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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Titus 1

 

 

Introduction

παύλου τοῦ ἀποστόλου πρὸς τίτον ἐπιστολή

In A, al. the inscription begins with ἄρχεται; in D E F G it runs simply πρὸς τίτον.

CHAPTER 1


Verse 1

Titus 1:1. παῦλος δοῦλος θεοῦ] This designation, which indicates generally the official position (Wiesinger: “ δοῦλος θεοῦ here in the same sense as in Acts 16:17, Revelation 1:1; Revelation 15:3, etc., not as in 1 Peter 2:16, Revelation 7:3,” etc.), is not usually found in the inscriptions of the Pauline Epistles. In the Epistle of James we have: θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου . χρ. δοῦλος, and in writing to the Romans and Philippians Paul says δοῦλος . χρ.

ἀπόστολος δὲ . χρ.] δέ indicates here not so much a contrast (as Mack thinks) as a further definition (Matthies: a more distinct description); comp. Jude 1:1. With this double designation comp. Romans 1:1 : δοῦλος . χρ., κλητὸς ἀπόστολος.

κατὰ πίστιν ἐκλεκτῶν θεοῦ] κατά is explained by Matthies to mean: “according to faith, so that the apostleship is described in its normal state, in its evangelic character;” but it is altogether opposed to the apostolic spirit to make appeal on behalf of the apostleship to its harmony with the faith of the elect. κατά rather expresses here the general relation of reference to something: “in regard to faith;” the more precise definition must be supplied. This, however, can be nothing else than that which in Romans 1:5 is expressed by εἰς ( εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσι τ. ἔθνεσιν). It is on account of the πίστις ἐκλ. θεοῦ that he is a δοῦλ. θεοῦ and ἀπόστ. χρ., and to this his office is related, see 2 Timothy 1:1. This general relation is limited too precisely by the common exposition: “for producing faith,” etc. Hofmann thinks the apostle uses κατὰ πιστ. ἐκλ. to describe faith as that which is presupposed in his apostleship, as that without which he would not be an apostle; but, on the one hand, we should in that case have had ΄ου; and, on the other hand, κατὰ, does not express a presupposition or condition.

The expression ἐκλεκτοὶ θεοῦ is taken by de Wette in a proleptic sense, to mean those who, by the free counsel of God, are predestinated to faith; and κατὰ πίστιν ἐκλ. θ., according to him, declares the faith of these elect to be the aim of the apostolic office. Wiesinger, on the contrary, thinks the expression ἐκλεκτοὶ θεοῦ quite abstract, leaving it uncertain “whether the κλῆσις has already taken place in their case or not;” but he agrees with de Wette in taking the ἐκλεκτοί to be the object of the apostolic labours, so that the meaning is: in order to produce or further faith in the elect. But in the N. T. the expression ἐκλεκτοὶ θεοῦ is always used of those who have already become believers, never of those who have not yet received the κλῆσις. Since it cannot be said that the purpose of the apostolic office is to produce faith in the ἐκλεκτοί (Plitt: “that the elect may believe”), who as such already possess faith, nor that it is to further their faith, πίστις ἐκλεκτῶν must be taken as one thought, the genitive serving to define more precisely the faith to which Paul’s apostolic office is dedicated. We have therefore here a contrast between the true faith and the false πίστις, of which the heretics boasted.

καὶ ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας τῆς κατʼ εὐσέβειαν] In genuine faith the knowledge of the truth is a substantial element; and Paul here lays stress on this element to point the contrast with the heretics. The ἐπίγνωσις is the subjective aspect, as the ἀλήθεια is the objective.

τῆς κατʼ εὐσέβειαν serves to define ἀλήθεια more precisely, as Chrysostom says: ἐστὶ γὰρ ἀλήθεια πραγ΄άτων, ἀλλʼ οὐ κατʼ εὐσέβειαν, οἷον τὸ εἰδέναι τὰ γεωργικὰ, τὸ εἰδέναι τέχνας, ἀληθῶς ἐστὶν εἰδέναι· ἀλλʼ αὓτη κατʼ εὐσέβειαν ἀλήθεια. De Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt interpret κατʼ εὐσέβειαν: “leading to holiness,” thus, indeed, naming a right element in truth, but one rather indicated than expressed by κατά; it is merely said that here a truth is under discussion which is in nature akin to εὐσέβεια. Hofmann translates it “piously,” asserting that κατʼ εὐσέβειαν without the article stands for an adjective; but had Paul used the clause as an adjective, he would certainly have written: τῆς κατʼ εὐσέβειαν ἀληθείας (as in Romans 9:11 : κατʼ ἐκλογὴν πρόθεσις). Besides, the translation “piously” is not sufficiently clear.


