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Wednesday, September 21 2016

Titus 1: Why Did Paul Leave Titus On The Island Of Crete?

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee"

Crete is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It marks the southern boundary of the Aegean Sea (see also The Aegean Connection). The topography of Crete is predominantly mountainous (many islands are actually mountain tops, in which the above-water peak is the island), with Mount Ida rising to 8,060 feet above sea level at the shore.

Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, spanning about 225 kilometers (140 miles) long and 55 kilometers (35 miles) wide. Crete is seen at the center-bottom of the satellite photograph below. The Aegean Sea and its islands are to the north of Crete. Greece is the land mass at the left, while western Turkey is the land mass at the right (also see the labeled map farther below).


The Minoan Civilization of Crete was one of the world's most ancient cultures, reaching a peak around 1600 B.C. The island was conquered by imperial Rome (see The Politics Of Rome and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) in 67 B.C., and was later held by Byzantium (the eastern Roman Empire), except for a period of Arab occupation from 823-961 (see also What Does The Bible Say About Arabs?). It was taken by Venice in 1204 and Turkey in 1669. Crete was contested between Turkey and Greece until union with Greece was proclaimed in 1908. During the Second World War (1939-1945), Crete was the scene of the first large-scale invasion by air when German paratroopers took the island.

Crete is mentioned in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 30:14 and Ezekiel 25:16 in reference to the Kerethites (or Cherethites), a Philistine people who are believed to have originated on Crete.

People of Crete ("Cretans") were among the earliest Christians. Some were present with those gathered at the Pentecost "birthday of the church," after the resurrection of the Messiah (see also The Saviour Of All Repentant People):

"2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." (Acts 2:9-11 KJV)

Paul's Journey To Rome

After he had completed his three major missionary journeys (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey, Paul's Third Missionary Journey), the apostle Paul stopped briefly on Crete while being taken as a prisoner to Rome (see the Fact Finder question below). It was from Crete that Paul's famous shipwreck voyage occurred:

"27:7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; 27:8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. 27:9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 27:10 And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives." (Acts 27:7-10 KJV)

Titus was a faithful friend and trusted associate of the apostle Paul. Born of Greek parents, Titus was a convert to Christianity at a relatively young age, possibly by means of the preaching of Paul himself during his travels through much of Greece and Asia Minor (today Turkey). Although Titus is not recorded specifically by name in the Book of Acts, he is mentioned frequently in Paul's epistles, apart from Paul's epistle to Titus himself.

"2:1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also." (Galatians 2:1 KJV)

So it was then that Paul's epistle to Titus was written with instructions about helping the Christians on Crete - including some of those who attended the "birthday of the church" Pentecost, as we read in the verses quoted above.

"1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 1:3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:1-16 KJV)

Fact Finder: Who caused Paul to be taken to Rome as a political prisoner?
See Why Was Paul Sent To Rome?; also Paul's Letter To The True Church Of Rome

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This Day In History, September 21

454: Flavius Aetius, Roman general and statesman, died. He was a commander against the Hunnish, Frankish, Burgundian and Gothic tribes of central Europe (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

455: Amidst the decline and fall of the original Roman Empire, Emperor Avitus entered Rome with a Gallic army to unify his rule. Over the following centuries, the prophetic Roman Empire was continued by Germany (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

Roman Empire
1338: The Battle of Arnemuiden during the Hundred Years' War. It was the first naval battle in history using artillery.

1451: Jews in the Netherlands were forced to wear an identifying badge (see also Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings).

1520: Suleiman "the Magnificent" became the Ottoman sultan. The Ottoman Empire held Jerusalem for centuries before it was liberated by the British during the First World War (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate; also listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

The Ottoman Empire

1435: Charles VII of France and Philip the Good agreed to end the alliance between the English and Burgundy in the Hundred Years' War.

1643: Abahai, Chinese military leader and emperor, died at age 51. He established the Ch'ing Dynasty that ruled China from 1644 to 1911.

1745: The Battle of Prestonpans. Hanoverian forces under Sir John Cope were defeated by the Jacobite forces of Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

1792: The First French Republic was proclaimed when the French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy.

1897: The New York Sun published its famous "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" (the present-day lie of "Santa Claus" was invented in New York; the myth of the "jolly old elf" was based upon a violent, fanatical Turkish bishop of the Church of Rome who lived centuries earlier; see Could Santa Claus Have Become The Pope?).

1915: The ancient stone monuments at Stonehenge were sold at auction to an Englishman, who later donated the site to the nation.

1931: Britain went off the gold standard i.e. currency was of monetary value based solely upon the government's word.

1934: A typhoon struck western Honshu, Japan, killing over 3,000 people.

1938: A hurricane struck parts of New England, causing widespread damage and claiming more than 600 lives.

1949: The People's Republic of China was proclaimed by its Communist revolutionary leaders Mao Tse-Tung.

1949: Germany was officially split into 2 separate countries - West Germany (under western allies control) and East Germany (under the control of the Soviet Union). The division of Germany didn't last, as it never did before (see (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).

German Empire

1964: Malta became independent from the United Kingdom.

1972: As a response to his losing control of his U.S.-backed dictatorship, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos signed a proclamation to place the Philippines under martial law.

1978: Two Soviet cosmonauts set a space endurance record after 96 days in orbit.

1991: Armenia became independent from the Soviet Union.

1993: Russian President Boris Yeltsin suspended Parliament and discarded the constitution, thereby beginning the Russian constitutional crisis of that year.


Copyright © Wayne Blank