A distinguished Christian minister of Greek origin, Ga 2:3; converted under the preaching of Paul, Tit 1:4, whose companion and fellow-labor he became, 2Co 8:23. He joined Paul and Barnabas in the mission from Antioch to Jerusalem, Ac 15:2; Ga 2:1; and subsequently was sent to Corinth and labored with success, 2Co 8:6; 12:18. He did not rejoin the apostle at Troas, as was expected, but at Philippi, 2Co 2:12-13; 7:6; and soon after resumed his labors at Corinth in connection with a general effort for the relief of poor Christians in Judea, taking with him Paul's second epistle, 2Co 8:6,16-17. Some eight or ten years later, we find him left by the apostle at Crete, to establish and regulate the churches of that island, Tit 1:5. Here he received the Epistle to Titus from Paul, then at Ephesus, inviting him to Nicopolis, Tit 3:12; whence he went into the neighboring Dalmatia, before Paul was finally imprisoned at Rome, 2Ti 4:10. Tradition makes him labor for many years in Crete, and die there at an advanced age. His character seems to have been marked by integrity, discretion, and a glowing zeal. He was trusted and beloved by Paul, whose epistle to him is similar in its contents to the first epistle to Timothy, and was probably written not long after it, A. D. 65.
honourable, was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, and accompanied them to the council at Jerusalem (Ga 2:1-3; Ac 15:2), although his name nowhere occurs in the Acts of the Apostles. He appears to have been a Gentile, and to have been chiefly engaged in ministering to Gentiles; for Paul sternly refused to have him circumcised, inasmuch as in his case the cause of gospel liberty was at stake. We find him, at a later period, with Paul and Timothy at Ephesus, whence he was sent by Paul to Corinth for the purpose of getting the contributions of the church there in behalf of the poor saints at Jerusalem sent forward (2Co 8:6; 12:18). He rejoined the apostle when he was in Macedonia, and cheered him with the tidings he brought from Corinth (2Co 7:6-15). After this his name is not mentioned till after Paul's first imprisonment, when we find him engaged in the organization of the church in Crete, where the apostle had left him for this purpose (Tit 1:5). The last notice of him is in 2Ti 4:10, where we find him with Paul at Rome during his second imprisonment. From Rome he was sent into Dalmatia, no doubt on some important missionary errand. We have no record of his death. He is not mentioned in the Acts.
Paul's companion in missionary tours. Not mentioned in Acts. A Greek, and therefore a Gentile (Ga 2:1,3); converted through Paul (Tit 1:4), "mine own son after the common faith." Included in the "certain other of them" who accompanied the apostle and Barnabas when they were deputed from the church of Antioch to consult the church at Jerusalem concerning the circumcision of Gentile converts (Ac 15:2), and agreeably to the decree of the council there was exempted from circumcision, Paul resisting the attempt to force Titus to be so, for both his parents were Gentile, and Titus represented at the council the church of the uncircumcision (contrast TIMOTHY who was on one side of Jewish parentage: Ac 16:3.) He was with Paul at Ephesus (Acts 19), and was sent thence to Corinth to commence the collection for the Jerusalem saints, and to ascertain the effect of the first epistle on the Corinthians (2Co 7:6-9; 8:6; 12:18); and there showed an unmercenary spirit.
Next, Titus went to Macedon, where he rejoined Paul who had been eagerly looking for him at Troas (Ac 20:1,6; 2Co 2:12-13); "Titus my brother" (2Co 7:6; 8:23), also "my partner and fellow helper concerning you." The history (Acts 20) does not record Paul's passing through Troas in going from Ephesus to Macedon, but it does in coming from that country; also that he had disciples there (Ac 20:6-7) which accords with the epistle (2Co 2:12): an undesigned coincidence confirming genuineness. Paul had fixed a time with Titus to meet him at Troas, and had desired him, if detained so as not to be able to be at Troas in time, to proceed at once to Macedon to Philippi, the next stage on his own journey. Hence, though a wide door of usefulness opened to Paul at Troas, his eagerness to hear from Titus about the Corinthian church led him not to stay longer there, when the time fixed was past, but to hasten on to Macedon to meet Titus there.
