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Bible Commentaries
Titus 1

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Verses 1-99

1:1-4 Paraphrase. Paul to Titus his true son in the faith.


Paul writing as a slave of God, bound to obey his Master’s command, yet, more than that, as one formally commissioned to speak for Jesus Christ—Paul, whose only standard is the faith shared by God’s elect and a knowledge of truth such as makes for godliness, whose whole work rests on hope of eternal life, that life which the God who cannot deceive promised to man long ages past, aye, and at the right moment He published abroad His message in a proclamation, which was put as a sacred trust into my hands in virtue of a direct command from God, your Saviour and mine, writes to you as a son whom he knows that he can trust, a son in a common faith. Grace and peace be with you from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.

The address is unusually long, but compare Galatians 1:1-5, Rom_1:l-7, 16:25-27; it might have been compiled with a reminiscence of those passages, but a compiler would naturally have been simpler, and the changes are more natural in the same author writing at a different time.


It strikes two notes—(1) a personal note, a letter from a father to a son (ἐγὼ . . . τέκνῳ); (2) more strongly an official note, instructions from an apostle to a delegate �

1. δοῦλος θεοῦ] here only in St. Paul of himself, but cf. δοῦλος Ἰησοῦ Χρ., Rom_1:l, Php_1:l; δοῦλος Κυρίου, 2 Timothy 2:24. It carries the thought of obedience beyond Jesus Christ to God, “the God of our fathers who had chosen him to know His will” (Acts 22:14), and so places him on a level with Moses and other O.T. servants (Daniel 9:10, Daniel 9:11), especially with “the servant of the Lord” of Isaiah; Cf. 2 Timothy 2:24 note. Pelagius’ comment, “servus Dei non peccati”(cf. 2:14, 3:3, Romans 6:15-23), is suggestive, and perhaps consciously present.

ἀπόστολος δὲ Ἰ.Χρ.] strengthens the sense of duty, perhaps also to enforce his authority. “Scribit non quæ Titus in cubiculo solus legat sed quæ proferat in publicum,” Calvin.

κατὰ πίστιν, as in κατʼ εὐσεβείαν, κατʼ ἐπιταγήν, κατὰ κοινήν πίστιν, κατά gives the standard; but the application of the standard differs with the context. Here it may include (a) chosen in conformity to the faith, ὅτι ἐπίστευσε κάθαπερ οἱ λοιποὶ ἐκλεκτοί (Theophylact); (b) preaching by that standard, “to preache the faith” (Tynd. Cov.); cf. 1 K 19:3�

ἐκλεκτῶν θεοῦ] so Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12 ὡς ἐκλ. τοῦ θ., 2 Timothy 2:10, 2 Timothy 2:1 P 1:l. The phrase springs from the O.T., being based on the choice of Israel as a nation, charged with a message for the whole world; cf. οἱ ἐκλεκτοί μου, Psalms 88:3, and especially its use with regard to Israel as the Servant of the Lord, Isaiah 43:20, Isaiah 45:4, Isaiah 65:9 etc. Hence it here may include the thought of the Jewish nation in the past, and lays stress on the sense of God’s choice of the Church and of its duty to carry His Truth to the world.

ἐπίγμωσιν�.] cf. 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Timothy 2:25, 2 Timothy 3:7, Hebrews 10:26. Not faith alone, but knowledge also is necessary for an apostle: cf. Romans 10:2 of the Jews, ζῆλον θεοῦ ἔχουσιν,�John 6:69 πεπιστεύκαμεν καὶ ἐγνώκαμεν.

τῇς κατʼ ευσεβ. cf. 1 Timothy 6:3, contrast 2 Timothy 3:5.

2. ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ζ.] cf. 1 Timothy 4:9, 1 Timothy 4:10.

ἐπηγγείλατο] from Genesis 3:15 onwards, cf. Romans 1:2, Luke 1:70.

ὁ�] here only in N.T.; perhaps with contrast to the ψεῦσται at Crete12; but cf. 2 Timothy 2:13, 2 Corinthians 1:19, 2 Corinthians 1:20, Martyr. Polyc. 14, ὁ�, in Polycarp’s last prayer. The God whose promise of life will not fail in face of death.

πρὸ χρ. αἰωνίων] “ante tempora sæcularia,” Vulg., long ages past, age-long periods ago, not referring to God’s purpose before time began, as in 2 Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 1:4, but to definite promises (cf. Romans 9:4 αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι) made in time.

