Titus & Epaphroditus
May have more in Common than you Think.
I had a friend who joked once that he believed that Col. Sanders and Ho Chi Minh were actually the same person. “You never saw the two of them together”, he explained. That joke came to mind as I made a speculative “discovery” in my reading of Titus. You may or may not agree with my conclusion, and my discovery will not launch a new denomination, but at least it is something to think about. Here it is (Are you sitting down?):
I believe that Titus and Epaphroditus are the same person.
What started me thinking about this was the following note in the New Geneva Study Bible in the introduction to Titus:
“Titus was a Gentile Christian who was probably converted by Paul (1:4). The New Testament provides little information about him, and he is not mentioned in Acts….[He] traveled with Paul on his second and third missionary journeys…”
That got me thinking that that maybe he, like a number of NT persons – including Paul – was known by two names. This is why I believe that he just may be Epaphroditus.
1. Both are messengers.
2. Both are associated with the Macedonia/Thrace area.
3. Similarity of “Titus” with “-ditus” (suggesting his choice of this new name or nickname).
4. Name change due to pagan associations. “Epaphroditus” refers to the obscene goddess Aphrodite, a name that new converts might want to hide.
5. But Epaphroditus may have been known by too many people by that name, including relatives, for him to change his name there. Instead he would have used his new name elsewhere. This would explain why Paul refers to him by his older name when writing to his countrymen (assumed), the Philippians (2:25; 4;18).
6. Epaphroditus and Timothy are associated together in Phil. 2. Titus and Timothy are associated together in the Pastoral Epistles of the same names.
7. Both Epaphroditus and Titus are described as being sensitive, energetic, zealous (compare Phil. 2 with the Titus verses in 2nd Cor.)
8. Both names are especially singled out by Paul as being specially helpful. Compare also Phil. 2:25 with 2nd Cor. 8:23.
Here are all the pertinent verses where the name comes up:
Epaphroditus: Phil. 2:25; 4:18.
Titus: 2nd Cor. 2:13; 7:6,13,14; 8:6,16,23; 12:12; Gal. 2:1,3; 2nd Tim. 4:10; Titus 1:4.
Application? Good question. Maybe at least it would help us understand the book of Titus just a little better. I thought it was worth your consideration.