Titus 3
Pulpit Commentary
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
Verse 1. - In subjection for subject, A.V.; rulers for principalities. A.V.; to authorities for and powers, A.V. and T.R.; to be obedient for to obey magistrates, A.V.; unto for to, A.V. Put them in mind (ὑπομίμνησκε); as 2 Timothy 2:14. To rulers, to authorities. Many uncials, which the R.T. follows, omit the καὶ, but it seems necessary to the sense. The change from "principalities and powers" to" rulers" and "authorities" does not seem desirable. Ἀρχάι and ἐξουσίαι is a favorite juxtaposition el' St. Paul's (1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:10, 15). It occurs also in 1 Peter 3:22. In all the above examples the words, it is true, apply to the angelic hosts, but the words are elsewhere applied separately to human government, and in Luke 20:20, they are applied together to the authority of the Roman governor. To be obedient (πειθαρχεῖν); only here and in Acts 5:29, 32; Acts 27:21. It follows here its classical use, "to obey a superior," well expressed in the Authorized Version "to obey magistrates." The simple "to be obedient" of the Revised Version does not express the sense. To be ready unto every good work. St. Paul is still speaking with especial reference to magistrates and the civil power. Christians were to show themselves good citizens, always ready for any duty to which they were called. Christianity was not to be an excuse for shirking duties, or refusing obedience where it was due. The only limit is expressed by the word "good." They were to give tribute to whom tribute was due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor; but, if ordered to do evil, then they must resist, and obey God rather than man (Acts 4:19). (See the similar limitation in Titus 2:10, note, and compare, for the whole verse, the very similar passage, Romans 13:1-7.)
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
Verse 2. - Not to be contentious for to be no brawlers, A.V.; to be for but, A.V.; toward for unto, A.V. To speak evil of no man (μηδένα βλασφημεῖν). Probably especially pointed in the first place at a natural tendency of oppressed Christians to speak evil of their rulers (2 Peter 2:10; Jude 1:10), but extended into a general precept which might be especially needful for the rough and turbulent Cretans. Not to be contentious (ἀμάχους εἴναι); as 1 Timothy 3:3, note. To be gentle (ἐπιεικεῖς); coupled, as here, with ἀμάχους in 1 Timothy 3:3. Showing (ἐνδεικνυμένους); a word of frequent occurrence in St. Paul's vocabulary (Romans 2:15; Romans 9:17.22; Ephesians 2:7, etc.; see above, Titus 2:10, note). Meekness (πραότητα); another Pauline word (1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:23, etc.; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:25). The precept is given its widest extension by the double addition of "all" and "to all men." The roughness, or want of courtesy, of others is no excuse for the want of meekness in those who are the disciples of him who was meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). All men, whatever their station, the highest or the lowest, are to receive meek and gentle treatment from the Christian.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
Verse 3. - We for we ourselves, A.V.; afore-time for sometimes, A.V.; hating for and hating, A.V. Foolish (ἀνόητοι); a Pauline word (Galatians 3:1, 3), found also in Luke 24:25 (see 1 Timothy 6:9); of frequent use in classical Greek. Disobedient (ἀπειθεῖς); as Titus 1:16. In Luke 1:17 it stands, as here, absolutely, meaning disobedient to God and his Law. Deceived (πλανώμενοι); led astray, made to wander from the path of troth and right, either by false systems of religion, or by our own evil affections and appetites (see 2 Timothy 2:13; 1 Peter 2:25; 2 Peter 2:15, etc.). Serving; slaves to (δουλεύοντες); 2 Peter 2:19 (see above, Titus 2:2). Lusts (ἐπιθυμίαις); not always in a bad sense, as here, though usually so (see Luke 22:15; Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; Revelation 18:14). Pleasures (ἡδοναῖς); always in a bad sense in the New Testament (Luke 8:14; James 4:1, 3; 2 Peter 2:13). Living (διάγοντες); see 1 Timothy 2:2, where it is followed by βίον, which is here understood. Διάγειν τὸν βίον αἰῶνα χρόνον σάββατον. etc., are common phrases both in the LXX. and in classical Greek for passing or spending one's life, time, age, etc. But it is only found in the New Testament here and in 1 Timothy 2:2. Malice (κακίᾳ). This word is sometimes used of wickedness generally, as Acts 8:22; James 1:21; 1 Corinthians 5:8; and probably Romans 1:29; and even of badness in things, as Matthew 6:34. But it frequently in the New Testament denotes malice, the desire to do harm to others, as Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8, etc. Envy (φθόνῳ); almost always found in St. Paul's enumeration of sins (Romans 1:29; Galatians 5:21; 1 Timothy 6:4, etc.). Hateful (στυγητοί); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX. (though the verb στυγέω occurs once or twice in the Maccabees), but used in good classical Greek. The above is a sad but too true picture of human life without the sweetening influences of God's Holy Spirit.