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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Titus 3





Titus 3:1. ἀρχαῖς καὶ ἐξουσίαις] In A C D* E* F G א17, 31, al., Damasc. καί is wanting, and was therefore omitted by Lachm. Buttm. and Tisch. It can hardly be done without; but, as the καί is wanting also between the next two words, it seems to have been wanting here originally, and to have been inserted later. F G have a καί inserted between the verbs.

Titus 3:2. For μηδένα, F G have μή; but the former is supported alike by suitability to the context and by the weightiest testimony.

Instead of πρᾳότητα (Rec.), Lachm. Buttm. Tisch., on the authority of A C, etc., adopted here and elsewhere the form πραΰτητα.— א has, instead of ἐνδεικνυμένους πραΰτητα, the reading ἐνδείκνυσθαι σπουδήν

Titus 3:5. ὧν] For this we should probably read , as is done by Lachm. and Tisch. 8, on the authority of A C* D* F G א 17, al., Clem. Cyr. The ὧν, which Tisch. 7 retained, seems to be a correction from the analogy of classic Greek.

For τὸν αὑτοῦ ἔλεον, Lachm. Buttm. and Tisch., on the authority of A D* E F G 31, al., Clem. Max. al., read τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος; D E F G Ambr. Aug. etc., put αὐτοῦ after ἔλεος.

Before λουτροῦ, Lachm. and Buttm. put τοῦ, on the authority of A.

After ἀνακαινώσεως, D* E* F G, Ambr. Aug. etc., have the reading διά, which is manifestly an interpretation.

Titus 3:7. γενώμεθα] Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. rightly read γενηθῶμεν, on the authority of A C D* F G, 17, al., Chrys. Ath.

Titus 3:8. τῷ θεῷ] According to all uncials, the τῷ should be deleted; so, too, with τά before καλά.

Titus 3:9. For ἔρεις (Tisch. 7) there is found in D E F G א the singular ἔριν (Tisch. 8), which is indeed the original reading altered on account of the plurals around it.

Titus 3:10. The Rec. μετὰ μίαν καὶ δευτέραν νουθεσίαν (Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8) is supported by A C K L א, all cursives, Vulg. etc.; Tisch. 7 adopted instead of it: μετὰ μίαν νουθεσίαν καὶ δευτέραν, on the authority of D E F G, several Fathers, etc. Reiche rightly prefers the Rec.

Titus 3:13. Tisch. 7 reads ἀπολλώ, while Tisch. 8 gives ἀπολλών; some MSS. have ἀπολλώνα.

While Tisch. 7, with the support of most authorities, read λείπῃ (so, too, Lachm. and Buttm.), Tisch. 8 adopted λίπῃ, on the authority of א D* etc.

Titus 3:15. In D** and D*** E F G H K L, al., several versions, etc., the word ἀμήν forms the close; but it is wanting in A C D* 17, etc. Tisch. and Buttm. omitted it; Lachm. enclosed it in brackets.

Verse 1-2

Titus 3:1-2. Instructions to give exhortations regarding conduct towards the authorities and towards all men.

ὑπομίμνησκε αὐτούς] (see 2 Timothy 2:14) presupposes that they are aware of the duties regarding which the exhortation is given. It is not so certain that Paul is alluding to definite precepts already expressed by him.

αὐτούς] viz. the members of the church.

ἀρχαῖς ( καὶ) ἐξουσίαις ὑποτάσσεσθαι] ἀρχαὶ κ. ἐξουσίαι as a name for human authorities is used also in Luke 12:11 (comp. too, Luke 20:20; ἐξουσίαι, alone in Romans 13:1). The two words are joined together in order to give fuller expression to the notion of authority. It cannot, however, be shown that the one denotes the higher, the other the lower authorities (Heydenreich). It is at least doubtful whether this inculcation of obedience to the authorities had its justification in the rebellious character of the Cretans nationally (Matthies and others). Similar precepts also occur in other epistles of the N. T.; and here the exhortation harmonizes with the injunctions given in chap. 2. The Christians needed the exhortation all the more that the authorities were heathen.

πειθαρχεῖν] here in its original signification: “obey the superior.” Its meaning in Acts 27:21 is more general. The πειθαρχεῖν is the result and actual proof of the ὑποτάσσεσθαι. The want of καί does not prove, as de Wette thinks, that it does not belong to the datives ἀρχαῖς ( κ.) ἐξ. καί would have been out of place here, since the following words also are to be construed with that dative.

πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι] not to be taken generally, but in very close connection with ἀρχαῖς: “for the authorities prepared to every good work” (so, too, Wiesinger and van Oosterzee). The ἀγαθόν is not without significance, as it points to the limits within which they are to be ready to obey the will of the authorities. Theodoret: οὐδὲ γὰρ εἰς ἅπαντα δεῖ τοῖς ἄρχουσι πειθαρχεῖν, ἀλλὰ τὸν μὲν δασμὸν καὶ τὸν φόρον εἰσφέρειν, καὶ τὴν προσήκουσαν ἀπονέμειν τιμήν· εἰ δὲ δυσσεβεῖν κελεύσειεν, ἀντικρὺς ἀντιλέγειν; comp. Acts 4:19.

Titus 3:2. μηδένα βλασφημεῖν] The new object μηδένα shows that from this point he is no longer speaking of special duties towards superiors, but of general duties towards one’s neighbour. βλασφημεῖν is used specially in reference to what is higher, but it occurs also in the more general sense of “revile.” Theodoret: μηδένα ἀγορεύειν κακῶς.

ἀμάχους εἶναι, ἐπιεικεῖς] see 1 Timothy 3:3; the first expresses negatively what the second expresses positively.

πᾶσαν ἐνδεικνυμένους (see Titus 2:10) πραΰτητα πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους] Chrysostom: καὶ ἰουδαίους καὶ ἕλληνας, μοχθήρους κ. πονηρούς.

It is impossible not to see that the apostle is thinking specially of conduct towards those who are not Christian.

Verse 3

Titus 3:3. ἦμεν γάρ] γάρ shows that the thought following it is to give a reason for the previous exhortation. But the reason does not lie in this verse taken by itself (Chrysostom: οὐκοῦν μηδενὶ ὀνειδίσῃς, φησὶ· τοιοῦτος γὰρ ἦς καὶ σύ; so, too, Hofmann), but in this verse when connected with the verse following. The meaning therefore is: As we were in the state in which they are now, but were rescued by the kindness of God, it becomes us to show kindness and gentleness towards those whom we were at one time like. ἠμεν stands first as emphatic; ποτέ, “at one time,” viz. before we became believers. Wiesinger: “The contrast to ποτέ is given by ὅτε δέ in Titus 3:4; we have here the well-known contrast between ποτέ and νῦν; comp. Romans 11:30; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 2:11; Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:21; Colossians 3:7-8; they are the two hinges of the Pauline system.”

καὶ ἡμεῖς] “we too;” ἡμεῖς includes all believing Christians. It is to be noted that even here Paul makes no distinction between Jewish and Gentile Christians (otherwise in Ephesians 2:3).

ἀνόητοι] is equivalent to ἐσκοτισμένοι τῇ διανοίᾳ, Ephesians 4:18; without understanding, viz. in reference to divine things; not simply: “blinded regarding our true destiny” (Matthies), or: “without knowing what is right” (Hofmann). Heinrichs refers this and πλανώμενοι, to idol-worship, but the apostle is not speaking here of Gentile Christians alone.

ἀπειθεῖς] disobedient to divine law; Heydenreich wrongly refers it to the relations with the authorities.

πλανώμενοι (see 2 Timothy 3:13) stands here not in a neuter, but in a passive sense: “led astray,” proceeding on a wrong path, not merely “in regard to knowledge,” but more generally. Wiesinger: “sc. ἀπὸ τῆς ἀληθείας, ἀλήθεια being regarded not as abstract truth, but as the sum total of moral good;” comp. James 5:19; Hebrews 5:2.

δουλεύοντες ἐπιθυμίαις καὶ ἡδοναῖς ποικίλαις (see 2 Timothy 3:6) ἡδοναί, as James 4:1; James 4:3. He who follows his lusts is a slave to them, hence δουλεύοντες; see Romans 6:6; Romans 6:12. Michaelis gives it too narrow a meaning by referring it to sins of lust.

ἐν κακίᾳ καὶ φθόνῳ διάγοντες] κακία is not “vileness,” but “wickedness;” comp. Colossians 3:8; Ephesians 4:31; otherwise in 1 Corinthians 5:8 and other passages, where it is synonymous with πονηρία.

