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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
Titus 3

 

 

Verse 1

Titus 3:1. With these instructions as to duty towards civil authority, compare Romans 13:1 sqq., 1 Peter 2:13 sqq. It is perhaps significant of the difference between Crete and the province of Asia, as regards respect for law, that in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, reasons are given why we should pray for rulers, while here the more elementary duty of obedience is enjoined. Polybius (6:46. 9) remarks on the seditious character of the Cretans.

ὑπομίμνησκε: See note on 2 Timothy 2:14.

ἀρχαῖς: ἀρχαί and ἐξουσίαι are coupled in this sense in Luke 12:11; ἀρχή and ἐξουσία in the abstract, Luke 20:20. The two words are coupled together as names for ranks of angels in Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:10; Colossians 2:15; with δύναμις, 1 Corinthians 15:24, Ephesians 1:21; ἀρχαί, alone, Romans 8:38.

πειθαρχεῖν: (dicto obedire) is best taken absolutely, and with a wider reference than the preceding clause: i.e., as R.V., to be obedient, rather than merely to obey magistrates (A.V.).

πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν. See reff.


Verse 1-2

Titus 3:1-2. As your Cretan folk are naturally intractable, be careful to insist on obedience to the constituted authorities, and on the maintenance of friendly relations with non-Christians.


Verse 2

Titus 3:2. ἀμάχουςἐπιεικεῖς: coupled as qualifications of the episcopus, 1 Timothy 3:3.

πᾶσαν πραΰτητα: the greatest possible meekness. Compare Ephesians 4:2; 1 Peter 3:15.


Verse 3

Titus 3:3. ἦμεν γάρ ποτε καὶ ἡμεῖς: The connexion is: you need not suppose that it is hopeless to imagine that these wild Cretan folk can be reclaimed. We ourselves are a living proof of the power of God’s grace. Ephesians 2:3 sqq. is an exact parallel. Cf. also 1 Corinthians 6:11, Ephesians 5:8, Colossians 3:7, 1 Peter 4:3.

ἀνόητοι: insipientes, foolish, in the sense in which the word is used in Proverbs (e.g. Proverbs 17:28), without understanding of spiritual things.

πλανώμενοι: The analogy of 2 Timothy 3:13 suggests that this is passive, deceived, not neuter, errantes (Vulg.), though of course there are many examples of this latter sense in the N.T.

ποικίλαις: See note on 2 Timothy 3:6.

διάγοντες: sc βίον, as in 1 Timothy 2:2.

στυγητοί κ. τ. λ.: odibiles, odientes invicem (Vulg.). This marks the stage of degradation, before it becomes hopeless: when vice becomes odious to the vicious, stands a self-confessed failure to produce happiness.


Verses 3-7

Titus 3:3-7. Cretans who hear this epistle need not feel hurt as though I were thinking of them with exceptional severity. We were such ourselves until we came to know the love of God, unmerited and saving and sanctifying and perfecting.


Verse 4

Titus 3:4. χρηστότης καὶ φιλανθρωπία: (benignitas … humanitas) is a constant combination in Greek. See many examples supplied by Field. Here it expresses the notion of John 3:16, οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν θεὸς τὸν κόσμον κ. τ. λ. and of Ephesians 2:4-6. Perhaps also, as von Soden suggests, the kindness of God is here contrasted with the unkindness of men to each other; cf. Ephesians 4:31-32.

χρηστότης is a Pauline word, used of God also in reff. φιλανθρωπία is especially used of the beneficent feelings of divine beings towards men; more rarely of the relations between man and man, as in Acts 28:2. Diogenes Laert., quoted by Alf., distinguishes three kinds of φιλανθρ. (1) geniality of manner, (2) helpfulness, (3) sociability.

ἐπεφάνη: See note on 1 Timothy 6:14.

τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ: θεοῦ, as in Titus 1:3, Titus 2:10, is epexegetical of σωτῆρος.


