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Titus 3

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This chapter comprises the following subjects:

(1) Titus was to instruct his hearers to be subject to lawful authority, and in general to manifest meekness and gentleness towards all classes of men; Titus 3:1-2.

(2) A reason is assigned why they should do this; Titus 3:3-8. They who were Christians were once, indeed, like others, disobedient and unholy; they were regardless of law, and gave free indulgence to their evil propensities, but they had been redeemed for a better purpose, and it was the design of God in redeeming them, that they should manifest every kind of virtue.

(3) Titus was to avoid foolish questions, and contentions, and strifes about the law; Titus 3:9.

(4) He who was a heretic was to be rejected after suitable admonitions; Titus 3:10-11.

(5) Paul directs Titus to come to him at Nicopolis, and to bring Zenas and Apollos with him; Titus 3:12-14.

(6) He closes with the customary salutations; Titus 3:15.

Verse 1

Put them in mind to be subject ... - See the duty here enjoined, explained in the notes at Romans 13:1, following.

Principalities and powers - See these words explained in the notes at Romans 8:38. The word here rendered “powers” (ἐξουσίαις exousiais), is not, indeed, the same as that which is found there (δυνάμεις dunameis), but the same idea is conveyed; compare the notes at Ephesians 1:21.

To obey magistrates - That is, to obey them in all that was not contrary to the word of God; Romans 13:1 note, following; Acts 4:19-20 notes.

To be ready to every good work - “To be prepared for” (ἑτοίμους hetoimous); prompt to perform all that is good; Notes, Philippians 4:8. A Christian should be always ready to do good as far as he is able. He should not need to be urged, or coaxed, or persuaded, but should be so ready always to do good that he will count it a privilege to have the opportunity to do it.

Verse 2

To speak evil of no man - Greek, “to blaspheme (βλασφημεῖν blasphēmein, compare the notes at Matthew 9:3) no one.” Doddridge renders it, “calumniate no one.” The idea is, that we are not to slander, revile, or defame anyone. We are not to say anything to anyone, or of anyone, which will do him injury. We are never to utter anything which we know to be false about him or to give such a coloring to his words or conduct as to do him wrong in any way. We should always so speak to him and of him in such a way that he will have no reason to complain that he is an injured man. It may be necessary, when we are called to state what we know of his character, to say things which are not at all in his favor, or things which he has said or done that were wrong; but,

(1)We should never do this for the purpose of doing him injury, or so as to find a pleasure in it; and,

(2)Where it is necessary to make the statement, it should be so as to do him no injustice.

We should give no improper coloring. We should exaggerate no circumstances. We should never attempt to express ourselves about his motives, or charge on him bad motives - for we know not what his motives were. We should state every palliating circumstance of which we have knowledge, and do entire justice to it. We should not make the bad traits of his character prominent, and pass over all that is good. In a word, we should show that we would rather find him to be a good man than a bad man - even if the result should be that we had been mistaken in our opinions. It is better that we should have been mistaken, than that he should be a bad man.

To be no brawlers - See the notes at 1 Timothy 3:3. The same Greek word occurs in both places. It is not elsewhere found in the New Testament.

But gentle - The word here used is rendered “moderation” in Philippians 4:5, “patient” in 1 Timothy 3:3, and elsewhere “gentle;” see the notes at 1 Timothy 3:3.

Showing all meekness unto all men - In the reception of injuries; see the Matthew 5:5 note; Ephesians 4:2 note.

Verse 3

For we ourselves - We who are Christians. There is no reason for supposing, as Benson does, that this is to be understood as confined to Paul himself. There are some things mentioned here which were not probably true of him before his conversion, and the connection does not require us to suppose that he referred particularly to himself. He is stating a reason why those to whom Titus was appointed to preach should be urged to lead holy lives, and especially to manifest a spirit of order, peace, kindness, and due subordination to law. In enforcing this, he says, that those who were now Christians had formerly been wicked, disorderly, and sensual, but that under the influence of the gospel, they had been induced to lead better lives. The same gospel which had been effectual in their case, might, be in others. To others it would be an encouragement to show that there were cases in which the gospel had been thus efficacious, and they who were appointed to preach it might refer to their own example as a reason why others should be persuaded to lead holy lives. In preaching to others, also, they were not to be proud or arrogant. They were to remember that they were formerly in the same condition with those whom they addressed, and whom they exhorted to reformation. They were not to forget that what they had that was superior to others they owed to the grace of God, and not to any native goodness. He will exhort the wicked to repentance most effectually who remembers that his own former life was wicked; he will evince most of the proper spirit in doing it who has the deepest sense of the errors and folly of his own past ways.

