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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Titus 1

 

 

Verses 1-16

Titus 1:1-3. Paul, a servant of God, and not a servant of Moses. This style is much the same as in 2 Timothy 1:1, respecting the promise of eternal life. This promise is according to the faith of God’s elect, believed by all the elect people of God; for he promised it coëval with the plan of our redemption, before the world began. The gracious Creator of heaven and earth had every possible idea before him of the formation and arrangement of every creature, and he has always elicited that which was best. In like manner the fall, and the moral character of man being before him, from before the foundation of the world, he declared his pleasure, that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head; and even when he distinguished Abraham from the idolaters, he equally declared his pleasure, that all the families of the earth should be blessed in Christ, and that the gentiles should be fellow-heirs with the jews of the grace of life. In all those gracious plans of predestination and providence, there is no enmity in God to man; for enmity is the nature of the serpent. The glorious high throne of grace has been our sanctuary from the beginning. It is open to every one, and with all the plenary invitations of the gospel. Who then will dare to shut it? This doctrine is therefore the richest consolation of the gospel; and which salvation, the gospel, η σωτηριος πασιν ανθρωποις, that which saveth all men, Paul was sent to preach: Titus 2:11. With this consolation to the gentiles, despised of the jews, Paul mostly opens all his epistles.

Titus 1:4. To Titus mine own son. St. Paul had appointed him to superintend the island of Crete, noted as a very wicked and lascivious country. Paul loved him most tenderly as his own bowels. According to Erasmus, he wrote this letter to him from a city of Epirus, called Nicopolè, lying on the seacoast, and situate in a cliff called Leucate, or the cliff of Actium. And as there is no mention of persecution, it would seem that the church enjoyed repose. Hence, the letter is restricted to doctrine and discipline.

Titus 1:5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, now Candia, so called because the ancient inhabitants were Caretes. It is about two hundred miles in length, and fifty in breadth. The island is mountainous, and therefore abounds with springs and rivers. It could once boast of a hundred cities, but now, says Boiste, thirty thousand is the number of its inhabitants, chiefly Turks, Greeks, and Jews. One of its mountains was once laid open by an earthquake. Christianity in Crete was coëval, without much doubt, with the dispersion of the church on the martyrdom of Stephen. Titus was left here to establish discipline, and to ordain elders in all the hundred cities, for christian churches were so many synagogues reformed to Christ, as stated on Matthew 4:23. Leviticus 23:3. The catholic writers say, that Titus was appointed archbishop of Crete for life. But that idea does not accord with his call, like that of Paul, to be an apostolic man to the gentile world.

Titus 1:6. The husband of one wife. 1 Timothy 3:2. Theophylact’s comment here is, that matrimony is joined with episcopasy, and is therefore a hallowed institution; it can ascend the holy throne and seat of the chief pastor. The other characters of those elders, and they were not all ministers of the word, will be found in 1 Timothy 3.

Titus 1:9-14. To convince the gainsayers. Opening and alleging out of the scriptures to the jews, that Jesus is the Christ; calling the gentiles to repentance for their violations of the law of nature, and revolts against the power of conscience. Demonstrating also the truth of christianity by arguments, and by such signs as God was pleased to give, and by promises of the Holy Spirit to every believer.

A bishop must also be able to look the jewish teachers in the face, and rebuke them sharply for their slanders of the Cretians; slanders which were particularly unwise and foolish in teachers. See on 1 Timothy 1:4.

Even a prophet of their own. Callimachus, a native of Crete, said, in his hymn to Jove, κρητες αει ψευσται, The Cretes are always liars. But Callimachus does not say it in the sarcastical sense of those jewish teachers. Evil beasts, dogs, wolves, tigers, lions. Slow bellies, gluttons, monstrous eaters.

Titus 1:15. Unto the pure, all things are pure. This is generally applied to ceremonial prohibitions of meats. Romans 14:20. But in a moral view a man of simplicity does all things with a pure and upright mind, and unsuspicious of evil, while unholy men pollute all that they touch; for the prayer of the wicked is sin. Their whole heart, and life, and conscience are polluted.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Titus 1:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/titus-1.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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