3. ἐφανέρωσε δέ] The relative sentence is broken off and a direct sentence substituted; cf. 1 Timothy 6:12 and Blass, G. G., § 79:11. Possibly the relative sentence is continued down to ἰδίοις, “which he promised and declared at the right moment,” τὸν λόγον being in loose apposition to the whole sentence; cf. τὸ μαρτύριον, 1 Timothy 2:6.

τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ] cf. 3:8 note.

καιροῖς ἰδίοις] The thought of the Incarnation taking place at the right moment in the world’s history is a favourite one with St. Paul (Galatians 4:4, Romans 5:6 κατὰ καιρόν, Ephesians 1:10, Acts 17:26), springing from apocalyptic expectations, summed up by the Lord (Mark 1:15 πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρός), and expanded by himself in his philosophy of history, Ro 1-3; perhaps consciously meeting the objection τί νῦν καὶ οὐ πρότερον; cf. Ep. Diogn. c. I, τί δήποτε καινὸν τοῦτο γένος . . . εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν βίον νῦν καὶ οὐ πρότερον. The nearest analogy to the phrase is also Pauline, καιρῷ ἰδίῳ, Galatians 6:9; the exact phrase is peculiar in N.T. to P.E. (1 Timothy 2:6, 1 Timothy 6:15 only); both words are ambiguous: (1) is ἰδίοις = “at its right moment”; cf. Tob 14:4 (א) πάντα συμβήσεται τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν, Leviticus 23:4, Leviticus 26:4, Psalms 1:3, Galatians 6:9; Justin M. c. Tryph. c. 131, πάντα προλαμβάνοντος τρὸ τῶν ἰδίων καιρῶν τοῦ θεοῦ: or “at His own time,” ὄτε ἐδοκίμασε, Thdt.; so Psalms 74:3 ὄταν λάβω καιρόν, Acts 1:7 καιροὺς οὓς ὁ πατὴρ ἔθετο ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ, The context, with its stress on God’s action, makes the latter probable here and in 1 Timothy 6:15, the former in 1 Timothy 2:6; but the two thoughts lie close together, and were perhaps not kept distinct. (2) Is the plural only an idiomatic usage, practically equivalent to the singular? cf. Jeremiah 50:26 (=27:26 LXX) οἱ καιροὶ αὐτῆς = ὁ καιρὸς ἐκδικήσεως, ibid. 31; so χρόνοι, Luke 20:9, Luke 20:23:8; γάμοι, Luke 12:36; or is the plural to be pressed? In the former case the reference would be to the whole life of the Lord (cf. Hebrews 1:1); in the latter, to the various points in the life, the birth (Galatians 4:4), the death (Romans 5:6), and to the subsequent apostolic preaching (1 Timothy 2:6, 1 Timothy 3:16). The contrast with χρόνοι αἰωνίοι and the analogy of Romans 16:26 favours the latter view.


For the preparation for Christ in History, cf. Lux Mundi, c. 4, and Clem. Alex. Strom. vi. 44, εως κατὰ καιρὸν ἥκει τὸ κήρυγμα νῦν, οὕτως κατὰ καιρὸν ἐδόθη νόμος μὲν καὶ προφῆται βαρβάροις, φιλοσοφία δὲ Ἕλλησι.

κατʼ ἐπιταγήν] connected primarily with ἐπιστέυθην (cf. 1Ti_1:l note), but Romans 16:26 suggests a further connection with ἐφανέρωσε. The command to St. Paul to preach the gospel is part of the command of the eternal God to manifest the Christ; cf. 1 Timothy 2:7.

τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν] of all of us Christians, but with the specializing thought “of you and me”; cf. κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν.

