And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.” Then he left and went to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized.Acts 18:5-8
Who is the person referred to here as Titius Justus?
His name seems to vary across the different translations. The alternatives are: Titius Justus, Titus – the son of Justus, Titus Justus, Titus the Just, Justus. Just who is this guy and why is there so much variation on his name?
No! It is not that he had a number of aliases.
Is this Titus, Paul’s companion, or someone different?
Just reading the words Luke has written for us will tell you that he is not Titus, Paul’s later traveling companion.
Luke’s words tell us this fellow Titius Justus was a Gentile who worshipped God (the Jewish God) and lived next door to the synagogue in Corinth. He was present there in Corinth when Paul first arrived. The circumstances and the timing don’t match with the facts recorded about Titus (Paul’s companion) in the rest of the New Testament. We are clearly talking about a different man. I have clipped for you here below the references in the ISBE (E-Sword) for Titus, Paul’s companion. I am sure you will conclude it is not the same man: Even if his name did match Titus.
(2Co 2:13; 2Co 7:6, 2Co 7:13 ff; 2Co 8:6, 2Co 8:16, 2Co 8:23; 2Co 12:18; Gal 2:1, Gal 2:3; 2Ti 4:10; Tit 1:4)):
1. One of Paul’s Converts:
A Greek Christian, one of Paul’s intimate friends, his companion in some of his apostolic journeys, and one of his assistants in Christian work. His name does not occur in Acts; and, elsewhere in the New Testament, it is found only in 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 2 Timothy and Titus. As Paul calls him “my true child after a common faith” (Tit 1:4), it is probable that he was one of the apostle’s converts.
2. Paul Refuses to Have Him Circumcised:
In Act 15:2 where we read that after the conclusion of Paul’s 1st missionary journey, when he had returned to Antioch, a discussion arose in the church there, in regard to the question whether it was necessary that Gentile Christians should be circumcised and should keep the Jewish Law. It was decided that Paul and Barnabas, “and certain other of them,” should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question. The “certain other of them” probably includes Titus, for in Gal 2:3 it is recorded that Titus was then with Paul. The Judaistic party in the church at Jerusalem desired to have Titus circumcised, but Paul gave no subjection to these persons and to their wishes, “no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal 2:5). The matter in dispute was decided as recorded in Acts 15:13-29. The decision was in favour of the free promulgation of the gospel, as preached by Paul, and unrestricted by Jewish ordinances. Paul’s action therefore in regard to Titus was justified. In fact Titus was a representative or test case.
It is difficult and perhaps impossible to give the true reason why Titus is not mentioned by name in Acts, but he is certainly referred to in Acts 15:2.
3. Sent to Corinth:
There is no further notice of Titus for some years afterward, when he is again mentioned in 2 Corinthians. In this Epistle his name occurs 8 times. From the information in this Epistle it appears that Titus had been sent by Paul, along with an unnamed “brother,” to Corinth as the apostle’s delegate to the church there (2Co 12:18). His chief business was evidently to deal with the cases of immorality which had occurred there. His mission was largely successful, so that he was able to return to Paul with joy, because his spirit was refreshed by the Corinthians (2Co 7:13). His inward affection was largely drawn out to them, and “he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him” (2Co 7:15). At Corinth Titus seems also to have assisted in organizing the weekly collections for the poor saints in Jerusalem. See 1Co 16:1, 1Co 16:2 compared with 2Co 8:6: “We exhorted Titus, that as he had made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace also.”
After the departure of Titus from Corinth, difficulty had again arisen in the church there, and Titus seems to have been sent by Paul a second time to that city, as the apostle’s messenger, carrying a letter from him – referred to in 2Co 2:3 ff; 2Co 7:8ff.
4. Paul Goes to Meet Him:
The state of the Corinthian church had been causing much anxiety to Paul, so much so that when he had come to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to him of the Lord, he found no rest in his spirit, because he found not Titus, his brother; so he left Troas, and went thence into Macedonia, in order to meet Titus the sooner, so as to ascertain from him how matters stood in Corinth. In Macedonia accordingly the apostle met Titus, who brought good news regarding the Corinthians. In the unrest and fightings and fears which the troubles at Corinth had caused Paul to experience, his spirit was refreshed when Titus reached him. “He that comforteth the lowly, even God, comforted us by the coming of Titus … while he told us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced yet more” (2Co 7:6, 2Co 7:7).