διάγοντες] connected with βίον only here and in 1 Timothy 2:2.

στυγητοί ( ἅπ. λεγ.) is equivalent to μισητοί (Hesychius), “detested and detestable;” it is wanting in Luther’s translation.

μισοῦντες ἀ̓ λλήλους] comp. Romans 1:29.

Verses 4-6

Titus 3:4-6. ὅτε δὲ χρηστότης καὶ φιλανθρωπία κ. τ. λ.] χρηστότης as a human quality; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12; used of God, Romans 2:4; Romans 11:22 (often in the LXX.); with special reference to God’s redemptive work in Christ, Ephesians 2:7.

φιλανθρωπία] elsewhere only in Acts 28:1 (2 Maccabees 6:22; 2 Maccabees 14:9) as a human quality. De Wette remarks on it: “unusual for the idea of χάρις.” The reason why Paul makes use of the word here is contained in Titus 3:2, where he exhorts to πρᾳΰτης πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους. χρηστότης corresponds in conception to πρᾳΰτης (both words stand closely connected in Galatians 5:22 and Colossians 3:12); and in allusion to πρὸς π. ἀνθρ., Paul adds φιλανθρωπία. The goodness and love of God to man, on which our salvation is based, should lead us to show benevolence and gentleness to all men. At the same time, the χρηστότης and φιλανθρωπία of God form a contrast with the conduct of men as it is described in Titus 3:3 in the words: ἐν κακίᾳμισοῦντες ἀλλήλους. Hofmann rightly remarks that as φιλανθρωπία has the article, it is made independent and emphatic by the side of the χρηστότης; it does not, however, follow from this that χρηστότης here denotes “the goodness, of God in general towards His creatures.”

ἐπεφάνη] just as in Titus 2:11.

τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶς θεοῦ] see 1 Timothy 1:1.

Titus 3:5. The apodosis begins here and not at ἔλεος, so that the words οὐκἔλεος modify ἔσωσεν; so more recent expositors, even Hofmann.

οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς] On ἐξ, comp. Romans 3:20. Matthies wrongly: “not from works appearing in the form of righteousness which we accomplished, i.e. not from our works produced with the appearance of righteousness.” ἔργα τὰ ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ are rather: “works which are done in righteousness.ἐν denotes the condition of life in which the works are accomplished (de Wette, Wiesinger). δικαιοσύνη here is not justification (van Oosterzee: justitia coram Deo), but righteousness, integrity; so, too, Hofmann.

ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς] ἡμεῖς is added emphatically; to make the contrast all the stronger (Wiesinger). Paul is not speaking of works which may have been done by us, but denies that we have done such works of righteousness. Bengel rightly: Negativa pertinet ad totum sermonem: non fueramus in justitia: non feceramus opera in justitia: non habebamus opera, per quae possemus salvari.1(11)

The thought here expressed is not, as de Wette thinks, unsuitable to the context. In its negative form it rather serves to give emphasis to ἀλλὰ κατὰ (by means of) τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος, and hence to the conception of the divine χρηστότης and φιλανθρωπία. Wiesinger: “The apostle even by the contrast of the οὐκ wishes to make it quite clearly understood that saving grace is quite free and undeserved.”(12)

On κατὰ τὸ αὐτ. ἔλεος, comp. 1 Peter 1:3.

ἔσωσεν ἡ΄ᾶς] sc. θεός. As ὅτε ἐπεφάνη does not mean: “when or after it had appeared,” but: “when it appeared,” the saving is here represented as simultaneous with the appearance of the divine χρηστότης κ. τ. λ., although διά refers ἔσωσεν to its application to individuals, which is different in time from the ὅτε κ. τ. λ. above. But Paul could rightly put these two things together, because the goodness of God which appeared in Jesus Christ comes to perfection in the saving of individuals by the λουτρὸν παλιγγενεσίας; the former is the efficient cause of the other.

ἡ΄ᾶς is not to be referred to all mankind, but to believers. The means by which the saving is effected are set forth in the words: διὰ ( τοῦ) λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύ΄ατος ἁγίου] The expression: τὸ λουτρὸν παλιγγενεσίας, has been very arbitrarily interpreted by some expositors, some taking λουτρὸν as a figurative name for the regeneratio itself, or for the predicatio evangelii, or for the Holy Spirit, or for the abundant imparting of the Spirit. From Ephesians 5:26 it is clear that it can mean nothing else than baptism; comp. too, Hebrews 10:23; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Acts 22:16.

