Matthew Poole's Commentary
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,Titus 3:1,2 Christians are admonished to be subject to civil
powers, and of a peaceable and quiet demeanour.
Titus 3:3-8 They are saved from their sins by God’s mercy through
Christ, but must maintain good works.
Titus 3:9 Genealogies and contentions about the law are to be avoided,
Titus 3:10,11 and obstinate heretics to be rejected.
Titus 3:12,13 Paul appointeth Titus when and where to come to him,
Titus 3:14 recommendeth acts of mercy to Christians,
Titus 3:15 and concludeth with salutations and a benediction.
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers: all the supreme secular powers at this time were pagans, and no friends to the Christians in their dominions, which might be a temptation to the Christians to rebel against them, or at least not to yield them so free, universal, and cheerful an obedience as they ought; therefore the apostle presseth this duty upon them, and that not here only, but Romans 13:1: see 1 Peter 2:13.
To obey magistrates: by the former term he might understand the supreme magistrates, by the latter, those inferior ranks; as the apostle Peter expresseth himself more particularly, 1 Peter 2:13,14.
To be ready to every good work; to be free, and prepared to every work which is acceptable to God and honourable in itself.
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.To speak evil of no man; Greek, to blaspheme no man. Blasphemy is a speaking evil, whether it be applied to God or man, though use hath so obtained, that we only in common discourse speak of blaspheming God.
To be no brawlers; to be no fighters, (amacouv) neither with hands nor tongues.
But gentle; to be modest, fair, equitable men.
Showing all meekness unto all men; forbearing wrath and passion in their converse with all.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish; without any knowledge, wisdom, or spiritual understanding.
Disobedient: the word signifieth as well unbelieving as disobedient, neither persuaded to assent to the truth, nor yet to live up to the rule of the gospel.
Deceived by the deceitfulness of sin.
Serving divers lusts and pleasures; being slaves to our sensitive appetite.
Living in malice and envy; suffering wrath to rest in our bosoms, till it boiled up to a desire of revenge, and showed itself in actions of that nature, and pining at the good and prosperity of others.
Hateful; deserving to be abominated by good men.
And hating one another; and hating good men, or such as were our neighbours: and having been so ourselves formerly, we ought to pity such as still are so.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,Kindness; crhstoths the word signifies one’s easiness to do good to another; that native goodness that is in God, rendering him inclinable to love, and prone to do good unto the sons of men. This was in God from eternity, but appeared in his sending Christ, and then his Spirit, and in the application of Christ’s redemption to particular souls.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;Not by works of righteousness which we have done; not according to our works, 2 Timothy 1:9, whether ceremonial or moral.
But according to his mercy; but from his own bowels freely yearning upon persons in misery.
He saved us; he hath put us into a state of, and given us a right to, eternal salvation.
By the washing of regeneration; washing us by regeneration, as in a laver, the pledge and sign of which is in baptism.
And renewing of the Holy Ghost; the Holy Spirit changing and renewing our natures.
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;Which Holy Spirit, as well for the renewing of us, as for the collation of more common or extraordinary gifts, God poured out upon us
abundantly, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.That being justified by his grace; that, through the free love of God, having the guilt of our sins removed, and the righteousness of Christ reckoned to us for righteousness,
we should be made heirs; should, through adoption, be made children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, Romans 8:17.
According to the hope of eternal life: some think that the words should be read thus: That we, according to hope, should be made heirs of eternal life; because otherwise, the text hath no object to relate to heirs. But what should we be heirs of, but the kingdom mentioned Matthew 25:34? Though it be true, we are no more than heirs according to hope, nor is any man otherwise an heir of an inheritance, as heir stands distinguished from an owner or proprietor.
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.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.
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.But avoid foolish questions; in the discharge of thy ministry meddle not with idle questions, 2 Timothy 2:23, tending to no godly edifying.
And genealogies; and sifting out genealogies, 1 Timothy 1:4.
And contentions; and strifes about words, or things unprofitable;
perverse disputings, and oppositions of science falsely so called, 1 Timothy 6:4,5,20.
And strivings about the law; particularly questions about the law, the traditions and constitutions of the elders about it.
For they are unprofitable and vain; these things are to no purpose or advantage.
A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;A man that is an heretic: two things make up a heretic according to the common acceptation of the term now:
1. An error in some matters of faith.
2. Stubbornness and contumacy in the holding and maintaining of it.
Whether it so signified so early I cannot tell; it seems to refer to the former verse, supposing some that, notwithstanding all the endeavours of Titus, would be striving and contending for niceties about questions, genealogies, &c.
After the first and second admonition reject: for such, saith the apostle, admonish them once and again; if they will not have done, refuse them, reject them. Whether excommunication can be certainly built upon this text, may be doubted; paraiteomai signifies no more than to avoid, reject, or refuse.
Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.Is subverted; ezestraptai, is turned out of the true and right way and road;
and sinneth, and is a transgressor,
being condemned of himself, condemned of his own conscience; for he who spends his time about questions and genealogies, and strifes of words, and little questions about the law, instead of preaching Christ, is told by his own conscience that he doth not do his duty.
When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.Of Artemas we read in no other place, but of
Tychicus often; they were both ministers, one of which Paul intended to send to take care of the church in Crete, in the absence of Titus, whom he would have come to him to Nicopolis, where he designed to take up his winter quarters; but being very loth that the flock at Crete should for a little time be without a shepherd, he limits the time of Titus’s setting out towards him, till one of them should come into Crete.
Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.Of this Zenas we read no more in holy writ, but of
Apollos we read both in the Acts, and 1 Corinthians 3:4,5,22: it seemeth they were about to go to Paul to Nicopolis.
That nothing be wanting unto them; the apostle would have Titus take care that they might want no necessaries that might accommodate them in their journey.
And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.And let ours also; either those of our order, ministers of the gospel, or those that are Christians.
Learn to maintain good works; in the Greek it is, to excel, or to be in the front, or to show forth, or maintain, and each sense hath its patrons of note.
For necessary uses; for the necessary uses of the church, or of others, or for their own necessary uses. I take their sense who would expound the phrase,
maintain good works, by learning some honest trade, to be foreign to the true sense of the phrase.
All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.Greet them that love us in the faith; that love us as we are Christians, in and for the gospel.
Grace be with you all. Amen: the free love of God be thy portion, and the portion of all the Christians in Crete.
It was written to Titus, ordained the first Bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia.