Who wrote it?
Titus 1:1 identifies the apostle Paul as the author of the book.
When(ish) was it written?
Titus was written in approximately AD 66. Paul’s many journeys are well documented and show that he wrote to Titus from Nicopolis in Epirus. In some Bibles, an end note to the letter may show that Paul wrote from Nicopolis in Macedonia. However, there is no such place known and end notes have no authority as they are not authentic.
Why was it written?
Titus is known as one of the Pastoral Epistles, as are the two letters to Timothy. This epistle was written by the apostle Paul to encourage his brother in the faith, Titus, whom he had left in Crete to lead the church which Paul had established on one of his missionary journeys (Titus 1:5). This letter advises Titus regarding what qualifications to look for in leaders for the church. He also warns Titus of the reputations of those living on the island of Crete (Titus 1:12).
In addition to instructing Titus in what to look for in a leader of the church, Paul also encouraged Titus to return to Nicopolis for a visit. In other words, Paul continued to disciple Titus and others as they grew in the grace of the Lord (Titus 3:13).
Some Key Verses
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.
– Titus 1:5
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
– Titus 1:16
Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
– Titus 2:15
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.
– Titus 3:3-6
A Quick Summary
How wonderful it must have been when Titus received a letter from his mentor, the apostle Paul. Paul was a much-honored man, and rightly so, after establishing several churches throughout the eastern world. This famous introduction from the apostle would have been read by Titus: “To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior” (Titus 1:4).
The island of Crete, where Titus was left by Paul to lead the church, was inhabited by natives of the island and Jews who did not know the truth of Jesus Christ (Titus 1:12-14). Paul felt it to be his responsibility to follow through with Titus to instruct and encourage him in developing leaders within the church at Crete. As the apostle Paul directed Titus in his search for leaders, Paul also suggested how Titus would instruct the leaders so that they could grow in their faith in Christ. His instructions included those for both men and women of all ages (Titus 2:1-8).
To help Titus continue in his faith in Christ, Paul suggested Titus come to Nicopolis and bring with him two other members of the church (Titus 3:12-13).
Old Testament Ties
Once again, Paul finds it necessary to instruct the leaders of the church to be on guard against the Judaizers, those who sought to add works to the gift of grace which produces salvation. He warns against those who are rebellious deceivers, especially those who continued to claim circumcision and adherence to the rituals and ceremonies of the Mosaic Law were still necessary (Titus 1:10-11). This is a recurring theme throughout the epistles of Paul, and in Titus, he goes so far as to say their mouths must be stopped.
What does this mean?
The apostle Paul deserves our attention as we look to the Bible for instruction on how to live a life pleasing to our Lord. We can learn what we should avoid as well as that which we are to strive to imitate. Paul suggests we seek to be pure as we avoid the things which will defile our minds and consciences. And then Paul makes a statement which should never be forgotten: “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work” (Titus 1:16). As Christians, we must examine ourselves to be sure our lives line up with our profession of faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Along with this warning, Paul also tells us how to avoid denying God: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6). By seeking a daily renewal of our minds by the Holy Spirit, we can develop into Christians that honor God by the way we live.
Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from Titus 1, Titus 2:11-15, Titus 3:1-8, Revelation 21:2-3. What verses or ideas stand out to you from this passage? What questions do you have? What “next step” are you considering as a result of your interaction with God’s Word?
What are some things you are looking forward to? Have you ever eagerly anticipated a “big day,” only to have it be a disappointment? How much time do you spend looking forward to the “appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ?”
What does faithfulness to Jesus look like for you? In what ways do you find it “easy” to remain faithful? In what ways do you struggle? What passages in the Bible do you find helpful?
Typically when people get married, they unashamedly “proclaim” their loyalty to their future spouse, and boldly “invite” others to join the celebration. Do you find it difficult to unashamedly “proclaim” your loyalty to Jesus? What barriers do you face? Who are some people that you’d like to boldly “invite” (to FBC, to your Small Group, to dinner, etc) so they can come hear about Jesus?