Verse 5

Titus 3:5. The ἡμεῖς and ἡμᾶς refer to the same persons as those mentioned in Titus 3:3, i.e., the apostles and those who have had a similar experience. The verse may be paraphrased as a statement of fact thus:—God saved us by Baptism, which involves two complementary processes, (a) the ceremony itself which marks the actual moment in time of the new birth, and (b) the daily, hourly, momently renewing of the Holy Spirit, by which the spiritual life is supported and fostered and increased. And the moving cause of this exceeding kindness of God was not any merits of our own, but His mercy.

οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων: ἐκ here, as in Romans 3:30, expresses the source. See also the emphatic repetition in Galatians 2:16 of οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου. The δικαιοσύνη here is that which we can call our own, ἐκ νόμου (Philippians 3:9). Its existence as δικαιοσύνη must not be denied; but it does not pass as current coin in the kingdom of God. It has indeed no saving value whatever. Accordingly there is no question here as to whether we did, or did not do, works which are ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ. “Not the labours of my hands can fulfil Thy law’s demands.” See note on 2 Timothy 1:9.

Bengel, comparing Deuteronomy 9:5, refers the negative to each term in the clause: we had not been ἐν δικ.; we had not done ἔργα ἐν δικ.; we had no works through which we could be saved. But this exegesis is too much affected by the controversies of the sixteenth century. The A.V., which we have done, confuses the thought by a suggestion that the works referred to are those “after justification”.

τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ: δικαιοσύνη is the sphere in which the works were done, and to which they are related.

κατὰἔλεος: The phraseology is borrowed from Psalms 108:26 (Psalms 109:26), σῶσόν με κατὰ τὸ μέγα ἔλεός σου. A remarkable parallel is furnished by 1 Peter 1:3, κατὰ τὸ πολὺ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀναγεννήσας ἡμᾶς; and also by 2 Esdras 8:32, “For if thou hast a desire to have mercy upon us, then shalt thou be called merciful, to us, namely, that have no works of righteousness”.

ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς: The N.T. seldom diverts attention from the main lesson to be taught from time to time by noting qualifications, even necessary ones. Here St. Paul is speaking only about the efficient and instrumental and formal causes of salvation, without any thought of man’s part in co-operation with God. It is as when teaching the principles of mechanics, we do not confuse the beginner’s mind by making allowances for friction, etc. Here, as in Romans 6 and 1 Peter 3:21, it is assumed that man co-operates with God in the work of his own salvation. On the force of the aorist, ἔσωσεν, see note on 1 Timothy 2:4.

διὰ λουτροῦ: the washing. λουτρόν may mean the water used for washing, or the process itself of washing. The R.V.m. laver would be λουτήρ. See Dean Armitage Robinson’s note on Ephesians 5:26.

παλινγενεσίας: This defines the nature of the λουτρόν which God employs as His instrument in effecting the salvation of man; not any λουτρόν whatever, but that of new birth. It is sufficient to observe here that much of the controversy about regeneration might have been avoided had men kept before them the analogy of natural birth, followed as it is immediately, not by vigorous manhood, but by infancy and childhood and youth.

ἀνακαινώσεως: The genitive ἀνακαινώσεως depends on διὰ (which is actually inserted in the Harclean Syriac; so R.V.m., and through renewing), not on λουτροῦ, as apparently Vulg., per lavacrum regenerationis et renovationis Spiritus Sancti, f. Boh. Arm., followed by R.V. The λουτρόν, the washing, secures a claim on the Holy Spirit for renewing, just as birth gives a child a claim on society for food and shelter; but unless we are compelled to do otherwise, it is best to keep the two notions distinct. Birth, natural or spiritual, must be a definite fact taking place at a particular moment; whereas renewing is necessarily a subsequent process, constantly operating. Without this renewing the life received at birth is at best in a state of suspension. The references to ἀνακαίνωσις and ἀνακαινοῦν, and the similar passage, Ephesians 4:23, show that the terms are always used of those who are actually living the Christian life.


