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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Titus 3

 

 

Verse 1

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

Put them in mind - as they are in danger of forgetting their duty, though knowing it. The opposition of Christianity to paganism, and the Jews' tendency to rebellion against the Roman empire, might lead many in Crete to forget practically the Christian principle recognized in theory, submission to the powers that be. Diodorus Siculus mentions the Cretians' insubordination. They had been now 125 years under Roman rule. Metellus conquered Crete, B.C. 67. Previously they had a democracy.

Principalities ... powers , [ archais (Greek #746), exousiais (Greek #1849)] - 'magistracies ... authorities.' To be subject - willingless [ hupotassesthai (Greek #5293)].

To obey - commands of 'magistrates' [ peitharchein (Greek #3980)], not spontaneous obedience. Willing obedience is implied in "ready to every good work." Romans 13:3 shows that obedience to the magistracy tends to good, since the magistrate's aim generally is to favour the good and punish the bad. Contrast "disobedient," Titus 3:3.


Verse 2

To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. To speak evil of no man - especially, not of "dignities."

No brawlers - not quarrelsome, attacking others. Gentle - toward those who attack us [ epieikeis (Greek #1933)]; considerate; not urging one's rights to the uttermost, but forbearing (note, Philippians 4:5). Very different from the 'innate graspingness,' greediness, and 'aggression' (Polybius, 6: 46. 9) toward others which characterized the Cretians.

Showing , [ endeiknumenous (Greek #1731): middle] - 'in one's self, evincing in acts.' All - all possible.

Meekness (note, 2 Corinthians 10:1) - the opposite of passionate severity. Unto all men - Christian conduct toward all men is the proper consequence of the universality of God's grace to all, so often set forth in the pastoral letters.


Verse 3

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

For. Our own past sins should lead us to be lenient toward others. 'Despise none, for such wast thou also,' as the penitent said to his fellow-thief, "Dost thou not fear God ... seeing thou art in the same condemnation." We - Christians.

Were - contrast Titus 3:4, "But after that," etc.; i:e., now: a favorite contrast in Paul's writing, between our past state by nature and our present state by grace. As God treated us, we ought to treat our neighbour. Sometimes - once.

Foolish - senseless [ anoeetoi (Greek #453)] in our course of living. Irrational. The exact picture of human life without grace. Grace is the sole remedy (Luke 15:17).

Disobedient - to God. Deceived , [planomenoi] - 'out of the way' (Hebrews 5:2). Serving , [ douleuontes (Greek #1398)] - 'in bondage to:' 'serving as slaves.' Divers. The cloyed appetite craves constant variety.

Pleasures - of the flesh. Malice - malignity [ kakia (Greek #2549), evil habit of mind; poneeria (Greek #4189), the manifestation of it]. Hateful ... hating - correlatives. Provoking the hatred of others by detestable conduct, and in turn hating them.


Verse 4

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, How little reason the Cretian Christians had to be proud of themselves, and despise others (notes, Titus 3:2-3). It is to the "kindness and love of God," not to their own merits, that they owe salvation.

Kindness , [chreestotos] - 'goodness,' 'benignity,' which manifests His grace. Love ... toward man - teaching us to have such "love toward man" [Greek, philanthropy] (Titus 3:2), even as God had "toward man" (Titus 2:11): opposed to the "hateful and hating" characteristics of unrenewed men, whose wretchedness moved God's benevolent kindness.

Of God our Saviour , [ tou (Greek #3588) Sooteeros (Greek #4990) heemoon (Greek #2257) Theou (Greek #2316)] - 'of our Saviour God;' namely, the Father (Titus 1:3), who "saved us" (Titus 3:5) "through Jesus Christ our Saviour" (Titus 3:6).

Appeared - was manifested.


Verse 5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Not by , [ ex (Greek #1537)] - 'Out of:' 'not as a result from works,' etc. Of righteousness , [ toon (Greek #3588) en (Greek #1722) dikaiosunee (Greek #1343)] - 'done in a state of righteousness (justification); as "deeds ... done in God" (John 3:21). There was wanting in us the element ("righteousness") in which alone righteous works could be done; so necessarily an absence of the works. 'We neither did works of righteousness, nor were saved in consequence of them; but His goodness did the whole' (Theophylact). We - emphatically opposed to "His."

Mercy - the prompting cause of our salvation individually: 'in pursuance of [ kata (Greek #2596)] His mercy.' His kindness and love to man appeared in redemption once for all done for mankind generally. Faith is presupposed as the instrument; our being "saved" is then an accomplished fact. Faith is not mentioned, but only God's part, as Paul's object is not to describe man's new state, but the "mercy" and saving agency of God in bringing it about, independent of any merit on man's part (note, Titus 3:4).