Foolish - See this word explained in the notes at Luke 24:25, where it is rendered “fools;” compare Romans 1:14, where it is rendered “unwise,” and Galatians 3:1, Galatians 3:3; 1 Timothy 6:9, where it is rendered “foolish.”

Disobedient - To law, to parents, to civil authority, to God. This is the natural character of the human heart; see Luke 1:17; Romans 1:30; 2 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:16, where the same word occurs.

Deceived - By the great enemy, by false teachers, by our own hearts, and by the flattery of others. It is a characteristic of man by nature that he sees nothing in its true light, but walks along amidst constant, though changing and very beautiful illusions; compare Matthew 24:4-5, Mat 24:11; 2 Timothy 3:13; 1 Peter 2:25; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 18:23, where the same word occurs; see also Revelation 20:3, Revelation 20:8,Revelation 20:10, where the same word is applied to that great deceiver who has led the world astray. Every one who is converted feels, and is ready to confess, that before conversion he was deceived as to the comparative value of things, as to the enjoyment which he expected to find in scenes of pleasure and riot, and often in what seemed to him well-formed plans.

Serving divers lusts and pleasures - Indulging in the various corrupt passions and propensities of the soul. We were so under their influence that it might be said we were their servants, or were slaves to them (δουλεύοντες douleuontes); that is, we implicitly obeyed them; see the notes at Romans 6:16-17.

Living in malice - Greek, “in evil” - ἐν κακίᾳ en kakia; that is, in all kinds of evil; see the notes at Romans 1:29, where the word is rendered maliciousness.

And envy - Displeasure at the happiness and prosperity of others; Notes, Romans 1:29.

Hateful - στυγητοὶ stugētoi. This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means that our conduct was such as to be worthy of the hatred of others. Of whom, before his conversion, is not this true?

And hating one another - There was no brotherly love; no true affection for others. There was ill-will felt in the heart, and it was evinced in the life. This is an apt description of the state of the heathen world before the gospel shines on it, and it may be regarded as the characteristic of all men before conversion. They have no true love for one another, such as they ought to cherish, and they are liable constantly to give indulgence to feelings which evince hatred. In contentions, and strifes, and litigations, and wars, this feeling is constantly breaking out. All this is suggested here as a reason why Christians should now be gentle and mild toward those who are evil. Let us remember what we were, and we shall not be disposed to treat others harshly. When a Christian is tempted to unkind thoughts or words towards others, nothing is more appropriate for him than to reflect on his own past life.

Verse 4

But after that - Greek, when - ὅτε hote The meaning is, that “when the love of God was manifested in the plan of salvation, he saved us from this state God appeared” after we had sinned in this way, but that when his mercy was thus displayed we were converted from our sins, and made pure in his sight.

The kindness - χρηστότης chrēstotēs - “the goodness, or the benignity.” The word is rendered “goodness” and “good” in Romans 2:4; Romans 3:12; Romans 11:22, thrice; “kindness,” 2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 2:7; Colossians 3:12; Titus 3:4; and “gentleness,” Galatians 5:22. The act of redeeming us was one of great kindness, or goodness.

And love of God - Margin, “pity.” The Greek word is φιλανθρωπία philanthrōpia - “philanthropy - the love of man.” The plan of salvation was founded on love to man, and was the highest expression of that love; the notes at John 3:16. The Greek of this verse is, “When the kindness and love of God our Saviour to man was manifested, he saved us” Titus 3:5, to wit, from those sins of which we had before been guilty.

Verse 5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done - The plan was not based on our own good works, nor are our own good works now the cause of our salvation. If people could have been saved by their own good works, there would have been no need of salvation by the Redeemer; if our own deeds were now the basis of our title to eternal life, the work of Christ would be equally unnecessary. It is a great and fundamental principle of the gospel that the good works of men come in for no share in the justification of the soul. They are in no sense a consideration on account of which God pardons a man, and receives him to favor. The only basis of justification is the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the matter of justification before God, all the race is on a level; see the notes at Ephesians 2:8-9.

But according to his mercy -

  1. It had its origin in mercy;
  2. It is by mere mercy or compassion, and not by justice;
  3. It is an expression of great mercy, and,
  4. It is now in fact conferred only by mercy.

