Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Titus at the same time, during house arrest arrest in Rome. While Timothy was at Ephesus, Titus was given the task of going to Crete.
Crete must have been a tough place – you may chuckle when you read Titus 1:12-13! Titus had a solid track record and had done good work for Paul and the gospel, solving the problems in Corinth already. When Paul heard that Apollos was about to go to Crete he decided to send this letter to Titus.
Good works feature prominently in the letter. Titus is to ordain elders, keep the doctrine sound, and administrate a few particulars in the church. Look at this strong statement in Titus 1:16 – “…they profess to know God but deny him by their lifestyle”. Times in Crete are both unlike but also much like today. It seems that there were people who professed faith and love for God but a quick examination of their lifestyle didn’t reflect that in the slightest. Mere talkers, obviously. This letter to Titus reminds us that what we believe is supposed to work itself out in our behaviour.
What’s interesting is that today we have the same problem. People who profess to know God but we don’t see much good work in their lives. We may well see that they aren’t bad people and they have ‘cleaned up’ and are moral upstanding citizens, but never get to good works at all. They are kind of in neutral: not bad people, but no good works feature. Paul tells Titus to get these types of people moving.