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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;
Ver. 1. The faith of God’s elect ] Not the election of God’s faithful ones, as the Arminians make it.
And the knowledge of the truth ] It is usual with St Paul in the beginning of his Epistles, to utter much in few, and to set down the sum of the whole gospel, as here he doth justification, sanctification, and the hope of salvation, and all by the acknowledging of the truth. This Epistle is called the abridgment of all St Paul’s Epistles; but especially of those two to Timothy, whom he more largely instructeth in point of Church government, because a younger man than Titus, and not so well exercised in ecclesiastical affairs. (Estius.)
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Ver. 2. God that cannot lie ] The word of promise binds God; therefore it seems, saith one, that it is stronger than God; for he can as soon deny himself as his promise.
Promised ] That is, purposed, as2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:9 , or decreed to promise, or promised to Christ, or promised to our first parents from the beginning of ages, ante multa saecula, so some sense it.
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
Ver. 3. Manifested his word ] As when he said plainly, "He that believeth in the Son hath eternal life."
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.
Ver. 4. Common faith ] Common to the communion of saints, Titus 1:1 , and to them proper and peculiar; for all men have not faith, 2 Thessalonians 3:2 . Or common, that is, Symbolo Apostolico comprehensum, saith one, contained in the Apostle’s Creed.
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:
Ver. 5. Set in order ] Gr. επιδιορθωση , conficias, set straight, or make up the things that I left unfinished. Straighten the things that grow crooked in the Church,
In every city ] Crete had a hundred cities, and was therefore called εκατομπολις ; as Thebes had a hundred gates, and was therefore called εκατομπυλος
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
Ver. 6. The husband of one wife ] Here the apostle canonizeth, saith Scultetus, the marriage of ministers.
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;
Ver. 7. A bishop must be blameless ] As was Moses, Samuel, Paul, Bradford, Bucer, &c., who led convincing lives; so that their foes could not in anything stain them, nor their friends sufficiently commend them. It is better, saith one, to live so as thine enemies may be amazed at thy virtues than that thy friends should have cause to excuse thy vices.
Not soon angry ] οργιλος , biliosus et bellicosus, testy and tetchy, easily blown up into rage, that will not be laid down without revenge.
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Ver. 8. Temperate ] εγκρατης . No slave to his fleshly appetite, but one that can master himself and give laws to his lusts. See my Commonplace of Abstinence.
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.
Ver. 9. Holding fast, &c. ] αντεχομενον . As with tooth and nail, against those gainsayers that would snatch it from us.
10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Ver. 10. For there are many unruly ] Lawless, yokeless, masterless men, untractable, untameable, that refuse to be reformed, hate to be healed. God will hamper these Belialists, 2 Samuel 23:6 .
11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
Ver. 11. Whose mouths must be stopped ] Gr. επιστομιζειν , muzzled, as bandogs are. Frogs, they say, will leave croaking if but a light be hanged over the lake wherein they are. Let but the truth come clearly in place, and heretics will be soon silenced. But if they will not, another course must be taken with them.
12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
Ver. 12. Even a prophet of their own ] Epimenides, the poet, who by his countrymen the Cretians was counted a prophet, and had divine honours done to him after his death. This uncircumcised poet Paul brings here into the temple, as before he had done Aratus, Acts 17:28 , and Menander, 1 Corinthians 15:33 .
The Cretians are always liars ] So were the Carthaginians, Tyriique bilingues. a The French had so often deceived the English that such as they mean to deceive they call by a common byword, Les Anglois, The English. The Cretians were loud liars, even to a proverb. Of Dolon, Homer saith, that he had an art in lying. But Eudaemon Joannes (that Cretian demoniac) wins the whetstone from all his countrymen, while he blusheth not to tell the world in print that these are the doctrines and practices of the Protestants, to worship no God, to frame our religion to the times, to pretend the public cause to our private lusts, to break our words as we see good for our purpose, to cover deadly hatred under fair flatteries, to confirm tyranny by shedding the blood of innocents. (Eudaemon Joannes contra Casaub.) Evil beasts, cruel as well as crafty. These two are seldom separated; as some write of the asp, that he never wanders alone without his companion; and as the Scripture speaks of those birds of prey and desolation, Isaiah 34:16 ; "None of them wanteth his mate."
