THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TITUS Commentary by A. R. Faussett
Genuineness.–Clement of Rome quotes it [Epistle to the Corinthians, 2]; Irenæus [Against Heresies, 3.3.4] refers to it as Paul’s; Theophilus of Antioch [To Autolychus, 3.14], quotes it as Scripture. Compare Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 1, p. 299]; Tertullian [The Prescription against Heretics, 6].
Time and Place of Writing.–This Epistle seems to have been written from Corinth [Birks], subsequently to his first imprisonment, when Paul was on his way to Nicopolis (Tit 3:12) in Epirus, where he purposed passing the winter, shortly before his martyrdom, A.D. 67. Birks thinks, from the similarity of the Epistle to Titus and First Timothy, that both were written from the same place, Corinth, and at dates not widely apart; First Timothy shortly after coming to Corinth, before he had planned a journey to Epirus, the Epistle to Titus afterwards. The journey to Crete and Ephesus for the bearers of his letters would be easy from Corinth, and he could himself thence easily pass into Epirus. He had shortly before visited Crete, wherein a Church existed (though without due organization), the first foundation of which he may have partly laid at his former visit (Ac 27:7, &c.), when on his way to his first imprisonment at Rome. That he returned to the East after his first imprisonment appears most probable from Php 2:24; Phm 22. However, there may have been seeds of Christianity sown in Crete, even before his first visit, by the Cretans who heard Peter’s preaching on Pentecost (Ac 2:11).
Occasion of Writing.–Corrupt elements soon showed themselves in the Cretan Church, similar to those noticed in the Epistles to Timothy, as existing in the Ephesian Church, Judaism, false pretensions to science, and practical ungodliness. Paul, on his late visit, had left Titus in Crete to establish Church government, and ordain presbyters (deacons are not mentioned). Titus had been several times employed by Paul on a mission to the Corinthian Churches, and had probably thence visited Crete, which was within easy reach of Corinth. Hence the suitableness of his selection by the apostle for the superintendence of the Cretan Church. Paul now follows up with instructions by letter those he had already given to Titus in person on the qualifications of elders, and the graces becoming the old, the young, and females, and warns him against the unprofitable speculations so rife in Crete. The national character of the Cretans was low in the extreme, as Epimenides, quoted in Tit 1:12, paints it. Livy [History, 44.45], stigmatizes their avarice; Polybius [Histories, 6.46.9], their ferocity and fraud; and [Histories, 6.47.5], their mendacity, so much so, that “to Cretanize” is another name for to lie: they were included in the proverbial three infamous initials “K” or “C,” “Cappadocia, Crete, Cilicia.”
Notices of Titus.–It is strange that he is never mentioned by this name in Acts, and there seems none of those mentioned in that book who exactly answers to him. He was a Greek, and therefore a Gentile (Ga 2:1, 3), and converted by Paul (Tit 1:4). He accompanied the apostle on the deputation sent from the Church of Antioch to Jerusalem, to consult the apostles respecting the circumcision of Gentile converts (Ac 15:2); and, agreeably to the decree of the council there, was not circumcised. He was in company with Paul at Ephesus, whence he was sent to Corinth to commence the collection for the Jerusalem saints, and to ascertain the effect of the First Epistle on the Corinthians (2Co 7:6-9; 8:6; 12:18), and there showed an unmercenary spirit. He next proceeded to Macedon, where he joined Paul, who had been already eagerly expecting him at Troas (2Co 2:12, 13, “Titus my brother,” 2Co 7:6). He was then employed by the apostle in preparing the collection for the poor saints in Judea, and became the bearer of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (2Co 8:16, 17, 23). Paul in it calls him “my partner and fellow helper concerning you.” His being located in Crete (Tit 1:5) was subsequent to Paul’s first imprisonment, and shortly before the second, about A.D. 67, ten years subsequent to the last notice of him in Second Corinthians (2Co 12:18), A.D. 57. He probably met Paul, as the apostle desired, at Nicopolis; for his subsequent journey into Dalmatia, thence (or else from Rome, whither he may have accompanied Paul) would be more likely, than from the distant Crete (2Ti 4:10, written subsequently to the Epistle to Titus). In the unsettled state of things then, Titus’ episcopal commission in Crete was to be but temporary, Paul requiring the presence of Titus with himself, whenever Artemas or Tychicus should arrive in Crete and set him free from his duties there.
Tradition represents him to have died peaceably in Crete, as archbishop of Gortyna, at an advanced age.
Tit 1:1-16. Address: For What End Titus Was Left in Crete. Qualifications for Elders: Gainsayers in Crete Needing Reproof.
