Monday, June 1, 2020

Notes On The Authorship Of Titus

Titus. Our materials for the biography of this companion of St. Paul must be drawn entirely from the notices of him in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, the Galatians, and to Titus himself, combined with the Second Epistle to Timothy. He is not mentioned in the Acts at all. Taking the passages in the Epistles in the chronological order of the events referred to, we turn first to Gal. ii. 1, 3. We conceive the journey mentioned here to be identical with that (recorded in Acts xv.) to which Paul and Barnabas went from Antioch to Jerusalem to the conference which was to decide the question of the necessity of circumcision to the Gentiles. Here we see Titus in close association with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch. He goes with them to Jerusalem His circumcision was either not insisted on at Jerusalem, or, if demanded, was firmly resisted He is very emphatically spoken of as a Gentile, by which is most probably meant that both his parents were Gentiles. Titus would seem, on the occasion of the council, to hare bets specially a representative of the church of the uncircumcision. It is to our purpose to remark that, in the passage cited above, Titus is so mentioned as apparently to imply that he had become personally known to the Galatia Christians. After leaving Galatia (Acts xviii. 23), and spending a long time at Ephesus (Acts xix. I -xx. 1), the apostle proceeded to Macedonia by way of Troas. Here he expected to meet Titus (2 Cor. ii. 13), who had been sent on r. mission to Corinth. In this hope he was disappointed; but in Macedonia Titus joined him (2 Cor. vii. 6, 7, 13-15). The mission to Corinth had reference to the immoralities rebuked in the First Epistle, and to the effect of that First Epistle on the offending church. We learn further that the mission was so far successful and satisfactory. But if we proceed further, we discern another part of the mission with which he was entrusted. This had reference to the collection, at that time in progress, for the poor Christians of Judaea (viii. 6). Thus we are prepared for what the apostle now proceeds to do after his encouraging conversations with Titus regarding the Corinthian Church. He sends him back from Macedonia to Corinth, in company with two other trustworthy Christians, bearing the Second Epistle, and with an earnest request (viii. 6, 17) that he would see to the completion of the collection (viii. 6). It has generally been considered doubtful who the udsTtyot were (1 Cor. xvi. 11, 12) that took the First Epistle to Corinth. Most probably they were Titus and his companion, whoever that might be, who is mentioned with him in the second letter (2 Cor. xii. 18). A considerable interval now elapses before we come upon the next notices of this disciple. St. Paul's first imprisonment is concluded, and his last trial is impending. In the interval between the two, he and Titus were together in Crete (Tit. i. 5). We see Titus remaining in the island when St. Paul left it, and receiving there a letter written to him by the apostle. From this letter we gather the following biographical details: — In the first place, we learn that who was originally converted through St. Paul's instrumentality (i. 4). Next we learn the various particulars of the responsible duties which he had to discharge in Crete. He is to complete what St. Paul had been obliged to leave unfinished (i. 5), and he is to organize the Church throughout the island by appointing presbyters in every city. Next he is to control and bridle (ver. 11 ) the restless and mischievous Judaizers, and he is to be peremptory in so doing (ver. 13). He is to urge the duties of a decorous and Christian life upon the women (ii. 3-5), some of whom (ii. 3) possibly had something of an official character (ver. 3, 4). The notices which remain are more strictly personal. Titus is to look for the arrival in Crete of Artemas and Tychicus (iii. 12), and then he is to hasten to join St. Paul at Nicopolis, where the apostle is proposing to pass the winter. Zenas and Apollos are in Crete, or expected there ; for Titus is to send them on their journey, and supply them with whatever they need for it (iii. 13). Whether Titus did join the apostle at Nicopolis we cannot tell. But we naturally connect the mention of this place with what St. Paul wrote at no great interval of time afterwards, in the last of the pastoral epistles (2 Tim. iv. 10); for Dalmatia lay to the north of Nicopolis, at no great distance from it. From the form of the whole sentence, it seems probable that this disciple had been with St. Paul in Rome during his final imprisonment; but this cannot be asserted confidently. The traditional connection of Titus with Crete is much more specific and constant, though here again we cannot be certain of the facts. He is said to have been permanent bishop in the island, and to have died there at an advanced age. The modern capital, Candid, appears to claim the honor of being his burial place. In the fragment by the lawyer Zenas, Titus is called Bishop of Gortyna. Lastly, the name of Titus was the watchword of the Cretans when they were invaded by the Venetians.

Titus, Epistle to. There are no specialties in this epistle which require any very elaborate treatment distinct from the other pastoral letters of St. Paul. If those two were not genuine, it would be difficult to confidently to maintain the genuineness of this. On the other hand, if the Epistles to Timothy are received as St. Paul's, there is not the slightest reason for doubting the authorship of that to Titus. Nothing can well be more explicit than the quotations in Irenaeus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, to say nothing of earlier allusions in Justin Martyr, Theophilus, and Clemens Romanus. As to internal features, we may notice, in the first place, that the Epistle to Titus has all the characteristics of the other pastoral epistles. This tends to show that this letter was written about the same time and under similar circumstances with the other two. But, on the other hand, this epistle has marks in its phraseology and style which assimilate it to the general body of the epistles of St Paul. As to any difficulty arising from supposed indications of advanced hierarchical arrangements, it is to be observed that in this epistle elder and overseer are used as synonymous (i. 5, 7), just as they are in the address at Miletus, about the year 58 a.d. (Acts xx. 17, 28). At the same time, this epistle has features of its own, especially a certain tone of abruptness and severity, which probably arises, partly out of the circumstances of the Cretan population, partly out of the character of Titus himself. Concerning the contents of this epistle, something has already been said in the article on Titus. No very exact subdivision is either necessary or possible. As to the time and place and other circumstances of the writing of this epistle, the following scheme of filling up St. Paul's movements after his first imprisonment will satisfy all the conditions of the case : — We may suppose him (possibly after accomplishing his long-projected visit to Spain ) to have gone to Ephesus, and taken voyages from thence, first to Macedonia, and then to Crete ; during the former to have written the First Epistle to Timothy, and after returning from the latter to have written the Epistle to Titus, being, at the time of dispatching it, on the point of starting for Nicopolis, to which place he went, taking Miletus and Corinth on the way. At Nicopolis, we may conceive him to have been finally apprehended, and taken to Rome, whence he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy.

William Smith, A Dictionary Of the Bible Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, p. 954-955

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