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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies
Titus 1



Verse 1

An apostle - according to the faith of God's elect, etc.

The norm of the apostolate in each of the three Epistles is unique, and not Pauline. In 1Timothy, according to the commandment of God: in 2Timothy, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus. Κατὰ accordingto, not for the faith, but corresponding to the norm or standard of faith which is set for God's elect.

And acknowledging of the truth ( καὶ ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας )

For acknowledging rend. knowledge. For the phrase, see on 1 Timothy 2:4. Governed, like πίστιν faithby κατὰ . The writer is an apostle according to the faith of God's elect, and according to the truth which is contained in the faith, as that truth is intelligently apprehended and held.

Which is after godliness ( τῆς κατ ' εὐσέβειαν )

Or according to godliness. Comp. 1 Timothy 6:3. This addition describes the peculiar and essential character of the truth which is held and known by God's elect, namely, that it is concerned with the fear and obedience of God - all that constitutes true piety. See on 1 Timothy 1:10.

Verse 2

In hope of eternal life ( ἐπ ' ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου )

Const. with Apostle, Titus 1:1. Ἑπὶ restingupon.

God that cannot lie ( ὁ ἀψευδὴς θεὸς )

Ἁψευδὴς N.T.oOnce in lxx, Wisd. 7:17. Comp. Romans 3:4; Hebrews 6:18. Paul expresses the idea positively, by ἀληθής truthful Romans 3:4.

Before the world began ( πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων )

Lit. before eternal times. Before time began to be reckoned by aeons. See on 2 Timothy 1:9, and additional note on 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

Verse 3

In due times ( καιροῖς ἰδίοις )

Better, in his (or its ) own seasons. See on 1 Timothy 2:6.

Through preaching ( ἐν κηρύγματι )

Rather, in a proclamation. See on 2 Timothy 4:17.

Which is committed unto me ( ὃ ἐπιστεύθην ἐγὼ )

Betters wherewith I was intrusted. See on 1 Timothy 1:11.

Verse 4

Own ( γνησίῳ )

See on 1 Timothy 1:2.

According to the common faith ( κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν )

The phrase N.T.o Κοινός commonusually in contrast with καθαρός pureor ἅγιος holyas Acts 10:14; Acts 11:8; Revelation 21:27. In the sense of general as here, Acts 2:44; Acts 4:32; Judges 1:3. Comp. 2 Peter 1:1. The “catholic” faith. Κατὰ accordingto, as Titus 1:1.

Verse 5

In Crete

Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean. By the mythological writers it was called Aeria, Doliche, Idaea, Telchinia. According to tradition, Minos first gave laws to the Cretans, conquered the Aegean pirates, and established a navy. After the Trojan war the principal cities of the island formed themselves into several republics, mostly independent. The chief cities were Cnossus, Cydonia, Gortyna, and Lyctus. Crete was annexed to the Romans Empire b.c. 67. About Paul's visiting the island we have no information whatever beyond the hints in this Epistle. There is no absolute proof that Paul was ever there before the voyage to Rome. Although on that voyage some time appears to have been spent at Crete, there is no notice of Paul having received any greeting from the members of the Christian churches there. According to this Epistle, Paul and Titus had worked there together. Paul went away, and left Titus to organize the churches founded by himself. He sent this letter by Zenas and Apollos (Titus 3:13), and announced in it the coming of Artemas or of Tychicus. On their arrival Titus was to join Paul at Nicopolis, where Paul was proposing to winter.

Shouldst set in order ( ἐπιδιορθώσῃ )

N.T.oLit. to set straight besides or farther; that is, should arrange what remained to be set in order after Paul's departure. Used by medical writers of setting broken limbs or straightening crooked ones. Διόρθωσις reformation Hebrews 9:10: διόρθωμα correction Acts 24:3.

Ordain elders ( καταστήσῃς πρεσβυτέρους )

Καθιστάναι appointor constitute. In Paul only Romans 5:19. For the sense here comp. Matthew 24:45, Matthew 24:47; Luke 12:14; Acts 6:3. The meaning of the injunction is, that Titus should appoint, out of the number of elderly men of approved Christian reputation, certain ones to be overseers ( ἐπίσκοποι ) of the churches in the several cities. The eldership was not a distinct church office. See on 1 Timothy 5:1.