1. servant of God–not found elsewhere in the same connection. In Ro 1:1 it is “servant of Jesus Christ” (Ga 1:10; Php 1:1; compare Ac 16:17; Re 1:1; 15:3). In Ro 1:1, there follows, “called to be an apostle,” which corresponds to the general designation of the office first, “servant of God,” here, followed by the special description, “apostle of Jesus Christ.” The full expression of his apostolic office answers, in both Epistles, to the design, and is a comprehensive index to the contents. The peculiar form here would never have proceeded from a forger.
according to the faith–rather, “for,” “with a view to subserve the faith”; this is the object of my apostleship (compare Tit 1:4, 9; Ro 1:5).
the elect–for whose sake we ought to endure all things (2Ti 2:10). This election has its ground, not in anything belonging to those thus distinguished, but in the purpose and will of God from everlasting (2Ti 1:9; Ro 8:30-33; compare Lu 18:7; Eph 1:4; Col 3:12). Ac 13:48 shows that all faith on the part of the elect, rests on the divine foreordination: they do not become elect by their faith, but receive faith, and so become believers, because they are elect.
and the acknowledging of the truth–“and (for promoting) the full knowledge of the truth,” that is, the Christian truth (Eph 1:13).
after godliness–that is, which belongs to piety: opposed to the knowledge which has not for its object the truth, but error, doctrinal and practical (Tit 1:11, 16; 1Ti 6:3); or even which has for its object mere earthly truth, not growth in the divine life. “Godliness,” or “piety,” is a term peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles: a fact explained by the apostle having in them to combat doctrine tending to “ungodliness” (2Ti 2:16; compare Tit 2:11, 12).
2. In hope of eternal life–connected with the whole preceding sentence. That whereon rests my aim as an apostle to promote the elect’s faith and full knowledge of the truth, is, “the hope of eternal life” (Tit 2:13; 3:7; Ac 23:6; 24:15; 28:20).
that cannot lie–(Ro 3:4; 11:29; Heb 6:18).
promised before the world began–a contracted expression for “purposed before the world began (literally, ‘before the ages of time’), and promised actually in time,” the promise springing from the eternal purpose; as in 2Ti 1:9, the gift of grace was the result of the eternal purpose “before the world began.”
3. in due times–Greek, “in its own seasons,” the seasons appropriate to it, and fixed by God for it (Ac 1:7).
manifested–implying that the “promise,” Tit 1:2, had lain hidden in His eternal purpose heretofore (compare Col 1:26; 2Ti 1:9, 10).
his word–equivalent to “eternal life” (Tit 1:2; Joh 5:24; 6:63; 17:3, 17).
through preaching–Greek, “in preaching,” of rather as Alford (see on 2Ti 4:17), “in the (Gospel) proclamation (the thing preached, the Gospel) with which I was entrusted.”
according to–in pursuance of (compare 1Ti 1:1).
of God our Saviour–rather as Greek, “of our Saviour God.” God is predicated of our Saviour (compare Jude 25; Lu 1:47). Also Ps 24:5; Isa 12:2; 45:15, 21, Septuagint. Applied to Jesus, Tit 1:4; Tit 2:13; 3:6; 2Ti 1:10.
4. Titus, mine own son–Greek, “my genuine child” (1Ti 1:2), that is, converted by my instrumentality (1Co 4:17; Phm 10).
after the common faith–a genuine son in respect to (in virtue of) the faith common to all the people of God, comprising in a common brotherhood Gentiles as well as Jews, therefore embracing Titus a Gentile (2Pe 1:1; Jude 3).
Grace, mercy, and peace–“mercy” is omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts. But one of the best and oldest manuscripts supports it (compare Notes, see on 1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:2). There are many similarities of phrase in the Pastoral Epistles.
the Lord Jesus Christ–The oldest manuscripts read only “Christ Jesus.”
our Saviour–found thus added to “Christ” only in Paul’s Pastoral Epistles, and in 2Pe 1:1, 11; 2:20; 3:18.
5. I left thee–“I left thee behind” [Alford] when I left the island: not implying permanence of commission (compare 1Ti 1:3).
in Crete–now Candia.
set in order–rather as Greek, “that thou mightest follow up (the work begun by me), setting right the things that are wanting,” which I was unable to complete by reason of the shortness of my stay in Crete. Christianity, doubtless, had long existed in Crete: there were some Cretans among those who heard Peter’s preaching on Pentecost (Ac 2:11). The number of Jews in Crete was large (Tit 1:10), and it is likely that those scattered in the persecution of Stephen (Ac 11:19) preached to them, as they did to the Jews of Cyprus, &c. Paul also was there on his voyage to Rome (Ac 27:7-12). By all these instrumentalities the Gospel was sure to reach Crete. But until Paul’s later visit, after his first imprisonment at Rome, the Cretan Christians were without Church organization. This Paul began, and had commissioned (before leaving Crete) Titus to go on with, and now reminds him of that commission.
ordain–rather, “appoint,” “constitute.”
in every city–“from city to city.”
as I … appointed thee–that is, as I directed thee; prescribing as well the act of constituting elders, as also the manner of doing so, which latter includes the qualifications required in a presbyter presently stated. Those called “elders” here are called “bishops” in Tit 1:7. Elder is the term of dignity in relation to the college of presbyters; bishop points to the duties of his office in relation to the flock. From the unsound state of the Cretan Christians described here, we see the danger of the want of Church government. The appointment of presbyters was designed to check idle talk and speculation, by setting forth the “faithful word.”
6. (Compare Notes, see on 1Ti 3:2-4.) The thing dwelt on here as the requisite in a bishop, is a good reputation among those over whom he is to be set. The immorality of the Cretan professors rendered this a necessary requisite in one who was to be a reprover: and their unsoundness in doctrine also made needful great steadfastness in the faith (Tit 1:9, 13).
having faithful children–that is, believing children. He who could not bring his children to faith, how shall he bring others? [Bengel]. Alford explains, “established in the faith.”
not accused–not merely not riotous, but “not (even) accused of riot” (“profligacy” [Alford]; “dissolute life” [Wahl]).
unruly–insubordinate; opposed to “in subjection” (1Ti 3:4).
