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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Titus 1

 

 

Verse 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;

Servant of God - not found elsewhere in the same connection. In Romans 1:1 it is "servant of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1 : cf. Acts 16:17; Revelation 1:1; Revelation 15:3, Moses). In Romans 1:1 there follows "called to be an apostle." So here the general designation, "servant of GOD," is followed by the special 'and further [ de (Greek #1161)] apostle of Jesus Christ.' The expression of his apostolic office answers, in both letters, to the design, and is a comprehensive index to the contents. The special form here would never have proceeded from a forger. According to the faith - `for' [ kata (Greek #2596) marks destination; eis (Greek #1519), immediate purpose; pros (Greek #4314), ultimate purpose (Ellicott)]: with a view to subserve the faith, the object of my apostleship (cf. Titus 1:4; Titus 1:9; Romans 1:5).

God's elect - for whose sake we ought to endure all things (2 Timothy 2:10). This election has its ground, not in any merit of the elected, but in the purpose of God from everlasting (Romans 8:30; Romans 8:33; 2 Timothy 1:9 : cf. Luke 18:7; Ephesians 1:4; Colossians 3:12). Acts 13:48 shows that the faith of the elect rests on the divine foreordination: they do not become elect by their faith, but receive faith (Ephesians 2:8), and so become believers, because elect. And the acknowledging of the truth - `and (for promoting) the full knowledge [ epignoosin (Greek #1922)] of the truth' (Ephesians 1:13).

After godliness - i:e., which leads to piety: opposed to the knowledge which has not practical piety for its object (Titus 1:11; Titus 1:16; 1 Timothy 6:3). Not truth in general, but sanctifying truth, is the aim of Christianity. "Godliness," or 'piety' [ eusebeia (Greek #2150)], is a term unique to the pastoral letters; the apostle having in them to combat doctrine tending to 'ungodliness' (2 Timothy 2:16 : cf. Titus 2:11-12).


Verse 2

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; In hope of eternal life. That whereon rests my aim as an apostle to promote the elect's faith and full knowledge of the truth is the "hope of eternal life" (Titus 2:13; Titus 3:7; Acts 23:6; Acts 24:15; Acts 28:20). That cannot lie (Romans 3:4; Romans 11:29; Hebrews 6:18).

Promised before the world began - abbreviated for 'purposed before the world began [ pro (Greek #4253)

Promised before the world began - abbreviated for 'purposed before the world began [ pro (Greek #4253) chronon (Greek #5550) aioonion (Greek #166), "before eternal times"], and promised in time,' the promise (Galatians 3:19) springing from the eternal purpose; as in 2 Timothy 1:9-10 the gift of grace was the result of the eternal purpose "before the world began."


Verse 3

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

In due times , [ kairois (Greek #2540) idiois (Greek #2398)] - 'in its (or His) own seasons:' the seasons appropriate to, and fixed by God for it (Acts 1:7).

Manifested - implying that the 'promise' (Titus 1:2; Genesis 3:15; Galatians 3:8) had lain hidden in His eternal purpose heretofore (cf. Romans 16:25-26; Colossians 1:26).

His word - i:e., "eternal life" (Titus 1:2; John 5:24; John 6:63; John 17:3; John 17:17). Through preaching - Greek, 'in (the Gospel) preaching (cf. 2 Timothy 4:17), with which I was entrusted.' According to - in pursuance of, (cf. 1 Timothy 1:1): not by my own impulse.

Of God our Saviour , [ tou (Greek #3588) Sooteeros (Greek #4990) heemoon (Greek #2257) Theou (Greek #2316)] - 'of our Saviour God.' God is predicated of our Saviour, cf. Luke 1:47; Jude 1:25. Also Psalms 24:5; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 45:15; Isaiah 45:21; Septuagint [ ho (Greek #3588) Theos (Greek #2316) Sooteer (Greek #4990)]. Applied to Jesus, Titus 1:4; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:6; 2 Timothy 1:10.


Verse 4

To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. Titus, mine own son - `my genuine [ gneesioo (Greek #1103)] child' (1 Timothy 1:2); i:e., converted by my instrumentality (1 Corinthians 4:17; Philem 10).

After - a genuine son in respect to (in virtue of) the faith common to us both; comprising in a common brotherhood Gentiles, as Titus, and Jews, as Paul (2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:3).

Mercy. Omitted in 'Aleph (') Delta G f g, Vulgate. But A supports it (notes, cf. 1 Timothy 1:1-20; 1 Timothy 2:1-15; 2 Timothy 1:2). Similarities of phrase abound in the pastoral letters. The Lord Jesus Christ. So G Delta (omitting "Christ"). But A C 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, omit "Lord." Our Saviour - found thus added to "Christ" only in Paul's pastoral letters and 2 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 2:20; 2 Peter 3:18).