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Verse 4. - When for after that, A.V.; the kindness of God our Savior, and his love toward man for the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man, A.V. Kindness (χρηστότης), used by St. Paul only in the New Testament, and by him frequently in the sense of "kindness," whether of God (as Romans 2:4; Romans 11:22; Ephesians 2:7) or of man (as 2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12). In Romans 3:12, where it has the wider sense of "good" or "right," it is the phrase of the LXX., who use χρηστότης for the Hebrew טוב. In like manner, χρηστός is frequently used in the sense of "kind" (Luke 6:35; Romans 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:3). This is exactly analogous to the use of κακός and κακία, in the limited sense of "malicious," "malice" (see preceding note to ver. 3). Love toward man (φιλανθρωπία); only here and Acts 28:2 in the New Testament. It occurs repeatedly in the Books of the Maccabees, and is common in good classical Greek. God our Savior (see 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3; Titus 2:10, etc.). Appeared (Titus 2:11).
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;
Verse 5. - Done in for of, A.V.; did ourselves for hare done, A.V.; through for by, A.V. By works (ἐξ ἔργων); i.e. in consequence of. God's kindness and love to man did not spring from man's good work as the preceding and producing conditions (comp. Galatians 2:16, and the notes of Bishops Ellicott and Lightfoot). Done in righteousness(τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ); the particular description of the works wrought in a sphere or element of righteousness (Alford and Ellicott). Which we did ourselves; emphasizing that they were our good works, done by us in a state of righteousness. All this, as the cause of our salvation, the apostle emphatically denies. -Not, etc., but according to his mercy he saved us. The predisposing cause, the rule and measure of our salvation, was God's mercy and grace, originating and completing that salvation. Through the washing of regeneration (διὰ λουτροῦ παλλιγενεσίας). Here we have the means through or by which God's mercy saves us. The washing or rather laver of regeneration (λουτρόν) - found elsewhere in the New Testament only in Ephesians 5:26, in exactly the same connection - is the laver or bath in which the washing takes place. The nature or quality of this bath is described by the words, "of regeneration" (τῆς παλιγγενεσίας); elsewhere in the New Testament only in Matthew 19:28, where it seems rather to mean the great restoration of humanity at the second advent. The word is used by Cicero of his restoration to political power, by Josephus of the restoration of the Jews under Zerubbabel, and by several Greek authors; and the LXX. of Job 14:14 have the phrase, ἕως πάλιν γένωμαι, but in what sense is not quite clear, Παλιγγενεσία, therefore, very fifty describes the new birth in holy baptism, when the believer is put into possession of a new spiritual life, a new nature, and a new inheritance of glory. And the laver of baptism is called "the laver of regeneration," because it is the ordained means by or through which regeneration is obtained. And renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is doubtful whether the genitive ἀνακαιγώσεως depends upon διὰ or upon λούτρου. Bengel, followed by Alford, takes the former, "per lavacrum et renovationem;" the Vulgate (lavacrum regenerationis et renova-tionis Spiritus Sancti), the latter, followed by Huther, Bishop Ellicott, and others. It is difficult to hit upon any conclusive argument for one side or the other. But it is against the latter construction that it gives such a very long rambling sentence dependent upon λούτρου. "The laver of regeneration and of the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." And it is in favor of the former that the "laver of regeneration" and "the renewing of the Holy Ghost" seem to describe very clearly the two parts of the sacrament, the outward visible sign and the inward spiritual grace; the birth of water and of the Holy Ghost. So that Bengel's rendering seems on the whole to be preferred. Renewing (ἀνακαινώσεως); only here and Romans 12:2, and not at all in the LXX. or in classical Greek. But the verb ἀνακαινόω is found in 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10. The same idea is in the καινὴ κτίσις, the "new creature" of 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15, and the καινότης ζωῆς of Romans 6:4, and the καινότης πνεύματος of Romans 7:6, and in the contrast between the "old man" (the παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος) and "the new man" (the καινὸς ἄνθρωπος) of Ephesians 4:22-24. This renewal is the work of the Holy Ghost in the new birth, when men are "born again" of the Spirit (John 3:5). Alford is wrong in denying its application here to the first gift of the new life. It is evidently parallel with the παλιγγεσία. The connection of baptism with the effusion of the Holy Spirit is fully set forth in Acts 2. (see especially ver. 38; comp. Matthew 3:16, 17).
