Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses.—The translation should run here, seeing they subvert, &c. There was, indeed, grave cause why these men should be put to silence; the mischief they were doing in Crete to the Christian cause was incalculable. It was no longer individuals that their poisonous teaching affected, but they were undermining the faith of whole families. For an example how Titus and his presbyters were to stop the mouths of these teachers of what was false, compare Matthew 22:34-46, where the Lord, by His wise, powerful, yet gentle words, first put the Sadducees to silence, and then so answered the Pharisees that “neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”
Teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.—Here St. Paul goes to the root of the evil, when he shows what was the end and aim of these “teachers” life. It was a mean and sordid ambition, after all—merely base gain. When this is the main object of a religious teacher’s life, his teaching naturally accommodates itself to men’s tastes. He forgets the Divine Giver of his commission, and in his thirst for the popularity which brings with it gold, his true work, as the faithful watchman of the house of Israel, is forgotten and ignored.Psalm 32:8-9.
Teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake - For gain. That is, they inculcate such doctrines as will make themselves popular, and as will give them access to the confidence of the people. They make it their first object to acquire influence as ministers of religion, and then abuse that in order to obtain money from the people. This they would doubtless do under many pretences; such as that it was needful for the support of the gospel, or for the relief of the poor, or perhaps for the assistance of distant Christians in persecution. Religion is the most powerful principle that ever governs the mind; and if a man has the control of that, it is no difficult thing to induce men to give up their worldly possessions. In all ages, there have been impostors who have taken advantage of the powerful principle of religion to obtain money from their deluded followers. No people can be too vigilant in regard to pretended religious teachers; and while it is undoubtedly their duty to contribute liberally for the support of the gospel, and the promotion of every good cause, it is no less their duty to examine with care every proposed object of benevolence, and to watch with an eagle eye those who have the disbursement of the charities of the church. It is very rare that ministers ought to have much to do with disposing of the funds given for benevolent purposes; and when they do, they should in all cases be associated with their lay brethren; see Paley's Horae Paulinae, chap. iv., No. 1, 3, note; compare 1 Corinthians 16:3. On the phrase "filthy lucre," see the notes at 1 Timothy 3:3.
who—Greek, "(seeing that they are) such men as"; or "inasmuch as they" [Ellicott].
subvert … houses—"overthrowing" their "faith" (2Ti 2:18). "They are the devil's levers by which he subverts the houses of God" [Theophylact].
for filthy lucre—(1Ti 3:3, 8; 6:5).Whose mouths must be stopped; the word is active; such ministers ought to be placed in cities as shall be able and fit to stop such persons’ mouths, by sound doctrine and arguments fit to convince them: or, thou oughtest to stop their mouths by silencing them; though I do not see how this was practicable in a pagan country, otherwise than by persuading Christians not to hear them.
Who subvert whole houses; who, as to the foundation of faith and its building, overturn whole families of Christians.
Teaching things which they ought not; infusing false doctrine into them.
For filthy lucre’s sake; and all for filthy gain: and all gain is so, that is got by deceiving and ruining of people’s souls, as to their faith and salvation.
who subvert whole houses; into which they creep; that is, whole families, whose principles they corrupt, whose faith they overthrow, and carry them away with their own errors; and therefore, since this was the case not of a single person, or of a few, but of whole families, it was high time to attempt to convince them, and stop their mouths, that they might proceed no further:
teaching things which they ought not; which were not agreeable to the perfections of God, to the Scriptures of truth, to sound doctrine, and which were hurtful and pernicious to the souls of men: and that only
for filthy lucre's sake; having no regard to the glory of God, the honour and interest of Christ, or the good of immortal souls; only seeking to gain popular applause and honour from men, and to gather and increase worldly substance. Covetousness was a sin which the Cretians were remarkably guilty of (l).Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Titus 1:11. Οὓς δεῖ ἐπιστομίζειν] goes back to the end of Titus 1:9.
ἐπιστομίζειν (ἅπ. λεγ.) is from ἐπιστόμιον, which denotes both the bridle-bit and the muzzle, and is equivalent either to freno compescere, coercere (synonymous with τοὺς χαλινοὺς εἰς τὰ στόματα βάλλειν, Jam 3:3), or to os obturare (= φιμοῦν, Matthew 22:34). The latter signification is more usual (see Elsner, p. 332): “put to silence.” Theophylact: ἐλέγχειν σφοδρῶς, ὥστε ἀποκλείειν αὐτοῖς τὰ στόματα.
οἵτινες (= quippe qui, and giving the reason for οὓς δεῖ) ὅλους οἴκους ἀνατρέπουσι] The chief emphasis is laid on ὅλους: not merely individuals, but also whole families are misled by them into unbelief.
Ἀνατρέπειν] see 2 Timothy 2:18; “the figure is here used in keeping with οἴκους” (Wiesinger).
διδασκοντες ἃ μὴ δεῖ] “teaching what should not be taught;” this shows the means by which they exercise so destructive an influence; ἃ μὴ δεῖ, equivalent to τὰ μὴ δέοντα, 1 Timothy 5:13.