Verse 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:

Left I thee - `behind' (Alford), when I left the island: not implying permanence of commission (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3) In Crete - now Candia.

Set in order , [ epidiorthoosee (Greek #1930)] - 'that thou mightest follow up (the work begun by me), setting right the things wanting,' which I was unable to complete through the shortness of my stay in Crete. Christianity, doubtless, had long existed there: some Cretians heard Peter's preaching on Pentecost (Acts 2:11). The number of Jews in Crete was large (Titus 1:10); and it is likely that those scattered in the persecution of Stephen (Acts 11:19) preached to them, as they did to those of Cyprus, etc. Paul also was there on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27:7-12). So the Gospel was sure to reach Crete early. But until Paul's later visit, after his first imprisonment at Rome, the Cretian Christians were without proper church organization. This Paul began, and commissioned (before leaving Crete) Titus to go on with: now he reminds him of that commission.

Ordain , [ katasteesees (Greek #2525)] - 'constitute.' In every city , [ kata (Greek #2596) polin (Greek #4172)] - 'from city to city.' As I had appointed thee , [ dietaxameen (Greek #1299)] - "set in order:" 'directed thee:' prescribing the act, as also the manner, which latter includes the qualifications required in a presbyter. The "elders" here are called 'bishops,' Titus 1:7. Elder marks the dignity in relation to the college of presbyters; bishop, the duties of office in relation to the flock. From the unsound state of the Cretian Christians we see the danger of the want of church government. The appointment of presbyters was designed to check idle talk, by setting forth the 'faithful word.'


Verse 6

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (Notes, 1 Timothy 3:2-4) The thing dwelt on as the requisite in a bishop is a good reputation among those over whom he is to be set. The immorality of the Cretian professors rendered this a necessary requisite in one to be a reprover: their unsoundness in doctrine also made needful great stedfastness in the faith (Titus 1:9; Titus 1:13). Having faithful (believing) children. He who could not bring his children to faith, how shall he bring others? (Bengel.)

Not accused - not merely not riotous, but "not (even) accused of riot" [ asootias (Greek #810)]: 'dissolute life' (Wahl).

Unruly - insubordinate: opposed to "in subjection."


Verse 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;

For a bishop must , [ anupotakta (Greek #506)]. The emphasis is on must. I said "blameless;" for the very idea of a "bishop" (an overseer of the flock: here substituted for 'presbyter,' Titus 1:5, to express his duties) involves the necessity for blamelessness, if he is to influence the flock. Ellicott quotes Dr. Pearson ('Minor Works,' 1: 271-278), that episcopal government was 'sub-apostolis, ab-apostolis, in-apostolis.'

Steward of God. The greater the master the greater the virtues required in His servant (Bengel) (1 Timothy 3:15): the church is God's house, over which the minister is a steward (Hebrews 3:2-6; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Peter 4:17). Ministers are not merely church officers, but God's stewards: church government is of divine appointment.

Not self-willed , [ authadee (Greek #829)] - 'self-pleasing:' unaccommodating to others. Contrast Titus 1:8 : so Nabal (1 Samuel 25:1-44), self-loving, imperious. Such a spirit incapacitates for leading a willing flock, instead of driving.

Not soon angry - at what one ought not, at those with whom one ought not, and more than they ought. Not given to wine (notes, 1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Timothy 3:8).

Not given to filthy lucre - not making the Gospel a means of gain (cf. Genesis 14:23, Abraham; 2 Kings 5:16, Elisha: contrast Acts 8:18-20): in opposition to those "teaching ... for filthy lucre's sake" (Titus 1:11; 1 Timothy 6:5; 1 Peter 5:2).


Verse 8

But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Lover of hospitality - needed especially in those days (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9; 3 John 1:5). Christians traveling from one place to another were received and forwarded on their journey by brethren. Lover of good men , [ filagathon (Greek #5358)] - 'a lover of (all that is) good,' men or things (Philippians 4:8-9). Sober - toward one's self [ soofrona (Greek #4998)]: 'discreet' (note, 1 Timothy 2:9).

Just - toward men. Holy - pure toward God (note, Ephesians 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:10). Temperate - `one having his passions, tongue, hand, and eyes at command' (Chrysostom): 'continent.'


Verse 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.

Holding fast - firmly to (cf. Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13). The faithful - true and trustworthy (1 Timothy 1:15). Word as he hath been taught - `the faithful word (which is) according to the (apostolic) teaching' (cf. 1 Timothy 4:6, end; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 3:14).

By - `to exhort in [ en (Greek #1722)] doctrine (instruction) which is sound:' the element IN which his exhorting is to have place. On "sound" (unique to the pastoral letters), see 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3.

