For 10¢ a day you can enjoy ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Titus 1

Verses 1-4

The Salutation Titus 1:1-56.1.4 is called the salutation of Paul’s letter to Titus and is found in all thirteen of Paul’s New Testament epistles and is used as an introduction to his letters. Paul wrote his salutations as a signature of authenticity (2 Thessalonians 3:17) just like we place our signature today at the end of a document. He may have written entire epistles as indicated in Philemon 1:19. However, there are indications in six of his epistles that Paul used an amanuensis to write most of his letters (see Romans 16:22, 1 Corinthians 16:21, Galatians 6:11, Colossians 4:18, 2 Thessalonians 3:17, Philemon 1:19).

2 Thessalonians 3:17, “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.”

Titus 1:14 is the opening salutation of Paul with a clear emphasis upon the office and ministry of God the Father.

The Salutation Reflects the Theme of Titus The opening verses of most books of the Scriptures introduces its theme. Thus, we are able to find references to the theme of the epistle of Titus in its opening salutation (Titus 1:1-56.1.4). In this letter Paul charges Titus with the commission of setting in order the churches planted in Crete. Paul tells Titus that his apostleship is related to establishing faith in God’s elect people (Titus 1:1) to establish them in their hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2).

In this opening salutation Paul humbly declares himself as a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ “in accordance to” God the Father’s redemptive plan (Titus 1:1 a). This plan of the Father is to (1) establish faith in the heart of God’s elect (Titus 1:1 b), (2) which establishes the love walk, or sanctification, through the teaching of God’s Word, which is according to a godly lifestyle (Titus 1:1 c), (3) all for the purpose of establishing a believer’s hope in eternal life (Titus 1:2). Paul fulfills God the Father’s redemptive plan by preaching His Word (Titus 1:3). He will delegate this same duty to Titus, who is to teach God’s Word to the churches planted in Crete. Therefore, Paul tells Titus to elect godly leaders (Titus 1:5-56.1.16), hand over to them sound doctrine (Titus 2:1-56.2.15) which establishes godly conduct among the believers (Titus 3:1-56.3.7), and all for the purpose of bringing these believers into their blessed hope of eternal life through Christ Jesus.

This opening salutation has a clear emphasis upon the office and ministry of God the Father. While Titus emphasizes the Father’s role in using His servants to teach His elect the Word, 1 and 2 Timothy emphasize the evangelistic role of His servants in bringing men to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and Philemon illustrates the pastor’s role in leading a local congregation in the love walk by his example of receiving a former slave back into his church.

Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

Titus 1:1 “a servant of God” - Word Study on “servant” BDAG says the Greek word “servant” ( δοῦλος ) (1401) means “a slave.” The opposite of δοῦλος (slave) is ἐλεύθερος (free). Paul uses δοῦλος to describe himself on four occasions in his epistles (Romans 1:1, Galatians 1:10, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1).

Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,”

Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

Philippians 1:1, “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ , to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:”

Titus 1:1, “Paul, a servant of God , and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;”

Comments - Leviticus 25:39-3.25.40 makes a distinction between a hired servant and a bondservant (slave).

Leviticus 25:39-3.25.40, “And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant : But as an hired servant , and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee:”

Comments - One reason why Paul uses the phrase “servant of Jesus Christ” often in his epistles is because many Old Testament people used this word in their relationship to God:


Genesis 26:24, “And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake .”


Job 42:7-18.42.8, “And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job , and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.”


Joshua 1:1, “Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,”


1 Samuel 3:9, “Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.”


2 Samuel 3:18, “Now then do it: for the LORD hath spoken of David, saying, By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.”

2 Kings 19:34, “For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake .”


1 Kings 3:9, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”


2 Kings 9:36, “Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:”


2 Chronicles 32:16, “And his servants spake yet more against the LORD God, and against his servant Hezekiah .”

Israel and Jacob:

Isaiah 44:21, “Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant : I have formed thee; thou art my servant : O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.”


Daniel 6:20, “And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God , is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?”


Haggai 2:23, “In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant , the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.”


Isaiah 52:13, “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.”

Isaiah 53:11, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”

Paul became a servant at his conversion in Damascus (Acts 9:1-44.9.22), although Ananias prophesied of his future divine calling unto the nations. He spent about fourteen years evangelizing Damascus and the regions of Syria and Cilicia prior to being sent out with Barnabas as an apostle. Notice that Paul calls himself a servant before declaring himself an apostle. The Greek language often lacks our familiar word order of Subject-Verb-Object. Instead, the Greek places words in the order of their emphasis, or the order of importance to the thought being presented. Because Greek is so highly inflected, there is little or no confusion when distinguishing between the subject and the object to its respective verb.

Therefore, in Romans 1:1 we see Paul placing his servitude to Jesus Christ before his office of apostleship. Paul’s anointing to walk as an apostle is in direct proportion to his servitude to his Master. In the natural world, no business manager is worthy of his hire who is not first willing to carry out the will of the business owner. This is because the authority to rule over man is always based upon one’s willingness to yield to a higher authority. Paul knew that the secret to walking in the anointing as a apostle was to daily crucify his own will and serve his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Illustration - If anyone has ever had a servant that lived and worked in their home, they know that a servant is a person who abandons his own pursuits, and daily takes care of the pursuits and needs of the master. A servant does not have great plans for his own life. He literally gives his life so that the master's goals and plans may be achieved. This is the heart of a servant.

Illustration I was trying to comfort my precious wife one morning while we were serving the Lord in the mission field. After fifteen years working overseas, having left wonderful opportunities and a comfortable life in the United States, she said that she felt like a prisoner. She could not do what she wanted to do. She had her own dreams that she did not pursue. I then reminded her of Paul’s description of himself in his epistles as a slave and even a prisoner of Jesus Christ. We talked about our feelings and concluded that life is very short, and all that we have gained in this world is left behind when we die. Thus, we reconciled ourselves to our fate of serving the Lord at the cost of sacrificing our own will and desires. Paul must have felt the same on occasions, looking at his family and loved ones who were able to enjoy a normal lifestyle, and stable home, and the many comforts that a home and family brings to one’s life. While in the mission field planting churches in the Greco-Roman cities teaming with slavery, Paul identified himself with the life of a slave. While in prison, he called himself a prisoner of Jesus Christ. He gave himself daily to the will of God, often laying aside his own desires. (4 October 2012)

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

Titus 1:2 “that cannot lie” Comments - Paul had sent Titus to Crete, which people had embraced the polytheistic teachings of Greco-Roman mythology. Paul contrasts the teachings of God’s Word, which will be Titus’ charge and duty in this epistle, to the lies of heathen mythology.

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

Titus 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Titus 1:4 “To Titus” Comments - Titus was a Gentile convert, a Greek, from Antioch, whose name appears in only three other Pauline epistles (2 Corinthians, Galatians, and 2 Timothy). He is not mentioned at all in the book of Acts.

(1) First Appearance - His outstanding character is demonstrated during his first appearance with Paul at the first Jerusalem Council (Galatians 2:1-48.2.3, Acts 15:0), where Paul used him to demonstrate that salvation was indeed for the Gentiles with no need for them to adhere to Jewish traditions. Paul won his argument that the Gentile churches should not be under Mosaic Law largely due to the fact that Titus was not forced to be circumcised, though he as accepted as a Christian by the church at Jerusalem. Paul’s description of him as his “mine own son after the common faith” most likely indicates that Titus was his convert.