Titus's favorable report comforted Paul. Then he was employed by Paul to get ready the collection for the poor saints in Judaea, and was bearer of the second epistle to the Corinthians (2Co 8:16-17,23). Macknight thinks Titus was bearer of the first epistle also: 2Co 12:18; 1Co 16:12, "the brethren" (but see CORINTHIANS, FIRST EPISTLE.) His location as president for a time over the Cretan church (Tit 1:5) was subsequent to Paul's first imprisonment and shortly before the second, about A.D. 67, ten years later than the previous notice of him in 2 Cor., A.D. 57. Probably he met Paul, as the apostle requested, at Nicopolis, for his journey into Dalmatia subsequently would be more probable from Nicopolis than from distant Crete (2Ti 4:10; Tit 3:12). Artemas or Tychicus on arriving in Crete would set Titus free from his episcopal commission to go to Nicopolis.
Titus seems to have been bolder and less timid than Timothy, whose going to Corinth was uncertain (1Co 16:10-11). Hence, he was able so well to execute Paul's delicate commission, and see how the Corinthians were affected by Paul's reproof of their tolerating immorality in his first epistle. Titus enforced his rebukes, and then was not less "comforted in respect to the Corinthians" than Paul himself; "his spirit was refreshed by them all"; "his inward affection" and "joy" were called into exercise, so that we see in Titus much of the sympathizing, and withal bold, disposition of the apostle himself. His energy appeared in his zeal at Paul's request to begin at his former visit to Corinth the collection about which the Corinthians were somewhat remiss (2Co 8:6,16-18). Trustworthiness and integrity were conspicuous traits in him (2Co 12:18); readiness also to carry out heartily the apostle's wishes. "God put the same earnest care (for the flock) in his heart" as in Paul's.
He needed no exhortation, such as Paul gave him, but "of his own accord," anticipating Paul's wishes, went where the apostle desired. Luke was probably the "brother" sent with him, "whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches." Paul states his latest commission to Titus, Tit 1:5, "for this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting (epidiorthosee, 'follow up' the work begun by me, 'setting right the things' which I was unable to complete through the shortness of my stay in Crete) and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed thee" (he does not mention deacons). Paul began the due organization of the Cretan church; Titus followed up the work in every city, as Gortyna, Lasaea, etc. Paul reminds Titus by letter of the commission he had already given him orally. Titus was to "bridle" the mouths of "deceivers" and Judaizing teachers (Tit 1:11, compare Ps 32:9), to urge a becoming Christian walk on all classes, the aged, the young, men, women, slaves, subjects, fulfilling relative duties, and to avoid unprofitable speculations.
A firm and consistent ruler was needed for the lawless, self indulgent, and immoral Cretans, as they are pictured by their own poet Epimenides (Tit 1:12-13) who sarcastically remarked that the absence of "wild beasts" from Crete was supplied by its human inhabitants. Livy, 44:45, brands their avarice; Polybius, 6:46, section 9, their ferocity and fraud; and 6:47, section 5, their mendacity. To Cretanize was proverbial for "to lie", as to "Corinthianize" for "to be licentious". Hence flowed their love of "fables" (Tit 1:14), which even pagan poets ridiculed, as for instance their assertion that they had in their land Jupiter's sepulchre. The one grand remedy which Titus was to apply is (Tit 2:11-15) "the grace of God that bringeth salvation" in Christ, who "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity." Paul tells Titus to hospitably help forward Zenas the converted Jewish lawyer or scribe and Apollos, with the latter of whom Titus had been already associated in connection with Corinth (1Co 15:12; 2Co 7:6,9; 8:6; 12:18; Ac 19:1). A ruined church on the site of Gortyna bears the name of Titus, whom tradition makes bishop of Gortyna. His name was the watchword of the Cretans when invaded by the Venetians.
A convert from heathenism (Ga 2:3), probably won by St. Paul himself (Tit 1:4). He is not directly mentioned in Acts, and all that is known of him comes from the Epp. to Gal., 2 Cor., and the Pastorals. Neither his age nor his place of birth is told us. We first hear of him when he accompanies St. Paul on his journey from Antioch to Jerusalem
A Greek convert, Paul's "own son after the common faith." The apostle took him to Jerusalem, but being a Greek he was not circumcised. Ga 2:1-3. Paul describes him to the Corinthian church as "my partner or companion and fellow-helper" on their behalf. He had been sent to Corinth, and from thence brought word of the effect of Paul's First Epistle to the church there. He was also employed by Paul to get ready the collection for the poor saints in Judaea. Paul afterwards left him at Crete to set things in order, and to ordain elders in every city. This he did as the apostle's delegate for that particular place. He was not permanently settled there, for he was to leave when other labourers were sent. Tit 3:12. Afterwards, when Paul wrote 2Ti 4:10, he had gone to Dalmatia. It is only the later MSS of the Epistle to Titus that in the subscription say he was 'bishop of Crete.' He had the privilege of working with and for the apostle, and was doubtless a zealous and faithful servant of the church. 2Co 2:13; 7:6-14; 8:6-23; 12:18; Ga 2:1,3.
Our materials for the biography of this companion of St. Paul must be drawn entirely from the notices of him in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, the Galatians, and to Titus himself, combined with the Second Epistle to Timothy. He is not mentioned in the Acts at all. Taking the passages in the epistles in the chronological order of the events referred to, we turn first to
We conceive the journey mentioned here to be identical with that (recorded in Acts 15) in which Paul and Barnabas went from Antioch to Jerusalem to the conference which was to decide the question of the necessity of circumcision to the Gentiles. Here we see Titus in close association with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch. He goes with them to Jerusalem. His circumcision was either not insisted on at Jerusalem, or, if demanded, was firmly resisted. He is very emphatically spoken of as a Gentile by which is most probably meant that both his parents were Gentiles. Titus would seem on the occasion of the council to have been specially a representative of the church of the uncircumcision. It is to our purpose to remark that, in the passage cited above, Titus is so mentioned as apparently to imply that he had become personally known to the Galatian Christians. After leaving Galatia.,
and spending a long time at Ephesus,
the apostle proceeded to Macedonia by way of Troas. Here he expected to meet Titus,
who had been sent on a mission to Corinth. In this hope he was disappointed, but in Macedonia Titus joined him.
The mission to Corinth had reference to the immoralities rebuked in the First Epistle, and to the collection at that time in progress, for the poor Christians of Judea.
Thus we are prepared for what the apostle now proceeds to do after his encouraging conversations with Titus regarding the Corinthian church. He sends him back from Macedonia to Corinth, in company with two other trustworthy Christians, bearing the Second Epistle, and with an earnest request, ibid.
that he would see to the completion of the collection. ch.
A considerable interval now elapses before we come upon the next notices of this disciple. St. Paul's first imprisonment is concluded, and his last trial is impending. In the interval between the two, he and Titus were together in Crete.
We see Titus remaining in the island when St. Paul left it and receiving there a letter written to him by the apostle. From this letter we gather the following biographical details. In the first place we learn that he was originally converted through St. Paul's instrumentality.
Next we learn the various particulars of the responsible duties which he had to discharge. In Crete, he is to complete what St. Paul had been obliged to leave unfinished, ch.
and he is to organize the church throughout the island by appointing presbytery in every city. Next he is to control and bridle, ver. 11, the restless and mischievous Judaizers. He is also to look for the arrival in Crete of Artemas and Tychicus, ch.
and then is to hasten to join St. Paul at Nicopolis, where the apostle purposes to pass the winter. Zenas and Apollos are in Crete, or expected there; for Titus is to send them on their journey, and to supply them with whatever they need for it. Whether Titus did join the apostle at Nicopolis we cannot tell; but we naturally connect the mention of this place with what St. Paul wrote, at no great interval of time afterward, in the last of the Pastoral Epistles,
for Dalmatia lay to the north of Nicopolis, at no great distance from it. From the form of the whole sentence, it seems probable that this disciple had been with St. Paul in Rome during his final imprisonment; but this cannot be asserted confidently. The traditional connection of Titus with Crete is much more specific and constant, though here again we cannot be certain of the facts. He said to have been permanent bishop in the island, and to have died there at an advanced age. The modern capital, Candia, appears to claim the honor of being his burial-place. In the fragment by the lawyer Zenas, Titus is called bishop of Gortyna. Lastly, the name of Titus was the watchword of the Cretans when they were invaded by the Venetians.