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Verse 6. - Poured out upon us richly for shed on us abundantly, A.V. Which (οϋ); viz. the Holy Ghost. It is in the genitive (instead of the accusative , which is another reading), by what [he grammarians call attraction. Poured out (ἐξέχεεν); the same word as is applied to the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:17, 18, 33, and in the LXX. of Joel 2:28, 29. Richly (πλουσίως); as 1 Timothy 6:17; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:11 (compare the use of πλοῦτος in Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:7). Through Jesus Christ. It is our baptism into Christ which entitles us to receive the Holy Spirit, which we have only in virtue of our union with him. The Spirit flows from the Head to the members. In Acts 2:33, 34 Christ is said to have received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, and to have poured it forth upon the Church.
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Verse 7. - Might for should, A.V. Being justified by his grace; showing very clearly that righteousness in man did not precede and cause the saving mercy of God, but that mercy went before and provided the justification which is altogether of grace, and which issues in the possession of eternal life. Heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This seems to be the right rendering rather than that in the margin, heirs, according to hope, of eternal life, making "eternal life" depend upon "heirs." The passage in Titus 1:2, "In hope of eternal life," is a very strong reason for taking the same construction here. The answer in the Church Catechism, "Wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven," follows very closely St. Paul's teaching in the text (see Romans 4:13, 14; Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29, 4:7).
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.
Verse 8. - Faithful is the saying for this is a faithful saying, A.V.; concerning these things for these things, A.V., confidently for constantly, A.V.; to the end that for that, A.V.; God for in God, A.V.; may for might, A.V.; full stop after good works, and colon after men. Faithful is the saying; as 1 Timothy 1:15 (where see note). 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 will that thou affirm confidently," being interpolated to give yet more weight to it. Concerning these things; i.e. with respect to the things or truths which are the subject of the faithful saying. I will that thou affirm confidently (διαβεβαιοῦσθαι); see 1 Timothy 1:7. "Never be weary of dwelling on these important truths, and asserting them with authority. For such doctrine is really good and profitable for those whom you are commissioned to teach. But leave alone the foolish and unprofitable controversies." To the end that (ἵνα). It is not necessary to give to ἵνα the meaning "to the end that," in such a sentence as this (see note on Titus 2:12). After words of command especially, ἵνα, frequently, has simply the force of "that." So here, "lay it down as a rule that they which have believed God must be careful to maintain good works." If the sentence had run on without interruption, it would have been πιστὸς ὁ λόγος ὅτι κ.τ.λ. But the interposition of the διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, with the idea of commanding obedience, has caused the use of ἵνα. Believed God (οἱ πεπιστευκότες Θεῷ or τῷ Θεῷ). The meaning is not the same as πιστεύειν ἐν, or ἐπί, "to believe in," or "on," but "to believe" (as Romans 4:3, 17 and 1 John 5:10, where the context shows that it is the act of believing God's promise that is meant). And so here, the believing refers to the promises implied in the preceding reference to the hope and the inheritance. May be careful (φροντίζωσι); only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek. The word means "to give thought" about a thing, "to be careful" or "anxious" about it. To maintain (προι'´στασθαι); usually in the sense of "presiding over" or "ruling" (as Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4, 5, 12; 1 Timothy 5:17). Here, alter the analogy of the classical use, προι'´στασθαι τέχνης, to "undertake," to "carry on," or the like, fairly expressed by to "maintain." The idea does not seem to be "to stand at the head of," or "to be foremost in." Good works; i.e. practical godliness of all kinds (see ver. 14). These things are good, etc. If the reading of the T.R., τὰ καλὰ κ.τ.λ., is retained, the rendering ought to be, "These are the things that are really good and profitable unto men, not foolish questions, etc., they are unprofitable." But the R.T. omits the τά. With regard to the interpretation above given of ver. 8, it must be admitted that it is very doubtful. But the great difficulty of the other way of rendering it, as most commentators do, is that it is impossible to say which part of what precedes is "the faithful saying" alluded to; and that the "care to maintain good works" is not that which naturally springs from it; whereas the reiteration in ver. 8 implies that "good works" is the special subject of "the faithful saying."
