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.
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.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS:
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.
PLACES OF INTEREST:
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.
PEOPLE OF INTEREST:
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.