4. Τίτῳ] Personal references to the life or character of Titus are very slight in the Epistle; such as occur are quite consistent with the little that is known of him elsewhere. He is never mentioned in the Acts. A Gentile by birth, he was perhaps converted by St. Paul on his First Missionary Journey at Iconium (Acta Pauli et Theclœ, c. 2). He is first mentioned in the Epistles as accompanying St. Paul on the visit from Antioch to Jerusalem, mentioned in Gal_2. There his case was apparently taken as a test case of the need of circumcising Gentile converts, and (although the reading and meaning of Galatians 2:3-5 are not quite certain) the demand was almost certainly successfully resisted. Later he becomes St. Paul’s delegate to Corinth: he begins there to organize the Collection for the Saints (2 Corinthians 8:6-10); he goes later, perhaps taking the severe letter of 2Co_2 and 7, to deal with the refusal of that Church to obey the Apostle: he deals successfully with the difficulty and returns to gladden the Apostle’s heart in Macedonia; he then gladly returns to complete the Collection (2 Corinthians 8:16). On another occasion he is sent on a mission to Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10). He is a trustworthy, confidential delegate, walking in the Apostle’s steps, walking in the same spirit (2 Corinthians 12:18), his “brother” (2 Corinthians 2:13), his fellow-worker and sharer of his toils (8:23). So here he is a “genuine son, sharing the same faith (1:4); his life is to be a pattern to younger men (2:7); but there is less of personal guidance and exhortation than there was to the younger and more timid Timothy. His name does not occur in the Acts, but two interesting suggestions have been made: (1) that he was a relative (Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen, pp. 284-86, 390), or even the brother (Souter, Expository Times, March 1907, cf. 2 Corinthians 8:17, 2 Corinthians 8:18, 2 Corinthians 8:12:18) of St. Luke; (2) that he was the author of the “we” sections in the Acts. Either would account for the absence of any mention of him in Acts; but both are precarious. Later ecclesiastical tradition spoke of him as Bishop of Crete (Euseb. H.E. iii. 4), and as living to a very old age; and there was an Acts of Titus, which is no longer extant (cf. Lipsius, Die Apokr. Apostelgeschichte, 3. pp. 401-06), and a panegyric on him is found in the works of Andrew of Crete (Migne, Patrol. Gr., vol. 97). He is commemorated on Jan. 4 in the Latin Church, on Aug. 25 in the Greek, Syriac, and Maronite Churches (Acta Sanctorum, 1. pp. 163, 164; Nilles, Kalendarium Manuale).

γνησίῳ] cf. 1 Timothy 1:2. κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν: “in virtue of a faith which is common to you, to me”—to you a Gentile as much as to me a Jew—but also with the wider suggestion, “a faith common to all Christians”: cf. Jude 1:3; but not so definite as “secundam fidem catholicam” (Holtzmann). Cf. Acta Carpi et Papyli, § 30, ὁ�

Θεοῦ πατρός] ἡμῶν is perhaps to be supplied from τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν: if not, πατρός is used in its widest sense (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2 only), Father of all, ἐξ οὗ πᾶσα πατριὰ . . . ὀνομάζεται, Ephesians 3:15, perhaps (so Chrys.) recalling γνησίῳ τέκνῳ, God the source of all fatherhood, and of my relation to you my son.

τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν] Christ is placed on the same level as God 3; the phrase anticipates the stress on salvation from sin in 2:11-14, 3:4-7.


5-9. Paraphrase. Be sure to carry out the purpose for which I left you behind in Crete: there was much left by me incomplete; you were to complete it by appointing a body of elders in each city. I gave you general instructions, but the important point in the choice of them is the character they bear in their own homes. One whom you appoint must not be liable to have any charge brought against him, he must be the husband of one wife, his children must be loyal and trustworthy—not liable to be accused of wasteful extravagance or disorderly life. For it will never do for the presiding officer of a church to be liable to have any charge brought against him; for it is God’s own family that he has to control. So he must not be self-willed, not hot-tempered, not violent in speech, nor given to striking others, nor willing to make money in unworthy: ways he must be ready to welcome Christian passers-by, to give a welcome to every one and everything that is good; self-controlled, just to others, holy in character, having himself well in hand, holding firmly a preaching that is loyal to our doctrine: for he has a twofold duty—both to stir up the faithful by the sound teaching that he gives and to answer those who oppose it.

Cf. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and the notes there. The main qualifications for the presbyters are the same in both places, but 1 Ti implies a community of longer standing and completer organization—


(a) in insisting more upon good testimony to character from those without,


(b) in excluding recently-converted Christians (μὴ νεόφυτον),


(c) in laying down rules for deacons and deaconesses as well.

[One cursive, 460, adds here μὴ χειροτονεῖν διγάμους μηδὲ διακόνους αὐτοὺς ποιεῖν μηδὲ γυναῖκας ἔχειν ἐκ διγαμίας.] The method of ordination is left undefined. A free hand seems to be given to Titus (ἵνα . . . καταστήσῃς); but this would be consistent with a previous choice by the community (cf. Acts 6:5, 1 Timothy 1:20 note). The duties are also undefined, but there are implied discipline over the members of the community, teaching, perhaps control of the finances (μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ), and the duty of hospitality to strangers. The qualifications insisted upon are moral. they are such as have been tested in the family life of the candidate before his appointment, and therefore show, even in points like “the husband of one wife,” the standard expected in a good layman. For the relation of the ἐπίσκοπος to the πρεσβύτεροι, cf. Introd., p. xx; and for the whole section, Hort, The Christian Ecclesia, pp. 190-92.

5. τούτου χάριν] Ephesians 3:1, Ephesians 3:14 only in N.T.; cf. οὔ χάριν, Luke 7:47 and the adverbial use of χάριν is very common, e.g., Galatians 3:19, 1 John 3:12.

