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The Epistle of Paul to
The oldest known form is the briefest, To Titus. So also the subscription to the Epistle should run.
Ch. 1. The Apostolate. Its Scope and Method
1 4 . Apostolic Greeting
1 . Paul, a servant of God ] A bond-servant (as R.V. margin) or slave of God ; in St Paul’s other uses of this word as his title it is ‘slave of Jesus Christ.’ The variation has been well pointed to as an evidence of genuineness; ‘a forger would not have made a deviation so very noticeable.’ The reason for the variation is probably the same as for the phrase ‘God our Saviour’ here and through these epistles; see note 1 Timothy 1:1 . Here in the Salutation itself we have ‘God’s slave,’ ‘God’s elect,’ ‘God who cannot lie,’ ‘God our Saviour.’ Paul is the minister of the One Personal Eternal God; it is ‘faith in Him ,’ full knowledge of Him that is wanted where, as Lewin remarks was the case in Crete, ‘Judaism and then Gnosticism, its offspring, had corrupted the Word, and the Gospel had become so disfigured by strange phantasies that its features could scarcely be recognised.’
and an apostle of Jesus Christ ] The ‘and’ is in Vulgate ‘autem’ not ‘et’ or ‘sed,’ the exact force being almost ‘and so as a consequence.’
‘Jesus Christ’ is here the right order, as Tischendorf 8th ed. admits, though in 1 Timothy 1:1 ; 2 Timothy 1:1 ‘Christ Jesus’ should be read. See notes there. It is natural enough that the new order of the words should sometimes be displaced by the older and more familiar.
according to the faith ] Vulg. ‘secundum’; and the R.V. keeps according to rightly enough in spite of all modern commentators who wish for the meaning ‘with a view to’ as in Philippians 3:14 , ‘I press on toward the goal,’ and think that ‘according to’ must imply that the faith and knowledge is the rule or norma of the Apostle’s office. But surely the word is not so narrow. Its common use, e.g. in ‘The Gospel according to St Matthew,’ gives a wider sense, ‘in the sphere of,’ ‘on the side of truth where St Matthew stands and sees and teaches.’ And this sense is of course directly derived from the proper meaning of the preposition ‘along,’ ‘throughout.’ So here, the faith and full knowledge of the Cretan Christians is the sphere within which he is to execute this commission from Jesus Christ as an apostle to them . His apostleship might have other spheres for other times and other Churches. Calvin says of St Paul’s commendation of his apostleship here ‘indicat ecclesiae magis quam unius Titi habitam a Paulo rationem.’
God’s elect ] Among the N.T. words corresponding to the universal later use of the word ‘Christians,’ 1 Peter 4:16 , are ‘those who are being saved,’ ‘the called,’ ‘the chosen’ or ‘elect,’ ‘the consecrated’ or ‘saints,’ ‘the faithful’ or ‘believers.’ The first chapter of St Peter’s first epistle touches all; ‘to the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion’ v . 1 ‘receiving now the salvation of your souls,’ v . 9 ‘like the Holy One which called you, be ye yourselves also holy ’ v . 15 ‘who through him are believers in God’ v . 21. Cf. 2 Peter 1:10 ‘make your calling and election sure,’ 1:1 ‘who have obtained faith ,’ 2:21 ‘the holy commandment delivered,’ cf. Revelation 17:14 ‘ called and chosen and faithful .’ The name ‘faithful’ evidently means ‘those who have been made partakers of and received the faith’; and all the names describe a present state of privilege and sonship and grace, the same as that assigned to the baptized in the Catechism, ‘he hath called me to this state of salvation ’ ‘the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me and all the elect people of God ,’ and in the Baptismal Services, ‘Grant that this child, now to be baptized therein, may receive the fulness of thy grace and ever remain in the number of thy faithful and elect children,’ ‘walk answerably to your Christian calling .’
the acknowledging of the truth ] Rather, the full knowledge , in opposition to the ‘knowledge falsely so called’ of Gnostic teachers; see v . 16 and note on 1 Timothy 2:5 .
after godliness ] The old English use of ‘after,’ according to ; cf. Hebrews 5:6 , ‘a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.’ The same preposition being used and in the same sense as just above ‘according to the faith.’ ‘The truth’ is not speculative but moral truth, affecting the life that they ‘may learn the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments, and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul’s health .’ Pr.-Bk. Baptismal Service. For ‘godliness’ see note on 1 Timothy 2:2 .
