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represented in his own person the breadth and freedom of the Gospel, for which the apostle had so zealously and successfully contended.
The conversion of Titus had taken place at a comparatively early period in the apostle's ministry, for he accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their visit from Antioch to Jerusalem to vindicate the freedom of the Gentiles from the ceremonial law of the Jews (Gal. ii. 1-4). We find him figuring prominently at another crisis in the apostle's ministry, when the strife and confusion in the Corinthian Church threatened to destroy St. Paul's influence. His remarkable success in the difficult mission then assigned to him (p. 82), which called for the exercise of combined firmness and tact, and from which Apollos appears to have shrunk (1 Cor. xvi. 12), marked him out as an able and trustworthy delegate, and explains his selection ten years later for the important and difficult position which he temporarily held in Crete when this letter was addressed to him.
Of the state of the Church in Crete we know very little except what may be gathered from this epistle. In all probability the Gospel had been first brought to the island by those of its inhabitants who witnessed the outpouring of the spirit on the day of Pentecost (“Cretans,” Acts ii. 11). More than thirty years had passed since then, and there were now, probably, quite a number of congregations in the island, which was a hundred and forty miles long and was famous for its hundred cities.
Paul had been there once before, on his way from Cæsarea to Rome; but being a prisoner at the time he could have bad little or no opportunity of preaching. It may have been on that occasion, however, that he saw the necessity for organising the various congregations, as he was now seeking to do through the instrumentality of Titus. It was a difficult task, for the Cretans bore a bad character. “Liars, evil beasts, idle gluttons," was the description which had been given of them long before by “one of themselves” (Epimenides, 600 B.C.)— a testimony confirmed by several other ancient writers. They were a mixed population of Greeks and Asiatics, with a considerable infusion of Jews. To the influence of these latter, acting on native superstition, the corruption of Christian doctrine, of which we hear in the epistle, appears to have been largely due (i. 10, 14 ; iii. 9).1
3. Date and Place of Composition. The striking resemblance of this epistle to 1 Timothy justifies us in assigning it to the same year (say 67 A.D.). It may have been written in Asia Minor when the apostle was on his way to Nicopolis.
4. Character and Contents.—Although addressed to a friend, this letter, like 1 Timothy, has to a certain extent an official character. This is evident from the greeting : “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ .. (i. 1-4). It was intended to furnish Titus, as the apostle's representative in Crete, with the same assistance in his work as had already been rendered to Timothy. From i. 5 it would appear that the apostle had heard of opposition being offered to Titus, and desired to strengthen his hands for his arduous undertaking. With this view he gives him directions for the appointment of properly-qualified presbyters ? in every city, who should be able and willing to teach “the sound doctrine,” and to counteract the useless and un
1 In the subsequent history of the island, Titus has figured prominently as the patron-saint of the community.
? It is remarkable that in this epistle there is no mention of the other class of office-bearers, the deacons, who figure so largely in 1 Timothy. This would be unaccountable if the two epistles were cunningly devised forgeries proceeding from the same hand in the interests of ecclesiastical order.
warrantable speculations of a semi-Jewish character, in- . volving endless controversy, which were propagated by dishonest self-seeking teachers. He also reminds Titus of suitable exhortations to be addressed to the various classes in the Church, for the promotion of that practical godliness which ought to accompany sound doctrine. Titus himself is admonished to show himself in all things "an ensample of good works."
The epistle contains a number of memorable sayings, including some of the most comprehensive statements of Christian truth to be found in the New Testament (ii. 11-14 ; iii. 4-7). In ii. 11-14 we have an excellent illustration of the “doctrine which is according to godliness,” that sober-minded union of faith and practice, which is the ripest fruit of Christianity, and which forms the chief burden of this most salutary letter.
The epistle concludes with some allusions to personal matters (iii. 12-15), in the course of which Paul bids Titus come to him at Nicopolis as soon as Artemas or Tychicus has arrived to relieve him. This is scarcely consistent with the view of some Episcopalian writers that Titus held a permanent official position in the island.
