Titus 1:4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.
There is some depth of feeling contained in this simple greeting from the Apostle Paul to his young protege, Titus. The adjective translated ‘common’ is used to describe anything that is of ordinary, commonplace, even non-sacred use. Paul is using it here to imply that the ‘faith’ on which the ‘Good News’ he preaches is founded is freely available to all peoples – especially to sinners. It stands in contrast to the adjective ‘true’ that he uses to describe his relationship to Titus. This Greek adjective is used to describe a relationship that is without scandal or illegitimacy – a child born within a proper marriage relationship.
So, whereas saving ‘faith’ is available to all without discrimination, Paul sees Titus (and Timothy – he uses the same adjective in 1 Timothy 1:2) as having the special, genuine bond with him as a parent has with his biological child in a meaningful, loving marriage.
If we are given, by God’s grace, the privilege of leading someone to Christ and then nurturing and discipling them in the faith, do we treasure and develop such a close relationship with them?
Another interesting thing about this verse is that later manuscripts include ‘mercy’ with ‘grace’ and ‘peace’ in the blessing bestowed on Titus, and include ‘Lord’ with ‘Christ Jesus’ in the title – so the KJV (translated before the earlier manuscripts were discovered) reads, “Grace, MERCY and peace from God the Father and the LORD Jesus Christ our Saviour”. We see from this how natural the phrases “grace, mercy and peace” and “the Lord Jesus Christ” had become for scribes committed to copying the ancient texts. When we note that ‘grace’ refers to receiving something we don’t deserve, and ‘mercy’ refers to not receiving something we do deserve, and that ‘peace’ is something that is in very short supply in these days of tension and stress at both a ‘micro’ (inner peace) as well as a ‘macro’ (world peace) level, are these all things we long for for each other? And when we refer to our friend and Saviour, Jesus, are we always conscious of the fact that he is also Lord over all, and the Messiah (Christ) who fulfils all the Old Testament promises in every detail (possession of the Land, the New [Third] ‘Temple’ included)?
– Bruce Christian