1.  Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness,

The book starts off with the name of the author, Paul.  This letter would have originally been written on a scroll that would unroll from the top.  When we write letters, we usually put the name of the author at the bottom of the last page, so if one wants to know who is writing he must turn there.  With a scroll, however, it would be terribly inconvenient to have to unroll the entire scroll to the end just to see who was writing.  Thus, the name of the author was traditionally given at the beginning.

Paul first identifies himself as a servant of God.  This was not a respectable position to take.  It is said that the word “doulos” or “slave” was not one spoken in polite Roman circles.  For Paul to claim to be a slave of God was to take a humble, subservient, dishonorable position in the eyes of the world.  Yet to Paul there was no place he would rather take.  Let us gladly consider ourselves as slaves of God as well.

Although Paul is a slave, he also identifies himself as an apostle.  A slave is a low position, but that of an apostle is not.  Being an apostle was not an office one held.  The word “apostle” is a transliteration of a Greek word, “apostolos.”  It is said that this word means “sent one,” but this is too simplified, for “pempo” is the verb for “to send” in the simplest definition, so “apostello” must mean something more than a mere simple sending.  To “apostello” means not just to send, but more exactly to commission with authority.  One who was “apostled” was sent with the authority of the one sending to fulfill the task assigned to him.

By claiming to be an apostle, Paul was claiming that he, by writing this book, was fulfilling a commission given to him by Jesus Christ.  Paul did not one day just decide to sit down and write to Titus.  Rather, he was ordered to do so by the One Who gave him his apostleship, Jesus Christ.  This is what Paul is saying by this phrase.  Thus, we are not to consider this letter the words of a mere man to his underling, but rather the very words of God as He gave them to Titus.

Paul’s writing is according to the faith of God’s elect or chosen.  These elect were not chosen to be saved, but elected by God after their salvation.  This book is not out of harmony with the saving faith men had already experienced.  Yet the words of this book come from God, and thus they must be received by faith just like all the rest of Scripture.  He also writes according to the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness.  If any wishes to say he acknowledges the truth, he must be found acknowledging the truths found in this book of Titus.  Without this book, the revelation of God to us would not be complete.  Thus, Paul is writing both out of a desire for people to have saving faith, and also for believers to continue in faith and an acknowledging of the truth.

2.  In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

The word “hope” in Scripture is not used as we often use it, such as in “I hope so.”  Rather, one’s “hope” is one’s earnest expectation…what one believes will and expects to happen.  Our hope of eternal life is not something that we just wish would happen.  Rather, it is our settled conviction that it will happen, and we can think and plan as if it were guaranteed to us, for it is.  It indeed is our hope.

“Eternal” life in Greek is “aionion” life.  In English we could make this “life eonian.”  But what is eonian life?  An “eon” in Greek is that which flows.  This we might say that “eonian life” is life that flows on and on forever.  Eonian life is life that continues to flow on and on.  It is life in God’s eon.  However, there is much more to the idea of eonian life than mere length of time.  Quite frankly, I would not want never-ending life under some circumstances.  If I had to continue in my current, sinful, fallen life, I would not want to live forever.  I would certainly hope to live out my expected lifespan of 70 or 80 years, but to live forever as I am now?  That would not be appealing to me at all!  Nor would living in what some people view to be “heaven.”  We see all these picture of people sitting on clouds playing harps.  If that is all eternal life is, then I am afraid I would rather not have it.  Not that I don’t like harps or that clouds aren’t beautiful, but to live like that forever is far from appealing.  But eonian life is not just a measure of time.  It is also a life that flows with every good thing imaginable.

In I Corinthians 2:9, we read a quote from Isaiah,
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

This is the truth about eonian life.  It is not just life as we know it, nor is it life in some boring state of white clouds and harps.  It is a life that is so good that we cannot even imagine it now.  It is a life flowing with every good thing that comes from God, things that are so beyond our experience that we cannot even imagine them.  This is eonian life.

This life was promised by God, Who cannot lie.  What a wonderful truth to remember this is!  Not only does God not lie, He cannot lie.  Thus we can be assured that every promise He has spoken is true!

The King James says that this eonian life was promised “before the world began.”  In the New King James here we have “promised before time began.”  In the NIV we have “promised before the beginning of time.”  All of these translations leave us with little information.  Indeed, the ideas they set forth make no sense.  How could God promise eternal life before the world began?  Who would He promise it to, since there was no one around?

Promising before time began seems even more ludicrous.  It is my observation that most Bible theologians seem to be philosophers rather than scientists.  I would categorize this translation as one clearly made by philosophers, not scientists, for being of a scientific mind myself, I find such a concept ridiculous.

If we should consider the beginning of time, we might ask what it is?  What exactly would the beginning of time be from a scientific standpoint?  Well, when we consider time as it flows, we know that every second, every moment, every instant that occurs in time has a “before” and an “after.”  If you look at your watch, every tick of the second-hand you see has a “before” second and an “after” second.  The one exception to this would be the beginning of time.  If we should go back to then, to when time began, we would find that that was the one second, the one moment, the one instant where there was an “after,” but there was no “before.”  This by definition must be the beginning of time.  If there was a “before,” then it was not the beginning of time.  For without time there is no “before” and no “after.”  Time had to begin before there could be any such thing as a “before.”