Paul now wrote to the Corinthians again – our Second Epistle to the Corinthians – and dispatched it to its destination by the hand of Titus, into whose heart ‘God had put the same earnest care for them’ (2Co 8:16-18). Titus was also again entrusted with the work of overseeing the weekly collection in the Corinthian church (2Co 8:10, 2Co 8:24).
5. Travels with Paul to Crete:
There is now a long interval in the history of Titus, for nothing further is recorded of him till we come to the Pastoral Epistles. From Paul’s Epistle to him these details are gathered: On Paul’s liberation at the conclusion of his first Roman imprisonment he made a number of missionary journeys, and Titus went with him, as his companion and assistant, on one of these – to the island of Crete. From Crete, Paul proceeded onward but he left Titus to “set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city” (Tit 1:5) . Paul reminds him of the character of the people of Crete, and gives him various instructions for his guidance; charges him to maintain sound doctrine, and advises him how to deal with the various classes of persons met with in his pastoral capacity.
6. Paul Sends for Him:
Titus is informed that Artemas or Tychicus will be sent to Crete so that he will be free to leave the island and to rejoin the apostle at Nicopolis, where he has determined to winter. Such were Paul’s plans; whether they were carried out is unknown. But this at least is certain, that Titus did rejoin Paul, if not at Nicopolis, then at some other spot; and he was with him in Rome on the occasion of his 2nd imprisonment there, for he is mentioned once again (2Ti 4:10) as having gone to Dalmatia, evidently on an evangelistic errand, as the apostle was in the habit of sending his trusted friends to do such work, when he himself was no longer able to do this, owing to his imprisonment. “Paul regarded as his own the work done from centers where he labored, by helpers associated with him, considering the churches thus organized as under his jurisdiction. This throws light upon the statement in 2Ti 4:10, that Titus at that time had gone to Dalmatia, and a certain Crescens to Gaul. There is no indication that they, like Demas, had deserted the apostle and sought safety for themselves, or that, like Tychicus, they had been sent by the apostle upon some special errand. In either case it would be a question why they went to these particular countries, with which, so far as we know, Paul, up to this time, had never had anything to do. The probability is that Titus, who had long been associated with Paul (Gal 2:3), who, as his commissioner, had executed difficult offices in Corinth (2 Cor 7-9), and who, not very long before 2 Timothy was written, had completed some missionary work in Crete that had been begun by others, had gone as a missionary and as Paul’s representative and helper to Dalmatia.
But what about all the names given to this man in Acts 18:7 – Then he left and went to the home of Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God and lived next door to the synagogue? The name Titius Justus identifies him as a Roman citizen and part of the Roman culture (Corinth was both Greek and Roman in this period). He may have been from one of the Roman families established there in the time of Julius Caesar. It seems this man living next to the synagogue is known by various combinations of Titus, Titius Justus and Justus. There is some variation in the form of his name across the Greek manuscripts which give rise to the variations in his name among the translations. However he is someone distinctly different from the Titus referred to as Paul traveling companion. We are able to determine that Titus either came after Paul to Corinth or more specifically was sent by Paul at a later time. He was not therefore living next door to the synagogue in Corinth when Paul arrived there. Titus Justus is not to be confused with Titus.
Next Gem I will deal with the remaining questions related to Paul’s preaching to the Jews.
- Why did Paul just give up on the Jews and go to the Gentiles?
- Was he afraid of taking the gospel to the Jews?
- Was Paul not as effective as Apollos in evangelizing the Jews. It seems Apollos had more success.
- Why did Paul shake the dust off his feet and leave his own people behind and go to the Gentiles?
- Why does he give up on the Jews?
- Why does he say the words, “Your blood is upon your own heads—I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles.”?
Excuses are lies that you tell that nobody believes but you.Rick Godwin
There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.Winston Churchill
There is far more opportunity than there is ability.Thomas Edison
Never say “I’m having a bad day” instead say “Today I’m building my character”.Ian Vail
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