- Locate the Passage
1:1-4 is the introduction to the letter
- Identify the Genre
The Macro level genre is epistolary, the micro level is expository.
- Determine the Structure of the Passage
This is a traditional introduction of Paul were he establishes his apostolic authority. All typical in this introduction is a word to the addressee, in this case Titus to whom he addresses a blessing (v. 4).
The rest of the passage could be grouped under two main headings.
First is the purpose of the letter in the very think clauses of v.1, and t. The purpose is twofold:
- Faith: For their faith v.1a
- Godliness: Their knowledge of truth, which leads to godliness v. 1b
And it has the result of hope. And as a result they will confidently have hope. v. 1c
Verse 3 tells us three things that God has made known in his word through preaching.
So in summary you have the greeting and blessing v. 1 and v. 4.
What is in the middle is
The Reason for Paul’s Call: God’s work in the Cretan believers.
The Motivation for Paul’s Call: God’s work through His word.
- Exegete the Passage
Preaching introductions can be challenging. The preacher must extract what Paul did and translate it into what God is doing. However, we should not underestimate people’s interest in the work of an apostle. The function of an apóstolos is still debated to this day.
Of note is that this is the only time Paul refers to himself as “servant of God” (normally he uses the language the servant of Christ). His use of this phrase could serve to elevate his status into the long succession of those who were servants of God.
The preacher is encouraged to focus on this remarkable phrase in v. 1, the knowledge of the truth, ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας, that leads to godliness. Later in 2:1 he begins to unpack this in very specific ways and begins with the phrase, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine…” Then, he goes on to explain some very practical aspects of the faith. The idea is that godliness, actually effects something, it changes behavior. It would benefit the preacher starting this series to spend a little time on what it means to have a knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness. This is embedded in Paul’s call and he is passing this on as a ministry model to Titus.
There are no significant doctrinal nuts to crack in this introduction. However, there is a beautiful allusion to the soverign plan of God who promised eternal life before time began. This is in contrast to the Cretans who were known for a lack of integrity (v. 12).
Note also the key word entrusted, pisteúō, in v. 5. The root is the same as the common word for faith. We have faith in God, but in this case God has faith in Paul by trusting him with preaching. This is consistent with Paul’s use of the concept in other places to describe protecting the word from corruption.
- Let the structure of the text become the structure of the sermon
The text unfolds somewhat neatly as was alluded to above.
- The author identifies himself (v. 1)
- The Reason for the Call: God’s work in the Cretan believers (v. 2)
- The Motivation for Call: God’s work through His word (v. 3)