(2) Second Appearance - Titus remained loyal to Paul and joined him at Ephesus. We can conclude this because he is next seen in Paul’s second epistle to Corinthians, where he was sent to Corinth a number of times during Paul’s third missionary journey. We know that he is enlisted to prepare the believers there for the collection of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:1-46.16.4; 2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 12:18). Titus was again sent to help Paul straighten out the problems there some time after the writing of 1 Corinthians. We know that Paul was to depart from Ephesus and meet Titus at Troas upon his return from Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:12-47.2.13). Not finding Titus as Troas, Paul made his way into Macedonia where they finally met up (2 Corinthians 7:5-47.7.7). Being greatly encouraged at that time by the testimony of Titus about the church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:6-47.7.7; 2 Corinthians 7:13-47.7.15) Paul then wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians and sent it by the hands of this co-worker (2 Corinthians 8:6-47.8.7; 2 Corinthians 8:16-47.8.22). Paul sent two men with him and gave them his strong recommendation as someone who could be fully trusted (2 Corinthians 8:23-47.8.24; 2 Corinthians 12:17-47.12.18). When Paul arrived at Corinth (Acts 20:1-44.20.3) he found the collection complete and the problems addressed; for Titus had done his job well. Thus, Titus is seen now as a loyal and trusted co-worker of Paul.

(3) Third Appearance - Titus does not reappear again until Paul writes his Pastoral Epistles, a period of eight or ten years later. Apparently, upon release from his first Roman imprisonment Paul rushed through a fourth and final missionary journey, leaving Titus in Crete to set the churches in order (Titus 1:4-56.1.5). Titus must have been working some time in Crete in order to be given this assignment. But Paul’s instructions were for them to now meet in Nicopolis (Titus 3:12), where it seems a further assignment would be delegated to him.

(4) Four Appearance - The last words we read of Titus is found in 2 Timothy, where we are informed that Titus had departed for Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10). Thus, we can only guess that Titus may have been with Paul in Rome during his second imprisonment, and was sent on his final assignment by Paul.

Extra-biblical References to Titus - We find some additional biographical information about Titus in the writings of the early Church fathers. According to Ignatius (A.D. 35-107), bishop of Antioch, Titus is said to have never married. [2] Eusebius (A.D. 260-340), the early Church historian, testifies of his office as bishop in Crete. [3] The Apostolic Constitutions (late 4 th c.), a collection of ecclesiastical law that is believed to have been compiled during the latter half of the fourth century, gives us a list of the earliest bishops, stating that there was a man by the name of “Titus” who became the bishop of the church in Crete. [4] John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) believes Titus may have been a Corinthian, [5] and notes that Paul entrusted the entire island of Crete to him. [6] Paulinus of Nola (A.D. 353-431) places him in Crete. [7] Theodoret (393-466) calls Titus an apostle of Crete. [8] We find a eulogy to him in the writings of Andrew of Crete (c. A.D. 660 to 740). [9] Theophylact (11 th c.) calls Titus the great bishop of Crete. [10]

[2] Ignatius writes, “May I have pleasure in your purity, as that of Elijah, or as of Joshua the son of Nun, as of Melchizedek, or as of Elisha, as of Jeremiah, or as of John the Baptist, as of the beloved disciple, as of Timothy, as of Titus, as of Evodius, as of Clement, who departed this life in [perfect] chastity,” ( The Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians 4).

[3] Eusebius writes, “Timothy, so it is recorded, was the first to receive the episcopate of the parish in Ephesus, Titus of the churches in Crete.” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.4.6).

[4] The Apostolic Constitutions ways, “Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these…of Crete, Titus.” ( Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, 7.4.46).

[5] See Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to Titus: Homily I.

[6] John Chrysostom writes, “If it should be asked why he addresses Epistles to Titus and Timothy alone, though Silas was approved, as also was Luke, for he writes, “Only Luke is with me,” and Clement was one of his associates, of whom he says, “with Clement and other my fellow-laborers,” for what reason then does he write only to Titus and Timothy? It is because he had already committed the care of churches to these, and certain marked places had been assigned to them, but the others were in attendance upon him.” ( Homilies on the First Epistle of Paul to Timothy: Argument) He also says, “For Titus was one of the most admirable men, so that to him he intrusted the affairs of the island, no small island, I mean, but that great one of Crete.” ( Homilies on the Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy: Homily 10)

[7] Paulinus of Nola writes, “Parthia receives Matthew, India Thomas, Thaddaeus Libya, Phrygia Philip, Titus took Crete, doctor Luke Boetia, Mark Alexandria.” ( Poema 19.80-84) See PL 61 col. 514A.

[8] See Theodoret’s commentary on 1 Timothy 3:0 in PG 82 columns 803-812.

[9] See Andrew of Crete’s eulogy to Titus in PG 97, columns 1141-1168.

[10] See Theophylact’s Proem. Ad Titum in PG 125 columns 141-142.

Church tradition says that Titus died peaceably in Crete, as archbishop of Gortyna, at the age of ninety-four. [11] Scholars cite de Vita et Actis Titi, which calls Titus the bishop of Gortyna, an ancient city of Crete. [12] Alfred Plummer tells us that during the Middle Ages the Cretans honored Titus “as their patron saint.” [13] Smith says that the ruins of an ancient church at this site still bear his name.

[11] The traditional views of the life of Titus can be found in several books. See William Cave, “The Life of S. Titus Bishop of Crete,” in Apostolici: or The History of the Lives, Acts, Death, and Martyrdoms of those Who were Contemporary with, or Immediately Succeeded by the Apostles (London: Richard Chiswel, 1682), 55-63; S. Baring-Gould, “S. Titus,” in Lives of the Saints, vol. 1 (London: John C. Nimmo, 1897), 53-56. However, I find no citations from the Church fathers or modern commentators to support the popular statement that Titus dies at the age of ninety-four.

[12] A translation of the fragment de Vita et Actis Titi or Acts of Titus, said to be written by the lawyer Zenas (cited by Smith in Fabrie. Cod. Apocry. N. T. ii. 831-832) can be found in Richard Adelbert Lipsius, Die Apokryphen Apostelgeschichen und Apostellegenden, vol. 3 (Braunschweig: C. A. Schwetschke und Sohn, 1884), 401-406. An English translation is available by Richard Pervo, trans., “The ‘Acts of Titus’: A Preliminary Translation With an Introduction, Notes, and Appendices,” Society of Biblical Literature: Seminar Papers, Number 35 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1996): 455-482.

[13] Alfred Plummer, The Pastoral Epistles: The Epistle to Titus, in The Expositor’s Bible, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1891), 209.

Titus 1:4 “mine own son after the common faith” Comments - Paul’s description of Titus as his own son in the faith puts Titus in the role of a son subject to his father. This obligates him to obey the instructions given to him in this epistle written by his spiritual father.

