Titus for You is an everyman’s commentary. The Good Book Co. has done an excellent job with For You Series, and Tim Chester is a great fit. His writing is engaging, approachable, and has depth. In describing Titus, Chester states early on, “The truth that creates a good life is the gospel. That is the truth that brings life and then changes life” (9). So it’s not just truth Chester is after, although he offers that by going through a book verse by verse, but he does so while engaging our affections, by appealing to our ideals of the good life—and showing how the Jesus is so much better than the good life we imagined apart from him (55-56).
Two themes run through out that I found helpful. First, Chester makes much of the gospel. The gospel is big in this exposition of Titus. He makes much of God, much of his work, and much of his power in us. Second, Chester connects the dots from what God has done to how that forms us into a community of disciples. “What is central and universal—and this is what Paul does focus on—is discipling people with the gospel” (29 also see 19, 82). In relation to Titus, this starts with the church’s leaders. “Leaders need to disciple themselves with the gospel before they can disciple others” (39). He spends also spends time later looking at how mature Christians should disciple younger Christians. And how discipleship in the church and in this context is about “everyday life within the Christian family” (65 see also 66).
I found his insights into what makes a good pastor/leader excellent through out, but especially his section on over/under shepherding. I’ve been part of the church for almost 30 years. Looking back, I can see the tendency for the church to swing the pendulum. “Over-pastoring is what happens when a leader or leaders exercise too much control in the life of the church” (37). I know quite a few people who have left fundamental Baptist churches for this reason, only to enter churches where under-pastoring was an issue. But in my experience as an adult, I see the under-pastoring as more prevalent—that “happens when a leader or leaders exercise too little leadership within a congregation” (37). Chester widens the application near the end by pointing out that we are called to “pastor” one another in one sense so this is a tendency we must all fight. As a parent, leading, teaching, and discipling children, I can see the swing in my own parenting between over/under-shepherding.
Titus for You is an excellent contribution to a book that some Christians might neglect because they feel like it has more to offer leaders of the church. Chester corrects this misperception by pointing us to Christ and showing how integral to our life as disciples Titus really is. This commentary wins for gospel rich content that’s approachable for your average Christian.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Mathew B. Sims is the author of A Household Gospel: Fulfilling the Great Commission in Our Homes and writes for CBMW Manual, Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Borrowed Light, and other publications. He also works as the managing editor at Gospel-Centered Discipleship and offers freelance editing and book formatting services. He is covenant member at Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC.