters of Titus (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14). Paul exhorts Titus to deal firmly with dissenters who would cause factions and controversies (3:9–11) and closes the letter with three instructions, a greeting, and a benediction (3:12–15).
VI. Outline
I. SALUTATION (1:1–4)
II. ELDERS IN THE CONGREGATION (1:5-9)
III. ERROR IN THE CONGREGATION (1:10–16)
IV. EXERCISE IN THE CONGREGATION (2:1–15)
V. EXHORTATION IN THE CONGREGATION (3:1–11)
VI. CONCLUSION (3:12–15)
Commentary On Titus
Chapter 1, Verses 1-4:
Title: Salutation
Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 1:1-4; NKJV)
INTRODUCTION
Paul emphasizes as part of his salutation, the nature of his service as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He will make three claims:
1. Salvation: God’s purpose is to save the elect by the gospel.
2. Sanctification: God’s purpose is to build up the saints by the Word of God.
3. Glorification: God’s purpose is to bring believers to eternal glory

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to John Lowe Sermons.

The Preaching Ezine

Click Here!

Subscribe to my free newsletter for monthly sermons and get a free book right now. Just follow the link above and get the details!


Ministry Leads

Click Here!

Anybody else want more leads and prospects for your Church, Ministry, or School, as well as, a means to follow up and communicate automatically?
Just follow the link above and get the details!


YOUR PAGES:


Your Web Page:
Want your own sermon web page? You can have one!
Your Outlines:
Share YOUR skeleton outlines.
Your Illustrations:
Share YOUR Illustrations.
YOUR SERMONS:
Encourage other ministers
by sharing
YOUR great sermons!
YOUR POEMS:
Encourage us all
by sharing
YOUR great poems!