Epistle to Titus
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The Epistle of Paul to Titus, usually referred to simply as Titus, is one of the three pastoral epistles (along with 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy) in the New Testament, historically attributed to Paul the Apostle. It is addressed to Saint Titus and describes the requirements and duties of elders and bishops.
Not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Titus was noted in Galatians (cf. Gal. 2:1, 3) where Paul wrote of journeying to Jerusalem with Barnabas, accompanied by Titus. He was then dispatched to Corinth, Greece, where he successfully reconciled the Christian community there with Paul, its founder. Titus was later left on the island of Crete to help organize the Church, and later met back with the Apostle Paul in Nicopolis. He soon went to Dalmatia (now Croatia). According to Eusebius of Caesarea in the Ecclesiastical History, he served as the first bishop of Crete. He was buried in Cortyna (Gortyna), Crete; his head was later removed to Venice during the invasion of Crete by the Saracens in 832 and was enshrined in St Mark's Basilica, Venice, Italy.
Opposed to Pauline authenticity
Titus, along with the two other pastoral epistles (1 Timothy and 2 Timothy), is regarded by the large majority of scholars as being pseudepigraphical. On the basis of the language and content of the pastoral epistles, these scholars reject that they were written by Paul and believe that they were written by an anonymous forger after his death. Critics claim the vocabulary and style of the Pauline letters could not have been written by Paul according to available biographical information and reflect the views of the emerging Church rather than the apostle's. These scholars date the epistle from the 80s AD up to the end of the 2nd century. The Church of England's Common Worship Lectionary Scripture Commentary concurs with this view: "the proportioning of the theological and practical themes is one factor that leads us to think of these writings as coming from the post-Pauline church world of the late first or early second century".
Titus has a very close affinity with 1 Timothy, sharing similar phrases and expressions and similar subject matter. This has led many scholars to believe that it was written by the same forger who wrote 1 and 2 Timothy— this author is sometimes referred to as "the Pastor."
Traditional view: Pauline authenticity
The minority of scholars who believe Paul wrote Titus date its composition from the circumstance that it was written after Paul's visit to Crete (Titus 1:5). That visit could not be the one referred to in the Acts of the Apostles 27:7, when Paul was on his voyage to Rome as a prisoner, and where he continued a prisoner for two years. Thus traditional exegesis supposes that after his release Paul sailed from Rome into Asia, passing Crete by the way, and that there he left Titus "to set in order the things that were wanting." Thence he would have gone to Ephesus, where he left Timothy, and from Ephesus to Macedonia, where he wrote the First Epistle to Timothy, and thence, according to the subscription of this epistle, to "Nicopolis of Macedonia", from which place he wrote to Titus, about 66 or 67.
Recent scholarship has revived the theory that Paul used an amanuensis, or secretaries, in writing his letters (e.g. Rom 16:22), but possibly Luke for the pastorals This was a common practice in ancient letter writing, even for the biblical writers.
One of the secular peculiarities of the Epistle to Titus is the reference to the Epimenides paradox: "One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, 'Cretans are always liars'." The statement by a member of a group that all members are liars is a famous logic problem, applicable also to Psalms 116:11.
In Titus 1:9 Paul describes some among the Jewish Christians as false teachers. Paul describes the false teachers as rebellious, empty talkers who claim to teach the law "without understanding" and deceivers who deliberately lead the faithful astray. Calvin wrote that vain talking (Greek: mataiologia) is contrasted here with useful doctrine, including any trivial and frivolous doctrines that contribute nothing to piety and fear of God.
- Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
- Eusebius, Church History III.4
- Ehrman, Bart (2011). Forged. HarperOne. pp. 93–105. ISBN 978-006-201262-3.
- Raymond E. Brown. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Anchor Bible, p. 662
- Houlden and Rogerson (2001). Common Worship Lectionary: a Scriptures Commentary. London: SPCK. p. 18.
- William Paley Horae Paulinae (1785)
- Bart D. Ehrman. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. pp. 385ff
- Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985. “The Pastoral Epistles“ p. 340–345
- "It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia." —Authorized Version subscription after Titus 3:15
- Note: Sources that say Nicopolis was in Epirus are technically correct, but Epirus had become part of Macedonia (Roman province) in 146 BCE. In 110 CE under Trajan it became a province in its own right, separate from Macedonia and Achaia. The expression "Nicopolis of Macedonia" in Paul's timeframe is valid.
- George W. Knight, The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1992), 48.
- William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), cxxix.
- Richards, E. Randolph. Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection. Downers Grove, IL; Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press; Apollos, 2004.
- Harry Y. Gamble, “Amanuensis,” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 172.
- Titus 1:12–13
- Titus 1:9–16
- Arichea, Daniel Castillo; Hatton, Howard (1995). A handbook on Paul's letters to Timothy and to Titus. New York: United Bible Societies. ISBN 978-0-8267-0168-8.
- 1 Timothy 1:6
- Towner, Philip H (1994). 1–2 Timothy [and] Titus. Downers Grove (Ill.): InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-1814-3.
- Calvin, Jean; Calvin Translation Society (1844). Calvin's commentaries ... Edinburgh: Printed for the Calvin Translation Society.
Online translations of the Epistle to Titus:
- Online Bible at GospelHall.org
- Early Christian Writings: Titus
- Titus – King James Version
- Bible: Titus public domain audiobook at LibriVox Various versions
Exegetical papers on Titus:
Epistle to Titus
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