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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Titus 1

Verses 1-16

Not much is known about Titus. Paul makes slight references to him in the Corinthian epistles. Outside of that we know very little about Titus, except what we can pick up in the book. Evidently he was a convert of Paul, as was Timothy, because he calls him his "beloved son" as he did Timothy. He wrote his epistle to Titus at about the same time that he wrote the first epistle to Timothy. There is a similarity between the two epistles, in that in both of them Paul is establishing the order within the churches the appointment of the elders and the various other offices within the church and the functions of the various groups within the church.

And so with that brief background lets turn directly to the book as Paul introduces himself here as

Paul, a servant of God ( Titus 1:1 ),

The Greek word is "douleuo", which is "slave". It is a title of humility but in the same token it is a title of pride. What greater thing could a person be than the servant of the Eternal living God, the Creator of the universe? And so he sees himself. Moses was called a servant or a slave of God, as was so many in the Old Testament. And so Paul begins his book to Titus by the declaration of himself as a slave of God.

and an apostle of Jesus Christ, [or an envoy of Jesus Christ] according to the faith of God's elect, and according to the truth which is after godliness ( Titus 1:1 );

So Paul a servant of God writing to Gods' elect, the faithful, who are seeking the truth which is after godliness.

In the hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began ( Titus 1:2 );

Now I do not know where God promised eternal life before the world began, except that God existed before the world began. This word 'eternal' is the Greek word aionios, which is age abiding life. And it is important that we recognize that this is more than duration, it is quality of life.

When the rich young ruler came and fell at the feet of Jesus and said, Good Master, what good thing must I do to inherent eternal life, he was using this same Greek word, this age-abiding life. He no doubt had been observing the life of Jesus and he saw that there was a quality in the life of Jesus that was above and distinct from anyone else he had ever seen. There was this glorious quality of life, this age-abiding life. And so his quest was for this quality of life, as well as the duration.

Now God has given to us the hope of eternal life. This of course was promised by Jesus Christ when He said to Nicodemas, "That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" ( John 3:16 ). It is a blessed hope that we have a hope that has been confirmed by the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

So Peter in his epistle said, "Thanks be unto God who has begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God." ( 1 Peter 1:3-5 )

There is the promise in the Bible to those who would believe in Jesus Christ, that God will give to them the gift of eternal life. We read, "this is the record God has given to us eternal life, the life is in the Son. And he who has the Son has life" ( 1 John 5:11 ).

It is reasonable to assume that this promise of eternal life is a valid promise. As we look at nature, we see that God has created in nature the very hope of resurrection in the principles of nature, in the planting of a seed into the ground. The seed, first if all dies before it comes into new life, then the form that comes out of the ground isn't the form that you planted because all you planted was a bear seed, and God gives it a body as pleases Him. And so in the resurrection of the dead; planted in corruption but raised in incorruption, planted in weakness, raised in power; planted in dishonor raised in glory; planted as a natural body but raised in a spiritual body.

This past week as we were up at the conference center I saw one of these little caterpillars crawling along, and I was reminded of our little girl, when she was a little girl. She is now a young lady, let's settle for that. How excited she was one day when she came running into the house and said, Daddy, daddy, there is a furry coat walking outside.

And as I watched that little caterpillar as it was crawling along, I realized that it existed in a body that was designed to do just what it was doing, crawl along the earth. I could imagine that, that little caterpillar could in his mind wish that maybe it could fly, but the body is not designed to fly. The body of a caterpillar, with all of its legs, is designed to just crawl across the ground. But one day the little caterpillar crawls up the wall of the house and exudes a little glue, spins chrysalis around itself. And in time that chrysalis will begin to shake and jerk with convulsive movements until it breaks open and there unfold the beautiful gold and black wings, and the tiger swallow tail butterfly begins to fly across the yard, over the fence, over the fields and away.

