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Titus and Philemon

Flight Plan:

Get your travel planner out for flight fifty-seven of the Bible from 30,000 Feet. On this flight, our tour guide Pastor Skip will take us through the books of Titus and Philemon. While the letter to Titus focuses on the importance of sound doctrine and the elements of the church order, Philemon takes a more personal approach and speaks on the application of the great principles of Christian brotherhood to social life. The key chapters to review are Titus 1-3 and Philemon 1.

Detailed Notes:


The letter itself identifies Paul as its author. The letter was probably written in the summer of a.d. 66, after Paul's return from Spain in the spring of that year, or perhaps in AD. 63 from Corinth. He probably wrote Titus before traveling to Nicopolis, where he spent the winter. Paul's letter to Titus was designed to establish the basic elements of church order and witness. It achieves this by emphasizing the need for purity in leadership and soundness in doctrine.


c. 63-66 A.D. Letter written to encourage Titus


This brief letter focuses on Titus' role and responsibility in the organization and supervision of the churches in Crete. Throughout the letter Paul stressed the importance of sound doctrine. The letter is structured around three different appearances of God's grace, each one of these appearances functions as the basis for instruction and behavior. Considering the smallness of the book, Paul mentioned "good deeds" many times.


Crete Fourth largest island in the Mediterranean. When Paul went to Rome as a prisoner, the ship sought refuge from a storm at Fair Havens on Crete. Paul may have visited the island after his imprisonment in Rome.

Nicopolis Name means "Victory City." Paul directed Titus to go there after leaving Crete. Of the nine cities by that name, Paul probably meant the one situated northwest of the Gulf of Corinth.


Paul Born around 10 A.D., a Jew in a family of Pharisees and a Roman citizen as well. Paul was a very zealous in his persecution of the church until he met Jesus on the Damascus road. He had two hearings before Caesar Nero.

Titus Joined Paul's ministry about 50 A.D. He was a Gentile Christian who didn't observe Jewish traditions. He delivered Paul's letters and helped solve church problems when Paul was not available.

Artemas Christian coworker with Paul, whom the apostle considered as a replacement for Titus on the island of Crete.

Tychicus A "beloved brother" who accompanied Paul in his trip to collect and deliver the offering for the Jerusalem church. He served as the courier for Paul's letters to Ephesus, Philemon, and the Colossians. Paul mentioned Tychicus twice in his later letters, first sending him to Crete to be with Titus, and later mentioning to Timothy that he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus.

Zenas the Lawyer Lawyer whom Paul requested Titus to help with his travels in Crete.

Apollos A Christian Jew from Alexandria who was an eloquent preacher at the time of Paul's missionary journeys. Paul described him as waterer of the seed that Paul had planted as the founder of the church.


Church Historian Eusebius, who wrote about three hundred years after Paul wrote, said Titus stayed on Crete and became the island's first bishop.




This, the fourth of the personal letters of Paul, differs from the other three, as well as from all other epistles of Paul, in that it is neither doctrinal, nor intended for general church instruction. It is an example of the application of the great principles of Christian brotherhood to social life. It is written to Philemon, an active Christian of Colosse and a convert of Paul, in behalf of a runaway slave of Philemon, who came under Paul's instruction during his first Roman imprisonment and had been brought to Christ.


c. 60 or 61 A.D.

Paul writes the epistle of Philemon


This epistle is the only private letter of Paul which has been preserved, and the only one in the New Testament besides 3 John. Onesimus, a slave, had run away from his master, Philemon of Colosse, and had hidden himself in Rome, where Paul converted him to Christianity. In his loyalty to the civil law, Paul felt that Onesimus, in fulfillment of his Christian duty, should return to his master. He had probably robbed Philemon, and should make restitution.


Colosse City located in western Turkey, about 100 miles east of Ephesus. At one time it was as important as Laodicea and Hierapolis, but at the time Paul wrote this letter it was a small, fairly unimportant town.


Philemon A man from Colosse who held a prominent place in the Christian community for his piety and beneficence. He is called a "fellow-laborer," so he probably helped in spreading the gospel.

Apphia A Christian woman of Colosse; may have been the wife of Philemon.

Archippus A "fellow-soldier" of Paul, whom he exhorts to renewed activity. He was a member of Philemon's family, probably his son.

Onesimus Name means "useful." A slave who robbed his master Philemon at Colosse and fled to Rome, where he was converted by Paul. Paul sent him back to Philemon with the epistle which bears his name.

Epaphras A distinguished disciple, and probably the founder of the Colossian church. Spoken of by Paul as "his dear fellow-servant," and "a faithful minister of Christ."

Demas A companion and fellow-laborer of Paul during his first imprisonment at Rome. When the love of the world mastered him, and he deserted the apostle.


Philemon is the most personal of all of Paul's letters, and is sometimes referred to as the "polite epistle." It was one of the few writings of the New Testament that was not challenged in regards to it belonging in the canon of scripture.