TITUS. It is remarkable that Titus is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. The few particulars which are known of him, are collected from the epistles of St. Paul. We learn from them that he was a Greek, Ga 2:3; but it is not recorded to what city or country he belonged. From St. Paul's calling him "his own son according to the common faith," Tit 1:4, it is concluded that he was converted by him; but we have no account of the time or place of his conversion. He is first mentioned as going from Antioch to the council at Jerusalem, A.D. 49, Ga 2:1, &c; and upon that occasion St. Paul says that he would not allow him to be circumcised, because he was born of Gentile parents. He probably accompanied St. Paul in his second apostolical journey, and from that time he seems to have been constantly employed by him in the propagation of the Gospel; he calls him his partner and fellow-helper, 2Co 8:23. St. Paul sent him from Ephesus with his First Epistle to the Corinthians, and with a commission to inquire into the state of the church at Corinth; and he sent him thither again from Macedonia with his Second Epistle, and to forward the collections for the saints in Judea. From this time we hear nothing of Titus till he was left by St. Paul in Crete, after his first imprisonment at Rome, to "set in order the things that were wanting, and to ordain elders in every city," Tit 1:5. It is probable that he went thence to join St. Paul at Nicopolis, Tit 3:12; that they went together to Crete to visit the churches there, and thence to Rome. During St. Paul's second imprisonment at Rome, Titus went into Dalmatia, 2Ti 4:10; and after the apostle's death, he is said to have returned into Crete, and to have died there in the ninety-fourth year of his age; he is often called bishop of Crete by ecclesiastical writers. St. Paul always speaks of Titus in terms of high regard, and intrusted him, as we have seen, with commissions of great importance. It is by no means certain from what place St. Paul wrote this epistle; but as he desires Titus to come to him at Nicopolis, and declares his intention of passing the winter there, some have supposed that, when he wrote it, he was in the neighbourhood of that city, either in Greece or Macedonia; others have imagined that he wrote it from Colosse, but it is difficult to say upon what ground. As it appears that St. Paul, not long before he wrote this epistle, had left Titus in Crete for the purpose of regulating the affairs of the church, and at the time he wrote it had determined to pass the approaching winter at Nicopolis, and as the Acts of the Apostles do not give any account of St. Paul's preaching in that island, or of visiting that city, it is concluded that this epistle was written after his first imprisonment at Rome, and probably in A.D. 64. It may be considered as some confirmation of that opinion, that there is a great similarity between the sentiments and expressions of this epistle and of the First Epistle to Timothy, which was written in that year. It is not known at what time a Christian church was first planted in Crete; but as some Cretans were present at the first effusion of the Holy Ghost at Jerusalem, Ac 2:11, it is not improbable that, upon their return home, they might be the means of introducing the Gospel among their countrymen. Crete is said to have abounded with Jews; and from the latter part of the first chapter of this epistle it appears that many of them were persons of very profligate lives, even after they had embraced the Gospel. The principal design of this epistle was to give instructions to Titus concerning the management of the churches in the different cities of the island of Crete, and it was probably intended to be read publicly to the Cretans, that they might know upon what authority Titus acted. St. Paul, after his usual salutation, intimates that he was appointed an apostle by the express command of God, and reminds Titus of the reason of his being left in Crete; he describes the qualifications necessary for bishops, and cautions him against persons of bad principles, especially Judaizing teachers, whom he directs Titus to reprove with severity; he informs him what instructions he should give to people in different situations of life, and exhorts him to be exemplary in his own conduct; he points out the pure and practical nature of the Gospel, and enumerates some particular virtues which he was to inculcate, avoiding foolish questions and frivolous disputes; he instructs him how he is to behave toward heretics, and concludes with salutations.