Show Everyone how good God’s Message is

About Paul’s letter to Titus

Paul was a great Christian teacher. God sent him to many countries to tell the people about Jesus Christ. Titus was a young man who had travelled with Paul. He had been to Jerusalem with Paul. (See Galatians 2:1-3.) Some time after that, Paul sent Titus to Corinth city. There were serious problems among the Christians at Corinth, and Paul sent Titus there to help them. (See, for example, 2 Corinthians 7:5-16; 8:16-24.)

We think that Paul wrote this letter at some time between AD 62 and AD 65. That was more than 30 years after Jesus died. Titus had travelled with Paul again. But Paul had asked him to stay on the island called Crete. Crete is in the Mediterranean Sea, south from the countries called Greece and Turkey. Paul left Crete and he travelled to other places. But Titus stayed on Crete, to help the Christians there.

The Christians who lived on Crete had believed Christ for only a short time. They needed good leaders. So, in this letter, Paul tells Titus what kind of people he should choose as leaders.

Also, there were some false teachers there. So, Paul tells Titus that he must not let the Christians believe those false teachers. Titus must teach only the true Christian message. The Christians must do good things that make God happy. And Titus must tell them that.

Chapter 1

Paul and Titus

1 This letter is from me, Paul. I am God’s servant and I have to obey him completely. And I am a special worker and teacher on behalf of Jesus Christ. God has sent me to help the people that he has chosen. I help those people to believe God more completely. I help them so that they will understand the true message about Christ completely. So then they will know the things that they should do to make God happy. 2 As a result of this true message, those people will hope certainly that they will live with God always. God has promised that his people will live with him always. He promised that before the world began. And God always says only things that are true. 3 Then, at the proper time, God caused people to know what he had promised. God’s servants started to tell his message to people. And God, our Saviour, has given this work to me also. He has said that I must tell his message to people.

4 I am writing to you, Titus. You are like my own child because we both believe the same things about Christ. I pray that God, the Father, and Christ Jesus, our Saviour, will be very kind to you. I pray that they will cause you to be without trouble inside yourself.

Titus’s work on the island called Crete

5 I asked you to stay on Crete so that you could do certain things. Some things there are not as they should be. You must cause those things to become as they should be. Also, you must choose elders (leaders) for the Christians in every town, as I told you.

6 A leader must do what is good. So then, nobody can say anything bad about him. He must be the husband of only one wife. His children must be believers. They must always do what is right and proper. Everyone should know that a leader’s children always obey him. 7 A leader has authority for God’s work on God’s behalf. So, nobody should ever be able to say anything bad about him. A leader must not think that he himself is very important. He must not always be causing other people to do what he wants. He must not become angry easily. He must not be a drunk. He must not be a person who likes to fight. He must not want money so much that he does wrong things to get it. 8 Instead, he must be happy to have visitors in his home. He must really want to do good things. He must rule himself well. He must do what is right. He must want always to make God happy. He must always do what is proper.

9 A leader must continue to believe strongly the true Christian message, as we taught it. So he will be able to teach true and right things to people. So then, he will help people to believe Christ more strongly. A leader like that will also be able to speak to people who argue against the Christian message. So, those people will know certainly that they are wrong.

Titus must not let the Christians on Crete believe false teachers

10 There are many people who refuse to obey anyone. They teach false things that are worth nothing. They want people to believe those false things. They certainly include the teachers who want to circumcise all Christian men.

Verse 10 Some Jewish Christians may have taught that the Christians on Crete must obey the Jews’ rules. They may have taught that people should circumcise all the Christians. To ‘circumcise’ means to cut off the skin that covers the end of the sex part of a boy or of a man. God had told Abraham that he must do this. (See Genesis 17:9-14.)

The Jews circumcised men and boys to show that Israel’s people were God’s people. But the Bible does not say that Christians need to do that. We are God’s people because Christ died for us. The Bible does not say that all Christian men should cut their bodies.

11 You must not let those people teach those false things. They are teaching things that they should not teach. So, they are causing whole families to stop believing the true message. Those false teachers’ purpose is bad. They are teaching only because they want people to give them money. 12 Many years ago, one great teacher who lived on Crete spoke like this about his own people. ‘People who live on Crete are always doing bad things. They are always saying things that are not true. They are like dangerous wild animals. They are lazy and they eat too much food.’

13 What that man said is true. So, you must speak to those people who believe false things. Tell them very strongly that they are wrong. Tell them, so that they may believe the true Christian message. 14 They must stop listening to those Jewish stories that are not true. They must stop listening to people who have refused to believe the true message. They must stop obeying the human ideas that those people tell them. 15 For people who have clean spirits and minds, everything is clean and good. But for people who have dirty spirits and minds, nothing is clean or good. The same thing is true about people who refuse to believe God’s true message. Those people cannot think good thoughts. Even their consciences have become like something dirty. 16 Those bad people say that they know God. But they do bad things that God hates. So, everyone can see that those people do not really know God. They refuse to obey God and they are unable to do anything good.

Chapter 2

Titus must teach all the Christians to do right things

1 But you, Titus, you must teach right things that belong properly to God’s message. 2 Tell the older men that they must rule themselves well. They must think seriously. They must always do what is proper. They must continue to believe Christ strongly. They must love other people and they must continue to be patient and brave.

3 Also, tell the older women what they must do. They must always do right and proper things, as God’s people should do. They must never say bad things about people. They must not be drunks. They must teach what is good. 4 So then, they can teach the young women what they must do. The young women must love their own husbands and their own children. 5 The young women must always do what is proper. They must think clean thoughts and they must do good things. They must be good housewives. They must be kind and they must obey their own husbands. So then, nobody will be able to say bad things about God’s message because of what the young women do.