Verse 6

Titus 3:6. οὗ ἐξέχεεν: Joel 3:1 (Joel 2:28) is the passage alluded to. Cf. in addition to reff. given above, Acts 10:45, Romans 5:5, Galatians 4:6. The οὗ refers of course to πνεύματ. ἁγ. by attraction, not to ἀνακαινώσεως. All gifts of the Holy Spirit that come through Jesus Christ are a continuation of the Pentecostal outpouring. The aorist is due to the Apostle’s thought of that occasion, although the ἡμᾶς shows that the immediate reference is to the experience of St. Paul and other Christians.

διὰ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ: to be connected with ἐξέχεεν. See John 15:26, Acts 2:33. The finished work of Jesus Christ was the necessary pre-condition to His effusion of the Holy Spirit.


Verse 7

Titus 3:7. ἵνα, κ. τ. λ.: It is not quite certain, whether this expresses the object of ἐξέχεεν or of ἔσωσεν. The former connexion brings out best the climax of the passage. κληρονόμοι marks the highest point to which man can attain in this life. See reff. The two preceding stages are marked by λουτρὸν παλινγενεσίας and ἀνακαίνωσις, while δικαιωθέντεςχάριτι is an expression in theological language of the simpler κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς. The grace by which man is justified is usually spoken of as that of God the Father, Romans 3:24; and so ἐκείνου, not αὐτοῦ, is used as referring to the remoter antecedent.

κληρονόμοι: According to the analogy of the other passages where it occurs, this word is best taken absolutely; or, if the notion must be completed, we may understand θεοῦ. The term would not need any elucidation to one of St. Paul’s company. It is also an argument against connecting κληρ. ζωῆς αἰωνίου (R.V.m) that ἔλπις ζωῆς αἰωνίου occurs in Titus 1:2; and Galatians 3:29, κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν κληρ., is parallel.


Verse 8

Titus 3:8. πιστὸς λόγος. Here it is evident that λόγος does not refer to any isolated Saying, but to the doctrinal statement contained in Titus 3:4-7 regarded as a single concept—as we, when we speak of The Incarnation, sum up in one term a whole system of theology—while τούτων refers to the various topics indicated in that statement, not to the practical teaching of Titus 2:1 to Titus 3:7.

βούλομαι: see note on 1 Timothy 2:8.

διαβεβαιοῦσθαι: Here the Vulg. has confirmare; (320) has affirmare, as in 1 Timothy 1:7, where see note.

ἵνα: It is most significant and suggestive that the apostle held that good works were most certainly assured by a theology which gives special prominence to the free unmerited grace of God. This is made plainer in the R.V. (to the end that), than in the A.V. (that).

φροντίζωσιν: curent (am.), curam habeant (fuld(321)).

καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι: occupy themselves in good works, bonis operibus praeesse (Vulg.). Prostare would have been a better translation, since the πρό in this use of προΐστασθαι is derived from bodily posture rather than from superiority in station. “From the practice of the workman or tradesman standing before his shop for the purpose of soliciting customers … we arrive at the general meaning of conducting or managing any matter of business.” So Field, who also points out that the R.V.m., profess honest occupations (similarly A.V.m on Titus 3:14) is open to the serious objection that καλὰ ἔργα everywhere else in N.T., as well as in secular authors, means “good works” in the religious or moral sense.

οἱ πεπιστευκότες θεῷ: This simple phrase is used designedly in order to express the notion that profession of the recently revealed Gospel is indeed merely a logical consequence and natural development of the older simple belief in God.

ταῦτα: The antithesis in the following μωρὰς δὲ ζητήσεις proves that these things refers to the subject-matter of Titus’ pronouncements ( διαβεβαιοῦσθαι), and means this enforcement of practical religion.

καλά: is to be taken absolutely, as in the parallel 1 Timothy 2:3, and is not to be connected with τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.


