Introducing Paul’s Epistle to Titus
“Evangelical truth in the purest morality"
Nowhere else does Paul, more forcefully urge the essential connection between evangelical truth and the purest morality than in this brief letter. Upon this, the dominant theme in Titus is good works (1:8, 16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14) in exemplary Christian behavior, and that, for the sake of outsiders (2:5, 7, 8, 10, 11; 3:1, 8).
With a total of only 46 verses in three chapters, this “evangelical truth” and “purest morality” are summed up right in the middle part of the letter (in its 23rd and 24th verses) where Paul urges Titus (2:7-8) thus: “7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us”.
Titus was a Greek Gentile (Gal. 2:3). He had probably become a Christian under the influence of Paul, and subsequently become one of the apostle's protégés (Titus 1:4). Titus had been with Paul since the apostle's early ministry. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their mission of mercy to the Jerusalem church, when Paul was laboring in Antioch of Syria, Titus' home. That happened before Paul's first missionary journey (Gal. 2:1; Acts 11:27-30).
Titus also served as Paul's special representative to the Corinthian church during Paul's third missionary journey. He carried the "severe letter" from Ephesus (2 Cor. 12:18; 2 Cor. 2:3-4; 7:8-12) and, returning to Ephesus through Macedonia, met Paul in Macedonia (2 Cor. 7:6-16). Titus was also the leader of the group of men whom Paul sent to the churches in Macedonia and Achaia, to pick up the collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:6, 16, 23).
Tradition has it that Titus, having become first bishop of Crete, died there in advanced years. His successor, Andreas Cretensis, eulogized him in the following terms: 'The first foundation-stone of the Cretan church; the pillar of the truth; the stay of the faith; the never silent trumpet of the evangelical message; the exalted echo of Paul's own voice'.
Paul left Titus in Crete to "set the church there in order" (Titus 1:5). However, he planned to send Artemas or Tychicus to relieve Titus, so Titus could join Paul in Nicapolis for the winter (3:12). There were several towns with the name "Nicapolis" in Paul's arena of ministry. This one was probably the one in Illyricum (parts of modern Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and northern Albania), that lay east of northern Italy across the Adriatic Sea.
Since "Dalmatia" is another name for "Illyricum", some people think that when Paul wrote 2 Timothy, Titus was with him (2 Tim. 4:10). Perhaps Paul also wrote this letter from Nicapolis, or maybe from Macedonia (1 Tim. 1:3) or some other place. And thus, a date between A.D. 62 and 66 seems a safe estimate for the time of writing Titus. Zenas and Apollos may have delivered this letter to Titus on Crete (Titus 3:13).
The churches on the island of Crete were unorganized, though there appears to have been Christians in many of its cities (1:5). Titus' task of setting the churches in order included dealing wit