παλιγγενεσία] occurs also in Matthew 19:28, but in quite a different connection, viz. in reference to the renovation of things at Christ’s second coming; comp. however, 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:23, ἀναγεννάω, and John 3:3 ff., γεννηθῆναι ἄνωθεν.

According to the context, Paul calls baptism the bath of the new birth, not meaning that it pledges us to the new birth (“to complete the process of moral purification, of expiation and sanctification,” Matthies), nor that it is a visible image of the new birth (de Wette), for neither in the one sense nor in the other could it be regarded as a means of saving ( ἔσωσεν ἡ΄ᾶς διά). Paul uses that name for it as the bath by means of which God actually brings about the new birth.(13) Comp. with this the apostle’s expressions elsewhere regarding baptism, especially Romans 6:3 ff., Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:12, which all alike assign this real signification to baptism.

καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου] The genit. πν. ἁγ. is the genit. of the efficient cause: “the renewal wrought by the Holy Spirit” (de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee). This may be taken as the continuing influence of the Spirit working in the regenerated Christian, or as the single act of inward change by which the man became a καινὴ κτίσις (2 Corinthians 5:17), a τέκνον θεοῦ. Here the word is to be taken in the latter signification, as is clear from its connection with ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς;(14) otherwise in Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:22-24. According to some expositors, the genit. ἀνακαινώσεως is dependent on διά; Bengel: duae res commemorantur: lavacrum regenerationis, quae baptismi in Christum periphrasis et renovatio Spiritus sancti. According to others, it depends on λοντροῦ, and is co-ordinate with παλιγγενεσίας; Vulgate: per lavacrum regenerationis et renovationis (de Wette, Wiesinger). The latter is the right view, for “what else could ἀνακαίνωσις πν. ἁγ. be than the new birth denoted by παλιγγενεσία?” (Wiesinger). In this way ἀνακ. πν. ἁγ. is added epexegetically to the previous conception παλιγγενεσία, explaining it, but not adding any new force to it.(15) Heinrichs quite wrongly thinks that πν. ἁγ. here is the πν. hominis, ipsius, which (quatenus antea fuit ψυχικόν, σαρκικόν, ἐπίγειον) becomes holy by the ἀνακαίν.

Titus 3:6. οὔ ἐξέχεεν ἐφʼ ἡ΄ᾶς πλουσίως] οὔ is not dependent τοῦ λουτροῦ, but on πνεύ΄ατος ἁγίου. The genit. οὔ is in accordance with the common Greek usage. Heydenreich explains it wrongly by supposing ἐξ or ἀφʼ to have been omitted: “from which he abundantly, of which he poured out an abundant measure.”

ἐξέχεεν ἐφʼ ἡ΄ᾶς] an expression which has passed from the O. T. (Joel 3:1; Zechariah 12:10) into the N. T. It is used to describe the gift of the Holy Spirit; see Acts 2:17; Acts 2:33; Acts 10:45. The rich abundance of this gift is indicated by πλουσίως.(16)

ἐφʼ ἡ΄ᾶς] goes back to ἡ΄ᾶς in Titus 3:5. Christians are saved by God pouring upon them, at baptism, the Holy Spirit, which renews them. The apostle is not speaking here of the gift of the Spirit which was made at Pentecost, but of the gift made to individuals, and made after the outpouring at Pentecost.

διὰ ἰησ. χρ. τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡ΄ῶν] This does not belong to ἔσωσεν, which is already defined by διὰ τοῦ λουτροῦ κ. τ. λ. It goes with ἐξέχεεν, so that Christ here, as elsewhere in the N. T., is represented as the medium by which the Holy Spirit is sent.(17) In order to understand the train of thought properly, we must note that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is not a consequence, but the substantial inward fact in baptism, which is the bath of the new birth.


