Titus 1

The Need for Order and Good Behavior
Titus 1
Titus 1. In this first chapter we have first the introduction or salutation, followed by a description of Titus’ mission in Crete, which was to set things in order, and ordain elders. The last part of the chapter gives us the cultural backdrop of the assembly in Crete; i.e. the character of people generally in that area, which needed to be overcome by the saints in their practical conduct.

Salutation (1:1-4)

vv.1-4 In the salutation or greeting of this epistle, Paul expands upon his apostleship in a remarkable way. We must remember that Paul was in the twilight years of his service, and now looking back, he reflects on the true place that God had given his ministry. Perhaps in his younger days this aspect of things was not in Paul’s view, because it is normal for those in the freshness of youth to focus on the work at hand, rather than the big picture. But in Paul’s later epistles (Titus, 2 Timothy), he reflects on his ministry through the lens of eternity!

The Writer and His Apostleship (vv.1-3)

1 Paul, bondman of God, and apostle of Jesus Christ according to the faith of God’s elect, and knowledge of the truth which is according to piety; v.1 Paul Introduced. In this epistle, Paul doesn’t include other brothers’ names in the greeting, as he often did when writing to an assembly (2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1). This letter is a personal letter to Titus, of a pastoral nature. Paul introduces himself as first a servant or bondman of God, and secondly as an apostle of Jesus Christ. It is interesting that the epistle of Titus brings before us our responsibility to God, and thus the unusual expression “servant of God” is used instead of the more common “servant of Jesus Christ”. Being a servant of God comes from a sense of belonging to Him (Acts 27:23; Rom. 6:22). The work that Titus was called to had to be carried out according to the will of God. Paul identifies himself as an “apostle of Jesus Christ”. In addition to being a personal epistle, it also serves as Titus’s official commission from Paul, giving him apostolic authority to do what he was instructed, including the appointment of overseers. The instructions contained herein come with all the authority of a commandment from God. The apostleship of Paul is presented in connection with two things. First, Paul’s apostleship was connected with “the faith of God’s elect” , which refers not to the Christian faith in general (Eph. 4:5; Jude 3), but to the personal faith of the elect. Paul’s ministry served to establish souls in a genuine relationship with God! Second, his apostleship was connected with the “knowledge of the truth which is according to piety”, which refers to the knowledge of Christian doctrine in keeping with practical conduct that is approved of God. This fits with the character of Titus!
Godliness or Piety.

Godliness, sometimes translated piety, comes from the Greek word meaning "well devout", and it refers to a manner of living that is totally pleasing to God. Godliness or devoutness involves our motives, our attitude, and our conduct in the sight of God. Christ is the perfect example for us in this (1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 5:7).

2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the ages of time, 3 but has manifested in its own due season his word, in the proclamation with which “I” have been entrusted, according to the commandment of our Saviour God; vv.2-3 The Hope and Promise of Eternal Life. Paul continues to speak of him apostleship, and says it is “in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the ages of time”. It would indicate that the Father, who always enjoyed eternal life, made a promise to the Son before the world was made that He would share that life with others; i.e. bring intelligent beings into that circle of fellowship (see John 17:2). It was the effect of Paul’s apostleship to bring souls into the fellowship of eternal life (2 Tim. 1:1). Paul, nearing the end of his ministry, directs the saints into the ministry of the Apostle John, who takes up this very line of doctrine (1 John 5:4-5, 11-12). Eternal life is a life we have now, but will enter its fullness in heaven. Paul often views eternal life in the  future aspect as he does here. Read more… The promise of eternal life was made before the world began, but it’s accomplishment has been “manifested in its own due season” after the death and resurrection of Christ, through the preaching of “his word”. Paul had been “entrusted” with the proclamation of this gospel, “according to the commandment of our Saviour God”. Paul’s preaching the gospel and thereby bringing souls into the fellowship and hope of eternal life was a commission from God Himself, who made the promise in the first place, and then issued the commandment to His servants to proclaim the gospel!
Our Savior God. Notice that God is mentioned as “God our Savior”, not as “God our Father” as in other epistles. In fact, we find the same title found throughout this epistle (Tit. 1:3; 2:10, 13; 3:4), and also throughout 1 Timothy. When God is presented in this way, He assumes a character in relation to all mankind; as a God of mercy and grace, reaching out as a deliverer for all mankind. And as such, our behavior as associated with Him is important as a testimony to all mankind; “God our Saviour”.1

The Recipient and His Relationship to Paul (v.4)

4 to Titus, my own child according to the faith common to us: Grace and peace from God the Father, and Christ Jesus our Saviour. v.4 Greeting to Titus. Paul refers to Titus as “mine own child according to the faith common to us” similar to his relationship to Timothy. However, Paul does not speak to Titus in the same level of affection that he does to Timothy, who obviously was a closer companion of Paul’s. Also, Paul does not refer to Titus as a youth, which would indicate that Titus was somewhat older than Timothy. The “faith common to us” is

The Need for Order and Good Behavior (1:5-16)

Titus’ Mission in Crete: to Establish Order Titus (vv.5-9)

5 For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou mightest go on to set right what remained unordered, and establish elders in each city, as “I” had ordered thee: 6 if any one be free from all charge against him, husband of one wife, having believing children not accused of excess or unruly. 7 For the overseer must be free from all charge against him as God’s steward; not headstrong, not passionate, not disorderly through wine, not a striker, not seeking gain by base means; 8 but hospitable, a lover of goodness, discreet, just, pious, temperate, 9 clinging to the faithful word according to the doctrine taught, that he may be able both to encourage with sound teaching and refute gainsayers.

Aside: The Cultural Backdrop of the Cretan Assembly (vv.10-16) 

10 For there are many and disorderly vain speakers and deceivers of people’s minds, specially those of the circumcision, 11 who must have their mouths stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which ought not to be taught for the sake of base gain. 12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, has said, Cretans are always liars, evil wild beasts, lazy gluttons. 13 This testimony is true; for which cause rebuke them severely, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not turning their minds to Jewish fables and commandments of men turning away from the truth. 15 All things are pure to the pure; but to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and found worthless as to every good work. 
  1. God assumes here, in a peculiar way, the character of a Saviour-God with regard to the world: a principle of great importance in all that concerns our conversation in the world and our intercourse with men. We represent in our religious character a God of love. This was not the case in Judaism. He was indeed the same God; but there He took the character of a Lawgiver. All were indeed to come to His temple according to the declaration of the prophets, and His temple was open to them; but He did not characterise Himself as a Saviour-God for all. In Titus we find the same expression. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.