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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

The Letter of Paul to Titus - Introduction

Titus, the shortest of the Pastoral Letters (see sidebar, p. 323 ), shares much with 1 Timothy. Both give qualifications for congregational leaders, though Titus only discusses the elder ( 1.6–10; see 1 Tim 3.1–13; 4.14; 5.17–22 ). Both include household instructions, in an attempt to address the effect of false teaching on families ( 2.1–15; see 2 Tim 2.15; 3.4–5, 12; 5.4, 8, 14 ). Both contrast the believer's former life with the present to encourage right behavior ( 2.11–14; 3.3–7; 1 Tim 1.12–16 ). And in both, the teachings that are opposed include divisive myths and genealogies * ( 1.14; 3.9; see 1 Tim 1.4 ).

There are few clues in the letter to its time and place of writing or its intended audience. It is attributed to Paul and purports to be addressed to Titus, a Greek who traveled with Paul (Gal 2.1, 3 ) and was one of his emissaries (2 Cor 2.13; 7.6–7, 13–16; 8.6, 16; 12.18; 2 Tim 4.10 ). Yet it is difficult to find time in Paul's life for a visit to Crete (just south of the Aegean Sea) before his Roman imprisonment (Acts 27.7–13 ). Nor does Acts tell us where Titus was when Paul passed through Crete as a prisoner ( 1.5 ). Those who see Paul as the author usually date the letter to the sixties, outside the narrative * of Acts, sometime between a first winter noted in Titus 3.12 and a second one noted in 2 Tim 4.21 . Yet according to Acts 20 , Paul does not expect to return East after his Roman imprisonment, a strong argument against Paul's authorship.

Whoever wrote it, the letter aims to ensure the stability of some new congregations on Crete. Titus therefore has two tasks: appointing “qualified” elders and eliminating rebellious, false teaching. The elders are to be appointed in every town ( 1.5 ) and must not exhibit the qualities of false teachers ( 1.6–9 ). False teachers are numerous; their teachings upset whole families; and greed is their driving motivation ( 1.10–15 ). To counter the effect on families, moreover, the letter gives a comprehensive set of household and civic admonitions ( 2.1–3.11 ), thus ensuring that the new believers in Crete exhibit—at all levels—the order, self-control, and good works expected of those who have been saved and look to eternal life ( 2.13; 3.7 ).

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