Matthew Poole's Commentary
As a general of an army, who hath a large country to conquer, cannot himself stay long in a conquered city, but leaving it with a garrison, under commanders, himself still goes forward in his conquests, and by his letters directs those whom he hath left governors in his conquered places how to behave themselves; so the apostle of the Gentiles, having a large field to run over, before he could finish his course, Act 26:17-18, could not himself stay long in places where he had brought people into a subjection to the gospel, but after a time, leaving them as a garrison to keep Christ's possession in the place, left them under the conduct of some eminent disciple and minister, to whom he afterwards wrote letters directly, of such minister, to settle the church in such a place, what and how to preach, and behave himself; thus he left Timothy at Ephesus, Titus at Crete. Crete is a great island belonging to Grecia, which on the north hath the Aegean Sea, the African Sea on the south. It was anciently called Cures; the inhabitants of it were called Cretes, Act 2:11. We read of the island, Act 28:1, as Paul sailed by it to Rome. It had formerly in it one hundred cities, being in length two hundred and seventy miles, in breadth fifty, in compass eight hundred and nine miles; Cortina, Cydon, Gnossus, Minois, (the country of the famous geographer Strabo), were some of the cities famous in it. It is now called Candia. It was lately taken from the Venetians, and is now in the possession of the Turks. It was a very rich place, famous for wines, and the place where brass was first found out. When the first plantation of the gospel was made there, the Scripture doth not say: it was made by Paul, as appears by his leaving Titus there. Titus was a Greek, Gal 2:3; converted by Paul, as appears by Tit 1:4; afterwards made a minister, for he was Paul's partner and fellow helper, 2Co 8:23, and called his brother, 2Co 2:13, used as his messenger, 2Co 8:6. He was left by Paul in Candia, or Crete, to settle the church there, and to ordain elders in every city, Tit 1:5. He writes this Epistle to him from Nicopolis, Tit 3:12. There were four cities of that name. The scope of it appears, to any that read it, to be, to direct him, what persons he should ordain as ministers, how to deal with false teachers, and how to behave himself, both as to preaching and living, towards all sorts of persons.