The opening greeting in Titus is theologically more extensive than First and Second Timothy. The usual from-whom and to-whom is present, along with a blessing, but it is Paul's description of his apostolic status that stands out.


i] Context: Paul's letter to Titus begins with the usual salutation, although somewhat particular when establishing the authority of the author. So, a from whom, by what authority, to whom and a blessing, 1:1-4.

Then follows a series of general instructions, 1:5-3:11:

Paul concludes with some organisational instructions, a general ethical instruction, greetings and a blessing, 3:12-15.


ii] Background: Little background information is provided in the letter itself. We have Titus, a Pauline delegate, administering a number of (newly formed) house churches in Crete. The churches aren't facing any internal or external problems, other than the possible future intrusion of false teachers.

With respect to these false teachers, they seem to be of the same ilk as those described in First Timothy; see "Background", 1 Timothy 1:1-11. It is likely the false-teachers in mind are nomists - law-bound believers. If we hold that this letter was written by Paul, and give it an early date, then we may guess that Paul has in mind the members of the circumcision party, the judaizers, the nomist believers from the Jerusalem church, who followed up on Paul's mission churches seeking to correct his overemphasis on grace. As far as Paul is concerned, their theology is seriously flawed, and so Titus shoud"have nothing more to do with them", given their refusal to take heed of many warnings, cf., 3:10. The false teachers are probably believers, but their flawed theology and behaviour requires attention.

See Romans:1:8-15.


iii] Structure: The opening of Paul's letter to Titus:

Salutation, v1-5:

Author, v1-3:

Servant and apostle;

for faith and gospel truth;

for godliness;

for eternal life;

promised long ago;

realised in the gospel;

via Paul.

Recipient, v4a;

Greeting, v4b.


iv] Interpretation:

Paul declares that he is a servant and apostle of God and Jesus Christ, appointed to facilitate both faith in God's people and their knowledge of the truth of the gospel, which (together) promote godliness and ultimately eternal life. This new divine life is part of God's eternal plan now realised in the gospel, and is the very truth entrusted to Paul by God.


Godliness: In the opening verse Paul notes that his role as servant and apostle leads to faith and an understanding of the truth of the gospel, which (together) lead to eusebeian, "godliness". This word takes a prominent place in the Pastoral Epistles, Tit.1:1; 2:12; 1Tim:2.2, 3:16, 4:7ff; 6:3, 5ff; 2Tim:3:5. Fee argues that it is a word grouping prominent among the false teachers. Paul's nomist enemies were always on about the application of the law, about piety, and so at this stage in his writings he uses their word to contrast true Christian behaviour, "godliness", with their "piety" (religious acts divorced from upright living). The word "implies a serious approach to life and religion by contrast with the frivolous disputations of the opponents", Marshall. Those who give a later date to the letter suggest that the word grouping is drawn from Roman society, providing a link with the dominant culture, but at the same time identifying the unique quality of life expected of a Christian. Marshall takes the view that in the Pastoral Epistles eusebeia "expresses a strongly Christian concept of the new existence in Christ that combines belief in God and a consequent manner of life."

Text - 1:1

The salutation, 1:1-4: Following the accepted format of the time, Paul identifies himself, and move on immediately to state by what authority he writes. He states that he is both "a servant" and "an apostle", at the same time indicating his relationship with the divine in these functions. As to his apostleship, as well as his role as servant, Paul indicates those to whom he ministers, and the results (kata) of that ministry. Paul serves to further the faith (here "the act or state of believing", Towner) of God's people, and their knowledge in the truth (here "the truth of the gospel", Towner), a truth which produces godliness.

pauloV (oV) "Paul" - [toward = for titus.] paul. Nominative absolute, with "servant" and "apostle" (sent one) standing in apposition.

qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - [servant] of god [and apostle of jesus christ]. The genitive, as with "of Jesus Christ", is probably intended as adjectival, possessive, "God's servant" / "Christ's apostle", but possibly ablative, source / origin, "a servant / apostle from / appointed by ....."