7. For … must–The emphasis is on “must.” The reason why I said “blameless,” is the very idea of a “bishop” (an overseer of the flock; he here substitutes for “presbyter” the term which expresses his duties) involves the necessity for such blamelessness, if he is to have influence over the flock.
steward of God–The greater the master is, the greater the virtues required in His servant [Bengel], (1Ti 3:15); the Church is God’s house, over which the minister is set as a steward (Heb 3:2-6; 1Pe 4:10, 17). Note: ministers are not merely Church officers, but God’s stewards; Church government is of divine appointment.
not self-willed–literally, “self-pleasing”; unaccommodating to others; harsh, the opposite of “a lover of hospitality” (Tit 1:6); so Nabal (1Sa 25:1-44); self-loving and imperious; such a spirit would incapacitate him for leading a willing flock, instead of driving.
not given to wine–(See on 1Ti 3:3; 1Ti 3:8).
not given to filthy lucre–not making the Gospel a means of gain (1Ti 3:3, 8). In opposition to those “teaching for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit 1:11; 1Ti 6:5; 1Pe 5:2).
8. lover of hospitality–needed especially in those days (Ro 12:13; 1Ti 3:2; Heb 13:2; 1Pe 4:9; 3Jo 5). Christians travelling from one place to another were received and forwarded on their journey by their brethren.
lover of good men–Greek, “a lover of (all that is) good,” men or things (Php 4:8, 9).
sober–towards one’s self; “discreet”; “self-restrained” [Alford], (see on 1Ti 2:9).
holy–towards God (see on 1Th 2:10).
temperate–“One having his passions, tongue, hand and eyes, at command” [Chrysostom]; “continent.”
9. Holding fast–Holding firmly to (compare Mt 6:24; Lu 16:13).
the faithful–true and trustworthy (1Ti 1:15).
word as he has been taught–literally, “the word (which is) according to the teaching” which he has received (compare 1Ti 4:6, end; 2Ti 3:14).
by–Translate as Greek, “to exhort in doctrine (instruction) which is sound”; sound doctrine or instruction is the element IN which his exhorting is to have place … On “sound” (peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles), see 1Ti 1:10; 6:3.
convince–rather, “reprove” [Alford], (Tit 1:13).
and–omitted in the oldest manuscripts. “There are many unruly persons, vain talkers, and deceivers”; “unruly” being predicated of both vain talkers and deceivers.
vain talkers–opposed to “holding fast the faithful word” (Tit 1:9). “Vain jangling” (1Ti 1:6); “foolish questions, unprofitable and vain” (Tit 3:9). The source of the evil was corrupted Judaism (Tit 1:14). Many Jews were then living in Crete, according to Josephus; so the Jewish leaven remained in some of them after conversion.
deceivers–literally, “deceivers of the minds of others” (Greek, Ga 6:3).
11. mouths … stopped–literally, “muzzled,” “bridled” as an unruly beast (compare Ps 32:9).
who–Greek, “(seeing that they are) such men as”; or “inasmuch as they” [Ellicott].
subvert … houses–“overthrowing” their “faith” (2Ti 2:18). “They are the devil’s levers by which he subverts the houses of God” [Theophylact].
for filthy lucre–(1Ti 3:3, 8; 6:5).
12. One–Epimenides of Phæstus, or Gnossus, in Crete, about 600. He was sent for to purify Athens from its pollution occasioned by Cylon. He was regarded as a diviner and prophet. The words here are taken probably from his treatise “concerning oracles.” Paul also quotes from two other heathen writers, Aratus (Ac 17:28) and Menander (1Co 15:33), but he does not honor them so far as even to mention their names.
of themselves … their own–which enhances his authority as a witness. “To Cretanize” was proverbial for to lie: as “to Corinthianize” was for to be dissolute.
alway liars–not merely at times, as every natural man is. Contrast Tit 1:2, “God that cannot lie.” They love “fables” (Tit 1:14); even the heathen poets laughed at their lying assertion that they had in their country the sepulchre of Jupiter.
evil beasts–rude, savage, cunning, greedy. Crete was a country without wild beasts. Epimenides’ sarcasm was that its human inhabitants supplied the place of wild beasts.
slow bellies–indolent through pampering their bellies. They themselves are called “bellies,” for that is the member for which they live (Ro 16:18; Php 3:19).
13. This witness–“This testimony (though coming from a Cretan) is true.”
sharply–Gentleness would not reclaim so perverse offenders.
that they–that those seduced by the false teachers may be brought back to soundness in the faith. Their malady is strifes about words and questions (Tit 3:9; 1Ti 6:4).
14. Jewish fables–(See on 1Ti 1:4; 1Ti 4:7; 2Ti 4:4). These formed the transition stage to subsequent Gnosticism; as yet the error was but profitless, and not tending to godliness, rather than openly opposed to the faith.
commandments of men–as to ascetic abstinence (Tit 1:15; Mr 7:7-9; Col 2:16, 20-23; 1Ti 4:3).
that turn from the truth–whose characteristic is that they turn away from the truth (2Ti 4:4).
