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The Epistle to Titus

Titus was an early Christian was a companion and disciple of Paul the Apostle, mentioned in several of the Pauline epistles including the Epistle to Titus likely written about the same time as the First Epistle to Timothy considering the similarities. Titus brought a letter from Paul to raise funds in Corinth, to supplement the daily ministration in Jerusalem. In Crete, Titus, as an elder of his own family, and servant to other ministers was appointed as a bishop and remained there into his old age, dying in Gortyna, near the city of Candia (modern Heraklion).

Titus was a Greek who studied Greek philosophy and poetry in his early years. He seems to have been converted by Paul and aided him in service to the people. In the year 49, Titus accompanied Paul to the council held at Jerusalem and was a part of the controversy concerning circumcision being required for Gentile converts. In some manuscripts of Galatian Titus is circumcised.

Epistle to Titus describes the requirements and duties of ministers of the Church. These were not positions of authority but of service.

There is even some reason to believe and there are those who argue that Titus meaning "pleasing" is just another name for Timothy, concluding they are the same individual. It seems clear that there was a circumcising Timothy on Acts 16:3 but Titus may not have been forced to comply Galatians 2:3 although there are manuscripts of Galatians 2:4which indicate that Paul did circumcise Titus.[1]

There is some doubt that The Epistle of Titus and other pastoral epistles are truly written by the Paul the Apostle, due to issues of style, circumstance, and references church offices like elders and bishops. There is no evidence in Paul's day that these terms meant an office like we think today. An elder or presbyter was not an office but a condition of a head of a family.

In any case, the letter was written to Titus, but it was also written to the Christians on the island of Crete.

When Paul used the term bondservant, he chose the ancient Greek word doulos. This word designated a low slave “the most abject, servile term in use among the Greeks for a slave”. It was also the word for a slave by choice. This fits directly into the teachings of Christ that the highest among you is to be a servant to all.

Titus 1

In verse 5 Paul is giving instructions about the appointment of elders which was not an office of the Church but an office of the family.
In verse 6 he describes the kind of elder you are looking to appoint"blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children..."
The term ordain is Greek word kathistemi[2] meaning "set in place", specifically "1b) to appoint one to administer an office".
Paul is not ordaining men to be elders but ordaining men who are elders to be bishops as "steward" of the Church.
A steward was "the manager of household or of household affairs" of the house of God which received the donations of all the elders of families to provide the daily ministration of the people. They were in charge of the "finances" of the polis of Christ, "treasurers or quaestors of kings". [3]

1 ¶ Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
5 ¶ For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
6 ¶ If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Titus 2

Sound in verse 1 is from the word hugiaino[4] means whole and healthy or wholesome. So sound doctrine includes teachings for the living[5] so that they may be whole and healthy in the world at hand.
The same instruction is found in Timothy and Titus 1[6]
The Greek word for aged men is presbutes [7] from presbuteros[8] normally translated elder. All these characteristics are about members of families which must remain whole and healthy.
Think about the phrase "a pattern of good works". Pattern is from a Greek word tupos meaning " the mark of a stroke or blow".[9]
In verse 15 the word authority is from epitage[10] meaning an "an injunction, mandate, command" from epitasso "to enjoin upon, order, command, charge." It is a term normally reserved for the commandments of God[11]

1 ¶ But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;
10 Not purloining[12], but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts[13], we should live soberly, righteously[14], and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
15 ¶ These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Titus 3

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers[15], to obey magistrates[16], to be ready to every good work,
2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
9 But avoid foolish[17], and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
10 A man that is an heretick[18] after the first and second admonition reject[19];
11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
12 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.
13 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.
14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Titus 1 | Titus 2 | Titus 3 |