What has happened is a metamorphosis in nature; it's a change of body, where the caterpillar went into the chrysalis-state. If you had taken during the chrysalis-state and pinch the chrysalis, juices would have just popped out all over, nothing but juice. But yet it formed into that glorious tiger swallow tail butterfly, which incidentally has the identical markings to the butterfly that laid the egg that hatched the caterpillar. Now there you find a change of body that is now a new body designed for a totally different environment.

So God, when He made our bodies designed them for the environment of the planet earth. But it is reasonable to believe that if God brought forth resurrection in a seed into a beautiful flower, the seed that germinated or died, if God can change a caterpillar into a butterfly and give it a body for a totally new environment, then God can also give us a body that is adapted for a totally new environment. And that is exactly what the Bible teaches. Even as we have born the image of the earth and have been earthy, so shall we bear the image of the heavens; God has made this body and adapted it for the earth. And so we know when this earthly tabernacle, our bodies dissolve, we then have a building of God that is not made with hands that's eternal in the heavens. So then, "we who are in these bodies often groan, earnestly desiring to be delivered, not that I would be unclothed [or unbodied] but clothed upon with the body which is from heaven" ( 2 Corinthians 5:4 ).

So the Bible teaches that for the child of God there is no death, there is only a metamorphosis, a change of body as I move from the tent to the house. The hope of eternal life, a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. That new body that God has prepared for me, simply because of my faith, belief, and trust in Jesus Christ. Oh, what a glorious gift and what a glorious hope we have.

Now, outside of Jesus Christ I know of no real hope beyond just life, as it is in this span of seventy years, plus or minus. Live like a hog, die like a dog and it is all over, you know. That's all you got to look forward to, because that's all that she wrote. Paul said that if our hope were in this world only, we would be miserable. Man, if I thought, Hey, this is it, all of the purposes and everything else that are accomplished in this span now, and looked around and see God's best, I would think, oh, help. I would be miserable. But I have a hope that sustains me, that keeps me going when things are dark. I have a hope that sustains me when things are going against me, and I'm discouraged, there is that hope that keeps me going. Hope is so vital and hope is so important to existence to keep you going, and it's amazing how hope can just keep you going.

We've mentioned before the experiments done with the Norwegian wharf rats. There are some corollaries. They put them in these tubs, and they spray these tubs constantly with water so that they couldn't roll over and float. And the rats drowned in an average of seventeen minutes. Then with an experimental group, as they were about to drown, they would take some of the rats, lift them out of the tub, dry them off, put them back in their cages, feed them, and let them live a normal life again. And then later on after they had recovered fully, their health, they put them back in the tubs under the same conditions. And these rats that lasted an average of seventeen minutes, now were able to survive for thirty-seven hours. Interestingly enough, the psychologist who conducted the experiments contributed it to the fact that the rats had experienced a salvation experience; that is, they had almost drowned when they were saved, so they kept hoping for salvation again. That kept them going, not just seventeen minutes, now it kept them going thirty-seven hours. The hope made that much difference.

Oh, what a glorious hope we have. Don't let anybody take it away from you, that hope that is in Jesus Christ of eternal life that is made by God, the promise of God, something so sure. God, who cannot lie, God's Word that cannot fail, has given to us the promise of eternal life, and thus the hope of eternal life. And so we live in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.

But hath in due time manifested his word through the preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour ( Titus 1:3 );

Now the plan of redemption existed before the world because God knows all things. Now don't ask me why God, if He knew man was going to fall, created man. I don't know the ways of God. God told me I wouldn't know the ways of God. He said, My ways are not your ways; My ways are beyond your finding out. So for His purposes and for His reasons, God created man knowing that man would fail, knowing that man would fall. But He also predestined the method of redemption, purposing to send His Son to reveal His love, so that those that would believe in Him would have the hope of eternal life through Him.

