St. Paul to Titus: Organization of the New Testament Church

by Steve Ray on August 16, 2017

Titus: Organizing the Early Church
By Steve Ray

[NOTE: In my articles on the Pastoral Epistles, I use each one to relay a theme: 1 Timothy emphasizes Timothy; Titus emphasizes Paul’s ecclesiology; 2 Timothy emphasizes the end of Paul’s life.]

Success brings rewards, but it also brings problems and responsibilities. Entrepreneurs are good at starting new ventures, but not always good at managing them. Preaching the good news of Jesus Christ around the Roman Empire was a huge enterprise. And the enterprise bore fruit—fruit that had to be tended. Success must be managed and that requires institutions and delegation. The Apostle Paul learned all this, sometimes the hard way.

Controlling a mushrooming new enterprise is difficult enough but it is even tougher managing it from a prison cell or from a ship tossed at sea. With no e-mail, fax machines or Federal Express communications over thousands of miles was slow and laborious. New news was old news before it ever reached the ears afar off. Problems could fester and spread before a plea could be made or a remedy provided. St. Paul learned all of this, sometimes the hard way.

St. Paul understood delegation which is so crucial to any successful enterprise. Besides being a good manager, Paul had a few loyal fellow workers he could trust. A man once exclaimed, “My friend is no orator; but he will go out with me in any kind of weather.” Titus was like that. When Paul was wading up to his neck in alligators, Titus was by his side. The Church needs her Paul’s who can preach and make waves; but she also needs her Titus’ who can step into tough situations and calmly bring peace and order.

Titus was such a man and his name is mentioned thirteen times in the New Testament, always with affection and trust—serving with Paul for many years (see 2 Cor 8:16-17, 23-24). Trustworthy men are hard to find, as Paul learned, and Titus was one of the few Paul could trust as his representative and to solve difficult problems. For example, he organizing finances among the unruly Corinthians (2 Cor 8:1-17) and he appointed overseers over the Cretans (Tit 1:5) along with many other diplomatic missions. Handling very sensitive and difficult problems, it seems that Titus was a man of great tact, forceful character, deep holiness, and good organizational skills. He lived up to the meaning of his name “Titus” which means nurse—he was tending and healing problems within the Church.

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