2 . in hope of eternal life ] The force of this phrase ‘in hope’ in N.T. is seen best from 1 Corinthians 9:10 , ‘to plow in hope to thresh in hope of partaking,’ or Romans 4:18 , ‘who in hope believed against hope.’ It stands strongly by itself with a verb of some other strong feeling or action, equivalent to summa spe . The force of Acts 26:5 , Acts 26:6 comes out far more clearly if we keep ‘in hope’ there too, and understand St Paul to say ‘All the Jews know me; from a boy I have been a strict Pharisee; and today I am living in hope of the promise to our fathers as I stand here on my trial the hope to which our twelve tribes look; and about this very hope I am called to account.’ Comparing the structure as well as the subject matter of that verse, we may well connect ‘in hope’ here with ‘Paul the Apostle’ before, and with ‘the message wherewith I was entrusted’ after. St Paul is still magnifying his office, as the emphatic ego shews. ‘My commission is threefold, and ranges from (1) the first spiritual life and gifts of those who have been chosen by God, through (2) the growing life of the true man of God thoroughly furnished, to (3) all the hope of glory; how your people in Crete may be justified, sanctified, glorified, is in the message wherewith I was entrusted; against this no Judaic formalism, no Gnostic spiritualism can hold: I have taught you (1) of the Holy Catholic Church; (2) of the Communion of saints and the Forgiveness of sins; (3) of the Resurrection of the body and the Life everlasting: and you are my true child after this common faith.’
God, that cannot lie ] See verse 1; ‘God’s promise, and mine as His messenger, is very different from the Cretan teachers’ word’ ( v . 12). The epithet is unique in N.T.
promised before the world began ] R.V. literally, ‘before times eternal’; A.V. from Vulg. ‘ante tempora saecularia.’ The parallel passages are 2 Timothy 1:9 ‘his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal ,’ Romans 16:25 ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal ,’ 1 Corinthians 2:7 ‘which God foreordained before the worlds ,’ Vulg. ‘ante saecula.’ The last passage shews the meaning of the Vulgate, ‘before the times of the world’s history,’ which is definite and accepted by R.V. there, though rejected here and in 2 Timothy 1:9 in favour of a bare and indeed meaningless phrase. It is better to import no extraneous definiteness into aionios , and also to recognise the proper idiomatic use of the preposition as to times and dates, of which 2 Corinthians 12:2 is an instance, ‘fourteen years ago,’ not ‘before fourteen years.’ Render in eternal times gone by . There is no difficulty as to the fact here or in 2 Timothy 1:9 ; with God to purpose, to promise, to give, are all one.
3 . but hath in due times ] See note on 1 Timothy 6:15 : and compare Galatians 6:9 . The phrase may well be thought the Hellenistic equivalent of the more classical form with preposition and substantive alone, John 5:4 ; Romans 5:6 ‘in due season Christ died,’ in accordance with the growing use of idios , which occurs fifteen times in the Pastoral Epistles.
manifested his word ] Bp Wordsworth follows Jerome in understanding this directly of Christ ‘manifested His Word’; but such an usage has no proper support in St Paul. ‘To understand with modern interpreters “ the Gospel ,” he says, is a feeble tautology.’ But Colossians 1:26 gives us ‘to fulfil (i.e. to preach fully) the word of God , even the mystery which hath been hid … now manifested … which is Christ in you, the hope of glory , whom we proclaim.’ Compare also Romans 16:25 quoted above. So Vulg. and Theod. Mops. Lat. ‘manifestavit verbum suum.’
through preaching ] Rather, as R.V. margin, in the proclamation , to define the mode of manifestation a historic creed, ‘declaring God’s mind not by dark intimations merely or distant promises but in great facts.’ For such a ‘proclamation,’ the earliest written ‘Gospel,’ see 1 Corinthians 15:1-46.15.8 . Cf. also 1 Timothy 3:16 and the note.
