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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Titus 3:8

This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

Adam Clarke Commentary

This is a faithful saying - Πιστος ὁ λογος· This is the true doctrine; the doctrine that cannot fail.

And these things I will - Και περι τουτων βουλομαι σε διαβεβαιουσθαι· And I will, or desire, thee to maintain earnestly what concerns these points. The things to which the apostle refers are those of which he had just been writing, and may be thus summed up: -

  1. The ruined state of man, both in soul and body.
  • The infinite goodness of God which devised his salvation.
  • The manifestation of this goodness, by the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
  • The justification which they who believed received through his blood.
  • The mission of the Holy Spirit, and the purification of the heart by his influence.
  • The hope of the resurrection of the body, and the final glorification of both it and the soul through all eternity.
  • The necessity of obedience to the will of God, and of walking worthy of the vocation wherewith they had been called.
  • And all these points he wills him to press continually on the attention of believers; and to keep constantly in view, that all good comes from God's infinite kindness, by and through Christ Jesus.
  • They which have believed in God - All Christians; for who can maintain good works but those who have the principle from which good works flow, for without faith it is impossible to please God.

    These things are good and profitable - They are good in themselves, and calculated to promote the well-being of men.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    This is a faithful saying - See the notes at 1 Timothy 1:15. The reference here is to what he had been just saying, meaning that the doctrine which he had stated about the method of salvation was in the highest degree important, and entirely worthy of belief.

    And these things I will that thou affirm constantly - Make them the constant subject of your preaching. “That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” This shows that Paul supposed that the doctrines of the gospel were fitted to lead people to holy living; compare Titus 3:1, and the notes at Philemon 4:8. The “good works” here refer not merely to acts of benevolence and charity, but to all that is upright and good - to an honest and holy life.

    These things are good and profitable unto men - That is, these doctrines which he had stated were not mere matters of speculation, but they were fitted to promote human happiness, and they should be constantly taught.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    Titus 3:8

    Maintain good works -

    What we once were. A threefold set of evils is here described.

    1. The first set consists of the evils of the mind: “We were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived.” We were foolish. We thought we knew, and therefore we did not learn. Every lover of vice is a fool writ large. In addition to being foolish, we are said to have been disobedient; and so we were, for we forsook the commands of God. We wanted our own will and way. We were unwilling to yield God His due place either in providence, law, or gospel. Paul adds that we were deceived, or led astray. We were the dupes of custom and of company. We were here, there, and everywhere in our actions: no more to be relied upon than lost sheep.

    2. The next bundle of mischief is found in the evils of our pursuits. The apostle says we were “serving divers lusts and pleasures.” The word for “serving” means being under servitude. We were once the slaves of divers lusts and pleasures. By lusts we understand desires, longings, ambitions, passions. Many are these masters, and they are all tyrants. Some are ruled by greed for money; others crave for fame; some are enslaved by lust for power; others by the lust of the eye; and many by the lusts of the flesh.

    3. We were also the bond slaves of pleasure. Alas! alas! that we were so far infatuated as to call it pleasure! Looking back at our former lives, we may well be amazed that we could once take pleasure in things whereof we are now ashamed. The Lord has taken the very name of our former idols out of our mouths. A holy man was wont to carry with him a book which had three leaves in it, but never a word. The first leaf was black, and this showed his sin; the second was red, and this reminded him of the way of cleansing by blood; while the third was white, to show how clean the Lord can make us. I beg you just now to study that first black page. It is all black; and as you look at it it shows blacker and blacker. What seemed at one time to be a little white darkens down as it is gazed upon, till it wears the deepest shade of all. Ye were sometimes erring in your minds and in your pursuits. Is not this enough to bring the water into your eyes, O ye that now follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth?

    4. The apostle then mentions the evils of our hearts. Here you must discriminate and judge, each one for himself, how far the accusation lies. He speaks of “living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” That is to say, first, we harboured anger against those who had done us evil; and, secondly, we lived in envy of those who appeared to have more good than we had ourselves.

    II. What has been done for us?

    1. First, there was a Divine interposition. The love and kindness of God our Saviour, which had always existed, at length “appeared” when God, in the person of His Son, came hither, met our iniquities hand to hand, and overcame their terrible power, that we also might overcome.

    2. Note well that there was a Divine salvation. In consequence of the interposition of Jesus, believers are described as being saved: “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Hearken to this. There are men in the world who are saved: they are spoken of, not as “to be saved,” not as to be saved when they come to die, but saved even now--saved from the dominion of the evils which we described under our first head: saved from folly, disobedience, delusion, and the like. Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom God has set forth to be the propitiation for sin, is saved from the guilt and power of sin. He shall no longer be the slave of his lusts and pleasures; he is saved from that dread bondage. He is saved from hate, for he has tasted love, and learned to love. He shall not be condemned for all that he has hitherto done, for his great Substitute and Saviour has borne away the guilt, the curse, the punishment of sin; yea, and sin itself.

    3. There was a motive for this salvation. Positively, “According to His mercy He saved us”; and, negatively, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done.” We could not have been saved at the first by our works of righteousness; for we had not done any. “No,” says the apostle, “we were foolish, disobedient, deceived,” and therefore we had no works of righteousness, and yet the Lord interposed and saved us. Behold and admire the splendour of His love, that “He loved us even when we were dead in sins.” He loved us, and therefore quickened us.

    4. There was a power by which we were saved. The way in which we are delivered from the dominion of sin is by the work of the Holy Ghost. This adorable Person is very God of very God. This Divine Being comes to us and causes us to be born again. By His eternal power and Godhead He gives us a totally new nature, a life which could not grow out of our former life, nor be developed from our nature--a life which is a new creation of God. We are saved, not by evolution, but by creation. The Spirit of God creates us anew in Christ Jesus unto good works. We experience regeneration, which means--being generated over again, or born again.

    5. There is also mentioned a blessed privilege which comes to us by Jesus Christ. The Spirit is shed on us abundantly by Jesus Christ, and we are “justified by His grace.” Both justification and sanctification come to us through the medium of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    6. Once more, there comes out of this a Divine result. We become today joint heirs with Christ Jesus, and so heirs of a heavenly estate; and then out of this heirship there grows a hope which reaches forward to the eternal future with exceeding joy.

    III. What we wish to do. “Be careful to maintain good works.”

    1. This precept is full in its meaning. What are good works? The term is greatly inclusive. Of course we number in the list works of charity, works of kindness and benevolence, works of piety, reverence, and holiness. Such works as comply with the two tables of command are good works. Works of obedience are good works. What you do because God bids you do it, is a good work. Works of love to Jesus, done out of a desire for His glory, these are good works. The common actions of everyday life, when they are well done, with a view not to merit, but one of gratitude--these are good works. “Be careful to maintain good works” of every sort and kind.

    2. This precept is special in its direction. To the sinner, that he may be saved, we say not a word concerning good works, except to remind him that he has none of them. To the believer who is saved, we say ten thousand words concerning good works, beseeching him to bring forth much fruit, that so he may be Christ’s disciple. For living works you must have a living faith, and for loving works you must have a loving faith. When we know and trust God, then with holy intelligence and sacred confidence we work His pleasure.

    3. This precept is weighty in importance, for it is prefaced thus: “This is a faithful saying.” This is one among four great matters thus described. It is not trivial, it is not a temporary precept which belongs to an extinct race and a past age. “This is a faithful saying”--a true Christian proverb, “that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” Let the ungodly never say that we who believe in free grace think lightly of a holy life.

    4. I am afraid that this precept of being careful to maintain good works is neglected in practice, or else the apostle would not have said to Titus, “These things I will that thou affirm constantly.” There are still persons in our Churches who need to have the ten commandments read to them every Sabbath day. It is not a bad plan to put up the ten commandments near the communion table where they can be clearly seen. Some people need to see them; though I am afraid, when they come in their way, they wink hard at some of the commands, and go away and forget that they have seen them. Common morality is neglected by some who call themselves Christians.

    5. This, mark you, is supported by argument. The apostle presses home his precept by saying: “These things are good and profitable unto men.” Men are won to Christ when they see Christianity embodied in the good and the true. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