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Verse 9. - Shun for avoid, A.V.; questionings for questions, A.V.; strifes for contentions, A.V.; fightings for strivings, A.V. Shun (περάτασο); see 2 Timothy 2:16. Foolish questionings; as 2 Timothy 2:23. Genealogies; as 1 Timothy 1:4. Strifes (ἔρεις); as 1 Timothy 6:4. Fightings about the Law (μάχας νομικάς); such as St. Paul alludes to in 1 Timothy 1, and are probably included in the λογομαχίαιof 1 Timothy 6:4. Unprofitable (ἀνωφελεῖς); only here and Hebrews 7:18; but it is found in the LXX. and other Greek Versions, and in classical Greek (compare, for the sense, 2 Timothy 2:14). Vain (μάταιοι); compare the use of ματαιολόγοι, "vain talkers" (Titus 1:10), and ματαιολογία "vain talking" (1 Timothy 1:6). The whole picture is unmistakably one of the perverse Jewish mind.
A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Verse 10. - Heretical for an heretick, A.V.; a for the, A.V.; refuse for reject, A.V. Heretical (αἱρετικόν); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., but used in classical Greek for "intelligent," i.e. able to choose. The use of it here by St. Paul is drawn from the use of αἵρεσις for "a sect" (Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5, 14; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20; 2 Peter 2:1), or the doctrines taught by a sect. The heretic is one who forsakes the truth held by the Church, and chooses some doctrine of his own devising (αἵρεσις). The tendency of such departures from the doctrine of the Church to assume more and more of a deadly character, and to depart wider and wider from the truth, gave to the name of heretic a darker shade of condemnation in the mouth of Church writers as time advanced. But even in apostolic times some denied the resurrection (2 Timothy 2:11, 12); others denied the Lord that bought them (2 Peter 2:1); and there were some who were of the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9); so that already an heretical man, drawing away disciples after him, was a great blot in the Church. Admonition (νουθεσία); as 1 Corinthians 10:11; Ephesians 6:4. After a first and second admonition refuse (παραιτοῦ); see 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11. It does not clearly appear what is intended by this term In 1 Timothy 5:11 it meant refusing admission into the college of Church widows. If these had been persons seeking admission into the Church, or ordination, it would mean "refuse them." Vitringa (Huther) thinks it means "excommunication." Beza, Ellicott, Huther, Alford, etc., render it "shun," "let alone," "cease to admonish," and the like.
Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
Verse 11. - Such a one for be that is such, A.V.; perverted for subverted, A.V.; self-condemned for condemned of himself, A.V. Is perverted (ἐξέστραπται); only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX., and found in classical Greek in a material sense, "to turn inside out," "to root up," and the like. Here it means the complete pervert-ion of the man's Christian character, so as to leave no hope of his amendment. But this is not to be presumed till a first and second admonition have been given in vain. Self-condemned (αὐτοκατάκριτος); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX. nor in classical Greek. It means what Cicero (quoted by Schleusner) says of C. Fabricius, that he was suo judicio condemnatus, condemned by his own judgment, which, he says, is a heavier condemnation than even that of the law and of the judges ('Pro Cluentio,' 21, at the end). Fabricius was self-condemned because he had left the court in confusion at a critical part of his trial. So the heretics were self-condemned by the very fact that they continued to head the schism after repeated admonitions.
