In the closing verses of the letter, Paul instructs his assistant concerning transfer of personnel and related logistics, and sends greetings and a blessing.
Paul mentions four individuals and one place name. At the time of writing, either Artemas or Tychicus was to replace Titus in the work on Crete. Nothing more is known about Artemas. Tychicus, however, was a well-known traveling companion of Paul (Acts 20:4; Eph 6:21; Col 4:7; 2 Tim 4:12). Assuming the plan held good, apparently it was Artemas who replaced Titus—not Tychicus, who is placed in Ephesus in 2 Timothy 4:12. With the arrival of his replacement, Titus was to make his way to Nicopolis, where Paul planned to spend the winter. Nicopolis was a busy port town on the western coast of Greece. It was actually known for its harsh winters; many travelers from all parts would have been forced to spend the winter there, so that Paul could continue his ministry despite the impossibility of travel. Titus later turns up in Dalmatia, up the coast from Nicopolis (2 Tim 4:10). Zenas the lawyer and Apollos (Acts 18:24-19:1; 1 Cor 1:12) were probably the bearers of this letter to Titus.
It was not at all unusual for Paul to have asked Titus to assist these two with their continued journey (Rom 15:24; 1 Cor 16:6, 11; 2 Cor 1:16). In fact, he uses this occasion to again instruct the whole congregation to live out the genuine Christian life. Verse 14 repeats exactly the phrase to devote themselves to doing what is good that occurs in verse 8. But in this case an additional phrase defines the "good deeds" as those that meet (literally "for" or "unto") daily necessities, referring to the needs of these travelers. The living out of genuine Christianity (performing good deeds) has both practical and evident results.
As Paul usually did in closing his letters, he communicates his genuine feeling of friendship and partnership (and that of the other team members with him) to his coworker. This would have been a reminder to Titus and the church not only of the prayer support for the work in Crete but also of the true love and fellowship that exists among believers and sustains one who is engaged in God's service.
The closing wish, grace be with you all, is equally an expression of affection. The grace of God is the source of salvation (3:5) and all blessings; so to have God's grace with us is to have access to all that he can provide (see on 1:4; 1 Tim 1:1; 6:21).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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