Whatever we have done or can do, when we come to receive salvation from the hand of God, there is no other element which enters into it but mercy. It is not because our deeds deserve it; it is not because we have by repentance and faith wrought ourselves into such a state of mind that we can claim it; but, after all our tears, and sighs, and prayers, and good deeds, it is a mere favor. Even then God might justly withhold it if he chose, and no blame would be attached to him if he should suffer us to sink down to ruin.

He saved us - That is, he began that salvation in us which is to be completed in heaven. A man who is already renewed and pardoned may be spoken of as saved - for:

(1)The work of salvation is begun, and,

(2)When begun it will certainly be completed; see the notes at Philippians 1:6.

By the washing of regeneration - In order to a correct understanding of this important passage, it is necessary to ascertain whether the phrase here used refers to baptism, and whether anything different is intended by it from what is meant by the succeeding phrase - “renewing of the Holy Ghost.” - The word rendered “washing” (λουτρόυ loutrou) occurs in the New Testament only in this place and in Ephesians 5:26, where also it is rendered “washing” - “That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word.” The word properly means “a bath;” then water for bathing; then the act of bathing, washing, ablution. Passow and Robinson. It is used by Homer to denote a warm or cold bath; then a washing away, and is thus applied to the drink-offerings in sacrifice, which were supposed to purify or wash away sin. Passow. The word here does not mean “laver,” or the vessel for washing in, which would be expressed by λουτὴρ loutēr and this word cannot be properly applied to the baptismal font.

The word in itself would naturally be understood as referring to baptism (compare notes at Acts 22:16), which was regarded as the emblem of washing away sins, or of cleansing from them. I say it was the emblem, not the means of purify ing the soul from sin. If this be the allusion, and it seems probable, then the phrase “washing of regeneration” would mean “that outward washing or baptism which is the emblem of regeneration,” and which is appointed as one of the ordinances connected with salvation; see the notes at Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” It is not affirmed in this phrase that baptism is the means of regeneration; or that grace is necessarily conveyed by it; and still less that baptism is regeneration, for no one of these is a necessary interpretation of the passage, and should not be assumed to be the true one. The full force of the language will be met by the supposition that it means that baptism is the emblem or symbol of regeneration, and, if this is the case, no one has a right to assume that the other is certainly the meaning.

And that this is the meaning is further clear, because it is nowhere taught in the New Testament that baptism is regeneration, or that it is the means of regeneration. The word rendered “regeneration” (παλιγγενεσία palingenesia) - occurs in the New Testament only here and in Matthew 19:28, - “in the regeneration when the Son of man,” etc. It means, properly, a new birth, reproduction, or renewal. It would properly be applied to one who should be begotten again in this sense, that a new life was commenced in him in some way corresponding to his being made to live at first. To the proper idea of the word, it is essential that there should be connected the notion of the commencement of life in the man, so that he may be said to live anew; and as religion is in the Scriptures represented as life, it is properly applied to the beginning of that kind of life by which man may be said to live anew. This word, occurring only here and in Matthew 19:28, and there indubitably not referring to baptism, should not be here understood as referring to that, or be applied to that, because:

(1)That is not the proper meaning of the word;

(2)There is no Scripture usage to sanction it;

(3)The connection here does not demand it;

(4)The correlatives of the word (see John 3:3, John 3:5-6, Joh 3:8; 1 Peter 1:3,) are applied only to that great moral change which is produced by the Holy Spirit, and,

(5)It is a dangerous use of the word.

Its use in this sense leaves the impression that the only change needful for man is that which is produced by being regularly baptized. On almost no point has so much injury been done in the church as by the application of the word “regeneration” to baptism. It affects the beginning of religion in the soul, and if a mistake is made there, it is one which must pervade all the views of piety.

And renewing of the Holy Ghost - This is an important clause, added by Paul apparently to save from the possibility of falling into error. If the former expression, “the washing of regeneration,” had been left to stand by itself, it might have been supposed possibly that all the regeneration which would be needed would be that which would accompany baptism. But he avoids the possibility of this error, by saying that the “renewing of the Holy Ghost” is an indispensable part of that by which we are saved. It is necessary that this should exist in addition to that which is the mere emblem of it - the washing of regeneration - for without this the former would be unmeaning and unavailing. It is important to observe that the apostle by no means says that this always follows from the former, nor does he affirm that it ever follows from it - whatever may be the truth on that point - but he asserts that this is that on which our salvation depends. - The word rendered “renewing” (ἀνακαίνωσις anakainōsis) occurs only here and in Romans 12:2, where it is also rendered “renewing;” compare Note on that place. The verb (ἀνακαινόω anakainoō) occurs in 2 Corinthians 4:15, and Colossians 3:19, in both which places it is rendered “renewed,” and the corresponding word, ἀνακαινίζω anakainizō, in Hebrews 6:6.

