The New Testament features three letters of St. Paul directed to individual persons, Timothy and Titus, rather than to a community.
The New Testament is full of letters that are addressed to early Christian communities, such as the Corinthians, Ephesians, or Thessalonians.
However, it also contains three letters that are addressed to individual persons, two to St. Timothy and one to St. Titus.
Who were Timothy and Titus?
Pope Benedict XVI offered a reflection on these two saints in a general audience in 2006, commenting on how highly Paul viewed them.
[T]oday let us look at [St. Paul’s] two closest collaborators: Timothy and Titus … Paul in his letters refers to [Timothy] at least 17 times…One may deduce from this that Paul held him in high esteem … Indeed, the Apostle entrusted Timothy with important missions and saw him almost as an alter ego.
Similarily, Titus proved to be a worthy companion and was also given important tasks.
In the Letter addressed to Titus, the Apostle praised him and described him as his “true child in a common faith” (Ti 1:4) … From Corinth, Titus was again sent out by Paul — who called him “my partner and fellow worker in your service” (II Cor 8:23) — to organize the final collections for the Christians of Jerusalem.
At times St. Paul can seem like a larger than life figure and we can think that he did everything on his own. Yet, it is clear in his letters that St. Paul relied on many people, including Timothy and Titus, as Pope Benedict XVI observes.
[I]f we consider together the two figures of Timothy and Titus, we are aware of certain very significant facts. The most important one is that in carrying out his missions, Paul availed himself of collaborators … it clearly appears that he did not do everything on his own, but relied on trustworthy people who shared in his endeavors and responsibilities.
This fact reminds us that in the Christian life, we are not meant to be alone and need the help of others to both proclaim the Gospel, but also to live it out on a daily basis.