A Commentary by John Stott

Titus: The letter’s main themes.

Paul’s letter to Titus has always been a popular little New Testament document, especially among Christian leaders who hold responsibility in the church. For although the letter is directed to Titus as an individual, it also looks beyond him to the churches he supervised.

It does not require much imagination to sit down beside Titus and to read Paul’s letter as if it were addressed to us. For the apostle’s instructions to his trusted lieutenant have extraordinary contemporary relevance. We too need to hear Paul’s exhortations: about the careful selection and appointment of church leaders (1:5-9), about the damaging effects of false teaching (1:10-16), about the importance of helping different groups to relate duty to doctrine in the home (2:1-10), about the transforming power of the two appearings of Christ (2:11-15), about the civic and social responsibilities of the people of God (3:1-2), and about the implications for practical good works of God’s salvation in its three tenses (3:3-8). Here are at least three major themes, namely Christian elders, in contrast to the false teachers (chapter 1), Christian homes, our duties to each other being enforced by confidence in the first and second comings of Christ (chapter 2), and Christian relationships in public life, which are the direct fruits of salvation (chapter 3).

But further reflection reveals that the three chapters of Titus relate to the three main contexts of Christian living, namely the church, the home and the world, while all three illustrate the vital nexus between doctrine and duty. So I will adopt the following analysis:

1). Doctrine and duty in the church (1:5-16).

2). Doctrine and duty in the home (2:1-15).

3). Doctrine and duty in the world (3:1-11).

Tomorrow: Titus 1:1-4. Introduction.

The John Stott Bible Study is taken from The Message of Titus. The Bible Speaks Today John Stott. Used by permission of Inter-Varsity Press UK, Nottingham. All rights reserved.