Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemonby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
It is helpful to know the sequence in which the four books of 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon were written. Philemon was written first, during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment. After his release from prison, Paul wrote 1 Timothy and the Epistle to Titus. Finally, during his second imprisonment, at the time of Nero’s persecution, he wrote his last epistle, the Epistle of 2 Timothy.
The subject of the book of Titus is the maintenance of the order of the church. During Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, the churches were subject to testing. During this time of testing, certain churches proved not to be so orderly. Thus, after his release from prison, Paul visited various places, including the city of Ephesus and the island of Crete. Realizing the situation of the churches, Paul became burdened to write an epistle to Titus telling him how to maintain the proper order of a local assembly. This was the background and also the reason for the writing of this book. If the order of the church is to be maintained, the authority in the church needs to be established. Therefore, in this message we shall consider from 1:1-9 the establishing of the authority in the church. As we shall see, this has much to do with appointing elders in each city (v. 5).
Let us first consider 1:1-9 verse by verse and then consider in more detail certain crucial points.
Titus 1:1 says, “Paul, a slave of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s chosen ones, and the full knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness.” Paul was an apostle according to four things: the command of God (1 Tim. 1:1), the faith of God’s chosen ones, the promise of life (2 Tim. 1:1), and the full knowledge of the truth. Command is on God’s side, speaking for Him and requiring something of us for Him. Faith is on our side, responding to God’s requirements and receiving His grace. It is a proclamation that we are unable to fulfill God’s requirements, but that God has done everything for us and that we receive what He has done. The life promised by God is what we have received of Him for the carrying out of His demand. It was in this way that Paul was an apostle to administrate God’s New Testament economy.
In 1:1 Paul refers to God’s chosen ones. This denotes the believers in Christ, who were chosen by God the Father before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) and selected from mankind for salvation.
Paul was an apostle not only according to the faith of God’s chosen ones, but also according to the full knowledge of the truth. Faith is to receive all God has planned for us, all God has done for us, and all God has given to us. Full knowledge of the truth is a thorough apprehension of the truth, a full acknowledgment and appreciation of the reality of all the spiritual and divine things which we have received through faith. Apostleship is according to such an apprehension and appreciation of the reality of God’s eternal economy.
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