Fillmore Study Bible: Titus
Paul’s Letter to Titus
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Introduction to Paul’s Letter to Titus
This letter is one of three grouped together as the Pastoral Letters. Go to the Introduction to Paul’s First Letter to Timothy for Dr. Hunt’s introduction to the Pastoral Letters.
Titus had become the presiding elder, or minister, of the Christian groups in Crete. Titus was a much stronger type than Timothy, and therefore he took charge of affairs in Crete in a masterly way. There was no necessity for him to call upon Paul for moral support of organizational directions, as did Timothy. Nevertheless, when Paul had occasion to communicate with Titus later on, the apostle included in his Epistle some valuable advice pertaining to the work at Crete.
Titus was a Greek, and was converted by Paul, probably on the first missionary journey. There is a possibility that Titus acted as Paul’s personal assistant during the first journey, replacing John Mark, who left the expedition at Perga and returned to Jerusalem. Certain it is that Titus returned with Paul to Antioch, and later played an important part in the proceedings of the first Jerusalem council. (See Galatians 2:1-3 and Acts 15:1-21.) However, Paul selected Timothy as personal assistant for the second missionary journey, since this was the type of work suitable for a younger man. Later, when Paul urgently needed assistance in connection with the “Corinthian controversy,” he called upon Titus, and Titus was eminently successful in restoring order in the Corinthian church.
Apparently the Letter to Titus was written when Paul was heading for Nicopolis, on the last stage of the apostle’s final missionary journey. At that time, Paul was well aware of the Roman Emperor’s hostile activities, and also the difficult situation which now confronted the Christian church. Therefore, Titus was urged to be on the alert for “marching orders,” and to be prepared to join Paul on short notice. Possibly Titus went to Nicopolis, in accord with Paul’s instructions; and then, following Paul’s arrest, journeyed with the apostle to Rome.
Metaphysically interpreted, Titus represents “a pleasing, agreeable, and honorable attitude of mind . . . that accompanies the word of Truth in its restoring work throughout the organism and the consciousness of man” (MBD/Titus). All this is readily recognized when studying the activities of Titus, as recorded in the New Testament. Titus had overcome all timidity, and whatever spiritual and physical’ powers he possessed, he used them fully in the service of his Lord. Titus worked under the direction of Paul, but he was also fully aware of his own indwelling Christ; and this enabled him to carry through several important assignments with complete success. It was through the efforts of Titus that order was fully restored among the rebelling Corinthians; and when Paul took Titus to Crete, the Christian groups there readily responded to his leadership. Thus, interpreted in the light of present-day needs, Titus symbolizes that spirit in us which responds to every call of Christian duty, puts fear aside, and fully recognizes that “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). The Titus spirit within us enables us to become fully competent “ambassadors for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20), and we unhesitatingly declare:
“I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain, or plain, or sea;
I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.”
—(Unity Song Selections 256)
Introduction to Paul’s Letter to Titus by Herbert J. Hunt, former Dean of Bible Studies for the Unity School of Christianity.
A Salutation of Affirmation
1:1 Paul,1 a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's chosen ones, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who can't lie, promised before time began; 1:3 but in his own time revealed his word in the message with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior;2 1:4 to Titus,3 my true child according to a common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
- Paul. Our will, after it has been regenerated and is now a Spirit-led will.
- our Savior. The Christ Mind is our Savior. Through the Christ Mind we find salvation from poverty, sickness, sin, and death. (RW/Saviour)
- Titus. A pleasing, agreeable, and honorable attitude of mind that accompanies the regenerated will (Paul) in its restoring work throughout the organism and the consciousness of man (MBD/Titus).
Titus in Crete: Look out for Your Honorable, Agreeable Mind in a Sensual World
1:5 I left you in Crete1 for this reason, that you would set in order the things that were lacking, and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you; 1:6 if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, who are not accused of loose or unruly behavior. 1:7 For the overseer must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain; 1:8 but given to hospitality, as a lover of good, sober minded, fair, holy, self-controlled; 1:9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict those who contradict him.
