The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 225 of 243
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1: 1 - 9.
pp. 77 - 80
We have been considering the important opening section of this epistle, verses 1-4,
marked "A" on the structure (see page 28). The Apostle addresses the letter to Titus, `my
own son'. The R.V. corrects this to `my true child, after the common faith'. Gnesios is
used as a substantive in II Cor. 8: 8 and is translated there `the sincerity of your love'.
In Phil. 4: 3 Paul addresses one whom he calls `true yokefellow'. He uses this same
phrase of Timothy in I Tim. 1: 2.  This clearly indicates that both Timothy and Titus
were saved under the Apostle's ministry, and while he may not have had children in the
flesh, the Lord gave him true spiritual sons who followed in his footsteps, and in view of
the nearness of the end of his witness and the growing false teaching which was
endangering the truth, he concentrates in these pastoral letters his instructions and
spiritual guidance so that they should stand fast themselves and encourage others so to
The salutation is `grace and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus, our Saviour'
(R.V.). We have before commented on the way these titles are alternated in this epistle.
The structure shows this clearly, throwing into prominence the word `Saviour', which is
used both of God the Father and the Lord Jesus. We have one God and one Saviour and
He is God manifest in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 5 continues `for this cause I left thee behind in Crete that thou mightest set right
the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded thee'.
It is obvious from this statement that Paul was not able to finish the work he had
commenced when visiting the island after his release from imprisonment, and so he left
Titus behind to `set right' or `correct' things that were still lacking. As to what these
were the rest of the epistle makes clear. First of all there were no recognized leaders, and
knowing the importance of true leadership, Paul gives this first place in his instructions to
his son in the faith.
One must clearly keep in mind two things concerning the background of this epistle,
(1) the character of the Cretans (see verses 12, 13) and (2) the false teaching which was
spreading so insidiously into the assemblies and upsetting the faith of many. The leader
had to be separate from all that this represents. Two words are used for such in the
pastoral letters of Paul, presbuteros (elder) and episkopos (bishop). These designate one
office (compare Acts 20: 17 with verse 28 where these words are used interchangeably).
They occur again in the context we are considering (Titus 1: 5, 7). It hardly seems
necessary to say that these elders or bishops bear little or no relationship to those of the
present day. There were no such distinctions as clergy and laity at this time, which came
into being centuries later and are completely unscriptural. These overseers were humble