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The World of Titus

By Zach Zienka | January 7, 2021

Before creating a list of resolutions or thinking of goals for the year, my first New Year’s tradition is watching through all of The Lord of the Rings movies. When I was a kid, they were always playing on TV during this season and the urge to watch them around the welcoming of a new year became instinctual.

Over the past four years of marriage, my wife, Alexa, has joined in on the binge-watching festivities. These movies were never really her thing and she would tell you that she thought they were “scary” growing up. She started to like them more as an adult and grew to enjoy the world and characters. I, on the other hand, grew up reading all of Tolkien’s books, playing any video game related to LotR (that’s what the cool kids call it), and memorizing the maps and routes of characters from different journeys.

So when we watch the movies, I “help” extend them by pausing at different moments to explain something the movie missed, or changed or did not quite elaborate on. Over the years, this constant expansion of the Middle-earth universe for her through my exposition dumps has actually led to Alexa enjoying the movies more and more. In fact, this year she was the first one to ask when we were going to watch them — a huge victory for me!

This experience can be similar to the way in which we engage with Scripture. Truly anyone can open to a book like Titus and find impactful words and ideas even with no knowledge of who Titus or Paul were, nor when and where this letter was written, nor the purpose of the writing. The Holy Spirit certainly works in the hearts and minds of the reader and may stir powerfully in the individual through the letter to Titus. This is the wonderful truth of God’s inspired Word.

Yet, it is also true that through background studies and exploration into the world of the New Testament, one would gain a greater understanding and appreciation of Paul’s words to Titus. Just as my wife’s appreciation for Middle-earth has grown, the reader of Scripture can find renewed insight when getting a bit “nerdy.”

There exists an entire world in the background of this tiny letter that we as a church are studying. Therefore, I wanted to provide a few accessible resources to further your engagement with Scripture. These are from BibleProject and each resource provides a different focus for expanding your toolkit as you walk through Titus with us this winter. I hope you find these helpful and encouraging.

Here is a blog post exploring the religious and cultural background to Crete which can aid in understanding Paul’s teachings to Titus:
https://bibleproject.com/blog/titus/

Here is a helpful video showing the overall message and context of Titus:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUEYCVXJM3k

Here is a helpful guide for navigating the process of reading a New Testament letter:
https://d1bsmz3sdihplr.cloudfront.net/media/Study%20Notes/H2R%20Letters_Video%20Notes_2.pdf

Zach Zienka