1. Authorship.-In several passages this epistle bears the stamp of genuineness as a writing of St. Paul's, notably at i. 5-18 and iv. 9-22. In particular the opening thanksgiving (i. 3) is characteristic of Paul, eight of his other letters having a similar commencement, which is not to be found in any of the other epistles of the New Testament. At the same time this is not such a prominent feature as to lead to imitation ; and, as a matter of fact, it is not found in the two other Pastoral Epistles.
A strong proof of genuineness is afforded by the proper names (of Church members) in the epistle. They are twenty-three in number, including ten mentioned elsewhere, exclusive of Paul and Timothy. In connection with several of these ten, remarks are made which a forger would have been very unlikely to invent. E.g. “Demas forsook me, having loved this present world” (iv. 10, cf. Col. iv. 14), is more like what we should have expected to find concerning Mark, in view of his former desertion of Paul (Acts xiii. 13); whereas we find favourable mention of him in this epistle (iv. 11). Dalmatia is also a strange place to have invented as a destination for Titus (iv. 10), considering that he had been written to so recently at Crete-although it fits in with the summons to Nicopolis which had been previously addressed to him. A striking argument has been derived from the occurrence of the name Linus in the closing salutations. The argument is based on the fact that Linus, Cletus, and Clement are the names of the first three " bishops” of the Church of Rome, preserved in her Eucharistic Service, dating from the second century. If the epistle had been written in the post-apostolic age, Linus, it is held, would have been sure to receive a more prominent place in the list of salutations, and his name would have been accompanied with that of Cletus, or at all events with that of Clement, as the latter was believed to have been an immediate disciple of Paul.
Altogether, the personal details contained in this epistle, especially in its closing chapter, are so unusually abundant, that it would have been comparatively easy of detection if it had been a forgery. As it is, the marks of genuineness are so numerous and striking, and there is such a tone of sincerity and earnestness running through the whole epistle, that it is accepted by many critics who reject its two companions. But, as the main objections to the latter, on the score of their novel language and teaching, and their want of correspondence with the Book of Acts, apply equally to 2 Timothy, it is generally admitted that the three epistles must stand or fall together. Hence any argument for the Pauline authorship of this epistle has a reflex influence on that of the two others.
2. The Reader. —"To Timothy, my beloved child" (i. 2), see p. 136.
3. Date and Place of Composition.-From i. 8, 16-18, it is evident that this epistle was written by Paul while a prisoner at Rome. That it was a different imprisonment from that mentioned in Acts xxviii. may be inferred not only from the general considerations adduced on pp. 132, 133, but more particularly from the apostle's anticipation of a fatal result (iv. 6-8) as compared with his expectation of release in Phil. ii. 24 and Philemon, ver. 22.1
1 There are several other circumstances, however, which lead us to the same conclusion. (1) The difference between Paul's position during his first imprisonment (Acts xxviii. 30, 31; Phil. i. 12-14), and at the time he wrote this epistle (ii. 9 ; i. 15-17 ; iv. 16). (2) The absence of Timothy, Demas, and Mark (iv. 10, 11), of whom the first-named is associated with the apostle in the epistles to Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, and the two latter are mentioned in Colossians as sending salutations (Col. iv. 10, 14). (3) The statement in this epistle, “Erastus abode at Corinth ; but Trophimus I left at Miletus sick” (iv. 20). For in the apostle's last recorded journey to Jerusalem Trophimus was not left at Miletus, but went with the apostle all the way to Jerusalem (Acts xx. 1-4, 15; xxi. 29); and as for Erastus' stay in Corinth, we know that Timothy was one of Paul's companions (Acts xx. 1-4) during the same journey, after the apostle's last recorded visit to Greece, and could not have required to be informed that “Erastus abode in Corinth,” if that had been the occasion referred to. In his subsequent voyage from Cæsarea to Rome, as recorded in the closing chapters of Acts, it is certain that the apostle visited neither Miletus nor Corinth. (4) The request here made to Timothy: “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, bring when thou comest, and the books, especially the parchments (iv. 13). For there was an interval of several years between Paul's last recorded visit to Troas and his first imprisonment at Rome. A subsequent visit, however, after his release, would fit in with the fresh journey from Miletus to Corinth, which seems to be implied in the remark above made (3).