15. all things–external, “are pure” in themselves; the distinction of pure and impure is not in the things, but in the disposition of him who uses them; in opposition to “the commandments of men” (Tit 1:14), which forbade certain things as if impure intrinsically. “To the pure” inwardly, that is, those purified in heart by faith (Ac 15:9; Ro 14:20; 1Ti 4:3), all outward things are pure; all are open to, their use. Sin alone touches and defiles the soul (Mt 23:26; Lu 11:41).
nothing pure–either within or without (Ro 14:23).
mind–their mental sense and intelligence.
conscience–their moral consciousness of the conformity or discrepancy between their motives and acts on the one hand, and God’s law on the other. A conscience and a mind defiled are represented as the source of the errors opposed in the Pastoral Epistles (1Ti 1:19; 3:9; 6:5).
16. They profess–that is, make a profession acknowledging God. He does not deny their theoretical knowledge of God, but that they practically know Him.
deny him–the opposite of the previous “profess” or “confess” Him (1Ti 5:8; 2Ti 2:12; 3:5).
abominable–themselves, though laying so much stress on the contracting of abomination from outward things (compare Le 11:10-13; Ro 2:22).
disobedient–to God (Tit 3:3; Eph 2:2; 5:6).
reprobate–rejected as worthless when tested (see on Ro 1:28; 1Co 9:27; 2Ti 3:8).
Tit 2:1-15. Directions to Titus: How to Exhort Various Classes of Believers: The Grace of God in Christ Our Grand Incentive to Live Godly.
1. But … thou–in contrast to the reprobate seducers stigmatized in Tit 1:11, 15, 16. “He deals more in exhortations, because those intent on useless questions needed chiefly to be recalled to the study of a holy, moral life; for nothing so effectually allays men’s wandering curiosity, as the being brought to recognize those duties in which they ought to exercise themselves” [Calvin].
speak–without restraint: contrast Tit 1:11, “mouths … stopped.”
doctrine–“instruction” or “teaching.”
2. sober–Translated “vigilant,” as sober men alone can be (1Ti 3:2). But “sober” here answers to “not given to wine,” Tit 2:3; Tit 1:7.
grave–“dignified”; behaving with reverent propriety.
temperate–“self-restrained”; “discreet” [Alford], (Tit 1:8; 1Ti 2:9).
faith … charity [love] … patience–combined in 1Ti 6:11. “Faith, hope, charity” (1Co 13:13). “Patience,” Greek, “enduring perseverance,” is the attendant on, and is supported by, “hope” (1Co 13:7; 1Th 1:3). It is the grace which especially becomes old men, being the fruit of ripened experience derived from trials overcome (Ro 5:3).
as becometh holiness–“as becometh women consecrated to God” [Wahl]: being by our Christian calling priestesses unto God (Eph 5:3; 1Ti 2:10). “Observant of sacred decorum” [Bengel].
not false accusers–not slanderers: a besetting sin of some elderly women.
given to much wine–the besetting sin of the Cretans (Tit 1:12). Literally, “enslaved to much wine.” Addiction to wine is slavery (Ro 6:16; 2Pe 2:19).
teachers–in private: not in public (1Co 14:34; 1Ti 2:11, 12); influencing for good the younger women by precept and example.
4. to be sober–Greek, “self-restrained,” “discreet”; the same Greek as in Tit 2:2, “temperate.” (But see on Tit 2:2; compare Note, 2Ti 1:7). Alford therefore translates, “That they school (admonish in their duty) the young women to be lovers of their husbands,” &c. (the foundation of all domestic happiness). It was judicious that Titus, a young man, should admonish the young women, not directly, but through the older women.
5. keepers at home–as “guardians of the house,” as the Greek expresses. The oldest manuscripts read, “Workers at home”: active in household duties (Pr 7:11; 1Ti 5:13).
good–kind, beneficent (Mt 20:15; Ro 5:7; 1Pe 2:18). Not churlish and niggardly, but thrifty as housewives.
obedient–rather “submissive,” as the Greek is translated; (see on Eph 5:21, 22; Eph 5:24).
their own–marking the duty of subjection which they owe them, as being their own husbands (Eph 5:22; Col 3:18).
blasphemed–“evil spoken of.” That no reproach may be cast on the Gospel, through the inconsistencies of its professors (Tit 2:8, 10; Ro 2:24; 1Ti 5:14; 6:1). “Unless we are virtuous, blasphemy will come through us to the faith” [Theophylact].
6. Young–Greek, “The younger men.”
sober-minded–self-restrained [Alford]. “Nothing is so hard at this age as to overcome pleasures and follies” [Chrysostom].
7. In–with respect to all things.
thyself a pattern–though but a young man thyself. All teaching is useless unless the teacher’s example confirm his word.
in doctrine–in thy ministerial teaching (showing) uncorruptness, that is, untainted purity of motive on thy part (compare 2Co 11:3), so as to be “a pattern” to all. As “gravity,” &c., refers to Titus himself, so “uncorruptness”; though, doubtless, uncorruptness of the doctrine will be sure to follow as a consequence of the Christian minister being of simple, uncorrupt integrity himself.
gravity–dignified seriousness in setting forth the truth.
sincerity–omitted in the oldest manuscripts.
