Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Titus on Crete

Titus is such a short book that it’s tempting to skip over it, but it is full of important information for us.

Paul wrote this letter late in his ministry. Because he was probably in prison, he couldn’t go to the island of Crete where he’d left Titus to organize the church there. He had to write a letter of instruction instead.

Crete had a rich history and had been important in earlier Greek times. By the time the Romans had conquered the civilized world, Crete had lost some importance but was still a strong trade area. The island was not a wild uncivilized place but had large cities and much culture.

Many Jews lived on the island and were among those listed to be in Jerusalem during the Passover. (Acts 2:11) Since many became Christians at Pentecost and took the good news home with them to start new churches, the same thing probably took place on Crete, too.

We’re not sure if Paul planted a church in Crete or simply discovered Christians there and sent Titus to help with some problems on the island.

Because Paul calls Titus a “true son,” we know that they are very close friends. And it’s likely that Paul had shared the gospel with Titus and been part of his conversion to Christianity.

They had probably traveled together and Paul obviously trusted Titus enough to leave him on the island to clear up some matters there.

This letter was written to give Titus some pointers. One of the keys to understanding the book is to remember that the culture was trying to tear the believers away from the truth of Christianity. How could Titus teach the body of believers to live differently than those who were not believers.

Since that's slightly relevant to us today as well, we’ll be studying those differences in our weekly study of Titus.

Next week: titles

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