The noun properly means making new again: a renewing; a renovation; compare H. Planck in Bib. Repos. i. 677. It is a word which is found only in the writings of Paul, and in ecclesiastical Greek writers. It would be properly applied to such a change as the Holy Spirit produces in the soul, making one a new man; that is, a man new, so far as religion is concerned - new in his views, feelings, desires, hopes, plans, and purposes. He is so far different from what he was before, that it may be said he enters on a new life; see the notes at Ephesians 4:23-24. The “renewing of the Holy Ghost” of course means that which the Holy Spirit produces, recognizing the fact, everywhere taught in the Scriptures, that the Holy Spirit is the Author of the new creation. It cannot mean, as Koppe supposes, the renewing of the mind itself, or producing a holy spirit in the soul.

Verse 6

Which he shed on us - Greek, “Which he poured out on us” - ἐξέχην exechēn; see the notes at Acts 2:17. The same Greek word is used there as here. It occurs also in the same sense in Acts 2:18, Acts 2:33.

Abundantly - Margin, as in Greek, “richly.” The meaning is, that the Holy Spirit had been imparted in copious measure in order to convert them from their former wickedness. There is no particular allusion here to the day of Pentecost, but the sense is, that the Holy Spirit had been imparted richly to all who were converted, at any time or place, from the error of their ways. What the apostle says here is true of all who become Christians, and can be applied to all who become believers in any age or land,

Through Jesus Christ our Saviour - See Notes, Acts 2:33.

Verse 7

That being justified by his grace - Not by our own works, but by his favor or mercy; see the notes at Romans 3:24.

We should be made heirs - See the notes at Romans 8:15, Romans 8:17.

According to the hope of eternal life - In reference to the hope of eternal life; that is, we have that hope in virtue of our being adopted with the family of God, and being made heirs. He has received us as his children, and permits us to hope that we shall live with him forever.

Verse 8

This is a faithful saying - See the notes at 1 Timothy 1:15. The reference here is to what he had been just saying, meaning that the doctrine which he had stated about the method of salvation was in the highest degree important, and entirely worthy of belief.

And these things I will that thou affirm constantly - Make them the constant subject of your preaching. “That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” This shows that Paul supposed that the doctrines of the gospel were fitted to lead people to holy living; compare Titus 3:1, and the notes at Philippians 4:8. The “good works” here refer not merely to acts of benevolence and charity, but to all that is upright and good - to an honest and holy life.

These things are good and profitable unto men - That is, these doctrines which he had stated were not mere matters of speculation, but they were fitted to promote human happiness, and they should be constantly taught.

Verse 9

But avoid foolish questions and genealogies - See the 1 Timothy 1:4 note; 2 Timothy 2:16, 2 Timothy 2:23 notes.

And contentions, and strivings about the law - Such as the Jews started about various matters connected with the law - about meats and drinks, etc.; the notes at 1 Timothy 1:4; compare the notes at Acts 18:15.

For they are unprofitable and vain - - They disturb and embitter the feelings; they lead to the indulgence of a bad spirit; they are often difficult to be settled, and are of no practical importance if they could be determined. The same thing might be said of multitudes of things about which men dispute so earnestly now.

Verse 10

A man that is an heretic - The word “heretic” is now commonly applied to one who holds some fundamental error of doctrine, “a person who holds and teaches opinions repugnant to the established faith, or that which is made the standard of orthodoxy.” Webster. The Greek word here used αἱρετικὸς hairetikos occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The corresponding noun (αἵρεσις hairesis) occurs in the following places: Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22, where it is rendered “sect;” and Act 25:14; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20; 2 Peter 2:1, where it is rendered “heresy,” and “heresies;” see the notes at Acts 24:14. The true notion of the word is that of one who is a promoter of a sect or party. The man who makes divisions in a church, instead of aiming to promote unity, is the one who is intended. Such a man may form sects and parties on some points of doctrine on which be differs from others, or on some custom, religious rite, or special practice; he may make some unimportant matter a ground of distinction from his brethren, and may refuse to have fellowship with them, and endeavor to get up a new organization. Such a man, according to the Scripture usage, is a heretic, and not merely one who holds a different doctrine from that which is regarded as orthodoxy. The spirit of the doctrine here is the same as in Romans 16:17, and the same class of persons is referred to. “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have received; and avoid them.” See the notes at that passage. The word here used is defined by Robinson (Lexicon), “one who creates dissensions, introduces errors, a factious person.” It is not found in classic Greek, but often in ecclesiastical writers; see Suicer’s Thesaurus.

