Book Summaries

A letter addressed by Paul to Titus, whom the apostle had left on the island of Crete to supervise the organisation of churches there (Tit 1:5). In the oldest extant Greek manuscripts the title of this epistle is simply Pros Titon, "To Titus." Modern critical scholarship generally questions the authenticity of this epistle, as it does the Pauline authorship of the epistles to Timothy. For a discussion of this problem see Timothy, Epistles to. Together with 1st and 2nd Timothy, Titus belongs to a group of letters known as the Pastoral Epistles. Apparently the epistle was written during the interval between Paul's 1st and 2nd imprisonments, probably about a.d. 65 or 66 (see Paul, IV, 5; Timothy, Epistles to). Paul instructed Titus to meet him at Nicopolis (Tit 3:12) in north-western Greece, where he planned to labour during the coming winter. The letter to Titus seems to have been written after the 1st letter to Timothy. The invitation to Titus to meet him at Nicopolis doubtless implies that when Paul left Crete (v 12) he had gone into Greece. If he had already visited Macedonia, and probably Ephesus (1 Ti 1:3), he probably went, after writing to Titus, to Corinth, Miletus, and Troas (see 2 Ti 4:13, 20).

The subject matter of Titus is similar to that of Timothy. The epistle consist chiefly of instructions to Titus with respect to his conduct and to the administration of church affairs. Apparently the Christian churches on Crete had not yet been fully organised or firmly established, and were in need of further instruction to place them on a sound, permanent basis. False teachers, perhaps half-converted Jews, were laying great emphasis on myths, genealogies, and the Law of Moses (Tit 1:10 ­14; 3:9). Paul counsels a more thorough form of church organisation in order to safeguard the believers against the inroads of these false teachers, and outlines the qualifications of church elders (ch 1:5 ­9).

After the salutation (Tit 1:1 ­4), Paul discusses the ordination of these elders (vs. 5 ­10), and proceeds to instruct Titus on how to check the activities of the false teachers (vs. 10 ­16). He discusses the need of exemplary living on the part of all church members, including especially Titus himself as a minister of the gospel (ch 2:1 ­10). Anticipation of the advent of Christ should prove an incentive to the development of this excellency of character (vs. 11 ­15). Also, certain civic responsibilities devolve upon the Christian (ch 3:1 ­3). Paul then explains the means by which Christians are enabled to live exemplary lives (ch 3:4 ­7), and ends his discussion by reiterating the fact that Christians are to be known by their good works and by avoiding unprofitable activities (vs. 8 ­11). The epistle closes with personal remarks and an apostolic benediction (Tit 1:12 ­15).

Horn, Siegfried H., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1979.