I had appointed ( διεταξάμην )

Better, I gave thee charge. Mostly in Luke and Acts.

Verse 6

Faithful children ( τέκνα πιστά )

Better, believing children; or, as Rev., children that believe. Comp. 1 Timothy 3:4.

Not accused of riot ( μὴ ἐν κατηγορίᾳ ἀσωτίας )

Lit. not in accusation of profligacy. For κατηγορία see on 1 Timothy 5:19. Ἁσωτία , lit. unsavingness; hence, dissoluteness, profligacy. Comp. Luke 15:13, of the prodigal son, who lived unsavingly ( ἀσώτως ). Only here, Ephesians 5:18, and 1 Peter 4:4(note).

Verse 7

A bishop ( τὸν ἐπίσκοπον )

See on 1 Timothy 3:1; see on 1 Timothy 5:1. Rend. the bishop. It will be observed that the qualifications of the elders are fixed by those of the bishop. Appoint elders who shall be unaccused, etc. for the bishop must be unaccused, etc. The overseers must have the qualifications of approved presbyters.

Steward of God ( θεοῦ οἰκονόμον )

Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:1, 1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:10; and see on Romans 16:23; see on Luke 16:1. The phrase N.T.oSelf-willed ( αὐθάδη )

Only here and 2 Peter 2:10(note).

Soon angry ( ὀργίλον )

N.T.oRarely in lxx and Class. Irascible.

Verse 8

A lover of hospitality ( φιλόξενον )

Better, hospitable. See on 1 Timothy 3:2.

A lover of good men ( φιλάγαθον )

N.T.oBetter, lover of good.

Temperate ( ἐγκρατῆ )

N.T.oOriginally, having power over; possessed of; hence, controlling, keeping in hand. Ἑγκράτεια temperance Acts 24:25; Galatians 5:23; 2 Peter 1:6. Εγκρατεύεσθαι tocontain one's self, 1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Corinthians 9:25.

Verse 9

Holding fast ( ἀντεχόμενον )

Only here in Pastorals. In Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:14(note).

The faithful word ( τοῦ πιστοῦ λόγου )

The trustworthy, reliable word. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:15(note).

As he hath been taught ( κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν )

Lit. according to the teaching. Const. with word. Agreeing with the apostolic teaching. For διδαχή teachingsee on 2 Timothy 4:2.

May be able by sound doctrine both to exhort ( δυνατὸς ῇ καὶ παρακαλεῖν ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ τῇ ὐγιαινούσῃ )

Rend. “may be able both to exhort in the sound teaching.” For δυνατὸς ableor powerful, see on 2 Timothy 1:12. Used by Paul in the phrase εἰ δυνατόν ifit be possible, Romans 12:18; Galatians 4:15: τὸ δυνατόν thatwhich is possible, Romans 9:22: of God, Romans 4:21; Romans 11:23: of men, in the ethical sense, Romans 15:1; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Corinthians 13:9.

Convince ( ἐλέγχειν )

Better, convict. See on John 3:20, and see on ἐλεγμὸν , 2 Timothy 3:16.

The gainsayers ( τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας )

In Pastorals only here and Titus 2:9. Once in Paul, Romans 10:21, cit. Mostly in Luke and Acts. Gainsay, Angl. Sax. gegn (Germ. gegen ) “against,” and “say.” Wiclif, Luke 21:15: For I schal gyue to you mouth and wysdom, to whiche alle youre aduersaries schulen not mowe agenstonde, and agenseye.”

Verse 10

Vain talkers ( ματαιολόγοι )

N.T.oolxx, oClass. See on vain jangling, 1 Timothy 1:6.

Deceivers ( φρεναπάται )

N.T.oolxx, oClass. See on φρεναπατᾶν todeceive, Galatians 6:3.