Titus 1:4 “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour” Comments (The Pauline Greeting) - J. Vernon McGee says the word “grace” in Paul’s greetings was a formal greeting used in Greek letters of his day, while the word “peace” was the customary Jewish greeting. [14] More specifically, John Grassmick says the Greek word χαίρειν was a common greeting in classical Greek epistles, so that χάρις was a “word play” that Paul began to use in conjunction with the Hebrew greeting “peace.” [15] Thus, Paul would be addressing both Greeks and Jews. However, Paul uses these same two words in his epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, which weakens the idea that Paul intended to make such a distinction between two ethnic groups when using “grace” and “peace.” Perhaps this greeting became customary for Paul and lost its distinctive elements. A different view is proposed by James Denny, who explains the relationship of these two words as a cause and effect. He says that grace is God’s unmerited favor upon mankind, and the peace is the result of receiving His grace and forgiveness of sins. [16] In a similar statement, Charles Simeon says the phrase “‘grace and peace’ comprehended all the blessings of the Gospel.” [17]

[14] J. Vernon McGee, The Epistle to the Romans, in Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1998), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), comments on Romans 1:1.

[15] John D. Grassmick, “Epistolary Genre,” in Interpreting the New Testament Text, eds. Darrell L. Bock and Buist M. Fanning (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2006), 232.

[16] James Denney, The Epistles to the Thessalonians, in The Expositor’s Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, n.d.), 15-16.

[17] Charles Simeon, 2 Peter, in Horae Homileticae, vol. 20: James to Jude (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1833), 285.

Comments (The Pauline Blessing) - In a similar way that the early apostles were instructed by Jesus to let their peace come upon the home of their host (Matthew 10:13), so did Paul the apostle open every one of his thirteen New Testament epistles with a blessing of God’s peace and grace upon his readers. Matthew 10:13 shows that you can bless a house by speaking God's peace upon it.

Matthew 10:13, “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.”

This practice of speaking blessings upon God’s children may have its roots in the Priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-4.6.27, where God instructed Moses to have the priests speak a blessing upon the children of Israel. We see in Ruth 2:4 that this blessing became a part of the Jewish culture when greeting people. Boaz blessed his workers in the field and his reapers replied with a blessing.

Ruth 2:4, “And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee.”

We also see this practiced by the king in 2 Samuel 15:20 where David says, “mercy and truth be with thee”.

2 Samuel 15:20, “Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.”

So, this word of blessing was a part of the Hebrew and Jewish culture. This provides us the background as to why Paul was speaking a blessing upon Timothy, especially that God would grant him more of His grace and abiding peace that he would have otherwise not known. In faith, we too, can receive this same blessing into our lives. Paul actually pronounces and invokes a blessing of divine grace and peace upon his readers with these words, “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” I do not believe this blessing is unconditional, but rather conditional. In other words, it is based upon the response of his hearers. The more they obey these divine truths laid forth in this epistle, the more God’s grace and peace is multiplied in their lives. We recall how the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, with six tribes standing upon Mount Gerizim to bless the people and six tribes upon Mount Ebal to curse the disobedient (Deuteronomy 27:11-5.27.26). Thus, the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28:1-5.28.68 were placed upon the land. All who obeyed the Law received these blessings, and all who disobeyed received this list of curses. In the same way Paul invokes a blessing into the body of Christ for all who will hearken unto the divine truths of this epistle. We see this obligation of the recipients in the translation by Beck of 2 Peter 1:2, “As you know God and our Lord Jesus, may you enjoy more and more of His love and peace.

Verses 5-9

The Qualifications of an Elder: Virtues of Leadership - In Titus 1:5-56.1.9 Paul lists the required virtues of those who are qualified to serve over the churches of God. It is of utmost importance that strong Christian leaders be appointed over God's’ flock for several reasons. First, as leaders continue in godliness, they “both save thyself, and then that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:16) However, leaders who do not continue in godliness “subvert their hearers,” causing damnation for the leader and his followers (Titus 1:10-56.1.11).

1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

Titus 1:10-56.1.11, “For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.”

For this reason, Paul places much emphasis upon godly character and upholding sound doctrine in the churches, due to the crucial importance of the leaders to maintain the perseverance and establishment of the local church. We see in Luke 1:12-42.1.16 how Jesus spent all night in pray or before choosing twelve apostles. This was perhaps the most important decision He made during His earthly ministry.

The Qualifications of an Elder Listed in a Progressive Order - This passage of Scripture in Titus 1:5-56.1.9 is similar to 1 Timothy 3:1-54.3.13 in that they both list the qualifications of church leadership. We can see in this passage that Paul follows a logical, progressive order. Note that in Titus 1:6 Paul gives three qualifications for the office of an elder that focus upon his family life. The first qualification refers to the individual, the second to his relationship to his wife and the third to his relationship with his children. Thus, Paul gives these three qualifications in a progressive order that focuses upon the man’s family.

In Titus 1:7 Paul returns to the word “blameless” ( ανε ́ γκλητος ) (G410), which was used in Titus 1:6 to refer to the individual, and focuses upon him again in a little more detail. In Titus 1:7-56.1.8 he focuses upon the “selfwill” of the individual by listing in Titus 1:7 the vices that are the result of a person who lacks self-control and which lead to indulgent behavior. These vices are listed as a person who is “soon angry, given to wine, a striker and given to filthy lucre.” In contrast, Titus 1:8 gives the virtues that result from a person of self-control, which are “a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate.” Paul then deals with the individual’s ability to handle the Word of God in Titus 1:9. Finally, I believe that Paul presents these required qualifications in a progressive order of priority.

Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Titus 1:5 “For this cause” Comments - We may paraphrase the phrase “For this cause,” to say, “Because God the Father’s plan of redemption is established on earth through the preaching of sound doctrine to God’s elect…”

Titus 1:5 “left I thee in Crete” - Comments - Crete is one of the larger island in the Mediterranean Sea, located about one hundred miles southeast of Greece, being 156 miles long and 7 to 35 miles broad. It possesses several fertile districts and two good harbors. During ancient times it developed its economy upon agriculture and trade.

Many scholars have identified Crete with the ancient name Caphtor (Genesis 10:14, Deuteronomy 2:23, Jeremiah 47:4, Amos 9:7). Adam Clarke gives us a concise summary of Crete’s famous cultural history in his preface to the epistle of Titus by saying, “Few places in antiquity have been more celebrated than Crete: it was not only famous for its hundred cities, but for the arrival of Europa on a bull, or in the ship Taurus, from Phoenicia; for the Labyrinth, the work of Daedalus; for the destruction of the Minotaur, by Theseus; for Mount Ida, where Jupiter was preserved from the jealousy of his father Saturn; for Jupiter's sepulchre; and above all, for its king, Minos, and the laws which he gave to people; the most pure, wholesome, and equal, of which antiquity can boast.” [18]

[18] Adam Clarke, The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Titus, in The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments, vol. 2 (London: Thomas Tegg and Son, 1836), 1653.

During New Testament times Crete was a Roman province. We know from Josephus ( Life 76, Antiquities 17.12.1, Wars 2.7.1) and Philo, [19] as well as Acts 2:11, that Jews inhabited this island, whom Paul will refer to in his epistle to Titus. [20] Exactly when the Gospel arrived in Crete is unrecorded. He could have been brought by some of the Cretans who were present on the day of Pentecost. It is widely accepted by scholars that Paul founded its first churches after his first Roman imprisonment, which led to the occasion for Paul sending Titus to set these churches in ecclesiastical order. If Paul were not the founder, he probably would not be working with such intensity and authority over these churches to set them in order.

