Titus ‘To Titus, my true child after a common faith.’

August 19, 2018 by David Farmer 0 comments

Posted in: Weekly Commentary

Titus

‘To Titus, my true child after a common faith.’

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal; but in his own seasons manifested his word in the message, wherewith I was intrusted according to the commandment of God our Saviour; to Titus, my true child after a common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.

—Titus 1:1-4

This salutation of Paul to Titus is remarkable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its length. It is surprising to note that the salutation in this relatively small epistle from Paul is superseded in length by only two other letters from the apostle to the Gentiles, namely Galatians and Romans. Just a few of the other interesting qualities of this salutation include its similarity of features to that of the epistle to the Romans. Here as in Romans, Paul refers to himself both as a servant and then, also as an apostle. Further, in both epistles (Romans and Titus) he has written with some reference to fulfilled promise. He points Titus and everyone who reads this letter to the reality of the hope of eternal life; why? because God promised before times eternal and He is One who cannot lie. Blessed eternal salvation from Him who is eternity itself. He speaks of promise to the Roman readers as well. He refers to the gospel ‘which he promised afore through his holy prophets in the scriptures.’ This was fulfilled when His Son was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. He pronounces equally in the salutations of each of these two epistles grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. Wonderful Savior, and wonderful promises fulfilled in Him. How honored was this ‘true child after a common faith’ to receive such a grand and eloquent salutation. But who and what was Titus?

The name of Titus may be found in 12 instances in the Newer Testament, on each occasion in the epistles of Paul (discounting the name Titus Justus in Acts 18:7). Surprisingly, he is not mentioned even once in the book of Acts. The name of Titus Justus in Acts 18:7 belonging to another person and in many translations his name is simply Justus, or Titius Justus; see KJV, NKJV, NASB. The 12 occasions where Paul speaks of Titus are to be found in 2 Corinthians (8), Galatians (2), and once each in 2 Timothy and Titus.

Of course, the name of Titus is in the salutation of the epistle of that name. And then in 2 Timothy, Paul informs us, by the way, that Titus was one who had apparently been with him in his imprisonment, saying, Titus went to Dalmatia. We discover what Titus was from Paul’s remarks in Galatians 2:1, 3. Having taken Titus with him when returning to Jerusalem, he reports what Titus was in verse 3, saying;

But not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.

What was Titus? He was a Greek. In verse three, the original is ‘hellen’—(applied to such Gentiles as spoke the Greek language), while in verse eight ‘wrought for me also unto the Gentiles,’ the original is ‘ethnos,’ a term largely employed for anyone who was something other than a Jew. But we certainly learn that Titus was no Jew, therefore not compelled to be circumcised. As to the question of who was Titus, we turn to Paul’s second epistle to Corinth where he wrote much concerning this Titus. The heart of the apostle is exposed to us in verse 2:13 of this epistle, where he says in rather pathetic language, when I came to Troas….I had no relief for my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother. He not only betrays how that his very spirit was affected, but his heartfelt thoughts of his friend in terms of Titus my brother. Titus was Paul’s brother in the Lord. It is a reminder to us of the words chosen by him for Timothy and Titus in his corresponding salutations to them. Who was Titus? He was my brother, says Paul, and my true child. Are these appellations, ‘my brother,’ and, ‘my true child,’ not both expressions that our Lord and Savior has made use of concerning our relationship to Him?

Once again, in 2 Cor. 7, the close, sympathetic relationship between Titus and Paul is exposed along with the apostle’s high regard for his co-laborer and friend in the Lord. He speaks of how the Lord made use of Titus to bring comfort to him in verse six. And he embellishes that greatly in verses 13-14, in writing to Corinth:

Therefore we have been comforted: and in our comfortwe joyed the more exceedingly for the joy of Titus, because his spirit hath been refreshed by you all. For if in anything I have gloried to him on your behalf, I was not put to shame; but as we spake all things to you in truth, so our glorying also which I made before Titus was found to be truth.

The title of God in verse six, namely, He that comforteth the lowly is surely one of the most blessed titles of our God. And note how he makes use of instruments to do this comforting; in the case before us, He used Titus and the news from Corinth to comfort His apostle. Praise God for the use He makes of His people! Paul rejoiced at the joy of Titus and the body of Christ is often rejoicing with them that rejoice and weeping with them that weep.

Paul had great confidence in Titus. In 8:6 he exhorts his co-laborer with confidence that he will do what he is assigned. He speaks of this a few verses later, But thanks be to God, who putteth the same earnest care for you in the heart of Titus. For he accepted indeed our exhortation….he went forth unto you.

He is therefore able, in truth, to declare who Titus was. And he does so in verse 8:23:

Whether any inquire about Titus, he is my partner, and fellow-worker to you-ward’

How delightful it will be to one day meet this one who labored in God’s vineyard. We shall undoubtedly get to know one another for ever and ever as we seek to learn more and more of our Father and of our Lord Jesus Christ.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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