Titus was a young Greek man (Galatians 2:3) whom Paul called “a true son in our common faith” (Titus 1:4). This description would indicate Paul had brought Titus to the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:15). We do not know where or when Paul met him, but after Paul’s first missionary trip had ended, Titus was among those who went with Paul to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-2; Acts 15) to confront the Judaizing teachers who falsely taught the Gentiles must be circumcised to be saved. Titus, with Paul’s support, did not yield to the pressure of the false teachers (Galatians 2:3-5).
There is no indication Titus was with Paul on his second journey, but he was with him on the third journey. He was a messenger between Paul and the Corinthian church during the third journey (2 Corinthians 2:13; 8:23; 12:18). He encouraged the brethren at Corinth and brought a good report of them to Paul (2 Corinthians 7:6, 13-14). It appears Titus established a close relationship with the church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:8:6, 16).
Shortly before Paul’s death in Rome, Titus had been with the apostle. 2 Timothy 4:10 says he left Paul to go to Dalmatia. We do not know if this was of his own accord or if he had been sent as again as a messenger of Paul to the brethren.
There was a brief stop on Crete when Paul was transported as a prisoner to Rome (Acts 27:7-13, 21). However, there must have been a subsequent visit after he was freed from prison when he and Titus preached the gospel on the island, and Paul then left Titus to work among the churches there, “…to set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city…” (Titus 1:5).
Like 1 and 2 Timothy, the book of Titus records Paul’s instructions for a young evangelist, to the end that he might accomplish the work he is to do before the Lord and the brethren.
In the book of Titus, we find instruction about
- Qualifications for men to serve as elders (1:6-9)
- Warning about and rebuke of false teachers (1:10-16)
- Exhort and rebuke the saints so they live righteously (2:1-15)
- Responsibility to the rulers and fellow man (3:1-8)
- How to deal with divisive people in the church (3:9-11)
A primary focus in the book of Titus is the need for Christians to do good works. Paul cautioned Titus,
One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith… (Titus 1:12-13)
Given this challenging situation, Paul urged Titus to focus on the need for good works and encourage the brethren concerning this. Notice:
- They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:16)
- …in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility… (Titus 2:7)
- …who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14)
- 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. These things are good and profitable to men (Titus 3:8)
- And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful. (Titus 3:14)
Next time, we’ll look at Philemon.