The question why the apostle here speaks of baptism is rightly answered by Wiesinger in this way. Baptism, as the bath of the παλιγγενεσία, “is the basis on which rests all further growth in the life of the Spirit,” inasmuch as by it the believer is removed from the εἶναι ἐν σαρκί into the εἶναι ἐν πνεύματι or ἐν χριστῷ, i.e. into the condition in which it is possible for him to live no longer κατὰ σάρκα, but κατὰ πνεῦμα. On the other hand, the apostle does not mention faith here as a medium of the saving love of God, because he is looking away entirely from the human aspect of the matter, and considering only the divine work in the saving of men. Leaving faith out of consideration, baptism is to the apostle what he says of it here, viz. the means of the new birth or renewal by the Holy Spirit, and also, according to Titus 3:7, of the completion of the δικαιοῦσθαι; and baptism does not become this to him by means of faith. Hence the apostle’s expression cannot be rectified conjecturally by supplying this point, viz. faith. It is true that in other passages of the N. T. πίστις denotes that which brings about the new birth, the receiving of the Holy Spirit, justification; and the one expression should not be neglected for the sake of the other. There is here a problem which it is the task of Biblical Theology and of Dogmatics to solve; here, however, as the passage before us presents no handle for the discussion, it can only be indicated without solving it. This much only may be said, that according to these sayings of the Scriptures, man only becomes a τέλειος ἐν χριστῷ when he is justified and regenerated both by baptism and by faith (the faith, viz., which is πίστις ἐξ ἀκοῆς, Romans 10:17).

Verse 7

Titus 3:7. ἵνα declares the purpose, not the consequence. It is doubtful whether it belongs to ἐξέχεεν (Heydenreich, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt, Hofmann) or to ἔσωσεν as defined by διὰ τοῦ λουτροῦτοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν (Bengel, de Wette, and others). The thought is substantially the same with both constructions, since the σωτηρία is necessarily brought about by the outpouring of the Spirit. Still the structure of the sentence is in favour of the reference to ἐξέχεεν. Wiesinger rightly considers the other view “to be unnecessarily harsh, ignoring the explanatory relation of Titus 3:6-7 to Titus 3:5, and depriving ἐξέχεεν of its necessary definition.”

δικαιωθέντες] not “found righteous” (Matthies), still less “sanctified,” but “justified,” i.e. “acquitted of the guilt, and with it, of the punishment.” Hofmann rightly says that this justification means the same thing as in Romans 3:24; that it does not mean the change of our conduct towards God, but of our relations to Him.1(18)

τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι] does not belong to what follows, but to what precedes. Justification is an act of grace. ἐκείνου does not refer to God as the subject of ἐξέχεεν (van Oosterzee, Plitt, and formerly in this commentary), but to ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ (Hofmann), according to the usage of the N. T., for which see Acts 3:13; John 7:45. Comp. Winer, p. 148 [E. T. p. 196]; Buttmann, p. 91. Heydenreich and Wiesinger are wrong in referring it to πνεύ΄ατος; for, on the one hand, this would involve the wrong conception that justification is a work of the Spirit; and, on the other hand, there is no mention in the N. T. of a χάρις τοῦ πνεύ΄ατος.

τῇ χάριτι points us back to οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων; Chrysostom: πάλιν χάριτι, οὐκ ὀφειλῇ.

κληρονό΄οι γενηθῶ΄εν [ γενώ΄εθα] κατʼ ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου] κατʼ ἐλπίδα cannot, as Heydenreich thinks probable, be construed with ζωῆς αἰωνίου as one conception, so as to be equivalent to ζωῆς αἰωνίου ἐλπιζο΄ένης. On the other hand, it is also unsuitable to take κατʼ ἐλπ. ζ. αἰων. together: “in accordance with the hope of eternal life” (Matthies), because in that case κληρ. would not be defined. κατʼ ἐλπίδα should rather be joined with κληρ. γενηθ., and then the genit. ζωῆς αἰωνίου belongs to the latter. Chrysostom has two interpretations: κατʼ ἐλπίδα, τουτέστι· καθὼς ἠλπίσα΄εν, οὓτως ἀπολαύσο΄εν, , ὅτι ἤδη καὶ κληρονό΄οι ἐστέ. According to the former view, the words would have to be translated: “in order that we, in proportion to our hope (i.e. as we hope), may become heirs of eternal life;” according to the latter, it would be: “that we, according to hope, might become heirs of eternal life.” The latter view is the correct one. The apostle is speaking not of the future, but of the present condition of believers. They are heirs of eternal life; but they are so in hope, not yet in actual possession; for ζωὴ αἰώνιος in its full meaning is something future, Romans 6:22-23.