Verse 2

Titus 1:2. ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου] ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι, “in hope” (comp. Romans 4:18; Romans 8:21; 1 Corinthians 9:10). It is not to be taken with ἐπίγνωσις ἀληθείας (“the knowledge of the truth which gives hope of an eternal life,” Heydenreich, but with hesitation; Wiesinger: “it is a knowledge whose content is that ἀλήθεια, and whose ground and condition is the hope of eternal life, by which hope it is supported and guided”), nor is it to be taken with εὐσέβεια (“a holiness the possessor of which is justified in hoping for eternal life,” which Heydenreich likewise considers possible), nor with τῆς κατʼ εὐσέβειαν (Matthies: “truth and holiness in their inner relationship are founded evangelically on the hope of eternal life”), nor even with the two ideas closely connected: πίστιν and ἐπίγνωσιν ἀλ. (so Plitt: “the πίστις and the ἐπίγνωσις rest on the ἐλπίς”); but it is to be joined with ἀπόστολος κ. τ. λ. Paul by this declares that the ἐλπὶς ζωῆς αἰωνίου is the basis on which he stands as an ἀπόστολος ἰησοῦ χριοτοῦ κατὰ πίστιν κ. τ. λ. Van Oosterzee: “Paul in Titus 1:4 says he fulfils his task with or in hope of eternal life” (so, too, Hofmann).

The believer, it is true, possesses the ζωὴ αἰώνιος in the present; but its perfection will only be granted to him in the future (comp. Colossians 3:3-4); here it is to be considered as a future blessing, which is indicated by ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι.

ἣν ἐπηγγείλατο ἀψευδὴς θεὸς πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων] ἥν relates to ζωῆς αἰωνίου, and not, as some expositors (Flatt, Mack, and others) think, to ἀλήθεια.

ἐπηγγείλατο, viz. διὰ τῶν προφητῶν, comp. Romans 1:2.

ἀψευδὴς θεός] This epithet occurs only here; ἀψευδής is equivalent to πιστός, ἀληθής in regard to the divine promises, comp. Hebrews 6:18 : ἀδύνατον ψεύσασθαι θεόν; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Romans 3:4.

πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων here is not equivalent in meaning to πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσ΄ου or similar expressions; for in that case ἐπηγγείλατο must have meant promittere decrevit, or the like, as Chrysostom expounds it: ἄνωθεν ταῦτα προώριστο, which is impossible. It is equivalent to ἀπʼ αἰῶνος, Luke 1:70 : “before eternity, i.e. before the earliest times” (Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt, Hofmann), comp. 2 Timothy 1:9. Calvin rightly says: hic, quia de promissione tractat, non omnia saecula comprehendit, ut nos adducat extra mundi creationem, sed docet, multa saecula praeteriisse, ex quo salus fuit promissa. De Wette rightly remarks that apparently the opposite is declared in μυστήριον χρόνοις αἰωνίοις σεσιγημένον, Romans 16:25.


Verse 3

Titus 1:3. ἐφανέρωσε δὲ καιροῖς ἰδίοις τὸν λόγον αὑτοῦ] ἐφανέρωσε forms an antithesis to ἐπηγγείλατο. True, the promise is a revelation, but only a revelation in which the point under consideration still remains hidden. The object of ἐφανέρωσε is not the same as that to which ἐπηγγ. relates, viz. ἥν, i.e. τὴν ζωὴν αἰώνιον; Beza: quam promiserat Deus … manifestam autem fecit … The object is τὸν λόγον αὑτοῦ, which is not to be taken as in apposition to ἥν (or as Heinrichs even thinks, to ἐλπίδα ζωῆς), though it is strange that ἐφαν. should begin a new sentence. This is one of the cases where—as Buttmann, p. 328, remarks—a relative sentence passes almost imperceptibly into a principal sentence, without such continuation changing the actual principal sentence into one subordinate.

τὸν λόγον αὑτοῦ] is, of course, not a name for Christ (scholiasts in Matthaei), but the gospel, which contains the ἀποκάλυψις μυστηρίου, Romans 16:26, or, as is said here, τῆς ζωῆς αἰωνίου.

