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Getting to Know the Bible: Titus Overview

Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.

Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on Titus. But before we get to Titus 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of Titus. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.

And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of Titus, as we prepare to behold and discern Titus, beginning with Titus 1 in our next installment of this series.

Book Type: Pastoral Epistle, 17th book of the New Testament

Authors: Paul

Date of Writing: ~A.D. 64

Audience: Titus, a church leader on the island of Crete

Original Language: Greek

Genre: Letter

Purpose of Writing: The Epistle to Titus is known as one of the Pastoral Epistles as are the two letters to Timothy. This epistle was written by the apostle Paul to encourage his brother in the faith, Titus, whom he had left in Crete to lead the church which Paul had established on one of his missionary journeys (Titus 1:5). This letter advises Titus regarding what qualifications to look for in leaders for the church.

Summary: This pastoral letter from Paul to Titus was intended to offer encouragement and wisdom as Titus endured ongoing opposition from the ungodly and from legalists within his congregations. Paul instructed Titus to complete his assigned job of establishing overseers (elders) for the churches under his care. He described what sort of people these leaders should be, and how all believers should live in relation to each other as well as in their interactions with nonbelievers. Proper Christian behavior is based on the fact that the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, and therefore those who believe in Christ are to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives as they await his return (2:11-13).

Overview: This is a letter written to a church leader named Titus, a Gentile convert of Paul (Titus 1:4). It appears Paul and Titus took a mission trip to Crete around AD 62—64. Paul later left, with Titus remaining on the island as a church leader.

Paul later sent a letter—this epistle to Titus—with Zenas and Apollos (Titus 3:13). It encourages Titus to select elders (church leaders) for local house churches (Titus 1:5–9), deal with offenders in the church (Titus 1:10–16), and gives directions regarding certain church practices (Titus 2:1–3:11).

Chapters 2—3 involve instructions to various Christians in Crete. These includes the proper behavior of Christians (Titus 2:1–10), submission to government (Titus 3:1), proper treatment of all people (Titus 3:2–8), and responses to false teachers (Titus 3:9–11).

The final verses (Titus 3:12–15) include personal messages and concluding comments to Titus. Paul instructed Titus to join him at Nicopolis, a Roman city on the west side of Greece (Titus 3:12), to assist Zenas and Apollos on their trip (Titus 3:13), and to encourage good works (Titus 3:14).

Application: The apostle Paul deserves our attention as we look to the Bible for instruction on how to live a life pleasing to our Lord. We can learn what we should avoid as well as that which we are to strive to imitate. Paul suggests we seek to be pure as we avoid the things which will defile our minds and consciences. And then Paul makes a statement which should never be forgotten: “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16). As Christians, we must examine ourselves to be sure our lives line up with our profession of faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 13:5).Along with this warning, Paul also tells us how to avoid denying God: “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5b-6). By seeking a daily renewal of our minds by the Holy Spirit we can develop into Christians that honor God by the way we live.

Key Verses (ESV):

Titus 1:5: This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you

Titus 1:16: They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Titus 2:15: Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Titus 3:3–6: For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior...

*Note: Titus was a prominent figure in the early church. He traveled with Paul from Antioch to Jerusalem for the Jerusalem Council (see Acts 15 and Galatians 2). Titus worked with Paul in Ephesus during his third missionary journey.

The doctrine of the incarnation in the letter to Titus grounds its message of producing right living through the careful attention to theological truth. The churches on Crete were just as susceptible to false teachers as any other church, so Paul directed Titus to establish a group of faithful elders to oversee the doctrinal purity and good conduct of the believers on Crete. Paul exhorted Titus to “speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1), a clear direction that this should be the young pastor’s primary role.

I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.

May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.

Love you much.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!

-Humble Servant

P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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