Series: Paul’s Individual Letters
Galatians 2:3 (Titus was a Gentile)
Acts 15:2 ESV
Acts 11:5-18 (Peter’s Vision)
Titus 1:1-4 ESV
2 Corinthians 2:12-13, 2 Corinthians 7:6-7, 2 Corinthians 8:6 and 8:10 (Titus’ Service)
2 Corinthians 8:16-17 ESV
Titus 1:5-9 ESV
Titus 1:10-16 ESV
Titus 2:1-15 ESV
Titus 3:1-11 (Sound Advise)
Titus 3:12-14 ESV
Only one brief letter from Paul to Titus is in the New Testament letters.
We know from Galatians 2:3 that he was a Gentile. Paul led Titus to the faith and he became a friend to Paul who served the church well.
We learn from Acts 15:2 that, “after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.” That meeting is known as the Jerusalem Council. The discussion focused on defining Gentile salvation. Some proposed that a Gentile would first need to follow Jewish law (circumcision) and then become a follower of Christ. Ultimately it was decided that grace alone saves and circumcision was not a requirement for Gentiles.
We know from Acts 11:5-18 that the vision Peter had made it clear that Gentiles were given grace by God and no other requirements were necessary.
In Paul’s letter to Titus in 1:1-4 we learn that Titus is also being mentored by Paul and he is considered to be a true child of the faith, “Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; To Titus, my true child in a common faith.
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.”
We know after his conversion, he was called to serve the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:12-13, 2 Corinthians 7:6-7, 2 Corinthians 8:6 and 8:10). In 2 Corinthians 8:16-17 Titus is commended by Paul, “But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord.”
In Paul’s letter to Titus in Titus 1:5-9 Paul wrote, “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—if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
Clearly Paul trusted Titus. He knew Titus was a capable leader who would do what honors God.
In Titus 1:10-16 Paul gave Titus clear direction and clues to watch for when serving. Paul advised, “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”
Paul pretty much left no stone unturned when he advised Titus what to ‘keep watch’ as he ministered to others.
A key point of interest is that young pastors do not always have such a wise older leader to help them watch out for the ruts in the road. After serving for many years (first as a help-mate and later as leader of a ministry) I remember being blind-sided more than once when we went to serve a new church.
Gradually we learned that there would be problems, we just had to be aware of them. Paul helped Titus by telling him what to watch for and how to handle it.
Every new Pastor needs such a mentor!
In Titus 2:1-15 Paul went on to define sound doctrine to Titus. He was very specific in his advise. “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
I love Paul’s last line in this section. Let NO ONE disregard you!
In Titus 3:1-11 Paul provided sound advise regarding gentleness, goodness, truth, and good conduct. Paul’s final Instructions to Titus 3:12-14 said, “When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.”
Clearly one of Paul’s leadership strengths was connecting people to good people who will help them to succeed. When we look at the big picture of Paul’s leadership to the churches and pastors in the region we see his true skills included his love for those he served, his good sound advise, and his love for Jesus.
Spiritual Practice: Paul’s Strengths
What do you notice about Paul’s strengths? Do you have similar qualities? If you do, then know God will utilize your gifts in mighty ways!
In God, Deborah