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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Titus 1

 

 

Verse 1

Titus 1:1. δοῦλος θεοῦ: The only parallel to this phrase in the opening formula of any other epistle in the N.T. is James 1:1; but there it is, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is no less obvious than necessary to note that this variation from St. Paul’s formula δοῦλος ἰησ. χρ. (Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1) would not be likely in a pseudepigraphic writing.

ἀπόστολος δὲ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ: See note on 1 Timothy 1:1. The δέ is not merely copulative, as in Judges 1:1; but marks the antithesis between the two aspects of Paul’s relationship to the Supreme: between God as known to his fathers, and as recently manifested in the sphere of history.

κατὰ πίστιν κ. τ. λ.: to be connected with ἀπόστολος only. It is natural to suppose that κατά has the same force here as in 2 Timothy 1:1, κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς, where see note. His apostleship was for the confirmation of the faith of God’s elect, and for the spreading of the knowledge, etc., etc. We take κατά as = for or in regard to; and expand it according to the exigencies of the context. Here God’s elect does not mean those whom God intends to select; but those who have been externally selected, and who consequently possess faith. See reff. and Acts 13:48. They do not need that it should be generated in them, but that it should be fostered. See note on 2 Timothy 2:10. Contrast ἀποστολὴν εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, Romans 1:5, where the Gospel-propagation function of his apostleship is indicated.

The rendering here of the Vulg. and of the English versions, according to the faith, etc., secundum fidem, preserves the common meaning of κατά, but does not stand examination. St. Paul’s office as apostle was not dependent in any way on the faith or knowledge of human beings, as it was on the will or command of God or Christ. The final cause of it was the faith and knowledge of men.

ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας: See on 1 Timothy 2:4.

εὐσέβειαν: See on 1 Timothy 2:2.


Verses 1-4

Titus 1:1-4. Salutation, in which the place of the Gospel in eternity and in time is largely expressed.


Verse 2

Titus 1:2. ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι κ. τ. λ.: This is best taken in connexion with the preceding clause, κατὰ πίστινκηρύγματι. The faith and the knowledge there spoken of have as their basis of action, or energy, the hope of eternal life. Cf. 1 Timothy 1:16. Compare the use of ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι in Acts 26:6; Romans 4:18; Romans 8:20; 1 Corinthians 9:10. On the other hand, we must not exclude a remoter connexion with ἀπόστολος. A comparison of the parallel passage in 2 Timothy 1:1 suggests that the succession of clauses here, κατὰ πίστινκηρύγματι, is a full and detailed expansion of κατʼ ἐπαγγελίανἐν χρ. ἰησ.

ἀψευδής: qui non mentitur. See note on 2 Timothy 2:13.

ἐπηγγείλατο: See Romans 1:1; Romans 4:21; Galatians 3:19.

ἐπηγγείλατοπρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, ἐφανέρωσεν δέ: The same antithesis is expressed in 2 Timothy 1:9-10 (q.v.); Romans 16:25; Colossians 1:26. From different points of view, one may say that eternal life was promised, and given, to man in Christ before times eternal; though the revelation of this purpose and grace could not be made until man was prepared to receive it, καιροῖς, at seasons, occasions, epochs of time as relative to man’s comprehension.


Verse 3

Titus 1:3. ἐφανέρωσεν τόν λόγον: For φανερόω see note on 1 Timothy 3:16. We must observe that no N.T. writer speaks of a manifestation of the gift of eternal life (1 John 1:2 refers to the personal Incarnate Life). God’s message concerning it, which is the revelation of a divine secret purpose, is manifested. See Colossians 4:4 in addition to the last reff. given on ἐπηγγείλατο. περὶ ἧς may be supplied bef. ἐφανέρωσεν (von Soden).

καιροῖς ἰδίοις. See on 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Timothy 6:15. The rendering his own seasons suits the context here.

τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ ἐν κηρύγματι: Note the distinction here indicated between the substance of the revelation ( λόγος) given by God, and the form of it as expressible ( κήρυγμα) by the human preacher. It is parallel to the use of λόγος and λαλία in John 8:43.

ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ has τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κ. τ. λ. as its antecedent in 1 Timothy 1:11, where see note.

κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ: See note on 1 Timothy 1:1. There the order is θεοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν. Here θεοῦ is epexegetical of σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, as χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ is in chap. Titus 2:13. κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν is to be taken with ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ, which is another way of expressing the notion of ἀπόστολος. On σωτήρ as a title of God, see notes on 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:4.


Verse 4

Titus 1:4. γνησίῳ τέκνῳ: See note on 1 Timothy 1:2.

κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν, like ἐν πίστει in 1 Timothy 1:2, qualifies τέκνῳ, but is less ambiguous than ἐν πίστει. It must not be restricted to a faith shared only by St. Paul and Titus; but, like the κοινὴ σωτηρία (Judges 1:3), it is common to all Christians who “have obtained a like precious faith with us” (2 Peter 1:1).

χάρις κ. τ. λ.: See on 1 Timothy 1:2.

σωτῆρος: for the more usual κυρίου, 1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2. The Father and the Son are here co-ordinated as Saviours.


Verse 5

Titus 1:5. ἀπέλιπον: The force of ἀπολείπω here will be apparent if we compare 2 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:20. It means to leave behind temporarily something or someone; καταλείπω is often used of a permanent leaving behind. St. Paul’s language favours the supposition that the commission given to Titus was that of a temporary apostolic legate rather than of a permanent local president.

ἐπιδιορθώσῃ: It is possible that ἐπί has here its original force, so as to imply that St. Paul had begun the correction of deficiencies in the Cretan Church, and that Titus was to carry it still further. (So Bengel.) It seems to have been taken in this sense by A.V.m., which renders τὰ λείποντα things that are left undone. If we may judge from this letter, Christianity was at this time in a very disorganised state in Crete. Titus is to ordain presbyters, as the foundation of a ministry; whereas the task committed to Timothy at Ephesus was to continue the organisation of presbyters (episcopi) and deacons which was already in full working order. It is significant that καθίστημι is used of the institution of a new order of ministry in Acts 6:3. καί introduces the chief point in the ἐπιδιόρθωσις.

κατὰ πόλιν: in every city. See reff. The number of presbyters is not specified; the meaning is that the order of presbyters should be established all over the island.

σοι διεταξάμην: disposui tibi (Vulg.), appropriately used of a number of specific directions on one general subject. Compare Acts 24:23, where the verb is used in reference to three distinct instructions given to the centurion in reference to Paul.


Verses 5-9

Titus 1:5-9. As I left you in Crete to carry out completely the arrangements for the organisation of the Church there, which I set before you in detail, let me remind you of the necessary qualifications of presbyters [since the presbyter is the basal element in the Church Society].


Verse 6

Titus 1:6. ἀνέγκλητος: See notes on 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 3:10.

μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ: See on 1 Timothy 3:2.

τέκνα πιστά: It must be supposed that a Christian father who has unbelieving children is himself a recent convert, or a very careless Christian. The fact that St. Paul did not think it necessary to warn Timothy that such men were not eligible for the presbyterate is a proof that Christianity was at this time more firmly established in Ephesus than in Crete.

μὴ ἐν κατηγορίᾳ ἀσωτίας ἀνυπότακτα: It is significant that the moral requirements of the pastor’s children are more mildly expressed in 1 Timothy 3:4-5; 1 Timothy 3:12. There it is the father’s power to keep order in his own house that is emphasised; here the submission of the children to discipline and restraint.


Verse 7

Titus 1:7. τὸν ἐυίσκοπον: On the use of the singular as a generic term See on 1 Timothy 3:2. Here, where the thought is of the various official functions of the minister, the official title is appropriate.

ἀνέγκλητον: See notes on 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Timothy 3:10.

θεοῦ οἰκονόμον: a steward appointed by God (Luke 12:42; 1 Corinthians 9:17), in the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15), to dispense His mysteries and manifold grace (1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:10). θεοῦ is emphatic, suggesting that the steward of such a Lord should conform to the highest ideal of moral and spiritual qualifications.

