After the apostle Paul was released from prison in Rome, he discovered that renegade leaders were preying on the people of the church he had founded in Ephesus. He therefore left his long-time co-worker Timothy in that city with a letter authorizing him to replace these leaders and restore order. A similar situation on the island of Crete required Paul to commission another long-time co-worker, Titus, to act as his representative there.
Paul’s letter is addressed to Titus, but it is meant for the larger church as well. He confers his own authority on Titus and instructs him to appoint godly leaders. Paul’s description of the false teaching matches that in Ephesus: a combination of selective Jewish observances (such as being circumcised and abstaining from certain foods) and the pursuit of controversial speculations. However, the teaching didn’t help people live purer lives. Paul tells the community that the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It is the true message about Jesus that helps God’s people live a new kind of life. Paul reveals his plan to spend the winter in Nicopolis, a city on the west coast of Macedonia. It would provide an excellent jumping-off point for bringing the gospel to the western part of the empire. He trusts that Titus will help restore order in Crete so he can accompany Paul on this new venture.