Guide Studies in the Book of Titus and Philemon (Pauline Epistle)

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Classic Commentaries and Studies on the Pauline Epistles (31 vols.)
Contents:


  1. Bible Search
  2. The Pauline Epistles - What are they?
  3. Reward Yourself
  4. Join Kobo & start eReading today

In Christian tradition, it appears that Paul was second only to Jesus in contributing to the rise and spread of Christianity. Thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament claim to be written by Paul and tradition has attributed yet another to him Hebrews. The book of Acts, moreover, devotes over half of its history to Paul's ministry. Paul began, however, not as a devoted Christian but as a committed opponent of Christianity. Eventually he converted and began a missionary journey throughout a large part of the Empire. The Study of Paul Methodological Difficulties Pseudepigrapha, writings under a false name, were not uncommon in the ancient world.

Most scholars believe that some of the New Testament letters attributed to Paul are, in fact, pseudepigraphic. Based on authorship issues, the Pauline corpus is divided into three groups: the Pastoral epistles Timothy and Titus , the Deutero-Pauline epistles Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians , and the undisputed Pauline letters Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon.

One problem students of Paul must confront is Luke's account of Paul's ministry in the Acts of the Apostles. Luke's account of Paul's missionary journeys and teachings differ from Paul's own accounts. It may be best, then, to keep in mind that Acts can tell us how Luke understood Paul, but not what Paul himself did and said. One of the most important issues to keep in mind as we read and study Paul's letters is their occasional nature. Paul's letters are records of correspondence with specific communities he founded with the exception of Rome , and in these letters he addresses specific issues with which these churches struggled.

Because of the nature of Paul's letters, we should not read them as systematic theology. Rather than forcing Paul's statements into categories, we should apply the contextual method to determine the circumstances under which Paul corresponded with his churches. The Life of Paul It is clear that Paul was educated since he had the ability to read and write in a sophisticated fashion. Since Paul spoke and wrote in Greek he gives no indication that he knew Aramaic , he knew and used the Septuagint. Although Paul's letters did not regularly reveal his life experiences, on occasion these experiences served his missionary needs, and so he included them in his letters.

Paul knew this letter would be publicly read among the churches on the island. So, in the structure of opening the letter, Paul took great care to tell the Christians of Crete what his credentials were, and where he stood on important issues. Significantly, when Paul used the term bondservant , he chose the ancient Greek word doulos.

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Paul was only a bondservant — yet he had a high place, because He was a bondservant of God. It is never a low thing to be a servant of a great God. Paul knew his call and purpose among the body of Christ, and so should each Christian today also know for themselves. Which accords with godliness : Paul stood in accord with godly living. It is not the truth which accords with godliness. Tts Paul was an apostle in the hope of eternal life. In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,.

Eternal life : This is the life of the Eternal God living within us. It is present now, but will be completed later. Which God, who cannot lie, promised : This eternal life is not a wish , but a hope. In this sense, hope is an anticipation founded not on wishful thinking, but on a promise from the God who cannot lie. Tts Paul was an apostle who believed in preaching the word. But has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;.

But has in due time manifested His word : Christianity came into the world at a time when it was uniquely possible for its message to spread rapidly. Which was committed to me : Paul knew the work of preaching was entrusted to him, but not to him only. Preaching is a work committed to all believers. He is strangely absent from that record, though he must have been an associate of Paul during the time covered by Acts.

Yet we do read about him in 2 Corinthians , , and Though we read nothing about Titus in Acts, we still know something of his character and personality. When the collection was to be made at Corinth on behalf of the poor saints at Jerusalem, Paul sent Titus to stir the members up, and with him another brother to take charge of the contributions. A true son in our common faith : Paul stood in support of a common faith.

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The Pauline Epistles - What are they?

It is a common faith, not an isolated one. Paul was for the church and the community of all believers. Paul and Titus; but, like [ Jude 3 ], it is common to all Christians. Grace, mercy, and peace : In his greeting Paul used words typical for a greeting in the ancient world. But when Paul used these words, they were not used just as a formality because Paul knew the source of all grace, mercy, and peace.