which is committed unto me ] More exactly as R.V., wherewith I was intrusted , as in 1 Timothy 1:2 .
according to the commandment ] Better, as in 1 Timothy 1:1 , where see note, by authority from . And therefore Titus is to ‘reprove with all authority,’ ch. 2:15.
of God our Saviour ] The same phrase with the same force as in 1 Timothy 1:1 (see note), and again in this Epistle 2:10, 3:4. The reference is to God the Father, compare the Prayer for Peace and deliverance in the Prayer-Book, ‘that Thou art our Saviour and mighty Deliverer,’ while in the next verse the same title is given to God the Son. But observe the order here, as in 1 Timothy 2:3 , our Saviour God ; the closing emphasis on the word ‘God’ expresses still more forcibly than ‘God our Saviour’ the thought explained in verse 1.
4 . to Titus , mine own son ] With R.V. render my true child , as in 1 Timothy 1:2 , where the force of the phrase is drawn out. On the connexion of Titus with St Paul see Introduction, p. 67 sqq.
after the common faith ] The insertion of ‘the’ implies ‘the faith common to the Church, to believers generally’: as the words stand without an article, it is rather the faith common to St Paul and Titus, in a common faith , or ‘in communion of faith;’ see note on 1 Timothy 1:2 .
Grace, mercy , and peace ] The mss. authority is against the insertion of ‘mercy’ here, though occurring in the salutation of both the letters to his other ‘true child’ Timothy. If the reason for the insertion in Timothy’s case suggested on 1 Timothy 1:2 be true, its absence is appropriate here in the case of Titus. Though true son and trusted colleague, he had not been, like Timothy, the constant companion and the alter ego of one who, while ‘fain to serve the best,’ was ever ‘conscious most of wrong within.’
from God the Father ] The later form in these Epistles for ‘our Father,’ cf. 1 Timothy 1:2 ; 2 Timothy 1:2 .
For the sense of the ‘Father’ see Bp Westcott, add. note on 1 John 1:2 . ‘St John does not use the Pauline phrase “our Father” in his own writings; in the Epistles he uses uniformly the absolute title “the Father” without any addition; and in the Apocalypse “his (my) Father” but not “the Father.” “The Father” suggests those thoughts which spring from the consideration of the moral connexion of God and man in virtue of the creation of man “in the image of God”; “my Father” points to those which spring from the revelation of the connexion of the Incarnate Son with God and with man, “the Son of God,” “the Christ.” In his latest writings S. John regards the relation of the Divine Fatherhood in its eternal, that is, in its present realisation “the Father” from its absolute side.’
and the Lord Jesus Christ ] This fullest and most emphatic title, according to the true text, occurs only in 1 Timothy 6:3 (note there and on 1 Timothy 1:1 ) and 6:14. Read here, Christ Jesus .
our Saviour ] See note on 1 Timothy 1:1 for this title given to Christ in the Pastoral Letters and in St Peter. It occurs not seldom in the Prayer Book, though much less often than ‘Jesus Christ our Lord’; e.g. in the 2nd and 3rd Collects for Evening Prayer, Collect for 2nd S. in Advent, Septuagesima, Easter Even, Prayer of Consecration, &c.
5 9 . Commission of Titus, generally, and in regard to Bishops or Presbyters
5 . The salutation, which has laid down emphatically the principle of apostolical authority, is followed at once by an uncompromising assertion of the authority delegated to Titus, and its chief exercise by him in ordination. Notice how this is strengthened (1) by the right reading, I left thee behind , (2) by the compound that thou mightest further set in order , (3) by the using of the pronoun ego , as I myself gave thee charge ‘ I began it all; let none thwart you in continuing my work as my delegate.’