ἀπέλιπον, 2 Timothy 4:20; elsewhere not in St. Paul, who uses καταλείπειν (1 Thessalonians 3:1 only). Both words were in common usage.�

τὰ λείποντα] in this neuter sense, 3:13, Luke 18:22 only in N.T., but common both in prose and poetry; cf. ἵνʼ ἐπανορθώσηται τὰ ἐλλείποντα, Plut. X. Or. Vitæ, p. 844 E (Wetstein).

ἐπιδιορθώσῃ] complete (ἐπί) setting thoroughly (διά) right; cf. διόρθωσις, Hebrews 9:10; διορθωτής, Wisd 7:15; ἐπανόρθωσιν, 2 Timothy 3:16. The middle is not quite so personal as the active “see that things are got right under your guidance.”

καταστήσῃς] cf. Acts 6:3 οὓς καταστήσομεν, which shows that it does not exclude a choice by the community, but the change from the middle ἐπιδιορθώσῃ perhaps points to the separate action of Titus.

πρεσβυτέρους κατὰ πόλιν] (Κρήτη ἑκατόμπολις), Il. 2. 649!) a body of “elders” in each city; cf. Acts 14:23, Acts 20:17, and 1 Timothy 4:14 τὸ πρεσβυτέριον, which Theophylact substitutes here both in text and commentary.

ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην] perhaps with implied antithesis to some opponents at Crete: “as I, Christ’s Apostle (cf. ὃ ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ, 1:3), laid down to carry out my own ideal (middle; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:17 οὕτως ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλ. πάσαις διατάσσομαι) and impressed upon you my son and my delegate.” The instructions may be limited to the following qualifications for the ministry: but more probably they were wider, and included rules for the method of appointment and the duties of the presbyters.

6. μιᾶς γυναικὸς�] cf. 1 Timothy 3:2 note.

πιστά] perhaps “believing,” “Christian,” “non ad idolorum culturam proruentes,” Thd.; cf. 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Timothy 5:16, 1 Timothy 6:2, Concil. Carthag. 3. Canon 18. “ut episcopi et presbyteri et diaconinon ordi nentur priusquam omnes qui sunt in domo eorum Christianos catholicos fecerint.” More Probably, as suiting the following qualifications better, “trustworthy,” “loyal”; cf. 1 Corinthians 4:17 τέκνον�1 Timothy 3:5.

ἀσωτίας] “luxuriæ,” Vulg.; “lasciviæ,” Thd.-Mops. The conduct of the ἄσωτος, one who cannot save, who wastes his money, often with the implication of wasting it on his Pleasures, and so ruining himself, cf. Luke 15:13 ζῶν�Ephesians 5:18 οἴνῳ ἐν ᾧ ἐστὶν�Nic. Eth. iv. 1) defines it as ὑπερβολὴ περὶ χρήματα: ἐλευθεριότης being the true mean,�Proverbs 28:6 Provides an apposite comment on this verse, φυλάσσει νόμον υἱὸς συνετός, ὃς δὲ ποιμαίνει�Syn. N.T. s.v.

ἀνυπότακτα] primarily—to himself, 1 Timothy 3:4 τέκνα ἔχοντα ἐν ὑποταγῇ, but including disorder out of doors, insubordinate to the officers of the city; cf. κατηγορία and inf. 3:1.

7. The qualifications are partly negative, partly positive. (1) Negative: qualities which would Prevent his successful government of the community or discredit it.

αὐθάδη] self-willed, obstinate in his own opinion, arrogant, refusing to listen to others, “superbum,” Vulg.; “audacem,” Thd.; “stubborn,” Tynd.; “frowarde,” Geneva. In Aristotle (Eth. Magn. i. 29, Rhet. i. 9, 29), αὐθάδεια is the antithesis to�Eph_4Eph_4, in advice to Dion, ἡ δʼ αὐθάδεια ἐρημίᾳ ξύνοικος. For other illustrations, cf. Field, Ot. Norvic. ad loc.; Trench, N. T. Syn., M.M. s.v.

πάροινον] perhaps quite literally—“not given to much wine”; cf. 2:3, 1 Timothy 3:8; “vinolentum,” Vulg.; but this is not necessarily implied: perhaps only “blustering,” “abusive,” like a man who has been drinking; cf. Joseph. Ant. iv. 6, 10 (Holtzmann), where παροινεῖν is used of the Israelite who married a Midianitish woman, as the antithesis to σωφρονεῖν, = “to act outrageously”; Aristides, Apology, c. 14, ἐμπαροινήσαντες εἰς αὐτόν, of the conduct of the Jews to Christ: so Chrys. de Sacerd. iv. 1 applies παροινία to the conduct of the sons of Eli.