καιροῖς ἰδίοις] comp. 1 Timothy 2:6. How this φανέρωσις of the divine word took place, is told in the next words: ἐν κηρύγματι ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ] κήρυγμα (see 2 Timothy 4:17) is not quite “the general preaching of the gospel by the apostles” (Matthies, Wiesinger), the thought being limited by the words following; κήρυγμα is to be taken as forming one thought with what follows: “the preaching entrusted to me.” Paul had some reason for describing his preaching as the means by which this revelation was made, since he recognised the depth of the divine decree as no other apostle had recognised it, and by him it was proclaimed “to all peoples” (see 2 Timothy 4:17).

ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ] see 1 Corinthians 9:17; Galatians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:11.

To define and emphasize the thought that the κήρυγμα was not according to his own pleasure, Paul adds: κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ] comp. 1 Timothy 1:1. Hofmann construes differently, connecting together κατὰ πίστιν and ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι as well as ἐν κηρύγματι, and then joining κατʼ ἐπιταγήν immediately with ἀπόστολος. But this construction not only makes τὸν λόγον αὑτοῦ (which, according to Hofmann, is in apposition to ἥν) quite superfluous, but separates ideas closely attached to each other, κήρυγμα and λόγος, ἐπιστεύθην and κατʼ ἐπιταγήν.


Verse 4

Titus 1:4. τίτῳ γνησίῳ τέκνῳ κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν] On γνησίῳ τέκνῳ, see 1 Timothy 1:2. κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν gives the point of view from which Titus can be considered the genuine son of the apostle. Beza: i.e. fidei respectu quae quidem et Paulo patri et Tito filio communis erat. There is nothing to indicate that in using κοινήν Paul was thinking of an original difference between them, he being a Jewish Christian, Titus a Gentile Christian.

χάρις [ ἔλεος], εἰρήνη κ. τ. λ.] see on 1 Timothy 1:2.

The designation appended to χριστοῦ, viz. τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, is peculiar to this epistle.


Verse 5

Titus 1:5. The epistle begins by the apostle reminding Titus of the commission already given him by word of mouth.

τούτου χάριν ἀπέλιπόν σε ἐν κρήτῃ] Regarding the time when this happened, see the Introduction; as to the reading, see the critical remarks.

ἵνα τὰ λείποντα ἐπιδιορθώσῃς] τὰ λείποντα: quae ego per temporis brevitatem non potui coram expedire (Bengel).

ἐπιδιορθώσῃς] The preposition ἐπί does not serve here to strengthen the meaning (= omni cura corrigere, Wahl), but conveys the notion of something additional: “still further bring into order.”

τὰ λείποντα] means “that which is wanting,” i.e. here that which was wanting for the complete organization of the church. The apostle himself had already done something, but in many respects the churches were not organized as they ought to be; presbyters had still to be appointed to gather single believers into a firmly-established church. This Titus was now to do, as the next words say: καὶ καταστήσῃς κατὰ πόλιν πρεσβυτέρους.

κατὰ πόλιν] For the expression, comp. Luke 8:1; Acts 15:21; Acts 20:23; and for the fact, Acts 14:23. Baur wrongly assumes that each πόλις was to receive only one presbyter, see Meyer on Acts 14:23.

ὡς ἐγώ σοι διεταξάμην] “relates both to the fact and to the manner of it, the latter being set forth more fully in mentioning the qualities of those to be chosen” (de Wette). Hofmann, without sufficient ground, wishes πρσβυτέρους to be regarded not as the object proper, but as something predicated of the object, which object is found by the words εἴ τις κ. τ. λ. This view is refuted by the addition of κατὰ πόλιν.


Verse 6

Titus 1:6. εἴ τις ἐστίν] This form is not, as Heinrichs and Heydenreich think, selected to express a doubt whether such men could be found among the corrupt Cretans. The meaning is rather: “only such an one as.”

ἀνέγκλητος] see 1 Timothy 3:10; ἀνεπίληπτος is used in 1 Timothy 3:2. The objection which de Wette raises on the ground that Titus is in the first place to have regard to external blamelessness, has been proved by Wiesinger to have no foundation whatever.

μιᾶς γυν. ἀνήρ] see 1 Timothy 3:2.

τέκνα ἔχων πιστά] comp. 1 Timothy 3:4-5; πιστά, in contrast to those that were not Christian, or were Christian only in name.

μὴ ἐν κατηγορίᾳ ἀσωτίας] “qui non sunt obnoxii crimini luxus” (Wolf); ἀσωτία is a debauched, sensual mode of life (1 Peter 4:4; Ephesians 5:18). Chrysostom: οὐκ εἶπε μὴ ἁπλῶς ἄσωτος, ἀλλὰ μηδὲ διαβολὴν ἔχειν τοιαύτην, μηδὲ πονηρᾶς εἶναι δόξης.