[19] Philo writes, “And not only are the continents full of Jewish colonies, but also all the most celebrated islands are so too; such as Euboea, and Cyprus, and Crete.” ( A Treatise on the Virtues and On the Office of Ambassadors Addressed to Caius) See C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, The Contemporary of Josephus, Translated from the Greek, vol. 4 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), 161.

[20] J. J. van Oosterzee, The Epistle of Paul to Titus, trans. George E. Day, in Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, ed. Philip Schaff (New York: Charles Scribner and Co., 1868), 8.

Titus 1:5 “and ordain elders in every city” - Comments - Why appoint elders? Because elders were the first leaders in the early church, just as elders were appointed leaders over the twelve tribes of Israel during the time of Moses. The word “elder” here appears to be synonymous with the term “bishop” used in verse 7.

Titus 1:5 Comments - Eusebius tells us that Titus became the first bishop of the churches in Crete. He says, “Timothy, so it is recorded, was the first to receive the episcopate of the parish in Ephesus, Titus of the churches in Crete.” ( Ecclesiastical History 3.4.6) However, we have no written evidence of when the churches in Crete were initially founded. It would be stretching too far to say that Paul may have evangelized some of Crete while a prisoner on board an Alexandrian freight ship that was harbored in Crete (Acts 27:12-44.27.13).

Acts 27:12-44.27.13, “And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west. And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.”

It is more likely that the Gospel was brought to this island another way, perhaps by converted Jews from Jerusalem, for Cretans were present on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11), or Greek converts from Antioch, or, by the later evangelistic efforts of Paul and Titus after his release from his first Roman imprisonment. Some refer to the fact that Luke makes no mention of Christians on the island of Crete receiving Paul as an indication that churches were not yet established there during Paul’s sea voyage to Rome.

Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

Titus 1:6 “If any be blameless” Jerome (NPF2-6) understands the phrase “if any be blameless” to serve as an opening summary of the listed virtues that follow. He says, “The same thing that he says to Titus, ‘if any be blameless.’ All the virtues are comprehended in this one word; thus he seems to require an impossible perfection.” ( Letter LXIX to Oceanus 8)

Titus 1:6 “the husband of one wife” Comments - The phrase “the husband of one wife” found in 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 is interpreted two ways. Some scholars interpret this phrase to mean “the husband of one wife in a lifetime”; hence, they conclude that a history and divorce and remarriage are not acceptable for the ordination ministers. Other scholars say, “one wife at a time,” due to the practice of polygamy in Paul's day.

If we interpret this phrase to mean the husband of one wife with no previous divorce, we must then place it within the context of other passages of Scripture on the topic of marriage and divorce. For example, we see that the Scriptures allow remarriage in the case of fornication, or death of the spouse.

Matthew 19:9, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

Another passage of Scripture says that the wife cannot remarry when she chooses to leave a marriage relationship. Here the Holy Bible allows a wife to leave a difficult and dangerous situation, but not to remarry if that choice to depart is made:

1 Corinthians 7:10-46.7.11, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.”

Although divorce and remarriage should not be part of a bishop's Christian’s lifestyle, there are a few examples of great men and women of God who experienced divorce, and yet became powerful ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, such as Kathryn Kuhlman and Joyce Meyer, and I believe Kenneth Copeland.

Jack Hayford gives much insight into this phrase by explaining that the husband of one wife means more than a physical relationship and a marriage certificate. It involves a dedication to one’s wife and a commitment to love her with all of his affections. A man cannot have a divided or lustful heart and still serve as a competent husband, especially in the ministry. His affections are committed to her and her alone. Thus, this phrase is intended to describe a relationship in which a husband and a wife are of one mind and one accord in the unity of the Spirit of God and in the bond of peace. They are becoming not only one flesh, but as spiritual creatures, they are becoming of one mind and of one spirit in God’s purpose and plan for their lives. [21]

[21] Jack Hayford, The Anatomy of Adultery (Ventura, California: Regal Books, 2004).

If we interpret this phrase “the husband of one wife” to refer to a man who avoids polygamy, then we examine why Paul placed this restriction upon church leaders. In other words, what would be the reason for a Christian leader to be limited to one wife, even in the midst of those cultures that allow polygamy? We do know that is polygamous cultures that the number of wives a man has often determines a man’s status in that society. He is usually a man of wealth and influence. However, Paul’s restrictions mean that a person of influence in the church must come from different factors, rather than from wealth and influence.

One reason that Paul limits a Christian man to one wife in the midst of these polygamous societies is that the original intent of marriage was one man with one woman. God spoke in Genesis 2:24 and said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This verse says that “a man” or “one man” shall cling unto “his wife”, not “his wives.” However, sin perverts God’s way. In practice, polygamy creates many difficulties. I have listed a number of problems that I have observed while living in a polygamous society in the mission field.

(1) It Creates an Oppressive Environment for Women and Children - Polygamy is found in societies where the women and children are oppressed. But, societies that have been built upon biblical foundations, as much of Western civilization, find that monogamy brings women out of oppressive lifestyles into the freedom to become what God created them to be.

(2) It Creates a Lack of Intimacy Within a Marriage - There is little or no intimacy in a polygamous home. The husband and various wives cannot know real love because of his relationships with other women, because these wives are not able to open their hearts in intimacy to a polygamous man. This is because God did not create man and woman to live in such relationships. No woman can deeply love and respect a man who is sleeping with various other women at the same time. A good example of this problem in the Old Testament found in the book of Esther when King Ahasuerus put away Queen Vashti over one incident. Now, the only way that a man could do such a thing is because there was no true intimacy between the two.

(3) It Creates Sexual Promiscuity Within a Society - It tends to bring a man into sexual promiscuity. Polygamy is found in the lives of King David and King Solomon, and because of it, both men sinned against God in this area. For King David, polygamy created an environment that resulted in adultery and murder. For King Solomon, polygamy led his heart stray into idolatry. Having lived in Africa a number of years, I have seen how polygamy distorts a man’s perception of marriage, and it perverts an entire society so that the majority of people become adulterous, both men and women. This is because polygamy confuses the boundaries of marriage. A man who believes that he can seek additional wives while married to one has no way to define adultery. In these poverty-stricken societies common-law relationships replace traditional marriage ceremonies, which are too expensive for most people. Then how does one distinguish between an adulterous relationship and a common law marriage? It becomes impossible to define. A man with more power in a polygamous society is able to steal another man’s wife. How does one define right and wrong is such situation? Was not this King David’s sin? He thought that he had the power to take possession of another man’s wife.

The issue becomes more complicated when a person of multiple marriages feels called into the ministry. I remember talking to one Bible School director who admitted that he faced a challenge when determining how to qualify an African man for the ministry who has only had one wife. If he has had numerous affairs with women before his conversion, who is to determine whether these relationships were short common-law marriages, or simply adulterous affairs? This director implemented a policy that if a dowry was paid, then it was a legal marriage. Otherwise, it was an adulterous relationship that had to be ended, or a marriage ceremony conducted, before a man could enroll in Bible school.