αὐθάδη: self-assertive, arrogant. Vulg. has here superbum, but more accurately in 2 Peter 2:10, sibi placentes.

ὀργίλον: passionate, iracundum (Vulg.). The ὀργίλος is one who has not his passion of anger under control.

πάροινον, πλήκτην: See on 1 Timothy 3:3.

μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ: This negative quality is required in deacons, 1 Timothy 3:8. Persons who are concerned in the administration of small sums must be such as are above the commission of petty thefts. There are no regulations here laid down for deacons; so we are entitled to conclude that in Crete, at this time, presbyters performed the duties of every Church office. Hence they should have the appropriate diaconal virtue. See note on 1 Timothy 3:8. On the other hand, it may be objected against this inference that in 1 Peter 5:2 μὴ αἰσχροκερδῶς is used of the spirit of the ideal presbyter.


Verse 8

Titus 1:8. φιλόξενον: See on 1 Timothy 3:2.

φιλάγαθον: In Wisdom of Solomon 7:22, the πνεῦμα which is in σοφία is φιλάγαθον, loving what is good. The epithets which immediately precede and follow φιλάγαθον in Wisd. have no reference to persons, with the exception of φιλάνθρωπον. It seems best, with the R.V., to give the words as wide a reference as possible; see on ἀφιλάγαθοι, 2 Timothy 3:3.

σώφρονα: See notes on 1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Timothy 3:2.

ἐγκρατῆ: The noun ἐγκράτεια occurs Acts 24:25; Galatians 5:23; 2 Peter 1:6, where to the rendering temperance the R.V.m. gives the alternative self-control. The verb ἐγκρατεύομαι in 1 Corinthians 7:9 is to have continency, but in 1 Corinthians 9:25 to be temperate generally. The word differs from σώφρων as having a reference to bodily appetites, while σώφρων has reference also to the desires of the mind. ἐγκράτ. concerns action, σωφρ. thought.


Verse 9

Titus 1:9. ἀντεχόμενον: holding firmly to. ἀντέχομαι is stronger than ἔχειν, as used in a similar connexion, 1 Timothy 1:19, etc., etc. The R.V. holding to correctly suggests the notion of withstanding opposition, which is not so clearly felt in the A.V. holding fast. “Having care of it, making it his business” (Chrys.).

δυνατός: See note on 2 Timothy 2:2.

τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν πιστοῦ λόγου: the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching. It is indicative of the weakening of the phrase πιστὸς λόγος that St. Paul strengthens and defines it here by κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν. It was noted on 1 Timothy 1:15 that πιστὸς λόγος here means the totality of the revelation given in Christ; and διδαχή is to be taken passively, as equivalent to διδασκαλία, as employed in these epistles. It is tautological to take it actively, the word which is faithful as regards the teaching of others; for that is expressed in what follows.

παρακαλεῖνἐλέγχειν: Cf. 2 Timothy 4:2 for this combination. The shepherd must be able to tend the sheep, and to drive away wolves.

ὑγιαινούσῃ: See on 1 Timothy 1:10. διδασκαλία here, as frequently, is a body of doctrine. So R.V., in the sound doctrine. The A.V., by sound doctrine, would refer to the faith as applied in its various parts to particular needs.

τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας: It is only a coincidence that where this word occurs in Acts it is in reference to Jewish opponents of the Gospel.


Verse 10

Titus 1:10. The persons spoken of here were Christian Jews. οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς (without τῆς, see crit. note) has this meaning in reff. (in Acts 10:45 it is qualified by the addition of πιστοί). Romans 4:12, is not really an instance of the phrase. That they were at least nominally Christians is also implied by the epithet ἀνυπότακτοι. We cannot call those persons unruly on whose obedience we have no claim.

ματαιολόγοι: ματαιολογία occurs in 1 Timothy 1:6.

φρεναπάται: seductores. The verb occurs in Galatians 6:3.

μάλιστα: it is probable that there were very few false teachers who were not “of the circumcision”.


Verses 10-16

Titus 1:10-16. I have just mentioned rebuke as a necessary element in a presbyter’s teaching. This is especially needful in dealing with Cretan heretics, in whom the Jewish strain is disagreeably prominent. Alike in their new-fangled philosophy of purity, and in their pretensions to orthodoxy, they ring false. Purity of life can only spring from a pure mind; and knowledge is alleged in vain, if it is contradicted by practice.


Verse 11

Titus 1:11. οὓς δεῖ ἐπιστομίζειν: quos oportet redargui, whose mouths must be stopped by the unanswerable arguments of the orthodox controversialist. This is the result hoped for from the “conviction,” of Titus 1:9.

ὅλους οἴκους ἀνατρέπουσιν: pervert whole families (Alf.); Moulton and Milligan give an apt illustration from a papyrus of second cent. B.C., τῆς πατρικῆς οἰκίαςἔτι ἔνπροσθεν ἄρδην [ ] νατετραμμένης διʼ ἀσ[ ω] τίας (Expositor, vii., 1:269). This suggests the rendering upset. The whole family would be upset by the perversion of one member of it.

μὴ δεῖ: Normally, οὐ is used in relative sentences with the indicative. Other exceptions will be found in 2 Peter 1:9, 1 John 4:3 (T.R.). It is possible that the force of μή here is given by translating, which (we think) they ought not. If the teaching had been absolutely indefensible by any one, he would have said, οὐ δεῖ. See Blass, Grammar, p. 254.

αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν: The three reff. on αἰσχροῦ, the only other occurrences in N.T. of this adj., are instances of the phrase αἰσχρόν ἐστι. The reference is to the claim to support made by itinerating or vagrant prophets and apostles such as are referred to in the Didache, cc. 11, 12, and alluded to in 2 Corinthians 11:9-13. All such abuses would exist in an aggravated form in Crete, the natives of which had an evil reputation for αἰσχροκέρδεια, according to Polybius, ὥστε παρὰ μόνοις κρηταιεῦσι τῶν ἁπάντων ἀνθρώπων μηδέν αἰσχρὸν νομίζεσθαι κέρδος. (Hist. vi. 46. 3, cited by Ell.). They get a bad character also from Livy (xliv. 45), and Plutarch (Paul. Aemil. 23). The Cretans, Cappadocians, and Cilicians were τρία κάππα κάκιστα.


Verse 12

Titus 1:12. προφήτης: It is possible that St. Paul applies this title to the author of the following hexameter line because the Cretan false teachers were self-styled prophets. There was a Cretan prophet once who told plain truths to his countrymen. The whole line occurs, according to Jerome, in the περὶ χρησμῶν of Epimenides, a native of Cnossus in Crete. The first three words are also found in the Hymn to Zeus by Callimachus, who is the prophet meant according to Theodoret; and the rest has a parallel in Hesiod, Theogon. 26, ποιμένες ἄγραυλοι, κάκʼ ἐλέγχεα, γαστέρες οἶον. It is generally agreed that St. Paul was referring to Epimenides. This is the view of Chrys. and Epiph., as well as of Jerome. It was Epimenides at whose suggestion the Athenians are said to have erected the “anonymous altars,” i.e., ἀγνώστῳ θεῷ (Acts 17:23), in the course of the purification of their city from the pollution caused by Cylon, 596 B.C. He is reckoned a prophet, or predictor of the future, by Cicero, de Divin. i. 18, and Apuleius, Florid. ii. 15, 4. Plato calls him θεῖος ἀνήρ (Legg. i. p. 642 D).

ψεῦσται: The particular lie which provoked the poet’s ire was the claim made by the Cretans that the tomb of Zeus was on their island. Here, the term has reference to ματαιολόγοι, etc.

γαστέρες ἀργαί: The R.V., idle gluttons, is more intelligible English than the A.V., slow bellies, but does not so adequately represent the poet’s meaning. He has in his mind the belly, as it obtrudes itself on the beholder and is a burden to the possessor, not as a receptacle for food. Alf. quotes aptly Juvenal, Sat. iv. 107, “Montani quoque venter adest, abdomine tardus”.


Verse 13

Titus 1:13. διʼ ἥν αἰτίαν: See on 2 Timothy 1:6.

