The Bible renders the accounts of so many men and women who fought valiantly in battles, rose above their temptations, and left their example to us on how to live faithfully in the sight of God. While these characters may have failed in their faithfulness at times, they would acknowledge their faults and turn back to God. The Bible is a beautiful tapestry of God’s grace and how through His mercy mankind can find the forgiveness of their sins and hope for eternity in heaven. The major characters of the Bible; i.e. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Samuel, David, Mary, Peter, and Paul, all convey this theme from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. These men and women have given us so much to learn and replicate in our own lives, but there are also those overlooked characters who deserve an examination of their character and role in the Bible.

The man whose life we want to examine and learn to imitate received a personal letter from the apostle Paul – Titus. Titus was a man rarely mentioned in the New Testament, but played an important role in the missionary journeys of Paul and the progress of the gospel. Paul’s love for Titus abounds throughout the text of the New Testament. In his epistle to Titus, Paul wrote concerning this relationship – “my true child in a common faith” (1:4). Paul’s love was also found evident in his second letter to the Corinthians, where he referred to Titus as “my brother” and “my partner and fellow worker among you” (2 Corinthians 2:13; 8:23).

Titus appears in the New Testament as possibly one of Paul’s earliest companions. In the book of Galatians, we read of Titus accompanying Paul while visiting Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-5). This was a significant event in the ministry of Paul. First, Paul was sent to the Gentiles to preach the grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ. Titus served an example of the Gentiles’ reception of the gospel. Secondly, Titus was not compelled by Paul to be circumcised, but rather simply obey the gospel of Jesus Christ – “But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised” (2:3). The greatest controversy of the early church was the strained relationship between Jewish Christians and their Gentile brethren. Where the Jews insisted circumcision as necessary for salvation, Titus stood valiantly as one who had been saved by the grace of God through faith not circumcision. This stand with Paul would have taken tremendous courage.

Titus would remain a traveler with Paul throughout the narrative of the New Testament. While not mentioned very often. one of his greatest works seems to have been accomplished in Corinth. Titus was a “worker” for the benefit of the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 8:23). His work was not merely driven by his allegiance to Paul, but rather Titus had cultivated an intense concern for the brethren. Paul wrote concerning his love –

For this reason we have been comforted. And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all…But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord (2 Corinthians 7:13; 8:16-17; emphasis mine, bcj).

Titus seems to have been sent by Paul to complete the Corinthians’ collection for the saints, and help deal with Corinth’s multiple problems. Titus did not return saddened by the Corinthians’ problems, but rather encouraged by their zeal in repentance and obedience to God’s will (2 Corinthians 7:6-10).

Titus may never be remembered as one of the major characters of the New Testament, but his character and heart is sorely needed in the church today. Titus did not bend to false doctrine, but rather stood as a beacon of truth for all of his Gentile friends who would be saved by God’s grace. Titus did not run from the problems facing his brethren, but rather invested himself into their lives and made everyone better by it. Let us learn from his example. When we face challenges to our faith and service to God, let us remember our brother Titus and his love for God and his brethren. May God bless us with a heart like Titus!