Titus 1
Pulpit Commentary
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Verse 1. - - Knowledge for acknowledging, A.V.; according to for after, A.V. A servant of God (δοῦλος Θεοῦ); so in the superscriptions: Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1. St. Paul also calls himself "the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10); and the phrase, δοῦλον Κυρίου, occurs in 2 Timothy 2:24. But neither "servant of God" nor any equivalent is in the superscription of either 1 or 2 Timothy. "Servant" is a better rendering than "slave," as Farrar renders it. An apostle, etc.; as in both 1 and 2 Timothy, and also in Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1 2 Corinthians 1:1, etc.; showing that this is not a private letter, but a public and official document, conveying official authority to Titus over the Church in Crete. According to the faith of God's elect. The phrase is peculiar to this passage, and the exact force of κατὰ is not easy to determine (see Bishop Ellicott's notes, who renders κατὰ "for," and explains that "the faith of God's elect is the destination of the apostleship," with the further explanation that this meaning of κατά is about equivalent to "with special reference to," or "destination for," as its object). It is nearly the same thing to say that the true faith, and the perfect knowledge of the truth, and the hope of eternal life promised by God, are the sphere in which the apostolic office moves and acts. "The faith of God's elect," etc., seems to imply that there was in some who were not elect (1 John 2:19, 20) a corruption of the faith, a departure from it - a faith that was no faith, and something calling itself truth which was not "according to godliness," and so to point to rising heresies. The authors of these heresies were chiefly Jews (ver. 10), of whom there was a considerable colony in Crete (Conybeare and Howson, vol. it. p. 475; and Lewin, vol. 2. p. 337). According to godliness (for the use of εὐσεβεία in the pastoral Epistles, see 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:7, 8; 1 Timothy 6:3, 5, 6, 11; 2 Timothy 3:5, and notes).
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Verse 2. - Who for that, A.V.; times eternal for the world began, A.V. In hope of eternal life. This seems to be a further description of the scope or sphere of the apostolate, which, as some take ἐπί, is based upon the hope of eternal life. Who cannot lie (ἀψευδής); here only in the New Testament, rarely in the LXX., but common in classical Greek. The epithet is here used to show the certainty of the fulfillment of the promise made before the ages (comp. Hebrews 6:18; Numbers 23:19). Before times eternal (see 2 Timothy 1:9, note). The translation, "before times eternal," conveys no sense; χρόνοι αἰώνοι are "the times of ages past" (Romans 16:25), placed in opposition to the καιροί ἰδιοί, or to the "now" of 2 Timothy 1:10, in which the manifestation of the promise took place.
But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
Verse 3. - In his own seasons for hath due times, A.V.; in the message for through preaching, A.V.; wherewith 1 was entrusted for which is committed unto me, A.V. In his own seasons. The margin, its own seasons, is preferable (see 1 Timothy 2:7, note). The phrase is equivalent to "the fullness of the time" (Galatians 4:4). Manifested his Word. There is a change of construction. "The relative sentence passes almost imperceptibly into a primary sentence" (Buttmann in Huther); "his Word" becomes the object of the verb "made manifest," instead of "eternal life," as one would have expected. His Word is the whole revelation of the gospel, including the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Compare St. Peter's address to Cornelius (Acts 10:36). This "Word," which lay in the mind of God through the ages, and was only dimly expressed in the promises given from time to time (1 Peter 1:10-12), was now "made manifest," and proclaimed openly in that preaching of the gospel of God's grace which was entrusted to St. Paul. This same idea is frequently expressed (see Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:9, 10; Ephesians 3:3-11; 2 Timothy 1:9-11; 1 Peter 1:20), In the message. Surely a poor and a false rendering. Ἐν κηρύγματι means "by the open proclamation" which St. Paul, as God's herald, κήρυξ, was commanded to make. But this is better expressed by the word which is appropriated to the proclamation of the gospel, viz. "preaching." So, as above quoted, Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 1:11, and elsewhere frequently. According to the commandment (κατ ἐπιταγὴν κ.τ.λ..); Romans 16:26; 1 Timothy 1:1 (comp. Galatians 1:1). God our Savior (1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:4; Jude 1:25; and also Luke 1:47). Elsewhere in the New Testament the term "Savior" (Σωτήρ) is always applied to our Lord Jesus Christ.
To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Verse 4. - My true child for mine own son, A.V.; a common for the common, A.V.; grace and peace for grace, mercy, and peace, A.V. and T.R.; Christ Jesus for the Lord Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R. My true child (γνησίῳ τέκνῳ: 1 Timothy 1:2) after a common faith (κατὰ κινὴν πίστιν). In 1 Timothy 1:2 it is ἐν πίστει (where see note). Beyond all doubt, Alford is right in both cases in rendering "the faith" (see his note on 1 Timothy 1:2). The "common faith" means the faith of all God's elect. Grace and peace. So the R.T., omitting ἔλεος, mercy, which is found in 1 Timothy 1:2 and 2 Timothy 1:2. But the manuscripts vary, and the critics are divided as to whether ἔλεος ought to be retained here or not.