They of the circumcision ( οἱ ἐκ τῆς περιτομῆς )

The phrase only here in Pastorals. Ὁι ἐκ περιτομῆς Acts 10:45; Acts 11:2; Romans 4:12; Galatians 2:12; Colossians 4:11. There can be no doubt of the presence of Jews in Crete. Tacitus (Hist. v. 2) even makes the absurd statement that the Jews were Cretan exiles; and that from their residence in the vicinity of the Cretan Mount Ida they were called Idaei, whence Judaei. There appears to have been some confusion between the Palestinians and the Philistines - the Cherethim or Cherethites, who, in Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5are called in lxx Κρῆτες Jews were in the island in considerable numbers between the death of Alexander and the final destruction of Jerusalem. In 1 Maccabees 15:23 the Cretan city of Gortyna is mentioned among the places to which letters were written by Lucius, the Roman consul, on behalf of the Jews when Simon Maccabaeus renewed the treaty which his brother Judas had made with Rome. Josephus (Ant. 17:12,1; Bell. Jud. 2:7,1) says that Herod's pseudo-son Alexander imposed on the Cretan Jews on his way to Italy. Philo (Leg. ad Cai. § 36) makes the Jewish envoys say to Caligula that all the principal islands of the Mediterranean, including Crete, were full of Jews.

Verse 11

Whose mouths must be stopped ( οὓς δεὶ ἐπιστομίζειν )

Lit. whom it is necessary to silence. Ἑπιστομίζειν , N.T.oolxx. Originally, to put something into the mouth, as a bit into a horse's mouth. Ἑπιστόμιον is the stop of a water-pipe or of a hydraulic organ. Comp. φιμοῦν 1 Timothy 5:18.

Who subvert ( οἵτινες ἀνατρέπουσιν )

The double relative is explanatory of must; in as much as they, etc. For subvert rend. overthrow. See on 2 Timothy 2:18.

Houses ( οἴκους )


Verse 12

One of themselves ( τις ἐξ αὐτῶν )

Ἁυτῶν refers to the gainsayers, Titus 1:9, Titus 1:10. Τις refers to Epimenides, contemporary with Solon, and born in Crete b.c. 659. A legend relates that, going by his father's order in search of a sheep, he lay down in a cave, where he fell asleep and slept for fifty years. He then appeared with long hair and a flowing beard, and with an astonishing knowledge of medicine and natural history. It was said that he had the power of sending his soul out of his body and recalling it at pleasure, and that he had familiar intercourse with the gods and possessed the power of prophecy. He was sent for to Athens at the request of the inhabitants, in order to pave the way for the legislation of Solon by purifications and propitiatory sacrifices, intended to allay the feuds and party discussions which prevailed in the city. In return for his services he refused the Athenians' offers of wealth and public honors, and asked only a branch of the sacred olive, and a decree of perpetual friendship between Athens and his native city. He is said to have lived to the age of 157 years, and divine honors were paid him by the Cretans after his death. He composed a Theogony, and poems concerning religious mysteries. He wrote also a poem on the Argonautic Expedition, and other works. Jerome mentions his treatise On Oracles and Responses, from which the quotation in this verse is supposed to have been taken. According to Diogenes Laertius (i. 10) Epimenides, in order to remove a pestilence from Athens, turned some sheep loose at the Areopagus, and wherever they lay down sacrificed to the proper God: whence, he says, there are still to be found, in different demes of the Athenians, anonymous altars. Comp. Acts 17:22, Acts 17:23.

The Cretans, etc.

The words Κρῆτες - ἀργαί form a hexameter line.

Always ( ἀεὶ )


Liars ( ψεῦσται )

In Pastorals here and 1 Timothy 1:10. Once in Paul, Romans 3:4. Mostly in John. The Cretan habit of lying passed into a verb, κρητίζειν tospeak like a Cretan = to lie: also into a noun, κρητισμός Cretan behavior = lying. Similarly, the licentiousness of Corinth appeared in the verb κορινθιάζεσθαι topractice whoredom, and in the noun κορινθιαστής awhoremonger. Comp. Ov. Artis Amat. i. 296.

“non hoc, centum quae sustinet urbes

Quamvis sit mendax, Creta negare potest.”

“Crete, which a hundred cities doth maintain,

Cannot deny this, though to lying given.”

A familiar saying was τρία κάππα κάκιστα thethree worst K's, Κρῆτες, Καππάδοκαι, Κίλικες CretansCappadocians, Cilicians.