Verses 8-11

Titus 3:8-11. To sum up what I have been saying: Belief in God is not a matter of theory or of speculation, but of practice; it must be accompanied by good works. This true religion unites the beautiful and the profitable. On the other hand, foolish speculations and controversies about the law are profitless and unpractical. Do not parley long with a confirmed schismatic. If he does not yield to one or two admonitions, reject him altogether. It is beyond your power to set him right.


Verse 9

Titus 3:9. ζητήσεις and γενεαλογίαι are associated together in 1 Timothy 1:4 (where see notes). Here they are co-ordinated; there the γενεαλογίαι are one of the sources whence ζητήσεις originate. The nature of the ἔρεις here deprecated is determined by the context. ἔρεις indicate the spirit of contentiousness; μάχαι the conflicts as heard and seen. On μάχαι, see 2 Timothy 2:23. The μάχαι νομικαί are no doubt the same as the λογομαχίαι of 1 Timothy 6:4. Speaking broadly, the controversy turned on the attempt to give a fictitious permanence to the essentially transient elements in the Mosaical Law.

περιΐστασο: See note on 2 Timothy 2:16.

μάταιοι: Here, and in James 1:26, μάταιος is an adjective of two terminations; yet ματαία occurs 1 Corinthians 15:17; ματαίας, 1 Peter 1:18.


Verse 10

Titus 3:10. αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον: St. Paul passes from the reprehensible opinions to the man who propagates them. He is the same kind of man as the φιλόνεικος of 1 Corinthians 11:16; or “he that refuseth to hear the church” of Matthew 18:17; he is of “them which cause divisions and occasions of stumbling,” Romans 16:17. The term αἵρεσις is applied in a non-offensive sense to the sects of Judaism, Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 26:5. St. Luke represents the Jews as so speaking of the Christian Church (Acts 24:5; Acts 28:22), and St. Paul as resenting this application of the term (Acts 24:14). The Apostle himself uses the word in an unfavourable sense (1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20), as does 2 Peter 2:1. A comparison of 1 Corinthians 11:19 with 1 John 2:19 suggests that αἵρεσις involved the formation of a separate society (so R.V.m. here, factious), not merely the holding of aberrant opinions, or the favouring a policy different from that of the Church rulers. The νουθεσία addressed to a member of such a αἵρεσις would be of the nature of a verbal remonstrance, pointing out the essentially unchristian character of needless separation. It is evident that the αἱρετικὸς ἄνθρωπος would be beyond any Church discipline. The permission of a second attempt at reconciliation is probably not unconnected with our Lord’s counsel, Matthew 18:15.

παραιτοῦ: Have nothing to do with him. See note on 1 Timothy 4:7. The word does not necessarily imply any formal excommunication. Such procedure would be unnecessary. Excommunication has no terrors for those who deliberately separate themselves. “Monere desine. quid enim iuvat? laterem lavares” (Bengel).


Verse 11

Titus 3:11. εἰδώς: since thou mayest know.

ἐξέστραπται: subversus est. Argument with a man whose basal mental convictions differ from your own, or whose mind has had a twist, is mere waste of breath.

αὐτοκατάκριτος: proprio iudicio condemnatus (Vulg.). He is self-condemned because his separation from the Church is due to his own acknowledged act. He cannot deny that his views are antagonistic to those which he once accepted as true; he is condemned by his former, and, as St. Paul would say, his more enlightened self.


Verse 12

Titus 3:12. ὅταν πέμψω πρός σε: It is natural to suppose that Artemas or Tychicus would take the place of Titus as apostolic legate in Crete. This temporary exercise of apostolic superintendence marks a stage in the development of monarchical local episcopacy in the later sense.

ἀρτεμᾶν: The name is “Greek, formed from ἄρτεμις perhaps by contraction from Artemidorus, a name common in Asia Minor” (W. Lock, art. in Hastings’ D. B.).

