Paul's companion in missionary tours. Not mentioned in Acts. A Greek, and therefore a Gentile (Galatians 2:1; Galatians 2:3); converted through Paul (Titus 1:4), "mine own son after the common faith." Included in the "certain other of them" who accompanied the apostle and Barnabas when they were deputed from the church of Antioch to consult the church at Jerusalem concerning the circumcision of Gentile converts (Acts 15:2), and agreeably to the decree of the council there was exempted from circumcision, Paul resisting the attempt to force Titus to be so, for both his parents were Gentile, and Titus represented at the council the church of the uncircumcision (contrast TIMOTHY who was on one side of Jewish parentage: Acts 16:3.) He was with Paul at Ephesus (Acts 19), and was sent thence to Corinth to commence the collection for the Jerusalem saints, and to ascertain the effect of the first epistle on the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 7:6-9; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 12:18); and there showed an unmercenary spirit.
Next, Titus went to Macedon, where he rejoined Paul who had been eagerly looking for him at Troas (Acts 20:1; Acts 20:6; 2 Corinthians 2:12-13); "Titus my brother" (2 Corinthians 7:6; 2 Corinthians 8:23), also "my partner and fellow helper concerning you." The history (Acts 20) does not record Paul's passing through Troas in going from Ephesus to Macedon, but it does in coming from that country; also that he had disciples there (Acts 20:6-7) which accords with the epistle (2 Corinthians 2:12): an undesigned coincidence confirming genuineness. Paul had fixed a time with Titus to meet him at Troas, and had desired him, if detained so as not to be able to be at Troas in time, to proceed at once to Macedon to Philippi, the next stage on his own journey. Hence, though a wide door of usefulness opened to Paul at Troas, his eagerness to hear from Titus about the Corinthian church led him not to stay longer there, when the time fixed was past, but to hasten on to Macedon to meet Titus there.
Titus's favorable report comforted Paul. Then he was employed by Paul to get ready the collection for the poor saints in Judaea, and was bearer of the second epistle to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:16-17; 2 Corinthians 8:23). Macknight thinks Titus was bearer of the first epistle also: 2 Corinthians 12:18; 1 Corinthians 16:12, "the brethren" (but see CORINTHIANS, FIRST EPISTLE.) His location as president for a time over the Cretan church (Titus 1:5) was subsequent to Paul's first imprisonment and shortly before the second, about A.D. 67, ten years later than the previous notice of him in 2 Cor., A.D. 57. Probably he met Paul, as the apostle requested, at Nicopolis, for his journey into Dalmatia subsequently would be more probable from Nicopolis than from distant Crete (2 Timothy 4:10; Titus 3:12). Artemas or Tychicus on arriving in Crete would set Titus free from his episcopal commission to go to Nicopolis.
Titus seems to have been bolder and less timid than Timothy, whose going to Corinth was uncertain (1 Corinthians 16:10-11). Hence, he was able so well to execute Paul's delicate commission, and see how the Corinthians were affected by Paul's reproof of their tolerating immorality in his first epistle. Titus enforced his rebukes, and then was not less "comforted in respect to the Corinthians" than Paul himself; "his spirit was refreshed by them all"; "his inward affection" and "joy" were called into exercise, so that we see in Titus much of the sympathizing, and withal bold, disposition of the apostle himself. His energy appeared in his zeal at Paul's request to begin at his former visit to Corinth the collection about which the Corinthians were somewhat remiss (2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16-17; 2 Corinthians 8:18). Trustworthiness and integrity were conspicuous traits in him (2 Corinthians 12:18); readiness also to carry out heartily the apostle's wishes. "God put the same earnest care (for the flock) in his heart" as in Paul's.
He needed no exhortation, such as Paul gave him, but "of his own accord," anticipating Paul's wishes, went where the apostle desired. Luke was probably the "brother" sent with him, "whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches." Paul states his latest commission to Titus, Titus 1:5, "for this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting (epidiorthosee, 'follow up' the work begun by me, 'setting right the things' which I was unable to complete through the shortness of my stay in Crete) and ordain elders in every city as I had appointed thee" (he does not mention deacons). Paul began the due organization of the Cretan church; Titus followed up the work in every city, as Gortyna, Lasaea, etc. Paul reminds Titus by letter of the commission he had already given him orally. Titus was to "bridle" the mouths of "deceivers" and Judaizing teachers (Titus 1:11, compare Psalm 32:9), to urge a becoming Christian walk on all classes, the aged, the young, men, women, slaves, subjects, fulfilling relative duties, and to avoid unprofitable speculations.
A firm and consistent ruler was needed for the lawless, self indulgent, and immoral Cretans, as they are pictured by their own poet Epimenides (Titus 1:12-13) who sarcastically remarked that the absence of "wild beasts" from Crete was supplied by its human inhabitants. Livy, 44:45, brands their avarice; Polybius, 6:46, section 9, their ferocity and fraud; and 6:47, section 5, their mendacity. To Cretanize was proverbial for "to lie", as to "Corinthianize" for "to be licentious". Hence flowed their love of "fables" (Titus 1:14), which even pagan poets ridiculed, as for instance their assertion that they had in their land Jupiter's sepulchre. The one grand remedy which Titus was to apply is (Titus 2:11-15) "the grace of God that bringeth salvation" in Christ, who "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity." Paul tells Titus to hospitably help forward Zenas the converted Jewish lawyer or scribe and Apollos, with the latter of whom Titus had been already associated in connection with Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:12; 2 Corinthians 7:6; 2 Corinthians 7:9; 2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 12:18; Acts 19:1). A ruined church on the site of Gortyna bears the name of Titus, whom tradition makes bishop of Gortyna. His name was the watchword of the Cretans when invaded by the Venetians.