Titus: From Cretans to Mature Christians

Titus, a young member of Paul’s missionary team, is ministering to unruly believers on the isle of Crete.

Date and Author.  Written by Paul to Titus A.D. 65 or 66.

Titus – A Gentile, and an uncircumcised Greek.  He joined the missionary team sometime before Paul’s second missionary journey.  Mentioned 12 times in NT.

Like Timothy, he was often sent on special missions to deal with difficulties in various churches.  He was apparently quite successful in helping to resolve tensions between Paul and the Corinthians — a mission at which Timothy had earlier failed.  Among his ministries was the collection at Corinth of gifts for the poorer churches of Palestine.

Crete.  Lies in the Mediterranean southeast of Greece.  It was populated from prehistoric times, and was the center of the great Minoan culture that developed during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages.  The Cretans were viewed in the ancient world as a rather depraved and an unruly people.  This view is summed up in the quote from the poet Epimenides (c. 600 B.C.) which Paul includes in Titus 1:12:  “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”  It is these people whom the gospel will transform by grace into men and women who “devote themselves to doing what is good”  (Titus 3:8).

Theme.  The theme of Titus is the transformation which the gospel effects in human lives, and instruction to a young leader on how to call an unruly people to disciplined commitment to good works.

Distinctives.  Titus contains a striking blend of doctrinal lifestyle emphasis.  No less than 15 basic doctrines are referred to, including:  the personhood of God, God’s love and grace, Christ’s Saviorhood, the Holy Spirit, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the vicarious atonement, salvation offered to all by grace, not works, sanctification, the inheritance of eternal life, and Jesus’ return.

Christian lifestyle includes godliness, faith, temperance, love, self-control, endurance, dedication to good, personal integrity, seriousness, submissiveness to authority, trustworthiness, humility, consideration, peaceableness and unity.  Both doctrine and lifestyle are included as the content of Christian teaching.