Do you have a mentor? Mentoring relationships are common in today’s culture. They can be as healthy and active as parents who teach their children or bosses who coach their employees. But they can also be as unhealthy and passive as which news channel we choose to get our information through or who we “Like” on Facebook.
Good mentoring is biblical. It is one of the purposes of Paul’s letters in the New Testament. Beginning this Sunday we’ll walk through the book of Titus for the next three weeks. In preparation for our series, we thought it would be helpful to provide some background to this useful letter from Paul to a younger man and fellow disciple of Jesus, Titus. It is our hope that out of this series, we would all grow in our understanding of Scripture, but that we would also begin the process of engaging in intentional mentoring relationships to continue to grow as priests who make priests.
The letter to Titus was written by the Apostle Paul. According to tradition, Paul was released from house arrest in 62 AD. The letters to Titus and Timothy (1 & 2 Timothy) were written between then and his death in 65 AD at the hands of Nero. Knowing that Paul was coming to the close of his ministry adds some poignancy to the letter. After having been under house arrest and having limited outside contact, he certainly recognized the need to pass off as much information and as many nuggets of wisdom as he could to those he mentored, including Titus.
A Brief Overview
Titus was left by Paul on the island of Crete to help establish elders in the Cretan church. More than simply provide a list of necessary credentials for eldership, Paul lays out a strong case for the need to have elders (Titus 1:10) – they are to defend sound doctrine.
Paul expands his case for defending sound doctrine by urging Titus to “teach the older men” (2:2) so that they can teach the younger men. He also tells Titus to “teach the older women” (2:3) so that they can teach the younger women. In Paul’s instructions to Titus, we find a model for godly mentoring within the local church and why it is important. This personal modeling of the Christian life and godly living was important in the context of the day but also extends to us and our culture today.
Not only does Paul give us instruction on what to do and how to do it, but he also gives us a deep sense of the “why” (2:11-14). He closes the book by reminding Titus (and us) of the deep need we have for Jesus (3:3-4) and the great promise of what has been accomplished on our behalf (3:5-8). It is out of this great truth that we find rest in the Gospel – even as we are active in our mentoring of others and in our pursuit of godly mentors.
You can read all of Titus here.
Here are some helpful resources for continuing your study of Titus:
Exegetical Commentary on Titus (available on Amazon)
“What are Elders?” (courtesy of The Village Church; audio available)