Paul’s three-chapter letter to his colleague, Titus, reads like a short version of the six-chapter letter of 1 Timothy, which Paul seems to have written about the same time, to another associate and dear friend: Timothy.
Reading between the lines, it seems as though Paul and Titus had gone to the island of Crete sometime after the stories reported in Acts. Acts ends with the cliffhanger of Paul under arrest in Rome, and waiting for his trial before the emperor’s supreme court. So, the presumption many Bible experts make is that Paul was found not guilty at that trial, and released.
On the road again
By the time Paul wrote this letter to Titus in Crete and a similar letter to Timothy in Ephesus, Paul was back on the road somewhere, perhaps headed to Spain. He said he wanted to go there (Romans 15:24).
In the letter Paul wrote to Titus along with the two letters Paul wrote to Timothy, he gave his two associates advice about:
- how to select church leaders,
- what to teach believers, and
- how to deal with troublemakers in the church.
That’s why scholars sometimes call these three letters, written from one pastoral leader to another, the “Pastoral Epistles.” “Epistles” is a two-dollar word for a one-nickel word: “letter.”
“From: Paul, a worker for God and an apostle of Jesus the Messiah” (Titus 1:1).
One popular theory: Paul wrote Titus, along with 1 Timothy sometime after his trial in Rome (about AD 62). The book of Acts ends with Paul waiting for his trial in the emperor’s supreme court. As the theory goes, Paul was found not guilty and released. He hit the road again, possibly taking the story of Jesus to Crete and even as far away as Spain, on the Roman Empire’s western frontier. The theory says he was arrested again after Emperor Nero blamed Christians for starting the fire that destroyed much of Rome in AD 66. Paul may have written 2 Timothy in about AD 67, while waiting for the Romans to execute him after a second trial.
Paul doesn’t say where he was when he wrote Titus. Some scholars guess that he wrote it during his continuing mission trips that aren’t mentioned in the Bible—possibly on the trip he said he wanted to make to Spain (Romans 15:24).
Destination of letter
Paul wrote this letter to one of his associates: Titus. Paul had given him the job of recruiting church leaders for the island of Crete. “I left you in Crete to finish the job we started. You need to appoint church leaders in every town I told you to target” (1:5).