(4) It Creates Strife Within a Marriage Another reason that Paul limits a man to one wife is because the tendency for strife between wives becomes prevalent in a polygamous household. As I have lived in African, and talked to people who were raised in such a household, I have repeatedly heard the testimony of these children being raised in a home full of strife. I read the local African newspapers and hear of constant displays of public arguments between the wives of one man. A good biblical example of this problem is seen in the strife of Abraham’s household. Once Abraham took Hagar as a second “wife,” Sarah and Hagar fell into strife. This strife did not end until Hagar was driven out. A second Scriptural example is seen in the constant strife between Leah and Rachel, Jacob’s two wives. This strife never ended between these two women. A minister of the Gospel cannot walk with God when strife prevails in his household.

God ordained the family to consist of one man and one woman. A home of polygamy is a home out of God's divine order. Therefore, a man cannot qualify as a bishop when his home is not in divine order. Else, his prayers will be hindered. Note:

1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

(5) It Creates A Society of Murder - It is interesting to note the fact that Lamech, the first polygamist in the Scriptures (Genesis 4:23), also committed an act of murder. We can also note that King David committed an act of murder because of his pursuit of polygamy. We can note that the religion of Islam, which emphasizes polygamy as a part of hits religious tenets of faith is also characterized as a religion of war and terror and murder. We can note that the African nations are known for their polygamy as well as their internal wars. Thus, there seems to be a relationship between polygamy, or adultery, and the spirit of murder. It is interesting to compare David’s sin of adultery and murder and Lamech with the testimony of Jack Hayford when he was a young minister. His testimony includes a temptation towards adultery followed by thoughts of murder. As a young minister working at the headquarters of the Four Square Church, he found himself becoming close friends with a female co-worker, even though he was married. After some time a mature co-worker noticed this unhealthy friendship. Jack Hayford tells of his emotional experience, how he both love his wife and yet, felt affections for this new lady. He tells how he entertained the thoughts of his wife dying. As he struggled with his heart and the Spirit of God, he felt tremendous conviction, but did not know what to do. He was feeling thoughts of adultery, followed by thoughts of leaving his wife, which was a spirit of murder. However, because of the intercession of others and the work on the Holy Spirit, he came to himself, approached his supervisor and arranged for a separation between himself and this female co-worker. At that point he approached his wife and revealed this struggle with her. Years later, he began to share this testimony from the pulpit and found that it was a frequent struggle with many church leaders and laymen. [22] We find these same two spirits at work in the life of David and Lamech; for they both committed adultery, followed by murder.

[22] Jack Hayford, The Anatomy of Adultery (Ventura, California: Regal Books, 2004).

Summary Paul the apostle had to draw some boundaries for the Church to conduct itself in these heathen societies. He had observed these problems within polygamy and was inspired by the Lord to reject it in the life of Church leadership; for no man of God can live a holy lifestyle and participate in polygamy.

Titus 1:6 “having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly” Comments - Paul makes a similar statement to Timothy regarding the qualification of bishops, by saying that they must have children who are in subjection to their parents (1 Timothy 3:4-54.3.5).

1 Timothy 3:4-54.3.5, “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”

This statement about a bishop’s children tells us that they must be faithful. That is, these children must have respect towards their parents and God. God would not require of us something that was impossible to do. This leads us to the unavoidable conclusion that every Christian parent should be able to raise their children to have faith and obedience towards God. This is exactly what Proverbs 22:6 means when it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This verse tells us that a parent’s role is to establish the destiny of their children by instilling within them a reverence and faith in God. Thus, a rebellious and faithless child reflects failed parenting. There is no way to avoid this conclusion.

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

Titus 1:7 Comments - Titus 1:7 lists the vices that Titus was to look for when choosing bishops to oversee the churches. In the next two verses (Titus 1:8-56.1.9) Paul will list the required virtues necessary to obtain this church office.

For a bishop must be blameless Word Study on “blameless” - Strong says the Greek word “blameless” ( α ̓ νε ́ γκλητος ) (G410) means, “unaccused, or irreproachable.” BDAG says it means, “blameless, irreproachable.” Vine says it means, “that which cannot be called to account,” and is a compound of “ α ” (negative particle), and “ ἐγκαλέω ” (to call in). He says, “It implies not merely acquittal, but the absence of even a charge or accusation against a person.” Zodhiates says it means, “unaccused, free from any legal charge.” The TDNT says it means, “free from reproach, without sin, guiltless.”

Comments A bishop is to be free from charges of wrong. In other words, a bishop must have a good reputation. One common problem among the churches in Uganda is that people in general do not pay their bills well. This problem is carried into the churches, so that many pastors are not financially responsible with the tithes and offerings given by the people.

as the steward of God That is, a bishop must learn to be responsible for his actions.

“not selfwilled” Word Study on “selfwilled” - Strong says the Greek word “selfwilled” ( αυ ̓ θα ́ δης ) (G829) means, “arrogant” or “self-willed.” BDAG says it means, “self-willed, stubborn, arrogant.” Vine says it means, “self-pleasing…denotes one who, dominated by self-interest, and inconsiderate of others, arrogantly asserts his own will, self-willed.” Zodhiates says it literally means, “One who is pleased with himself and despises others, insolent, surly, the contrast of courteous or affable. A person who obstinately maintains his own opinion or asserts his own rights but is reckless of the rights, feelings, and interests of others. He regulates his life with no respect to others.” The TDNT says it means, “self-satisfied,” and it refers “to human impulse violating obedience to the divine command.”

“not soon angry” Word Study on “soon angry” - Strong says the Greek word “soon angry” ( ο ̓ ργι ́ λος ) (G3711) means, “soon angry.” BDAG says it means, “inclined to anger, quick-tempered.” Vine says it means, “angry, prone to anger, irascible.” Zodhiates says it means, “prone to anger.” The TDNT says it means, “wrathful, angry.”

“not given to wine” Word Study on “not given to wine” - Strong says the Greek word “given to wine” ( πάροινος ) (G3943) means, “staying near wine, i.e. tipping (a toper).” BDAG says it means, “drunken, addicted to wine.” Vine says this compound word comes from παρά (at) and οἶνος (wine), and literally means, “tarrying at the wine, given to wine,” but it “probably has the secondary sense, of the effects of wine bibbing, viz. abusive brawling.” This Greek word is used twice in the New Testament (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7).

1 Timothy 3:3, ‘Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;”

Titus 1:7, “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;”

Scholars are divided as to whether the word πάροινος should be translated in its literal or figurative sense in the New Testament. 1. The Wider Use - Those who favor the wider use of the word without a reference to drunkenness base their argument upon the use of this word outside the New Testament, and the immediate context of its passage in the New Testament.

a) Citations Outside the New Testament - The Greek verb παροινέω is used in the LXX with the figurative meaning of “brawling” (Isaiah 41:12).

Brenton, “ Thou shalt seek them, and thou shalt not find the men who shall insolently rage against thee: for they shall be as if they were not, and they that war against thee shall not be.

Walter Lock cites several uses of the Greek word πάροινος outside the New Testament where it has the figurative meaning, “‘blustering,’ ‘abusive,’ like a man who has been drinking.” [23]

[23] Walter Lock cites several uses of the Greek word πάροινος outside the New Testament Josephus ( Antiquities 4.6.10), Aristides ( Apology 14), and John Chrysostom ( de Sacerdotio 4.1). (Sources for the Greek texts of these ancient authors is cited in the general bibliography at the end of this book.) See Walter Lock, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (I & II Timothy and Titus), in The International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, eds. Charles A. Briggs, Samuel R. Driver, and Alfred Plummer (Edinburgh: T & T. Clark, 1959), 130.

b) The Immediate Context of the Passage - Scholars argue that the context of 1 Timothy 3:3 places μὴ πάροινον in contrast to ἀλλὰ ἐπιεικῆ (but peaceable). The immediate context of its used in Titus 1:7 deals with anger and brawling as well.