Thus we see that “before time began,” although it may sound poetic, is scientifically impossible.  Now do not get me wrong.  Many use this phrase to indicate a time long, long ago before man was around to notice events or record history.  Yet scientifically this is not “before time.”  As long as time is passing it exists, whether or not people are there to record it.  And as long as there is a “before” it must exist in time for without time there can be no “before.”  Thus the phrase “before time” is utterly impossible.  There was no such thing as “before time.”  Without time, “before” does not exist.  Thus to ask, “Did God exist before time?” is to ask a ridiculous question, for there is no such thing as “before time,” so God did not either exist or not exist then for “then” did not exist.

Now I am not saying that God came into existence when time began.  We read of that moment, that instant, that beginning of time, when we read in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word.”  In that first instant, when time came into being and there was an “after” but no “before,” in that instant God existed.  He was responsible for bringing time into existence.  He MADE “the beginning.”  Yet He did not exist “before time,” for that is imaginary and never existed.  God exists not before or after time, but rather OUTSIDE OF time.  He created time, and indeed if time had never existed, then He is the only thing or being in the known universe that would have ever been at all.  Yet He did not exist “before time,” for there is no such thing.  By definition, “before time” cannot exist.

The word here is indeed “time,” the Greek word “kronos,” and not “world.”  “Before” is also a correct translation.  Yet there is no word for “began” or “the beginning” here.  The Greek phrase is “before eonian times.”  The promise God made here was not a promise made to no one in a time that never existed.  Rather, it was made to the people who would be enjoying eonian life at a time before eonian times.  Eonian times are the times that will exist on earth when God’s government at last takes control of the world and His promises are completely and finally fulfilled.  Before these times come to pass God has promised life during that time period for those who believe in Him now.  This is what is meant by this phrase.  God’s promise is to us, and it was made in His Word.

3.  But has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior.

First we read of “due time.”  The timing of this book was not up to Paul, nor were any of his other books or messages.  God told him to speak the word at the right time, and Paul did it.

Paul speaks of the Word of God that was manifested through his own preaching.  We have some of those preached words recorded for us in the book of Acts, where Luke gives us some of the messages that Paul preached.  Yet this word in Greek is not the word for preaching like we would do it today.  Rather it is the word for heralding.  A herald is not at all like a preacher.  The work of a herald is similar to taking out an ad in the newspaper.  You send in your ad, and you expect the paper to print the ad exactly as you gave it to them.  They have no license to change your ad.  They have no right to edit your submission, or to add their own thoughts, or to put it in their own words.  All they can do is herald what you told them to say.  In the same way Paul is talking about heralding the word of God here.  Paul is not doing what preachers do today: preparing a message and coming up with things to say and ways to make it clear to people.  Rather, all he is doing is repeating exactly the words that God had told him to say.  Thus he is a herald.  And that is what he is doing when writing this book: heralding or repeating exactly the words that God gave him to write.  All would do well to consider it this way.  As Paul said in I Thessalonians 2:13, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”  These words of Paul are not the words of a man, but the very words of God Himself!

God’s Word was committed to Paul, not through his own request or that of other believers, but rather through the commandment of God.  Notice that “God” is called “our Savior.”  Yet in the following verse Jesus Christ is also called “our Savior.”  There cannot be two Saviors.  There cannot be two sources of salvation.  This is another proof that Jesus Christ is God!

4.  To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

Titus is called Paul’s “true son.”  This is not the Greek word “uios,” which means “son,” but rather “teknon,” which means “child.”  There is a significant difference between a son and a child, as I have explained in my message, “Sonship.”  A son is one who represents his father.  Paul here merely speaks of Titus as his child “in our common faith.”  He may be referring to the fact that Titus came to the Lord as a result of Paul’s own preaching.

“Grace” is the Greek word “charis.”  Speaking of grace coming FROM God TO us is speaking of God’s gracious and merciful attitude towards us.  “Peace” is the Greek “eirene” from which we get our name “Irene,” which means “peace.”  It speaks of a harmonious relationship between two people or groups of people, in this case, between God and us.

This grace, mercy, and peace comes from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.  However, there cannot be two sources of grace, mercy, and peace.  I cannot go one day to God the Father to get grace, mercy, and peace, and the next day go to the Lord Jesus Christ and get the same thing.  There can only be one source of these things.  Moreover, we learned in verse 3 that God is our Savior, and we learn here in verse 4 that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior.  Both these facts point to the truth that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are one and the same!

The word “and” here that connects “God the Father” with “the Lord Jesus Christ” is the Greek word “kai.”  This word means “and,” but it can also take on the idea of “even.”  Thus we could read, “God the Father EVEN the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.”  In English we might use the word “and” this way in saying, “I am a brother and son.”  Does this mean I am two different people, one a brother and one a son?  No, of course not.  I am both these things in one person.  These are two different aspects of my being.  In the same way God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior are not two different people, but rather two different aspects of the same being.  Let us praise God for revealing to us the complete Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ!