honourable, was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, and accompanied them to the council at Jerusalem ( Galatians 2:1-3 ; Acts 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 ( 2 Corinthians 8:6 ; 12:18 ). He rejoined the apostle when he was in Macedonia, and cheered him with the tidings he brought from Corinth ( 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 ( Titus 1:5 ). The last notice of him is in 2 Timothy 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.
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 ( Galatians 2:1 Galatians 2:3 ) 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., ( Acts 18:23 ) and spending a long time at Ephesus, ( Acts 19:1 ; 20:1 ) the apostle proceeded to Macedonia by way of Troas. Here he expected to meet Titus, ( 2 Corinthians 2:13 ) who had been sent on a mission to Corinth. In this hope he was disappointed, but in Macedonia Titus joined him. ( 2 Corinthians 7:6 2 Corinthians 7:7 2 Corinthians 7:13-15 ) 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. ( 2 Corinthians 8:6 ) 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. ( 2 Corinthians 8:6 2 Corinthians 8:17 ) that he would see to the completion of the collection. ch. ( 2 Corinthians 8:6 ) A considerable interval now elapses before we come upon the next notices of this disciple. St. Pauls first imprisonment is concluded, and his last trial is impending. In the interval between the two, he and Titus were together in Crete. ( Titus 1:5 ) 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. Pauls instrumentality. ( Titus 1:4 ) 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. ( Titus 1:5 ) 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. ( Titus 3:12 ) 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, ( 2 Timothy 4:10 ) 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.
1. One of Paul's Converts:
A Greek Christian, one of Paul's intimate friends, his companion in some of his apostolic journeys, and one of his assistants in Christian work. His name does not occur in the Acts; and, elsewhere in the New Testament, it is found only in 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 2 Timothy and Titus. As Paul calls him "my true child after a common faith" (Titus 1:4), it is probable that he was one of the apostle's converts.
2. Paul Refuses to Have Him Circumcised:
The first notice of Titus is in Acts 15:2, where we read that after the conclusion of Paul's 1st missionary journey, when he had returned to Antioch, a discussion arose in the church there, in regard to the question whether it was necessary that Gentile Christians should be circumcised and should keep the Jewish Law. It was decided that Paul and Barnabas, "and certain other of them," should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question. The "certain other of them" includes Titus, for in Galatians 2:3 it is recorded that Titus was then with Paul. The Judaistic party in the church at Jerusalem desired to have Titus circumcised, but Paul gave no subjection to these persons and to their wishes, "no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you" (Galatians 2:5). The matter in dispute was decided as recorded in Acts 15:13-29. The decision was in favor of the free promulgation of the gospel, as preached by Paul, and unrestricted by Jewish ordinances. Paul's action therefore in regard to Titus was justified. In fact Titus was a representative or test case.
It is difficult and perhaps impossible to give the true reason why Titus is not mentioned by name in the Acts, but he is certainly referred to in 15:2.
3. Sent to Corinth:
There is no further notice of Titus for some years afterward, when he is again mentioned in 2 Corinthians. In this Epistle his name occurs 8 times. From the notices in this Epistle it appears that Titus had been sent by Paul, along with an unnamed "brother," to Corinth as the apostle's delegate to the church there (2 Corinthians 12:18). His chief business was evidently to deal with the cases of immorality which had occurred there. His mission was largely successful, so that he was able to return to Paul with joy, because his spirit was refreshed by the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 7:13). His inward affection was largely drawn out to them, and "he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him" (2 Corinthians 7:15). At Corinth Titus seems also to have assisted in organizing the weekly collections for the poor saints in Jerusalem. See 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 compared with 2 Corinthians 8:6:
"We exhorted Titus, that as he had made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace also."
After the departure of Titus from Corinth, difficulty had again arisen in the church there, and Titus seems to have been sent by Paul a second time to that city, as the apostle's messenger, carrying a letter from him--referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:3; 7:8.
4. Paul Goes to Meet Him:
The state of the Corinthian church had been causing much anxiety to Paul, so much so that when he had come to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to him of the Lord, he found no rest in his spirit, because he found not Titus, his brother; so he left Troas, and went thence into Macedonia, in order to meet Titus the sooner, so as to ascertain from him how matters stood in Corinth. In Macedonia accordingly the apostle met Titus, who brought good news regarding the Corinthians. In the unrest and fightings and fears which the troubles at Corinth had caused Paul to experience, his spirit was refreshed when Titus reached him. "He that comforteth the lowly, even God, comforted us by the coming of Titus .... while he told us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more" (2 Corinthians 7:6,7).
Paul now wrote to the Corinthians again--our Second Epistle to the Corinthians--and dispatched it to its destination by the hand of Titus, into whose heart `God had put the same earnest care for them' (2 Corinthians 8:16-18). Titus was also again entrusted with the work of overseeing the weekly collection in the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 8:10,24).
5. Travels with Paul to Crete:
There is now a long interval in the history of Titus, for nothing further is recorded of him till we come to the Pastoral Epistles. From Paul's Epistle to him these details are gathered:
On Paul's liberation at the conclusion of his first Roman imprisonment he made a number of missionary journeys, and Titus went with him, as his companion and assistant, on one of these--to the island of Crete. From Crete, Paul proceeded onward but he left Titus to "set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city" (Titus 1:5) . Paul reminds him of the character of the people of Crete, and gives him various instructions for his guidance; charges him to maintain sound doctrine, and advises him how to deal with the various classes of persons met with in his pastoral capacity.
6. Paul Sends for Him:
Titus is informed that Artemas or Tychicus will be sent to Crete so that he will be free to leave the island and to rejoin the apostle at Nicopolis, where he has determined to winter. Such were Paul's plans; whether they were carried out is unknown. But this at least is certain, that Titus did rejoin Paul, if not at Nicopolis, then at some other spot; and he was with him in Rome on the occasion of his 2nd imprisonment there, for he is mentioned once again (2 Timothy 4:10) as having gone to Dalmatia, evidently on an evangelistic errand, as the apostle was in the habit of sending his trusted friends to do such work, when he himself was no longer able to do this, owing to his imprisonment. "Paul regarded as his own the work done from centers where he labored, by helpers associated with him, considering the churches thus organized as under his jurisdiction. This throws light upon the statement in 2 Timothy 4:10, that Titus at that time had gone to Dalmatia, and a certain Crescens to Gaul. There is no indication that they, like Demas, had deserted the apostle and sought safety for themselves, or that, like Tychicus, they had been sent by the apostle upon some special errand. In either case it would be a question why they went to these particular countries, with which, so far as we know, Paul, up to this time, had never had anything to do. The probability is that Titus, who had long been associated with Paul (Galatians 2:3), who, as his commissioner, had executed difficult offices in Corinth (2 Corinthians 7-9), and who, not very long before 2 Timothy was written, had completed some missionary work in Crete that had been begun by others, had gone as a missionary and as Paul's representative and helper to Dalmatia. .... If by this means, beginnings of church organizations had been made .... in Spain by Paul himself, in Gaul by Crescens, in Dalmatia by Titus, then, in reality, the missionary map had been very much changed since Paul's first defense" (Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament. II, 11).
7. His Character:
Titus was one of Paul's very dear and trusted friends; and the fact that he was chosen by the apostle to act as his delegate to Corinth, to transact difficult and delicate work in the church there, and that he did this oftener than once, and did it thoroughly and successfully, shows that Titus was not merely a good but a most capable man, tactful and resourceful and skillful in the handling of men and of affairs. "Whether any inquire about Titus, he is my partner and fellow-worker to you-ward" (2 Corinthians 8:23).
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