Titus 3:12-15 – Paul’s Final Instructions: The Believer and The Gospel
Paul’s Final Instructions
- Verse 12– “When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.”
Artemas mentioned here only and is otherwise unknown to us.
Tychicus mentioned 5x in NT. He is described as a faithful minister and a beloved brother, entrusted with the letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 6:21) and to the Colossians (Col. 4:7).
Note Paul’s “pairing” of these gentlemen— one about whom little is known and the other, more prominent. Similar “pairing” in verse 13.
- Verse 13–“Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing.”
Like Artemas, little is known about Zenas, except what is shared in this verse, that he is a learned man, being described as a lawyer (not revealed if a lawyer as to the OT law, Roman law or both).
Apollos is mentioned 10x in the NT. Acts 18:24 describes him as an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures, as he had been instructed in the way of the Lord, fervent in spirit.”
Note, though, how that Priscilla and Aquila explained to Apollos the way of God more accurately, for “he knew only the baptism of John” (Acts 18:25-26).
Note how that later, divisions appeared in the church. Each one was saying either— “I follow Paul…”I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas.” This Apollos has risen to such rank as Paul and Peter, eclipsing even the other apostles in this passage. This demonstrates Apollos’ great influence and of his faithfulness and fervency. Paul, then, was quick to remind the church that Christ is not divided. See 1 Cor 1:10-15.
- Verse 14– “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” Note how Paul has repeated this exhortation. See again 2:7, 11-14, 3:1, 8. This final reminder, however, immediately follows Paul’s instructions to see that Zenas and Apollos lack nothing. The point is: Titus is not to be the only one involved. The Cretan believers should not be idle but to learn to devote themselves to good works for the Gospel’s sake and to be involved in deliberately helping those engaged in the work of the Gospel, such as helping Apollos and Zenas. For Paul, there is nothing more urgent than the ministry of the Gospel of Christ. Consider 1 Cor. 9:19-23, where Paul says, “I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them…. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them its blessings.”
A genuine believer is expected to be fruitful. See John 15–Christ declares, “ I am the vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it bear more fruit…. Abide in me, and I in you….
See also Gal. 5:16-24.
- Verse 15– “All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.”
Summary— God saves through Christ alone, for it is Jesus who died, was buried, and has risen again to reconcile sinners unto a holy God. The one who is genuinely saved not only has an accurate understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ but also lives it out and proclaims it. “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).