Summary: Commentary on Titus for young pastors
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—
Paul uses his name first, identifying himself before the “Cretans” as sometimes many may reject God and His ultimate authority in them, yet still accept man’s council and authority among them. He then adds his point of view [a servant] and attitude in God. To this he adds his authority [Apostle], which, before the Cretans (see Titus 1:10-12), is very much needed.
Then he states something rather matter of factly, “to further the faith…” This is Paul’s simple ministry. This is our simple ministry. Does this mean Paul throws out all the doctrine. No (see Titus 1:9). But, it’s important to remember, as pastors, teachers, and leaders, that our purpose is to “further the faith of God’s elect.” That precious and revealed truth of God through the ages, even Jesus Christ, that leads to a precious cleansing of the body, mind and spirit and on to Godliness.
2 a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,
Hope is a surety. In our present day, hope has lost its ‘sure’ meaning, and has been moved more into a category of conjecture, maybe or might be. The assurance of eternal life is found in God’s promises, in His Word. And, all of this, all of these promises, given long before Adam named the animals.
3 and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,
So much is found in this one verse. God works everything according His purpose (Romans 8:28). Everything has its season, everything has its time. Nothing happens without a reason, and that reason is in accordance with God’s sovereign plan. What has He brought to light at just the right time? Jesus Christ – the truth, which was promised. How has He brought it, the truth, to light? “…through the preaching entrusted to me.” God has chosen the foolish to confound the wise. God has chosen the week, the mild, and the weak to overcome the strong.
Paul, though entrusted, which seemingly requires acceptance, is under the command of God. we are all with the Word and have the opportunity to accept it or reject it. Add to that “…the command of God our Savior.”
Those last three words are significant, as they relate to us the Trinity, here showing two persons of that wonderful revelation of God in three persons. Paul states very matter of factly that Jesus, our Savior, is God.
4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Paul here leaves no gap or space or conjecture as to who is the one that is receiving his transfer of authority and responsibility. It is made very clear that Titus has come from Paul. No argument, no questions, as he calls him my true son. This signifies that ‘first generation’ student, Titus, is who he says he is. But then, Paul brings Titus, and us, up to his level [our common faith], for we are all equal in Christ, we are all children of God through adoption made possible by the finished work of Jesus on the cross. And, it should be a common faith, and it is, for it is shared among us all as we all partake of the body and blood of Christ. It is in now way common with regard to importance or unimportance, but common to all, available to all that seeks the truth found in and of Jesus Christ. [grace and peace] Paul’s often-called ‘one-two punch,’ identifies the true offering of God, grace. And, the true result, peace, that is only found through one, Jesus Christ.
5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
Paul has finished his salutation and jumps right to his purpose for writing this epistle. But first [I left you], indicates a former presence of Paul in Crete, as does [what was left unfinished]. This is important, because it establishes the fact that the Cretans know Paul and his authority as an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
With that, back to Paul’s purpose, “That you might put in order what was left unfinished.” It’s very obvious to anyone in leadership, that certain things should be done early in a ministry to support the life of that ministry. Paul must not have stayed very long in Crete or these things would have been done.
In our modern, technologically-rich world, we are quick to point fingers if no organizational structure emerges from a new church group after a short period of time. Publications, computers, ease of communications, and even traditions, all ensure a quick-launch of churches and ministries. But Paul didn’t have those luxuries, and the mantle of organizing the church bodies on Crete was left up to Titus. In addition to this, he was to go from town to town and appoint elders[pastors] to minister the Word to the people. Finally, it appears that there had been some form of preparatory instruction [as I directed you] before Paul left Titus behind.