ἀνυπότακτα] see 1 Timothy 3:5. Comp. the picture of the sons of Eli in 1 Samuel 2:12 ff. As the bishop is to be an example to the church, his own house must be well conducted.


Verse 7

Titus 1:7. δεῖ γάρ] The statements of Titus 1:6 are now confirmed by alluding to the higher moral necessity; “ δεῖ is the emphatic word” (Wiesinger).

τὸν ἐπίσκ. ἀνέγκλητον εἶναι] ἀνέγκλ. is resumed from Titus 1:6, that the thought may be further developed. It is to be noted that the name ἐπίσκοπος appears here; it is given to the presbyter as superintendent of the church. As such “he must not be liable to any reproach, if he is to guide the church” (Wiesinger).

ὡς θεοῦ οἰκόνομον] is added to give the reason for that higher necessity of the ἀνέγκλ. εἶναι; Heydenreich wrongly turns it to mean simply that he must know how to superintend his house well.

ὡς = “as,” i.e. “since, he is.”

θεοῦ οἰκόνομος is the bishop in so far as there is committed to him by God authority in the ἐκκλησία as the οἶκος θεοῦ (1 Timothy 3:15). Mack is not wrong in proving from this expression that the ἐπίσκοποι are not merely “ministers and plenipotentiaries of the church.” Even if they are elected by the church, they bear their office as divine, not exercising it according to the changing pleasure of those by whom they are elected, but according to the will of God.

μὴ αὐθάδη] occurs only here and in 2 Peter 2:10. It is compounded of αὐτός and ἁδέω, and synonymous with αὐτάρεσκος (2 Timothy 3:2 : φίλαυτος), “who in everything behaves arrogantly and regardlessly as seems good in his own eyes;” Luther: “wilful.”

μὴ ὀργίλον] ἅπ. λεγ. “passionate;” οἱ ὀργίλοι ταχέως ὀργίζονται.

μὴ πάροινον] see 1 Timothy 3:3.

μὴ πλήκτην] see also 1 Timothy 3:3.

μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ] see 1 Timothy 3:8; perhaps with special reference to the opportunities which the bishop had in his office of acquiring gain.

These five negative qualifications are opposed to arrogance, anger, and avarice; several positive qualifications follow.


Verse 8

Titus 1:8. ἀλλὰ φιλόξενον] see 1 Timothy 3:2.

φιλάγαθον] ἅπ. λεγ. (the opposite in 2 Timothy 3:3), loving either the good or what is good. Chrysostom is inaccurate: τὰ αὐτοῦ πάντα τοῖς δεομένοις προϊέμενος; and Luther: “kindly.”

σώφρονα] see 1 Timothy 3:2.

δίκαιον, ὅσιον] These two ideas are frequently placed together; comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:10; Ephesians 4:24; Plato (Gorg. 507 B) thus distinguishes between them: καὶ μὴν περὶ μὲν ἀνθρώπους τὰ προσήκοντα πράττων δίκαιʼ ἂν πράττοι, περὶ δὲ θεοὺς ὅσια.

δίκαιος is one who does no wrong to his neighbour; ὅσιος is one who keeps himself free from that which stains him in the eyes of God; synonymous with ἄκακος, ἀμίαντος, Hebrews 7:26.

ἐγκρατῆ] ἅπ. λεγ., Chrysostom: τὸν πάθους κρατοῦντα, τὸν καὶ γλώττης, καὶ χειρὸς, καὶ ὀφθαλμῶν ἀκολάστων· τοῦτο γὰρ ἐστὶν ἐγκράτεια, τῷ μηδενὶ ὑποσύρεσθαι πάθει. There is no ground for limiting the word to the relation of the sexes; besides, ἐγκράτεια, and ἐγκρατεύεσθαι in the N. T. hardly convey anything more than the general idea of self-control. The three last qualifications are closely related to each other, describing the conduct of the man towards his neighbour, towards God, towards himself; comp. Titus 2:12.

The positive qualifications in this verse are not direct antitheses to the negative qualifications in the preceding verse; still there is a certain antithesis of cognate ideas. This is the case with μὴ αὐθάδη and φιλόξενον, φιλάγαθον; with μὴ ὀργίλον, μὴ πάροινον, μὴ πλήκτην, and σώφρονα; μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ and δίκαιον, ὅσιον, ἐγκρατῆ. Still these epithets, though corresponding to one another, are not quite the same in the extent of their application.