And so in due time --you see, time finally caught up with God. In this one aspect we are still behind, in a lot of other aspects, but as we were explaining the eternal nature last Thursday night, for you that were here, how that God is outside of the time continuum. So that God looks at the whole spectrum of time with just one glance. He sees the end and the beginning with just one glance. So it isn't six thousand years ago, or two thousand years from now, God sees it all right now, the whole thing. He sees the entire picture, looking at the whole picture at one glance. I see it within the time continuum as it's passing by me, but God looks down and sees the whole thing at once. And so that plan of eternal life, the plan of redemption existed before the world began, but in due time God has made it known unto man.

And Paul said, "To him was committed the preaching of this glorious commandment of God and our Savior." Now he is addressing the letter,

To Titus, my own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace ( Titus 1:4 ),

As with the epistle to Timothy, he includes the mercy with the grace and peace, which are Paul's common salutations.

from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour ( Titus 1:4 ).

I do not know why in the translation of the Bible they do not put a comma after the word "Lord", when it is coupled with Jesus Christ, so that we have a clearer distinction that the word "kurios" is a title, it is not His name. So many times we think of that as His name. It is not His name; it is His title, by which we signify relationship. If He is Lord, then we are the servants. If I call Him "Lord", the immediate relationship is I am servant. By my calling Him "Lord", I am declaring myself His servant, His Subject, His slave.

That is why Jesus said, Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and yet you do not do the things I command you? That is inconsistent. He said, Many will come in that day saying, Lord, Lord, but He will say, Hey, I never knew you. A lot of people use that title as a name, and thus they do not really understand the significance of the title. The "Lord", that is His title. His name is Jesus. "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save people from their sins" ( Matthew 1:21 ). And "Christ" is His mission. He was the Messiah; He was to be the Messiah, the Savior. That was His mission. His name is Jesus. His title to me is "Lord". And so I like to pause and say, "The Lord, Jesus Christ." Just to make it separate from the name, giving the distinction of the title.

For this cause [Paul said] I left thee in Crete, that thou should set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I have appointed thee ( Titus 1:5 ):

Now, Crete had a very bad reputation. The people of Crete were known to be unscrupulous. They were money-mongers. There were in the ancient days, what they called the three evil C's: the Cretians, the Cicilians, and the Cappadocians. But Crete they said was the worst of all. And in fact, a Greek word, "crecia" was ultimately coined from the evilness of the Cretian people. And "crecia" is a man who is so money-hungry that he is dishonest and unscrupulous in all his dealings.

And such were the Cretians known to be, and yet in this environment there was the body of Christ. And Paul left Titus, who was much like Timothy. According to Paul in Corinthians, He had the heart of Paul. He was a trustworthy servant and companion with Paul in the Gospel. And so he left him in Crete with the purpose of ordaining elders in every city as Paul had appointed him.

Now somewhere along the line, the church got the idea that elders were to be elected. Where this idea developed, I do not know. In the New Testament the elders were always spoken of as being ordained, selected and ordained by the pastoral leadership. And so he is telling him that he is to ordain elders in every city. The qualifications:

if any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riots or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, [or not short-tempered,] not given to wine, no striker [and that means a guy that is cuffing people or hitting people.] ( Titus 1:6-7 ),

Somewhere along the line it must have happened that those who were appointed to the offices of bishops could not really handle their power. And thus, there are rules in the early church against the bishops, that if a bishop is striking a man or striking people, than he is to be deposed from his office.

You know, there are some people that just can't handle power. It goes to their head and they become just tyrants. And that happens even in the church, unfortunately. And so they are not to be a striker that means --it doesn't mean someone who goes on strike, but it means someone who strikes someone else with his hand or fist.

