Just like both previous letters which are addressed to a person (Timothy), this letter is also addressed to a person: Titus. Timothy and Titus are not random people. They belong to the fellow workers of Paul. You have already learnt some things about Timothy from the book of Acts. If you want to learn about Titus in that book you will search in vain in it. He is not mentioned there. As a matter of fact you can learn about him in some letters of Paul. As you will notice, Paul mentions him in his second letter to the Corinthians. If you read there what Paul says about Titus you will notice that he very much appreciates him.
The work of Titus at Corinth is an example of his devoted service. From references to Titus in the mentioned letter we can conclude that he became a mature believer through spiritual growth and experience. Paul desired the support of Titus (2Cor 2:1212Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord,); he experienced comfort through Titus (2Cor 7:66But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;); he knew the joy of Titus and the refreshment of his spirit about the good that he saw in the believers (2Cor 7:1313For this reason we have been comforted. And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.); he knew about the love that Titus had for the obedient believers (2Cor 7:1515His affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling.); he testified to the willingness of Titus of committing himself on behalf of poor believers (2Cor 8:66So we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well., 16).
He calls Titus his ‘partner and fellow worker’ with the Corinthians (2Cor 8:2323As for Titus, [he is] my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, [they are] messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ.). Titus has the same goal like Paul, that’s why Paul appreciates Titus very much in the work for the Lord. He also sees the same unselfishness with Titus which characterizes himself (2Cor 12:1818I urged Titus [to go], and I sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit [and walk] in the same steps?). In both the work and the motives Paul has an exceptional co-worker with Titus.
Because Paul calls Titus his “true child” (Tit 1:44to Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.) we may assume that Titus heard the gospel from Paul and came to conversion. It is not clear whether he went together with Paul immediately after that.
The first time we find Titus together with Paul somewhere is in relation to the issue whether believers from the Gentiles have to be circumcised (Gal 2:1,31Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.3But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.; cf. Acts 15:1-21Some men came down from Judea and [began] teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”2And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, [the brethren] determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.). In that way Titus is quickly confronted with the legalistic pressure that the Jewish believers want to exert on the believers from the Gentiles. He experiences and learns how Paul deals with that. The great opponent of the law is grace. Titus gets a great impression of that too. One and the other appear to be a good preparation for his task at Crete of which you learn from this letter.
The last reference of Titus in the letters of Paul is in his second letter to Timothy (2Tim 4:1010for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens [has gone] to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.). Without any further explanation Paul writes to Timothy that Titus had traveled to Dalmatia. Most apparently Titus went there to serve the Lord.
When Paul has been in Crete is not to be concluded from the Scripture. It has been assumed that he was accompanied by Titus at Crete after his first imprisonment in Rome. He left after churches came to existence there, but not without leaving his co-worker Titus there, out of his concern for the newly founded churches. The churches have been founded, but still need many instructions with a view to their daily practice. In this view Paul has not been able to finish his work. Titus had to do that. Paul already gave orally as an apostle the authority to Titus and now he does that in writing too.
The order to Titus is twofold. He has to set in order what is lacking and he has to appoint elders in each city (Tit 1:55For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,). The letter therefore deals with the maintenance of order in the local churches of God. This order is not seen here so much in relation to the gatherings of the church; it is more about the daily believer-to-believer relationships and their conduct in the world.