Relationships – Paul, Timothy and Titus

Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

  • Acts 16:1-5

Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

  • Galatians 2:1-5

Thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.

  • 2 Corinthians 8:16-24

To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

  • Titus 1:4

The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

  • Acts 17:14-15

To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • 1 Timothy 1:2

A Quote

[Titus 1:4]: true son. A spiritual son, a genuine believer in Christ, like Timothy (1 Tim. 1:2). common faith. This may refer to saving faith or to the content of the Christian faith, e.g., ‘The faith which was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3). our Savior. Christ is called Savior each time He is mentioned after verse 1 (cf. 2:13; 3:6).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary

What Do We Know about their Relationship?

For Timothy, we know when he joined Paul’s second mission trip.  Timothy, a man of Greek and Hebrew blood, was from Lystra and he was well spoken for.  Timothy was part of Paul’s team thereafter, eventually becoming the pastor at Ephesus.

We know much less about Titus.  Titus was with Paul when Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem, but he must have been along at some point in the third mission trip or returned to the team when Paul went to Rome.  It is Titus that Paul leaves in Crete to strengthen the church there.

Paul wrote personal letters to both Timothy and Titus that have been used to encourage pastors and lay leaders of churches ever since.  In those letters Paul considers them true sons in the faith.

Titus was used as a courier to the Corinthians.

What Can We Infer about their Relationship?

We can infer that Paul could have led them both to faith in Jesus.  The wording of “true son” could be a reference to that, but it also could simply be that Timothy and Titus were on fire for Jesus and called to be pastors and the spreaders of the Gospel.

Since Paul uses Titus, writing about him in the letters to churches, we can assume he is part of the team, but it is odd that Luke never mentions him.

In What Ways Can We Fill in the Gaps about their Relationship?

We could create entire fictional series on “Where was Titus?”, in that very little is mentioned until he receives a letter as his commission to pastor the church in Crete.

There is some mystery about Timothy also, even with Hebrews 13 speaking of him being imprisoned.

What Can We Learn from this Relationship?

It is rare to find one person with the same drive, same call, and same spirit as Paul had with both Titus and Timothy.

Nurturing that relationship and providing support is much of what the letter to these two pastors was all about.

We must encourage and support those that support us.  We may have few that will do so.

What Have We Learned thus far?

We have learned to:

  • Own our own mistakes and not blame others.
  • Be faithful to God, and worship properly, in the proper spirit.
  • Go to God in prayer, especially before any major decisions.
  • Do not show favoritism among family members, but always go to God.
  • Forgiveness is extremely important for none of us are perfect except for God.
  • Beyond physical love, there are other expressions of love, and respect is very important.
  • A relationship requires maintenance, nurturing, and an acceptance of the roles.
  • Be humble and listen to wise advice, and even wait when necessary.
  • At times, we must be bold and trust God, and we must obey.
  • And to love, love, and love.
  • Be trustworthy.  Trust is required.
  • And don’t worry.  God has this situation, and He has us in the palm of His hand.
  • And remember to forgive others and confess our sins.
  • And never go against what God instructs us to do.
  • And truly believe that God can show you mercy and accept the mercy offered.  Yet remember that it is indeed mercy.
  • Not blindly trust our buddies from our youth as advisors and there may be emotional ties that make their advice sound better than it is.
  • Understand that good cannot compromise with evil.
  • And sometimes you have to weather the storms, both in the home and in the world of public opinion.

A Closing Prayer

We look to You for guidance.  When we have that like mind, especially in matters of faith, help us to encourage and nurture.  And when we have such friends and companions in our mission, we must always be grateful to You for getting us together.
In Thy Name we pray,

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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