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Throughout the epistles written by Paul to Timothy and Titus, he mentions 5 different "sayings" which he describes as "faithful" or "true". These 5 sayings are in:

What is the significance of these sayings? Why did Paul emphasize them in particular?

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  • No, they want it closed because they think it will attract only opinion-based answers. I agree with Nigel J that this is an interesting question. Perhaps if you limited the answers to say either Catholics or Reformed Protestants and asked for quotes from early church fathers, then your question might stay up.
    – Lesley
    Apr 2, 2020 at 12:00
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    These are all written to bishops, interestingly. Perhaps he intends for them to hold firm these theological truths and to be sure to teach them to others ("This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly") Apr 2, 2020 at 17:07

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The significance is stated in the last passage you reference, Titus 3:8.

… and these things I want you to affirm constantly…

Though Timothy was not written to Titus (obviously) it makes sense that Paul singling these things out as “faithful sayings” is his way of reminding Timothy (and Titus) of how important these points are and why they should remember to teach them.
It’d be like if you typed out a letter and you had a sentence in bold or italics to draw the reader’s attention in for emphasis.

I don’t think Paul’s reasoning for the phrase is more elaborate than that.

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Good question. If we compare and contrast these 5 passages in these 2 letters of Paul, we see that:

  1. Both Timothy and Titus were written to younger Church leaders dealing with false teaching

  2. There is no single topic addressed in each of these sayings - they include affirmations of the Gospel, the worthiness of pursuing leadership, and that godliness is better than physical exercise

  3. According to ESV study Bible, both letters were written mid-60s AD - so around the same time period

Most likely then, this is an expression Paul was using at this point in his life to emphasize points he wanted to make to young leaders, perhaps to emphasize points they should hold fast to in the midst of some specific question or concern.

Titus 3:4-7

But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, 5 he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident

1 Timothy 1:15

This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”

1 Timothy 3:1

This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.”

1 Timothy 4:8-9

For “physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.” 9 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance.

2 Timothy 2:11-13

This saying is trustworthy: If we died with him, we will also live with him. 12 If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we deny him, he will also deny us. 13 If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.

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If you take those five statements collectively, you get all the major features of the Gospel:

  1. Incarnation (1 Timothy 1:15)

  2. Death & Resurrection (2 Timothy 2:11-13)

  3. Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-7)

  4. Harvest of Righteousness (1 Timothy 4:8-9)

  5. Life of humble service (1 Timothy 3:1)

  6. Salvation by Grace and mercy (Titus 3:4-7)

  7. Salvation by faith (2 Timothy 2:11-13)

  8. Sanctification (Titus 3:4-7)

  9. God as Trinity (Titus 3:4-7)

It is unlikely that Paul had it in mind to do this, but since he had a firm grasp of the essentials of the Gospel, it is natural that if he said - Wait, I have one more thing to say - he would subconsciously spot any missing pieces and fill them in as statements to be emphasized.

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