κατʼ ἐλπίδα stands here as τῇ ἐλπίδι in Romans 8:24; see Meyer on the passage.(19)

Verse 8

Titus 3:8. πιστὸς λόγος] refers, as in 1 Timothy 4:9, to what precedes, but not to the last sentence merely. So Chrysostom: ἐπειδὴ περὶ μελλόντων διαλέχθη καὶ οὔπω παρόντων, ἐπήγαγε τὸ ἀξιόπιστον. It refers to the entire thought expressed in Titus 3:4-7.

καὶ περὶ τούτων βούλομαί σε διαβεβαιοῦσθαι] Regarding the construction of the verb διαβεβ., see on 1 Timothy 1:7. Vulgate rightly: de his volo te confirmare; Wiesinger: “and on these points I wish you to be strongly assured;” Beza, on the contrary: haec volo te asseverare. De Wette also maintains that περὶ τούτων is the immediate object, but without proving it.

ἵνα φροντίζωσι καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι οἱ πεπιστευκότες [ τῷ] θεῷ] In harmony with the train of thought in Titus 3:2-3 ff., Paul here gives a practical purpose as his motive. The subject οἱ πεπιστευκότες θεῷ are Christians generally; the designation is used because the Cretan Christians had before been heathen. Luther translates it rightly: “those who have become believers in God;” while Wiesinger is wrong in explaining it: “those who have put faith in God, i.e. in His gospel.” The phrase πιστεύειν θεῷ expresses the relation to God Himself, not merely to His word; comp. Acts 16:34. θεῷ is used here as τῷ κυρίῳ often is, comp. Acts 18:8; Acts 16:15; it is synonymous with εἰς τὸν, θεόν, John 14:1; comp. πιστεύειν τῷ ὀνόματι . χρ., 1 John 3:23, and π. εἰς τ. ὄν., John 1:12. Hofmann is altogether mistaken in construing θεῷ with what follows. If θεῷ were to be opposed to ἀνθρώποις, the latter would have been put before ὠφέλιμα; besides, ταῦτα clearly forms the beginning of a new clause.

φροντίζειν ( ἅπ. λεγ., often in the Apocrypha of the O. T., also in the LXX.), “reflect on something, take an interest in something;” here, as often in the classics, with a suggestion of anxiety (comp. 1 Samuel 9:5, LXX.).

καλῶν ἔργων] depends on προΐστασθαι; it is quite general, and should not be restricted to the services to be rendered to the church (Michaelis), nor to official duties(20) (Grotius), nor to deeds of charity (Chrysostom).

προΐστασθαι here and in Titus 3:14 is used in the same sense as when it is joined with τέχνης (Synesius, Ephesians 2; Athenagoras, xiii. 612a), being equivalent to exercere, “carry on, practise an art;” properly, it is “present oneself before.” The Vulgate translates it: bonis operibus praeesse, which, however, is obscure; Beza incorrectly: bene agendo praecedere, which he explains in a peculiar fashion by sanctae et rectae vitae antistites. Wolf thinks that προΐστ. denotes not only the studium, but also the patrocinium of good works; comp. Romans 12:17 : προνοεῖσθαι καλά.

ταῦτά ἐστι [ τὰ] καλὰ καὶ ὠφέλιμα τ. ἀνθρώποις] see 1 Timothy 2:3. ταῦτα does not refer to καλῶν ἔργων (Heinrichs, Wiesinger), for the apostle certainly did not need to say that καλὰ ἔργα are καλά for men; nor does it resume περὶ τούων (de Wette, Hofmann). It should be referred either to φροντίζειν καλ. ἐργ. προΐστασθαι (Heydenreich, Matthies) or to διαβεβαιοῦσθαι. The latter reference might be preferred—as confirming the exhortation made to Timothy. On the reference of ταῦτα to one subject, see Winer, p. 153 [E. T. p. 201].

Verse 9

Titus 3:9. Contrast to the last words.

μωρὰς δὲ ζητήσεις καὶ γενεαλογίας κ. τ. λ.] ζητήσεις, see 1 Timothy 1:4; connected with μωράς also in 2 Timothy 2:23; καὶ γενεαλογίας, see Titus 1:4; the latter refers to the contents, the former to the form.