kata + acc. "to further" - according to. The sense of the preposition is unclear here. Standard, with regard to Paul's apostleship, may be intended, "marked as such", NEB. "It is ... likely that faith and knowledge and hope are all marks of the apostle which he shares with his people", Houlden. Barrett also opts for a standard; Paul's "apostleship is constituted and determined by this faith, knowledge and hope." So, if we take the preposition to express a standard, then Paul is describing the characteristics of a believer evident in him as an apostle. On the other hand, the purpose of Paul's apostleship seems more likely, as NIV; "for the sake of God's elect", ESV. Paul was appointed a servant and apostle kata = purpose, "to awaken faith in God's chosen people and to bring them the knowledge of the truth", Barclay ("bring them to a knowledge of the truth", ???). In the opening of this letters, Paul will often refer to the source of his apostleship, "by the will of God", but here it is the purpose / goal of his apostleship, "for / with a view to / ...."

pistin (iV ewV) "the faith" - faith. Probably "faith" in the sense of "trust / belief", rather than Christian doctrine / Christianity.

eklektwn (oV) gen. "elect" - of elect, chosen [of god]. The adjective serves as a substantive, with the genitive is usually taken as verbal, subjective; "faith / trust / belief of = exercised by the elect." The genitive of God is probably best viewed as possessive / relational. The word "elect" is often taken to mean "chosen", but membership in the elect, the set-apart people of God, is a matter of grace, an act of divine kindness which awards membership as a gift appropriated through faith in Christ's faithfulness exercised on our behalf. So, God's "elect" are simply God's people, "the saints", "believers".

alhqeiaV (a) gen. " of the truth" - [and knowledge] of truth. Possibly "truth" in the sense of "the cognitive side of faith", Fee, although better as a reference to the gospel itself, "the truth of the gospel" = "the gospel", Towner. If we take the noun "knowledge" as a verbal noun, as for "faith", then the genitive "truth" is adjectival, objective; "knowledge of = about, concerning truth." As with "faith", kata applies here. Paul's apostleship is "with a view to coming to know the gospel."

thV "that" - the. The article serves as an adjectivizer, turning the prepositional phrase "according to godliness" into an attributive modifier limiting "truth"; "which is in accordance with / leads to godliness."

kat (kata) + acc. "leads to" - according to [godliness]. Again the function of this preposition is unclear. It may express a standard, "which accords with godliness", ESV, NRSV, or again express purpose / end-view, as NIV; "that effects godliness", Berkeley. Personal faith in Christ / the gospel inevitably "leads to godliness (true piety, godly behaviour), but the weight seems to fall on standard, given that the relative clause introduced by thV modifies "truth"; the truth "accords with / is in keeping with / pertains to godliness / godly behaviour / a godly life." None-the-less, as Towner notes, given the context, what "accords with" also produces; "the authentic gospel is intended to produce godliness." Whether "godliness" is the standard / test, or purpose / goal of "truth / the gospel", "right belief and right behaviour are inseparable", Mounce.


Paul serves as servant and apostle to promote faith in Christ and a knowledge of gospel truth which (together??) promote godliness, a faith and truth that has as its ultimate purpose eternal life. "This is the life God promised long ago - and he does not break his promises", Peterson.

ep (epi) + dat. "resting on / in" - [a faith and knowledge based] upon. Again we have a preposition with a number of meanings when followed by a dative, as here: possibly spacial, or temporal, or basis / cause, even purpose / goal ("cause in the sense of a basis for an action or purpose", Perkins). The NIV assumes that the prepositional phrase modifies "faith" and "knowledge" of v1, ie., epi is spacial, "resting on", or "in", NIV11. Yet, as with kata in v1, it may modify "apostle", in which case, purpose / goal is likely, "for / with a view to", thus "an additional reason for Paul's apostleship", Knight, so Marshall, D/C. If this were intended, we would have expected kata rather than epi, so although purpose, end-view, goal / result is probably in mind, it is the purpose / result, of "faith" and "gospel truth", "the ultimate goal", Fee, namely, "the hope of eternal life."

elpidi (iV idoV) dat. "the hope" - a hope. "Hope" is a troubling word in English as it does not represent the intended Biblical sense. This "hope" is based on a promise of God realised / inaugurated in Christ, so it nothing like hopeful / wishful thinking and much more like faith. Maybe we are best to just drop the word; "resulting in eternal life, which God, the one who never lies, promised long ago."

zwhV (h) gen. "of [eternal] life" - of life [eternal]. When "hope" is taken as a verbal noun, the genitive is treated as verbal, objective, but adjectival, epexegetic is possible, limiting "hope" by specifying it, "a hope which entails eternal life." "The ultimate aim at which Paul's apostleship points is eternal life; it looks beyond present suffering ... to the purpose which God ordained in the beginning and will manifest at the end", Barrett.