6 Also, tell the young men strongly that they must always do right and proper things. 7 You yourself must always do good things. So you will show the young men what they should do. When you teach, be honest and serious. 8 Teach things that are correct. So, nobody will be able to say that you are wrong. And so our enemies will be ashamed, because they cannot say anything bad about us.

9 Tell the slaves that they must obey their masters always. They must make their masters happy. They must not argue with their masters. 10 Slaves must not rob their masters. Instead, slaves must always do properly what their masters have asked them to do. So people will see that those slaves are always good. So, as a result, everyone will like the message that we teach. They will like it because it has changed those servants. That message about God, our Saviour, is very good. And people will know that it is good.

We must do right things because Christ died to make us God’s own people

11 God has shown us how very kind he is. He has shown us that, because he came to save all people. 12 And because God is so kind, he teaches us to do right things. We should stop doing bad things that do not make God happy. We should stop wanting strongly the things that belong to this world. Instead, God teaches us to rule ourselves properly. He teaches us to do what is right. He teaches us to do the things that make him happy. We should do these good things while we live in this world.

13 We should do these good things while we wait for Jesus to return. This is our hope that makes us happy. On that good day, Jesus will certainly show everyone how very great he is. Jesus Christ is our great God and Saviour. 14 He gave himself for us. So he made us free from every bad thing, so that we could be completely good and clean inside ourselves. So then, we could become his own special people, who really want to do good things.

15 You should teach these things, with all authority. Tell the Christians strongly the things that they must do. Tell them the things that they must not do. Do not let anyone think that they know better than you.

Chapter 3

Christians must obey people who have authority

1 Your people must obey the rulers and the government. Tell them that they must remember that. They must obey everyone who has authority over them. They must be ready always to do what is good. 2 They should never say bad things about anyone. They should not quarrel with people, but instead they should be patient and friendly. They should always be polite and kind to everyone.

3 Before we believed Christ, we ourselves were fools too. We did not obey God or anyone. We believed things that are not true. We wanted to do many kinds of bad things. We could not stop ourselves. We were always bad. We were always angry about other people because we wanted to be like them. Other people hated us, and we hated each other. 4 But then God, our Saviour, did something to help us. He showed us how much he loves all people.

5 God did not save us because of any good things that we ourselves had done. Instead, he saved us because he himself is very kind. God has washed us so that we are completely clean in our spirits. His Spirit has caused us to be born again, so that we have become new people. 6 By Jesus Christ, our Saviour, God gave his Spirit to us, to fill us. 7 God did that because he is very kind. He did it so that he could make us right with him. So then, we could hope certainly that we will live with God always. That is what God has promised to his people. 8 These words are certainly true.

I want you to teach these things strongly. I want you to be sure that the people understand these things. So then, the people who have believed God will be careful to do good things. They should think always about good things that they can do. Those good things will help everyone.

9 But stay away from people who argue about silly questions and about lists of people’s families’ names from years ago. Refuse to quarrel. Refuse to argue about God’s rules. Those kinds of things are not good and they do not help anyone. 10 Some people may teach things that are different from the true message. Anyone who teaches false things like that can cause the Christians not to agree with each other. So, you must tell him that he must stop. If he does not stop, you must tell him one more time. Then, if he still does not stop, stay away from him. 11 You know that a person like that has chosen not to believe the true message. He is doing what is wrong. And he knows that. But he continues to do what is wrong.

Paul hopes to meet Titus at Nicopolis

12 I will send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. After one of them has arrived, try very much to meet me at the city called Nicopolis. I have decided that I will stay at Nicopolis during the winter.

Verse 12 Tychicus was a man who had travelled with Paul. (See Acts 20:4, Ephesians 6:21-22, Colossians 4:7 and 2 Timothy 4:12.) We do not know who Artemas was.

Nicopolis was a city on the west coast of the country that we call Greece.

13 Zenas, who is a lawyer, and Apollos will leave Crete soon. Do everything that you can to help them. So then, they will have everything that they need for their journey.

Verse 13 A lawyer is someone who knows about a government’s rules.

The name ‘Apollos’ is also in Acts 18:24; 19:1 and 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:4; 16:12.

14 Our Christian people must learn to do good things always. They should help to supply the things that people really need. Then the Christians will not be lazy and they will not waste their time.

15 Everyone who is here with me says ‘hello’ to you. Say ‘hello’ on our behalf to those Christians there who love us. I pray that God will continue to be very kind to all of you.

Word List

AD 50, for example, means the year, 50 years after Jesus came.
a person who knows and accepts Christ.
to cut off the skin that covers the end of the sex part of a boy or a man; a mark for Jews to show that a man agreed to obey God’s rules.
like a voice in you that says to you if a thing is right or wrong.
a person who wants to hurt or to attack.
to strongly or completely not like something or someone; it is the opposite of when you love something or someone.
a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
a word that describes a Jew or anything that is a Jew’s.
someone who knows about a government’s rules.
to save someone from the results of the wrong things that they have done; to bring someone back to God from the bad things that they have done.
the person who saves us from the results of the wrong things that we have done; someone who will bring us back to God from the bad things that we have done.
the part of a person that is alive, but which we cannot see.

Book List

Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament

D. A. Arichea and H. A. Hatton ~ A Handbook on Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus ~ United Bible Societies, New York

John Banker ~ Semantic Structure Analysis of Titus

Nigeria Bible Translation Trust ~ Draft Translator’s Notes on Titus

Various Bible versions


© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2010

This version published February 2010

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.