Titus 1:7, “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;”

2. The Literal Use - In support of the literal meaning of drunkenness, there are a number of strong arguments.

a) The Context of Parallel Verses in the Pastoral Epistles - one notes the parallel qualification of the deacon, which says it is not to be given to “much wine” (Titus 3:8), and the list of virtues of the aged women in Titus 2:3, both of which do not describe a person’s temperament, but rather his consumption of wine.

b) The Ancient Versions - John Gill cites the Syriac version of this text, which says, “who does not transgress over wine,” meaning that he does not “go beyond due bounds in the use of it.” He says the Arabic version reads, “not insolent through wine,” which describes “one that is heated with it is fierce and furious, and wrangling and quarrelsome, and often very mischievous and injurious;” [24]

[24] John Gill, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus, in John Gill’s Expositor, in e-Sword, v. 7.7.7 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on 1 Timothy 3:3.

Comments The Greek phrases “ μὴ πάροινον ” (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7), “ μὴ οἴνῳ πολλῷ προσέχοντας ” (1 Timothy 3:8), and “ ὴ οἴνῳ πολλῷ δεδουλωμένας ” (Titus 2:3) are generally considered to be equivalent in meaning. Thus, the idea is that wine is to be used in moderation among believers.

Paul tells Timothy later in this same epistle to drink a little wine for the sake of his health (1 Timothy 5:23), and Paul also says that no food or drink is to be refused if it has been received with thanksgiving and the Word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:4-54.4.5). Thus, Paul is telling the leaders of the church not to indulge in these areas of his life, but to use wisdom and moderation.

1 Timothy 5:23, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.”

1 Timothy 4:4-54.4.5, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

It should be noted in a similar manner that the Levitical priests were forbidden to not partake of wine or strong drink prior to ministering in their office (Leviticus 10:9).

Leviticus 10:9, “Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:”

“no striker” - Word Study on “striker” - Strong says the Greek word “striker” ( πλη ́ κτης ) (G4131) means, “a smiter, that is, pugnacious (quarrelsome), a striker.” BDAG says it means, “a pugnacious man, a bully.” Vine says it means, “a striker, a brawler.” Zodhiates defines this word to mean, “a striker, a violent person, figuratively a reviler, one who by reproachful and upbraiding language wounds the conscience of his brethren, a contentious person, a quarreler.”

“not given to filthy lucre” Word Study on “given to filthy lucre” - Strong says the Greek word “given to filthy lucre” ( αι ̓ σχροκερδη ́ ς ) (G146) means, “given to (greedy of) filthy lucre.” BDAG says it means, “fond of dishonest gain.” Vine says it means, “greedy of base gain,” and is a compound word from αἰσχρός (base, shameful) and κέρδος (gain). Zodhiates says it means, “a person who is eager to gain even if such gain degrades his moral character.” This means the person is fond of dishonest gain, or focused upon money. This Greek word is used 2 times in the New Testament (1 Timothy 3:8, Titus 1:7) and an additional time in the Textus Receptus (1 Timothy 3:3).

Titus 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

Titus 1:8 Word Study on “a lover of hospitality” Strong says the Greek word “a lover of hospitality” ( φιλο ́ ξενος ) (G5382) literally means, “fond of guests,” and figuratively, “given to hospitality.” He says it is a compound word, coming from ( φίλος ) (G5384) “friend,” and ( ξένος ) (G3581) “stranger.” BDAG says this word means, “hospitality.” Vine says it means, “love of strangers.”

Comments - He is friendly towards others.

Word Study on a lover of good men ” Strong says the Greek word “a lover of good men” ( φιλα ́ γαθος ) (G5358) is a compound word, coming from ( φίλος ) (G5384) “friend” and ( ἀγαθός ) (G18) “good or benevolent.” This could be translated as the neuter “a lover of good (things)” ( Zodhiates), or the masculine adjective “a lover of good men” ( KJV, Strong). BDAG says it means, “loving what is good.” Vine says it means, “loving that which is good.” Zodhiates translates it “loving and practicing what is good.,” and says, “It combines not only the liking to be kind but also the actual doing of good.” This describes a person’s life that is filled with good works. The TDNT says, “According to the interpretation of the early Church it relates to the unwearying activity of love.”

Word Study on sober ” Strong says the Greek word “sober” ( σω ́ φρων ) (G4998) literally means, “safe (sound) in mind, that is, self controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion),” and figuratively, “discreet, sober, temperate.” He says this compound word comes from σῴζω (4982) “to save,” and φρήν (5424) “the mind.” BDAG says it means, “prudent, thoughtful, self-controlled.” Vine says it means, “of sound mind, self-controlled.” Zodhiates translates it to mean, “self-disciplined in one's freedom, self-restrained in all passions and desires.” The TDNT say it literally means, “of sound ( σάος , σῶς , σῶος )  mind ( φρένες ).”

Comments - This person is sober-minded, sensible, level headed, which is the opposite of continual jesting and foolish talking.

Word Study on just ” Strong says the Greek word “just” ( δι ́ καιος ) (1342) means, “just, meet, right (-eous).” BDAG says it means, “upright, just, righteous.” Vine says it means, “a state of being right, or right conduct, judged whether by the divine standard, or according to human standards, of what is right.” Zodhiates says, “When used in the masc. or fem. adjectivally of persons, it refers to the one who acts conformably to justice and right without any deficiency or failure.”

Comments - This person is fair towards others, not cheating them.

Word Study on holy ” Strong says the Greek word “holy” ( ο ̔ ́ σιος ) (3741) means, “undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.” BDAG says it means, “devout, pious, pleasing to God, holy.” Vine says it literally means, “separated,” thus regarding men, “separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred.” Zodhiates explains that while ( δι ́ καιος ) refers to “human laws and duties,” ( ο ̔ ́ σιος ) refers to divine laws and duties towards God. He says this person is “Holy, righteous, unpolluted with wickedness, right as conformed to God and His laws.” The TDNT says it means, “a quality of persons who feel inward awe before the gods and eternal laws, and who act accordingly, pious.”

Comments - This person is reverent towards the things of God.

Word Study on temperate ” Strong says the Greek word “temperate” ( ε ̓ γκρατη ́ ς ) (G1468) means, “self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites).” He says this compound word comes from ( ἐν ) (G1722) “in,” and ( κράτος ) (G2904) “power, strength.” BDAG says it means, “self-controlled, disciplined.” Vine says it means, “self-control,” since temperance is only one form of self-control. Zodhiates defines this word to mean, “Having power over, being master of. Used metaphorically, meaning self-control, continence.” The TDNT says it refers to “one who has a status of power or rule, who has power over something, whether this power be factual or spiritual.”

Comments - This person has power over himself. He is self-controlled, or disciplined in his lifestyle. He does not behave in excessive ways, such as a sports addict, over-spending money, or other excesses in one’s lifestyle.