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Verse 5. - Were for are, A.V.; appoint for ordain, A.V.; gave thee charge for had appointed thee, A.V. Left I thee in Crete. We have no account of St. Paul's visit to Crete, nor do we know how the gospel was first brought to Crete. It may have been by some of those "Cretes" who were at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, and heard the apostles speak in their tongue "the wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:11), or by other Christian Jews visiting the Jewish community in Crete (note to ver. 1). If St. Paul was returning from Spain, and travelling by ship eastward, Crete would be on his way. The importance of the island, with which he made some acquaintance on his voyage from Caesarea to Rome (Acts 27:7, 8), and the large Jewish colony there, may naturally have inclined him to visit it. How long he remained there we do not know, but he did not stay long enough to organize the Church there completely. There were still things "wanting" (τὰ λείποντα), as it follows. This mention of Crete is an important chronological mark. The order of St. Paul's progress, as gathered from the three pastoral Epistles, is very distinct - Crete, Miletus, Troas, Macedonia, Corinth, Nicopolis, Rome. He dropped Titus at Crete, and left Timothy behind at Ephesus. The Epistle to Titus, therefore, is the first of the three pastoral Epistles, and this is borne out by another circumstance. When he wrote to Titus he had not made up his mind whether he should send Artemas or Tychicus to take his place in Crete when he rejoined the apostle (Titus 3:12). But when he wrote 2 Timothy he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus to replace Timothy (2 Timothy 4:12), and Titus had already joined him, and been sent on by him to Dalmatia, presumably from Nicopolis. Set in order (ἐπιδιορθώσῃ); only here in the New Testament, and not found in the LXX. nor in classical Greek, except as a technical word in the art of rhetoric. But διορθόω is very common in classical Greek (see ἐπανόρθωσις, 2 Timothy 3:16). The force of ἐπί in the compound here is "further," or "in addition." St. Paul had set the Church in order up to a certain point. But there were still certain things wanting, τὰ λείποντα (see Titus 3:13; Luke 18:22); and these Titus was to supply and give the finishing touch to. Appoint (καταστήσῃς). This is a better rendering than the A.V. "ordain," because it is a general word for "to appoint, make." Probably the A.V. "ordain" was not intended to be taken in a strictly technical sense, but is used as in Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 8:3. The technical word was usually "to order." "The Ordering of Deacons," or "of Priests," is the title of the service in the Book of Common Prayer. "Meet to be ordered," "shall surcease from ordering," occur repeatedly in the rubrics, Elders (πρεσβυτέρους); i.e. presbyters, or priests (comp. Acts 14:23; and see Acts 11:30, note). In every city (κατὰ πόλιν); city by city. The phrase has a peculiar significance in Crete, which used to be famous for its hundred cities. It shows, too, that Christianity was widely spread among the cities of the island. The germ of the episcopal office, one bishop and many presbyters, is here very conspicuous.
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
Verse 6. - Any man is for any be, A.V.; children that believe for faithful children, A.V.; who are not for not, A.V. Blameless (ἀνέγκλητος); see 1 Timothy 3:10, note. The husband of one wife (see 1 Timothy 3:2, note). Having children that believe (see 1 Timothy 3:4). Mark the importance given to the "elder's" family as well as to his personal character. Not accused (μὴ ἐν κατηγορίᾳ κ.τ.λ..); literally, not under an accusation (see 1 Timothy 5:19). Riot (ἀσωτίας); see Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:4; Luke 15:13. Used in Plato and Aristotle for "debauchery" or "profligacy," with the kindred words ἄσωτος ἀσωτεύομαι, etc. Unruly (ἀνυπότακτα); ver. 10 and 1 Timothy 1:9, note (comp. 1 Timothy 3:4, where the children are required to be ἀν ὑποταγῇ, "under rule," in subjection).
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Verse 7. - The for a, A.V.: God's steward for the steward of God, A.V.; no brawler for not given to wine, A.V.; greedy of for given to, A.V. Blameless (see ver. 6). God's steward (οἰκονόμον); comp. 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2; 1 Peter 4:10. (For the office of the steward, see Luke 12:42, 43.) Self-willed (αὐθάδη); elsewhere in the New Testament only in 2 Peter 2:10; in the LXX. Genesis 49:3, 9 and Proverbs 21:24; and common in classical Greek. It is always used in a bad sense - stubborn, harsh, remorseless, and the like. Soon angry (ὀργίλον); only here in the New Testament, found occasionally in the LXX., and common in classical Greek - passionate, quick-tempered, irascible (comp. Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8). Brawler (πάροινον); see 1 Timothy 3:3, note. Striker (1 Timothy 3:3, note). Greedy of filthy lucre (αἰσχροχερδῆ) 1 Timothy 3:3, 8, note.