    The connection of faith and good works

    Truth is many sided. And though like a pure gem, it is on all sides equally bright, it cannot all be seen at once. No merely human mind can so take it all up as to give to every part the same sharp and well-defined outline. Truth in the mind of Christ was like light in the sun, pure and undivided, and ever came out in its glorious integrity. In the minds of his followers it was like light in the prism, in which the rays are separated, or like light in the bow, in which, according to certain laws, the rays are first refracted, and then reflected in the drops of rain, and in which we see the conquering splendour of the light in its struggle with darkness. Faith and works were never separated--not even in idea--in the teaching of Christ. In His own mind they were indissoluble, and so in His instructions. If faith did not express itself in corresponding action, He denied the existence of the principle, or rather He treated men as still on the side of the world and of self. His apostles, on the contrary, gave to all truth their own mental cast and colouring, and unless these various colours are allowed to meet and mingle, we shall lack the pure light. Though Paul and James are treating of one and the same subject, each has his own mode of statement; and the light in which he places it depends on his own individual state of mind. Both apostles are teaching and enforcing the same doctrine, but the parties whom they have in view are not the same. The teachers occupy exactly the same position; but those to whom they address themselves have assumed entirely opposite and conflicting points. The contrariety is not in the statements of the inspired men, but in the minds of Christian professors. Each is a firm believer in the article of justification by faith, but it has different phases, and according as it appears to the one or the other, is his representation. The aim of St. Paul is to set forth God’s method of forgiveness and acceptance through the mediation of His Son;--that this is revealed for faith, and that through faith alone do we come to participate in all the provision of redeeming love. Faith, and not, justification, is his theme. There is but one ground of dependence--but one foundation on which the soul can rest her hope of eternal life, and from which all works are necessarily and forever excluded. But having been once brought to repose our faith in the Divine method of salvation, it remains that we give evidence of the fact. We cannot be in communion with the Redeemer of our souls without partaking His higher life; and we cannot be in communion with the Spirit of life without producing the fruits of the Spirit. Hence the challenge of St. James addressed in words of sharp-pointed irony to those who were boasting of their faith as something separate and separable from a life of practical holiness--“Show Me thy faith without thy works.” If it have no outward expression, how is it to be known or discovered? “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” As the spirit is the inward animating and informing principle, and manifests itself in the outward acts and movements of the body, so faith has in it an element of life, which cannot but develop itself in practical godliness and holy activity. It follows that there is not one faith to justify a sinner and another faith to justify a believer. The same faith justifies both; or rather, the faith which brings a man to simple dependence on the propitiation set forth by God for the remission of sins, has in it such a force and vitality as ever afterwards to come out in those buds and blossoms which have their fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life. If this simple fact had been but kept in view, no discrepancy would have been found in the statement of these two inspired men. The one wholly excludes the human element from the Divine method of reconciliation and life, and demands the most childlike faith in Heaven’s revealed and published plan of mercy--the other sets it in the clearest light that wherever this pure unsophisticated faith has existence in the soul, it will ever manifest itself in a course of lofty and persevering righteousness. While faith, and not justification, is the subject treated of by both apostles, it may not be amiss just to glance at the doctrine commonly denominated justification by faith. There are two errors common on this subject. First, justification is confounded with acquittal; and, secondly, man is said to be treated as righteous for the sake of the righteousness of another. Now if he be acquitted, he needs not to be treated as righteous. He is righteous; and is entitled to be dealt with according to his rectitude. And if he be righteous, it is absurd and contradictory to speak of his acquittal. Man has sinned; and the proof of his guilt is overwhelming. With the sentence of condemnation lying heavy upon his heart, he may be pardoned, but he can never be declared to be innocent. But is not the righteousness of Christ said to be imputed to us, and that we become righteous on the ground of His righteousness? In creeds, and catechisms, and commentaries, it certainly is so, but nowhere in the Book of God. The righteousness of Christ is a phrase which never occurs but once in the whole of the Christian Testament. When the great apostle of the nations would heighten our idea of the grace of God, by setting the blessings of redeeming love over against the evils entailed upon our race by the introduction of sin, he says, “As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men unto condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” He does not represent the righteousness of the One, as something imputed or transferred from Christ to man, but simply as the procuring cause of our forgiveness and life. The righteousness is put for the whole work of the Saviour’s mediation, and this is declared to be the sole ground on which the blessings of Divine mercy are extended to our fallen world. Nor is more than this to be extracted from the deep saying of this same apostle, when in words that breathe, lie thus expresses the inmost feeling of his soul: “I have suffered the loss of all things, that I may win Christ and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ--the righteousness which is of God by faith.” The idea here is, that he was supremely anxious to be kept from even the attempt of laying a foundation in his own strivings and doings for his acceptance with God, and that he might ever be led to repose by a simple faith in the one Divine method of forgiveness and salvation. The righteousness of God is God’s revealed plan of saving man through the propitiatory offering of His Son. Faith in this propitiation involves an act of perfect self-renunciation, an acknowledgment of conscious sin and weakness, and a resting upon another for help and succour. Our justification introduces us into a new and loftier relation. Our Father in heaven may not treat us as righteous, but He will most surely bless us as His adopted ones. If we can prefer no claim we may yet possess all good. If salvation can never be of works it can ever be of grace. If life is not a right it is yet our high privilege and our mightier joy. This life is progressive. As the first ray of light that gilds the mountain’s height predicts a meridian sun, and as the first blush of the opening flower promises a full and perfect bloom, so the faintest indications of the life of God in the soul assure us of continued growth and progress, till, from its fulness and exuberance, it burst into all the beauty and perfection of heaven. The power that quickens is the power that purifies. There are spots on the disc of the sun, only they are invisible through the effulgence and the fulness of his light, and there are but few spirits so highly sanctified and refined as to render indiscernible, through the glory which surrounds them, those sin spots which daily alight upon their renewed nature. Nor can the work of inward holiness be perfected so long as we are in this body of death. It is in the act of shaking mortality off that the Spirit puts forth his last and latest effort in the soul; and it is only when the soul has burst her prison wall, let fall the last link of the chain which bound her to earth, and is on her way to the great world of light, that she is conscious of her final and everlasting separation from sin. Up to that mysterious point we may become day by day more closely assimilated to God our Saviour. Our sanctification is inseparable from our justification. It is not enough that we live. It is the will of God that we should enjoy the fulness of life. Life can have fellowship only with life. We must, therefore, detach ourselves from every opposing element and influence. We must give up the material and the visible for the spiritual and the unseen. Enjoyment without activity would not be an unmixed good. It follows that as life is quickened and our nature is purified, we are freed from sloth and sluggishness. The soul moves with a freedom and a swiftness corresponding to the unconfined liberty of heaven. That is a world of never-ending activity, and, in proportion as we rise into conformity with the pure spirits that surround the throne of God, shall we, like them, employ all our renovated powers in holy and active service? Christianity is love--universal, unbounded love--and embraces within itself the present and the everlasting interests of man. And the more we partake its spirit, the more entire will be our consecration--the more unreserved our activity and our service. Let no one be startled and offended with the doctrine of good works. They necessarily flow from faith. They are faith in action. They are “the living effluence of the tide of Divine love,” which refuses to be confined within any prescribed limits, and flows out in deeds of unwearied benevolence and piety. He who repudiates a life of well-doing in the dreamy belief that in the same proportion he is exalting the grace of God, is not the man whose character exhibits the closest correspondence to the pure and sublime requirements of the Book. It is a grand mistake to suppose that the law is repealed by the gospel. In Christianity the law reappears; only it is transfigured and glorified. Every utterance which was given in the thunder tones of Sinai, is re-echoed with heightened emphasis in the Sermon on the Mount, only it comes silent as the light and gentle as the dew from the lips of Incarnate Love. We hold that salvation is by grace and not by works; but where the works are wanting the grace cannot be present. Our activity and our service will be the everlasting recognition and expression of the fact that we have been redeemed by blood and saved by grace. We should be unfaithful to our ministry and to your souls did we dare to say that sin committed by a professed believer is less criminal or less damnable than what we discover in the unregenerate and the unholy. Sin is sin by whomsoever committed, and involves the same tremendous consequences. It is of infinite moment that they who believe in God should be careful to maintain good works--that their life should be pure, their character transparent, and their conduct patent. Their principles should be above suspicion, and their whole course of action such as may challenge the higher light of the world to come. (R. Ferguson, LL. D.)

    The practice of good works

    I. It is not enough to believe what God hath said to be true, and to give our assent to the certainty of Divine revelation, unless our belief influences our heart and life. Christ’s laws, as well as any other, run in this disjunction--either do or suffer; either live holily, or perish everlastingly: nothing is therein promised, but upon condition of our obedience. The main thing our Saviour aimed at all His life was to restore human nature to its primitive purity and perfection, and to advance true piety and holiness in the world; to bring men to a good opinion of and a ready compliance with God’s laws, so that it influences all their actions, faith not being enough to denominate a man a true Christian, unless he goes on to add to his faith virtue, etc.

    II. The practice of good works, taken either for piety towards God or charity towards man, is absolutely necessary for all unto salvation.

    1. They render our services more acceptable unto God. Purity and holiness in the heart, before these be or when there is no opportunity to work, are in themselves good; but when they are demonstrated by godly and charitable actions, then smell they sweet, and are sacrifices well-pleasing.

    2. By them God’s name is more glorified (Matthew 5:16).

    3. By them we shall be the greatest gainers or losers, in that by them we make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10).

    III. Why those are more indispensably obliged to be exemplary in all good works, who have been more particularly acquainted with God’s will, and early instructed in it. As we may be supposed to have been, whose parents were our spiritual guides, as well as fathers of our flesh, and under whose roof we were early seasoned with their daily instructions and good example. We shall, therefore, reflect upon their memory and care, we shall cause others to uncover their ashes with dishonour, unless we adorn that faith our fathers believed, which they taught us, and which we saw them practise. (Thos. Whincop, D. D.)

    On the necessity of good works

    I. The certain truth and credibility of this saying or proposition, that they which have believed in God ought to be careful to maintain good works.

    1. If we consider the great end and design of religion in general, which is to make us happy, by possessing our minds with the belief of a God, and those other principles which have a necessary connection with that belief, and by obliging us to the obedience and practice of His laws.

    2. If we consider the great end and design of the Christian religion in particular, which was to reform the world, to purify the hearts and lives of men from corrupt affections and wicked practices, to teach men to excel in all kinds of virtue and goodness.

    II. The great fitness and necessity of inculcating frequently upon all that profess themselves Christians, the indispensable necessity of the practice of the virtues of a good life. (Abp. Tillotson.)

    Good works

    I. That believers are under obligations to maintain good works is so evident, not only from the text, but from the whole tenor of the Scripture, that I know of no sect of Christians that pretend to deny it. But, with regard to their place and importance as connected with our salvation, great mistakes have been made. It will certainly then be worth our pains to inquire from the oracles of God, “How far and in what respect are our good works necessary to be maintained with regard to salvation.”

    1. In my negative answer to this question, I must first observe that we are not to do good works in order to change God’s purposes and designs towards us; or to excite His benevolence and compassion to us. Our business is to come to Christ and learn of Him, to bow our necks to His yoke, to do good works from faith in Christ, and out of love and obedience to Him; and in that way to hope in God for mercy, for Christ’s sake, and for His own sake, and not for ours.

    2. We are not to do good works with a view to qualify us for our reception of Christ by faith, or for obtaining an interest in Him. The gospel brings glorious tidings of salvation to perishing sinners. It exempts and excludes none who will come to Christ for life, who will come to Him as lost sinners under a sense of their guilt and unworthiness, who will “buy of Him wine and milk without money and without price, and who will take the water of Life freely.”

    3. I must further add that we are not to do good works in expectation that we shall by them obtain a title to the future inheritance. Heaven is a purchased possession; our title to it, our qualification for it, our perseverance in the way that leads thither, and our eternal enjoyment of the glorious inheritance, are all purchased by the blood of Christ. In all these respects Christ Jesus is our Hope; and when we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God,” we must “rejoice in Christ Jesus, having no confidence in the flesh.”

    4. I shall only add that we must not depend upon our good works for renewing supplies of grace, and for continual progress in holiness, and comfort unto God’s heavenly kingdom. We are not only justified by faith, but we must be sanctified by faith too, and of Christ’s “fulness must receive even grace for grace.”

    II. I proceed now to show you in what respects good works are of necessity; and to that purposes they must be done by all those who would approve themselves Christians indeed.

    1. Good works are necessary as being one design of our redemption and effectual calling. Though not the fountain and foundation of a renewed nature, they are always the streams that flow from that fountain, and the super structure upon that foundation. Though they do not sanctify us they are the natural and necessary actings and operations of a sanctified heart.

    2. Good works are necessary, as they belong to the way leading to heaven. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” We must not only “enter in at the strait gate, but walk in the narrow way which leadeth unto life.” They who would hope for heaven hereafter must have it begun in their souls here. Their hearts must be in some measure conformed to the Divine nature and will, that they may be qualified for the enjoyments and employments of the heavenly world.

    3. Good works are necessary as acts of obedience to God’s commands, and a just acknowledgment of His dominion over us. Our freedom from the curses and demands of the moral law as a covenant of life is so far from freeing us from our duty towards it as a rule of practice, or excusing us from a careful observation of its precepts, that the glorious liberty we are made partakers of is given us for this very end that we may serve “God without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.”

    4. Good works are necessary as expressions of our gratitude to God for all His goodness to us, more especially for gospel grace, and the influences of His blessed Spirit. They who have ever tasted that the Lord is gracious, and have any suitable sense of their obligations to Him, will study what they shall render to the Lord for all His benefits; they will delight in endeavours to glorify Him, they will be solicitously careful of a constant conformity to His will, and a peculiar delight in following after holiness.

    5. Good works are necessary to honour our profession, to adorn the doctrine of God bur Saviour, and to bring glory to His name.

    6. Good works are likewise necessary to our inward peace and comfort. A truly tender conscience will always remonstrate against the indulgence of any sin, either of omission or commission. And how unhappy and miserable must that man be to have his heart condemning him; to have a worm gnawing in his breast, to have conscience applying the terrors of the Lord, and representing to Him his guilt and danger! And yet this cannot be avoided without a life of good works. We cannot have grounds of rejoicing, but from “the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God we have our conversation in the world.” (J. King, B. A.)

    Morality the proper subject of preaching

    Among the many causes which have concurred to render our holy religion thus unsuccessful, the indifference and neglect with which many sects of Christians have been accustomed to treat the moral precepts of the gospel deserves, I think, to be considered as none of the least. By giving an imaginary importance to subjects of speculation, concerning which wise and good men have always thought, and will probably continue to think, differently, they have turned aside the attention and zeal of mankind from those things in which their present and future happiness are really and principally concerned. My design is to counteract the influence of these prejudices, as far as I am able, by showing that the principal end of public preaching is to recommend the practice of virtue; and that those who attend upon it should be best satisfied with such discourses as clearly explain and strongly inculcate the several branches of morality as it comprehends our duty to our Maker, our fellow creatures and ourselves, without entering further into subjects of speculation and controversy than is of evident importance to the moral improvement and happiness of mankind.

