Paul introduces himself in his letter to Titus as, “Paul, a servant of God”. At first reading, this title does not sound out of place, in fact, it sounds common. However, this is the only time in all of the New Testament that Paul refers to himself as a “Servant of God”. We often see him call himself a “Servant of Christ” or a “Servant of Jesus” – but only here does he call himself, “Servant of God”. Why is this? In defining his relationship with God as a servant (or slave), he draws on the Old Testament pattern established by Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, and the prophets who stood in a special position as, “Servants of YHWH”, who had received revelation from God.
Paul is emphasizing that he, along with Moses, David, and the prophets, is a servant or slave of God. The purpose for using this language, as opposed to his traditional “Servant of Christ”, is because from the outset he wants to anchor his ministry in the story of the covenant God.
As Paul was writing to Titus, he wanted to establish that the church Titus is working with must understand that they are indeed a part of the covenant people of God and are a part of God’s story of redemption. In the same way today, we are to understand ourselves as being a part of the story of redemption in the same way Paul, Titus, Abraham and David were. Just like our fathers before us, we are in a covenant relationship with God.
So what is the point of being in a covenant relationship with God? What is the purpose of this great privilege?
Let’s see what Paul says in Titus 1:1-4 (ESV)
In these four verses we see four purposes for Christians in covenant with God:
This phase is better translated, “to further the faith of God’s elect …” (RSV) Paul’s heart as a minister was to see the people of God “further their faith” Paul lived his life to see the faith of God’s people matured, and cultivated in the truth of the gospel. In the life of Journey the Way we have many believers who have lived long lives of faithful service to God; they have a faith that has been tested and refined for the glory of God. We also have many people who are young in their faith, who struggle with trusting God, and who struggle with assurance of salvation. As covenanted Christians, let us seek to further the faith of one another. Let’s seek to build one another up in the glorious realities of Christ.
The knowledge of truth depicts the life of faith in which the knowledge of the truth is already present. The goal here is to see that knowledge of truth increased. The truth in mind is of course specifically the truth of the gospel. Paul’s heart is to see the people of God grow in their understanding of the truth.
Growing in the knowledge of the truth can be hard work! However, we now more than ever, have a plethora of resources that are available for our spiritual growth. The most important and foundational way to increase in the knowledge of the truth is to read your Bible.
Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Allow yourself to marinate in the beautiful truths of scripture.
Along with reading your bible you can work on increasing your knowledge of the truth in these ways: