Paul’s letter to Titus has really very few problems from critics, unlike his two letters to Timothy. It is supposed that this letter was written at the same time as 1 Timothy. The thing that surprises me is that no serious commentators of any stripe have a problem with Paul being the author of the letter, which is a bit surprising considering they try to reject 1 Timothy and say that Paul had no time to write it or the historically later letter 2 Timothy. This is the next to last letter that Paul wrote that we have, and yet there seems to be no contesting of the authorship. It seems to me that is inconsistent for those liberal scholars that like to attack the inerrancy of scripture…but I’m okay with that!
Also, no one wants to contest that this was written to Titus, or the relationship between the two men. We are not certain of how Titus met Paul or where he came from, but we do know some things. Like Timothy, Titus was a “true child in a common faith” (1:4). Here was a young pastor that Paul had led to salvation in Christ and had discipled, and worked with over time, and is recorded in Scripture that Titus was with him in Corinth, notably. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas to the Council of Jerusalem, and was in fact Paul’s proof of a born-again, Spirit-filled Gentile convert at that meeting (Acts 15). It is clear that Titus was the evidence that shut down the Judaizers completely in terms of their false gospel of circumcision.
This letter is much like Paul’s first letter to Timothy, with much of the same purpose, and much of the same information being conveyed. Titus was sent to the island of Crete, where he seems to have worked with Paul for an unspecified period of time. The letter itself was written to be read in the churches (like all of Paul’s letters that we have, and all the ones we don’t have) so as to give Titus authority. Paul wrote it as an Apostle of Christ, which means Titus in performing what it asks is not just following Paul’s instruction, but was following Christ’s instruction, the very will of the God-Man.
Titus is a letter written to make the churches on Crete more effective at witnessing for Christ to the unbelievers on the nation. It is vintage Paul, also. In his own tradition, he preached the word. He reproved, rebuked, and exhorted the churches there through this letter to Titus. It discusses the qualifications for leaders in the church, silencing false teachers, what a Christian is supposed to live like, and how both leaders and members of the body should behave towards unbelievers. The letter references the gospel of Jesus saving us by grace through faith (2:14).
The island of Crete is located in the Mediterranean Sea south west of Asia Minor (what is now Turkey), south and east of Greece, and north of Africa. It is about 16 miles long and anywhere between 7 and 35 miles wide down its length. It held in the time of Paul a strategic position, and so had long been exposed to both Greek and Roman society and law. If you read the account in Acts 2 of the Day of Pentecost, there were Cretans in the crowd that heard Peter speaking in their own language that believed. They evidently went home to Crete, and had formed the beginnings of churches before Paul got there, and there may have been quite a number of those little flocks when he arrived.