τυχικόν: See note on 2 Timothy 4:12.

νικόπολιν: The subscription in the later MSS. at the end of the epistle, ἐγράφη ἀπὸ νικοπόλεως τῆς ΄ακεδονίας, follows the Greek commentators (Chrys., Theod., etc.), in identifying this Nicopolis with that in Thrace, on the Nestus; but makes a stupid mistake in not perceiving that ἐκεῖ proves that St. Paul was not at Nicopolis when the letter was written. If we suppose that the situation of St. Paul, when writing 2 Tim., must have been somewhere between Dalmatia, Thessalonica, Corinth, Miletus, Ephesus and Troas, then Nicopolis ad Nestum would meet the needs of the case. But the more important Nicopolis in Epirus has found more favour with modern scholars (see art. by W. M. Ramsay in Hastings’ D.B.).

παραχειμάσαι: It is possible that the winter is that mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21. The apostle was not always permitted to exercise the gift of prophecy, in the sense of being able to foretell future events. From this point of view, There I have determined to winter may be compared with the earlier I know that ye all … shall see my face no more (Acts 20:25).


Verses 12-14

Titus 3:12-14. Come to me, as soon as you can be spared. Forward Zenas and Apollos. Let our friends in Crete remember that fruitfulness in good works is the one thing needful for them.


Verse 13

Titus 3:13. νομικόν: In the absence of any example of this word being used as the equivalent of legisperitus (Vulg.), jurisconsultus or jurisperitus, it seems best to assume that Zenas was a νομικός in the usual N.T. sense, an expert in the Mosaic Law.

ἀπολλὼν: For Apollos, see article in Hastings’ D. B.

πρόπεμψον: set forward on their journey, praemitte; but deduco is the rendering where the word occurs elsewhere. See reff.


Verse 14

Titus 3:14. The δέ does not mark an antithesis between οἱ ἡμέτεροι and the persons who have just been mentioned, but is rather resumptive of Titus 3:8; repeating and emphasising at the close of the letter that which St. Paul had most at heart, the changed lives of the Cretan converts. οἱ ἡμέτεροι of course means those of our faith in Crete.

καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι: See on Titus 3:8.

εἰς τὰς ἀναγκαίας χρείας: The best commentary on this expression is 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. Although καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι does not mean to profess honest occupations, yet it is plain from St. Paul’s letters that he would regard the earning one’s own bread respectably as a condition precedent to the doing of good works. The necessary wants to which allusion is made are the maintenance of oneself and family, and helping brethren who are unable to help themselves (Acts 20:35; Romans 12:13; Ephesians 4:28). This view is borne out by the reason which follows, ἵνα μὴ ὦσιν ἄκαρποι. See John 15:2, Philippians 4:17, Colossians 1:10, 2 Peter 1:8.


Verse 15

Titus 3:15. Final Salutation.

οἱ μετʼ ἐμοῦ: The preposition is different elsewhere in Paul: οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ πάντες ἀδελφοί, Galatians 1:2; οἱ σὺν ἐμοὶ ἀδελφοί, Philippians 4:21. οἱ μετʼ αὐτοῦ is a constant phrase in the Synoptists. There is a similar use of μετά in Acts 20:34 (a speech of St. Paul’s), and in 2 Timothy 4:11.

τοὺς φιλοῦντας ἡμᾶς ἐν πίστει; The faith (see note on 1 Timothy 1:2) is that which binds Christians together more or less closely. Timothy and Titus were St. Paul’s τέκνα ἐν πίστει; others were more distantly related to him, though of the same family, “the household of faith”.

Dean Armitage Robinson (Ephesians, p. 281) gives several examples from papyri of similar formulas of closing, especially two, which read, ἀσπάζουτοὺς φιλοῦντες σε (or ἡμᾶς) πρὸς ἀληθίαν. This suggests the rendering here, those who love us truly.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Titus 3:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/titus-3.html. 1897-1910.

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Monday, November 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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