h}n pro. "which [God]" - which. Accusative direct object of the verb "to promise." The antecedent is probably "eternal life."

ayeudhV adj. "does not lie" - the truthful, never lying [god]. Attributive adjective limiting by describing God. Hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT, although the idea that God is faithful to his promises in a common one, cf., 1Cor.1:9, 2Cor.1:18.

pro + gen. "before" - [promised] before [the ages of time]. Temporal use of the preposition. The NIV "before the beginning of time" reflects the view that Paul is referring to the eternal counsel of God, a counsel hidden through the ages, but now revealed in Christ / the gospel. It is possible that "eternal" here is used in the sense of "ages ago / long ago", with pro, "before", indicating a temporal sense. The sense then is of a long-standing promise. See Romans 16:25 for a similar idea.


The ultimate purpose of Paul's ministry is the gift of eternal life, a "hope" which God promised in his eternal counsel long ago. Yet, it didn't just remain a promise, for in due time, God himself realised the promise and all that it entails ("the word"), in/by the gospel entrusted to Paul. "The second reason the Christian hope is sure is that not only was it promised by God, but it has now been revealed in the proclamation of the gospel", Mounce.

Some commentators see an error in syntax (an anacoluthon). An assumed accusative h}n, "which", could be expected for this verse, direct object of the verb "to reveal", but the direct object is stated as ton logon, "the word"; "and which now ....... he has brought to light", NIV11. The de may indicate a second relative clause, but it is more likely adversative such that the author is qualifying the thought that the divine offer of eternal life is hidden in the eternal counsel of God forever; "in due time he made his message clear, of course", Quinn. Quinn still sees an anacoluthon, but Mounce disagrees; "but he revealed his word at the proper time in the proclamation, with which I was entrusted by the command of God our saviour."

de "and" - but/and. Tranitional connective, indicating a step in the argument to a contrasting point. God promised eternal life in his hidden counsel, v2, "but manifested his word at its / his own time".

dairoiV idioiV dat. " at his appointed season" - in it's = his own times. Dative of time. The plural may indicate different moments of time when the word was manifested / revealed, but the plural can be used of a singular event. "At the proper time", Knight, "at its appointed season", Towner.

ton logon (oV) "[his] word" - [manifested] the word [of him]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to manifest, reveal, make known." Presumably "the word" = the gospel, so Knight (not "The Word" = Christ), the word concerning the Christian hope, namely, the promise of eternal life, new life in Christ by grace through faith. This word is efanerwsen, "revealed", an action carrying more weight than just communicated. When God reveals his promise he enacts his promise, realises it, makes it real. The gospel / word concerns a life that is now, as well as not yet; the fullness of new life in Christ is now and into the age to come.

en + dat. "through" - by [the proclamation, preaching]. The dative is instrumental, expressing means. This noun focuses on the content rather than the action, so "the gospel."

o} acc. "[entrusted to me]" - which [i was entrusted with]. Accusative of respect; "with respect to which preaching I have been entrusted."

kat (kata) + acc. "by" - according to [command of the saviour of us]. Here probably expressing a standard; "in accordance with ...."

qeou (oV) gen. "God" - Genitive standing in apposition to "the saviour."


Paul now identifies the recipient of the letter and goes on to add one of his standard blessings, standard except for "Christ Jesus our Saviour" who is usually "Christ Jesus our / the Lord."

Titw/ (oV) dat. "to Titus" - Dative of recipient.

teknw/ (on) dat. "son" - [my true] child. Dative standing in apposition to "Titus". "True" in the sense of "legitimate", a legitimate Pauline representative of the gospel of grace.

kata + acc. "in" - according to [a common faith]. Here expressing a standard; "in accord with ...." "Common" in the sense of "shared", or "the same" faith; presumably "faith" in the sense of "belief system."

apo gen. "from" - [grace and peace] from [god the father and christ jesus]. Expressing source / origin, the source being both God the Father and Christ Jesus.

hJmwn gen. "our" - [the saviour] of us. The genitive may be taken as adjectival, possessive / relational, or verbal, objective. "The saviour" is genitive standing in apposition to "God the Father" who is our saviour, in partnership with Jesus.


Titus Introduction

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