    1. I observe, in the first place, that if the duties of morality and religion were made the principal subjects of public preaching, it would remove or prevent many evils which have arisen from the contrary practice. The divisions and contentions, the persecutions and cruelties, which have disgraced the Christian Church, from its first establishment to the present day, are so well known that I may be excused the painful talk of entering into a particular enumeration of them. The time, however, seems to be at length arrived, in which men are beginning to see the folly of hating and persecuting one another for a difference in opinion on subjects concerning which it is impossible that they should be agreed. And shameful indeed must be the weakness, and fatal the delusion of mankind in the experience of so many ages hath not been sufficient to teach them this one plain but important lesson, that all zealous contentions about particular modes of faith or worship are unfriendly to the interests of religion, and the happiness of the world. From these circumstances one may hope that the present time is the dawning of a happy day, in which all distinctions of sects shall be abolished and all dissentions and animosities will be forgotten; in which we shall all love one another with pure hearts fervently, and shall cordially unite in the worship of one God, the Father of us all. And what can be more likely to hasten the approach of this delightful period than for the ministers of religion to overlook and as much as possible discourage every party distinction and useless speculation, and constantly to direct the attention of their hearers to those subjects concerning which we are all agreed, and in which we are all immediately interested; I mean the great duties of morality and religion?

    2. Another reason why these duties should be the constant subjects of public preaching is because we may speak concerning them with the greatest perspicuity and certainty. That we ought to venerate the most excellent and perfect of all beings; that we should devoutly and thankfully acknowledge the hand which feeds and clothes us, and gives us richly all things to enjoy; that we should cheerfully submit ourselves to the direction of that Being who ordereth all things well; that we should observe the great laws of equity in all our transactions with mankind; that we should pity, and, if possible, relieve a brother in distress; that we should love our friends, be grateful to our benefactors, and forgive our enemies; that we should behave with honour and generosity, kindness, and charity towards all men; that we should govern ourselves with prudence and discretion, and diligently cultivate the powers which God hath given us; these are truths as obvious as they are important; truths concerning which all mankind in every country, and of every sect, are agreed. They are, therefore, of all others, the most proper subjects of public discourse.

    3. I add this strain of preaching is best adapted to the understanding and taste of the generality of mankind. If a preacher endeavours to establish received opinions, or if he takes pains to overturn them; if he recites the comments of the most learned and celebrated fathers of the Church on difficult texts of Scripture, and supports them; or, if on the other hand, he attempts to explain them in a different manner, and, on this explanation, to ground a more rational scheme of faith; he may perhaps amuse and please a few; but he will, most probably, offend some, soar above the understandings of many, and reach the hearts of none. But if he exhorts his hearers to maintain good works; if he appeals to their consciences for the reasonableness and importance of the duties which he recommends; if he gives them just and lively representations of the influence which the observance or neglect of these duties will have upon their peace and happiness; if he touches the springs of gratitude, benevolence and humanity, of self-love, of hope and fear in their hearts, and calls forth every power and passion within them to assist him in pleading the cause of virtue; he will generally find his audience attentive and serious, and may hope to send them away not only pleased but improved.

    4. Further, we may remark, that to exhort Christians to maintain good works is the proper business of the Christian ministry. Jesus Christ was eminently a Preacher of righteousness. This character He supported during the whole course of His public ministry. All the doctrines which He taught; all the wonderful worlds which He performed; all the pains and sufferings to which He submitted, were with this immediate view, that He might take away sin and bring in everlasting righteousness. Now, by what means can the teachers of religion so properly merit the character of Christian ministers as by pursuing the same important plan with Him whom they acknowledge as their Lord and Master?

    5. The last consideration which I shall mention to evince the reasonableness of making the duties of morality and religion the constant subjects of public preaching is, that they are of the highest importance to the happiness of mankind, and that, in comparison with them, all other subjects are unprofitable and vain.

    6. I will conclude by earnestly recommending it to you to take heed that you hear with the same design with which your ministers do or ought to preach, that you may be confirmed in all goodness. Attend upon public preaching, not with a view to have your favourite opinions established, your curiosity gratified, or your imaginations amused; but to have your evil habits corrected, your good dispositions strengthened, and your characters continually improved. “Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only.” (W. Enfield.)

    The maintenance of good works the fruit of faith

    This text places Christian morals upon a basis sufficiently firm and extended to support the fabric. Well aware of the absolute necessity of preaching sound principles in order to attain to a holy practice, and of the mighty influence which evangelical doctrine, if rightly understood and fairly stated, hath upon holiness in the life, St. Paul heaps privilege upon privilege, and within the compass of three short verses, enumerates the leading articles of our holy religion--giving such a view of them in their connection and influence upon practice, as must delight, constrain and ravish the heart of every believer. From hence I would humbly suggest this general remark, which, by the favour of our God, I intend to prosecute in the sequel of this discourse--whoever in the ministry would really advance the interests of holiness must be constant assertors and unwearied defenders of the doctrines of free grace.

    I. Glance at those things in the faithful saying which our apostle would have the ministers of Christ to affirm constantly, for the express purpose of promoting holiness. The very humbling doctrine of universal depravity (Titus 3:3). We have little reason to be proud or vainglorious, severe or censorious of others, or to despise those who have not obtained mercy with ourselves--a vice which frequently deforms the character even of a child of a God. But by frequently insisting upon the doctrines of universal depravity, the graces of humility, meekness, mildness, tenderness, and benevolence are perceived to be of the highest request for adorning the Christian character, and promoting the happiness of men; and hence the necessity as well as the advantage of affirming it constantly.

    2. The Divine benevolence to man (Titus 3:4). According to this statement, the gospel of our salvation is a system of love--of Divine love--of the love of God towards foolish, disobedient, and enslaved men.

    3. Our salvation is all of grace (Titus 3:5). Men cannot be too diligently cautioned against seeking salvation by the works of the law, nor too distinctly taught to ascribe the glory of the whole to “the Lord our righteousness.”

    4. Grace displayed in regeneration (Titus 3:5). The reality and necessity of regeneration, the Divine Agent by whom the gracious change is accomplished, the manner in which this happy change is effected, with the unbounded mercy and love displayed, both by the Father and the Son, in giving the Holy Ghost for such a purpose. These things cannot be too constantly affirmed: for, till this change be wrought on the nature and the heart, no true reformation will ever adorn the life.

    5. Justification only by grace (Titus 3:7). This is a cardinal article in the scheme of salvation, according to the Scriptures. Well may the preservation or loss of it be designed the mark of a standing or falling Church. It is the glory of the gospel, the melody of the joyful sound, the admiration and the joy of redeemed men, the most powerful motive to holiness which can be presented.

    6. The title secured by justification to the enjoyment of eternal life (Titus 3:7). It is both pleasant and very encouraging to mark, in this statement preceding my text, how regeneration, justification, adoption, and eternal glory, are so linked together in the same chain, that by holding one of the links, the happy possessor is infallibly secured of all the rest. A most glorious and eternal truth--an assurance eminently calculated to enliven the believer’s hope of eternal life in Christ. And “whosoever hath this hope in Him purifieth himself,” as Jesus Christ, his hope “is pure.”

    II. Show that the constant affirmation of the doctrines of the Gospel is the only scripture method of preaching good works. Good works is a general expression for the practice of holiness, or the performance of every part of new obedience, whether it respect moral, civil, or religious duty. To maintain good works, according to the signification of the original word, is to take the lead in the practice of them. The term is of a military illusion. As the officers of an army stand before, or a little in advance of the line, both to display heroism and preserve the order of the troops, so the believer in God is expected and commanded to stand forth, in the view of the world, in the sight of the Church, and particularly in the presence of younger disciples of Christ, as examples of regularity, sobriety, tenderness, and devotion. To be emulous to excel, so as to provoke one another to faith, “to love and to good works.” An emulation this eminently worthy of being cherished! To be “careful to maintain good works,” is to be wholly intent upon the study and the practice of new obedience; for, except the mind feel a deep interest in holiness, from a love to God and a desire to be like Him, the external performance of good works will be cold, formal, and remiss. Hence it follows that the constant affirmation of these doctrines, so happily calculated to cherish the exercise of faith, must be peculiarly friendly to the interests of holiness; nay, more, that the constant affirmation of these things is the only Scriptural and consistent plan of engaging the believer in God to be careful to maintain good works. This I hope to make manifest to your satisfaction from these four considerations.

    1. These doctrines contain the principles, powers, and privileges, by which alone any of the human race become qualified for maintaining good works.

    2. In these doctrines the believer is presented with the most powerful and proper motives and inducements to maintain good works.

    3. These doctrines, when firmly believed, excite an inveterate antipathy at everything contrary to the nature and holy will of God.

    4. The constant affirmation of these things affords the Christian moralist every advantage to state his subject in all its force. (W. Taylor.)

    On the necessity of Christian morality

    I. The necessity of good works in regard to ourselves.

    1. The practice of good works is necessary to prove the reality and sincerity of our faith. Faith or belief is a hidden principle which no man can see, and there is no other way of testifying that we possess this principle, but by the benevolent sentiments which it breathes, and the good actions which it prompts us to perform.

    2. Good works are necessary to promote our moral improvement, We know very well that there is such an indissoluble connection between a true faith and eternal salvation, that the man who is a sincere believer will be justified and sanctified and glorified; but his sanctification is entirely distinct from, and is only a consequence of, his faith and justification. It is therefore necessary that the principle of a Divine life should operate in transforming him from glory to glory, and from one degree of religious and moral improvement unto another, until he be conformed to the image of the Son of God, and attain to the measure of the stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus. It is not merely necessary that he should cease to do evil; but he must learn to do well. In short, by a diligent and unremitting attention to the duties of religion and morality, he must cultivate the principle of universal righteousness and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord.

    3. Good works are necessary to qualify us for heaven. They are necessary to form us to the temper and disposition of Christ, who went about continually doing good; in order that the same mind may be also in us that was in Him; for we may depend upon it, that if we have not the spirit of the Lord Jesus, we are assuredly none of His.

    II. How these things are good and profitable unto men.

    1. These works are good, because they flow from a faith or belief in the command of God, and are done from a principle of conformity to His will.

    2. But the apostle trot only characterises these things as good, he also affirms that they are profitable unto men. We shall, therefore, conclude, by briefly pointing out how these good works are especially profitable to those to whom they are performed; and we are espressly enjoined in Scripture to do good to all men as far as we have opportunity. Now, all who believe in God have it in their power, more or less, to do good to the bodies and the souls of men. This is one substantial reason why we are required to prove our faith by our works. He has ordained many to be rich, and more to be poor, that those to whom He has been bountiful might glorify Him with His own. He has bestowed wisdom and knowledge upon many, that they should instruct the ignorant, reclaim the wandering, and those who are out of the way. He commands us to defend the fatherless and plead for the widow; to be the stranger’s shield and the orphan’s stay; to relieve the oppressed; to pour the balm of consolation into the wounded spirit; to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, that the blessing of those who are ready to perish may come upon us. (D. Stevenson.)

    Good works

    I. Define good works.

    1. That our works may be good, they must be

    2. How these good works must be maintained

    II. The faith which produces good works.

    1. Knowledge of God.

    2. And of the Word of God.

    3. Faith is a composing grace.

    4. A receptive grace.

    5. An operative grace.

    6. A rooting grace.

    7. A humbling grace.

    8. An elevating grace.

    9. A strengthening grace.

    10. A uniting grace.

    11. A working grace.

    12. A saving grace.

    III. How good works are profitable to men.

    1. As evidences of true faith.

    2. Testimonies of gratitude to God.

    3. Strengthening to assurance.

    4. Edifying to others.

    5. Condemning the world. (T. B. Baker, M. A.)

    Practical Christianity

    I. Practical Christianity is good in itself.

    1. It accords with the will of God.

    2. It is an object of moral approbation to all minds.

    II. Good in its influence. Nothing is so useful to men as a Christly life. (Homilist.)

    Some hints to preachers

    I. Fundamental truths are to be continually enforced.

    II. Practical preaching is ever out of season.

    III. Christian duties are of universal application.

    IV. Trivial questions out of place in the pulpit. Inferences

    1. It is possible to have repetition without sameness: “affirm constantly.”

    2. Belief that does not change the life is useless (James 2:17)

    3. The law is to be obeyed in spirit, rather than letter. (F. Wagstaff.)

    Creed and conduct

    The things that Titus is to “affirm constantly,” as we shall see presently, are the doctrines of Christianity. What for? “In order that they which have believed in God” might be orthodox? Guarded against heresies? Certainly! But something more than that. In order that they might “give their minds to being foremost,” as the word might be rendered, “in good works.” That is what you are to preach your theology for, says Paul; and the only way to make sure that your converts shall live sober and righteous lives is to see that they be thoroughly saturated in the great and recondite truths which I have taught you.

