Paul probably wrote this letter from either Macedonia or Nicopolis, shortly before his second imprisonment in Rome (during which he was martyred), and between writing the letters of 1 and 2 Timothy. Titus was a Gentile. He accompanied Paul to Jerusalem for the meeting of the Apostolic Council (Acts 15:2; Gal. 2:1-3). He was Paul's emissary to the church at Corinth during his third missionary journey (2 Cor. 7:6-7; 8:6,16)...delivering the letter we call 2 Corinthians to them. Paul later left Titus in Crete to oversee the church there. It was while Timothy was in Crete that Paul wrote him this letter.
For a historical study of the island of Crete see:
He would later rejoin Paul in Nicapolis (Titus 3:12)...from where Paul sent him to Dalmatia (present Yugoslavia, 2 Timothy 4:10). Tradition says that he eventually returned to Crete and died there.
The name Titus means:
honourable, was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, and accompanied them to the council at Jerusalem (Gal 2:1-3; Act 15:2), although his name nowhere occurs in the Acts of the Apostles. He appears to have been a Gentile, and to have been chiefly engaged in ministering to Gentiles; for Paul sternly refused to have him circumcised, inasmuch as in his case the cause of gospel liberty was at stake. We find him, at a later period, with Paul and Timothy at Ephesus, whence he was sent by Paul to Corinth for the purpose of getting the contributions of the church there in behalf of the poor saints at Jerusalem sent forward (2Cr 8:6; 12:18). He rejoined the apostle when he was in Macedonia, and cheered him with the tidings he brought from Corinth (7:6-15). After this his name is not mentioned till after Paul's first imprisonment, when we find him engaged in the organization of the church in Crete, where the apostle had left him for this purpose (Tts 1:5). The last notice of him is in 2Ti 4:10, where we find him with Paul at Rome during his second imprisonment. From Rome he was sent into Dalmatia, no doubt on some important missionary errand. We have no record of his death. He is not mentioned in the Acts.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary, https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=ET0003683
Titus 1:1-3-Paul’s Opening Statement of Faith
Titus 1:4-to Titus “my true child in a common faith”
In a similar way that Paul referred to Timothy as his "beloved son" (2 Timothy 1:2), he refers to Titus as his "true child" (:4)...a term of endearment. As with Timothy, Titus was an understudy, a student, of Paul. He had journeyed with Paul and been taught by him about matters concerning the church. Now, Paul has left Titus in Crete to strengthen the church that Paul had started there.
Titus 1:5-3:11-A Short Manual for Church Leadership
Paul tells Titus that he had left him in Crete to “set in order” the organizational structure of the church. But not just that church…but rather, all the churches they had started in “every city” of that area.
Order (Noun and Verb):
"to set in order" (epi, "upon," dia, "through, intensive," and orthos, "straight"), is used in Tts 1:5, in the sense of setting right again what was defective, a commission to Titus, not to add to what the Apostle himself had done, but to restore what had fallen into disorder since the Apostle had labored in Crete; this is suggested by the epi.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=VT0002001
This letter to Titus is a short manual for organizing and leading a church. More than likely, Titus had heard Paul teach these things and seen Paul implement these things on previous occasions. But Paul wants to make sure that Titus is equipped with the tools to do the job correctly…so he writes it down and sends it to him. On top of that, if there was any question or discord on the part of the church members concerning how things are to be done…Titus need only produce this letter from Paul to show them the authoritative, Apostolic (“Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ…, :1) orders.
Titus 1:5-9-Appoint Qualified Pastors
The first item of organization and leadership that Paul deals with is that of church Elders, or Pastors (cp. to 1 Timothy 3:1-7).
• For the identification of who these “elders” were see October 23, 1 Timothy 3:1.
Paul delineates the required qualifying characteristics for Elders (:6-9)…
1. above "reproach" (this means that there is nothing of substance, or that has any truth to it, that can be said negatively about them…this does not include naysayers, those with a personal agenda, or simply those who are opposed to the Gospel…it is referring to ethical and moral issues, :6,7)
2. has only one wife (has not been divorced), :6
3. has children who are believers (:6)…they cannot be accused of “dissipation" (recklessness, out of control), or “rebellion” (against their parents)
4. not self-willed (self-pleasing, arrogant, :7)
5. does not have a quick temper (:7)
6. not addicted to wine (influenced by wine, drunken, :7)
7. “pugnacious" (contentious, quarrelsome, :7)
8. not fond of “sordid gain” (greedy, willing to use unethical means to gain money, :7)
9. “hospitable” (generous to guests, :8)
10. loving what is good (:8)
11. “sensible” (of a sound mind, way of thinking, controlled, :8)
12. “just” (upright, righteous, :8)
13. “devout” (undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious, :8)
14. “self-controlled” (control over one's actions and reactions, :8)
15. “holding fast the faithful word” (the ability to clearly teach the truth so as to “exhort” those who need comfort and to “refute” those who are in error, :9)
the most frequent word with this meaning, lit. denotes "to call to one's side," hence, "to call to one's aid." It is used for every kind of calling to a person which is meant to produce a particular effect, hence, with various meanings, such as "comfort, exhort, desire, call for," in addition to its significance "to beseech," which has a stronger force than aiteo
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3870&t=NASB
Titus 1:10-16-Confront Disruptive Leaders
Paul says that there are numerous men who are disrupting the life of the church. Here, he gives Timothy basic instructions on how to recognize them, what their agenda is, the damage they do to the church, and what to do about them.
