Bible in the World – Titus
Luther’s Use of Titus 3:5-8
In his Small Catechism of 1529, Martin Luther cites the book of Titus to explain the Sacrament of Holy is a term that originally meant set apart for the worship or service of God. While the term may refer to people, objects, time, or places, holiness in Judaism and Christianity primarily denotes the realm of the divine More Jesus was baptized (literally, "dipped") in the Jordan River by John the Baptizer, at which time he was acclaimed from heaven as God's Son, the Beloved. Much later baptism became one of the sacraments of the Church, the action by which a person is incorporated... More. In his answer to the question, “How can water do such great things?” Luther calls baptism a “bath of new birth in the Holy Spirit,” and then cites Titus 3:5b-8. These verses are among the clearest statements in the New Testament about the free gift of God’s Grace is the unmerited gift of God's love and acceptance. In Martin Luther's favorite expression from the Apostle Paul, we are saved by grace through faith, which means that God showers grace upon us even though we do not deserve it. More and the role of baptism in manifesting the gift of God’s Spirit and a new life for the one baptized.
“Cretans Are Always Liars” (Titus 1:12)
In chapter 1, the author insults everyone who is a native of Crete, the very island on which Titus is ministering. The quotation in Titus 1:12 comes from the philosopher Epimenides of Knossos, who lived in the sixth century B.C.E. Since Epimenides was himself a native of Crete, his observation has come to be known as the Epimendides paradox: can the word of a Cretan (Epimenides) be trusted when that Cretan is saying, “Cretans are always liars”?
The saying may have been widely known in the first century C.E. either as the result of its use as a philosophical puzzle or because it telegraphs a widely known and repeated stereotype. In either case, the author could not have believed it and still counseled Titus to find local Christians—Cretans all—to lead the churches. As it is used here, the saying is a rhetorical flourish added to limit the influence of local Jewish Christians who are arguing that gentiles must become Jewish in order to join the community of those who confess Jesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More as the The Messiah was the one who, it was believed, would come to free the people of Israel from bondage and exile. In Jewish thought the Messiah is the anticipated one who will come, as prophesied by Isaiah. In Christian thought Jesus of Nazareth is identified... More and God’s Son.
The Household codes are rules for Christian households; they tell how Christian families should treat one another. Such guidelines for wives, husbands, children, and slaves are given in Colossians 3. Discussion of relations within a household also occurs in Ephesians 5, Titus 2, and 1 Peter 2. More (Titus 2:2-10)
A household is a living unit comprised of all the persons who live in one house. A household would embrace all the members of a family, including servants and slaves. In the book of Acts, stories are told of various persons and their households, like... More Codes, or Tables of Duties, are common in Greco-Roman philosophy and occur in a few places in the New Testament. In addition to these verses in Titus, instructions to various groups within a household also appear in 1 The companion on Paul's later journeys for whom two pastoral epistles are named More 5:1-6:2, 1 The disciple who denied Jesus during his trial but later became a leader in proclaiming Jesus More 3:1-7, and Ephesians 5:21-33. The chart below indicates for whom advice is given in each of these.
|Titus||1 Timothy||1 Peter||Ephesians|
Elders are leaders who exercise wisdom or leadership by virtue of their age and experience. In the New Testament elders, along with the chief priests and scribes, constituted the primary opposition to Jesus when he taught in Jerusalem. More
All these codes commend the Greco-Roman household structure to believers in Christ. Such a household is built in the shape of a pyramid, at the top of which sits an older, free male, known as the pater familias in Latin, or “father of the family.” Different degrees of influence are assigned to other members based on sex (male is better), age (older is better), and freedom (to have always been free is best, after which comes formerly enslaved people and then those currently enslaved).
Together with 1 Corinthians 7, in which A Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More urges people, including enslaved people, to “remain in the condition in which you were called,” the household codes have been used to justify continued Christian involvement in the trafficking and enslavement of humans throughout history, including in North American Christianity before the Civil War.
The household codes also inscribe patriarchal gender roles on Christian partners and have been used–and continue to be used in some Christian communities–as justification for counseling women and children at risk of harm or death to submit to the authority of a husband or other older male abuser. They are implicated in a view of the family that can say without humor or irony, “Father knows best.”
As a scriptural counterpoint to the household codes, readers of the New Testament may look to Galatians 3:27-28 as well as to Philemon, in which Paul subverts elements of the Greco-Roman household structure by referring to Slave of Philemon for whom Paul appealed in his Letter to Philemon More, an enslaved person, as a brother to Philemon, who is the head of a household. Moreover, the interaction of Jesus in the gospels with women, enslaved people, and children consistently enacts a more egalitarian ethic of community than that represented in the household codes.