Next Most Obvious Thing

You’ve marked Paul (and I’ve given you a good long time to get it done). Paul is the author of this particular letter, and therefore, was the most obvious thing in the letter. Now you’ll begin to look for the next Most Obvious Thing. In this case, it is the recipients of the letter.

There are three main people groups in the Bible: Jews, Believers, and those who are Undecided. To properly understand the author’s goals and intents, it’s important to establish who his audience was. Obviously, an author speaking to Jews would approach them from an angle of shared history – the Old Testament. If an author is addressing a group of formerly Gentile Believers, he may mention the Old Testament, but spend more time explaining it, as opposed to assuming that they already understand its content. For an author to get through to a group of skeptics, he’d approach them from a different way; perhaps from logical reasoning or an emotional appeal.

To correctly interpret who the audience is, we mark the recipient. Choose another colored pencil (not green because that’s Paul’s). For me, recipients are always light blue (I don’t know why). We’re going to lightly scribble over any mention of the recipient, who is Titus. As with the author, we’ll also be looking for the recipient’s pronouns. Remember that a pronoun takes the place of a noun so we’ll be looking for words like “you” and “your” and plural pronouns like “our” “we” and “us”. Plural pronouns can sometimes be tricky – make sure that the author is including the recipient in his plural pronouns – the other possibility could be that the author was not alone when he wrote, therefore he refers to himself and his companions as “us”.

Looking at Titus, chapter one, the fourth verse: to Titus, my true child in a common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

You’ve already marked “our” in verse 4 with a Paul green. Because it’s plural, you need also to mark it with a Titus blue, so just put a blue box around it. That way you can easily see that “our” refers to both Titus and Paul. Paul said that Titus was his true child in a common faith, so we know that the audience is . . . Believers! So, Christ Jesus is both Paul’s and Titus’ savior.

Verse 5: For this reason I (Paul) left you (Titus) in Crete, that you (Titus) might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I (Paul) directed you (Titus).

You know what comes next: read through all three chapters of Titus marking Titus with a blue scribble, or a blue box around plural pronouns that include both Paul and Titus. Have fun, and check back when you’re finished!

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