Paul introduces himself (1:1) and his office (apostle) and what qualifies him to serve in his office. Paul gives two authorities that are witnesses to his apostleship: The faith of the elect and his knowledge of the truth. This says that the faithful Christians qualified Paul to be an apostle and God, who have him the knowledge of the truth, also appointed him an apostle. He contends that those who made him an apostle made him an apostle for godliness to be sought in all the churches. Titus 1:1 concludes most of the introduction of the epistle.
Two solid and essential foundational doctrines is found in the next verse (1:2). Paul states in hope of eternal life gives us these two essential pieces to good theology:
- God cannot lie
- God promised eternal life before the word began.
Although these pieces of theology are best categorized in different segments of theology, both are put here in Titus 1:2. Without question God cannot lie for He is a God who is an all righteous God who cannot be tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone with evil (Jam. 1:13). This same God, the one and only true God, promised His people eternal life before the foundations of universe was laid.
In the times that fit God’s plan, He manifested His truths to the apostles, and specifically here, Paul (1:3). Paul in turn preached these truths to the people in the cities of his missionary trips, being given the truths to preach by God’s commandment (1:3). Paul in knowing his words of the gospel and the doctrines that stem from it, knew that his writings were very much scripture. They were the very words of God.
Titus 1:3 in comparison with 1:4 gives us a glimpse into Paul’s belief (and subsequently the first church’s belief) into the identity of Jesus Christ and God. Both versus mention a Savior, but in verse 3, God is named and in verse 4, Christ is named. Paul knew that God had more than one person that made up His divine nature. In these scriptures, he says both were employed in the salvation process. (For more see the summary on chapter 3). Not only did Paul believe in a triune God, he believed in God ‘s oneness spoke of by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4 which says “God is one God and there is no other”. Paul showed God’s oneness by giving both God the Father the name Savior and The Lord Jesus Christ the name Savior, making no distinguishing statement on the duty of and make of God in the process of salvation. Both the Father and Son were in unison on the quest to save mankind and both were called Savior. This also states that truly Jesus is God, the Son of God and worthy of both Godly worship and Godly praise. (See Titus 3:13 and summary).
1:4 states Paul addressed Titus in this letter, who was in Crete (1:5) as it’s first bishop. Titus walked serving the gospel with Paul in many cities and towns visited by Paul. Most notably, Titus was sent to Corinth by Paul to check on the church (Cor. 7:13) and returned to Paul with the news of its welfare (Cor. 7:6). Titus became one of Paul’s “sons in the faith” alongside Timothy (Tim. 1:2). In Paul’s mention of Titus being his son, he states that in that day there was a “common faith”(1:4). While Paul and his company had to deal with false prophets and teachers, mostly Judiazers, who caused havok, there was a faith that had doctrines that were common to all Christians. In this day, we deal with denominational controversies and splits, making it hard to find that common faith spoke about. To those who only hear the teaching without study to see if the doctrine is true or false, it is easy to become prey and be ingrained by a bad interpretation of scripture making a false doctrine. The Holy Spirit can erase any false ingrained doctrine, no matter what the depth, if one seeks the absolute truth in scripture only. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth because He is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17).
After Paul states who the letter is written to, he states the purpose. Paul orders Titus to “set in order the things that are wanting” and to “ordain elders in every city” (1:5). Paul then gives us the qualifications (1:6-9) of a bishop (overseer, elder) that Titus should look for:
- One who is blameless
- One who is a one woman man (the husband of one wife in some translations – forbidding a bishop to be involved in polygamy)
- One whose children are not accused as truly or rioting
- One who is not self-willed
- One who is not quick to anger
- One who is not given to wine
- One who is not a striker (brawler, fighter)
- One who does not gather gain in a filthy manner
- One who loves to be hospitable to others
- One who loves good men and men who do good
- One who is sober-minded and judges soberly
- One who is just and a lover of just decisions
- One who is mature in sanctification. One who is holy
- One whose temperament is even
- One who holds fast to the faithful word.
- One who knows enough to be able to exhort and convince the gainsayers
Paul noted that many in the day of the 1st church conversed about things that were considered vain and unruly (1:10). The Judiazers were those who tried to intermingle the doctrines of faith and law, who Paul considered both vain and unruly and that through their vanity had came up with “another gospel” which was “accursed” (Gal. 1:6-9). Paul concluded that the doctrines of the Judiazers were Jewish fables and were to be considered commandments of men. These had turned from the truth (1:14). The constant preaching and teaching of sound doctrine was the only way Paul claimed would refute the Judiazers and stop their teachings (1:11). These Judiazers could be recognized by their,
- Unruly behavior (1:10)
- Vain talking (1:10)
- Deception (1:10)
- Subversion of households (1:11)
- Teaching things ought not to be taught (1:11)
These things were done by the Judiazers for the gain of filthy lucre (1:11) which is dishonest gain. Considering the behaviors of the Cretian Judiazers, Paul concluded one of their own prophets to be truthful when they said, “the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies” (1:12, 13). Paul appointed Titus to rebuke such “Cretians” (1:13).
In context with Paul’s assessment on the Cretian Judiazers, he tells us that all things are pure to those who are pure but to one who is already defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure (1:15). Paul is speaking of their denial of the doctrine of Justification by Faith only, not only disbelieving it but denying it fully by trying to add the law and it’s traditions, ceremonies, rules and regulations to faith, of which the law and the doctrine of justification by faith only cannot coexist in the fact that they are completely separate doctrines and tell if two ways to become saved, leaving Jesus’ work on the cross as null and void. The mind and conscience is defiled of those who try to change Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith into another gospel (1:15). Here is a small list of attributes God claimed they had through Paul in 1:16.
- They process they know God but deny him in works
- The things done are considered abominable
- They are fully disobedient
- In every work they do they are reprobates
To conclude this in-depth summary of Titus Chapter One we can say easily that Paul wasted no time in getting knee deep into what he considered very important. Paul, in wanting everything to be set straight, gave Titus detailed instruction concerning the election of bishops and the looking for and rebuking of Cretian Judiazers who were set to destroy or overthrow the faith of many. Titus, the first bishop of Crete, must have followed through on these instructions and by his obedience, he has saved many throughout the generations with his existence in person and the person of the letter.