Paul’s authorship of the letter to Titus has been questioned by a few scholars, largely because of the mention of having been on the island of Crete, when there is no other scriptural record of Paul having visited the island. But of course, the Bible is neither the biography of Paul, nor is it his journal. In truth, it is plain to see that Paul wrote this letter after he wrote his first letter to Timothy and before his second letter to him, which he wrote from his final imprisonment in Rome, while awaiting his death. By bits and pieces, we at least get a partial picture of Paul’s travels after his first imprisonment there.
Crete is one of the five largest islands in the Mediterranean, only about 1/3 the size of Sicily and Sardinia, but it is the largest of the Greek islands. It is about 160 miles from east to west, and about 37 miles at its widest point. From the familiarity that Paul clearly has with the island and its people (as expressed in this letter) he must have spent considerable time there, before leaving Titus with a charge to nurture the fledgling congregations there.
Among the things that Paul has to say to Titus here is to urge him to set about the work of “what remained” to be put in order, including the appointment of elders in every town. Just how many towns were involved in this effort, we do not know. Paul also lists some important qualifications for those who would be considered for that task (Titus 1:5-9). One reason for the urgency was that Paul expressed some concern about the problem of false teachers, including those of the circumcision party that had made their way even to the island already.
With respect to those false teachers and the “deceivers,” Paul tells Titus to be firm in teaching the truth while dealing with such matters. In chapter 2:15, he tells him to “exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” In chapter 3, he concludes the letter with good advice for living as a Christian, and avoiding controversy and dissensions. He asks Titus to do his best to come to Nicopolis, where Paul says he plans to spend the winter. It is unclear which Nicopolis he referred to, but it could have been Actia Nicopolis, of western Greece. It was once the capital of the Roman province of Epirus Vetus.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.