Evil beasts ( κακὰ θηρία )

Rude, cruel, and brutal.

Slow-bellies ( γαστέρες ἀργαί )

Better, idle -bellies. Rev. gives the correct idea, idle gluttons. They are so given to gluttony that they are mere bellies. Comp. Philemon 3:19. Γαστὴρ , elsewhere in N.T. always in connection with childbearing. So mostly in lxx, but in a few instances as here. See Job 20:23; Psalm 17:14; Job href="/desk/?q=job+20:14&sr=1">Job 20:14as the rendering of קֶרֶב, bowels. Ἁργός idleoP. However such words may have befitted the pagan seer, it is not pleasant to regard them as taken up and endorsed by the great Christian apostle, who thus is made to stigmatise as liars, beasts, and gluttons a whole people, among whom he had himself so successfully labored that several churches had been founded in a short time. They are strange words from a venerable Christian minister to a younger minister to whom he had intrusted the care of those very souls; and, in any case, are superfluous, as addressed to one who must have known the characteristics of the Cretans quite as well as the writer himself.

Verse 13

Sharply ( ἀποτόμως )

Only here and 2 Corinthians 13:10(note). Paul has ἀποτομία severity Romans 11:22(note). lxx, ἀποτόμως severelyonly Wisd. 5:22; ἀποτόμος severe(not in N.T.), Wisd. 5:20; 11:10; 12:9. From ἀποτέμνειν tocut off. It signifies abrupt, harsh, summary dealing.

Verse 14

Not giving heed ( μὴ προσέχοντες )

Reprove sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, and may show their soundness by not giving heed, etc. See on 1 Timothy 1:4.

To Jewish fables ( Ἱουδαΐκοῖς μύθοις )

See on 1 Timothy 1:4. Note Jewish. The nature of these we do not know.

Commandments of men ( ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων )

See on 1 Timothy 6:14. Comp. Colossians 2:22. Prescriptions concerning abstinence from meats, marriage, etc. The men are probably those of the circumcision, Titus 1:10. What they teach theoretically, by means of the myths, they bring to bear practically, by means of their precepts.

That turn from the truth ( ἀποστρεφομένων τὴν ἀλήθειαν )

Comp. 2 Timothy 4:4, where the truth and fables appear in contrast.

Verse 15

Unto the pure ( τοῖς καθαροῖς )

The pure in heart and conscience. See 2 Timothy 1:3.

All things are pure

Comp. 1 Timothy 4:4, 1 Timothy 4:5; Acts 10:15; Mark 7:15, Mark 7:18, Mark 7:19; 1 Corinthians 10:26, 1 Corinthians 10:30; Romans 14:20. The aphorism is suggested by the commandments of men, Titus 1:14.

Unto them that are defiled ( τοῖς μεμιαμμένοις )

Only here in Pastorals. See also John 18:28(note); Hebrews 12:15; Judges 1:8. Only in John 18:28in a ceremonial sense. Elsewhere of moral pollution.

Nothing is pure

Their moral pollution taints everything with its own quality. The purest things become suggestors and ministers of impurity.

Mind and conscience ( ὁ νοῦς καὶ ἡ συνείδησις )

For νοῦς see on Romans 7:23: for συνείδησις , see on 1 Peter 3:16.

Verse 16

They profess ( ὁμολογοῦσιν )

Better, confess. See on 2 Corinthians 9:13, and comp. 1 Timothy 6:12. Not loudly and publicly profess (as Huther), but confess as opposed to deny (John 1:20); comp. Hebrews 11:13; Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10.

Abominable ( βδελυκτοὶ )

N.T.oClass. lxx, Proverbs 17:15; 2 Maccabees 1:27. See on βδέλυγμα abomination Matthew href="/desk/?q=mt+24:15&sr=1">Matthew 24:15, and comp. Revelation 17:4, Revelation 17:5; Revelation 21:27. The kindred verb, βδελύσσεσθαι abhor Romans 2:22; Revelation 21:8.

Reprobate ( ἀδόκιμοι )

See on Romans 1:28; see on 1 Corinthians 9:27, and comp. 2 Timothy 3:8. The phrase reprobate unto every good work, N.T.onosupersub.


Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Titus 1:4". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

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