As to the occasion of St Paul’s visit to Crete here referred to, see Introduction, pp. 73 75.
the things that are wanting ] Jerome paraphrases ‘rudimenta nascentis Ecclesiae.’ Cf. ‘dispensatio erga credentes ita ut et ad consensum instituerentur per ordinationes ecclesiasticas.’ Theod. Mops. Lat.
ordain elders in every city ] On the word ‘elders’ see notes on 1 Timothy 3:1 ; ‘in every city,’ i.e. from town to town, in no way implying any direction as to there being one or more than one. R.V. alters ‘ordain’ into ‘appoint’ as the simple meaning of the Greek, without the modern special sense now attaching to ordain. The meaning of ‘ordain’ in English of A.V. date is seen in 1 K. 12:32; Psalms 7:13 ; Daniel 2:24 , where the O.T. revisers give respectively ‘ordain,’ ‘prepare,’ ‘appoint.’ Cf. Hakluyt, Voyages , ii. 455, ‘ He ordeined a boat made of one tree’ ( Bible Word-Book , p. 440).
as I had appointed thee ] Is misleading, being open to the interpretation ‘do you appoint others as I have appointed you,’ whereas the sense intended was of course, as in the similar use of the same word Acts 7:44 , ‘as he had appointed speaking unto Moses,’ i.e. ‘appointed for thee to do.’ Cf. also Acts 24:23 , A.V. ‘he commanded a centurion,’ R.V. ‘he gave order to the centurion.’ In N.T. usage there is little if anything of the sense wished for by Bp Ellicott (after the Vulg. ‘disposui’), ‘not only bid but taught him how to do it.’
The verbs ‘further set in order,’ and ‘gave thee charge,’ are in the middle voice, because the ‘ordering’ and ‘arranging’ is not literal and primary, as of chairs and tables, but secondary and transferred to mental thought, to moral action. Winer distinguishes these meanings as ‘physical’ and ‘metaphysical,’ Gr . Pt. iii. § 38, 2, b. Cf. note on 1 Timothy 1:7 .
6 . if any be blameless, the husband of one wife ] ‘Blameless’; the word has occurred 1 Timothy 3:10 , to the same effect as ‘without reproach’ in 1 Timothy 3:2 , that word describing a character ‘such as cannot be laid hold of,’ this denoting a life ‘such as cannot be called in question,’ Vulg. ‘sine crimine.’ For the importance of this primary qualification see note on 1 Timothy 5:7 . It fits exactly with the next, ‘husband of one wife.’ This also was what the ordinands were to be before they were appointed presbyters; hence ‘husband of one wife’ refers to the prevalent polygamy, and has nothing to do with prohibition of a second marriage after ordination. We see in this here as elsewhere in the Pastoral Epistles (see note on 1 Timothy 3:2 ) ‘a solemn demand for purity and blamelessness in the marriage relation amid widespread concubinage and licence.’ Dr Reynolds, Expositor , Vol. viii. p. 74. Technically, ‘not a bigamist.’
having faithful children ] ‘Faithful’ is ambiguous, implying either ‘trustworthy’ or ‘believing’; no doubt the latter is intended; the presbyter’s household must not be one where the influence and teaching have been such that the children have still remained heathen; nor yet one where ‘faith’ and ‘duty’ have been severed; for they must also be neither chargeable with riotous living nor unruly , but living ‘in temperance, soberness and chastity,’ and submitting themselves ‘to all that are put in authority.’ ‘Riotous living’ is perhaps better than R.V. ‘riot’ (which is also substituted for the A.V. rendering of the same word ‘excess’ in Ephesians 5:18 ), as recalling the typical instance of the character in the ‘ Prodigal Son,’ Luke 15:13 . ‘The prodigal is one who cannot save or spare, to use Spenser’s word, ‘scatterling.’ The word forms part of Aristotle’s ethical terminology, the truly liberal man being one who keeps the golden mean between the two extremes, prodigality on one side and stinginess on the other.’ Trench, N.T. Syn . § 16.