    I. The Gospel is degraded unless it is asserted strongly. “These things I will that thou affirm constantly”; or, as the word might be rendered, “asseverate pertinaciously,” persistently, positively, affirm and assert constantly and confidently. That is the way in which Paul thinks it ought to be spoken. “These things.” What things? Well, here they are (verses 4-7). There are all the fundamentals of evangelical Christianity packed into three verses. They are all there--man’s sin, man’s need, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, His sacrificial death, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the act of faith, the inheritance of eternal life. And these are the things which are to be asserted with all the energy and persistency and decisiveness of the speaker’s nature. Paul did not believe in fining them down because people did not like them. He did Dot believe in consulting the “spirit of the age,” except thus far, that the more the spirit of the age was contrary to the truth, the more need for the men that believed it to speak out.

    II. This positive assertion of the truths of revelation is the best foundation to lay for practical godliness. “I will that these things thou affirm constantly, in order that they which have believed might be careful to maintain good works.” Rightly understood and presented, the great body of truth which we call the gospel, and which is summarised in the preceding context, grips daily life very tightly, while, on the other hand, of all the impotent things in this world, none are more impotent than exhortations to be good, which are cut away from the great truths of Christ’s mission and work. The world has been listening to these ever since it was a world, and it is not a bit better for them all. There is only one thing that supplies the requisite motive power for practical godliness, and that is the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His indwelling in our hearts. The motives that the gospel gives for goodness, for holiness, for purity, for self-sacrifice, for consecration, for enthusiasm, for widespread sympathy and benevolence, for contempt of the material and the perishable--the motives that Christianity gives for all things that are lovely and of good report--are the strongest that can ever be brought to bear upon men, as regards their fulness, their depth, their sweetness, and their transforming energy. Then, if it be true that the best foundation for all practical goodness is in the proclamation and the possession of the great message of Christ’s love, two things follow. One is that Christian people ought to familiarise themselves with the practical side of their faith, just as Christian ministers ought to be in the habit of insisting, not merely upon the great revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ, but upon that revelation considered as the motive and the pattern for holy living. And another consequence is that here is a rough but a pretty effective test of so-called religious truth. Does it help to make a man better? It is worth something if it does; if it does not, then it may be ruled out as of small consequence.

    III. The true test and outcome of professing faith is conduct. In the text the fact that these Cretan Christians “believed in,” or rather, perhaps, we should translate simply, “believed God,” is given as a reason why they ought to maintain good works. That is to say, those who profess to have Him for their Lord and Father, those who avow that they are Christians, are by that profession bound to a conduct corresponding to the truth which they say they have received; and to conformity to the will of the God in whom they say that they have believed. Religious knowledge is all very necessary, but what is it for? It is to make us like God. Religious emotion is very necessary, too, and very delightful. It is right that Christian men should feel the glow of love and gratitude, the joy of forgiveness, the lofty and often unspeakable delights of calm communion with Him. All these are essential parts of a deep and true Christian character, but all these are for a purpose. If we are Christians we know God and we feel the emotions of the religious life, in order that we may be and that we may do.

    IV. No one will keep up these good works who does not give his mind to it. “That they … might be careful to maintain.” The word that the apostle employs is a very remarkable one, only used in this one place in the New Testament; and the force of it might be given by that colloquialism which I have ventured to employ--“Giving their minds to maintaining good works.” You have to make a business of it if you would succeed in it. You have to make a definite effort to bring before you the virtues and the excellencies which you ought to possess, and then to try your best to have them. And my text suggests one chief means of securing that result, and that is, the habit--which I am afraid is not a habit with a great many professing Christians--the habit of meditation upon the facts of the gospel revelation looked at in their practical bearing on our daily life and character. We should bring ourselves into that atmosphere, and saturate our minds and hearts with the thoughts of God’s great love to us in Jesus Christ’s death for us, of the pattern in His life, of the gift of His Spirit, of the hope of inheritance of eternal life. We should, by frequent meditation, submit ourselves to the power of these sacred thoughts, and we shall find that in them, one by one, are motives which, twisted together, will make a cord of love that shall draw us up out of the pit of selfishness and the mire of sense, and shall attract us joyfully along the path of obedience, else too hard for our reluctant and unaccustomed feet. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

    Good works

    By flowers, understand faith; by fruit, good works. As the flower is before the fruit, so is faith before good works; so neither is the fruit without the flower, nor good works without faith. Faith and works--‘Twas an unhappy division that has been made between faith and works. Though in my intellect I may divide them, just as in the candle I know there is both light and heat; but yet, put out the candle, and they are both gone; one remains not without the other. So ‘tis betwixt faith and works; nay, in a right conception, fides est opus (faith is work); if I believe a thing because I am commanded, that is opus (work). (T. Selden.)

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    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Titus 3:8". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

    Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

    Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men:

    Faithful is the saying... This is not a formula for introducing either a hymn or a proverb, despite the widespread prejudice to that effect. See under 2 Timothy 2:13, above. This is merely Paul's equivalent of the "Amen, Amen" sometimes used by Jesus.

    Scholars cannot agree upon whether it should be applied here to what precedes, or what comes after. Many refer it to the epic pronouncement in Titus 3:5-7; but Hervey was sure that:

    Here the faithful saying can only be the following maxim: "That they which have believed in God may be careful to maintain good works," the words, "these things I desire that thou affirm confidently" being parenthetically added to give more weight to it.[23]

    Scholars who insist upon applying it to the foregoing "affirm that it is ungrammatical to refer it to the following." But as Conybeare said, "This objection is avoided by taking `that' as a part of the quotation,"[24] as Hervey did, above. Perhaps the biggest objection to construing it as a reference to the preceding is that there is no agreement on "what part" of the preceding is meant. The viewpoint of this writer is that it refers generally . to all Paul was writing.

    Maintain good works... The allegation that this means "pursue honest occupations," while true enough in principle, is not what Paul said here. White pointed out that throughout the New Testament, the terms used here "mean good works in the religious or moral sense."[25]

    [23] A. C. Hervey, Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 21, Titus (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 45.

    [24] J. W. Conybeare, Life and Epistles of St. Paul (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966), p. 762.

    [25] Newport J. D. White, op. cit., p. 200.

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    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    This is a faithful saying,.... Meaning the whole of what is before expressed, concerning the state and condition of God's elect by nature; the appearance of the love and kindness of God to them in the effectual calling; the salvation of them, according to the mercy of God, and not by works of righteousness; regeneration, and renovation by the Spirit of God, in which such an abundance of grace is communicated; and justification by the free grace of God, as God's way of salvation; and by which men are made to appear to be heirs of eternal life, and to have hope of it: now all, and each of this is a faithful saying, is true doctrine, and to be believed, professed, and published: wherefore it follows,

    and these things I will that thou affirm constantly; that is, the above doctrines; the Arabic version renders it, "I will that thou be firm in these things"; and the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, "I will that thou confirmest them": the sense of the apostle is, that he would have Titus be assured of those truths himself; be at a point about them, and without any doubt or hesitation concerning them; and abide firm and constant in them, and speak of them with certainty, boldness, and confidence to others; and endeavour to confirm and establish them in them: for which purpose he would have them be frequently inculcated and insisted on; and that with this further view,

    that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works; for "that", does not design the subject matter of the charge, or what the apostle would have constantly affirmed, but the end, and final event and issue of it; and nothing can more strongly engage to a studious concern for the performance of good works than the frequent insisting upon the above doctrines of grace: "by good works", are meant, not merely honest trades, and the lawful occupations and businesses of life, which should be carefully attended to, and diligently followed, in order to be useful and profitable to themselves, their families, and others; but every good work, every branch of duty, moral, civil, and religious: to "maintain" these according to the signification of the word used, is to excel in them; to outdo others; to go before others, by way of example, and so to provoke to love and to good works; and to make them the employment and business of men's lives; for which there should be a thoughtfulness, a carefulness, a studious concern, especially in those who "have believed in God"; who are regenerated and renewed by the Spirit of God, and are justified by faith in the righteousness of Christ; who believe in him for peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation: these are under great obligations to perform good works; the love of Christ should constrain them to them; and they are the only persons that are capable of doing them well, for they are sanctified, and made meet, and ready for every good work; they are created in Christ Jesus to them; they have the Spirit of Christ in them, and the strength of Christ with them, without which they cannot be performed well; and they have faith in Christ, without which it is impossible to please God.

    These things are good and profitable unto men: which is to be understood not of good works, though these are good in themselves, and profitable to men in their effects; being done among them, and before them, they set them an example of doing good likewise, when evil communications corrupt good manners; and many of them issue in their temporal good, profit, and advantage: but rather the doctrines of the Gospel are here designed, which are before briefly treated of, and are said to be a faithful saying; and which the apostle would have affirmed with, certainty and constancy, in order to engage believers to the performance of good works; and that for this reason, because these doctrines are "good", excellent, valuable, and precious, comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones: the author, matter, end, and use of them are good; they come from God; they are concerning Jesus Christ, and his grace; they contain good tidings of good things; and are exceeding useful to influence faith, hope, love, and a cheerful obedience to the will of God: they are profitable in the hands of the Spirit of God for conviction, conversion, comfort, and edification; for the quickening and enlightening of dead and dark sinners; for the reviving, establishing, and building up of the saints; they are the wholesome words of Christ, and are according to godliness, and are nourishing, when other doctrines eat as a canker: and this sense is confirmed, not only by what goes before, but by what follows after in the next verse; where insipid notions and controversies are opposed unto them, as unprofitable and vain.

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    Gill, John. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    3 [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 c good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

    (3) Again with great earnestness emphasises how we ought to give ourselves to true godliness and avoid all vain questions, which serve to nothing but to cause strife and debate.

    (c) Give themselves earnestly to good works.

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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Greek, “faithful is the saying.” A formula peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles. Here “the saying” is the statement (Titus 3:4-7) as to the gratuitousness of God‘s gift of salvation. Answering to the “Amen.”

    these things, etc.Greek,concerning these things (the truths dwelt on, Titus 3:4-7; not as English Version, what follow), I will that thou affirm (insist) strongly and persistently, in order that they who have believed God (the Greek for ‹believed in God‘ is different, John 14:1. ‹They who have learnt to credit God‘ in what He saith) may be careful (‹Solicitously sedulous‘; diligence is necessary) to maintain (literally, ‹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 — These results of doctrine (“good works”) are “good and profitable unto men,” whereas no such practical results flow from “foolish questions.” So Grotius and Wiesinger. But Alford, to avoid the tautology, “these (good works) are good unto men,” explains, “these truths” (Titus 3:4-7).

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    The saying (ο λογοςho logos). In Titus 3:4-7.

    I will (βουλομαιboulomai). See note on 1 Timothy 2:8.

    That thou affirm confidently (σε διαβεβαιουσταιse diabebaiousthai). Indirect command. For the verb see note on 1 Timothy 1:7.

    That they may be careful (ινα προντιζωσινhina phrontizōsin). Sub-final use of ιναhina with present active subjunctive of προντιζωphrontizō old verb, only here in N.T.

    To maintain good works (καλων εργων προστασταιkalōn ergōn pro). Present middle infinitive of προιστημιproistēmi intransitive use, to stand before, to take the lead in, to care for. Paul is anxious that “believers” may take the lead in good works.

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    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https: Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary


    Tit . Affirm constantly.—R.V. "confidently." Not like a man who is only half convinced of the truth of what he states, nor like a man who is ashamed of what he says, though he may acknowledge its truthfulness. Might be careful to maintain good works.—To be interested to the point of anxiety in the maintenance of noble works.