8. speech–discourse in public and private ministrations.
he that is of the contrary part–the adversary (Tit 1:9; 2Ti 2:25), whether he be heathen or Jew.
may be ashamed–put to confusion by the power of truth and innocence (compare Tit 2:5, 10; 1Ti 5:14; 6:1).
no evil thing–in our acts, or demeanor.
of you–So one of the oldest manuscripts. Other very old manuscripts read, “of US,” Christians.
to please them well–“to give satisfaction” [Alford]. To be complaisant in everything; to have that zealous desire to gain the master’s goodwill which will anticipate the master’s wish and do even more than is required. The reason for the frequent recurrence of injunctions to slaves to subjection (Eph 6:5, &c.; Col 3:22; 1Ti 6:1, &c.; 1Pe 2:18) was, that in no rank was there more danger of the doctrine of the spiritual equality and freedom of Christians being misunderstood than in that of slaves. It was natural for the slave who had become a Christian, to forget his place and put himself on a social level with his master. Hence the charge for each to abide in the sphere in which he was when converted (1Co 7:20-24).
not answering again–in contradiction to the master: so the Greek, “not contradicting” [Wahl].
10. Not purloining–Greek, “Not appropriating” what does not belong to one. It means “keeping back” dishonestly or deceitfully (Ac 5:2, 3).
showing–manifesting in acts.
good–really good; not so in mere appearance (Eph 6:5, 6; Col 3:22-24). “The heathen do not judge of the Christian’s doctrines from the doctrine, but from his actions and life” [Chrysostom]. Men will write, fight, and even die for their religion; but how few live for it! Translate, “That they may adorn the doctrine of our Saviour God,” that is, God the Father, the originating author of salvation (compare Note, see on 1Ti 1:1). God deigns to have His Gospel-doctrine adorned even by slaves, who are regarded by the world as no better than beasts of burden. “Though the service be rendered to an earthly master, the honor redounds to God, as the servant’s goodwill flows from the fear of God” [Theophylact]. Even slaves, low as is their status, should not think the influence of their example a matter of no consequence to religion: how much more those in a high position. His love in being “our Saviour” is the strongest ground for our adorning His doctrine by our lives. This is the force of “For” in Tit 2:11.
11. the grace of God–God’s gratuitous favor in the scheme of redemption.
hath appeared–Greek, “hath been made to appear,” or “shine forth” (Isa 9:2; Lu 1:79). “hath been manifested” (Tit 3:4), after having been long hidden in the loving counsels of God (Col 1:26; 2Ti 1:9, 10). The image is illustrated in Ac 27:20. The grace of God hath now been embodied in Jesus, the brightness of the Father’s glory,” manifested as the “Sun of righteousness,” “the Word made flesh.” The Gospel dispensation is hence termed “the day” (1Th 5:5, 8; there is a double “appearing,” that of “grace” here, that of “glory,” Tit 2:13; compare Ro 13:12). Connect it not as English Version, but, “The grace … that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared,” or “been manifested” (1Ti 2:4; 4:10). Hence God is called “our Saviour” (Tit 2:10). The very name Jesus means the same.
to all–of whom he enumerated the different classes (Tit 2:2-9): even to servants; to us Gentiles, once aliens from God. Hence arises our obligation to all men (Tit 3:2).
12. Teaching–Greek, “disciplining us.” Grace exercises discipline, and is imparted in connection with disciplining chastisements (1Co 11:32; Heb 12:6, 7). The education which the Christian receives from “the grace” of God is a discipline often trying to flesh and blood: just as children need disciplining. The discipline which it exercises teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Greek, “age,” or course of things) where such self-discipline is needed, seeing that its spirit is opposed to God (Tit 1:12, 16; 1Co 1:20; 3:18, 19): in the coming world we may gratify every desire without need of self-discipline, because all desires there will be conformable to the will of God.
that–Greek, “in order that”; the end of the “disciplining” is “in order that … we may live soberly,” &c. This point is lost by the translation, “teaching us.”
denying … lusts–(Lu 9:23). The Greek aorist expresses “denying once for all.” We deny “worldly lusts” when we withhold our consent from them, when we refuse the delight which they suggest, and the act to which they solicit us, nay, tear them up by the roots out of our soul and mind [ST. Bernard, Sermon 11].
worldly lusts–The Greek article expresses, “the lusts of the world,” “all worldly lusts” [Alford], (Ga 5:16; Eph 2:3; 1Jo 2:15-17; 5:19). The world (cosmos) will not come to an end when this present age (aeon) or course of things shall end.
live soberly, righteously, and godly–the positive side of the Christian character; as “denying … lusts” was the negative. “Soberly,” that is, with self-restraint, in relation to one’s self: “righteously” or justly, in relation to our neighbor; “godly” or piously, in relation to God (not merely amiably and justly, but something higher, godly, with love and reverence toward God). These three comprise our “disciplining” in faith and love, from which he passes to hope (Tit 2:13).
13. (Php 3:20, 21).