This refers to ΜΑΤΑΙΌΛΟΓΟΙ, just as ἈΝΑΤΡΈΠΟΥΣΙ does to ΦΡΕΝΑΠΆΤΑΙ.
The purpose is briefly set forth by ΑἸΣΧΡΟῦ ΚΈΡΔΟΥς ΧΆΡΙΝ. The disgrace of their gain consists in the means they employ for acquiring it. The apostle adds these words to point out the selfish conduct of the heretics, who work only for their own profit.Titus 1:11. οὓς δεῖ ἐπιστομίζειν: quos oportet redargui, whose mouths must be stopped by the unanswerable arguments of the orthodox controversialist. This is the result hoped for from the “conviction,” of Titus 1:9.
ὅλους οἴκους ἀνατρέπουσιν: pervert whole families (Alf.); Moulton and Milligan give an apt illustration from a papyrus of second cent. B.C., τῆς πατρικῆς οἰκίας … ἔτι ἔνπροσθεν ἄρδην [ἀ]νατετραμμένης διʼ ἀσ[ω]τίας (Expositor, vii., 1:269). This suggests the rendering upset. The whole family would be upset by the perversion of one member of it.
ἃ μὴ δεῖ: Normally, οὐ is used in relative sentences with the indicative. Other exceptions will be found in 2 Peter 1:9, 1 John 4:3 (T.R.). It is possible that the force of μή here is given by translating, which (we think) they ought not. If the teaching had been absolutely indefensible by any one, he would have said, ἃ οὐ δεῖ. See Blass, Grammar, p. 254.
αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν: The three reff. on αἰσχροῦ, the only other occurrences in N.T. of this adj., are instances of the phrase αἰσχρόν ἐστι. The reference is to the claim to support made by itinerating or vagrant prophets and apostles such as are referred to in the Didache, cc. 11, 12, and alluded to in 2 Corinthians 11:9-13. All such abuses would exist in an aggravated form in Crete, the natives of which had an evil reputation for αἰσχροκέρδεια, according to Polybius, ὥστε παρὰ μόνοις Κρηταιεῦσι τῶν ἁπάντων ἀνθρώπων μηδέν αἰσχρὸν νομίζεσθαι κέρδος. (Hist. vi. 46. 3, cited by Ell.). They get a bad character also from Livy (xliv. 45), and Plutarch (Paul. Aemil. 23). The Cretans, Cappadocians, and Cilicians were τρία κάππα κάκιστα.11. whose mouths must be stopped] The verb is so used in classical Greek often; the ‘stopping’ must have reference to the ‘convict’ of Titus 1:9; Titus 1:13. Compare the use of ‘to muzzle’ in the Gospels, e.g. Mark 4:39, ‘Peace, be still,’ and 1 Peter 2:15, where the ‘ignorance of foolish men’ is ‘to be muzzled’ by ‘well-doing.’
who subvert whole houses] As R.V. men who, the compound relative implying the class to which they belong, and so the conduct for which they should be silenced; hence almost, ‘seeing that they.’ Cf. 1 Timothy 1:4, ‘the which.’ Render subvert whole households. Why should the Revisers give up the Latin word ‘subvert,’ which the A.V. has rendered familiar, and which gives the metaphorical overthrow more clearly?
teaching things which they ought not] The negative used implies the general class of wrong teachings rather than any definite and specific facts or views. The effect is a less positive statement than if the other negative had been used; and the rendering ‘things which they ought not to teach and which they know they ought not’ is impossible. It should be ‘things of a class which I think improper to be taught.’
for filthy lucre’s sake] Rather, for the sake of unfair gains, see Titus 1:7. Bp Ellicott quotes a striking passage from Polybius, Hist. vi. 46. 3, with respect to the Cretan character; ‘and generally their character as to unfair gains and covetousness is of this kind—they are the only nation in the world among whom no sort of gain is thought unfair.’Titus 1:11. Ἐπιστομίζειν) to stop the mouth; to reduce to silence by the power of the Spirit, as the unruly deserve.—ὅλους οἴκους, whole houses) A great loss to Paul. [But in the present day what takes place as regards whole streets? What is done regarding country hamlets and cities?—V. g.]—ἀνατρέπουσι, they subvert) as deceivers.—διδάσκοντες ἃ μὴ δεῖ, teaching things which they ought not) as vain-talkers.—αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν, for the sake of filthy lucre) Construed with, they subvert. Baseness is seen most of all in (vile) contemptible gain; Ezekiel 13:19. [1 Timothy 6:5.]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).
Lit. whom it is necessary to silence. Ἑπιστομίζειν, N.T.o. olxx. Originally, to put something into the mouth, as a bit into a horse's mouth. Ἑπιστόμιον is the stop of a water-pipe or of a hydraulic organ. Comp. φιμοῦν 1 Timothy 5:18.
Who subvert (οἵτινες ἀνατρέπουσιν)
The double relative is explanatory of must; in as much as they, etc. For subvert rend. overthrow. See on 2 Timothy 2:18.
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