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Verse 8. - Given to for a lover of, A.V.; good for good men, A.V.; sober-minded for sober, A.V. Given to hospitality (φιλόξενον); 1 Timothy 3:2, note. A lover of good (φιλάγαθον) see 2 Timothy 3:3, note on ἀφιλάγαθον. Only here in the New Testament, and only once in the LXX., Wisd. 7:22, where it seems to mean "a lover of that which is good," and where the long string of adjectives is very similar to that here; found occasionally in classical Greek. Sober-minded (σώφρονα); see Titus 2:2, 5, and 1 Timothy 3:2, note. The rendering "discreet" in Titus 2:5 (A.V.) expresses the meaning very well. Just, holy. Δίκαιος is usually considered as describing that side of a good man's character which is in relation to his fellow-men, and ὅσιος that side which has respect to God. Joseph was δίκαιος (Matthew 1:19) in his conduct towards Mary; the Lord Jesus was God's Holy One (τὸν ὅσιόν σου). In classical Greek the words are more commonly applied to things. Ὅσια καὶ δίκαια are things sanctioned by Divine and human laws respectively. Temperate (ἐγκρατῆ); only here in the New Testament, and never in this sense in the LXX.; but it has exactly the same meaning in Aristotle, viz. "master of one's self," having the appetites under control.
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Verse 9. - Holding to for holding fast, A.V.; which is according to the teaching for as he hath been taught, A.V.; both to exhort in the sound doctrine for by sound doctrine, both to exhort, A.V.; convict for convince, A.V. Holding to (ἀντεχόμενος). Holding fast is a better and more forcible rendering than holding to. It answers to the Latin adherere, to cling to. The faithful word which is according to the teaching is awkwardly expressed. Ἠ διδαςή is "the Christian truth" as taught by the apostles, and "the faithful" or "sure word" to which Titus is to cleave is described as being" according to that truth" (comp. Titus 1:1, ἀληθείας τῆς κατ εὐσέβειαν). The A.V. gives substantially the apostle's meaning. The result of this adhesion to the faithful word is that he will be able to comfort and encourage believers by (ἐν) his wholesome teaching, and also to convict the opposers of the truth. The gainsayers; or, contradictors (τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας); such as those Jews described in Acts 13:45 and Acts 28:19 as "contradicting and blaspheming."
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Verse 10. - Unruly men for unruly and, A.V. and T.R. Unruly (ἀνυπότακτοι); see ver. 6. Vain talkers (ματαιολόγοι); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., and rare in classical Greek (see ματαιολογία, 1 Timothy 1:6). Κενολόγος and κενολογία are used in the same sense of "vain, empty, talking." Deceivers - (φρεναπάται); here only in the New Testament, not found in the LXX. or in classical Greek - literally, soul-deceivers, or, as some take St, self-deceivers (compare φρεναπατάω, Galatians 6:3, and for the sense James 1:26; but in both these instances the idea of self-deceiving is imported by the context, ἑαυτὸν and καρδίαν αὐτοῦ). Here the word means "deceivers," whoso character is described in 2 Peter 2:14 as "beguiling unstable souls." They of the circumcision; Judaizing Christians, the most obstinate and difficult adversaries with whom St. Paul had to cope (see Galatians passim; Philippians 3:2, 3, etc.).
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
Verse 11. - Men who overthrow for who subvert, A.V. Whose mouths must be stopped (ου}ς δεῖ ἐπιστομίζειν); here only in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., but common in classical Greek. "To curb" (comp. Psalm 32:9; James 3:2, 3). The meaning is nearly the same as that of χαλιναγωγέω in James 1:26; some, however, assign to it the sense of "to muzzle" (Olshausen, etc.) or "stop the mouth," which Bishop Ellicott thinks is "perhaps the most common" and "the most suitable." So also Huther. It often means simply "to silence" (see Stephan, 'Thesaur.'), and is applied to wind instruments. Overthrow (ἀνατρέπουσι); as 2 Timothy 2:18, which shows the kind of overthrow here meant, that viz. of the faith of whole families, well expressed in the A.V. by "subvert." The phrase, οἰκίας ἀνατρέπειν, of the literal overthrow of houses, occurs in Plato (Alford). For filthy lucre's sake; contrary to the apostolic precept to bishops and deacons (1 Timothy 3:3, 8, and above, ver. 7). Polybius has a striking passage on the αἰσχροκερδεία Οφ the Cretans, quoted by Bishop Ellicott ('Hist.,' 6:146.3).