Looking for–with constant expectation (so the Greek) and with joy (Ro 8:19). This will prove the antidote to worldly lusts, and the stimulus to “live in this present world” conformably to this expectation. The Greek is translated, “waiting for,” in Lu 2:25.
blessed–bringing blessedness (Ro 4:7, 8).
hope–that is, object of hope (Ro 8:24; Ga 5:5; Col 1:5).
the glorious appearing–There is but one Greek article to both “hope” and “appearing,” which marks their close connection (the hope being about to be realized only at the appearing of Christ). Translate, “The blessed hope and manifestation (compare Note, see on Tit 2:11) of the glory.” The Greek for “manifestation” is translated “brightness” in 2Th 2:8. As His “coming” (Greek, “parousia”) expresses the fact; so “brightness, appearing,” or “manifestation” (epiphaneia) expresses His personal visibility when He shall come.
the great God and our Saviour Jesus–There is but one Greek article to “God” and “Saviour,” which shows that both are predicated of one and the same Being. “Of Him who is at once the great God and our Saviour.” Also (2) “appearing” (epiphaneia) is never by Paul predicated of God the Father (Joh 1:18; 1Ti 6:16), or even of “His glory” (as Alford explains it): it is invariably applied to Christ’s coming, to which (at His first advent, compare 2Ti 1:10) the kindred verb “appeared” (epephanee), Tit 2:11, refers (1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 4:1, 8). Also (3) in the context (Tit 2:14) there is no reference to the Father, but to Christ alone; and here there is no occasion for reference to the Father in the exigencies of the context. Also (4) the expression “great God,” as applied to Christ, is in accordance with the context, which refers to the glory of His appearing; just as “the true God” is predicated of Christ, 1Jo 5:20. The phrase occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but often in the Old Testament. De 7:21; 10:17, predicated of Jehovah, who, as their manifested Lord, led the Israelites through the wilderness, doubtless the Second Person in the Trinity. Believers now look for the manifestation of His glory, inasmuch as they shall share in it. Even the Socinian explanation, making “the great God” to be the Father, “our Saviour,” the Son, places God and Christ on an equal relation to “the glory” of the future appearing: a fact incompatible with the notion that Christ is not divine; indeed it would be blasphemy so to couple any mere created being with God.
14. gave himself–“The forcible ‘Himself, His whole self, the greatest gift ever given,’ must not be overlooked.”
for us–Greek, “in our behalf.”
redeem us–deliver us from bondage by paying the price of His precious blood. An appropriate image in addressing bond-servants (Tit 2:9, 10):
from all iniquity–the essence of sin, namely, “transgression of the law”: in bondage to which we were till then. The aim of His redemption was to redeem us, not merely from the penalty, but from the being of all iniquity. Thus he reverts to the “teaching” in righteousness, or disciplining effect of the grace of God that bringeth salvation (Tit 2:11, 12).
peculiar–peculiarly His own, as Israel was of old.
zealous–in doing and promoting “good works.”
15. with all authority–Translate, “authoritativeness” (compare “sharply,” Tit 1:13).
Let no man despise thee–Speak with such vigor as to command respect (1Ti 4:12). Warn them with such authority that no one may think himself above (so the Greek literally) the need of admonition [Tittmann, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament].
Tit 3:1-15. What Titus Is to Teach Concerning Christians’ Behavior towards the World: How He Is to Treat Heretics: When and Where He Is to Meet Paul. Salutation. Conclusion.
1. Put them in mind–as they are in danger of forgetting their duty, though knowing it. The opposition of Christianity to heathenism, and the natural disposition to rebellion of the Jews under the Roman empire (of whom many lived in Crete), might lead many to forget practically what was a recognized Christian principle in theory, submission to the powers that be. Diodorus Siculus mentions the tendency of the Cretans to riotous insubordination.
to be subject–“willingly” (so the Greek).
principalities … powers–Greek, “magistracies … authorities.”
to obey–the commands of “magistrates”; not necessarily implying spontaneous obedience. Willing obedience is implied in “ready to every good work.” Compare Ro 13:3, as showing that obedience to the magistracy would tend to good works, since the magistrate’s aim generally is to favor the good and punish the bad. Contrast “disobedient” (Tit 3:3).
2. To speak evil of no man–especially, not of “dignities” and magistrates.
no brawlers–“not quarrelsome,” not attacking others.
gentle–towards those who attack us. Yielding, considerate, not urging one’s rights to the uttermost, but forbearing and kindly (see on Php 4:5). Very different from the innate greediness and spirit of aggression towards others which characterized the Cretans.
meekness–(See on 2Co 10:1); the opposite of passionate severity.
unto all men–The duty of Christian conduct towards all men is the proper consequence of the universality of God’s grace to all men, so often set forth in the pastoral Epistles.
3. For–Our own past sins should lead us to be lenient towards those of others. “Despise none, for such wast thou also.” As the penitent thief said to his fellow thief, “Dost thou not fear God … seeing that thou art in the same condemnation.”
were–Contrast Tit 3:4, “But when,” that is, now: a favorite contrast in Paul’s writing, that between our past state by nature, and our present state of deliverance from it by grace. As God treated us, we ought to treat our neighbor.
foolish–wanting right reason in our course of living. Irrational. The exact picture of human life without grace. Grace is the sole remedy for foolishness.
deceived–led astray. The same Greek, “out of the way” (Heb 5:2).
serving–Greek, “in bondage to,” serving as slaves.”
divers–The cloyed appetite craves constant variety.
pleasures–of the flesh.
hateful … hating–correlatives. Provoking the hatred of others by their detestable character and conduct, and in turn hating them.
