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Epistle to Titus

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Papyrus 32 (c. AD 200), with some text from Titus 1

The Epistle to Titus[a] is one of the three pastoral epistles (along with 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy) in the New Testament, historically attributed to Paul the Apostle.[3] It is addressed to Saint Titus[3] and describes the requirements and duties of presbyters/bishops.[4]


The epistle is divided into three chapters, 46 verses in total.[5]


Not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Titus was noted in Galatians (cf. Galatians 2:1, 3)[6] 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 there, 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.[7] 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.[citation needed]


According to Clare Drury, the claim that Paul himself wrote this letter and those to Timothy "seems at first sight obvious and incontrovertible. All three begin with a greeting from the apostle and contain personal notes and asides", but in reality "things are not so straightforward: signs of the late date of the letters proliferate".[8] There has therefore been some debate regarding the authenticity of the letter.

Opposition to Pauline authenticity[edit]

Titus, along with the two other pastoral epistles (1 Timothy and 2 Timothy), is regarded by some scholars as being pseudepigraphical.[9] 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 CE up to the end of the 2nd century, though most would place it sometime between 80 and 100 CE.[10] 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".[11]

Titus has a very close affinity with 1 Timothy, sharing similar phrases and expressions and similar subject matter.[12][13] This has led many scholars to believe that it was written by the same author who wrote 1 and 2 Timothy: their author is sometimes referred to as "the Pastor".[14]

The gnostic writer Basilides rejected the epistle.[15]

Traditional view: Pauline authenticity[edit]

Other scholars who do believe that Paul wrote Titus date its composition from the circumstance that it was written after Paul's visit to Crete (Titus 1:5).[16] This visit could not be the one referred to in the Acts of the Apostles 27:7,[17] 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",[b] from which place he wrote to Titus, about 66 or 67.

The first page of the epistle in Minuscule 699 gives its title as 'προς τιτον, 'To Titus.'

Recent scholarship has revived the theory that Paul used an amanuensis, or secretaries, in writing his letters (e.g. Romans 16:22),[18] but possibly Luke for the pastorals.[19][20] This was a common practice in ancient letter writing, even for the biblical writers.[21][22]

Epimenides paradox[edit]

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'."[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The book is sometimes called the Letter of Paul to Titus, or simply Titus[1] (which is also its most common form of abbreviation).[2]
  2. ^ "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[which?] 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.


  1. ^ ESV Pew Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 2018. p. 998. ISBN 978-1-4335-6343-0. Archived from the original on June 3, 2021.
  2. ^ "Bible Book Abbreviations". Logos Bible Software. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Moffatt, James (1911). "Titus, The Epistle to" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 1031–1032.
  4. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  5. ^ Titus 1:1–16
  6. ^ Galatians 2:1–3
  7. ^ Eusebius, Church History III.4
  8. ^ Drury, C., 73. The Pastoral Epistles, in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001), The Oxford Bible Commentary Archived 2017-11-22 at the Wayback Machine, p. 1220
  9. ^ Ehrman, Bart (2011). Forged. HarperOne. pp. 93–105. ISBN 978-006-201262-3.
  10. ^ Raymond E. Brown. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Anchor Bible, p. 662, 668.
  11. ^ Houlden and Rogerson (2001). Common Worship Lectionary: a Scriptures Commentary. London: SPCK. p. 18.
  12. ^ William Paley Horae Paulinae (1785)
  13. ^ Bart D. Ehrman. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. pp. 385ff
  14. ^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985, "The Pastoral Epistles", pp. 340–345
  15. ^ Jerome. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II / Volume VI / Prefaces / Prefaces to Commentaries / Titus . Translated by Philip Schaff – via Wikisource.
  16. ^ Titus 1:5
  17. ^ Acts 27:7
  18. ^ Romans 16:22
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2000), cxxix.
  21. ^ Richards, E. Randolph. Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection. Downers Grove, IL; Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press; Apollos, 2004.
  22. ^ Harry Y. Gamble, "Amanuensis", ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 172.
  23. ^ Titus 1:12–13


Wikisource This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEaston, Matthew George (1897). "Titus, Epistle to". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.

External links[edit]

Online translations of the Epistle to Titus:

Exegetical papers on Titus:

Epistle to Titus
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Books of the Bible
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