By , [ dia (Greek #1223)] - 'through:' by means of. The washing , [ loutrou (Greek #3067)] - 'the layer;' i:e., the baptismal font. Of regeneration - designed to be the visible mean and seal of regeneration. 'God does not mock us with empty signs, but by His power inwardly makes good what be demonstrates by the outward sign. Wherefore baptism is congruously and truly called the laver of regeneration. We must connect the sign and thing signified, so as not to make the sign empty and ineffectual; yet not so honour the sign as to detract from the Holy Spirit what is peculiarly His' (Calvin) (1 Peter 3:21). Adult candidates are presupposed to have had repentance and faith (for Paul assumes in charity that those addressed are what they profess, though in fact some were not so (1 Corinthians 6:11), in which case baptism would be the visible 'laver of regeneration' to them, 'faith being thereby confirmed, and grace increased, by virtue of prayer to God,' ('Church of England,' Article

XXVlI). Infants are charitably presumed to have received a grace in connection with their Christian descent, in answer to the believing prayers of their parents or guardians presenting them for baptism, which grace is visibly sealed and increased by baptism. They are presumed to be then regenerated, until years of developed consciousness prove whether they have been actually so or not. "Born of (from) water and (no 'of' in Greek) the Spirit;" implying the close tie, in the ideal, between the sign and thing signified. The Word is the remote and anterior instrument of the new birth; baptism, the proximate instrument. The Word, the instrument to the individual; baptism, in relation to the society of Christians.

And renewing - not 'the laver ('washing") of renewing,' but "and BY the renewing," etc., following "saved us." To make "renewing of the Holy Spirit" follow 'the laver' would destroy the balance of the clauses and make baptism the seal, not only of regeneration, but also of the subsequent renewing of the Holy Spirit - i:e., progressive sanctification. Regeneration is once for all done; renewing is daily proceeding. As "the washing," or "laver," is connected with "regeneration," so the "renewing of the Holy Spirit" (2 Corinthians 4:16; Romans 12:2) is connected with "shed on us abundantly" (Titus 3:6). Conversion is in the New Testament always used of sinners turning for the first time to God (Matthew 13:15; Acts 3:19; Acts 14:15; Acts 15:3; Acts 15:19; 2 Corinthians 3:16; James 5:20; 1 Peter 2:25; except Luke 22:32, where it means the full turning of Peter again to the Lord after his fall [ epistrefoo (Greek #1994); strefoo (Greek #4762)] Matthew 18:3).


Verse 6

Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; Which - the Holy Spirit.

He shed , [ execheen (Greek #1632)] - 'poured out:' not merely gave (Acts 2:17-18; Acts 2:33): not only on the church in general, but also "on us" individually. This pouring out of the Spirit comprehends the grace received before, in, and subsequently to, baptism.

Abundantly , [ plousios (Greek #4145)] - 'richly' (Colossians 3:16). Through Jesus Christ - the channel of the Holy Spirit. So the Divine Three combine in our salvation. Our Saviour - immediately, as the Father is immediately. The Father is the Author of salvation, and saves us by Jesus.


Verse 7

That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. That ... - the purpose He aimed at in having "saved us" (Titus 3:5); namely, 'That having been once for all justified [aorist, dikaiothentes: accounted righteous through faith, the Spirit's work: sealed at our "regeneration;" followed by daily "renewing of the Holy Spirit"] by His grace (opposed to works, Titus 3:5), we should be (not merely saved from the curse of sin, Titus 3:3, but) made heirs.'

His grace , [ te (Greek #5037) ekeinou (Greek #1565) chariti (Greek #5485)] - 'the grace of the former;' i:e., God (Titus 3:4; Romans 5:15). The Father is the originating cause; Christ the meritorious cause; the Holy Spirit the efficient cause of our justification.

Heirs (Galatians 3:29) according to the hope of eternal life.} Titus 1:2, also the Greek order [ kleeronomoi (Greek #2818) kat' (Greek #2596) elpida (Greek #1680) zooees (Greek #2222) aioniou (Greek #166)], confirms this; i:e., agreeably to the hope of eternal life: the eternal inheritance fully satisfying the hope. Galatians 3:29, "heirs according to the promise" [ kat' (Greek #2596) epangelian (Greek #1860) kleeronomoi (Greek #2818)], justifies this independent use of "heirs" against Ellicott, who explains, 'heirs of eternal life, in the way of hope' (Romans 8:24) - i:e., not yet in actual possession. Such a blessed hope, once not possessed, leads a Christian to practical holiness and meekness toward others: the lesson needed by the Cretians.


Verse 8

This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Greek, 'Faithful is the saying'-a formula unique to the partoral letters; here the statement (Titus 3:4-7) as to the gratuitousness of God's gift of salvation, answering to the "Amen" (Revelation 3:14).

