Book Review: Titus For You by Tim Chester

Titus for YouTitus For You by Tim Chester The book is a book about a book about the gospel. Titus is about the gospel–all three chapters. Although Paul left Titus in Crete to appoint leaders, the book is “all about ensuring the gospel is central to the everyday life [sounds like many good books that have come out in the last few years] of the church, so that the world can be reached for Christ.” There is a great explanation of the gospel on pg 94-95. There is a brief, one page introduction to this series of books, then it goes right into a brief introduction to Titus before starting the section-by-section examination. It’s from a Reformed perspective, if that matters to you, but he doesn’t go heavily into doctrine or try to convince the reader of any specific theology. They say that “these books are not commentaries.” I would say this is an exposition of sorts, but not a verse by verse commentary. The book can be read through (at only 115 pages, including unnecessary text box pull quotes that quote what’s already in the book–magazine style), read in your own personal devotions, or used as a Bible study with questions for reflection at the end of each section.

The book takes us through Titus section by section. Verse references are bold, although the text of the Bible is not included, and any words that are rare or used differently in everyday language are gray when they first appear, and are explained in a glossary towards the end of the book. This includes explaining theological terms,  Christian lingo, and words or terms used in the Bible that new believers may be unfamiliar with. I think it’s a nice, user friendly feature. 

He often gives some helpful background and historical information. An example would be that Titus 1:12 is a quote from a Cretan philosopher, Epimenides, who basically says that they fit the stereotype that we now have. It doesn’t sound much like philosophy to me, but then he was a Cretan after all! There are some minor items in the book that aren’t to my liking, but overall, I learned a lot and think it’s a very good book. (Was I supposed to wait until the end to write that?) The first thing I didn’t like is right at the beginning in The Introduction To Titus, he starts out with a couple of paragraphs about the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, and then compares that with “what Paul is doing in the letter he writes to Titus.” I don’t like comparing movies to the Bible, even if it’s a wonderful movie. And even though he gives a short description of it, I would guess that many younger people haven’t seen it. Chester compares Titus with Acts. There’s a comparison I’m more satisfied with. He also refers to Ezekiel calling on the breath (or Spirit) of God to bring life to corpses as a comparison to preaching the gospel. Starting on page 57, he talks about “living the good life”. This sounds a little strange to me, almost like a beer commercial (Miller beer’s The High Life–which sounds a lot stranger today than it did back then) or something Joel Osteen would say. What he means is doing good works and living a godly life as laid out in Titus 2:1-10, which isn’t strange at all. Then he continually refers to living the good life throughout the rest of the book. The problem is if someone quotes a part of the book that has that phrase in it, or comes late to Bible study, or a number of other situations, the wording might sound strange without the context. A couple of other things I didn’t care for:

  • In Titus 2:4-5 he takes out the one idea of being busy at home and spends a full page on how wives, especially mothers, should forgo careers to stay at home. Not that I disagree, but he’s taking one or two things from each category and making a whole scenario out of it.
  • Sometimes he’s unnecessarily negative. “If you are in your twenties, do not live like a child–on your Xbox all the time.” Or, “I wonder how you think of God. Maybe he seems distant to you. Maybe he seems harsh or high handed. Or maybe you feel that he has forgiven you, so now he tolerates you.” However, out of that he does write extensively about enjoying God’s kindness.
I’ve always liked Titus, and that’s the reason I decided to review this book. I think it’s a good book for its intended purposes, and as mentioned, especially good for new believers. Some people might overlook Titus. If that’s the case, this is a good book in pointing out how it’s about the gospel and what Paul’s message to Titus–and everyone who reads it–is about. I think just about anyone could learn from it. The minor dislikes don’t detract from the main exposition about the book of Titus, which I think is well worth reading.
As of this writing, there are other books in this series covering Galatians, Romans 1-7 (by Timothy Keller), and Judges.

I received a free copy from The Good Book Company through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an unbiased review.

You can find it at in hard cover or Kindle format.

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