When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.
Verse 12. - Give diligence for be diligent, A.V.; there I have determined for I have determined there, A.V. When I shall send Artemas, etc. The action of St. Paul in sending Artemas or Tychicus to take the place of Titus in Crete is exactly the same as he pursued with regard to Ephesus, whither he sent Tychicus to take Timothy's place (2 Timothy 4:11, 12). He would not leave the presbyters in either place without the direction and superintendence of one having his delegated apostolic authority. This led to the final placing of a resident bishop in the Churches, such as we find in the second century. We may conclude that Artemas (otherwise unknown) was the person eventually sent to Crete, as Tychicus (Colossians 4:7) we know went to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12). We have also an important note of time in this expression, showing clearly that this Epistle was written before the Second Epistle to Timothy (as it probably also was before 1 Timothy) - an inference abundantly corroborated by 2 Timothy 4:10, by which it appears that Titus had then actually joined St. Paul, either at Nicopolis or elsewhere, and had started off again to Dalmatia. Give diligence (σπούδασον); 2 Timothy 2:15, note; 2 Timothy 4:9, 21. Nicopolis, in Epirus. The most obvious reason for St. Paul's wintering at Nicopolis is that it was near Apollonia, the harbor opposite Brindisium, which would be his way to Rome, and also well situated for the missionary work in Dalmatia, which we learn from 2 Timothy 4:10 was in hand. Nicopolis (the city of victory) was built by Augustus Caesar to commemorate the great naval victory at Actium over Antony. It is now a complete ruin, uninhabited except by a few shepherds, but with vast remains of broken columns, baths, theatres, etc. (Lewin, vol. 2. p. 253). To winter (παραχειμάσαι); Acts 27:12; Acts 28:11; 1 Corinthians 16:6. (On the question whether the winter here referred to is the same winter as that mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21, see Introduction.)
Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.
Verse 13. - Set forward for bring, A.V. Set forward (πρόπεμψον); the technical expression both in the New Testament and the LXX., and also in classical Greek, for helping a person forward on their journey by supplying them with money food, letters of recommendation, escort, or whatever else they might require (see Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; Romans 15:24; 1 Corinthians 16:6; 2 Corinthians 1:16; 3 John 1:6). Zenas the lawyer. He is utterly unknown. His name is short for Zenodorus, but whether he was "a Jewish scribe or Roman legist" can hardly be decided. But his companionship with Apollos, and the frequent application of the term νομικός in the New Testament to the Jewish scribes and lawyers (Matthew 22:35; Luke 7:30; Luke 10:25; Luke 11:45, 48, 52; Luke 14:3), makes it most probable that he was a Jewish lawyer. Apollos; the well-known and eminent Alexandrian Jew, who was instructed in the gospel by Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, and became a favorite teacher at Corinth (Acts 18:24; Acts 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12, and the following chapters, and Acts 16:12). It is a probable conjecture of Lewin's that Apollos was the bearer of this letter, written at Corinth, and was on his way to Alexandria, his native place, taking Crete on the way.
And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
Verse 14. - Our people for ours, A.V. Our people also. The natural inference is that Titus had some fund at his disposal with which he was to help the travelers, but that St. Paul wished the Cretan Christians to contribute also. But it may also mean, as Luther suggests, "Let our Christians learn to do what Jews do, and even heathens too, viz. provide for the real wants of their own." To maintain good works (ver. 8, note) for necessary uses (εἰς τὰς ἀναγκαίας χρείας); such as the wants of the missionaries (comp. 3 John 5:6; see also Romans 12:13; Philippians 2:25; Philippians 4:16, etc.). The phrase means "urgent necessities," the "indispensable wants." In classical Greek τὰ ἀνάγκαια are "the necessaries of life." That they be not unfruitful (ἄκαρποι); comp. 2 Peter 1:8 and Colossians 1:6, 10.
All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.
Verse 15. - Salute for greet, A.V.; faith for the faith, A.V. That love us in faith has no sense. "The faith" is right (see 1 Timothy 1:2, note). Grace be with you all. So, with slight varieties, end St. Paul's other Epistles. The T.R. has Amen, as have most of the other Epistles.

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