Did we have married bishops in the Church ? Monday, 32nd Week in ordinary time – Titus 1:1-9

The letter of St Paul to the Titus along with the letter to Timothy have been regarded as forming a separate group of letters, different form the other letters of Paul. These along with the letter to Philemon are written to persons and not to the whole Church. In 1Tim 3:15 Paul sets down the reason for writing these letters, “if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God.” It came to be seen that these letters have an important message for the Church.

The first name given to these letters was ‘Pontifical Letters’, that is, they were written by the ‘pontifex’, the priest, the controller of the Church. Gradually they came to be called the Pastoral Epistles The letters deal with the care and organization of the flock of God; they give instructions as to how God’s house should be administered, as to what kind of leaders the pastors of the Church should be, and as to how the threats which endanger the purity of the Christian faith and life should be dealt with. What is interesting in these letters is the picture that we get of an infant Church. Caught in a ‘sea of paganism,’ the early Christians were constantly lured back to their old ways.

We know little about Titus. He had been a companion of Paul, and was a Greek whom Paul did not require to be circumcised (Galatians 2:3). Paul regarded him as “my true child, according to a common faith” (Titus 1:4). Paul had left Titus in Crete to “set in order the things that were lacking, and to appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). Tradition holds that Titus became the first bishop of Crete. Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and is approximately 100 miles (160 km) south of the Greek mainland.

Our text of today is part of a letter that spans three very small chapters; no more than a page and a half of our Bibles. The letter opens with Paul’s Address and greeting (1:1-4). The introduction is a disproportionately lengthy greeting. Paul begins by saying that his teaching is in continuity with the faith of all those chosen by God, to be transmitted to God’s elect, namely the Christian community. What Paul is transmitting is the clear knowledge of the truth as opposed to the knowledge of the heretics. This is a formula used in the pastorals to indicate the truth revealed by God. This knowledge of truth is in accordance with godliness or piety (eusebeia in Greek)

Paul is addressing the letter to Titus whom he address as “his loyal child ion the faith. Some translations have this as “true child or legitimate child.” Titus is a true heir because he accepts and promotes the faith as proclaimed by Paul. Titus is given a charge in verse 5. “This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.” This is a sole mention of a missionary visit by Paul to the island of Crete. Acts 27:8-12 records only a brief stopover at the harbour of Fair Havens. It was under Paul’s direct instructions that Titus was to establish collegial groups of elders and presbyters in each city. This structure of elders and presbyters was borrowed from Judaism.

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