Tuesday, February 2, 2016

STUDIES IN TITUS (pt 1)

INTRODUCTION
Paul’s letter to Titus is a fun little book to look through. It is part of what is ordinarily referred to as the Pastoral Epistles, the two letters to Timothy comprising the rest of that grouping.

These three “letters to young pastors,” as they are sometimes called, give great detail about what is expected from our pastors, both as to qualifications and duties.

Interestingly, we have left off most of these details in this modern era where we have all but rejected the Word of God as we replace it with the wisdom of man.

We will explore some of these aspects as we study this little epistle in hopes that at least a few people will begin to rise up in their church to demand a more scripturally informed leadership.

AUTHORSHIP

Paul is clearly stated as the author of this letter, and that was not generally contested until the 19th century with the rise of “higher criticism.”

Higher criticism, in and of itself, is not necessarily bad. For all intents and purposes, it should actually be considered as a noble enterprise in our desire to ascertain the full import of the sacred writings upon our life and beliefs.

However, higher criticism eventually came to be dominated by extreme liberalism, which only had as its goal the destruction of any belief in the sacredness of the Bible.

For those who would like to know how I arrived at such a conclusion, type the following into your web browser: (without the quotation marks)
“higher criticism's desire to overthrow the bible” 

You will find numerous articles from differing perspectives as to the purposes of, and our attitude toward, the science of higher criticism.

So far, there is no solid evidence against the historical acceptance of Pauline authorship of this epistle.

While Paul often refers to himself as a servant or slave, this is the only place where he uses the term “servant of God.” Moses is the only OT person directly referred to in this manner, though David, Jeremiah, Amos, and Haggai were indirectly mentioned as servants of God. James, in his letter, also refers to himself as “a servant of God.”

Paul also calls himself “an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

Much has been written about whether apostles are a valid ministry for today, with many claiming that Paul was the last apostle. It is not within the realm of this study to go beyond a simple statement of scripture, which I give below:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Eph 4:11-13 KJV) [emphasis added]

Simply put, apostles, along with the others mentioned, have been given UNTIL we all come into a unity of the faith, etc. I do not believe this has happened yet.

TO WHOM WRITTEN

Again, there is a plain statement within the letter as to whom this was addressed—Titus.

We know that Titus was a Greek (Gal. 2:3) whom Paul had personally led to the Lord (Titus 1:4). Titus is mentioned 13 times in the NT, mostly in 2 Corinthians.
Not much is known about Titus except that he was very useful for Paul in his ministry of establishing the church. (2 Cor. 8:23; Tit. 1:5)

PURPOSE OF THE LETTER

Paul reminds Titus of why he was left on the isle of Crete—“to set in order the things which are lacking…” (1:5) This was necessary in order to combat the false teachings which were making their way into the church at Crete. (1:10)

It is the false teaching which becomes the focal point of Paul’s letter to Titus, as he gives instruction about how to deal with both the teachers and their teachings.

We will begin to look at these in our next lesson.

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