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New Testament | Titus | Summary



  • The author states that he left Titus in Crete so that he could take charge of the Christ-believing communities there.
  • Bishops that Titus appoints should be hospitable and virtuous, and it is most important that they teach sound doctrine.
  • Titus himself should teach sound doctrine and instruct members of the Christ-believing communities to live virtuously.
  • If the Christ-believers display self-control, outsiders will not be able to say anything bad about them; more importantly, Christ-believers should live well while waiting for the second coming of Christ.
  • They should all avoid controversy and quarreling.
  • The letter concludes rather quickly with some instructions about sending messengers or coworkers back and forth between Crete and Paul's location.


Like 1 Timothy, another of the three Pastoral Epistles, the letter to Titus offers some information about the requirements or expectations for leaders in the early Christ-believing communities. The author describes the ideal bishop (Greek episkopos; literally, "overseer") in quite specific terms in Titus 1:7–9. The letter also describes the qualities of an ideal teacher, albeit indirectly. All of the personal instructions given to Titus might be applicable to other missionaries or people who preach the gospel to potential Christ-believers.

Most importantly, preachers such as Titus must preserve the integrity of the teaching they have received. The author refers to this teaching as "sound doctrine" and highlights that it is trustworthy (Titus 2:1). Those who teach this doctrine do so because it has been "entrusted" to them by God, who is the main authority commissioning preachers to share the message about salvation (Titus 1:3).

Titus includes a brief household code that lays out the expectations for different kinds of people within the Cretan churches. Although men and women of all ages, as well as slaves, are instructed to cultivate self-control, there are also distinctive instructions for each group, and these instructions outline a way of life that corresponds closely to gender roles and hierarchies within a traditional Greek household of the 1st century CE. These kinds of practical concerns would be unusual for the historical figure Paul, who advised communities such as the Corinthian Christ-believers not to change their social status because Jesus's return was imminent.

The development of complex household codes fits better in a time when Christ-believers needed to keep themselves organized, even though the parousia—the second coming of the resurrected Jesus—had been indefinitely delayed. The expectations for women and slaves in this letter should be noted. Slaves are instructed to "be submissive to their masters" (Titus 2:9), and women are to be "submissive to their husbands" (Titus 2:5).
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