Slow bellies ] That is, given to sloth and idleness, and luxurious gluttons.
a Fides Punica. Virgil. Cres semper mendax, mala bellua, et helluo deses. Cretizare cum Cretensib. vide Erasm. Adag. ισκε ψευσεα πολλα λεγειν ετυμοισιν ομοια . Hom.
13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
Ver. 13. Rebuke them sharply ] Gr. αποτομως , cuttingly, precisely, rigidly, severely, and to the quick. A metaphor from surgeons, who must not be melch-hearted, saith Celsus, a but pare away the dead flesh, Ne pars sincera trahatur. Howbeit, that is a good rule given by a godly divine, that although there must be some warmth in a reproof, yet it must not be scalding hot. Words of reviling and disgrace, they scald, as it were. But words that tend to stir up the conscience to a due consideration of the error or evil reproved, they be duly warm, and tend to make the medicine work more kindly. Evangelizatum non maledictum missus es, said Oecolampadins to Farellus: laudo zelum, mode non desideretur mansuetudo. Vinum et oleum in tempore suo infundendum. Evangelistam non tyrannicum legislatorem praestes. Thou art sent to preach, not to rail. Thy zeal I commend, so it be mingled with meekness. Wine must be poured into men’s wounds one while and oil another. Thou must show thyself a peaceable preacher, not a tyrannical lawgiver. (Oecolamp. Ep. ad Gul. Farel.) Rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering, saith Paul to Timothy, 2 Timothy 4:2 . Timothy, they say, was somewhat sharp and tart in his reproofs; and is therefore exhorted to patience and meekness. Titus was gentle, and of a mild disposition; and is therefore thus spurred on to sharpness and severity. The Cretians also were (possibly) a worse people than the Ephesians, and were therefore to be more hardly handled. Let it ever be remembered that matters of moment must be wisely but yet seriously dealt with. To tell wicked men of their sins so softly as Eli did his sons, or reprove them so gently as Jehoshaphat did Ahab ("Let not the king say so"), doth usually as much harm as good; like a weak dose in physic, it stirreth the humours, but purgeth them not.
a Chirurgos misericordes esse non oportet.
14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Ver. 14. Not giving heed to Jewish fables ] Wherewith their Talmud is full farced, which while they hug overly hard, as Cleopatra did the snakes that sucked her blood, they perish.
Of men that turn from the truth ] αποστρεφομενοι , with utter aversatian and detestation, as a man turns his body from a loathsome object. These are those that will not endure sound doctrine, 2 Timothy 4:3 .
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.
Ver. 15. Unto the pure all things, &c. ] This Piscator in Mar 14:3 holds a sufficient warrant for us to use, Ne forte, and other heathen expressions; like as the apostles used χρηματιζεσθαι χρηματισμος &c., abused by the Greeks to signify their wicked and devilish oracles. But Pasor is utterly against it. (Prefat. ad Lexic.)
Is nothing pure ] Their own table is a snare to them, yea, God’s table. The saints are kept at hard commons, but have their keeping of freecost: the wicked have larger cares, but pay sweetly.
Conscience is defiled ] To wit, with sins, and so can no more judge it than a man can discern colours in a foul and soiled glass.
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him , being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Ver. 16. They profess that they know ] Aliud in titulo, aliud in pyxide. Outside Christians who perform, as Ephraim, dough baked duties, are almost persuaded, as Agrippa, come near God’s kingdom with that young Pharisee; faint chapmen that go without the bargain, as he did that came kneeling to our Saviour, and saying, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" These do virtutis stragulam pudefacere, put honesty to an open shame, as Diogenes said to Antipater, who being vicious, wore a white cloak, the ensign of innocence.
Being abominable ] Gr. βδελυκτοι (α βδεω , pedo ), such as stink above ground, and are of an offensive savour.
To every good work reprobate ] αδοκιμοι , or injudicious; such as cannot make a right judgment of any good works, so as to approve and relish them, to see a beauty in them, as good, &c.
But in works they deny him ] Which is, as if a man should confess his faith in English and deny it again in Latin. These are no better than devils wrapped up in Samuel’s mantle; hot meteors, shooting and showing like stars.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Titus 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13