1:10 For there are also many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,2 1:11 whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain's sake. 1:12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons."
1:13 This testimony is true. For this cause, reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 1:14 not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure;3 but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 1:16 They profess that they know God, but by their works they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.
- Crete. Carnal, cutoff, fleshly, Crete is the material, sensual, worldly consciousness in us, as opposed to the spiritual. (MBD/Crete)
- circumcision. [In his letters to the Romans and the Galatians, Paul criticized the idea that circumcision is a sign of righteousness. This historical criticism is reinforced by the metaphysical assertion that true circumcision] is symbolic of the cutting off of mortal tendencies and is indicative of purification and cleanliness. We are truly circumcised only by being thoroughly purified in soul, at which time the glory of our cleansed and purified inner soul works its way out into our outer consciousness and body, setting us free from all sensual, corruptible thoughts and activities. Thus we become a new creature in Christ Jesus, and we manifest wholeness and perfection throughout our entire being. (RW/circumcision)
- To the pure, all things are pure. [Cynical statements such as “nothing is pure” are a sign of our turning away from Truth. As we turn our minds back to the Commandments and to true confessions (profess that we are one with God), this is the inner work that restores our consciousness back to an attitude of mind that says, “All things are pure.”]
Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.
A Household Code for Mentoring Others1
2:1 But say the things which fit sound doctrine,2 2:2 that older men should be temperate, sensible, sober minded, sound in faith, in love, and in patience:3
2:3 and that older women likewise be reverent in behavior, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; 2:4 that they may train the young women4 to love their husbands, to love their children, 2:5 to be sober minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that God's word may not be blasphemed.5
2:6 Likewise, exhort the younger men6 to be sober minded; 2:7 in all things showing yourself an example of good works; in your teaching showing integrity, seriousness, incorruptibility, 2:8 and soundness of speech that can't be condemned; that he who opposes you may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say about us.
2:9 Exhort servants to be in subjection to their own masters,7 and to be well-pleasing in all things; not contradicting; 2:10 not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior, in all things.
- Household Code. A social media meme which encouraged Stoicism for keeping a peaceful order in Roman and Greek households. Later inserted in Christian scripture to defend the Jesus movement from pagan criticism of disorderly egalitarianism. See metaphysical interpretations at Ephesians 5:22-6:9, Colossians 3:18-4:1, Titus 2:1-10 and 1 Peter 2:18-3:1-8.
- say the things which fit sound doctrine. We must be careful to carry out this central idea of Paul’s in its right place, that is, the mind. The true remedy for all that ails us is to “speak the sound doctrine in faith, in love, in patience.” That sound doctrine is that God is Spirit, everywhere present as life substance and intelligence; that that Omnipresent substance, when taken into the consciousness, satisfies all the desires of the senses. As teachers of Truth, our first step is to preach this sound doctrine to ourselves, until we are examples of sobriety, moderation, and purity.
- sound in faith, in love, in patience. If all Christians in the world would take this text daily and follow it in thought and in expressed deeds, intemperance (greed, excess, immoderation) would soon be a thing of the past.
- older women; young women. Older women, [the disciplined aspects of] soul, supply us with qualities that are capable of developing qualities in young women, [the inexperienced aspects of] soul, such as love of the Word and Spirit (love their husbands),] earnestness (sober-mindedness), purity, industry, kindness, and humility.
- that God's word may not be blasphemed. The best preparation for the work of teaching others is for us to make sure of our own ground, to know our own mind, and to know God as the Source of all good.
- older men, younger men. Older men, our trained intellect is in fact capable of developing praiseworthy qualities in younger men, our undisciplined intellect.
- Exhort servants to be in subjection to their own masters. Here we have an appeal for the tempering of gluttony, which enslaves us to the multitude of passions. Temperance means self-control along all lines. An unruly appetite is apt to break out in any direction. The vibrations of lustful thought, though outwardly hidden, will poison the minds of those near and far who are not armored with Christian purity. The remedy is: Analyze your own sense man and purify him. Give him that satisfaction which all are seeking: the pure substance of Omnipresent Spirit.