God the Father and God the Son share in the gift of salvation. Tts The challenge given to Titus. For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you;. For this reason I left you in Crete : After a successful evangelistic campaign on the island of Crete, there were a lot of young Christians to take care of.

Paul left Titus behind to build stable churches with mature, qualified pastors for the people.

This was especially needed in Crete, because the people of Crete were a wild bunch, well known as liars and lazy people. Titus had to find and train capable leaders for the Christians of the island of Crete. When a job is hard, there are basically two kinds of people. I left you in Crete uses the same wording as Paul used in 2 Timothy and where he spoke of a cloak and an associate temporarily left behind.

The idea is that he left Titus in Crete on a limited basis to solve these problems, establish godly leadership, and then move on probably to catch up again with Paul. Set in order the things that are lacking : This was the job Titus was given. The church needed order and leadership.

Titus was commanded to set in order the churches, and to do it by appointing godly leaders. If we compare the work of Titus in Crete to the work of Timothy in Ephesus as shown by 1 and 2 Timothy , it shows there was much more lacking among the congregations of Crete. Paul specifically told Titus to set in order the things that are lacking , and gave no such command to Timothy. Apparently the Ephesian congregations were ready for both elders and deacons, but only elders are mentioned in Titus.

And appoint elders in every city : Paul told Titus to appoint elders , who are also called bishops in Titus The word elder is used broadly in the New Testament, mainly describing the maturity necessary in leaders. Elders and bishops describe pastors over congregations in different cities on Crete. In every city : This was a big job, because Crete was famous for having many cities. In saying that each town should have a pastor he does not mean that none should have more than one, but only that no town should be without pastors. Appoint elders : This means Paul delegated a lot of authority to Titus.

These elders were not chosen by popular vote, and they were not chosen through their own self-promotion. This would be almost royal power and would deprive individual churches of their right to elect and the college of pastors of their right to judge, and that would be to profane the whole administration of the Church. Calvin goes on to suggest that the answer is easy — that Titus actually just approved or ratified the leaders that the congregations themselves selected.

There is not a hint of this in the text of Titus or anywhere else. Plainly, God intended Titus as one man to have this authority and for him to use it in a godly manner. The list in the following passage means that God has specific qualifications for leaders in the church. The qualifications for leadership in the following passage have nothing to do with giftedness. However, this is not a rigid list which demands perfection in all areas. It provides both goals to reach for and general criteria for selection. Does that desire show itself in his life? As well, these qualifications are valuable for every person — not only those who aspire to leadership.

They are clear indicators of godly character and spiritual maturity; they can give a true measure of a man. Tts What Titus must look for in the appointment of leaders. If a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,.

This is a broad term for a man who lives a righteous life that can be seen as righteous. No one could stand up and rightfully accuse the man of grievous sin. The greater the master is, the greater the servants are expected to be.

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If that were the case, then both Jesus and Paul would be disqualified from leadership. Nor is it the idea that a leader could never remarry if his wife had passed away or if he were Biblically divorced. The idea is that the leader has his focus upon one woman — that being his wife. Having faithful children : The leader must have raised his children well. His ability to lead the family of God must be first demonstrated by his ability to lead his own children. Here the emphasis is on the idea that his children are believers also.

We would have fewer casualties in the ministry if this policy were followed more often. The Greek word is asotia. It is the word used in Luke for the riotous living of the prodigal son. The man who is asotos is incapable of saving; he is wasteful and extravagant and pours out his substance on personal pleasure; he destroys his substance and in the end ruins himself. Not self-willed : Basically selfish people are disqualified from leadership. They show their self-willed nature in arrogance, stubbornness, and a proud self-focus.

Not quick-tempered : The quick-tempered are also disqualified from leadership, as are those who drink more than is proper not given to wine , the violent , and those greedy for money. Not quick-tempered : The ancient Greek word used here orgilos actually refers more to a settled state of anger than the flash of an occasional bad temper. It speaks of a man who has a constant simmering anger and who nourishes his anger against others — close to the idea of a bitter man. The word came to mean one who browbeats his fellow-men, and it may well be that it should be so translated here.

