Skip Heitzig’s “flyover” Bible study of The New Testament Day 21

Titus and Philemon: Paul’s Heart for the Body of Christ

Paul wrote the letter of Titus to a pastor on the island of Crete, and Philemon to a wealthy slave owner in the town of Colossae.

Titus is the last of the Pastoral Epistles, and it’s all about order in the church. The church on Crete needed strong leadership and solid doctrinal teaching, and the perfect person for the job, according to Paul, was the Gentile convert Titus. So Paul wrote to Titus to describe a healthy church: it involves leadership, discipleship, and stewardship.

Philemon is the shortest book in the New Testament, and it deals with the controversial subject of slavery. One of the slaves of Philemon, a wealthy and prominent member of the church at Colossae, ran away. But this slave, Onesimus, got saved while on the run and came under the ministry of Paul. So Paul called Philemon to take him back, forgiving and receiving him as a brother in Christ. For, as Paul wrote in Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Think It Through

Read Titus 1:5. What else did Paul have to say about setting the church in order (see 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40)? What was it in relation to each time?

What part of Titus 2:1-10 are you to follow as a member of the church?

Where does the principle of Romans 8:28 show up in Philemon? (Hint: see Philemon 1:15-16.)

How does Paul’s offer to Philemon in 1:18-19 reflect what Jesus did for you and me?

Listen and Learn

In the book of Titus, Paul gave a list of qualities that church leaders should have. In this teaching, Skip points out that Paul also explained what it means to follow Christ and how we should conduct ourselves in the world.
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Land and Explore

The book of Titus acted as an operations manual for the early church, describing the role of each group of people in it. To find out where you fit in, check out Pastor Skip’s free series Titus: Getting the Church in Order.
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A Word of Encouragement

In Titus and Philemon, Paul appealed to two important men in the church about two different things: church order and a runaway slave. But in doing so, we can see just how much Paul cared about believers from all different walks of life. So take a page out of his book when dealing with Christians who come from a different background than you. After all, we’re all one in Christ.


Heavenly Father, I pray that You would open my heart to believers from all walks of life. Help me to fulfill my role in the church and to bring reconciliation and unity to the body of Christ.

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Today’s Resource

Download your free PDF copy of Pastor Skip’s booklet titled Express.
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