Verse 9

Titus 1:9. To these requisites, somewhat general in nature, Paul adds another with special bearing on the official duties of a bishop: ἀντεχόμενον τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν πιστοῦ λόγου] The exposition given by most of the compound idea τοῦλόγου is inaccurate and confused. Heydenreich divides the expression into two parts: (1) πιστὸς λόγος, “the true doctrine of the gospel;” and (2) λόγος κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν, “the doctrine in which the bishop is instructed,” and gives the following translation: “holding firmly, as instructed, by the word which is certain (to reliable doctrine).” But manifestly this translation arbitrarily inverts the meaning. The words κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν are not dependent on πιστοῦ, but on λόγου, defined by πιστοῦ, so that τοῦ κ. τ. διδ. πιστοῦ λόγ. is equivalent to τοῦ πιστοῦ λόγου, τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν. πιστὸς λόγος does not occur elsewhere in our epistles, but there is no doubt that Paul means thereby the pure, wholesome word ( λόγοι ὑγιαίνοντες, 1 Timothy 6:3; οἱ λόγοι τῆς πίστεως, 1 Timothy 4:6) of the gospel, in contrast to the false doctrine of the heretics. He uses the epithet πιστός because it is not treacherous, it can be relied on: “the sure, reliable word.” This sure word is defined more precisely by κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν] διδαχή is not active (Luther: “that which can teach”), but means, as it often does in the N. T., “doctrine.” Here it denotes “the Christian doctrine,” which is none other than that preached by Christ Himself and by His apostles; so Matthies, Wiesinger, Plitt, Hofmann. It is less appropriate to explain διδαχή to be “the instruction imparted” (so van Oosterzee, and formerly in this commentary); comp. 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

ἀντέχεσθαι (in Matthew 6:24, synonymous with ἀγαπᾷν, opposed to καταφρονεῖν; used in a similar sense, 1 Thessalonians 5:14) occurs often in Polybius (see Raphelius on the passage) in the sense of: adhaerere, studiosum esse ( ἀντέχεσθαι τῆς ἀληθείας). Here, too, it has this meaning, as in Philippians 2:16 : ἐπέχειν; 2 Thessalonians 2:15 : κρατεῖν, “adhere to.” Luther: “he holds by the word.”

Heydenreich rightly remarks that this does not indicate the zeal the teacher was to show in speaking of divine doctrine, but his own internal adherence, etc.

ἵνα κ. τ. λ.] This adherence to the word is necessary for the bishop that he may discharge the duties of his office. It is further defined more precisely in two ways: ἵνα δυνατὸς καὶκαί: “both … and.” The first is: παρακαλεῖν ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ, which refers to believers. παρακαλεῖν] encourage, exhort; viz. to remain in the way on which they have entered, and to advance ever further in it, ἐν being here instrumental: “through, by means of.” Matthies is incorrect: “to edify in sound doctrine;” comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:18.

διδασκ. ὑγιαιν.] see 1 Timothy 1:10.

The second is: τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας ἐλέγχειν] “By correction and reproof to refute those who contradict” (viz. the pure doctrine of the gospel), by which are meant the heretics.

Even in classic Greek, the two conceptions “refute” and “reprove” are sometimes combined in ἐλέγχειν; see Pape, s.v.

This verse leads on to further description of the heretics.


Verse 10

Titus 1:10. εἰσὶ γάρ] γάρ shows that this verse serves to explain the preceding words.

πολλοὶ [ καὶ] ἀνυπότακτοι] If καί be read, the phrase should be explained by the usage common in Greek of joining πολλοί with an adjective following it (see Matthiae, § 444, 4, p. 830), and ἀνυπότακτοι taken as an adjective. If καί be omitted, ἀνυπότακτοι may be taken as a substantive. The heretics are so named because they set themselves in opposition to the gospel and refuse obedience to it; the word is found also in 1 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:6.

The heretics are further styled ματαιόλογοι] see 1 Timothy 1:6, and φρεναπάται ( ἅπ. λεγ.; the verb in Galatians 6:3), “misleaders,” almost synonymous with γόητες, 2 Timothy 3:13.

μάλιστα οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς] A name for the Jewish-Christians, as in Galatians 2:12.

μάλιστα indicates that the preachers of heresy in Crete were chiefly Jewish Christians, but that they had also found followers among the Gentile Christians. These appended words do not compel us to take ἀνυπότακτοι as the predicate, and the Christians of Crete as the unexpressed subject of εἰσίν (in opposition to Hofmann). Of course Paul by εἰσὶν γὰρ κ. τ. λ. means to say that Crete is the place where such chatterers are to be found.