Hence they should have the appropriate deaconal virtue [as in 1 Timothy ]. Soberminded : This describes the person who is able to think clearly and with clarity. They are not constant joke-makers, but know how to deal with serious subjects in a serious way. Rather it suggests that he knows the value of things and does not cheapen the ministry or the Gospel message by foolish behavior. In the mind of the Apostle Paul, this was an important quality in a leader. He used this word ten times in his short letters to Timothy and Titus.

Just, holy, self-controlled : A pastor or leader in the church must be just right toward men , holy right towards God , self-controlled right towards himself. Tts a Titus must appoint elders who will hold fast to the word of God. Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught,.

Letter to Titus Explained

Holding fast the faithful word : This means first that the leader must be sure of the faithful word for himself. When he brings the word of God to people he must bring it with confidence and authority, not mixed with theological speculation and academic doubts. As he has been taught : This means that the leader has been under the teaching of someone else.

Tts b Titus must appoint leaders who will also use the word properly. That he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. That he may be able He will also use it to convict discourage those who are on the wrong track, those who contradict. He must nourish, defend, and teach; he must have teeth in his mouth and be able to bite and fight.

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By sound doctrine : A godly leader deals with those who contradict , and he does it with sound doctrine. He brings correction with sound doctrine. Leaders need to stand on the foundation of the word. Tts Those who must be confronted and how to stop them. For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

The ancient Greek word translated insubordinate is the negative form of the word submit — an insubordinate man will not submit. God has established an order of authority in several different areas of life. There is an order of authority in the home, in the church, in the workplace, and in the community. God wants us to recognize the places where He has place an order of authority in our lives, and He wants us to submit to that authority.

There are still many insubordinate. Idle talkers and deceivers : These problem people will make themselves known by their unwise speech and by their deception. These people in Crete could talk glibly but all their talk was ineffective in bringing anyone one step nearer goodness. Especially those of the circumcision : Paul was particularly concerned with the effect of some Christians from a Jewish background, who thought the key to acceptance before God was keeping the Law of Moses.

The words insubordinate and of the circumcision taken together show that these were Christians from a Jewish background, or at least they were Christians in name. Further, they tried to teach them that grace was not enough, but that, to be really good, they needed to take upon themselves all the rules and regulations about foods and washings which were so characteristic of Judaism. We can understand why it might be more difficult for Christians who came from Judaism and why they might tend to be more of a source of trouble in the early churches.

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Christians from pagan backgrounds immediately knew that they had to reject everything about their prior understanding about the gods. Yet Christians from Judaism had to take some things and leave others, and this is often more difficult. They should not to be allowed to gain a hearing, because if allowed, they would subvert whole households. Teaching things which they ought not : There are at least three things which should not be taught among Christians.

First, false doctrine ought not to be taught. Second, insubordinate things ought not to be taught. Third, unprofitable things ought not to be taught. In 1 Timothy , Paul warned Timothy to not give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. There are certain spiritual subjects that are not edifying, and are not profitable. All they do is cause speculations and arguments. When Titus found men teaching things which they ought not , he was supposed to stop it.

For the sake of dishonest gain : These problem people were motivated by gain. However, the dishonest gain some seek from the gospel is emotional instead of financial. They serve for the sake of the gain that comes when others recognize or admire them as a spiritual leader.

Tts Why the problem is difficult, and what to do about it. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons : The problem was difficult because of the general character of the Cretans. Even prophets among the Cretans described the island people as liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons , it indicates that there is a character problem. If the Cretans had this basic character, it shows why it was so important for Titus to appoint elders to lead the church.

If these congregations were left to themselves, chaos and error would dominate the churches. A prophet of their own : Paul did not mean that the Cretan writer he quotes here was an inspired prophet of God. But that writer did have it correct when he described the character of the people of Crete.