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

Titus 1:9 Comments - In Titus 1:9 Paul tells Titus to exhort the church with sound doctrine; and for those who resist the truth he is to reprove (or convince). Exhortation is spoken with a spirit of love, but rebuke is the first phase of judgment. Love and judgment must both be present as a leader, whether it is raising children, or pastoring a church.

Paul will make a similar statement regarding exhortation and rebuke later in this Epistle in Titus 2:15.

Titus 2:15, “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”

Note similar verses in Paul’s first epistle to Timothy regarding exhortation and rebuke. We see in 1 Timothy 4:2 that Paul uses the same words “exhort and convince (or reprove)” together again.

2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

Verses 5-16

Three Charges - The underlying theme of the epistle of Titus is church order. Paul gives Titus several charges regarding how to set the churches of Crete in biblical order. These charges will emphasize the setting of the church in order by appointing men with a pure heart as church leaders (Titus 1:5-56.1.16), teaching sound doctrine to give them with a sound mind (Titus 2:1-56.2.15), and establishing godly conduct in their actions (Titus 3:1-56.3.7). In Titus 3:8-56.3.11 Paul summarizes his three charges to Titus (Titus 3:8) and instructs him on how to deal with those who oppose the things of God.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. First Charge: Appoint Elders: Pure Hearts Titus 1:5-56.1.16

2. Second Charge: Speak Sound Doctrine Sound Minds Titus 2:1-56.2.15

3. Third Charge: Establish Godly Conduct Titus 3:1-56.3.7

Verses 5-16

Three Charges - The underlying theme of the epistle of Titus is church order. Paul gives Titus several charges regarding how to set the churches of Crete in biblical order. These charges will emphasize the setting of the church in order by appointing men with a pure heart as church leaders (Titus 1:5-56.1.16), teaching sound doctrine to give them with a sound mind (Titus 2:1-56.2.15), and establishing godly conduct in their actions (Titus 3:1-56.3.7). In Titus 3:8-56.3.11 Paul summarizes his three charges to Titus (Titus 3:8) and instructs him on how to deal with those who oppose the things of God.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. First Charge: Appoint Elders: Pure Hearts Titus 1:5-56.1.16

2. Second Charge: Speak Sound Doctrine Sound Minds Titus 2:1-56.2.15

3. Third Charge: Establish Godly Conduct Titus 3:1-56.3.7

Verses 10-16

Warnings against False Leaders - After Paul tells Titus how to identify those church members who qualify for ordination as bishops, or elders, by listing qualifications to look for in their character (Titus 1:5-56.1.9), he then explains to him the characteristics of false teachers and how to deal with them (Titus 1:10-56.1.16). For as godly leaders will influence many lives, so will ungodly leaders “subvert whole households” (Titus 1:11). In this passage in Titus 1:10-56.1.16 Paul uses three adjectives in a progressive order to describe those who reject the truth and attempt to lead others in their own vain way. These people present themselves as “church leaders”, but are in fact deceivers. Paul calls them “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers.” They “reject” the truth, present themselves as leaders through “idle talk” and thus “deceive” the hearts of many (Titus 1:10). Paul describes an individual who has rejected the pathway of divine authority established by God within the local church, and who has embarked upon his own journey to gather followers (Titus 1:11), as did Absalom who rebelled against his father King David and tried to gain control over the kingdom. Paul quotes one of their own prophets to show Titus of their characteristics (Titus 1:12) and then Paul further explains their behaviour and false pretenses (Titus 1:13-56.1.16).

Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

Titus 1:10 “For” Comments - BDAG says the Greek conjunction γὰρ is “used to express cause, inference, continuation, or to explain.” The discussion that follows this conjunction explains why Titus has to be very particular with the enforcement of the qualifications of church leadership listed in Titus 1:6-56.1.10. It is because there are many deceivers who would like to have influence within the church.

Titus 1:10 “there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers” Comments - We can see in these three negative characteristics listed by Paul the corruption of the three-fold make-up of a man. The term “unruly”, or “undisciplined,” would apply to a person’s physical behaviour, while “vain talkers” would refer to the tongue, or the mind of man, and “deceivers” would refer to a corrupt heart. Thus, Paul describes some of the most common behaviours of a depraved person’s body, mind and spirit.

Titus 1:10 “specially they of the circumcision” Comments - The KJV gives a literal translation of the phrase “especially those of the circumcision.” Within the context of Paul’s charge to find qualified leaders over the churches of Crete, this group of circumcision of which Titus was to caution was within these churches. They were Jewish converts to the faith. For this reason a few modern English translations take the liberty to translate this text using the word “Jewish.”

NAB, “For there are also many rebels, idle talkers and deceivers, especially the Jewish Christians.”

NET, “For there are many rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers, especially those with Jewish connections.”

Paul refers to the Jews in Titus 1:10 as “they of the circumcision” in order to emphasize their vain traditions. Circumcision represented their best known tradition, which Paul had to confront in the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:0 by bringing Titus with him as an uncircumcised Gentile believer (Galatians 2:1-48.2.10). Paul will refer to these Jewish traditions in Titus 1:14 by saying, “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.”

Titus 1:10 Comments - In Titus 1:10 Paul warns Titus of the characteristics of some problem people that he should watch out for in order to protect the doctrine of the Church as well as church members. We would think in the pagan Greco-Roman culture of Paul’s day that the Jews would represent the divine virtues of their society better than the heathens, who were know for their vices of pagan worship and debauchery. Unfortunately, it was “especially they of the circumcision” who were Paul’s greatest opponents to the spread of the Gospel; for they had a veil over their eyes so that they could not recognize their Messiah (2 Corinthians 3:14). Such Judaizers went to great lengths to resist and chase away these follows of Jesus of Nazareth. They saw Christians as an unhealthy sect of Judaism, to which they had little tolerance. We get some hints in Paul’s first epistle to Timothy of problems and oppositions caused by Jews in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:6-54.1.7; 1 Timothy 1:20). In contrast, these Gentile pagans willing embraced whatever new religion that met the needs in their desperate lives.

Even when these Jews were converted to faith in Christ, there were some who tried to put Paul’s churches under the covering of the church of Jerusalem, as seen in 2 Corinthians. Other local Jewish converts fell into the deception of clinging to their old traditions and myths as a part of their new-found faith in Christ.

Titus 1:10 Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Matthew 5:19, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 15:9, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Note other passages on false teachers:

1 Timothy 1:3-54.1.10; 1 Timothy 4:1-54.4.5; 1 Timothy 6:1-54.6.10

2 Timothy 4:1-55.4.5

2 Peter 2:1-61.2.3

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

Titus 1:11 “Whose mouths must be stopped” Comments - The deceiver’s power to subvert others is in the tongue. Titus’ power to stop their deception is in the power of his tongue to rebuke with all authority and longsuffering (2 Timothy 4:2).

2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

Titus 1:11 “who subvert whole houses” - Comments - In most nations on earth, when the head of the house chooses a belief, the entire family chooses to follow out of respect for the father. The wife and children whole-heartedly embrace the decisions made by the head of the household, or the head of a clan. We see examples of this in the household conversions of Cornelius (Acts 10:0) and of the Philippians jailer (Acts 16:0). In contrast, our modern western culture is very individualistic, where family members often make decisions independent of one another.