We are Made Whole by God’s Grace
2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation1 to all men, 2:12 instructing us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,2 we would live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ; 2:14 who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works.
2:15 Say these things and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no man despise you.
- For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation. Grace is aid from God in the process of regeneration (RW/grace). [Our consciousness of the Word of Truth and submission to the guidance of Spirit prepare us to perceive and receive the Divine aid of grace, which we so very much need on our spiritual regeneration journey.]
- denying ungodliness and worldly lusts. This denial should be practiced daily, not only for ourselves, but for all people. Then affirm, “The grace of God hath appeared bringing salvation to everyone.” This treatment applied in the silence with “faith, love and patience” will reform you and your loved one quicker than any other method, and upon this system rests the reformation of the whole world.
Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama and Mark Hicks.
Continually Renew Your Thinking
3:1 Remind them to be in subjection to rulers and to authorities,1 to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 3:2 to speak evil of no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all humility toward all men. 3:3 For we were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love toward mankind appeared, 3:5 not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,2 3:6 whom he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; 3:7 that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.3
- be in subjection to rulers and authorities. The Christ follower cooperates with authorities instead of antagonizing them, thus maintaining peace instead of stirring up strife, and at the same time he reaps the rewards of self-discipline.
- renewing by the Holy Spirit. We are saved from the evils of sense and selfish self-centeredness through entering into the regeneration and surrendering ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- heirs according to the hope of eternal life. As we develop consciousness of spiritual realities, we are made heirs of the kingdom of God and our hope of eternal life is heightened by our new understanding that it exists now, as surely as it will exist in the future.
Avoid Superficial Thoughts
3:8 This saying is faithful, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works.1 These things are good and profitable to men; 3:9 but shun foolish questionings, genealogies, strife, and disputes about the law; for they are unprofitable2 and vain. 3:10 Avoid a factious man after a first and second warning; 3:11 knowing that such a one is perverted, and sins, being self-condemned.3
- maintain good works. Because faith follows the law of expression, our belief in All-Good will naturally express outwardly as good works.
- but shun foolish questionings; for they are unprofitable. All superficial views of life and of God, and all that turns our attention away from the inner truth of Being and tends it to focus on externals, these are all unprofitable to us and we are to avoid, reject, and turn our attention away from them. If indulged in, they lead to unprofitable expression.
- being self-condemned. Self-condemnation is a sin in so far as it keeps us from reaching the mark set by our ideal and our aspirations.
Self-affirmations for our Inner Renewal
3:12 When I send Artemas1 to you, or Tychicus,2 be diligent to come to me to Nicopolis,3 for I have determined to winter there. 3:13 Send Zenas, the lawyer, and Apollos on their journey speedily, that nothing may be lacking for them. 3:14 Let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful.
3:15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.
- Artemas. Artemas, gift of perfection; gift of wholeness. A follower of Jesus Christ, whom Paul was thinking of sending to Crete to take the place of Titus, so that Titus could come to Paul at Nicopolis. (MBD/Artemas)
- Tychicus. Tychicus, whom Paul considered sending to Crete to relieve Titus instead of sending Artemas, represents a belief in fate. Paul seems to have been undecided as to whether it would be best to leave this carnal state of consciousness (Crete) to its fate (Tychicus) for a time, or to send Artemas to it; that is, to seek at that time, through a further use of true, sound words of wholeness and perfection (gift of perfection, gift of wholeness), to lift this carnal state of mind to the spiritual plane. Converted to Christian faith, this belief in fate would take on a strong assurance of good as being ever present and demonstrable. One who learns the divine law is not subject to fate. He makes his own destiny by his use of divine law. (MBD/Tychicus)
- Nicopolis. “city of victory.” In consciousness, this is a realization of victory for Truth. Here, our regenerated will (Paul) urges in us a pleasing, agreeable, and honorable attitude of mind (Titus) to “be diligent to come forth”, in order to assist us in our attaining victory and mastery over lesser error thoughts and beliefs. (MBD/Nicopolis)
Fillmore Study Bible annotations compiled by Mary Salama.
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