Titus 1:1-4 – A letter from Paul to Titus my true child in a common faith – 12/03/2015
This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.
Titus 1:1 (ESV) 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, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 3 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; 4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
From the first four verses of this rich letter we learn some basic facts about this letter based on the text only…
• The author – Paul (v1)
• The recipient – Titus (v4)
• The common faith in which the letter was written (v1-3)
• The common love between author and recipient (v4)
Paul is very much a co-laborer in Christ with Titus, they knew each other personally because in verse 5 we see documentary evidence that Titus was the Titus that was left in Crete while Paul continued to follow God’s will in his life so we know that both Paul and Titus spent quality time together, Paul probably still knew people in the church at Crete and was aware of the people who would be helping and hindering Titus. Let’s look at the passage on a verse by verse basis…
V1 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,
Paul introduces himself in a traditional Pauline fashion, he establishes his credentials in a manner that is both eloquent and advises that he is writing with a certain authority. He first calls himself a servant of God and that really cannot be questioned, this is a man who went from the chief oppressor and persecutor of the people of “The Way” to a man who is willing to evangelize all that he meets regardless of opposition, he knows that by following the will of God in this volatile part of the world where being a Christian is not cool, trendy or even good for life expectancy will eventually cost him his life.
He is a man who is ravaged with infirmity, a man who has a thorn in the flesh, someone who even if he is in chains to two roman guards he will preach to his captors. He is the type of evangelist I wish I was and one that I hope in faith that one day I will be. A man who was beaten, stoned, scourged, shipwrecked, and been chased and run out of more towns and cities than we can name but yet he remains a giant of faith and still evangelizes everyone he meets. I am sure you will agree, he qualifies to call himself a servant of God.
The term Paul used was “doulos” which denoted the lowest slave in a household, the basest slave, the one who was barely allowed to lift the shoes off the master’s feet and that humble mindset is how Paul saw himself. And history shows him as such a giant of faith, what humility that man had and that truly is a lesson to us all when we start to think that the ministry that we are allowed to do on behalf of God is our ministry.
He is an apostle, the word comes from the word “apostolos” which simply means messenger, one who delivers a message and he is most definitely a messenger of Jesus Christ. He goes where he is sent regardless of peril, he evangelizes whomever God puts in from of him, he preached in temples a message that would not be popular and if the Jews rejected him then he went out to the Gentiles and preached to whomever would hear and accept the message, so he certainly is an apostle of Jesus Christ.
And the reason Paul calls himself an apostle was “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness” and Paul was writing not to esteem himself but he was writing for others sake, to the ones he shared a common faith and doctrine with, for the edification of those saints and quipping them for the work of the ministry. Paul was writing to those who had already responded in faith to the gospel of Jesus Christ, he wanted to write to them not according to base knowledge (or head knowledge) but also the knowledge of the truth that changed the heart from within and this is why it was according to godliness. If we have a psychological or a textbook knowledge of the rules and precepts of Christianity which is good but if we have not surrendered our hearts then it will not change our lives. We will be like dry bones having an empty religious practice that is not actually Christianity.
V2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
This is why it has to be life changing, if we have that true heart transplant Christianity then we have the hope of eternal life, we are offered the pinnacle of prizes, eternal communion with God and a reinstatement of God’s perfect plan with no sin, no death and just man and God reconciled in a perfect unity. It is based on a promise from the originator of truth the God who cannot lie and not based on a wish, a dream or superstition.
V3 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;
Paul believed as I do that in order for man to come to Salvation then he has to be taught through preaching and sound doctrine being taught. I believe that is the case today also, as the world falls the need for preaching, correction and a showing of God’s perfect standard and the need to be reconciled to God increases. God does not desire than any should perish but desires that all may have eternal life through Jesus his son. Paul again states this is Romans 10…
Romans 10:14 (ESV) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
Which is why we have a need for missionaries today, both abroad and urban missionaries that are willing to evangelize your next door neighbor, that are not afraid to talk about Jesus to whomever God puts in our path. Preach in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) and we as Christians have been entrusted with the good news that can assure people of eternal life, we have been entrusted this by our savior and it is our job to be messengers, how do you feel about that? Does this fill you with excitement? Dread? Terror? Shame?
V4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Titus is the recipient of this letter as previously discussed who is on the same mission as Paul and that is vital in the effectiveness of your mission that you do surround yourselves with people who are on the same mission, for edification, exhortation and allowing yourself to stay sharp for the work that you do (Iron sharpens Iron – Proverbs 27) If you did a name search on Titus there is very little to go on other than the following verses…
• 2 Corinthians 2:12 – When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
• 2 Corinthians 8:23 – As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.
• 2 Corinthians 12:17 – Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?
So Titus walked in step with Paul, he was his partner in faith and was a true spiritual brother. We all need that as Christianity is not a solo sport and Paul believed in a community of believers that co-labored for the glory of God. We should also and one of the greatest tools we have these days is social media and we have the opportunity to use our pages for the glory of God.
I try to think of that more and more when I see Christians firing at other Christians for something that is not doctrinally based, perhaps a difference in worship styles or the fact that a Pastor has a big church so he might be doing something wrong, I lament this is the case and what I have learned recently is that a victory for another church in my town is a victory for Christianity and we should not be as tribal as we are as far as defending where we go on a Sunday. These are our brothers in the faith on the same mission.
Paul closes his greeting by stating “grace, mercy and peace” and these were not just a “roll off the tongue holy words and I am sure that as much as we have read that passage of scripture we really have not focused in on these words. However Paul knew the source of grace mercy and peace because he came face to face with Him on that dusty road in Damascus and he knew that regardless of what he had suffered up until that point and whatever he was going to suffer afterwards that the author of grace peace and mercy was with him every step of the way, even if that road led to the end of his life.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to