Convince , [ elengchein (Greek #1651)] - 'confute' (Titus 1:13).


Verse 10

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Unruly , [ anupotaktoi (Greek #506)] - 'insubordinate.' And. So Delta G f g, Vulgate. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A C. 'There are many unruly persons, vain talkers, and deceivers:' "unruly" being predicated of both.

Vain talkers - opposed to "holding fast the faithful word" (Titus 1:9). "Vain jangling" (1 Timothy 1:6): "foolish questions ... unprofitable and vain" (Titus 3:9). The source of the evil was corrupted Judaism (Titus 1:14). There were many Jews in Crete (Josephus): so the Jewish leaven remained in some after conversion. (Insinuating)

Deceivers - literally, 'deceivers of minds' [Galatians 6:3 : frenapatai (Greek #5423)].


Verse 11

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

Months must be stopped , [ epistomizein (Greek #1993)] - 'muzzled,' 'bridled' as an unruly beast (Psalms 32:9). Who , [ hoitines (Greek #3748)] - '(seeing they are) such as;' or 'inasmuch as they' (Ellicott). Subvert whole houses - `overthrowing their "faith" (2 Timothy 2:18). 'They are the devil's levers by which he subverts the houses of God' (Theophylact).

For filthy lucre (1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 6:5). 'The Cretans alone of men consider no gain to be dishonourable' (Polybius, 'History,' 6: 46. 3).


Verse 12

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. One - Epimenides, priest, bard, and seer of Gnossus, in Crete, about 600 BC, sent for to purify Athens from the pollution occasioned by Cylon. The words here are probably from his treatise 'concerning oracles.' Paul also quotes from two other pagan writers, Aratus (Acts 17:28) and Menander (1 Corinthians 15:33), but does not honour them so far as even to mention their names.

Of themselves ... their own - which enhances his authority as a witness. 'To Cretanize' was proverbial for to lie; as 'to Corinthianise' for to be dissolute. Alway liars - not merely at times, as every natural man is. Contrast Titus 1:2, "God that cannot lie." They love "fables" (Titus 1:14); even the pagan poets laughed at their lying assertion that they had in their country Jupiter's sepulchre.

Evil beasts - savage, cunning, greedy. Crete was a country without wild beasts. Epimenides' sarcasm was, that its human inhabitants supplied their place.

Slow bellies - indolent through pampering their bellies. They themselves are called "bellies," for that is the member for which they live (Romans 16:18; Philippians 3:19).


Verse 13

This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; This witness - (though coming from a Cretian) "is true."

Sharply - gentleness would not reclaim so perverse offenders. That they - that those seduced by the false teachers may be brought back to soundness in the faith. Their malady is strifes about words and questions (Titus 3:9; 1 Timothy 6:4).


Verse 14

Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Not giving heed to - namely, "they" (Titus 1:13).

Jewish fables (notes, 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4). These formed the transition to subsequent Gnosticism; as yet the error was but profitless, not tending to godliness, rather than openly opposed to the faith. Commandments of men - as to ascetic abstinence (Titus 1:15; Mark 7:7-9; Colossians 2:16; Colossians 2:20-23; 1 Timothy 4:3); here resting not on the law, but on men's invention.

That turn from the truth - whose characteristic is this (2 Timothy 4:4).


Verse 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.

All things - external, "are pure" in themselves; the distinction of pure and impure is not in the things, but in the disposition of him who uses them: whereas the "commandments of men" (Titus 1:14) forbad certain things as if impure intrinsically. "To the pure" - i:e., those purified in heart by faith (Acts 15:9; 1 Timothy 4:4); all outward things are pure; open to their use. The impurity of the impure is communicated to all outward things that they use. Sin alone touches and defiles the soul (Matthew 23:26; Luke 11:41).

Nothing pure - either within or without (Romans 14:20; Romans 14:23). Mind - their mental sense.

Conscience - their moral consciousness of the conformity or discrepancy between their motives and acts on the one hand, and God's law on the other. A conscience and a mind defiled are the source of the errors opposed in the pastoral letters (1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Timothy 6:5).


Verse 16

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

They profess - i:e., make a profession acknowledging God. They have theoretical knowledge of God, but practically know Him not.

Deny him - the opposite of the previous "profess" or 'confess' Him (1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Timothy 2:12; 2 Timothy 3:5). So often as we are conquered by sins, we deny God (Jerome).

Abominable - themselves, though laying such stress on avoiding abomination from outward things (cf. Leviticus 11:10-13; Romans 2:22).

Disobedient - to God (Titus 3:3; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 5:6). Reprobate - rejected as worthless when tested (notes, Romans 1:28; 1 Corinthians 9:27; 2 Timothy 3:8).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Titus 1:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/titus-1.html. 1871-8.

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