After the first and second admonition - Compare Matthew 18:15-17. That is, do not do it hastily and rashly. Give him an opportunity to explain himself, and to repent and abandon his course. No man is to be cut off without giving him a proper opportunity to vindicate his conduct, and to repent if he has done wrong. If after the first and second admonition a man who is undoubtedly doing wrong, will not repent, then he is to be cut off. The apostle does not say in what way this admonition is to be given, or whether it should be public or private. The language which he uses would justify either, and the method which is to be adopted is doubtless to be determined by circumstances. The thing which is to be reached is, that his fault is to be fairly set before his mind.

Reject - παραιτοῦ paraitou. This word is rendered “excuse” in Luke 14:18-19; “refuse,” Acts 25:11; 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11; Hebrews 12:25; “avoid,” 2 Timothy 2:23, and “entreated,” Hebrews 12:19. Its prevailing meaning, as used in connections like the one before us, is to reject in relation to an office; that is, to decline appointing one to an office. It probably had a primary reference to that here, and meant that a man who was given to making dissensions, or who was a factious person, should not be admitted to an office in the church. The general direction would also include this, - that he should not be admitted to the church. He is neither to be owned as a member, nor admitted to office; compare Matthew 18:17. “Let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.” In regard to this passage, then, we may observe:

(1) That the utmost limit which this allows is mere exclusion. It does not allow us to follow the offender with injury.

(2) It does not authorize us to oppose one on account of his mere private opinions. The essential idea is that of a factious, division-making man; a man who aims to form sects and parties, whether on account of opinions, or from any other cause.

(3) It does not make it right to deliver such a man over to the “secular arm,” or to harm him in body, soul, property, or reputation. It gives no power to torture him on the rack, or with thumb-screws, or to bind him to the stake. It authorizes us not to recognize him as a Christian brother, or to admit him to an office in the church - but beyond this it gives us no right to go. He has a right to his own opinion still, as far as we are concerned, and we are not to molest him in the enjoyment of that right.

(4) It demands that, when a man is undoubtedly a heretic in the sense here explained, there should be the utmost kindness towards him, in order if possible to reclaim him. We should not begin by attacking and denouncing his opinions; or by formally arraigning him; or by blazoning his name as a heretic; but he is to be dealt with in all Christian kindness and brotherly fidelity. He is to be admonished more than once by those who have the right to admonish him; and then, and then only, if he does not repent, he is to be simply avoided. That is to be an end of the matter so far as we are concerned. The power of the church there ceases. It has no power to deliver him over to anyone else for persecution or punishment, or in any way to meddle with him. He may live where he pleases; pursue his own plans; entertain his own opinions or company, provided he does not interfere with us; and though we have a right to examine the opinions which he may entertain, yet our work with him is done. If these plain principles had been observed, what scenes of bloody and cruel persecution in the church would have been avoided!

Verse 11

Knowing that he that is such is subverted - Literally, “is turned out;” or, “is changed,” i. e., for the worse. He has gone from the right way, and therefore he should be rejected.

And sinneth, being condemned of himself - His own conscience condemns him. He will approve the sentence, for he knows that he is wrong; and his self-condemnation will be punishment sufficient. His own course, in attempting a division or schism in the church, shows him that it is right that he should be separated from the communion of Christians. He that attempts to rend the church, without a good reason, should himself be separated from it.

Verse 12

When I shall send Artemas unto thee - This person is not elsewhere mentioned in the New Testament, and nothing more is known of him.

Or Tychicus - Notes, Acts 20:4.

Be diligent - Notes, 2 Timothy 4:9. “To come unto me to Nicopolis.” It was at this place, probably, that this epistle was written. In regard to its situation, see Introduction, Section 4.

For I have determined there to winter - Why Paul designed to spend the winter there, or what he purposed to do there, are questions on which no light can now be thrown. There is no evidence that he organized a church there, though it may be presumed that he preached the gospel, and that he did not do it without success. His requesting Titus to leave his important post and to come to him, looks as if his aid were needed in the work of the ministry there, and as if Paul supposed there was a promising field of labor there.