4. To show how little reason the Cretan Christians had to be proud of themselves, and despise others not Christians (see on Tit 3:2, 3). It is to the “kindness and love of God,” not to their own merits, that they owe salvation.
kindness–Greek, “goodness,” “benignity,” which manifests His grace.
love … toward man–teaching us to have such “love (benevolence) toward man” (Greek, “philanthropy”), “showing all meekness unto all men” (Tit 3:2), even as God had “toward man” (Tit 2:11); opposed to the “hateful and hating” characteristics of unrenewed men, whose wretchedness moved God’s benevolent kindness.
of God our Saviour–Greek, “of our Saviour God,” namely, the Father (Tit 1:3), who “saved us” (Tit 3:5) “through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit 3:6).
appeared–Greek, “was made to appear”; was manifested.
5. Not by–Greek, “Out of”; “not as a result springing from works,” &c.
of righteousness–Greek, “in righteousness,” that is, wrought “in a state of righteousness”: as “deeds … wrought in God.” There was an utter absence in us of the element (“righteousness”) in which alone righteous works could be done, and so necessarily an absence of the works. “We neither did works of righteousness, nor were saved in consequence of them; but His goodness did the whole” [Theophylact].
we–emphatically opposed to “His.”
mercy–the prompting cause of our salvation individually: “In pursuance of His mercy.” His kindness and love to man were manifested in redemption once for all wrought by Him for mankind generally; His mercy is the prompting cause for our individual realization of it. Faith is presupposed as the instrument of our being “saved”; our being so, then, is spoken of as an accomplished fact. Faith is not mentioned, but only God’s part. as Paul’s object here is not to describe man’s new state, but the saving agency of God in bringing about that state, independent of all merit on the man’s part (see on Tit 3:4).
by–Greek, “through”; by means of.
the washing–rather, “the laver,” that is, the baptismal font.
of regeneration–designed to be the visible instrument of regeneration. “The apostles are wont to draw an argument from the sacraments to prove the thing therein signified, because it ought to be a recognized principle among the godly, that God does not mark us with empty signs, but by His power inwardly makes good what He demonstrates by the outward sign. Wherefore baptism is congruously and truly called the laver of regeneration. We must connect the sign and thing signified, so as not to make the sign empty and ineffectual; and yet not, for the sake of honoring the sign, to detract from the Holy Spirit what is peculiarly His” [Calvin], (1Pe 3:21). Adult candidates for baptism are presupposed to have had repentance and faith (for Paul often assumes in faith and charity that those addressed are what they profess to be, though in fact some of them were not so, 1Co 6:11), in which case baptism would be the visible “laver or regeneration” to them, “faith being thereby confirmed, and grace increased, by virtue of prayer to God” [Article XXVII, Church of England]. Infants are charitably presumed to have received a grace in connection with their Christian descent, in answer to the believing prayers of their parents or guardians presenting them for baptism, which grace is visibly sealed and increased by baptism, “the laver of regeneration.” They are presumed to be then regenerated, until years of developed consciousness prove whether they have been actually so or not. “Born of (from) water and (no ‘of’ in Greek) the Spirit.” The Word is the remote and anterior instrument of the new birth; Baptism, the proximate instrument. The Word, the instrument to the individual; Baptism, in relation to the Society of Christians. The laver of cleansing stood outside the door of the tabernacle, wherein the priest had to wash before entering the Holy Place; so we must wash in the laver of regeneration before we can enter the Church, whose members are “a royal priesthood.” “Baptism by the Spirit” (whereof water baptism is the designed accompanying seal) makes the difference between Christian baptism and that of John. As Paul presupposes the outward Church is the visible community of the redeemed, so he speaks of baptism on the supposition that it answers to its idea; that all that is inward belonging to its completeness accompanied the outward. Hence he here asserts of outward baptism whatever is involved in the believing appropriation of the divine facts which it symbolizes, whatever is realized when baptism fully corresponds to its original design. So Ga 3:27; language holding good only of those in whom the inward living communion and outward baptism coalesce. “Saved us” applies fully to those truly regenerate alone; in a general sense it may include many who, though put within reach of salvation, shall not finally be saved. “Regeneration” occurs only once more in New Testament, Mt 19:28, that is, the new birth of the heaven and earth at Christ’s second coming to renew all material things, the human body included, when the creature, now travailing in labor-throes to the birth, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Regeneration, which now begins in the believer’s soul, shall then be extended to his body, and thence to all creation.
and renewing–not “the laver (‘washing’) of renewing,” but “and BY the renewing,” &c., following “saved us.” To make “renewing of the Holy Ghost” follow “the laver” would destroy the balance of the clauses of the sentence, and would make baptism the seal, not only of regeneration, but also of the subsequent process of progressive sanctification (“renewing of the Holy Ghost”). Regeneration is a thing once for all done; renewing is a process daily proceeding. As “the washing,” or “laver,” is connected with “regeneration,” so the “renewing of the Holy Ghost” is connected with “shed on us abundantly” (Tit 3:6).
6. Which–the Holy Ghost.
he shed–Greek, “poured out”; not only on the Church in general at Pentecost, but also “on us” individually. This pouring out of the Spirit comprehends the grace received before, in, and subsequently to, baptism.
abundantly–Greek, “richly” (Col 3:16).
through Jesus Christ–the channel and Mediator of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
our Saviour–immediately; as the Father is mediately “our Saviour.” The Father is the author of our salvation and saves us by Jesus Christ.
