Categories: Early Church Workers
- All we know of Titus comes from Paul’s epistles.
- He is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.
- By birth, Titus was a Gentile; he is called a Greek in Gal 2:3 (and is obviously not circumcised).
- Paul probably converted him to Christianity since Paul refers to him as “my son.”
- We do not know where he was born or raised. The most likely place is somewhere in Asia Minor since many Greeks lived there and Paul worked there for a long time. But the text is completely silent on this matter.
- Nor do we know where he was living when Paul met him.
- We do know that he accompanied Paul to Jerusalem fourteen years after Paul’s first visit when he saw Peter and James. (See Gal 2:1)
- If this reference is to the commissioning by the church in Antioch who sent them to Jerusalem to settle the issue regarding circumcision, then Titus would have been with Paul and Barnabas in Antioch. (But scholars are not convinced that this is the same incident.)
- Since Paul specifically states that Titus was “not compelled to be circumcised,” it is possible that Titus was the test case on whether or not Gentiles needed to be circumcised.
- Afterwards it appears that Titus accompanied Paul on his travels. He writes in 2 Cor 8:23 that Titus “is my partner and co-worker in your service.”
- As a companion, he was of great comfort to Paul, who wrote, “I had no rest in my spirit because I found not Titus my brother (2 Cor 2:13).
- Scholars also think Titus spent time with Paul in Ephesus.
- Titus delivered the confrontational letter to the Corinthians, which is widely believed to have been written by Paul while in Ephesus.
- Titus not only delivered the letter, but was also commissioned to heal the divisions that had plagued the Corinthians and to complete the collection for poor in Jerusalem.
- Later on, Titus met Paul in Macedonia, but it is not known whether he accompanied him to Jerusalem or sailed with him to Rome.
- Later, according to Titus 1:5, we learn that Paul left him behind on the island of Crete, so that he might appoint elders and set things in order.
- There is no indication that Titus, himself, was ever a bishop of Crete.
- So his time at Crete was meant to be temporary.
- After a time, Paul sent replacements to Crete and asked Titus to meet him at Nicopolis. (Apparently, there were several cities with this name, so scholars still do not know exactly where they were.)
- According to 2 Tim, Titus was with Paul in Rome, but eventually made his way to Dalmatia (2 Tim 4:10).
- Then he virtually disappeared from record.
- Legend has it that he returned to Crete and continued preaching and teaching until he passed on at the age of 93. There is no evidence to support this, however.
- Crete was one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean; it was roughly 270 miles long and 50 miles wide.
- The Cretans were among the most despised people of the Mediterranean world. They were thought to be barbarians, known for lying and brutishness.
- It is not known who or when the gospel was introduced to the natives.
- People from Crete, however, are mentioned in Acts 2:11 as being in the audience on Pentecost.
- Upon their return, they might have made the gospel known to their neighbors.
- There is no mention in Acts of any of the apostles going there, but since Paul writes that he left Titus behind, he must have visited at one point.
- The timing of this, however, is unknown.
Barclay, William. "The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon." Daily Study Bible. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press. 1975.
Barnes, Albert. "James, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon." Notes on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. 1966.
Duling, Dennis and Norman Perrin. The New Testament. Proclamation and Parenesis, Myth and History. Philadelphia, PA: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. 1994.
Fee, Gordon. "1 and 2 Timothy, Titus." New International Biblical Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. 1988.
Gaebelein, Frank. "Titus." Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 1985.
Hanson, A.T. "The Pastoral Epistles." The New Century Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans. 1982.
Hultgren, Arland. "I-II Timothy, Titus." Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing. 1984.