A Commentary by John Stott
Titus: 3:9-15. Final personal messages (continued).
c). Titus is to join Paul at Nicopolis.
Paul shares with Titus his intention to send someone to Crete, who would be competent to take Titus’ place and so free him to join Paul. He may send *Artemas or Tychicus*, he says. Of Artemas we know nothing; nobody of that name appears elsewhere in the New Testament. Tychicus, on the other hand, is mentioned on five other occasions. These references tell us that he came from proconsular Asia, perhaps from Ephesus its capital, like Trophimus with whom he is bracketed (Acts 20:4; 21:29). He was one of those chosen to take the collection to Jerusalem. Paul called him `a dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord (Eph.6:21), and evidently had great confidence in him. He sent him to Colosse, perhaps with his letter, to tell the churches about him (Col.4:7-8). He is now proposing to send him to Crete to relieve Titus (verse 12), and will later send him from Rome to Ephesus, apparently to free Timothy to visit him as soon as possible (2 Tim.4:9, 12, 21).
*As soon as* Artemas or Tychicus arrives in Crete, and has been able to take over responsibility for the churches, Titus is to do his best to join Paul *at Nicopolis* because he has *decided to winter there* (12). Although at least three towns with this name have been identified, scholars are largely agreed that Paul’s reference is to the capital of Epirus on the west (Adriatic) coast of Greece.
d). Titus is to send Zenas and Apollos on their way.
We know nothing of Zenas except that Paul calls him *the lawyer*, presumably meaning that he was a professional expert in Roman law. *Appolos* may well be the learned and eloquent Alexandrian, who had `a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures’ and who exercised a fruitful ministry in Corinth (Acts 18:24ff.; 1 Cor.1:12; 3:4ff., 22; 16:12. It seems likely that Paul had entrusted to Zenas and Apollos the task of carrying his letter to Titus on Crete. Once they had fulfilled their commission, they were to be given `a good send-off’ (JBP). Paul asks Titus to *do everything he can to help them on their way*, equipped with *everything they need*, that is, all necessary supplies for their onward journey.
e). Titus is to ensure that `our people’ are dedicated to good works.
*Our people must learn*, he writes, presumably from Titus their teacher, *to devote themselves to doing what is good*. The verb translated `devote themselves’ is the same as in verse 8 and could therefore be rendered `enter honourable occupations’ (RSV, mg). Moreover the reason given, *in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives* (14), would be compatible with this. Yet, as we have seen, throughout the Pastorals *kala erga* consistently means `good works’ in the widest sense of fine actions or righteous deeds, so that it probably means the same here as well. `Our people’ must demonstrate that they are such, that they truly belong to Paul’s following, by giving themselves to good works.
f). Titus is to arrange for an exchange of greetings.
*Everyone with me sends you greetings*. That is, Titus must first receive the greetings sent to him by Paul and everyone with him. Then he is to convey Paul’s greetings to others. *Greet those who love us in the faith* (15a). For the faith is `our common faith’ (1:4); it binds God’s people together in love.
At the end of his letters it was the apostle’s custom to take the pen from his scribe or amanuensis, and to write a word of personal greeting. He seems specially to have written a message which contained the word `grace’ and which so encapsulated his message (E.g. 1 Cor.16:23; Gal.6:11, 18; Eph.4:24; Phil.4:23; Col.4:18; 1 Thess.5:28; 2 Thess.3:17-18). He is referring to the grace that issues from the Father and the Son (1:4), which made its historical epiphany in Christ (2:11), and by which we have been justified (3:7).
As he pronounces his benediction, Paul looks beyond Titus to all members of the Cretan churches, indeed to all who would later read his letter, including us: *Grace be with you all* (15b).
Having now studied the three chapters which make up this short letter, it is evident that `Doctrine and duty’ has been an appropriate title for it. For in the church (chapter 1) Christian leaders, in contrast to false teachers, are to pass on the apostolic faith and practise what they preach. In the home (chapter 2) members of the household are to go about their different duties in this present age, motivated by the past and future appearings of Christ. And in the world (chapter 3) conscientious Christian citizenship is to be a spontaneous overflow of that great salvation which God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – has won for us.
Thus doctrine inspires duty, and duty adorns doctrine. Doctrine and duty are married; they must not be divorced.
Tomorrow: That completes the Pastoral letters so tomorrow we will start on the Sermon on the Mount.
|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.|