Dear Titus, . . . – An In-Depth Look at Paul’s Epistle, Titus 1.1

November 5, 2008

Over the next several days I will be out of town attending the John 3.16 Conference in Woodstock, GA and so during that time, in order to keep making posts, I will be unveiling a brief series of posts featuring expanded thoughts on the introduction to the book of Titus. These posts will occur in what should be a larger look at Titus appearing here over the next month or two. When I return I will be posting the last post or two in the predetermination vs. foreknowledge series, and then we will have an extended response to what is said this weekend at the conference. I pray that you guys enjoy the commentary while I’m gone and have a nice rest of the week.

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“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ . . . ” (Titus 1.1)

From the outset Paul lays down where he stands in relation to God and from whom his authority comes. As a servant, Paul is bound to doing the will of his master. This submission is displayed throughout the New Testament, both by obedience to God’s direct instruction (Acts 16.6-10, 18.9-11) or by a more general adherence to God’s universal commands (such as the universal call to evangelism).

As for authority, we find reference in other of Paul’s writings to argue that what he says is not based on his own will or desire but is the word spoken straight from God (1 Corinthians 1.17, 14.37, Galatians 1.11-12, 1 Thessalonians 2.13). Thus again, Paul’s authority to instruct comes from submission to God as master first, and is followed by his faithfulness to the Word of God spoken into his life. Were this the mere philosophical or pragmatic writings of a fallen human then we could just throw them out and ascribe to our own pinnings, but since this is the purpose of the Almighty God transmitted through his humble servant we should take heed.

” . . . for the sake of the faith of God’s elect . . . ” (1.1)

Paul is directing this letter specifically to an overseer so that it may be used in regards to the whole body of true believers, the elect. Clearly Paul sees no distinction between the elect and just plain believers, or else we must take this epistle to have direction for only part of the church, and an unidentifiable part at that. Does this make much sense?

” . . . and their knowledge of the truth . . . ” (1.1)

Not only is Paul writing to Titus but he is writing for the elect, that they may receive more of the light through the words he’s about to share. The pastor should always be concerned about the knowledge of his people. If a congregant claims to be saved and yet Sunday to Sunday is not growing in their knowledge and understanding of the things of God then the elders and leadership must be accountable to helping them make the connect. A church filled with static believers will struggle to do the depth of the work which God has called them to.

” . . . which accords with godliness, . . . ” (1.1)

There is no way to be gaining in knowledge of the truth and not at the same time being further conformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8.29). By knowing the truth we know Jesus (John 14.6) and knowing Jesus we cannot help but be changed (2 Corinthians 5.14-21).