    Good Works—

    I. Are in harmony with the genius of the gospel.—"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly." The gratuitousness of God's gift of salvation, the great theme of gospel revelation, is an ever-present and powerful motive to practical benevolence. The vain and unprofitable questions reprobated by the apostle do not incite to good works, but are a serious hindrance. The gospel is the only system that helps us to be good and do good. In some of the American lakes the boats are strangely hindered in their progress. They are drawn downwards, and the use of the oar is difficult, because of the magnetic power of deep mud concealed below the surface of the waters. So it is in the lives of men and the life of the world. Good works are vessels that cannot advance without difficulty over the waves of life, because of evil which, as mud, has slowly gathered. There must be purgation: new proclaimings and enforcing of the gospel must become as the powerful, cleansing flow of a great stream.

    II. Must spring from an active faith.—"That they which have believed in God." Faith enables us to see that God is good, approves of good, and will bless only what is good. We learn to credit all that God says as being true and faithful, and we become anxious and diligent to do what will please Him. We believe also that He will certainly punish every dereliction of duty. Faith is a power ever working in the direction of good.

    III. Must be consistently and steadily maintained.—"Be careful to maintain good works." "Good works," says Luther, "do not make a Christian; but one must be a Christian to do good works. The tree bringeth forth the fruit, not the fruit the tree. None is made a Christian by works, but by Christ; and being in Christ, he brings forth fruit for Him." Do all the good you can (1Ti ), in all the ways you can (1Co 15:58), to all the people you can (Mat 5:44-45), at all the times you can (Pro 3:27-28), as long as you can (Ecc 9:10); do all to the glory of God (1Co 10:31).

    IV. Are beneficial to ourselves and to others.—"These things are good [to ourselves] and profitable unto men [to others]." A good deed has a reflex influence. Like mercy, it is twice blessed; it blesses him who gives and him who takes. It adds to the volume of the beneficent force that is working out the regeneration of the world. We cannot bless others without being blessed ourselves.

    Lessons.—The gospel is the ministrant of universal good.

    2. To do good we must first be good.

    3. Good works have no merit, but no one is a Christian without, them.

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    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Affirm constantly ( διαβεβαιοῦσθαι )

    PastoSee on 1 Timothy 1:7. Constantly, not continually, but uniformly and consistently. So Book of Common Prayer, “Collect for Saint John Baptist's Day,” “and after his example constantly speak the truth.” Rend. affirm steadfastly.

    Might be careful ( φροντίζωσιν )

    N.T.oQuite often in lxx. Frequent in Class. To think or consider; hence to take careful thought, ponder, be anxious about.

    To maintain ( προΐ̀στασθαι )

    Mostly in Pastorals, and usually in the sense of ruling, as Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4, 1 Timothy 3:5. The sense here is to be forward in.

    Profitable ( ὠφέλιμα )

    Pastoolxx. Comp. 1 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy 3:16.

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    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https: Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    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.

    Be careful to excel in good works — Though the apostle does not lay these for the foundation, yet he brings them in at their proper place, and then mentions them, not slightly, but as affairs of great importance. He desires that all believers should be careful - Have their thoughts upon them: use their best contrivance, their utmost endeavours, not barely to practise, but to excel, to be eminent and distinguished in them: because, though they are not the ground of our reconciliation with God, yet they are amiable and honourable to the Christian profession.

    And profitable to men — Means of increasing the everlasting happiness both of ourselves and others.

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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    8A faithful saying He employs this mode of expression, when he wishes to make a solemn assertion as we have seen in both of the Epistles to Timothy. (1 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 2:11.) And therefore he immediately adds: —

    I wish thee to affirm these things (263) Διαβεβαιοῦσθαι under a passive termination, has an active signification, and means “to affirm anything strongly.” Titus is therefore enjoined to disregard other matters, and to teach those which are certain and undoubted — to press them on the attention of their hearers — to dwell upon them — while others talk idly about things of little importance. Hence also, we conclude that a bishop must not make any assertions at random, but must assert those things only which he has ascertained to be true. “Affirm these things,” says he, “because they are true and worthy of credit.” But we are reminded, on the other hand, that it is the duty and office of a bishop to affirm strongly, and maintain boldly, those things which are believed on good grounds, and which edify godliness.

    That they who have believed God may be careful to excel in good works, (or, to extol good works, or, to assign to them the highest rank.) He includes all the instructions which he formerly gave concerning the duty of every person, and the desire of leading a religious and holy life; as if he contrasted the fear of God, and well-regulated conduct, with idle speculations. He wishes the people to be instructed in such a manner that “they who have believed God,” may be solicitous, above all things, about good works.

    But, as the verb προΐστασθαι is used in various senses by Greek authors, this passage also gives scope for various interpretations. Chrysostom: explains it to mean, that they should endeavor to relieve their neighbors by giving alms . Προΐστασθαι does sometimes mean “to give assistance;” but in that case the syntax would require us to understand that the “good works” should be aided, which would be a harsh construction. The meaning conveyed by the French word avancer , “ to go forward,” would be more appropriate. What if we should say, — “Let them strive as those who have the pre-eminence?” That is also one meaning of the word. Or, perhaps, some one will prefer what I have enclosed in brackets: “Let them be careful to assign the highest rank to good works.” And certainly it would not be unsuitable that Paul should enjoin that those things should prevail in the life of believers, because they are usually disregarded by others.

    Whatever may be the ambiguity of the expression, the meaning of Paul is sufficiently clear, that the design of Christian doctrine is, that believers should exercise themselves in good works. (264) Thus he wishes them to give to it their study and application; and, when the Apostle says , φροντίζωσι (“let them be careful,”) he appears to allude elegantly to the useless contemplations of those who speculate without advantage, and without regard to active life.

    Yet he is not so careful about good works as to despise the root — that is, faith — while he is gathering the fruits. He takes account of both parts, and, as is highly proper, assigns the first rank to faith; for he enjoins those “who believed in God” to be zealous of “good works;” by which he means that faith must go before in such a manner that good works may follow.

    For these things are honorable I refer this to the doctrine rather than to the works, in this sense: “It is excellent and useful that men be thus instructed; and, therefore, those things which he formerly exhorted Titus to be zealous in affirming are the same things that are good and useful tomen.” We might translate τὰ καλά either “good,” or “beautiful,” or “honorable;” but, in my opinion, it would be best to translate it “excellent.” He states indirectly that all other things that are taught are of no value, because they yield no profit or advantage; as, on the contrary, that which contributes to salvation is worthy of praise.

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    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.

    Ver. 8. That thou affirm constantly] Be well settled in it thyself, and avouch and aver it confidently to others; being ready to make it good, if questioned, διαβεβαιουσθαι.

    Be careful] Bend their wits, and beat their brains, φροντιζωσι.

    To maintain good works] To exceed and excel others in their honest functions and faculties; to be their crafts masters, to bear away the bell from all that are of the same trade or profession. This was Cicero’s study, to be best at anything he ever undertook: should it not then be a believer’s? αιεν αριστευειν και υπειροχον εμμεναι αλλων, παντων κρατιστον. (Plutarch.)

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

    Sermon Bible Commentary

    Titus 3:8

    I. The Gospel is degraded unless it is asserted strongly. "These things I will that thou affirm constantly," or as the words might be rendered, "asseverate pertinaciously, persistently, positively, affirm and assert constantly and confidently." That is the way in which Paul thinks it ought to be spoken. If it is a message, the messenger's business is to deliver it as received and its sender's business, not his, is to look after it when delivered. And if it is a faithful message, then it ought to be asserted on lips that are eloquent, because they are believing; and to come, not as a word of the speaker's own, or the result of his thinking, or with a "peradventure," but as with the force of the "verily, verily, I say unto you," of the incarnate and personal Truth Himself.

    II. Again, there is another thought here worth considering, viz., that this positive assertion of the truths of revelation is the best foundation to lay for practical godliness "in order that they which have believed might be careful to maintain good works." Now, we are often told that our evangelical teaching is far away from daily life, and some people go the length of saying that the central doctrine of the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ is an immoral doctrine. I am not going to discuss the latter statement now. If the former one is ever true, it is the fault of the preacher, not of the message. Rightly understood and presented, the great body of truth which we call the Gospel, and which is summarised in the preceding context, grips daily life very tightly, while on the other hand, of all the impotent things in this world, none are more impotent than exhortations to be good, which are cut away from the great truths of Christ's mission. If it be true that the best foundation for all practical godliness is in the proclamation and the possession of the great message of Christ's love, two things follow, the one is that Christian people ought to familiarise themselves with the practical side of their faith, just as Christian ministers ought to be in the habit of insisting, not merely upon the great revelation of God's love in Jesus Christ, but upon that revelation considered as the motive and the pattern for holy living. (2) Another consequence is that here is a rough but a pretty effective test of so-called religious truth. Does it help to make a man better? It is worth something if it does: if not, then it may be ruled out as of small consequence.

    III. The true test and outcome of professing faith is conduct.

    IV. No one will keep up these good works who does not give his mind to it. "That they... might be careful to maintain." My text suggests one chief means of securing that result—the habit of meditation upon the facts of the Gospel revelation looked at in their practical bearing on our daily life and character.

    A. Maclaren, The God of the Amen, p. 148.

    References: Titus 3:8-14.—H. W. Beecher, Sermons, 5th series, p. 341. Titus 3:9.—Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 324. Titus 3:12.—W. Morison, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 24.

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    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:

    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Titus 3:8. This is a faithful saying, &c.— "But though believers are put into a state of justification, merely by grace, or through the divine favour, this is a matter of certain truth and great importance; and, concerning these things, I order that you strenuously insist upon it, that they who have believed in God, as he has revealed himself in the gospel of his Son, should be very careful to stand up for good works:"—that is, all those actions which embrace or include our duty towards God, our neighbour, and ourselves. These good and excellent works the Christians were to maintain and stand up for; to defend them, as it were, from whatever might tend to make themselves remiss in the performance of them. Nothing can more exactly suit the connection: the Judaizers made no account of good works; they represented them as of little or no moment, compared with believing, as they said, about Jewish fables, or the endless genealogies, or generations of the Eons; the perpetuity of the Mosaic law, and its being obligatory upon the Gentiles, as well as Jewish Christians. (See Titus 3:9.) Hence the apostle, in contradiction to such vain and unprofitable jargon, enjoins Titus, ch. Titus 2:1, &c. to teach things which became sound doctrine; namely, that all persons should practise good works; (see also Titus 3:14.) And here again he strongly inculcates the same important truths. It deserves great regard, that St. Paul accounted this a matter of the utmost moment; and ordered Titus not to urge good works now and then, or as a thing by the bye; but to be constantly, or with all his might, affirming, that Christians ought to maintain good works. See on ch. Titus 2:14. Good works are here represented as amiable and excellent in themselves, and greatly useful and profitable unto mankind; so they are called καλα εργα, beautiful works. These, therefore, are things which the ministers of Christ are to affirm constantly, or strenuously.

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    Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https: 1801-1803.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    Our apostle having in the foregoing verses spoken of justification by grace without works of righteousness, doth here immediately give a strict and solemn charge to Titus, to press the necessity of good works upon those who did believe and embrace the gospel, on purpose to prevent all mistake and abuse of the doctrine of justification by faith, and free grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ; intimating, that they who are justified by the faith of the gospel, should be so far from thinking themselves hereby excused from good works, that they ought upon that account to be the more careful to maintain and practise them, because, by the very profession of the Christian faith and religion, they have solemnly engaged themselves so to do.

    Observe here, 1. That the great design of Christianity, and the end of God in the revelation of the gospel, was to reform the lives and manners of men, and to oblige all persons both to be good and to do good.