Not given to filthy lucre ( Titus 1:7 );

Which of course was hard to find in Crete because that was the characteristics of the Cretians. Those are the negatives. The positive traits is that he must be

a lover of hospitality ( Titus 1:8 ),

In those days there was a lot of travel and there weren't always good accommodations. The public inns were usually places of ill repute, immoral, and just a place of debauchery. And so when a Christian traveled, it was hard. And so there developed within the church a great hospitality to other Christians, the opening of the door. And it was a very important thing that the elders set the example and that their house be an open door so that Christians passing through would have a decent place to lodge, "a lover of hospitality".

a lover of good men, sober, just, holy [good], temperate ( Titus 1:8 );

Now as you look at these, they are pretty much just the opposite of the things he had said earlier. He said not quick to anger, and here he says, "temperate". And so it is just sort of the opposite of the negative characteristics that he had named earlier. And as you compare this with first Timothy, you'll find that the list and the qualifications are pretty much identical with what Paul gave to Timothy in the ordaining of elders, few differences.

Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers ( Titus 1:9 ).

Or those that would ridicule Christianity. So he had to be a man of the Word. He had to be a man of sound doctrine, capable of teaching sound doctrine.

One of the greatest weaknesses of the church today is the lack of solid doctrine teaching, or the teaching of solid, sound doctrine. Too many times, the church has been, become an entertainment center. The church has sought to attract the crowd through an entertaining program, and the churches vie with one another for the most entertaining program, for the grandest organ, for the greatest choir, for the biggest productions. People with itching ears wanting to hear sermons with cute little stories and filled with jokes, no content to them, but they are very entertaining. He's an excellent orator. Oh, I never laughed so hard in all my life, oh my, is that fellow funny. Sad, because, the church is weak. What we need is sound doctrine. We need those that can teach sound doctrine and establish people in the faith and through the Word of God, prove that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the promised One of God.

Exhorting and convincing people of the truth. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision ( Titus 1:9-10 ):

That is, the Judaizers, those who were safe from the ranks of the Jews. And what has Paul called them? Empty talkers; that is, there is no real content to their message. There is no real discovery of salvation through Jesus Christ in their message. They are deceivers.

Whose mouths must be stopped, because they subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake ( Titus 1:11 ).

Men who are in the ministry for the profit, for the financial gain, willing to say the things that the people want to hear, in order that they might live a luxurious lifestyle that they want to live.

One of themselves, [Paul said] even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies ( Titus 1:12 ).

He said, "This witness is true". Now what is he saying? That it is true, that this is true of the Cretians? They are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies? Well it was quite true of the Cretians, many of them, but of course generalizations are never right or accurate. You can't say "all" Cretians. You can't generalize. Yes, it is true of some of them. I think when Paul said, "This is a true witness", what he is saying is, I know that someone actually said this, someone actually did say this, one of the prophets in talking of the Cretians.

And this is a true witness. [that it actually was said] Wherefore, [Paul said] rebuke them sharply ( Titus 1:13 ),

So here's Titus who is to stand up before these false teachers, these men who are out after their own glory and enrichment, and he is to rebuke them sharply,

that they may be sound in the faith. Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and the commandments of men, that turn from the truth ( Titus 1:13-14 ).

So those Judaizers that were in plagued to Paul wherever he went, who taught the people in a mixture of faith and law in order to be saved. Paul said,

Unto the pure all things are pure ( Titus 1:15 ):

Jesus said, It isn't what goes into a man's mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So Jesus is saying really it is what is in a man's heart that is really important. "Unto the pure all things are pure." Now I've met some people that are looking for dirty little innuendoes in everything, that are always looking for some impure angle in the speech or what else to make some dirty little pun. It is a reflection of what is in their minds, what is in their hearts. "Unto the pure all things are pure." Oh God, make me pure.

But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and their conscious is defiled ( Titus 1:15 ).

I have been around these kinds of people. I feel like taking a bath or a shower when I leave them, filth rolling out of their mouths continually.

They profess that they know God; but in their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, unto every good work they are reprobate ( Titus 1:16 ).

And so Paul is warning Titus concerning these false teachers. "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Titus 1". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.