Book 17 - PAUL'S LETTER TO
With people, places, definitions, map ......
Writer: The apostle Paul
Date: c AD66, assuming Paul was released from house arrest in Rome and continued his travels
Where written: Perhaps Macedonia or Ephesus
Reader: Titus, a Gentile convert, and friend and helper of Paul. Now a minister on the island of Crete
Why: Paul writes to encourage Titus who is working in difficult circumstances in Crete. He also instructs him in various matters
According to Some Modern Scholarship: Written by an unknown Christian towards the end of the 1st century, using Paul's name and some of his original material to give the letter authority
Map - Paul Writes his Pastoral or Teaching Letter to Titus
Map Key: Letter possibly from 1 to 2
THE MAIN TASKS FACING TITUS IN CRETE
PAUL'S GREETING TO TITUS
Titus 1:1-4 - Paul, servant of God and messenger of Jesus Christ in the faith God gives to his chosen, in the knowledge of the truth that comes from a God-fearing life, and in the hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised before the beginning of time - (at the right moment he made his Word known in the declaration which has been entrusted to me by his command) to Titus, my true son in our common faith, be grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our saviour.
THE REASON PAUL LEFT TITUS IN CRETE; CHRISTIAN LEADERS
Titus 1:5-9 - I (Paul) left you (Titus as minister) in Crete to set right matters which needed attention, and gave you instructions to appoint elders in every city. They were to be men of unquestioned integrity with only one wife, and with children brought up as Christians and not likely to be accused of loose living or law-breaking. To exercise spiritual oversight a man must be of unimpeachable virtue, for he is God's agent in the affairs of his household. He must not be aggressive or hot-tempered or over-fond of wine; nor must he be violent or greedy for financial gain. On the contrary, he must be hospitable, a genuine lover of what is good, a man who is discreet, fair-minded, holy and self-controlled: a man who takes his stand on the orthodox faith, so that he can by sound teaching both stimulate faith and confute opposition.
ANTI-JUDAISM; THE THREAT FROM FALSE TEACHERS
- Verses attacking and ridiculing Jews in the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters are a fact and can not be ignored. However, they are not directed at the Jewish race or religion, but at those Jews who actively prevented the apostles from taking the Gospel to God's world. Or in the case of the "Judaisers", those who tried to impose Jewish religious customs on Gentile converts, and thus turn Christianity into a Jewish cult. More especially in this case, it seems that not Jews but Cretans as a whole were not exactly held in high esteem by the rest of the Mediterranean cultures:
Titus 1:10-16 - But there are many, especially among the Jews, who will not recognise authority, who talk nonsense and yet in so doing have managed to deceive men's minds. They must be silenced, for they upset the faith of whole households, teaching what they have no business to teach for the sake of what they can get. One of them, yes, one of their prophets (the Cretan poet Epimenides, c 600BC), has said: "Men of Crete are always liars, evil and beastly, lazy and greedy." There is truth in this testimonial of theirs! Don't hesitate to reprimand them sharply for you want them to be sound and healthy Christians, with a proper contempt for Jewish fairy tales and orders issued by men who have forsaken the path of truth. Everything is wholesome to those who are themselves wholesome. But nothing is wholesome to those who are themselves unwholesome and who have no faith in God - their very minds and consciences are diseased. They profess to know God, but their actual behaviour denies their profession, for they are obviously vile and rebellious and when it comes to doing any real good they are palpable frauds.
TEACHING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
PAUL EXHORTS TITUS TO TEACH SOUND DOCTRINE; CHRISTIAN CONDUCT
Titus 2:1-8 - Now you (Titus, as a minister) must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching. The old men should be temperate, serious, wise - spiritually healthy through their faith and love and patience. Similarly the old women should be reverent in their behaviour, should not make unfounded complaints and should not be over-fond of wine. They should be examples of the good life, so that the younger women may learn to love their husbands and their children, to be sensible and chaste, home-lovers, kind-hearted and willing to adapt themselves to their husbands - a good advertisement for the Christian faith. The young men, too, you should urge to take life seriously, letting your own life stand as a pattern of good living. In all your teaching show the strictest regard for truth, and show that you appreciate the seriousness of the matters you are dealing with. Your speech should be unaffected and logical, so that your opponent may feel ashamed at finding nothing in which to pick holes.
Titus 2:9-10 - Slaves (employees) should be told that it is their duty as Christians to obey their masters (employers) and to give them satisfactory service in every way. They are not to "answer back" or to be light-fingered, but they are to show themselves utterly trustworthy, a living testimonial to the teaching of God our saviour.
JESUS CAME THAT WE MIGHT LIVE GODLY LIVES UNTIL HE RETURNS
Titus 2:11-14 - For the grace of God, which can save every man, has now become known, and it teaches us to have no more to do with godlessness or the desires of this world but to live, here and now, responsible, honourable and God-fearing lives. And while we live this life we hope and wait for the glorious dénouement of the Great God and of Jesus Christ our saviour. For he gave himself for us all, that he might rescue us from all our evil ways and make for himself a people of his own, clean and pure, with our hearts set upon living a life that is good.
TITUS MUST TEACH AND MINISTER WITH AUTHORITY
Titus 2:15 - Tell men of these things, Titus. Urge them to action, using a reprimand where necessary with all the authority of God's minister - and as such let no one treat you with contempt.
Titus 3:1-2 - Remind your people (in the church) to recognise the power of those who rule and bear authority. They must obey the laws of the state and be prepared to render whatever good service they can. They are not to speak evil of any man, they must not be argumentative but gentle, showing themselves agreeable to everybody.
WE ARE SAVED FROM EARTHLY SIN AND ETERNAL DAMNATION BY CHRIST'S SACRIFICE
Titus 3:3-8a - For we ourselves have known what it is to be ignorant, disobedient and deceived, the slaves of various desires and pleasant feelings, while our lives were spent in malice and jealousy - we were hateful and we hated each other. But when the kindness of God our saviour and his love towards man appeared, he saved us - not by virtue of any moral achievements of ours, but by the cleansing power of a new birth and the moral renewal of the Holy Spirit, which he gave us so generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour. The result is that we are acquitted by his grace, and can look forward to inheriting life for evermore. This is solid truth.
Titus 3:8b-11 - Subjects like this (living the Christian life) are always good and useful but mind you steer clear of stupid arguments, genealogies, controversies and quarrels over the Law. They settle nothing and lead nowhere. If a man is still argumentative after the second warning you should reject him. You can be sure that he has a moral twist, and he knows it.
PAUL'S TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS
Titus 3:12-13 - As soon as I send Artemas to you ....
Artemas - This is the only mention of Artemas in the New Testament. According to tradition he became bishop of Lystra in southern Asia Minor -
.... (or perhaps it will be Tychicus - from Asia, probably the city of Ephesus), do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have made up my mind to spend the winter there. See that Zenas the lawyer and Apollos (whose teaching made such an impact on the Corinthian church) have what they require and give them a good send-off.
A FINAL WARNING ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY; FAREWELL
Titus 3:14-15 - And our people should learn to earn what they require by leading an honest life and so be self-supporting.
All those here with me send you greetings, Please give our greetings to all who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.
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