καὶ ἔριν [ ἔρεις] καὶ μάχας νομικάς] ἔρις, like the other words, serves to describe the behaviour of the heretics; it is not therefore ἔρεις τὰς πρὸς αἱρετικούς, as Chrysostom interprets it, but quarrels such as take place among the heretics. The μάχαι νομικαί are disputes about the law and the individual precepts of the law; see 1 Timothy 1:7 and Titus 1:14.

Heydenreich wrongly refers the adjective νομικάς also to ἔρεις. Hofmann even refers it to all the preceding conceptions, arbitrarily explaining νομικαί of the contents of the Pentateuch, i.e. of the Thora; with him, therefore, the ζητήσεις νομικαί are “discussions in which all disputed questions in the Thora are taken up,” and the γενεαλογίαι νομικαί are “investigations into the historical contents of the Thora.”

περιΐστασο] see 2 Timothy 2:16.

With these fables and quarrels that go on among the heretics Titus is to have nothing to do.

εἰσὶ γὰρ ἀνωφελεῖς καὶ μάταιοι] contrast with ταῦτά ἐστι καλὰ κ. τ. λ.

μάταιος, like ὅσιος, 1 Timothy 2:8, is used as an adjective of two terminations.

Verse 10-11

Titus 3:10-11. An injunction regarding behaviour towards the heretics.

αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον] αἱρετικός ( ἅπ. λεγ.) is not equivalent to contentiosus, but is, according to Calvin: quisquis sua protervia unitatem ecclesiae abrumpit, any one who causes departure from the pure sound doctrine of the gospel. With this Wiesinger agrees, only that he wishes to consider the divisions as not brought about by heresies, but by “eccentricities and perversities.” The word αἱρέσεις is often used by Paul of ecclesiastical divisions, 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20. So, too, in 2 Peter 2:1, where it expressly refers to heresies. Comp. also Romans 16:17 : παρακαλῶ ὑμᾶς σκοπεῖν τοὺς τὰς διχοστασίας καὶ τὰ σκάνδαλα παρὰ τὴν διδαχὴν ἣν ὑμεῖς ἐμάθετε ποιοῦντας καὶ ἐκκλίνατε ἀπʼ αὐτῶν.

μετὰ μίαν καὶ δευτέραν νουθεσίαν παραιτοῦ] Vitringa (De Vet. Synag. iii. 1. 10) understands παραιτοῦ to mean the formal excommunication, and νουθεσία the excommunicatio privata, as these were appointed among the Jews for certain cases. But he is wrong; Paul is not speaking here of excommunication proper. νουθεσία (1 Corinthians 10:11; Ephesians 6:4) is equivalent to “reprimand,” including both blame and exhortation. This is not to be employed once, but several times: “after one or two.”

παραιτοῦ] 1 Timothy 4:7. Bengel: monere desine, quid enim juvat? laterem lavares.

Titus 3:11. εἰδώς] see 2 Timothy 2:23.

ὅτι ἐξέστραπται τοιοῦτος] “that such an one is perverse;” comp. Deuteronomy 32:20 : ὅτι γενεὰ ἐξεστραμμένη ἐστιν, דּוֹר תַּחְפֻּחֹת; it shows the total perversion of thought and endeavour. Baur says arbitrarily and wrongly: “he has turned away from us, and departed out of the communion of believers.”

καὶ ἁμαρτάνει ὢν αὐτοκατάκριτος] defines the preceding words more precisely. ὢν αὐτοκατάκριτος is connected with ἁμαρτάνει, but not with ἐξέστραπται also (Hofmann). The perversity shows itself in the fact that he sins condemning himself. αὐτοκατάκριτος is equivalent to κεκαυτηριασμένος τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν, 1 Timothy 4:2, qui suopte judicio est condemnatus. The meaning is: he sins with the consciousness of his guilt and of his own condemnation, so that there is no hope of his return.

