Comments on the letter to Titus

The letter Paul addressed to him provided Titus with guidelines for handling a difficult situation among believers on the island of Crete. Cretans were among the Jews and proselytes in Jerusalem for the first Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. It is not known, however, whether any of those who had come from Crete became believers upon hearing Peter’s testimony about Jesus Christ. (Acts 2:1-41)

The letter to Titus and comments in other preserved correspondence suggest that the congregations on the island of Crete were comparatively new. In the Acts account, one finds no mention of Paul’s activity there. This would seem to indicate that the apostle did not proclaim the message about Christ on the island until after his first imprisonment in Rome and his subsequent release, apparently doing so with Titus as his fellow worker. Paul commonly endeavored to reach areas where the good news had not as yet been widely proclaimed, and this would appear to support the conclusion that no significant communities of believers existed on the island before his arrival. (2 Corinthians 10:13-16)

In his first letter to Timothy (1:3), he dealt with the situation in Ephesus, where there had been a congregation for some nine years at the time. So a considerable number of the believers would not have been new converts, and the apostle specifically directed Timothy not to appoint any recent convert as an overseer, caring for and looking after the spiritual well-being of fellow believers. (1 Timothy 3:6) In the letter to Titus, this requirement is not included, which may be regarded as an indication that, for the most part, believers on the island had then only recently responded to the message about Christ.

Though not named in the book of Acts, Titus had a relationship with Paul comparatively early in his extensive ministry among the non-Jews. In the letter to the Galatians (2:1, 3), the apostle identified Titus as a Greek brother who had accompanied him and Barnabas to Jerusalem, mentioning that he was not compelled to be circumcised. This visit would fit the time when Paul, Barnabas, and other brothers left Syrian Antioch for Jerusalem because certain believers who had come from Judea to Antioch claimed that, to be saved or to have a divinely approved standing, non-Jewish believers needed to be circumcised and live according to the requirements of the Mosaic law. (Acts 15:1-26)

A number of years later, the apostle sent Titus to Corinth to care for problems that had arisen in the congregation there and also to initiate a relief effort for needy believers in Jerusalem. Paul was deeply concerned about developments among the Corinthian believers and anxiously anticipated meeting Titus in Troas, a city on the northwestern coast of Asia Minor. When Titus did not arrive as had been planned, the apostle left for Macedonia. There he did meet Titus, and was greatly encouraged and comforted by the favorable report about the Corinthians he then received. (2 Corinthians 2:12, 13; 7:6, 7, 13-16) Later, Paul asked Titus to return to Corinth to complete arrangements for the relief effort, and he eagerly responded. (2 Corinthians 8:6, 16-18)

The last reference to Titus is in 2 Timothy 4:10. Paul was imprisoned in Rome for the second time and expected to be executed, and Titus had left for Dalmatia. Likely Titus had either departed at Paul’s request or for another good reason.

See,4,12,226 for information about and pictures of Crete.

Titus 1:1-16

Titus 2:1-15

Titus 3:1-15