πλήκτην] quite literally, not hasty to strike an opponent; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:20 εἴ τις εἰς πρόσωπον ὑμᾶς δέρει: Apost. Canon 28, Ἐπίσκοπον . . . τύπτοντα πίστους ἁμαρτάνοντας . . . καθαιρεῖσθαι προστάττομεν: Pelagius, “non debet discipulus Christi percutere, qui percussus est et non repercussit.” But the Greek commentators extend the reference, μήτε διὰ χειρῶν μήτε διὰ πικρῶν λόγων (Theophyl.), πλήττοντα τὴν συνείδησιν τῶν�

αἰσχροκερδῆ] “turpis lucri cupidum,” Vulg., making money discreditably: adapting his teaching to his hearers in the hope of money from them (cf. 11, 1 Timothy 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1 P 5:2); or appropriating to his own use the gifts of the faithful (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:16-18, John 12:6); or perhaps engaging in discreditable trades (cf. 3:8 note). Contrast St. Paul’s example, Acts 20:33, Acts 20:34. For the Cretan love of money, cf. supra, p. 122.

8. (2) Positive: mainly the central Christian Virtues, and those which will fit him for ruling and teaching: there is more stress laid here than in 1 Ti on the teaching test.

φιλόξενον (“herberous,” Tynd.; “harberous,” Genev.), φιλάγαθον: he starts not from self (contrast αὐθάδη), but from love for others, cf. 2 Timothy 3:2 note; ready to welcome Christian passers-by (cf. 3:13, 1 Timothy 3:2 note); ready to Welcome all good men, or probably “goodness wherever he sees it,” cf. Wisd 7:22 ἔστιν ἐν αὐτῇ (Wisdom) πνεῦμα . . . φιλάγαθον. φιλάγαθον=φιλοῦντα τὸ�Romans 12:9 κολλώμενοι τῷ�Philippians 4:8; “a lover of goodness” (Tynd., Coverdale).

σώφρονα] his duty to self (contrast ὀργίλον, πάροινον, πλήκτην; δίκαιον, to his neighbour; ὅσιον, to God; cf. 2:12.

ἐγκρατῆ] the climax, as in the fruit of the Spirit, 5:23, complete self-mastery, Which controls all passionate impulses, and keeps the will loyal to the will of God; cf. Additional Note, p. 148.

9. ἀντεχόμενον] a strong Word—“amplectentem,” Vulg.; “tenacem sermonis,” Ambrosiaster; “utroque brachio amplexi et mordicus tenentes,” Calvin; “holding firmly to”—both for his own support (cf. Proverbs 3:18 of Wisdom, ξύλον ζωῆς ἐστι τοῖς�Pap. Tebt. i. 409�Isaiah 56:4, Isaiah 56:6 τῆς διαθήκης μου: Jeremiah 2:8 τοῦ νόμου: Arist. Poet. 9, τῶν παραδεδομένων μύθων�Pap. Oxyr. ix. 1203, τῶν ὑπόντων ἡμεῖν δικαίων πάντων�M.M s.v.).

τοῦ πιστοῦ λόγου] not to the law or the old covenant as a Jewish Rabbi would (cf. last note), much less to commandments of men (14), but to the trustworthy (“unde admonitio et elenchus robur accipit,” Bengel) message (cf. 3), Which corresponds with the true teaching—the teaching of the Apostle himself (cf. Romans 6:17 εἰς ὃν παρεδόθητε τύπον διδαχῆς, 16:17 παρὰ τὴν διδαχὴν ἣν ἐμάθετε), which is ultimately that of the Lord Himself (cf. 1 Timothy 6:3).1. The phrase suggests a stereotyped outline of doctrine, either oral or written, such as is quoted in 1 Corinthians 15:3ff.

ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ] cf. 1 Timothy 1:10 note, almost equivalent to τὴν διδαχήν of “the body of doctrine,” but thought of as embodied by the ἐπίσκοπος in his own “teaching.”

ἐλέγχειν] refute with argument: also including the thought of “reprove,” cf. 13, 2:15 and 2 Timothy 3:16 πρὸς διδασκαλίαν, πρὸς ἐλεγμόν. Origen in a very interesting chapter (c. Celsum, iii. 48, cf. vi. 7) quotes this verse in answer to the taunt of Celsus that Christianity only appealed to the uneducated.