Verse 12

Titus 3:12. Invitation from the apostle to Titus to come to him at Nicopolis so soon as he had sent Artemas or Tychicus. Artemas is not mentioned elsewhere; regarding Tychicus, see 2 Timothy 4:12. The object in sending them is not told. Had the apostle’s purpose been that Artemas or Tychicus should continue the work begun by Titus, he would surely have given some hint of it, and not contented himself with the simple πρὸς σέ. It is more probable that the apostle wished to have Titus brought by one of them, as he could not yet determine the exact time when he was to come (Hofmann). Nicopolis is a name borne by several cities, one in Epirus, built by Augustus as a memorial of his victory at Actium; another built by Trajan in Thrace; and another in Cilicia. In the subscription of the epistle there stands: ἀπὸ νικοπόλεως τῆς ΄ακεδονίας, which may mean either the city in Thrace or that in Epirus. It does not appear from his words that Paul wrote the epistle there; on the contrary, the ἐκεῖ rather shows that Paul himself was not there when he wrote the epistle. His purpose was to pass the winter there; comp. Introd. § 3.

Verse 13

Titus 3:13. ζηνᾶν τὸν νομικόν] Zenas is otherwise unknown. The epithet τὸν νομ. shows either that he had been formerly a Jew learned in the Scriptures, a γραμματεύς (Matthew 22:35, and other passages), or—as is more probable—that he was one skilled in law, a jurisconsultus (Strabo, 12, p. 539: ἐξηγητὴς τῶν νόμων, καθάπερ οἱ παρὰ ῥωμαίοις νομικοί).

καὶ ἀπολλώ] He is known from Acts and 1 Corinthians; but it is not known when he went to Crete.(21)

σπουδαίως πρόπεμψον] “equip carefully for departure;” on προπέμπειν, comp. 3 John 1:6. Wiesinger translates σπουδαίως by “hastily,” unsuitably, as the words ἵνα κ. τ. λ. show. In σπουδαίως the prevailing conception is zeal; σπουδαίως ἔχειν is equivalent to “be zealous for a thing.” Luther: “make ready with diligence.”

ἵνα μηδὲν αὐτοῖς λείπῃ] Hofmann’s opinion, that “this is an imperative sentence in itself,” is all the more arbitrary that ἵνα manifestly refers to σπουδαίως; comp. besides what was said on 1 Timothy 1:3.

Verse 14

Titus 3:14. ΄ανθανέτωσαν δὲ καὶ οἱ ἡμέτεροι] οἱ ἡ μέτεροι are the Christian brethren in Crete, not, as Grotius thought, Zenas and Apollo. καί stands with reference not merely to the Jews (Hofmann), but to non-Christians in general. As non-Christians provide for the needs of their own, so ought Christians, and not refrain through their anxiety for heavenly things.

καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι] in the same general sense as in Titus 3:8, but the words following give the phrase a more special reference to works of benevolence; εἰς τὰς ἀναγκαίας χρείας, “in regard to the necessary wants.”

ἵνα μὴ ὦσιν ἄκαρποι] The subject is οἡμέτεροι. Hofmann construes the words εἰς τὰς ἀναγκαίας χρείας with the clause of purpose following them. He says that “the particle of purpose is placed after the emphatic part of the clause,” a thing which frequently occurs in the N. T., and for this he appeals to Winer, p. 522 [E. T. p. 764]. In this he is entirely wrong. Such a construction seldom occurs, and of all the passages there quoted by Winer, that from 2 Corinthians 12:7 alone is to the point; the rest are of quite another kind. It is quite clear from what was said on ἵνα in 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:1(22) that such a construction is not to be admitted here. The exhortation in the passage does not refer simply to the present case of equipping Zenas and Apollo, which indeed occasioned it, but is in general terms, and is applicable to all cases where the necessary wants of others have to be considered (van Oosterzee).

Verse 15

Titus 3:15. End.

ἀσπάζονταί σε οἱ μετʼ ἐμοῦ πάντες] is not to be understood generally of believers, but of the apostle’s fellow-workers.

ἄσπασαι τοὺς φιλοῦντας ἡμᾶς ἐν πίστει] φιλεῖν marks the inner, personal relation. The distinction between ἀ γαπν and φιλεῖν is plain from a comparison of John 3:16, ἠγάπησεν θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, with John 16:17, πατὴρ φιλεῖ ὑμᾶς; also Matthew 10:37 : ἡμᾶς, i.e. the apostle.—Ἡ χάρις μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν] “with you all,” i.e. “with thee and all Cretan believers.” The form of the benediction does not imply that Titus was to communicate the epistle to the churches in Crete.


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Titus 3:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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