7. That, &c.–the purpose which He aimed at in having “saved us” (Tit 3:5), namely, “That being (having been) justified (accounted righteous through faith at our ‘regeneration,’ and made righteous by the daily ‘renewing of the Holy Ghost’) by His grace (as opposed to works, Tit 3:5) we should be made heirs.”
his grace–Greek, “the grace of the former,” that is, God (Tit 3:4; Ro 5:15).
according to the hope of eternal life–Tit 1:2, and also the position of the Greek words, confirm English Version, that is, agreeably to the hope of eternal life; the eternal inheritance fully satisfying the hope. Bengel and Ellicott explain it, “heirs of eternal life, in the way of hope,” that is, not yet in actual possession. Such a blessed hope, which once was not possessed, will lead a Christian to practice holiness and meekness toward others, the lesson especially needed by the Cretans.
8. Greek, “faithful is the saying.” A formula peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles. Here “the saying” is the statement (Tit 3:4-7) as to the gratuitousness of God’s gift of salvation. Answering to the “Amen.”
these things, &c.–Greek, “concerning these things (the truths dwelt on, Tit 3:4-7; not as English Version, what follow), I will that thou affirm (insist) strongly and persistently, in order that they who have believed God (the Greek for ‘believed in God’ is different, Joh 14:1. ‘They who have learnt to credit God’ in what He saith) may be careful (‘Solicitously sedulous’; diligence is necessary) to maintain (literally, ‘to set before themselves so as to sustain’) good works.” No longer applying their care to “unprofitable” and unpractical speculations (Tit 3:9).
These things–These results of doctrine (“good works”) are “good and profitable unto men,” whereas no such practical results flow from “foolish questions.” So Grotius and Wiesinger. But Alford, to avoid the tautology, “these (good works) are good unto men,” explains, “these truths” (Tit 3:4-7).
9. avoid–stand aloof from. Same Greek, as in 2Ti 2:16; see on 2Ti 2:16.
foolish–Greek, “insipid”; producing no moral fruit. “Vain talkers.”
genealogies–akin to the “fables” (see on 1Ti 1:4). Not so much direct heresy as yet is here referred to, as profitless discussions about genealogies of aeons, &c., which ultimately led to Gnosticism. Synagogue discourses were termed daraschoth, that is, “discussions.” Compare “disputer of this world (Greek, ‘dispensation’).”
strivings about the law–about the authority of the “commandments of men,” which they sought to confirm by the law (Tit 1:14; see on 1Ti 1:7), and about the mystical meaning of the various parts of the law in connection with the “genealogies.”
10. heretic–Greek “heresy,” originally meant a division resulting from individual self-will; the individual doing and teaching what he chose, independent of the teaching and practice of the Church. In course of time it came to mean definitely “heresy” in the modern sense; and in the later Epistles it has almost assumed this meaning. The heretics of Crete, when Titus was there, were in doctrine followers of their own self-willed “questions” reprobated in Tit 3:9, and immoral in practice.
reject–decline, avoid; not formal excommunication, but, “have nothing more to do with him,” either in admonition or intercourse.
11. is … subverted–“is become perverse.”
condemned of himself–He cannot say, no one told him better: continuing the same after frequent admonition, he is self-condemned. “He sinneth” wilfully against knowledge.
12. When I shall send–have sent.
Artemas or Tychicus–to supply thy place in Crete. Artemas is said to have been subsequently bishop of Lystra. Tychicus was sent twice by Paul from Rome to Lesser Asia in his first imprisonment (which shows how well qualified he was to become Titus’ successor in Crete); Eph 6:21; and in his second, 2Ti 4:12. Tradition makes him subsequently bishop of Chalcedon, in Bithynia.
Nicopolis–“the city of victory,” called so from the battle of Actium, in Epirus. This Epistle was probably written from Corinth in the autumn. Paul purposed a journey through Ætolia and Acarnania, into Epirus, and there “to winter.” See my Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles.
13. Bring … on their journey–Enable them to proceed forward by supplying necessaries for their journey.
Zenas–the contracted form of Zenodorus.
lawyer–a Jewish “scribe,” who, when converted, still retained the title from his former occupation. A civil lawyer.
Apollos–with Zenas, probably the bearers of this Epistle. In 1Co 16:12, Apollos is mentioned as purposing to visit Corinth; his now being at Corinth (on the theory of Paul being at Corinth when he wrote) accords with this purpose. Crete would be on his way either to Palestine or his native place, Alexandria. Paul and Apollos thus appear in beautiful harmony in that very city where their names had been formerly the watchword of unchristian party work. It was to avoid this party rivalry that Apollos formerly was unwilling to visit Corinth though Paul desired him. Hippolytus mentions Zenas as one of the Seventy, and afterwards bishop of Diospolis.
14. And … also–Greek, “But … also.” Not only thou, but let others also of “our” fellow believers (or “whom we have gained over at Crete”) with thee.
for necessary uses–to supply the necessary wants of Christian missionaries and brethren, according as they stand in need in their journeys for the Lord’s cause. Compare Tit 1:8, “a lover of hospitality.”
15. Greet–“Salute them that love us in the faith.” All at Crete had not this love rooted in faith, the true bond of fellowship. A salutation peculiar to this Epistle, such as no forger would have used.
Grace–Greek, “The grace,” namely, of God.
with you all–not that the Epistle is addressed to all the Cretan Christians, but Titus would naturally impart it to his flock.