Lesson 5 of5
In Progress

Theological Themes in Titus

Christ

Four major christological titles appear in the Pastoral Epistles: “Christ,” “Lord,” “Savior,” and “Mediator.” The title “Son of God,” used often in the seven undisputed letters of Paul, does not appear. There is an implicit affirmation of Christ’s preexistence and incarnation (Titus 2:11; see also 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:9-10); his true humanity is maintained (see 1 Timothy 2:5; 6:13; 2 Timothy 2:8); and his death is acknowledged (Titus 2:14; see also 1 Timothy 2:6; 2 Timothy 2:11). He has been exalted to heaven and reigns in the present era (see 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2:12). Finally, he will appear at the end of time (see 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:8), when he will judge both the living and the dead (see 2 Timothy 1:18; 4:1, 8).

Life in the World

Like 1 Timothy, the Letter to Titus looks out upon the world as the place in which the Christian is at home. In this letter there is a stress on having compassion for those in need (3:2, 8, 14) and extending courtesy toward all people (3:2), not just Christians.

Baptismal Regeneration

At 3:5 the writer speaks of baptismal regeneration in one of the most eloquent passages on baptism in the New Testament. He speaks of baptism as a “washing” (in the translations of the KJV, RSV, and NIV, reflecting the Greek word loutron most accurately; but the NRSV has “water”)–a “[washing] of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” The verse is important for the Christian doctrine of baptism, and it is quoted in the section on Holy Baptism in the Small Catechism of Martin Luther.

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