One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
Verse 12. - A prophet for even a prophet, A.V.; Cretan, s for the Cretinous, A.V.; idle gluttons for slow bellies, A.V. A prophet of their own; viz. Epimenides, a native either of Phaestus or of Cnossus in Crete, the original author of this line, which is also quoted by Callimachus. Epimenides is here called a prophet, not simply as a poet, but from his peculiar character as priest, bard, and seer; called by Plato θεῖος ἀνήρ, and coupled by Cicero with Bacis the B.C.eotian prophet, and the sibyl (Bishop Ellicott); described by other ancient writers as a prophet (Alford); "everything we hear of him is of a priestly or religious nature" ('Dict. of Gr. and Romans Biogr. and Mythol.'). Cretans are always liars, etc. So truly was this their characteristic, that κρητίζειν was used to denote" telling lies" - "to lie like a Cretan" (Plutarch, etc.). From their general bad character arose the line, Κρῆτες Καππάδοκοι, Κίλικες τρία κάππα κάκιστα; and Livy, Polybius, and Plutarch alike hear witness to their covetousness and dishonesty: Τις Κρητῶν οἴδε δικαιοσύνην; "When was there ever an upright Cretan?" asks Leonides in an ' Epigram' (Farrar, ' St. Paul,' vol. it. p. 534). Evil beasts. Θήριον is "a wild beast;" applied to men as a term of reproach (1 Corinthians 15:32), it implies brutality, stupidity, unreasonableness, and, with the epithet κακά, mischief, like the French mechante bete. The 'Epigram' above quoted calls them ληισταὶ καὶ ἁλιφθόροι, "pirates and wreckers." Idle gluttons; literally, idle bellies. The substantive denotes their gluttony and sensuality (comp. Romans 16:18; Philippians 3:19, where κοιλία is equivalent to γαστήρ), and the adjective their sloth (ἀργαί, i.e. ἀεργαί); in old Greek it is usually of the common gender.
This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
Verse 13. - Testimony for witness, A.V.; for which cause for wherefore, A.V.; reprove for rebuke, A.V. Sharply (ἀποτομῶς); elsewhere only in 2 Corinthians 13:10 (see also Romans 11:22). That they may be sound (see Titus 2:2). The faithful pastor must use severity when it is necessary to the spiritual health of the flock, just as the skilful surgeon uses the knife to save the patient's life.
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Verse 14. - Who for that, A.V.; turn away for turn, A.V. Jewish fables (see 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4, where the Jewish origin of the fables is implied, though not so distinctly stated as here). Commandments of men (ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων); so in Colossians 2:22 the apostle speaks of the precepts "touch not," "taste not" (originating with the Judaizing teachers), as τὰ ἐντάλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων (see following note). Turning away from (ἀποστρεφομένεν); see 2 Timothy 1:15, note.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
Verse 15. - To for unto, A.V. (twice); nothing is for is nothing, A.V.; both for even, A.V.; their conscience for conscience, A.V.; are for is, A.V. To the pure, etc. This allusion shows dearly that the "commandments of men," here condemned, are of the same kind as those referred to in the above-quoted passage in the Colossians. We learn also from Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8; and elsewhere, what were the kind of questions which agitated the Judaizing Christians. But St. Paul in a few wise words shows the utter worthlessness of such controversies. "To the pure all things are pure." "There is nothing from without a man," said our Lord, "that entering into him can defile him" (Mark 7:15); "Neither if we cat are we the better, neither if we eat not are we the worse" (1 Corinthians 8:8); "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17). But unto those that are defiled by what comes from within them, and have no faith (Romans 14:23), nothing is pure. Their mind and conscience, being defiled, defile everything they do. The words καθαρόν and μιαίνω are the proper words for ceremonial "cleanness" and "defilement" respectively.
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Verse 16. - By their for in, A.V. They profess that they know God (comp. Romans 2:17-20). The arrogant claim to be God's people and to superior holiness, while all the while they were denying God by their evil deeds, and bringing dishonor upon his Name among the Gentiles, was a marked feature of the Jews in St. Paul's time (comp. 2 Timothy 3:5). Abominable (βδελυκτοὶ); objects or causes of disgust; only here in the New Testament, but found in the LXX. But βδέλυγμα and βδελύσσομαι are not uncommon. Reprobate (ἀδόκιμοι); as 2 Timothy 3:8 (where see note). This picture of the circumcision is indeed sad (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:15, 16; Acts 28:25-28).

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