    Learn, 2. From the apostle's vehement asseveration, This is a faithful saying, and his solemn charge, These things I will that thou affirm constantly, that there have been persons in all ages, who have exalted the virtue of faith, if not intentionally, yet indiscreetly, to the prejudice and neglect of a good life.

    As if by a mere speculative belief and profession of Christianity, men were discharged from the practice of moral duties. God grant that the decried morality of some persons may be an integral part of my religion.

    Learn, 3. That though good works are not necessary before justification to bring us into a justified state, yet they are necessary after justification, in order to our continuance in that state; Not by works of righteousness which we have done, that is, before faith; but he doth not exclude the works of righteousness in the least, that they should hereafter do by virtue of the new nature given to them, from being conditions of their future happiness. As morality doth not make faith useless, so neither doth faith bring any excuse for immorality.

    Learn, 4. That it is not sufficient that believers do good works, but they must maintain good works: the words signify they must be patterns and precedents, they must be eminent and excelling in good works: and let their faith be never so excellent, if they do not add to their faith virtue, it is but fancy, a strong faith built upon a weak foundation.

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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https: 1700-1703.

    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    8.] Faithful is the saying (reff.: viz. the saying which has just been uttered, ὅτε ἡ χρηστότης κ. τ. λ. This sentence alone, of those which have gone before, has the solemn and somewhat rhythmical character belonging for the most part to the “faithful sayings” of the apostolic church quoted in these Epistles), and concerning these things (the things which have just been dwelt on; see above) I would have thee positively affirm (‘confirmare,’ Vulg.; ‘asseverare,’ Beza: cf. Polyb. xii. 12. 6, διοριζόμενος καὶ διαβεβαιούμενος περὶ τούτων. The διὰ implies persistence and thoroughness in the affirmation), in order that (not, ‘that,’ implying the purport of that which he is διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, nor is what follows the πιστὸς λόγος, as would appear in the E. V.: what follows is to be the result of thorough affirmation of Titus 3:4-7) they who have believed (have been brought to belief and endure in it: the present would perhaps express the sense, but the perfect is to be preferred, inasmuch as πιστεύειν is often used of the hour and act of commencing belief: cf. Acts 19:2; Romans 13:11) God (trusted God, learned to credit what God says: not to be confounded with πιστ. εἰς, John 14:1, 1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 1:21—or πιστ. ἐν, Mark 1:15 (not used of God), or πιστ. ἐπί, Romans 4:5. There appears no reason for supposing with De W. that these words describe merely the Gentile Christians) may take care to ( φροντίζειν with an inf. is not the ordinary construction: it commonly has ὅπως, ἵνα, ὡς, εἰ, μή, or a relative clause. We have an instance in Plut. Fab. Max. c. 12, τὰ πραττόμενα γινώσκειν ἐφρόντιζεν. See Palm and Rost, sub voce) practise (a workman presides over, is master and conductor of, his work: and thus the transition in προΐστασθαι from presiding over to conducting and practising a business was very easy. Thus we have, tracing the progress of this transition, οὗτοι μάλιστα προειστήκεισαν τῆς μεταβολῆς, Thuc. viii. 75: πῶς οὐ φανερὸν ὅτι προστάντες τοῦ πράγματος τὰ γνωσθένθʼ ὑφʼ ὑμῶν ἀποστερῆσαί με ζητοῦσιν, Demosth. 869, 2: ἀσπασία οὐ κοσμίου προεστῶσα ἐργασίας, Plut. Pericl. 24: τέχνης προΐστασθαι,— ὣ τοῖσιν ἐχθροῖςπροὐστήτην φόνου, Soph. El. 968: χειρὶ βιαίᾳ προστῆναι τοῦ πανουργήματος, Synes. Ep. 67, p. 211 d. See Palm and Rost, sub voce) good works: these things (viz. same as τούτων before, the great truths of Titus 3:4-7, this doctrine; not, as Thl., ἡ φροντὶς καὶ ἡ προστασία τῶν καλῶν ἔργων, ἢ αὐτὰ τὰ καλὰ ἔργα, which would be a tautology: see 1 Timothy 2:3) are good and profitable for men.

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    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https: 1863-1878.

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 2265


    Titus 3:8. 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.

    ONE of the principal ends of a Christian ministry is, to stem the torrent of iniquity, and to meliorate the moral habits of mankind. If this be not attained, nothing is done to any good purpose. The mysteries which may be opened might as well be concealed: the arguments which may be urged might as well be suppressed. No glory can be brought to God, no benefit be secured to man, but through a moral change wrought upon the hearts and lives of men. In this, all are agreed. Even the profane, who neither regard nor practise one moral duty, will acknowledge this.

    But then a question arises; ‘How shall this end be obtained?’ Upon this question there will be a great diversity of sentiment. The general answer would be, ‘Preach upon good works; inculcate the value and importance of them: trouble the people as little as possible about the doctrines and mysteries of religion; and labour principally, if not exclusively, to establish good morality.’ Unhappily for this land, this sentiment has in past times been too generally adopted. There may be some indeed (we trust they are very few), who run to a contrary extreme, and dwell upon doctrines to the utter exclusion of good works: but a very great part of the Christian world imagine, that the inculcating of Christian principles is of but little use in the production of morals: and hence it is that the peculiar doctrines of our religion have so small a share in our public ministrations. Many will even quote the words of our text as sanctioning this practice, and as enjoining ministers to dwell principally upon the subject of good works. But the text, properly understood, has a directly opposite aspect: it is an express injunction to Titus to bring forward continually the leading doctrines of our religion, in order to [Note: ἵνα, to the end that.] lead men to the practice of its duties.

    Following his instructions, we propose to shew,

    I. What subjects a Christian minister ought chiefly to insist upon—

    The things which St. Paul “willed us constantly to affirm,” are those which are specified in the foregoing context: they are,

    1. The extreme degeneracy of our nature—

    [What St. Paul speaks of himself and of all the other Apostles in their unregenerate state, is equally true of us [Note: ver. 3.]: whether we look around us, or within us, we shall see that the representation is just. The foregoing part of it characterizes us at all times: the latter, whenever suitable opportunities are afforded us for displaying the feelings of our minds. The evil principles are within us, whether exercised or not: they may sleep, and thereby escape notice; but they are easily roused, and ready to act the very moment that an occasion arises to call them forth.

    Now men like to have these humiliating representations kept out of sight: they love to hear flattering accounts of their own praise-worthy conduct and amiable dispositions. But we must declare to them what God has declared to us; and what we know by bitter experience to be true. If we neglect to shew them these things, how can we hope that they should ever be brought to repentance? If they know not the depth of their own depravity, they can never be duly humbled for it, and consequently can never receive aright the consoling doctrines of the Gospel.

    On these things then we must insist; and respecting the truth of these things we must “constantly affirm.”]

    2. The means which God has used for our recovery—

    [In the fulness of his heart St. Paul expatiates upon the wonders of redeeming love [Note: ver. 4–7.]. He traces all to the free, the rich, the boundless mercy of Jehovah; who, in execution of his eternal counsels, has, for Christ’s sake, poured out his Spirit upon man, in order to renew his nature, and to fit him for glory. In short, he traces the salvation of man to three united causes; the Father’s love, the Son’s merits, and the Spirit’s influence.

    One would suppose that these subjects should be the most welcome of all that can be presented to our view. But this is not the case: for, however great the encouragement that is derived from them, they all have an humiliating tendency: they shew us the depth of our misery, that called for such a remedy: they constrain us to acknowledge our obligations to the grace and mercy of God, and our entire dependence on the merits of his Son, and the influences of his Spirit. On these accounts men would rather be amused with moral essays, than instructed in these mysterious truths.

    But we must “affirm these things;” we must affirm them “constantly;” for they are “faithful sayings,” and truths in which our everlasting welfare depends. To make these known, and understood, and felt, should be the great object of all our labours.]

    That we may not be thought to lay too great a stress on these subjects, we shall shew,

    II. Why they deserve so great a portion of our attention—

    The Apostle assigns reasons the most satisfactory imaginable:

    1. They are the appointed means of promoting good works—

    [It is a lamentable but undoubted fact, that where morals only are insisted on, or where the foregoing doctrines are but occasionally stated, the great mass of the people are ignorant of the fundamental truths of our religion, and their morals rarely experience any visible or important change. Nor can we wonder at this, if only we consider, that God has appointed other means for the reformation of mankind; and that the means he has appointed, are alone suited to produce the end.

    Is it asked, ‘Whence the stating of Christian doctrines should work so powerfully, while the pressing home of moral duties fails to produce any such effects?’ we answer, That God will bless the means which are of his own appointment, when he will not prosper those which are substituted in their place; and, that there is in the doctrines before stated a natural and proper tendency to produce a change both of heart and life. Suppose a person truly to receive what God has declared respecting the extreme degeneracy of our nature; can he fail of being humbled in the dust? Can he do otherwise than stand amazed at the forbearance of God towards him? Can he refrain from saying, ‘O that I could serve my God with as much zeal and diligence as ever I exerted in violating his commands?’ Suppose him then to receive all the glorious truths relative to the way of salvation; will he not be filled with admiring and adoring thoughts of God’s mercy? Will not “the grace of Christ,” and “the love of the Spirit,” constrain him to cry out, “What shall I render to the Lord for all the benefits that he hath done unto me?” Yes; let him only be penetrated with a sense of what God has done for his recovery, and he will not only “be careful to maintain,” but studious to excel [Note: προΐστασθαι.] in, good works: he will not be contented to conform to the world’s standard of morality, but will seek to become pure as God is pure, and “holy as God is holy.”]

    2. They “are good and profitable unto men”—

    [This expression of the Apostle may be understood either of the doctrines of Christianity, or of the good works produced by them, or (which we rather prefer) of both together.

    Who must not acknowledge the excellence and utility of the doctrines? We confidently ask, What has reformed the world, as far as any change has taken place in its habits? Have the dogmas of philosophers produced this effect; or has it been wrought by the influence of Christianity? Let any one contemplate the change that took place upon the converts on the day of Pentecost; let him see the odoriferous myrtle starting up in the place of the noxious brier, and say whether these doctrines be not “good and profitable unto men?” Or let the appeal be made to living Christians: are there not many that must say, ‘Before I heard those doctrines I was altogether earthly, sensual, and devilish; but from the moment that I received them into my heart, I have experienced a total change of character: my spirit and temper have been wonderfully improved; my desires and pursuits have been altogether altered; I am become quite a new creature: now also my peace flows down like a river; death has been disarmed of its sting, and I look forward to the eternal state with unspeakable delight?’

    That the good works which are produced by these doctrines are also beneficial, we gladly affirm. As for the works that are unconnected with these doctrines, they are neither good nor profitable unto men; because they are essentially defective both in their principle and end: but the works that flow from them are both “good and profitable:” they are truly “good,” because they proceed from love to God, and from an unfeigned desire to promote his glory; and they are “profitable,” because they are evidences to us of our own sincerity; they bring peace and joy into the soul [Note: Isaiah 32:17.]; they advance our meetness for heaven; and they increase that eternal weight of glory which shall be given us in exact proportion to the number and quality of our works [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:10.]. Let not any one imagine, that, by dwelling on the principles of religion, we mean to disparage its fruits: no: only let the fruits proceed from love to God, and a desire to promote his glory, and they cannot be spoken of too highly: the smallest service performed in such a way, shall in no wise lose its reward.]

    Hoping that the giving to the doctrines of Christianity a considerable share of our attention is vindicated to your satisfaction, we conclude with two words of advice:

    1. Meditate much and deeply on the fundamental principles of our religion—

    [If it be the duty of ministers constantly to set before you the leading truths of Christianity, it must doubtless be your duty constantly, as it were, to revolve them in your minds. It is on them that you are to found your hopes: from them, you are to derive your motives and encouragements: through them, you will receive strength for the performance of all your duties. It is by them that you are to be brought to believe in God, and, “having believed in God,” to be made careful and diligent in all good works. Let them therefore be your meditation day and night, and you shall find them “sweeter than honey, or the honeycomb,” and “dearer than thousands of gold and silver.”

