Introduction to Titus
Paul wrote 10 epistles and 3 “pastoral” letters. These letters include two specifically to Timothy and one sent to Titus. The purpose of his “pastoral” letters was to encourage and direct the leadership of the Messianic community at its’ very beginning.
In the letter to Titus we find three main points:
• How to determine qualified leadership.
• How worship within the congregation should appear.
• How to care for those within the congregation with both equanimity and equality.
“Titus” (Τίτος) literally means “nurse” and he ministered, perhaps doing triage, to the baby believers at the dawning of the Body of Christ. Remembered down through time as the faithful companion of Paul he is also the man sent to a struggling congregation, in Corinth, when they desperately needed guidance and direction. (2 Corinthians 8:1-6)
Referred to by Paul as his “son in the common faith” he was a product of Paul’s ministry and Paul’s depth of affection for him can be described as that of father to son. As written in 1Timothy 1:2 & Titus 1:4, Paul viewed both Timothy and Titus as “spiritual sons”. These men certainly followed in the “family business”.
What we definitively know of Titus background is limited. He was Greek, a believing Gentile and a traveling companion of Paul and Barnabas even before Paul’s missionary journeys began.
He was Paul’s example of a “righteous goyim” during the controversial debate in Jerusalem regarding circumcision and Torah observance among the Gentiles. (Galatians 2) He rejoiced in the obedience and fellowship of the Corinthian believers (2 Corinthians 7:13-15) and he obviously had compassion on them as they sought to do the right thing when he was sent to oversee them.
He was sent, by Paul, to Crete and was given the responsibility of appointing local leaders (elders) in every city (Titus 1:5). At the last Biblical mention of this amazing man, Titus returns to minister with Paul and later ventures to Dalmatia (present day Albania) where I would like to assume he was, as he was already shown to be, compassionate, determined and faithful. (2 Timothy 4:10)
The Biblical reference to Titus stops there, but history records he lived to the ripe old age of 94, died in AD 107 and was buried on the island of Crete. Historical “hear-say” also informs us he returned from Dalmatia to the Greek islands and worked diligently to spread the Gospel throughout all the islands. His “day” is presently celebrated by Greeks on August 25th and the Latin contingent on January 4th.
Titus was a remarkable man who lived effectively in a remarkable era. This small letter, written almost 2000 years ago, shows an Apostle’s vision and desire for the Messianic community at that time as well as a prophetic vision for us, in our own time.