10-16. Necessity for such qualifications: the character of the false teachers at Crete and the substance of their teaching.

paraphrase. They will need this qualification for there are many at Crete who are unwilling to submit to any control, teachers of worthless doctrine, clever enough to impose upon the minds of others—this is especially true of those of them who have been Jews—and all these must have their mouths stopped; forasmuch as they upset whole households, teaching things which they know they have no right to teach, merely to make gains of which they ought to be ashamed. It was one of their own islanders, one whom they themselves regard as a prophet, who said:


“Cretans are always liars, very Minotaurs, gluttonous, idlers.”

This testimony is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in their faith, and not devote themselves to Jewish legends and commandments, which are only commandments of men, aye, and of men who are turning their backs upon the truth. It is ture that “ All things are ;pure to the pureminded”;but to those who have been defiled and have no true faith, nothing is pure; nay, for them both mind anhd conscience hage been defiled. And that is the case with them: God, indeed, they acknopwledgte in their creed, but in their lives they belie such knowledge, being abominable, and disobedient, and with a view to every good work, unable to stand the test.

Note. —These teachers are not heathen; they are professing Christians (16), mainly but not wholly Jewish Christians (10), who pander in their teaching to curiosity and dwell upon Jewish legends of the patriarchs, and add to the Christian life a number of external duties which can claim no divine authority, and which deal with the distinction between things clean and unclean (15), and spring out of the Jewish law (3:9). There is no reference to the enforcement of circumcision; so that they do not correspond to the Pharisaic Jewish Christians denounced in Gal., but more to the opponents at Colossæ, Jews of the dispersion trying to represent certain sides of the Jewish life as a higher philosophy (cf. Hort, Judaistic Christianity, pp. 116-46). Such Jewish teaching would find natural support in incipient tendencies to Gnosticism, with its belief in the evil of matter, and that may be subordinately alluded to in 15, 16.


The writer deals with this teaching in two ways: (1) it is sharply denounced as profitless for all moral purpose; it does not raise the moral life or fit men for service; (2) appeal is made to great Christian principles. True purity is purity of heart; true faith must issue in good works.

10. γάρ] gives primarily the reason for the last qualification (cf. ἐλέγχειν 9, ἔλεγχε 13), but also for the whole section (5-9).

ἀνυπότακτοι] cf. 6 (which was leading up to this) and 3:1 note.

ματαιολόγοι] here only in N.T.; cf. ματαιολοίαν 1 Timothy 1:6. μάταιος was the favourite Jewish term of scorn for heathen idols and worship: this thought may be present here. Their teaching, so far from being on a higher level, is as worthless as that of heathenism; cf. βδελυκτοί 16.

φρεναπάται] here only in N.T., but φρεναπατᾶν Galatians 6:3, Scarcely (as Lightfoot, ad loc.) = φρενὶ�

11. ἐπιστομίζειν] (here only in N.T., though in some cursives of 11:53), perhaps anticipating κακὰ θήρια 12: either “to bridle,” “to guide aright,” “refrenari” (Jerome), cf. James 3:3; or more probably “to muzzle, to silence”: “redargui” (Vulg.), “silentium indici” (Jerome). This is more analogous to its classical usage; cf. illustrations in Wetstein and in M.M s.v.

ὅλους οἴκους] Where order and discipline need such careful guidance; cf. 6, 2:1-10.

ἀνατρέπουσι] “upset their faith”; cf. 2 Timothy 2:18 ἀνατρ. τήν τινων πίστιν, “pervert” (Tynd., Coverdale), or “upset their peace and harmony,” “subvert,” A.V.; contrast the teaching of 2:1-10.

αἰσχροῦ κέρδους] cf. 7 note, hoping for greater gifts from their hearers; cf. 1 Timothy 5:17, 1 Timothy 5:18, 1 Timothy 5:6:5, 2 Corinthians 12:14-18. For this tendency at Crete, cf. Polybius, vi. 46, 3, ὁ περὶ τὴν αἰσχροκέρδειαν καὶ πλεονεξίαν τρόπος οὕτως ἐπιχωριάζει ὥστε παρὰ μόνοις Κρηταιεῦσι τῶν ἁπάντων�

12. ἐξ αὐτῶν] sprung from themselves, so with special knowledge.

ἴδιος αὐτῶν προφήτης] whom therefore they ought to believe, and whom I may quote without offence: Epimenides, whom they regarded not merely as a poet but as a prophet, a great religious reformer (θεοφιλὴς καὶ σοφὸς περὶ τὰ θεῖα, Plut. Solon. 12) and predicter, who had predicted the failure of the Persian invasion of Greece ten years before it took place (Plato, Laws, i. 642 D), and whom we may still regard as a prophet, his words in this saying being true still; cf. the treatment of the words of Caiaphas (John 11:51), of Balaam’s ass (2 P 2:16). Similarly Irenæus (iv. 33, 3), apparently borrowing the phrase from here: “Accusabit autem eos Homerus proprius ipsorum Propheta” (Wohlenberg).