ἀποτόμως: severely. The noun ἀποτομία, severitas, occurs Romans 11:22. See Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., vi. 192.

ἵνα ὑγιαίνωσιν: See note on 1 Timothy 1:10. The intention of the reproof was not merely the securing of a controversial triumph, but “to bring into the way of truth all such as have erred, and are deceived”. ἵνα expresses the object aimed at in the reproof, not the substance of it.


Verse 14

Titus 1:14. προσέχοντες: See on 1 Timothy 1:4. The word implies the giving one’s consent, as well as one’s attention.

ἰουδαϊκοῖς: This determines the nature of the μῦθοι referred to in these epistles. See on 1 Timothy 1:4.

ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων ἀποστρεφομένων: We are naturally reminded of Mark 7:7-8, with its antithesis between the ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων and ἐντολὴν τοῦ θεοῦ, and Colossians 2:22, where the same passage of Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13) is echoed. But here the antithesis is not so strongly marked. The commandments are depreciated, not because their authors are men, but because they are men who turn away from the truth, impure men (In 1 Timothy 4:3 “they that believe and know the truth” are men whose thoughts are pure). The truth here, as elsewhere in the Pastorals, is almost a Christian technical term. It can hardly be doubted that the ἐντολαί referred to were of the same nature as those noted in Colossians 2:22, arbitrary ascetic prohibitions.


Verse 15

Titus 1:15. πάντα καθαρὰ κ. τ. λ.: This is best understood as a maxim of the Judaic Gnostics, based on a perversion of the Saying πάντα καθαρὰ ὑμῖν ἐστιν (Luke 11:41. Cf. Romans 14:20; Mark 7:18.). St. Paul accepts it as a truth, but not in the intention of the speaker; and answers, τοῖς δὲ μεμιαμμένοις κ. τ. λ. The passage is thus, as regards its form, parallel to 1 Corinthians 6:12 sqq., where St. Paul cites, and shows the irrelevancy of, two pleas for licence: “All things are lawful for me,” and “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats”. τοῖς καθαροῖς is of course the dat. commodi, for the use of the pure, in their case, as in the parallels, Luke 11:41, 1 Timothy 4:3; not in the judgment of the pure, as in Romans 14:14.

τοῖς δὲ μεμιαμμένοις, κ. τ. λ.: The order of the words is to be noted: their moral obliquity is more characteristic of them than their intellectual perversion. The satisfaction of natural bodily desires (for it is these that are in question) is, when lawful, a pure thing, not merely innocent, in the case of the pure; it is an impure thing, even when lawful, in the case of “them that are defiled”. And for this reason: their intellectual apprehension ( νοῦς) of these things is perverted by defiling associations; “the light that is in them is darkness;” and their conscience has, from a similar cause, lost its sense of discrimination between what is innocent and criminal. That any action with which they themselves are familiar could be pure is inconceivable to them. “When the soul is unclean, it thinks all things unclean” (Chrys.). The statement that the conscience can be defiled is significant. While conscientious scruples are to be respected, yet, if the conscience be defiled, its dictates and instincts are unreliable, false as are the song-efforts of one who has no ear for music.


Verse 16

Titus 1:16. θεὸν ὁμολογοῦσιν εἰδέναι: “We know God”; that was their profession of faith. They “gloried in God,” Romans 2:17. This is an allusion to the Jewish pride of religious privilege. Weiss points out that this phrase alone is sufficient to prove that the heretics in question are not the Gnostics of the second century (Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 133). See the use of the phrase in Galatians 4:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:5. Compare 2 Timothy 3:5, “Holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof”; also 1 John 2:4. There is here the constant antithesis between words and deeds.

τοῖς δὲ ἔργοις ἀρνοῦνται: Their lives give the lie to their professions; “They acted as if this Supreme Being was a mere metaphysical abstraction, out of all moral relation to human life, as if He were neither Saviour nor Judge” (J. H. Bernard comm. in loc.).

πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν: See note on 2 Timothy 3:17.

ἀδόκιμοι: worthless, unfit. See note on 2 Timothy 3:8.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Titus 1:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/titus-1.html. 1897-1910.

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