Verse 11

Titus 1:11. οὓς δεῖ ἐπιστομίζειν] goes back to the end of Titus 1:9.

ἐπιστομίζειν ( ἅπ. λεγ.) is from ἐπιστόμιον, which denotes both the bridle-bit and the muzzle, and is equivalent either to freno compescere, coercere (synonymous with τοὺς χαλινοὺς εἰς τὰ στόματα βάλλειν, James 3:3), or to os obturare (= φιμοῦν, Matthew 22:34). The latter signification is more usual (see Elsner, p. 332): “put to silence.” Theophylact: ἐλέγχειν σφοδρῶς, ὥστε ἀποκλείειν αὐτοῖς τὰ στόματα.

οἵτινες (= quippe qui, and giving the reason for οὓς δεῖ) ὅλους οἴκους ἀνατρέπουσι] The chief emphasis is laid on ὅλους: not merely individuals, but also whole families are misled by them into unbelief.

ἀνατρέπειν] see 2 Timothy 2:18; “the figure is here used in keeping with οἴκους” (Wiesinger).

διδασκοντες μὴ δεῖ] “teaching what should not be taught;” this shows the means by which they exercise so destructive an influence; μὴ δεῖ, equivalent to τὰ μὴ δέοντα, 1 Timothy 5:13.

This refers to ΄αταιόλογοι, just as ἀνατρέπουσι does to φρεναπάται.

The purpose is briefly set forth by αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν. The disgrace of their gain consists in the means they employ for acquiring it. The apostle adds these words to point out the selfish conduct of the heretics, who work only for their own profit.


Verse 12

Titus 1:12. Paul quotes the saying of a Cretan poet as a testimony regarding the Cretans.

εἶπέ τις ἐξ αὐτῶν ἴδιος αὐτῶν προφήτης] ἐξ αὐτῶν is by most expositors referred to the preceding πολλοί or to οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς; but such a reference is unsuitable; the apostle is rather thinking of Cretans in general.

The ἴδιος αὐτῶν declares still more strongly that the saying proceeds from a Cretan and not from a stranger, see Winer, p. 139 [E. T. p. 192].

προφήτης] According to Chrysostom, Theophylact, Epiphanius, Jerome, it is Epimenides who is meant. This Epimenides was a contemporary of the seven wise men, and by some was even reckoned as one of them in place of Periander; he was born in the sixth century B.C. The saying quoted by Paul, which forms a complete hexameter, is said to have been in his lost work περὶ χρησμῶν. Theodoret, on the other hand, ascribes the saying to Callimachus, who, however, was a Cyrenian in the third century B.C.; besides, it is only the first words that occur in his Hymn. ad Jov. Titus 1:8. Epiphanius and Jerome think that Callimachus took the words from Epimenides. Paul does not call Epimenides a προφήτης because poets and philosophers were often called prophets in ancient times, but because the saying of Epimenides described beforehand the character of the Cretans as it was in the apostle’s time. Still it is to be noted that this very Epimenides was famed among the Greeks for his gift of wisdom, so that even Cicero (De Divinat. xviii.) places him among those vaticinantes per furorem. Comp. Diogenes Laertius, Vita Philos. p. 81, ed. Henr. Steph.

κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται] Chrysostom refers these words chiefly to the pretence of the Cretans that Jupiter lay buried among them; to this, at any rate, the verse of Callimachus refers; but the Cretans in ancient times were notorious for falsehood, so that, according to Hesychius, κρητίζειν is synonymous with ψεύδεσθαι καὶ ἀπατᾷν; for proofs of this, see in Wetstein.

κακὰ θηρία] denoting their wild, unruly character; some expositors refer this name specially to the greed of the Cretans, as Polybius, book vi., specially mentions their αἰσχροκερδία καὶ πλεονεξία; but it is more than improbable that Epimenides had this meaning in his words.

γαστέρες ἀργαί] synonymous with Philippians 3:19 : ὧν θεὸς κοιλία (comp. Romans 16:18; 2 Peter 2:13-14); this denotes the Cretans as men given to sensuality. Plato, too (De Legg. i.), reproaches them with lust and immodesty.

The apostle’s purpose in quoting this saying of Epimenides is indicated in the next verse. The national character of the Cretans was such that they were easily persuaded to listen to the heretics, and hence it was all the more necessary to oppose the latter firmly.


