I like Tim Chester. I have read two other books by him. One was on social media, one on the theological significance of the Ascension. I don’t agree with every aspect of his theology, but appreciate his thoughtfulness and pastoral insights. When I saw that he had a new commentary I was happy to pick it up and read it.
Chester’s commentary is called Titus For You and I think the first salient thing I can say about his subject matter is, Titus is for you (whoever you are). Titus is one of the so-called Pastoral Epistles which means we often treat it as a technical manual addressed to pastoral leaders. Chester observes that we treat these letters like they lack the ‘breathless vibrancy of the book of Acts’ because that was fading, and something structured and sensible needed to be left in its place. Of course, Titus (and Timothy) have little to teach us about church administration and are themselves full of good news (11). Plus the book of Titus explores the ever-widening circles of relationship. Chapter one does focus on elders (i.e. leadership), Chapter two gives instructions for men and women (both young and old) slaves (Chester draws the paltry modern parallel of ’employees), and the final chapter discuss how the church should navigate the political and social reality with an eye toward the cosmic scope of the outworking of the gospel. This letter was indeed written by Paul to a young minister he was mentoring in the city of Crete. But this is not a book restricted to clergy or professional ministers. It is for you. Chester walks readers through the book section by section, exploring the message of the book and its significance for today.
This is the second time I have reviewed a book in the ‘For You’ series (see my review,Timmy Time on the Romans Road) Like the previous volume, this commentary is a non-technical commentary designed for pastors and laity alike for personal study or for those who would teach this portion of scripture. This commentary shows how to read:
- Read– It is a guide to help you appreciate the letter.
- Feed–It is a daily devotional to help you grow in Christ.
- Lead– It provides notes to help you explain the book of Titus.
On the whole I really appreciated Chester’s handling of Titus. The biblical text is not duplicated in the commentary so you have to read through this with an open Bible (which is fine unless you want to grab a book and go). Occasionally I disagreed with Chester (or just didn’t think he dug deep enough), but as an accessible guide which is generally helpful, this is great. I would give this book a solid four. It would not be my ‘go-to commentary’ for Titus, but it does a great job of expounding on the message of a book too often ignored. ★★★★
Thank you to Cross Focus Reviews and the Good Book Company for providing me with a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.