7 . For a bishop must be blameless ] Or, as R.V., the bishop . Both are correct and idiomatic; note on 1 Timothy 3:2 . ‘Bishop’ here is admitted to refer to the ‘presbyter’ of verse 5, ‘bishop’ describing the nature of the duties assigned, viz. superintendence and pastoral oversight, while ‘presbyter’ refers rather to station and character; the one is official the other personal . See note on 1 Timothy 3:1 , Introduction, pp. 15 19, and Appendix, C. Bp Wordsworth well paraphrases here, ‘For he who has the oversight of others ought to be blameless.’
as the steward of God ] ‘The director of the house of God; Timothy had been told how he was to conduct himself in “the house of God,” and now Titus is told that every bishop or elder, has similar responsibilities.’ Dr Reynolds. Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1 , 1 Corinthians 4:2 ; 1 Peter 4:10 . An approved settled Christian life was essential, because recent converts from heathenism might endanger the Christian Church by bringing into it the relics of their heathen life. Even in the 4th century Chrysostom complains that men came to the Holy Communion hustling and kicking one another.
not self-willed, not soon angry ] ‘Self-willed,’ ‘headstrong,’ ‘unfeeling,’ occurs only here and 2 Peter 2:10 in N.T. Theophrastus ( Char . xv.) describes the character in a way which shews the idea conveyed by the word to be worse than our English ‘self-willed’ implies. He describes it as ‘A certain roughness that shews itself in a man’s whole conversation and behaviour. Ask one of this savage temper if he has seen such a person lately, he answers you, Prithee, friend, don’t be impertinent . If you desire to know the price of anything he has to sell, he grows surly, and asks what fault you find with it? He is inexorable upon the slightest offence; do but chance to tread upon his foot, or push him with your elbow, and he’ll never forget you as long as he lives. If a friend desires to borrow some money of him he at first gives him a flat denial, but upon second thoughts brings it to him, and throwing it down in a churlish manner, Well, here ’tis , says he, but I never expect to see it again . If he stumbles against a stone in the street, he looks back and falls a cursing it.’ Burgell’s Trans. ‘Soon angry,’ ‘irascible,’ ‘choleric,’ only here in N.T., not as Theod. Mops, ‘reminiscentem iram et per longi temporis spatia tenentem,’ i.e. ‘bearing malice.’ The form of the word denotes rather ‘liable to,’ ‘with frequent fits of.’ So the word occurs in the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles , iii. 1, ‘Be not soon angry, for anger leadeth to murder.’ The word for ‘jesting,’ Ephesians 5:4 , is from an adjective of similar form, ‘quick at banter.’
not given to wine, no striker ] As in 1 Timothy 3:3 , not quarrelsome over wine, no striker ; see notes there.
not given to filthy lucre ] As of the deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8 , where see note; elsewhere in N.T. only the adverb, 1 Peter 5:2 . Vulg. ‘non turpis lucri cupidum.’ Bp Ellicott (following Huther) refers it especially to ‘dishonesty with the alms of the Church, or any abuse of a spiritual office for purposes of gain.’ The similarly formed word ‘filthy communication,’ Colossians 3:8 , is in R.V. ‘shameful speaking’; and it would be clearer to render here not given to unfair gains . ‘ Fair gains’ are the parson’s right for fair pains, 1 Timothy 5:18 ; 2 Timothy 2:6 . The phrase ‘filthy lucre’ has come to bear a meaning as if, according to a right and high standard, money per se , rents, tithes, and fees, were all ‘of the earth’ worldly, and unfit to be pressed for by any clergyman who professed to set an example.
8 . a lover of hospitality ] As in 1 Timothy 3:2 , where its appropriateness to the times is explained.
a lover of good men] An adjective occurring only in N.T. suggested by the similar compound preceding, as with the similar play of words 2 Timothy 3:4 , ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.’ The contrast there of ‘thing’ and ‘person’ as the object of affection increases the probability of the neuter ‘good’ being intended here rather than the masculine ‘good men;’ but ‘lover’ should be kept as having suggested the phrase, a lover of hospitality, a lover of good .
sober, just, holy, temperate ] Rather, pure, righteous, holy, temperate . On the distinction between ‘pure’ and ‘temperate’ see 1 Timothy 3:2 ; on that between ‘righteous’ and ‘holy’ see 1 Timothy 2:9 . The generally drawn distinction of ‘doing one’s duty to man’ (‘righteous’), and ‘to God’ (‘holy’), would mislead there, and so does R.V. following A.V. here in rendering ‘just,’ though substituting ‘righteous’ in such striking passages as Matthew 1:19 , ‘Joseph, being a righteous man;’ 1 John 1:9 , ‘he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins.’ See Dr Westcott’s note on this last verse, ‘The essence of righteousness lies in the recognition and fulfilment of what is due from one to another. Truth passing into action is righteousness.’ On man’s part therefore ‘righteousness’ is duty done to God and to man for God’s sake. So in effect Trench, N. T. Syn . § 88, ‘The second great commandment is not coordinated with the first greatest, but subordinated to and in fact included in it.’