Verse 13

Bring Zenas the lawyer - - This person is not elsewhere mentioned in the New Testament, and nothing more is known of him. He belonged doubtless to that class of persons so often mentioned in the New Testament as lawyers; that is, who were regarded as qualified to expound the Jewish laws; see the notes at Matthew 22:35. It does not mean that he practiced law, in the modern sense of that phrase. He had doubtless been converted to the Christian faith, and it is not improbable that there were Jews at Nicopolis, and that Paul supposed he might be particularly useful among them.

And Apollos - Notes, Acts 18:24. He was also well-skilled in the laws of Moses, being “mighty in the Scriptures” Acts 18:24, and he and Zenas appear to have been traveling together. It would seem that they had been already on a journey, probably in preaching the gospel, and Paul supposed that they would be in Crete, and that Titus could aid them.

Diligently - 2 Timothy 4:9; Greek Speedily; i. e., facilitate their journey as much as possible.

That nothing be wanting unto them - Nothing necessary for their journey. Paul desired that they might meet with hospitable treatment from Christians in Crete, and might not be embarrassed for the want of that which was needful for their journey. It would seem most probable that they had been sent by Paul on a visit to the churches.

Verse 14

And let ours - Our friends; that is, those who were Christians Paul had just directed Titus to aid Zenas and Apollos himself, and he here adds that he wished that others who were Christians would be char acterized by good works of all kinds.

To maintain good works - Margin, profess honest trades. The Greek will admit of the interpretation in the margin, or will include that, but there is no reason why the direction should be supposed to have any special reference to an honest mode of livelihood, or why it should be confined to that. It rather means, that they should be distinguished for good works, including benevolent deeds, acts of charity, honest toil, and whatever would enter into the conception of an upright life; see the notes at Titus 3:8.

For necessary uses - Such as are required by their duty to their families, and by the demands of charity; see Titus 3:8.

That they be not unfruitful - - That it may be seen that their religion is not barren and worthless, but that it produces a happy effect on themselves and on society; compare the John 15:16 note; Ephesians 4:28 note.

Verse 15

All that are with me salute thee - Notes, Romans 16:3. Paul, at the close of his epistles, usually mentions the names of those who sent affectionate salutations. Here it would seem to be implied that Titus knew who were with Paul, and also that he himself had been traveling with him. He evidently refers not to those who were residing in the place where he was, but to those who had gone with him from Crete as his companions.

Greet them that love us in the faith - In the faith of the gospel, or as Christians. No names are here mentioned; compare 1 Thessalonians 5:26; Colossians 4:15.

Grace be with you all - Notes, Romans 1:7; Romans 16:20.

The subscription, “It was written to Titus,” etc., is, like the other subscriptions at the close of the epistles, of no authority whatever; see the close of the notes at 1 Cor. In this subscription there are probably two errors:

(1) In the statement that Titus was “ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians;” because:

(a)There is no evidence that there was a church there called “the church of the Cretians,” as there were doubtless many churches on the island;

(b)There is no evidence that Titus was the first Bishop of the church there, or that he was the first one there to whom might be properly applied the term “bishop” in the Scriptural sense. Indeed, there is positive evidence that he was not the first, for Paul was there with him, and Titus was “left” there to complete what he had begun.

  1. There is no evidence that Titus was “bishop” there at all in the prelatical sense of the term, or even that he was a settled pastor; see the notes at Titus 3:1, Titus 3:5.

(2) That the epistle was written “from Nicopolis of Macedonia;” for

(a)There is no certain evidence that it was written at Nicopolis at all, though this is probable;

(b)There is no reason to believe that the Nicopolis referred to was in Macedonia; see Introduction 4.

These subscriptions are so utterly destitute of authority, and are so full of mistakes, that it is high time they were omitted in the editions of the Bible. They are no part of the inspired writings, but are of the nature of “notes and comments,” and are constantly doing something, perhaps much, to perpetuate-error. “The opinion that Timothy and Titus were prelatical bishops, the one of Ephesus and the other of Crete, depends far more on these worthless subscriptions than on anything in the epistles themselves.” Indeed, there is no evidence of it in the epistles; and, if these subscriptions were removed, no man from the New Testament would ever suppose that they sustained this office at all.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Titus 3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.