    2. Display the influence of those principles in your life and conversation—

    [If you dishonour your profession, the ungodly world will take occasion from your actions to vilify your principles, and to represent your misconduct as the natural effect of our preaching. If they would argue so in their own case, they would do well: for their disregard of all the higher duties of religion does indeed arise from their contempt of its doctrines. But the experience of the primitive saints, and of thousands that are yet alive, sufficiently refutes the idea of our principles tending to licentiousness. However, be careful that you do not give to your adversaries any occasion for such reflections. Shew them, that the doctrines you profess, are “doctrines according to godliness.” The light of holiness will do more than ten thousand arguments to stop the mouths of gainsayers, and to recommend the Gospel to their acceptance. “Shew them therefore your faith by your works;” and constrain them to acknowledge, that you by your principles are enabled to attain a height of holiness, which they shall in vain attempt to emulate.]

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    Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https: 1832.

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

    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].

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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https: 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Titus 3:8. πιστὸς, faithful) The reference is to what goes before.— περὶ τούτων, concerning these things) not concerning things frivolous: 1 Timothy 1:7, at the end.— φροντίζωσι, that they be careful) no longer foolish, Titus 3:3. [Diligence is necessary.—V. g.]— καλὰ, good) entirely and substantially so. The antithesis is, vain, in the next verse.— ὠφέλιμα, profitable) The antithesis is, unprofitable, ibid.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https: 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    This is a faithful saying: we had this phrase before, 1 Timothy 1:15 3:1 4:9 2 Timothy 2:11. It may be applied to what went before, or what follows.

    And these things I will that thou affirm constantly; this is the doctrine I would have thee preach, maintain, and stand to.

    That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works; that those who assent to these things as true, and have cast their souls upon God and Jesus Christ for the fulfilling of them, may (considering good works are the condition annexed to the promise of this eternal life and salvation) be careful to practise all that God hath commanded them in all their relations.

    These things are good and profitable unto men; all these things are true in themselves, and profitable for men to know and understand.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture



    Titus 3:8.

    THERE is so much about ‘good works’ in the so-called Pastoral Epistles {the two to Timothy, and this to Titus}, that some critics who think they have sharp eyes have concluded that Paul was not their author. But surely it is very natural that as a man gets older he shall get more practical, and it is equally natural that he should fight the enemies who are in front of him at the moment, and not thrice slay the slain. Obviously the churches whom he had in view in his letters to Timothy and Titus did not stand in need of the elaborate and far-reaching argumentation of the Epistle to the Romans, or of the great protest against Jewish ritualism in the Epistle to the Galatians, or of the profound teaching about the Church which is in the Epistle to the Ephesians. The foundation had been laid, and, like a sensible man, Paul proceeded to build upon it. So instead of the difference in tone between those more theological letters and this more practical one being a cause of suspicion as to the authorship of the latter, it seems to me to be an argument in favour of the identity of authorship. The variation in tone corresponds to what happens in the case of every thoughtful Christian teacher as he grows in years, and comes to feel more and more that all doctrine is for practice. Here, then, we have the Apostle’s last will and testament, so to speak, left to all the churches, that ‘they which believe in God might be careful to maintain good works.’

    According to that, the hall-mark of a Christian is conduct - ‘good works.’ But we must beware of narrowing the meaning of that expression, as is too often done, so as to include in it mainly certain conventional forms of charity or beneficence, like ‘slumming’ or tract-distributing, or Sunday- school teaching, and the like. These and such as these are, no doubt, one form of good works, but by no means the whole, and their having all but monopolized the name is one reason why many Christian people fail to apprehend the full significance of New Testament teaching on the subject. These acts are but as a creek in a great sea. Paul tells us what he takes to be included in the designation, when he bids the Philippians think on ‘whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honourable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,’ and having thought on them, do them.

    I have omitted one word in that quotation, for Paul speaks also of ‘whatsoever things are lovely.’ Loveliness is an essential quality of the highest kind of good works. Many of us know that the Greeks, wise beyond many who have clearer light but duller eyes, used the same word to express goodness and beauty. The Apostle uses that pregnant word in our text, and we should well ponder the teaching given by that word. For it tells Christians that they are to take heed to make their goodness lovely, not to ‘graft grace on a crab-stock,’ nor to present a frowning goodness to the world. It is not enough that they who believe in God should be careful to exhibit conduct which commends itself to every man’s conscience as right and pure. They should also commend themselves as being fair with a more than earthly beauty, and lustrous with a more than earthly radiance. There are many Christian people who spoil the effect of high-principled, self-sacrificing conduct by forgetting that beautifulness is an essential part of the highest goodness. Sour grapes are not the grapes that are intended to be grown on the true vine.

    But now, will you notice, as a further light upon Paul’s notion of how to go about growing these grapes, what goes before? ‘These things. I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which believe in God might be careful to maintain good works.’ What are ‘these things’? They are a brief summary of what we call ‘the Gospel’; the evangelical teaching that ‘the kindness and love of God our Saviour’ had ‘appeared,’ and that ‘He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost... that.. ‘we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.’ In effect Paul says to Timothy: ‘Now keep on insisting upon that.’ The word translated ‘affirm constantly’ is a very strong one. It means a forcible and continually repeated enunciation, and the plain English of Paul’s injunction to Timothy is: Keep on preaching the gospel as the surest way to produce disciples full of good works. People say to us: ‘Come down to daily life and conduct; never mind your dogmas.’ If you leave out what these critics mean by dogma, and try to make daily life beautiful without it, you may as well hold your tongue. And the men who forget to ‘affirm’ these things ‘constantly,’ and preach morals without gospel, are like Builders who begin to build on the second story, whose baseless castles in the air are sure to come down in ruins. The true way to produce moral conduct is to bring into clear prominence evangelical truth.

    But notice again, it is ‘those which believe in God who will be careful to maintain good works.’ That is to say, faith is the productive cause of good works, and good works are, as I said,’ the hall-mark of faith.’ If a man believes, then he will do ‘good works.’ The converse must also be true. If a man does not do good works, what, then, about his belief? ‘Show me thy faith without thy works’ - that is an impossible demand. The only way to show faith is by our works, and so all attempts to rend them apart, either in theory or in practice, are as absurd as it would be to take a piece of cloth, and try to tear away the inside from the outside. ‘Faith’ is the underside, ‘good works’ is the upper, and the web is one. Faith is the principle of works; works are the manifestation and making visible of faith.

    So now turn for a moment to another point. The Apostle’s command here implies a principle, that Christian work should always, and will always, if the faith is genuine, be in advance of all other sorts of good work. That is implied in one of the words used here which means literally’ be foremost, stand in the front,’ and I see no reason why the literal meaning should not be retained here. If it is retained, we have the thought implied - if you are a Christian man you should be ahead of the world in your goodness. You should lead, and not follow, or keep step with those who are not Christians. The Church’s morality on the wide scale and individual practice on the narrow, ought to be, and will be, if we are true to the gospel, far in advance of the ordinary opinion and practice of the day in which we Bye. If we are Christians, we are meant to be leaders, and that means that we shall often, like other leaders, have to endure a great deal of obloquy and calumny from the people whom we are trying to lead, and who are loitering behind us. The Christian Church, as the Apostle James says, is meant to be a ‘kind of first fruits of God’s creatures,’ ripe before the others, riper than the others always. Does the Christian Church lead the conscience of England to-day? Does it even try to do it? Does it recognise that its function is not to re-echo the morality of the street or of the newspaper, but to peal out the morality of Jesus Christ? Is it enough that Christian people should be as good, as charitable, as beneficent, as much interested in social questions as others, or should have the better, the purer, and the happier lives of the community for their great aim, as much as other people have them? Would it be enough to say ‘the electric light is about as bright as a tallow candle?’ Is it enough to say, ‘Christian people keep abreast of the world’s morality?’ Let them go in advance, and if they go very far ahead sometimes, none the worse; the laggards will perhaps come up. But at all events, whether they do or not, ‘I will that these things thou affirm constantly, in order that they which believe in God may take the lead in good works.’

    And now there is a last point to be noted, and that is the Apostle’s warning that, although thus the belief of the gospel, and the faith which springs from the belief, are the spring of good work, yet these will not become ours unless we are careful to stand in front.

    What does that carefulness mean? The word implies two things, and the first of them may be put in the shape of an exhortation - bring your brains to bear on these truths that are being thus ‘constantly affirmed.’ Bring them into your hearts through your minds, that they may filter into and shape the life. I believe that one main reason why the morality of the Christian Church is not much further in advance of the morality of the world than it is, is because the individual members of the Church do not bring their minds into contact with the great truths of the gospel in such a fashion as they should. Christian practice is thin and poor and inconsistent, because Christian meditation on the gospel and on the Lord of the gospel, is shallow and infrequent. The truths that are to be ‘affirmed’ are the fuel that feeds the fire, and if there are no coals put on, the fire will very soon die down-And so there must be ‘carefulness,’ which means the occupation of the mind with the truths that produce holiness of life.

    And there must be another thing, there must be a definite and direct and continuous effort to increase our faith. I have been saying that faith is the underside of all noble conduct; and in the measure in which it is strengthened, in that measure accurately will our ‘good works’ increase. Suppose Manchester had had two pipes from Thirlmere instead of one, during recent droughts, should we have been in such straits for water? There was plenty in the lake, but we could not get it into our houses because we had not piping enough. There is plenty of power in our gospel and in our God to make us rich in ‘good works.’ What is lacking is that we have not that connection, which is made by faith, through which the fulness of God will flow into our lives. If they want to grow crops in Eastern lands they have little to do but to sow the seed and to irrigate. Christ has sown the seed in His gospel. We have to look after the irrigation, and the crops will come of themselves. So our main effort should be to keep ourselves in touch with that great Lord, and to increase the faith by which we make all His power our very own.

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https:

    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    To the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit Christians are indebted for the difference between them and the most heinous sinners. This they should feel, and should show their gratitude in doing good as they have opportunity, by precept, example, and every proper method, to all their fellow-men.

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    Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Family Bible New Testament". https: American Tract Society. 1851.

    Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

    8. πιστὸς ὁ λόγος. The ‘faithful saying’ in question is certainly to be found in the preceding Titus 3:4-7; it has even been supposed by some that we have here a fragment from a hymn on the way of salvation (see on 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:10), but there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the hypothesis. No nobler statement of doctrine is found anywhere in the Pauline Epistles than these verses present.

    καὶ περὶ τούτων βούλομαί σε διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, and concerning these things I will (see on 1 Timothy 2:8) that thou affirm confidently. See for διαβεβαιοῦσθαι on 1 Timothy 1:7.

    ἵνα φροντίζωσιν καλῶν ἔργων προἶστασθαι οἱ πεπιστευκότες θεῷ, that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. Right belief must exhibit its fruits in life; this is the continual burden of St Paul’s exhortations in the Pastoral Epistles; see on 1 Timothy 2:10. φροντίζειν does not happen to occur again in the N.T., but it is frequent in the LXX. For the translation maintain good works the R.V. gives the marginal alternative “profess honest occupations.” There is no doubt that this is an admissible meaning for προῑ̓στασθαι, and ‘honest trades’ would give a very good sense to the injunction here, and again at Titus 3:14. But the usage of the phrase καλὰ ἔργα in the Pastorals (see on 1 Timothy 2:10) is decisive for the rendering good works here, as in the other instances of its occurrence; and προῑ̓στασθαι may very well mean ‘be forward in,’ ‘be foremost in the practice of’ (see 1 Thessalonians 5:12, and 1 Timothy 3:4-5; 1 Timothy 3:12). We therefore retain with confidence the ordinary rendering of the words.

    ταῦτά ἐστιν καλὰ καὶ ὠφέλιμα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις. These things, sc. the preceding injunctions, are good and profitable unto men. For ὠφέλιμος see on 1 Timothy 4:8.