9 . holding fast the faithful word ] Or, the faithful saying , keeping the connexion with the technical phrase of these Epistles, 1 Timothy 1:15 . ‘Though no one “faithful saying” is quoted, yet it may be used comprehensively of them all, and is here guaranteed by “the teaching” of the Apostle himself.’ Dr Reynolds.
as he hath been taught ] The grammar requires, as R.V., which is according to the teaching . The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is the title of a newly discovered manuscript of very early days placed by Bp Lightfoot ‘somewhere between a.d. 80 110.’ But its title is not intended to suggest its authorship. We may accept it as the private venture of someone who desires to set forth his views on moral conduct and Church order, believing them to represent the mind of the Apostles. See Introduction, pp. 22, 23. Similarly then ‘the teaching’ here meant is the oral Gospel and Instruction of St Paul.
able by sound doctrine both to exhort ] Accurately with R.V. (the position of the verb in the clause being noted) able both to exhort in the sound doctrine . ‘Exhort’ has nothing to do with ‘gainsayers’ but refers to the building up by exhortation and comfort of believers. Compare 1 Timothy 5:1 , where see note. The ‘Pastoral’ phrase ‘the sound doctrine’ is examined 1 Timothy 5:10 , where ‘the doctrine’ is seen to be the equivalent English word, as it is passing into technical use. Didachê on the other hand remains untechnical, ‘teaching.’
and to convince the gainsayers ] R.V. convict . See note 1 Timothy 5:20 .
10 16 . The unruly rival teachers are to be repressed
10 . many unruly ] Add men , leaving the pair of attributes to go together, as in the Pauline usage, empty talkers and deceivers of the mind . Both compounds occur only here in N.T.; but the substantive, meaning vaniloquentia , has occurred 1 Timothy 1:6 , where the meaning is defined in what follows, ‘though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm;’ and the verb, meaning seducit , is used Galatians 6:3 and defined by the context ‘if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing.’ Peile translates ‘self-deceivers,’ i.e. visionary enthusiasts, comparing Isaiah 44:20 and James 1:26 .
specially they of the circumcision ] Judaizing Christians. Jews from Crete are named among the visitors to Jerusalem Acts 2:11 , and the Christianising of the island cannot have been quite recent, even from v . 6, ‘having faithful children.’
11 . whose mouths must be stopped ] The verb is so used in classical Greek often; the ‘stopping’ must have reference to the ‘convict’ of verses 9, and 13. Compare the use of ‘to muzzle’ in the Gospels, e.g. Mark 4:39 , ‘Peace, be still ,’ and 1 Peter 2:15 , where the ‘ignorance of foolish men’ is ‘to be muzzled’ by ‘well-doing.’
who subvert whole houses ] As R.V. men who , the compound relative implying the class to which they belong, and so the conduct for which they should be silenced; hence almost, ‘seeing that they.’ Cf. 1 Timothy 1:4 , ‘the which.’ Render subvert whole households . Why should the Revisers give up the Latin word ‘subvert,’ which the A.V. has rendered familiar, and which gives the metaphorical overthrow more clearly?
teaching things which they ought not ] The negative used implies the general class of wrong teachings rather than any definite and specific facts or views. The effect is a less positive statement than if the other negative had been used; and the rendering ‘things which they ought not to teach and which they know they ought not’ is impossible. It should be ‘things of a class which I think improper to be taught.’
for filthy lucre’s sake ] Rather, for the sake of unfair gains , see verse 7. Bp Ellicott quotes a striking passage from Polybius, Hist . vi. 46. 3, with respect to the Cretan character; ‘and generally their character as to unfair gains and covetousness is of this kind they are the only nation in the world among whom no sort of gain is thought unfair.’
