The concern of "Paul" in the Epistle to Titus is to make Titus (a Gentile, perhaps converted by Paul) adequate to his new responsibilities in Crete, where Paul has left him in charge, until relieved by another of Paul's coworkers, either Artemas or Tychicus (Titus 3:12). His assignment meanwhile is given in Titus 1:5, "This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you, men who are blameless, married only once . . ." Except for the passage in Acts describing one phase of Paul's travel under guard to Rome, Crete is mentioned only here in the NT. The real Titus had been sent by Paul from Ephesus to deal with anti-Pauline sentiment in Corinth; he appears frequently in 2 Corinthians, as in charge of the collection for Jerusalem. In the spurious 2 Tim 4:10, Titus is said to have gone to Dalmatia.
Some details of Titus are given in this rough outline:
- 1:1-4 Greeting to Titus, "my true child in a common faith"
- 1:5-9. Assignment.Qualifications for elders
- 1:10-16. Tirade against the circumcision party in Crete
- 2:1. Teach sound doctrine
- 2:2-10. Instructions for older and younger men and women, and for slaves and masters: be subordinate
- 2:11-14. The End expectation; Christ "gave himself to redeem us from all iniquity" (Beta)
- 2:15. Closing injunction: "Exhort and reprove with all authority."
- 3:1-2. Remind them "to be submissive to rulers and authorities."
- 3:3-8. We too were saved, not by deeds done in righteousness, but by his mercy, "so that we might be justified by his grace" (Beta)
- 3:9-11. Insist on these things, so that believers will "apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men" (Alpha)
- 3:12-15. Closing: Paul has decided to spent the winter at Nicopolis [in western Greece]; "speed Zenas and Apollos on their way."
- 3:14. And let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds." (Alpha)
- 3:15. Final greeting
This is manifestly repetitious; it alternates between church order or lifestyle instructions (above in bold) and doctrinal statements. The doctrinal statements are of Beta character in the first half of the letter, and of Alpha character (good deeds) thereafter. This doctrinal bivalence seems to be a strategy like that of the editorial additions to the genuine Paulines: to reduce the distance between Alpha and Beta positions by, in effect, combining them. That irenic intention must count as part of the agenda for this letter,and, as far as it goes, aligns Titus with some of the editorial interpolations in the genuine epistles, such as Gal 5:13-6:10, which like the Alpha interludes in Titus, occur toward the end of an epistle. The remainder of Titus is to give instructions for the establishment of post-Apostolic authority within the local churches, in this case, "in every town" of Crete. The implied mission of Titus is thus an area mission; nothing here relates to a single local church.
One theory of the original order of the Pastorals was Titus > T Tim > 2 Tim; in support it is suggested that the long greeting in Titus 1:1-4 was meant so serve as an introduction to all three Pastorals. Titus, unlike Timothy, is never mentioned in Acts.
Titus has no strong affinities with Philemon, but has several times been said to relate closely to Acts, despite Titus' nonmention there (Moule and others). It has even been suggested that the Pastorals as a whole were written by Luke, and meant to form the third book of his trilogy (Quinn). On a merely formal basis, this does not seem to have a lot going for it; Luke is a faker of speeches, but there is little ground to see him also as a forger of epistles. Such affinities as exist (not here explored) probably have a different explanation.
26 April 2012 / Contact The Project / Exit to DeuteroPauling Page