Survey of Titus

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

Author: The apostle Paul (Titus 1:1).

Audience: Titus, a church leader on the island of Crete. 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 and may have delivered a letter to the Corinthian church from Paul (2 Corinthians 2:12–13). He also delivered 2 Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:23) and was responsible for making arrangements for a financial offering for Paul in Corinth (2 Corinthians 8:6, 16–17).

Date: Approximately AD 64, after Paul’s house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:30–31) and before his second Roman imprisonment, as discussed in 2 Timothy.

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).

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...”