These things ... [ peri (Greek #4012) touton (Greek #5126) boulomai (Greek #1014) se (Greek #4571) diabebaiousthai (Greek #1226)] - 'concerning these things (the truths dwelt on, Titus 3:4-7) I will that thou affirm persistently, in order that they who have believed God [ Theoo (Greek #2316); but piston (Greek #4103) Theon (Greek #2316), John 14:1 : 'they who credit God' in what He saith, instead of crediting man's vain talk, Titus 3:9] may be [frontizosin] solicitously sedulous (diligence is necessary) to be forward in [ proistasthai (Greek #4291): 'to set before themselves so as to sustain'] good works;' no longer applying their care to "unprofitable" and unpractical speculations (Titus 3:9).

These things - not 'these (good works) are good,' but as the antithesis (Titus 3:9) requires, 'these truths' (Titus 3:4-7).

Good - in themselves, as well as profitable unto men.


Verse 9

But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

Foolish , [ mooras (Greek #3474)] - 'insipid:' producing no moral fruit. Genealogies - akin to the "fables" (note, 1 Timothy 1:4). Not so much direct heresy as yet, but profitless discussions about genealogies of aeons, etc., which ultimately led to Gnosticism. Synagogue discourses were termed darashowt (Hebrew #1875); i:e., discussions. Compare "disputer of this world," 1 Corinthians 1:20. Strivings about the law - about "commandments of men," which they sought to confirm by "the law" (Titus 1:14 : note, 1 Timothy 1:7); and about the mystical meaning of the various parts of the law in connection with the "genealogies."

Avoid , [ periistaso (Greek #4026)] - stand aloof from (2 Timothy 2:16). Vain , [ mataioi (Greek #3152), inanes; empty of results: but kenos (Greek #2756), vanus; empty of contents].


Verse 10

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Heretic. Heresy, originally a division resulting from self-will; the individual doing and teaching what he chose independently of the church. More aggravated than schism (1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20): divisions on church matters not necessarily fundamental (Titus 1:14; 5:9 ). In course of time it came to mean 'heresy' in the modern sense, 'the open espousal of fundamental error.' The heretics of Crete were in doctrine followers of their own self- willed questions (Titus 3:9), and immoral in practice.

Admonition - by word [ nouthesia (Greek #3559): but paideia (Greek #3809), by chastisements]. Reject , [ paraitou (Greek #3868)] - literally, ask off from,: 'shun.' Not formal excommunication, but have nothing more to do with him, either in admonition or conversation.


Verse 11

Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. Knowing-by the ill success of your admonitions. Is subverted [ exestraptai (Greek #1612)] - is perverted; literally, turned inside out; i:e., completely changed for the worse (Deuteronomy 32:20) [ dowr (Hebrew #1755) tahpukot (Hebrew #8419)].

Condemned of himself - continuing the same after frequent admonition, he is self-condemned. When 'he sinneth' he doeth what his own knowledge virtually condemns.


Verse 12

When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus - to supply thy place in Crete. Artemas. tradition says, subsequently became Bishop of Lystra, Tychicus was sent twice by Paul from Rome to Lesser Asia in his first imprisonment (which shows how well qualified he was to become Titus' successor in Crete) (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7); and in his second (2 Timothy 4:12). Tradition makes him subsequently Bishop of Chalcedon, in Bithynia.

Nicopolis - `The city of victory;' called so from the battle of Actium; in Epirus. This letter was probably written from Corinth in the autumn. Paul purposed a journey through CEtolia and Acarnania into Epirus, and there "to winter." (See 'Introduction' to pastoral letters.)


Verse 13

Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them. Bring ... on their journey - enable them to proceed by supplying necessaries for their journey.

Zenas - contracted from Zenodorus. Lawyer , [ nomikon (Greek #3544)] - a Jewish scribe,' learned in the Hebrew law, who, when converted, still retained the title.

Apollos - with Zenas, probably the bearers of this letter. In 1 Corinthians 16:12 Apollos is mentioned as purposing to visit Corinth: his now being at Corinth (on the theory of Paul being there when he wrote) accords with this purpose. Crete would be on his way either to Palestine or his native place, Alexandria. Paul and Apollos thus appear in beautiful harmony in that very city where their names had been formerly the watchword of unchristian rivalries. The only difference had been in their respective modes of teaching, Apollos being more ornate and rhetorical (Acts 18:24-28; 1 Corinthians 3:6). It was to avoid this party rivalry that Apollos formerly was unwilling to visit Corinth, though Paul desired him. Hippolytus mentions Zenas as one of the seventy, and afterward Bishop of Diospolis.


Verse 14

And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. And [ De (G1161): But] let ours also - Not only thou, but let others also of 'our' fellow-believers (whom we have won, Bengel), at Crete with thee.

For necessary uses - to supply the necessary wants of Christian brethren according as they need in their journeys for the Lord (cf. Titus 1:8).


Verse 15

All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Greet - `Salute them that love us in the sphere of faith.' All at Crete had not this love rooted in faith, the true bond of fellowship. A salutation special to this letter, such as no forger would have used.

Grace - `The grace,' namely, of God. With you all. Not that the letter is addressed to all the Cretian Christians, but Titus would naturally impart it to his flock.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Titus 3:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/titus-3.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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