Verse 13

Titus 1:13. In confirmation of the verse quoted, Paul says: μαρτυρία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἀληθής, and attaches to it an exhortation to Titus. Bertholdt, without reason, holds this verse to be a later interpolation.

διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν] see 2 Timothy 1:6. Chrysostom: διὰ τοῦτο· ἐπειδὴ ἤθος αὐτοῖς ἐστὶν ἰτα΄ὸν καὶ δολερὸν καὶ ἀκόλαστον; it refers to the picture of the Cretan character given in the testimony.

ἔλεγχε αὐτοὺς ἀποτό΄ως] ἔλεγχε, as in Titus 1:9; “the apostle here drops all reference to the bishops to be appointed, and assigns to Titus himself the duty of applying a remedy” (Wiesinger).

αὐτούς] not so much the heretics as the Cretans, who were exposed to their misleading influence. These latter needed the ἐλέγχειν, because they were not resisting the heretics as they ought, but (as οἵτινες ὅλους οἴκους ἀνατρέπουι shows) were yielding to them easily.

ἀποτό΄ως] “sharply, strictly;” elsewhere only in 2 Corinthians 13:10; the substantive ἀποτο΄ία in Romans 11:22.

ἵνα ὑγιαίνωσιν ἐν τῇ πίστει] “that they may be sound in the faith.” De Wette takes this as the immediate contents of the ἐλέγχειν, just as ἵνα occurs with παρακαλεῖν, but without good grounds. ἐν here is not instrumental (Heinrichs: per religionem), but πίστις is the subject in which they are to be sound.


Verse 14

Titus 1:14. One especial requisite for the ὑγιαίνειν ἐν τῇ πίστει is given by Paul in the participial clause: μὴ προσέχοντες ἰουδαϊκοῖς μύθοις καὶ ἐντολαῖς κ. τ. λ.] προσέχοντες, see 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:1. Here, as in the epistles to Timothy, the heresies are called μῦθοι, from the theories they contained; see on 1 Timothy 1:4. Here, however, they are further defined by the epithet ἰουδαϊκοί, as they were peculiar to Jewish speculation, though their substance was derived from Gentile modes of thought. The description, too, in the First Epistle to Timothy shows that to the speculative part of the heresy there was added a legal element founded on an arbitrary interpretation of the Mosaic law. The ἐντολαί of the heretics are here called ἐντολαὶ ἀνθρώπων ἀποστρεφομένων τὴν ἀλήθειαν: “commands of men which depart from the truth,” because they were founded not on Christianity, but on the arbitrary wills of men estranged from Christianity. These ἐντολαί consisted not so much of moral precepts, as of prohibitions of food and the like, see 1 Timothy 4:3. Hofmann refers the adjective ἰουδαϊκοῖς, and the defining words ἀνθρώπων κ. τ. λ., to both substantives,—a possible construction, but not necessary. His reasons are far from sufficient.

ἀποστρεφομένων] see 2 Timothy 1:15.


Verse 15

Titus 1:15. The apostle, bearing in mind the prohibitions of the heretics, opposes to them a general principle which shows their worthlessness.

πάντα καθαρὰ τοῖς καθαροῖς] πάντα quite generally: all things in themselves, with which a man may simply have to do, but not a man’s actions, nor, as Heydenreich thinks, the errors of the heretics. The usual explanation which limits the bearing of the words to the arbitrary rules of the heretics regarding food and other things, is only so far right that Paul lays down his general principle with special reference to these rules; but πάντα itself should be taken quite generally. Even the exposition of Matthies: “all that falls into the sphere of the individual wants of life,” places an unsuitable limitation on the meaning. Chrysostom rightly: οὐδὲν θεὸς ἀκάθαρτον ἐποίησεν.

καθαρά as the predicate of πάντα is to be connected with it by supplying ἐστί: “all is pure,” viz. τοῖς καθαροῖς. Bengel: omnia externa iis, qui intus sunt mundi, munda sunt. Many expositors wrongly refer the conception of καθαροί to knowledge, as Jerome: qui sciunt omnem creaturam bonam esse, or as Beza: quibus notum est libertatis per Christum partae beneficium. It should rather be taken as referring to disposition: to those who have a pure heart everything is pure (not: “to them everything passes for pure”), i.e. as to the pure, things outside of them have no power to render them impure. From the same point of view we have in the Testam. XII. Patriarch. test. Benjam. chap. viii.: ἔχων διάνοιαν καθαρὰν ἐν ἀγάπῃ, οὐχ ὁρᾷ γυναῖκα εἰς πορνείαν· οὐ γὰρ ἔχει μιασμὸν ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ. Kindred thoughts are found in Matthew 23:26; Luke 11:41; comp. also the similar expression in Romans 14:20. On καθαροῖς, van Oosterzee remarks: “By nature no one is pure; those here called καθαροί are those who have purified their heart by faith, Acts 15:9.” This is right, except that Paul is not thinking here of the means by which the man becomes καθαρός; the indication of this point is given afterwards in ἀπίστοις. The apostle purposely makes the sentence very emphatic, because it was with the distinction between pure and impure that the heretics occupied themselves so much.