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  1. Cooper, Stephen. Marius Victorinus' Commentary on Galatians. Oxford University Press, 2005.
  2. 2525 ~καθίστημι~ kathistemi \@kath-is’-tay-mee\@ from 2596 and 2476; v AV-make 8, make ruler 6, ordain 3, be 2, appoint 1, conduct 1, set 1; 22
    1) to set, place, put
    1a) to set one over a thing (in charge of it)
    1b) to appoint one to administer an office
    1c) to set down as, constitute, to declare, show to be
    1d) to constitute, to render, make, cause to be
    1e) to conduct or bring to a certain place
    1f) to show or exhibit one’s self
    1f1) come forward as
  3. 3623 ~οἰκονόμος~ oikonomos \@oy-kon-om’-os\@ from 3624 oikos meaning house and the base of 3551 nomos meaning law; TDNT-5:149,674; {See TDNT 539} n m AV-steward 8, chamberlain 1, governor 1; 10
    1) the manager of household or of household affairs
    1a) esp. a steward, manager, superintendent (whether free-born or as was usually the case, a freed-man or a slave) to whom the head of the house or proprietor has intrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures, and the duty of dealing out the proper portion to every servant and even to the children not yet of age
    1b) the manager of a farm or landed estate, an overseer
    1c) the superintendent of the city’s finances, the treasurer of a city (or of treasurers or quaestors of kings)
    2) metaph. the apostles and other Christian teachers and bishops and overseers
  4. 5198 ~ὑγιαίνω~ hugiaino \@hoog-ee-ah’-ee-no\@ from 5199; TDNT-8:308,1202; {See TDNT 804} v AV-sound 6, be sound 1, be whole 1, whole 1, wholesome 1, be in health 1, safe and sound 1; 12
    1) to be sound, to be well, to be in good health
    2) metaph.
    2a) of Christians whose opinions are free from any mixture of error
    2b) of one who keeps the graces and is strong
  5. Luke 20:38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
  6. 1 Timothy 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
    2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
    Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
  7. 4246 ~πρεσβύτης~ presbutes \@pres-boo’-tace\@ from the same as 4245; n m AV-old man 1, aged man 1, aged 1; 3
    1) an old man, an aged man
    2) ambassador
  8. 4245 ~πρεσβύτερος~ presbuteros \@pres-boo’-ter-os\@ comparative of presbus (elderly); adj AV-elder 64, old man 1, eldest 1, elder woman 1; 67
    1) elder, of age,
    1a) the elder of two people
    1b) advanced in life, an elder, a senior 1b1) forefathers
    2) a term of rank or office
    2a) among the Jews
    2a1) members of the great council or Sanhedrin (because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men)
    2a2) of those who in separate cities managed public affairs and administered justice
    2b) among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies; (or churches) the NT uses the term bishop, overseers, 1985 pastors, 4166 elders, and presbyters 4245 interchangeably {#Ac 20:17,28 Eph 4:11 Tit 1:5,7 1Pe 5:1-4 etc.}
    2c) the twenty four members of the heavenly Sanhedrin or court seated on thrones around the throne of God
  9. 5179 ~τύπος~ tupos \@too’-pos\@ from 5180; TDNT-8:246,1193; {See TDNT 800} n m AV-ensample 5, print 2, figure 2, example 2, pattern 2, fashion 1, manner 1, form 1; 16
    1) the mark of a stroke or blow, print
    2) a figure formed by a blow or impression
    2a) of a figure or image
    2b) of the image of the gods
    3) form
    3a) the teaching which embodies the sum and substance of religion and represents it to the mind, manner of writing, the contents and form of a letter
    4) an example
    4a) in the technical sense, the pattern in conformity to which a thing must be made
    4b) in an ethical sense, a dissuasive example, a pattern of warning
    4b1) of ruinous events which serve as admonitions or warnings to others
    4c) an example to be imitated
    4c1) of men worthy of imitation
    4d) in a doctrinal sense
    4d1) of a type i.e. a person or thing prefiguring a future (Messianic) person or thing
    For Synonyms see entry 5919
  10. 2003 ~ἐπιταγή~ epitage \@ep-ee-tag-ay’\@ from 2004; TDNT-8:36,1156; {See TDNT 784} n f AV-commandment 6, authority 1; 7
    1) an injunction, mandate, command
  11. Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment <2003> of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
    1 Corinthians 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment <2003>.
    1 Corinthians 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment <2003> of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
    2 Corinthians 8:8 I speak not by commandment <2003>, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
    1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment <2003> of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
    Titus 1:3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment <2003> of God our Saviour;
  12. 3557 ~νοσφίζομαι~ nosphizomai \@nos-fid’-zom-ahee\@ middle voice from nosphi (apart or clandestinely); ; v AV-keep back 2, purloin 1; 3
    1) to set apart, separate, divide
    2) to set apart or separate for one’s self
    3) to purloin, embezzle, withdraw covertly and appropriate to one’s own use
  13. 2886 ~κοσμικός~ kosmikos \@kos-mee-kos’\@ from 2889 (in its secondary sense); TDNT-3:897,459; {See TDNT 407} adj AV-worldly 2; 2
    1) of or belonging to the world
    1a) relating to the universe
    1b) earthly
    1c) worldly, i.e. having the character of this present corrupt kosmizo
  14. 1346 ~δικαίως~ dikaios \@dik-ah’-yoce\@ from 1342; ; adv AV-justly 2, righteously 2, to righteousness 1; 5
    1) just, agreeably to right
    2) properly, as is right
    3) uprightly, agreeable to the law of rectitude
  15. 1849 ~ἐξουσία~ exousia \@ex-oo-see’-ah\@ from 1832 (in the sense of ability); n f AV-power 69, authority 29, right 2, liberty 1, jurisdiction 1, strength 1; 103 See Romans 13
    1) power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases
    1a) leave or permission
    2) physical and mental power
    2a) the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises
    3) the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege)
    4) the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)
    4a) universally
    4a1) authority over mankind
    4b) specifically
    4b1) the power of judicial decisions
    4b2) of authority to manage domestic affairs
    4c) metonymically
    4c1) a thing subject to authority or rule
    4c1a) jurisdiction
    4c2) one who possesses authority
    4c2a) a ruler, a human magistrate
    4c2b) the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to man, spiritual potentates
    4d) a sign of the husband’s authority over his wife
    4d1) the veil with which propriety required a women to cover herself
    4e) the sign of regal authority, a crown
    For Synonyms see entry 5820
  16. 3980 ~πειθαρχέω~ peitharcheo \@pi-tharkh-eh’-o\@ from a compound of 3982 and 757; TDNT-6:9,818; {See TDNT 611} v AV-obey 2, hearken unto 1, obey a magistrate 1; 4
    1) to obey (a ruler or a superior)
  17. 3474 ~μωρός~ moros \@mo-ros’\@ probably from the base of 3466; adj AV-foolish 7, fool 5, foolishness 1; 13
    1) foolish
    2) impious, godless
  18. Millions have died as heretics but the word simply means to choose something different. The Greek word hairetikos has to do with those who choose something different which causes a schism. To avoid this people should gather and work differences out until they can come to agreement.

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