In this episode of the podcast, Cole and Terry talk about the book of Titus. The pastoral epistles present a vision of ministry in the first-century church. Paul developed and employed young pastors, sent them out for short-term missions, and then launched them into church leadership. The letter to Titus underscores the connection between doctrine and character and encourages each of us to do our part in building up the church.
Here are a few key points in this letter:
-This is the third pastoral letter in the New Testament written by Paul for the pastoral encouragement of his children in the faith.
-Paul’s method of discipleship involved taking people along with him to observe how he did ministry. Then he sent his students out on short-term missions that gradually built into a long-term mission. His students were very equipped for ministry.
-Paul’s purpose in writing was to exhort Titus to put things in order at Crete and appoint elders in all the churches (1:5).
-There is a theme throughout the book of “truth with godliness” (1:1). This is seen in Paul’s description of overseers in 1:5-9 and his description of various demographics within the church in 2:1-6.
-Our tendency in the modern church is to separate a person’s character from their doctrine. For Paul, the two were not separate issues – they were one and the same. We need good doctrine combined with good character. Paul was concerned with the heart (character) of ministry leaders in addition to their doctrine.
-Surprisingly, Paul’s one exhortation to young men is to be self-controlled (Titus 2:6). Discipline in one area often leads to discipline in other areas of life. The ability to contradict false doctrine, help people, and other pastoral tasks stems from discipline-based in sound doctrine which leads to acting in accordance with the gospel.
-When Paul wrote this letter, he had just been released from his first imprisonment in the early 60s AD. In the later 60s, Paul was likely arrested a second time. In 3:12-14, Paul was most likely instructing Titus on how to handle things during his imprisonment.
The takeaway from Titus is to live with a knowledge of the truth that accords with godliness. Every Christian is called to believe in Christ and also to walk in him.
Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas, TX, holds a BA in Religion, and is a student at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is passionate about Scripture and how God’s Word impacts individuals’ hearts and lives.