12 . One of themselves ] Rather, one of them , there being nothing to indicate emphasis till the next two words come, a prophet of their own ; the force is, ‘there is a Cretan saying and by a prophet of their own:’ for the adjective see v . 3.
Epimenides was a poet priest and prophet of Gnossus in Crete, who was invited to Athens about 596 b.c. to purify the city after the pollution of Cylon, and is said to have died at Lacedaemon soon after, aged 150 years. This hexameter verse is from his ‘Oracles,’ and the first part was quoted by Callimachus in his ‘Hymn to Zeus’
‘ “Cretans are always liars”; thy grave has been claimed by the Cretans,
Thine , O King immortal, who livest and reignest for ever.’
Peile quotes Calvin’s Latin hexameter rendering
‘Mendax, venter iners, semper mala bestia Cres est,’ and it would run in English
‘Cretans are always liars, are wild beasts, do-nothing gluttons.’
Their general character was well known from the proverb of ‘The three worst Ks, Kretans, Kappadocians, Kilicians,’ and from the word which meant ‘to play the Cretan’ coming to mean ‘to play the cheat and liar,’ as ‘to play the Corinthian’ was ‘to play the prodigal and libertine.’
For their ferocity and greed and falseness cf. Polyb. vi. 46, 47, ‘The Cretans, on account of their innate avarice live in a perpetual state of private quarrel and public feud and civil strife.… and you will hardly find anywhere characters more tricky and deceitful than those of the Cretans.’
In favour of the Cretans may be said that they sacrificed to their stern mentor Epimenides as a god, and that Titus, who was to adopt and enforce this severe censure of St Paul, has been honoured to this day as the apostle of Crete. See Pashley’s Travels in Crete , vol. 1. p. 175. Cf. Appendix, I.
13 . This witness is true ] Not to be taken, as Dr Farrar says, au pied de la lettre , as though the Cretans were indiscriminately wicked. Nor to be taken as authority for ‘scolding’ in the modern sermon. The spirit of St Paul and of Titus must be taken with the letter : and the counsel of Bp Wilberforce remembered, ‘speak straight to them, as you would beg your life, or counsel your son, or call your dearest friend from a burning house, in plain, strong, earnest words’ ( Ordination Charge , 1846).
rebuke them sharply ] As above, convict or confute , v . 9. R.V. loses much by ‘reprove,’ which is even weaker than ‘rebuke’ and quite unequal to the burden of ‘confute and condemn.’ The substantive corresponding to ‘sharply’ occurs Romans 11:22 , in the metaphor of the cutting out of the evil branches from the olive tree, ‘the goodness and severity of God;’ and the adverb itself in 2 Corinthians 13:10 in reference to the severe measures to be taken by St Paul at Corinth, ‘that I may not when present deal sharply.’ Dr Reynolds puts the drift well: ‘a sharp knife, firm handling, free incisions, are needed for some poisonous and putrefying sores; and as in former days Titus had to shew the Corinthians how to purge out the old leaven, to deliver wicked persons to Satan, to rebuke pretentious Sciolism, so once more out of sheer kindness he was commanded not to spare them.’
that they may be sound in the faith ] Again ‘healthy,’ ‘healthful,’ keeping up, with this ‘Pastoral’ word, the metaphor of health in the body corporate of the Cretan Church. Compare Proverbs 15:4 , ‘A wholesome tongue Heb. the healing of the tongue is a tree of life’ with verse 10, and 1 Timothy 6:3 , ‘if any man teacheth a different doctrine and consenteth not to sound wholesome words.’
14 . not giving heed to Jewish fables ] See note on 1 Timothy 1:4 and Introduction, pp. 45 sqq. ‘The old Judaism got itself entangled in a new Platonism. Those endless genealogies which had always charmed the Israelite, as he traced his own pedigree from Seth and Abraham and David, were now beginning to soar into higher heights of speculation, till at length they dealt with angelic relationships and lost themselves in interminable mazes of celestial emanations.’ Dr Vaughan, The Wholesome Words of Jesus Christy , p. 7.