The contrast to the first sentence is given in the words: τοῖς δὲ μεμιαμμένοις καὶ ἀπίστοις οὐδὲν καθαρόν. Regarding the form μεμιαμμένος, see Winer, p. 84 [E. T. p. 108] [also Veitch, Irregular Greek Verbs, s.v.]. The verb forms a simple contrast with καθαροῖς, and stands here not in a Levitical (John 18:28), but in an ethical sense, as in Hebrews 12:15; Jude 1:8. καὶ ἀπίστοις is not an epexegesis of μεμιαμμ., but adds a new point to it, viz. the attitude of the heretics towards the saving truths of the gospel. The two words do not denote two different classes of men, as the article τοῖς is only used once. To these impure men nothing is pure, i.e. every external thing serves only to awaken within them impure lust

ἀλλὰ μεμίανται αὐτῶν καὶ νοῦς καὶ συνείδησις] This sentence expresses positively what οὐδὲν καθαρόν expressed negatively, at the same time furnishing the reason for the preceding thought. De Wette’s opinion therefore is not correct, that “for ἀλλά there should properly have been γάρ; the author, however, makes moral character equivalent to moral action.” The relation of the two sentences is pretty much the same as if, e.g., we were to say: he is not rich, but his father has disinherited him. If Paul had used γάρ, the sentence would simply have furnished the reason for what preceded; ἀλλά, on the other hand, indicates the contrast. Still we must not conclude, with Hofmann, that the second sentence merely says the same thing as the first. It should be interpreted: “but to them everything is impure, because their νοῦς and their συνείδησις are defiled.”

νοῦς and συνείδησις do not here denote the inner nature of man on the two sides of knowledge and will (so Hofmann). νοῦς is the spiritual faculty of man acting in both directions; in N. T. usage the reference to action prevails, νοῦς being equivalent to the practical reason. συνείδησις, on the other hand, is the human consciousness connected with action, and expressing itself regarding the moral value of action; it corresponds to “conscience” (see on 1 Timothy 1:3). The two conceptions are distinguished from each other by καὶκαί, and at the same time closely connected. By this, however, no special emphasis is laid on the second word (formerly in this commentary). In Titus 3:11 ( αὐτοκατάκριτος) and 1 Timothy 4:2, the apostle again says as much as that the conscience of the heretics was defiled. Though the thought contained in this verse is quite general in character, Paul wrote it with special reference to the heretics, and is therefore able to attach to it a further description of them.


Verse 16

Titus 1:16. θεὸν ὁμολογοῦσιν εἰδέναι] not: “they pretend” (Matthies), but “they loudly and publicly confess,” that they know God. Paul leaves it undecided whether their confession is correct or not. He does not grant to them, as de Wette thinks, that “they have the theoretical knowledge of God, and in a practical aspect,” nor does he deny this to them. His purpose here is to declare that, in spite of this their confession, their actions are of such a nature as to argue that they had no knowledge of God: τοῖς δὲ ἔργοις ἀρνοῦνται] ἀρνοῦνται, opposed to ὁμολογοῦσιν, see 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Timothy 3:5. Supply θεὸν εἰδέναι (so, too, van Oosterzee, Hofmann).

βδελυκτοὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀπειθεῖς] βδελυκτός ( ἅπ. λεγ.), equivalent to abominabilis, detestable (comp. Luke 16:15); Luther: “whom God holds in abomination.”

The word is joined with ἀκάθαρτος in Proverbs 17:15, LXX. Paul does not apply this epithet to the heretics, because they were defiling themselves with actual worship of idols, which especially was regarded by the Jews as βδέλυγμα, but in order to describe their moral depravity.

καὶ ἀπειθεῖς] “and disobedient,” synonymous with ἀνυπότακτοι in Titus 1:10; this indicates why they are βδελυκτοί.

καὶ πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἀδόκιμοι] “the result of the preceding characteristics” (Wiesinger); ἀδόκιμος, as 2 Timothy 3:8.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Titus 1:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/titus-1.html. 1832.

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Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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