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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TITUS - Chapter 1 - Verse 5

Verse 5. For this cause left I thee in Crete. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:3".

On the situation of Crete, see the Intro. § 2.

That thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting. Marg., left undone. The Greek is, "the things that are left;" that is, those which were left unfinished; referring, doubtless, to arrangements which had been commenced, but which for some cause had been left incomplete. Whether this had occurred because he had been driven away by persecution, or called away by important duties demanding his attention elsewhere, cannot now be determined. The word rendered, "set in order"— epidiorywsh— occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, to make straight upon, and then to put further to rights, to arrange further. Robinson, Lex.—- There were things left unfinished which he was to complete. One of these things, and perhaps the principle, was, to appoint elders in the various cities where the gospel had been preached.

And ordain. The word ordain has now acquired a technical signification which it cannot be shown that it has in the New Testament. It means, in common usage, to "invest with a ministerial function or sacerdotal power; to introduce, and establish, and settle in the pastoral office with the customary forms and solemnities," (Webster;) and it may be added, with the idea always connected with it, of the imposition of hands, But the word used here does not necessarily convey this meaning, or imply that Titus was to go through what would now be called an ordination service. It means to set, place, or constitute; then, to set over any thing, as a steward or other officer (see Mt 24:45; Lu 12:42; Ac 6:3, ) though without reference to any particular mode of investment with an office. See the word, ordain, explained in the See Barnes "Ac 1:22; 14:23".

Titus was to appoint or set them over the churches, though with what ceremony is now unknown. There is no reason to suppose that he did this except as the result of the choice of the people. Comp. See Barnes "Ac 6:3".


Elders. Gr., Presbyters. See the word explained See Barnes "Ac 14:23".

These elders, or presbyters, were also called bishops (comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:1") , for Paul immediately, in describing their qualifications, calls them bishops— "ordain elders in every city—if any be blameless —FOR a bishop must be blameless," etc. If the elders and bishops in the times of the apostles were of different ranks, this direction would be wholly unmeaning. It would be the same as if the following directions were given to one who was authorized to appoint officers over an army: "Appoint captains over each company, who shall be of good character, and acquainted with military tactics, for a brigadier-General must be of good character, and acquainted with the rules of war." —That the same rank is denoted also by the terms presbyter and bishop here, is further apparent because the qualifications which Paul states as requisite for the "bishop" are not those which pertain to a prelate or a diocesan bishop, but to one who was a pastor of a church, or an evangelist. It is clear, from Tit 1:7, that those whom Titus was to appoint were "bishops;" and yet it is absurd to suppose that the apostle meant prelatical bishops, for no one can believe that such bishops were to be appointed in "every city" of the island. According to all modern notions of Episcopacy, one such bishop would have been enough for such an island as Crete, and indeed it has been not unfrequently maintained that Titus himself was in fact the bishop of that diocese. But if these were not prelates who were to be ordained by Titus, then it is clear that the term "bishop" in the New Testament is given to the Presbyters or elders; that is, to all ministers of the gospel. That usage should never have been departed from.

In every city. Crete was anciently celebrated for the number of its cities. In one passage, Homer ascribes to the island an hundred cities, (Il ii. 649;) in another, ninety (Od. xix. 174.) It may be presumed that many of these cities were towns of no very considerable size, and yet it would seem probable that each one was large enough to have a church, and to maintain the gospel. Paul, doubtless, expected that Titus would travel over the whole island, and endeavour to introduce the gospel in every important place.

As I had appointed thee. As I commanded thee or gave thee direction dietaxamhn. This is a different word from the one used in the former part of the verse, and rendered ordain kayisthmi. It does not mean that Titus was to ordain elders in the same manner as Paul had ordained him, but that he was to set them over the cities as he had directed him to do. He had, doubtless, given him oral instructions, when he left him, as to the way in which it was to be done.

{a} "set in order" 1 Co 11:34 {1} "wanting" "left undone" {b} "ordain elders" Ac 14:23; 2 Ti 2:2

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