commandments of men ] See note on 1 Timothy 4:3 and Introduction, pp. 46, 48, 50; ‘erga escarum insumptionem scrupuloso agere videbantur,’ Theod. Mops. The addition of the participial clause without the article leaves more emphasis on ‘men’ as opposed to God the true lawgiver; the participle is only formally in agreement with men ; the real stress is on the thought ‘desertion of the truth,’ ‘ human commandments with the truth abandoned.’ Compare 1:6, where the main attribute to ‘children’ is ‘believing’ and ‘not in accusation &c.’ is secondary. Winer, Pt. iii. § 20, 4. The translation of A.V., by putting the comma after ‘men’ and rendering ‘ that turn away’ as the more general relative, seems nearer to this force of the Greek than the R.V. ‘men who turn.’
15 . Unto the pure all things are pure ] To the same effect as 1 Timothy 4:3 , 1 Timothy 4:4 , 1 Timothy 4:5 . Cf. Matthew 15:2 , Matthew 15:11 for the ‘wholesome words of Jesus Christ’ on the same point. The true principle of lawful Christian abstinence is given (with the same phrase) Romans 14:20 . ‘The “all things” are those which in themselves have no moral character , food, marriage, business, pleasure, daily life, Sabbatic observance, and social freedom; that vast region of conduct to which Jewish pedantry and oriental asceticism had applied the vexatious rules Touch not, taste not, handle not.’ Reynolds.
defiled and unbelieving ] As ‘the pure’ here corresponds to ‘them that believe and have full knowledge of the truth’ in 1 Timothy 4:3 , so impurity of life and unsound doctrine, go together.
but even their mind and conscience ] Rather, nay, there is defilement of both their mind and their conscience . Nothing is pure, and indeed those very organs to which we look for instilling purity are defiled. Cf. Matthew 6:22 , Matthew 6:23 , ‘The lamp of the body is the eye; if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.’ The ‘mind’ in N.T. is more than ‘ reason ’ and ‘ intellect ’ including also ‘ the will and ‘ the feelings ,’ 1 Timothy 6:5 ; Romans 1:28 ‘God gave them up to a reprobate mind.’ The ‘conscience,’ suneidêsis , is the ‘ moral sense ,’ or ‘self-consciousness,’ pronouncing intuitively by a spiritual instinct on our acts, 1 Timothy 3:9 ; Romans 2:15 . ‘The two united represent the stream of life in its flowing in and flowing out together. Cf. Appendix, A, iii. 1, and D.
is defiled ] R.V. ‘are defiled,’ our modern idiom differing from the Greek, which has the singular verb agreeing with the nearer only of the two nouns. In old English also two substantives when closely allied in meaning not uncommonly are followed by the singular verb, e.g. ‘Destruction and unhappiness is in their ways.’
16 . They profess that they know God ] Vulg. ‘confitentur’; ‘profess’ is retained by R.V., though its modern sense is more generally ‘pretend’: the Greek is ‘openly acknowledge,’ and the word is used of those Books of the Bible which are ‘homologoumena,’ ‘fully acknowledged.’ This sense of ‘profess’ remains in our ‘Professor’ or Public Teacher. Cf. Matthew 7:23 ‘then will I profess unto them.’
being abominable, and disobedient ] Vulg. ‘cum sint abominati.’ Compare Revelation 21:8 ‘the fearful and unbelieving and abominable,’ 27 ‘anything unclean or he that maketh an abomination and a lie.’
unto every good work reprobate ] The first of six occurrences of the phrase ‘good or ‘fair’ ‘work’ in this Epistle, cf. 2:7, 14, 3:1, 8, 14. So in 1 Tim. it occurs six times and twice in 2 Tim. For the force of this particular word for ‘good’ see note on 1 Timothy 1:18 . The application of sound doctrine to daily life is the natural and necessary object of the Apostle at this stage of progress in the Christian Church. See Introduction, pp. 32 34. ‘Reprobate’ comes from the Vulg. ‘reprobi’; the Greek is lit. ‘unable to stand the test,’ ‘tried and found wanting.’ It occurs again 2 Timothy 3:8 . Its best known use is in 1 Corinthians 9:27 ‘lest after I have preached to others I myself should be rejected.’ Worthless here gives the force.
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the First Week of Advent