“Introduction to the Epistle of Paul to Titus,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)
“Titus,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Paul’s letter to Titus, like his letters to Timothy, contains timeless counsel from the Apostle Paul to a local Church leader. Paul wrote that the “hope of eternal life” was first promised by God in the pre-earth life “before the world began” (Titus 1:2). He taught that the Saints should look forward to “that blessed hope” of exaltation and to the Second Coming (Titus 2:13). Paul also wrote to Titus about the “washing of regeneration” and the “renewing of the Holy Ghost,” alluding to the ordinance of baptism and the purifying effect of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, both of which are preparatory to being “made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5, 7). By studying Paul’s inspired counsel to Titus, students can increase their faith that the doctrines and ordinances of the gospel bring hope for eternal life.
The book of Titus was written by Paul (see Titus 1:1).
It is likely that Paul wrote the Epistle to Titus between his writing of 1 and 2 Timothy around A.D. 64–65 (see Guide to the Scriptures, “Pauline Epistles,” scriptures.lds.org). Paul wrote the Epistle to Titus after Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. Paul did not indicate where he was when he wrote the Epistle to Titus.
This epistle was written by Paul to Titus, whom Paul referred to as “mine own son after the common faith” (Titus 1:4). Titus was Greek (Galatians 2:3) and had been converted to the gospel by Paul himself (see Bible Dictionary, “Titus”). After his conversion, Titus labored with Paul to spread the gospel and organize the Church (see Bible Dictionary, “Titus”). He helped gather donations for the poor in Jerusalem (see 2 Corinthians 8:6, 16–23) and also accompanied Paul to the Jerusalem council (see Galatians 2:1). Paul entrusted Titus to take to Corinth Paul’s first epistle to the Saints living there (see 2 Corinthians 7:5–15). Paul wrote to Titus to strengthen him in his assignment to lead and care for the branch of the Church in Crete in spite of opposition (see Titus 1:5, 10–11; 2:15; 3:10).
This letter is one of the pastoral Epistles (to a pastor, or leader, in the Church), along with 1 and 2 Timothy (see Bible Dictionary, “Pauline Epistles”). The Epistle of Titus provides the earliest evidence that the Church had been established on the Greek island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea (see Titus 1:5). Titus had the responsibility of calling new bishops on the island. Paul listed some of the spiritual qualifications for bishops (see Titus 1:6–9). In addition, Paul gave specific advice to men, women, and servants on proper behavior for Saints (see Titus 2:2–10).
Titus 1 Paul instructs Titus to ordain Church leaders and then lists some qualifications for bishops. He instructs Titus to correct heresies and to rebuke false teachers who “profess that they know God; but in works … deny him” (Titus 1:16).
Titus 2 Paul encourages Titus to instruct elderly Church members to set examples for the younger Saints. He also asks Titus to teach servants to submit to their masters. Paul explains the manner in which disciples should live as they prepare for the Lord’s return. He describes the redemption brought about through Jesus Christ.
Titus 3 Paul teaches that Church members are to be good citizens and righteous followers of Jesus Christ. Through baptism, we may receive eternal life through the Lord’s grace.