Typically, Paul begins his letters with simply the author and rank: â€œPaul, an apostle of Jesus Christ.â€ This was the usual way a letter would be written in the first century. However, in his letter to Titus, Paul gives an extended discourse that lasts through verse 3.
â€œPaul, a slave of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of Godâ€™s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, and has in His own time revealed His message in the proclamation that I was entrusted with by the command of God our Saviorâ€ (Titus 1:1-3).
Paul asserts the authority of his apostolic message with this introduction. Paul is an apostle who was entrusted with a message of the promise of eternal life to the elect of God. Paulâ€™s message of the knowledge of the truth is being given to the elect in the hope of attaining eternal life.
Titus is the recipient of this letter (vs. 4). Recall that Paul also called Timothy his true child in the faith. Verse 4 concludes with the common salutation that we have read in most of Paulâ€™s letters: â€œGrace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.â€ The minor difference is that Paul calls Christ Jesus our Savior rather than our Lord.
The next section that ought to appear in a common first century letter is the thanksgiving section. However, the thanksgiving section is lacking in this letter. This omission suggests Paul urgency to begin to speak about the purpose of his writing. It is not to suggest that Paul is not thankful to God for Titus. Rather, Paul feels compelled to move into the urgent purpose of the letter.
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