ψεῦσται] cf. 10 and 16. So Hesychius, κρητίζειν, ψεύδεσθαι καὶ�Ars. Am. I. 297:

“Nota cano: non hoc, quæ centum sustinet urbes,

Quamvis sit mendax, Creta negare potest,”


and other interesting illustrations in Wetstein.

κακὰ θηρία] cf. 10�

γαστέρες�] cf. 11 αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν, 16 πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον�

Note. —1. The line was attributed to Epimenides (of Crete, 600-500 b.c.) doubtless in pre-Christian times. It is quoted as from him by Clem. Alex. (Strom. I. xiv, 59), by Jerome (here) as from a poem entitled Χρησμοί, Oracula, and by Isho’dad, a Syrian commentator (c. a.d.. 850), as from the Minos (cf. Rendel Harris, Expositor, 1906, p. 305; 1907, p. 332; 1912, p. 348). But the attribution is very doubtful, as the dialect is Attic and not Cretan (cf. Moulton, N.T. Gr. i. p. 233 n.). It was probably earlier than Callimachus (a.d.. 300-240), who quotes the first half of it in his hymn to Zeus:


Κρῆτες�

And it was probably the legend that the tomb of Zeus was to be found in Crete that gave rise to the charge of lying as characteristic of Crete. It is also possible, as Rendel Harris also suggests, that the last half of the verse is abuse of the animal sacrifices and the feeding on them in the worship of the Cretan Zeus. His further suggestion, that the words in Acts 17:28, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being,” are a quotation from the same poem of Epimenides, would give an interesting link between our writer and St. Paul, but can scarcely be maintained; they are too mystical for so early a date (cf. J. U. Powell, Classical Review, Aug.-Sept., 1916).


2. For an interesting account of the use of classical literature in the early Church, see Plummer, Expositor’s Bible, c. xx. Clem. Alex., in quoting this passage (l.c.), adds: “you see how Paul assigns even to the prophets of the Greeks an element of the truth, and is not ashamed to use Greek poems for edification and rebuke”: but when heathen critics urged that the quotation virtually implied St. Paul’s belief in the real and immortal existence of Zeus, the Fathers take pains to refute the inference. So Chrys. Theod. Thdt. Jerome, ad loc.

13. ἡ μαρτυρία] not in the earlier Epistles, which use μαρτύριον (four times): perhaps slightly different, “witnessing,” rather than “witness.” For similar severity, cf. Romans 16:18, Philippians 3:19.

ἔλεγχε] cf. 9, as an example to the ἐπίσκοπος.�2 Corinthians 13:10, only in N.T.

διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν] Luke 8:47, Acts 22:24, Hebrews 2:11, 2 Timothy 1:6, 2 Timothy 1:12, only in N.T., not in the earlier Epistles: perhaps a Latinism = quamobrem. So κατὰ ταύτην τὴν αἰτίαν, διὰ ταύτας τὰς αἰτίας in the papyri, M.M s.v.

ἐν τῇ πίστει] perhaps “in the Creed,” and the context makes this almost certain; but, possibly, “in their faith, their loyalty to Christ”: cf. 2:2.

14-16. Cf. Romans 14:13-23, Colossians 2:16-23, 1 Timothy 4:1-5 and notes there, Mark 7:18-23. προσέχοντες, 1 Timothy 1:4 note.

Ἰουδ. μύθοις] cf. 3:9, 1 Timothy 1:6, Introduction, p. xvii. ἐντολαῖς� (contrast ἐντολῶν Θεοῦ, 1 Corinthians 7:19), a reminiscence of Isaiah 29:13 μάτην σέβονταί με (cf. ματαιολόγοι 10) διδάσκοντες ἐντάλματα�Mark 7:7) and adopted by St. Paul (Colossians 2:22). The reference is to the “traditions of the elders,” and will include interpretations of the law of clean and unclean meats and ceremonial washings, Mark 7:2-4. These have no authority, as only the interpretations of men, and of men who are now turning away from (cf. Acts 13:46) the truth “as it is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:21).

15. πάντα καθαρά] This goes further than the tradition of the elders; it abolishes the Mosaic law, which had served the purpose of separating the Jews from the heathen world.

