Route 66 / Stop 26: Titus

Audio File: 
Dr. Rich McCarrell
Sunday, September 9, 2018


The Apostle Paul (1:1). This is the third epistle of the three commonly designated as the “pastoral epistles”. The other two were of course 1 and 2 Timothy. These three are given this designation because they were written specifically to help Pastors with the care of local churches. The book of Titus was written after Paul and Titus had ministered on the isle of Crete, and Paul left Titus behind in order to oversee and give direction to the establishment of the local churches. Crete is an island in the Mediterranean sea near Greece. It seems to me that Paul’s “gift set” was in Public ministry of Evangelism/Teacher and Titus’ “gift set” was in Administration and Oversight.


Date:   About AD 64 to 65. This is also about the same time Paul wrote I Timothy.



The theme seems to be - living life as a believer within the context of the local church. It is interesting to note that the words “work” or “works” occur in every chapter for a total of about 10 times in this small book. Paul was the apostle of grace in terms of our salvation and of the believer’s life, but he’s making a very clear point that this does not mean a life of physical inactivity or spiritual apathy. (1:10-14) The believer is to be zealous of good works (2:14) and be ready to do and maintain good works (3:1, 8, 14). In fact, this is one of the things Grace teaches us. (2:11-12) But Paul is also, lest someone should get the wrong idea, stressing that this does not mean salvation comes through good works, but rather by grace through faith (3:5-8).



Paul and Titus had obviously ministered together at some time on the isle of Crete. We do not know exactly when, and it does not seem he was there for long, as the only reference to Crete is in Acts 27:7. He could have been there after his release from his first imprisonment. His work there was apparently and abruptly cut short, so he left Titus behind to finish the work (1:5). With this in mind:


  1. Paul wrote to give specific instructions as to the qualifications of the leaders that Titus needed to appoint in the churches.
  2. Paul shared the life that should be lived by all those who were joining with and becoming a part of these local churches.

Dr. Ryrie presents a helpful Timeline; (RSB)

  1. Paul released from house arrest in Rome (where we left him at the end of Acts)
  2. Paul visited Ephesus, left Timothy there to supervise the churches and went on to Northern Greece.
  3. From there he wrote I Timothy.
  4. Paul visited Crete, and left Titus there to supervise those churches and went to Southern Greece.
  5. From there he wrote to encourage Titus.

(To Troas – arrested – Rome - final Imprisonment – martyrdom after writing
II Timothy)



Titus, whom Paul calls his “son in the faith” (1:4). Titus, like Timothy, was a companion and fellow-servant with Paul. Both of these men played a key role in helping Paul and being an encouragement to him. Though Titus is not mentioned in Acts, Paul refers to him frequently in his other epistles. He was a Gentile, in fact Greek, by birth (Gal. 2:3), and obviously led to Christ by the apostle Paul. He was sent by Paul on various important mission trips ~ (present with Paul at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) during Paul’s third missionary journey he brought encouragement to Paul from the Corinthians (II Cor. 7) he delivered letter #2 to Corinth and now was on the Island of Crete. He will be relieved soon to visit Paul and be sent on another assignment (Titus 3:12/II Tim. 11:10) ~ and every time Paul speaks of him, he is spoken of in the highest terms (2 Cor. 7:5-7, 13-14; 8:6, 16-23; 2 Tim. 4:10; Gal. 2:1).



Similar in style to I Timothy, I want to note two things from this book. 1.) In Titus’ on-going ministry on the isle of Crete, he obviously found considerable opposition, especially from the Jews (Titus 1:10). It is quite possible that Titus, out of frustration, had written to Paul or contacted him, reporting this problem and asking for his spiritual advice. 2.) Paul wrote this letter encouraging Titus to complete the process of organizing and establishing these churches and to continue teaching sound doctrine, avoid empty arguments and in love exercise his authority firmly. In this light, it is very possible, as Dr. John Cawood points out, to use chapter 2, verse 12, not only as the key verse for this epistle, but also as the verse of outline. There are three key words in verse 12; “soberly”, “righteously”, and “godly”. Now, note the outline:

  1. Living “righteously” within the church” (1:1-16)
    * In this first chapter, he shares characteristics of true leaders, false leaders and unbelievers.
  2. Living “soberly” within the home (2:1-15)
    * Here Paul deals with family and domestic relationships
  3. Living “godly” within the world (3:1-15)
    * Here, Paul deals with proper life-style, personal salvation and exhortation to maintain that which is profitable within our lives.