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    "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https: 1896.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    8. This… saying—Trustworthy is the statement; namely, the statement of 5-7.

    Affirm constantly—As the sum and substance of that Gospel which the errorists oppose, but which Crete must be made to hear and believe.

    That—In order that. Titus’s constant affirmation of the Gospel aims at the end of reforming and saving men. The purpose of the doctrine is, to transform the pagan and the Jew to holy Christians.

    Maintain good works—By shunning the prevalent Cretan vices, and exhibiting all the Christian virtues.

    Profitable unto men—Making them holy and happy.

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men,’

    ‘Faithful is the saying’ must look back to the whole of the previous Titus 3:4-7. It is saaying that it is something that is totally unquestionable. Thus Paul wants Titus to affirm it constantly, in order to ensure that all who have savingly believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. Paul knows nothing of a Christian who is not directly involved in going around doing good. And he sums it all up by saying, ‘These things are good and profitable to men’, as they surely are.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https: 2013.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    The "trustworthy statement" ( 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11) Paul referred to is probably what he had just written in Titus 3:4-7. The first "these things" in this verse are the things that he had just described in those verses. Titus was to speak about these great truths confidently (cf. Titus 2:15). The intended result was to be that those who have trusted God for salvation would practice good works (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:14-26). The second "these things" in the verse refers to these good works. This verse summarizes the point Paul made throughout this epistle. Good works, he added, are essentially excellent as well as profitable for everyone on the practical level.

    "The best way a local church has to witness to the lost is through the sacrificial service of its members." [Note: Wiersbe, 2:268.]

    Some successors of the Protestant Reformers (e.g, Theodore Beza in Geneva, and Williams Perkins in England) argued that a true believer in Jesus Christ will inevitably persevere in faith and in good works. This appears to have been an overreaction to the Roman Catholic accusation that justification by faith alone leads to antinomianism. If the professing Christian does not continue to persevere in faith and good works, these reformers contended, such a person was never really saved in the first place. [Note: See R. T. Kendall, Calvin and English Calvinism to1649; idem, Once Saved . . ., pp207-17; and M. Charles Bell, Calvin and Scottish Theology: The Doctrine of Assurance.] Paul"s strong exhortation for believers to maintain good works indicates that he believed it was possible for genuine Christians not to maintain good works.

    "The purpose of the epistle to Titus was to instruct him about what he should do and teach in the Cretan churches. A special theme of the letter is the role of grace in promoting good works among God"s people ( Titus 2:11 to Titus 3:8)." [Note: Litfin, p761. Cf. Mounce, p452.]

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https: 2012.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Titus 3:8. Paul reverts to the idea of Titus 3:1, emphasizing his admonition.

    Faithful saying—only found in Pastoral Epistles—1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:3, 1 Timothy 4:9, 2 Timothy 2:11. Alford thinks it describes a class of statements already current in the apostolic Church as accepted formulae of doctrine. Such doctrines cannot be too often enforced, in order that Christians may ‘apply study and care’ to maintain, rather, ‘to practise like a skilled craftsman’ practical duty, and not idle speculation. The rendering, ‘to practise honest callings,’ though admissible, narrows the sense too much.

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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https: 1879-90.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Titus 3:8. πιστὸς λόγος. Here it is evident that λόγος does not refer to any isolated Saying, but to the doctrinal statement contained in Titus 3:4-7 regarded as a single concept—as we, when we speak of The Incarnation, sum up in one term a whole system of theology—while τούτων refers to the various topics indicated in that statement, not to the practical teaching of Titus 2:1 to Titus 3:7.

    βούλομαι: see note on 1 Timothy 2:8.

    διαβεβαιοῦσθαι: Here the Vulg. has confirmare; (320) has affirmare, as in 1 Timothy 1:7, where see note.

    ἵνα: It is most significant and suggestive that the apostle held that good works were most certainly assured by a theology which gives special prominence to the free unmerited grace of God. This is made plainer in the R.V. (to the end that), than in the A.V. (that).

    φροντίζωσιν: curent (am.), curam habeant (fuld(321)).

    καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι: occupy themselves in good works, bonis operibus praeesse (Vulg.). Prostare would have been a better translation, since the πρό in this use of προΐστασθαι is derived from bodily posture rather than from superiority in station. “From the practice of the workman or tradesman standing before his shop for the purpose of soliciting customers … we arrive at the general meaning of conducting or managing any matter of business.” So Field, who also points out that the R.V.m., profess honest occupations (similarly A.V.m on Titus 3:14) is open to the serious objection that καλὰ ἔργα everywhere else in N.T., as well as in secular authors, means “good works” in the religious or moral sense.

    οἱ πεπιστευκότες θεῷ: This simple phrase is used designedly in order to express the notion that profession of the recently revealed Gospel is indeed merely a logical consequence and natural development of the older simple belief in God.

    ταῦτα: The antithesis in the following μωρὰς δὲ ζητήσεις proves that these things refers to the subject-matter of Titus’ pronouncements ( διαβεβαιοῦσθαι), and means this enforcement of practical religion.

    καλά: is to be taken absolutely, as in the parallel 1 Timothy 2:3, and is not to be connected with τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.

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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https: 1897-1910.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Titus 3:8. This is a faithful saying — A saying of infallible truth and infinite importance; (see on 1 Timothy 1:15;) and these things I will that thou affirm constantly βουλομαι σε διαβεβαιουσθαι, I will that thou strenuously, zealously, and continually assert, as a matter of unspeakable moment; that they who have believed in the living and true God — Or rather, who have believed God, (as the words οι πεπιστευκοτες τω θεω signify,) namely, with respect to the revelation which he has made of his will; might be careful — ινα φροντιζωσι, may think, consider, contrive, prepare, and take care; to maintain — Greek, προιστασθαι, to excel, take the lead, and go before others; in good works — Of all kinds which they have ability and opportunity to perform, namely, works of piety toward God, and of justice and mercy for the good of men. Though the apostle does not lay these for the foundation of men’s confidence and hope of eternal life, yet he brings them in, as we see here and elsewhere, in their proper place, and then mentions them, not slightly, but as affairs of great importance. He insists that all believers should fix their thoughts upon them, use their best contrivance, their utmost endeavours, not barely to practise, but to excel, to be eminent and distinguished in them, because, though they do not procure our reconciliation with God, yet they are goodκαλα, amiable and honourable, as the word means, namely, to the Christian profession, and bring glory to God; and are profitable to men — To those who do them, and to those who are the objects of them: to the former, as being the means of exercising, and thereby increasing, their grace, and preparing them for a greater reward in the everlasting kingdom of their God and Saviour; and to the latter, as lessening their miseries and increasing their happiness in a variety of ways.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https: 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    It is a faithful saying. He means what he has already said, of our being justified by the grace and mercy of God. --- And of these things I will have thee to affirm (3) earnestly. The sense is not, I would herein confirm thee, (as Mr. N. translates, without attention to the Greek, which in so many places shews us the literal sense of the Latin text) but that he would have his disciple, Titus, to confirm and settle others in the belief of these truths, that, as it follows, they may be careful to excel in good works. (Witham)



    De his volo te confirmare, Greek: peri touton boulomai se diabebaiousthai: on which St. John Chrysostom says, (Greek: log. st. p. 406.) Greek: toutesti, tauta dialegesthai; I would have to declare these things, &c.

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    This, &c. = Faithful the saying. Figure of speech Ellipsis (of Repetition). App-6. See 1 Timothy 1:15. Figure of speech Hyperbaton. App-6.

    faithful. App-150.

    saying. App-121.

    and = and concerning (App-104).

    will. App-102.

    affirm constantly = affirm strongly. Greek. diobebaioomai. Only here and 1 Timothy 1:7.

    believed. App-150.

    in. Omit.

    careful. Greek. phrontizo. Only here.

    maintain. Greek. proistemi. Occurs: Titus 3:14. Romans 12:8. 1 Thessalonians 5:12. 1 Timothy 3:4, 1 Timothy 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:12; 1 Timothy 5:17.

    good works. See Titus 1:16,

    profitable. Greek. ophelimos. Elsewhere, 1 Timothy 4:8, 2 Timothy 3:16.

    unto = to.

    men. App-123.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    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.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (8) This is a faithful saying.—Then St. Paul, having, in those few but sublime words we have been considering, painted our present happy state—happy even on earth, where the glorious promised inheritance was still only a hope—and having shown how that this blessedness was the result of no efforts of our own, but that we owe it solely to the tender love and to the divine pity of God for man—cries out, Yes, “faithful is this saying!”

    And these things I will that thou affirm constantly.—I will that ever and again, in the congregation, these words of mine, woven into the tapestry of creed, or hymn of thanksgiving or supplication, be repeated by the faithful believers in the Lord, to remind them, not only of the glorious hope of eternal life, but also to bring Him to their remembrance to whom they owe this glorious heritage; and as they repeat or hear the words telling them of the wondrous mercy showed to them for no merit or desert of their own, they will the more willingly think kindly of, and act loyally with, other men still living in that deep and loathsome darkness where they once dwelt, until God, in His pity, delivered them. Hearing this “faithful saying,” thought? the old man St. Paul, my children in Christ will surely be disposed to be more loyal subjects, more faithful citizens, more loving neighbours, though their civil magistrates, their fellow-citizens, their neighbours, be still idolaters, living without God in the world. And there was yet another reason for the constant repetition of this “faithful saying:” men would see that they owed all their glorious Christian privileges, their present peace, their future hope, to God’s free grace—that they had done nothing to deserve all this. Surely such a thought would spur them on to noble deeds, if it were only to show they were not wholly ungrateful. So he writes, Yes, affirm constantly this faithful saying.

    That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.—But not only would St. Paul have them show their gratitude for the great mercy they had received, but he is specially anxious that they who by God’s grace had been led into the Christian company should now not only quietly and unobtrusively take their part in good works, but should ever be careful to be forward in all such things; he would have Christians conspicuous in their generous zeal to forward all good and useful undertakings. “Good works” here by no means is confined to works of mercy and charity though, of course, they include such, still they possess in this passage a far more comprehensive signification. All useful and beneficent undertakings, public as well as private, are reckoned among these “good works.” As was observed before, St. Paul’s ideal Christian must be a generous, public-spirited man. In the eyes of this great teacher the cloistered ascetic would have found but little favour; his hero, while ever the devoted, self-sacrificing lover of the Lord, must be known among his fellow-citizens “as careful to maintain good works.”

    These things are good and profitable unto men.—The accurate translation of the Greek here would be, These are the things which are good and profitable unto men; but the older authorities omit the article, ta, before kala. The rendering, then (omitting the article), as given in the English version, would be correct: “These things”—that is, this practical everyday teaching, which bids Christians distinguish themselves among their fellow-citizens and countrymen in all generous and useful enterprises—in all good things, whether public or private—these things, says the Apostle, are good and profitable unto men; in sharp contrast to the unpractical and useless points insisted upon in the false teaching, apparently too common in the Cretan Church, and against which Titus is earnestly warned in the next (9th) verse.

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    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    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.
    a faithful
    1:9; 1 Timothy 1:15
    that thou
    Proverbs 21:28; Acts 12:15; 2 Corinthians 4:13
    Psalms 78:22; John 5:24; 12:44; Romans 4:5; 1 Peter 1:21; 1 John 5:10-13
    1,14; 2:14
    Job 22:2; 35:7,8; Psalms 16:2,3; 2 Corinthians 9:12-15; Philemon 1:11

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    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

    The Bible Study New Testament

    This is a true saying. What he has just pointed out in Titus 3:4-7. Special emphasis. "Belief in God is not just some idea to argue about; it is a whole new way of life! Good works help others, and they make the one who does them happy both in this world and in the next!"

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    These files are public domain.

    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Titus 3:8". "The Bible Study New Testament". https: College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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