τοῖς καθαροῖς] those who are pure—not, as the false teachers would say, by ceremonial washings, but by purity of heart. Cf. Matthew 5:8, John 15:3, 1 Timothy 2:8 note.�

πάντα κ. τοῖς καθαροῖς] has the ring of a proverb, and was perhaps a saying of the Lord Himself (so von Soden); cf. Luke 11:41 ἰδοὺ πάντα καθαρὰ ὑμῖν ἐστιν: cf. Pap. Oxyr. v. 840, ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ οἱ μαθηταί μου οὓς λέγεις μὴ βεβαπτίσθαι βεβάμμεθα ἐν ὕδασι ζωῆς αἰωνίου: and Romans 14:14, Romans 14:20 οἶδα καὶ πέπεισμαι ἐν κ. ἰησοῦ . . . πάντα μὲν καθαρά.

The thought, especially on the negative side, that the impure heart makes all things impure, was found in the prophets; cf. Haggai 2:10-14, and was becoming a common-place of pagan philosophers, both Epicurean and Stoic; cf. Lucr. vi. 6:17-34; Hor. Ep. i. 2. 54, “Sincerum est nisi vas, quodcunque infundis acescit.” Seneca, de Benefic. v. 12, “quemadmodum stomachus morbo vitiatus … quoscunque accepit cibos mutat, ita animus cæcus quicquid illi commiseris, id onus suum et perniciem … facit. Nihil potest ad malos pervenire quod prodest, immo nihil quod non noceat; quæcunque enim illis contigerunt in naturam suam vertunt, et … profutura, si melioribus darentur, illis pestifera sunt,” and Philo, de Legg. Spec. iii. 209, p. 334 M,�

τοῖς δὲ μεμιασμένοις] (but μεμιαμμένοις, W.-H., Tisch., with א A C D * L ; cf. Blass, Gr. N. T., § 163), cf. Haggai 2:13 ἐὰν ἅψηται μεμιαμμένος�

ἀπίστοις] This would apply (a) to the weak Jewish Christian, not believing that Christ is the end of the law, cf. Rom_14:esp.23 .; ὁ ψύχην ἔχων�b) to the Gnostic, without faith in God’s creation of matter, cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-5; but here the reference is only to the former.

ὁ νοῦς καὶ ἡ συνείδησις] Their judgment is perverted: they will call evil good and good evil (cf. 1 Timothy 6:5, 2 Timothy 3:8); their con science is callous, not telling them when they have done wrong (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1), nor condemning them when they have done it.

16. ὁμολογοῦσιν] They acknowledge, assert in their Creed—the word does not imply boastful profession—that they know God, but in practice belie such knowledge; cf. James 2:14-26, 1 John 2:4.

ἀρνοῦνται] not in the earlier, but frequent in the Past. Epistles; Cf. 2:12, 1 Timothy 5:8, 2 Timothy 2:12, 2 Timothy 2:13, 2 Timothy 2:3:5.

βδελυκτοὶἀδόκιμοι] “Hæc sunt opera quæ nesciunt Deum” (Ambrosiaster). “Christus sapientia est, justitia, veritas, sanctitas, fortitudo. Negatur per insipientiam sapientia, per iniquitatem justitia, per turpitudinem sanctitas, per imbecillitatem fortitudo, et quotiescunque vincimur vitiis et peccatis, toties Deum negamus” (Jerome).

βδελυκτοί] takes up μεμιασμένοι 15, the antithesis to καθαροί (cf. Proverbs 17:15 ὃς δίκαιον κρίνει τὸν ἄδικον, ἄδικον δὲ τὸν δίκαιον�note.

ἀπειθεῖς] “incredibiles,” Vulg. “diffidentes,” Theod.; but better, “inobedientes,” Jer. Ambrosiaster. It takes up�

πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον�] worthless for the tasks for which they ought to be ready (3:1): much more for the excellence for which God’s peculiar people are eager (2:13). The whole of 2:1-13 is a contrast to this phrase.

Tynd. Tyndale’s New Testament, 1534.

Cov. Coverdale’s New Testament.

Souter Novum Testamentum Grœce. Textui a Retractoribus Anglicis adhibito brevem adnotationem criticam subjecit, A. Souter, Oxford, 1910.

M.M. The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, by J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, 1914-

Pap. Tebt. The Tebtunis Papyri, ed. Grenfell, Hunt, and Smyly, London, 1902-1907.

Pap. Oxyr. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, ed. Grenfell and Hunt, vols. i.-xv., London, 1898-

1 For the interpretation of the phrase as a reference to the Personal Logos, cf. 3:8 note

A.V. Authorized Version of the English Bible.

W.-H The New Testament in Greek, with Introduction and Appendix, by Westcott and Hort, Cambridge, 1881.

Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on Titus 1". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/titus-1.html. 1896-1924.
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