The Purpose of Saving
Paul always ends his letters with a few parting instructions. And this is good for us, for it reminds us that these were real people involved in assessing needs and making plans. Being an apostle did not mean that Paul was so close to God that he simply woke up each day waiting for the Spirit to tell him what to do next; he sought the Spirit’s guidance but then made plans accordingly—just as we do. He told both the Romans and Corinthians that he had planned to visit them but had been hindered or had changed his original plans due to circumstances (Romans 15:22-24; 2 Corinthians 1:15-2:4). These were missionaries doing their best to bring the gospel to a lost world while Satan and the world worked against them; nothing has changed.
To sum, Paul was going to send either Artemas or Tychicus to replace Titus at Crete, whom he wanted then to journey to Nicopolis (which scholars think was on the western coast of ancient Achaia) to meet him there. Paul had decided to winter there and wanted to meet Titus at that location for some reason. We believe Titus did meet Paul there and then left for Dalmatia at Paul’s direction (2 Timothy 4:10). While waiting for his replacement to arrive, Titus was to send Zenas and Apollos on their way, presumably the ones who brought this letter to him from Paul. Paul does not say where Zenas and Apollos were going, only that Titus was to “see that they lack nothing.” (See Mounce, WBC, 457-60.)
I suppose all this makes for a dull devotion but we must remember that even the “dull” passages of Scripture can make for strong meat. I am reminded that a friend of mine tells me that Christian maturity requires that we learn to sit through things that may not excite our senses—understanding that when it comes to the word, it is we who have the problem. Anyway, we read right after this, “And let the people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.” And this is precisely what Paul has commanded Titus to do for Zenas and Apollos—to amply provide them for their journey. You see, we must be diligent in making a living and storing up what little we have—not so to spend on ourselves—but to help others in their time of need. For we are to earn a living that we may have something to share. So Paul says to the Romans: “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Romans 12:13). “Seek to show,” not just do it when the opportunity comes along. Finally, “Greet those who love us in the faith.” This should be our way whenever we walk into church—any church.