Their character (:10)
• “rebellious men”…They refuse to accept the authority of the church (at that time Apostolic authority). Today, people will sometimes say, “I know that is what the Bible says, but…” These are the same kind of people. They see themselves as their own authority. Thinking that they can do, or say whatever they want with impunity.
• “empty talkers”…This Greek word means that there is no logical sense or continuity to what they say. Since they are their own authority…there is no objective standard or truth that they must base their teaching on.
• “deceivers”…They are extremely deceptive. Their teachings sound like Christian beliefs…but they are just over the line theologically. They use Christian words and stories…but their doctrine differs. On top of that…they are very captivating and charming. While their arguments may seem to have fallacy…the persuasiveness of their personalities and presentations seem to overwhelm those who hear them.
• “especially those of the circumcision”…Some of these men are Jews who claim to have accepted Jesus as their Savior, but who still require followers to abide by Jewish ceremonial laws.
Their damage (:11)
• “upsetting whole families”
• “teaching things they should not teach”
Their purpose (:11)
• “for the sake of sordid gain”…There are men who are teaching things that are false...in order to make money (:10-11, see 1 Timothy 3:3,8; 6:5,9; Titus 1:7; 2 Peter 2:3,14-15).
Their reputation (:12)
• They even have a bad reputation among their own people. The Cretan poet quoted here is Epimenides (cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epimenides; http://christiansincrete.org/news/to-an-unknown-god/). He used exaggeration in order to make a point. However, a common term for telling a lie was to “Cretanize”.
Their offense (:14-16)
• they try to enforce “Jewish myths and commandments” on Christians (:14)
• they are “unbelieving” (:15)…They do not believe in the simple Gospel message. They try to add to it. Therefore, they are “unbelieving” in the Gospel.
• “their mind and their conscience are defiled” (:15)…This term can speak of moral or ceremonial defilement. In this case it can also speak of someone whose beliefs and intentions are not pure. They have tried to mix Christian beliefs about salvation with Jewish legalism.
• they claim to know things about God but their lifestyle shows that they don’t (:16)
• they are “detestable” (:16)…This means that their teaching and behavior is so bad that they are to be abhorred…not just kindly put up with…but completely and totally repudiated. The Greek word comes from the word…
"to render foul" (from bdeo, "to stink"), "to cause to be abhorred" (in the Sept. in Exd 5:21; Lev 11:43; 20:25, etc.), is used in the Middle Voice, signifying "to turn oneself away from" (as if from a stench); hence, "to detest," Rom 2:22. In Rev 21:8 it denotes "to be abominable."
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G948&t=NASB
• they are “disobedient” (:16)…They refuse to submit to the authority of the church.
• they are “worthless for every good deed” (:16)…When their teachings are compared with the Gospel…they fail the test, they don’t qualify as the same. This term comes from the Greek word…
signifying "not standing the test, rejected" (a, negative, dokimos, "approved"), was primarily applied to metals (cp. Isa 1:22); it is used always in the NT in a Passive sense,
(a) of things, Hbr 6:8, "rejected," of land that bears thorns and thistles;
(b) of persons, Rom 1:28, of a "reprobate mind," a mind of which God cannot approve, and which must be rejected by Him, the effect of refusing "to have God in their knowledge;" in 1Cr 9:27 (for which see CAST, REJECTED); 2Cr 13:5, 6, 7, where the RV rightly translates the adjective "reprobate" (AV, "reprobates"), here the reference is to the great test as to whether Christ is in a person; in 2Ti 3:8 of those "reprobate concerning the faith," i.e., men whose moral sense is perverted and whose minds are beclouded with their own speculations; in Tts 1:16, of the defiled, who are "unto every good work reprobate," i.e., if they are put to the test in regard to any good work (in contrast to their profession), they can only be rejected. In the Sept., Pro 25:4; Isa 1:22.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G96&t=NASB
Their punishment (:11,13)
• Paul tells Titus that “they must be silenced” (:11-the Greek word literally means “to stop up the mouth”). He is to put an immediate stop to their being allowed to teach in the church. Then, he is to "reprove them severely" (:13). This means to show them the error in their teaching. Notice that the purpose is so “that they may be sound in the faith" (:13).
Prayer: Father, the very society that I live in seems totally oblivious to evil, its cause, and the direction it is taking it. People celebrate evil. Please help me to be godly...to live as You have commanded here. Help me to live in the light of the return of Jesus.