Introduction to Titus

The gospel in a nutshell

Redeemed by grace for a life of good works

How to read Titus

This short letter shows that it has always been a challenge to develop a good church—even in New Testament days. It tells Titus, a young leader of an argumentative church, to refute false teachers, do away with church disunity, and find quality leaders. Even with God’s Spirit at work, church life can involve a lot of sacrificial work! But Paul encourages Titus to persevere. He states, “concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Tit 3:8).

Paul intersperses doctrine and practice throughout this brief but powerful letter in a way that integrates eternal truth and day-to-day transformation. Look particularly at the testimony to God’s truthfulness in Tit 1:1-4. Then reflect upon his marvelous kindness and love and grace that not only redeems you but also motivates you to do what is good (Tit 2:11-14; 3:4-7). This is the essence of the gospel!

This book is a must for anyone who is eager to put the gospel into practice. In it you’ll find outlined the qualifications of church leaders, guidelines for a godly life—including successful relationships between family, friends, and society—and an emphasis on faith that overcomes division and disharmony among believers.

Who wrote this book and when?

The letter begins with a reference to a joint missionary trip taken by Paul and Titus to establish the gospel among Jews and Gentiles. Because this trip is not recorded in Luke’s account of Paul’s travels, many suggest that it was written sometime after the events recorded in the books of history. According to this scenario, Paul would have written it sometime between AD 63 and 65, while traveling after his first release from a Roman prison.

Another alternative is possible: that Paul and Titus traveled together to Crete before the “first” missionary journey from Antioch (Act 13:1-14:28). This would have occurred during the fourteen mostly “silent” years after Paul’s conversion (see Gal 1:15-2:10). In this scenario, he may have set out from Troas in Cilicia with a young Titus as his ministry companion. If this is the case, Titus could have been written in the AD 40s and is perhaps the earliest New Testament document.

To whom was it written and why?

To Titus, a close friend and protégé of Paul (2Co 8:23), who helped Paul organize and lead churches in the eastern half of the Roman empire. Paul wrote these instructions to help Titus— an emerging Gentile Christian leader—guide the young churches on the island of Crete.

SourceView Insights

Paul’s letter to Titus is displayed with a cursive script to give it a handwritten feel. All the SourceView text is black because Paul’s letter contains only his side of this written conversation with Titus.

World English Bible (WEB)
a Public Domain Modern English translation
of the Holy Bible.

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