It is very possible that Paul had witnessed the loss of entire families from church membership as a result of such deception and idle talk, especially from those of the circumcision (Titus 1:10).

Titus 1:11 “for filthy lucre's sake” Comments - This same Greek word ( αι ̓ σχροκερδη ́ ς ) is used earlier in Titus 1:7 to describe those who are unqualified for leadership in the church. Yet, according to the context of this passage, it was such Jews who were fighting for positions of power and influence in these congregations.

Titus 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

Titus 1:12 Comments - The description of the Cretians as “liars” refers to the tongue, while “evil beasts,” or, “brutish, bestial men,” refers to the heart of man, and “slow bellies,” or, “a lazy, idle person,” refers to the flesh. Thus, this phrase refers to the three-fold makeup of man. Paul is simply telling Titus how evil those of Crete really are (Titus 1:10), and he quotes their own prophets as witness to this fact.

John Chrysostom [25] and Clement of Alexandria [26] tell us that Paul’s quote in Titus 1:12 comes from a Cretan prophet named Epimenides (6 th c. B.C.), generally believed to be written in his poem Cretica. F. F. Bruce provides the following translation of this poem from the Syriac of Isho’dad, Bishop of Hadatha:

[25] John Chrysostom writes, “For when Paul was discoursing to the Athenians, in the course of his harangue he quoted these words, To the Unknown God; and again, For we also are His offspring, as certain also of your own poets have said. It was Epimenides who said this, himself a Cretan, and whence he was moved to say it is necessary to mention. It is this. The Cretans have a tomb of Jupiter, with this inscription. ‘Here lieth Zan, whom they call Jove.’ On account of this inscription, then, the poet ridiculing the Cretans as liars, as he proceeds, introduces, to increase the ridicule, this passage. ‘For even a tomb, O King, of thee They made, who never diedst but aye shalt be.’” ( Epistle of St. Paul to Titus: Homily III) See John Chrysostom, The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Epistles of St. Paul the Apostle to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Translated, with Notes and Indices (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1843), 292.

[26] Clement of Alexandria writes, “The Greeks say, that after Orpheus and Linus, and the most ancient of the poets that appeared among them, the seven, called wise, were the first that were admired for their wisdom. Of whom four were of Asia-Thales of Miletus, and Bias of Priene, Pittacus of Mitylene, and Cleobulus of Lindos; and two of Europe, Solon the Athenian, and Chilon the Lacedaemonian; and the seventh, some say, was Periander of Corinth; others, Anacharsis the Scythian; others, Epimenides the Cretan, whom Paul knew as a Greek prophet, whom he mentions in the Epistle to Titus, where he speaks thus: ‘One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. And this witness is true.’ You see how even to the prophets of the Greeks he attributes something of the truth, and is not ashamed, when discoursing for the edification of some and the shaming of others, to make use of Greek poems.” ( The Stromata, or Miscellanies 1.14)

They fashioned a tomb for thee, O holy and high one

The Cretans, always liars, evil beasts, idle bellies!

But thou art not dead: thou livest and abidest forever,

For in thee we live and move and have our being.” [27]

[27] F. F. Bruce provides this quote, which he says comes from the Syriac version of the ninth century commenties of Isho’dad, Bishop of Hadatha. This quote can be found in the Syriac in The Commentaries of Isho’dad of Merv Bishop of Hadatha (c. 850 A.D.) in Syriac and English, vol. 5, ed. and trans. Margaret Dunlop Gibson, in Horae Semiticas no XI (Cambridge: The University Press, 1916), 40. See F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, in The New International Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Gordon D. Fee (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1988), 339.

However, some scholars believe this quote comes from the ancient Greek poet Callimachus in his Hymn to Zeus, which says, “O Zeus, say in Arcadia; did these or those, O Father, lie? ‘Cretans are ever liars.’ Yea, a tomb/O Lord, for thee the Cretans builded; but thou didst not die, for thou art for ever.” ( Hymn to Zeus 7-9) [28]

[28] Callimachus, Lycophron, Aratus, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1921), 36-37.

This description of Cretans in Titus 1:12, to which Paul the Apostle agrees to in the following verse, sets the mood of the epistle. Paul deals with the Cretan's problem of laziness by speaking of good works in many of the verses of this epistle.

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

Titus 2:7, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works : in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,”

Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works .”

Titus 3:8, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works . These things are good and profitable unto men.”

Titus 3:14, “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”

Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

Titus 1:13 “Wherefore rebuke them sharply” Comments - The word “rebuke” ( ε ̓ λε ́ γχω ) is used earlier in Titus 1:9. Rebuke is a corrective measure and an early step towards judgment. Rebuke intends to restore someone who has strayed from the common faith in God’s Word, those who have been misled by such deceivers described in this passage of Scripture. It is easy to mislead new believers, since they have an instinctive open heart given them by God to quickly receive the Word. Just like children, they believe most everything they are taught. Thus, because of a weak doctrinal foundation they are easily impressed with deception and led astray. I struggled with this issue as a young Bible student. I had a strong enough foundation not to be led away, yet I listened to a number of false teachers before I turned away. It is not easy to find the truth in the midst of such noisy deception. A person must stay close to the Lord in prayer and in the Word in order to navigate through such teachings.

Titus 1:13 Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Matthew 18:16-40.18.18, “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Luke 17:1-42.17.3, “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.”

Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

Titus 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

Titus 1:14 “Not giving heed to Jewish fables” Comments - Paul warns Titus to be on the watch out for the encroachment of “Jewish fables” within the church, since it might creep into their doctrine. Note how Paul has just said that most of his opponents were “they of the circumcision” (Titus 1:10). Thus, we see how particular Paul is being as he selects the Jews out of a multitude of ethnic groups as he tells Titus to watch out for them especially.

Titus 1:14 Scripture References - Note similar verses about the dangers of the doctrines of man:

Mark 7:8, “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.”

Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Colossians 2:18-51.2.19, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”

1 Timothy 1:4, “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.”

2 Timothy 4:4, “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

Titus 1:15 “Unto the pure all things are pure” - Comments - Paul refers to the need of a pure heart in the life of every believer in 1 Timothy 1:5.

1 Timothy 1:5, “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart , and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:”

Titus 1:15 “but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled” - Comments - Our minds can become defiled, even as Christians. For example, gossip can take a pure heart and defile it with false information, so that a listener developed an unhealthy attitude towards someone. He may no longer look at others with a pure heart, but rather, from an attitude of distrust from the words sown into his mind.

Titus 1:15 Illustration - During my second or third year as a seminary student, I was home for the summer and attended a family gathering. There I shared with some relatives how the ladies at Hiland Park Baptist had given me a shower and clothes for seminary. One of my uncles, who was not a professing Christian, jokingly said they were older ladies who go after younger men. The Lord then quickened Titus 1:15 to me as my uncle was joking about this issue. A sinner and a child of God can see the same event and interpret it two different ways. A sinner sees out of a dirty heart. He only sees sin. A child of God sees from a clean heart, and can rightly divide the truth.

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

Titus 1:16 Comments - Paul’s description of those who resist the truth in Titus 1:16 is similar to his description of man’s depravity in Romans 1:18-45.1.32. In fact, Paul uses the same word “reprobate” in both passages to describe a person whom God has turned over to his own unclean passions.

Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.
Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Titus 1". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.