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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TITUS - Chapter 3 - Verse 3

Verse 3. For we ourselves. We who are Christians. There is no reason for supposing, as Benson does, that this is to be understood as confined to Paul himself. There are some things mentioned here which were not probably true of him before his conversion, and the connexion does not require us to suppose that he referred particularly to himself. He is stating a reason why those to whom Titus was appointed to preach should be urged to lead holy lives, and especially to manifest a spirit of order, peace, kindness, and due subordination to law. In enforcing this, he says, that those who were now Christians had formerly been wicked, disorderly, and sensual, but that under the influence of the gospel, they had been induced to lead better lives. The same gospel which had been effectual in their case, might be in others. To others it would be an encouragement to show that there were cases in which the gospel had been thus efficacious, and those who were appointed to preach it might refer to their own example as a reason why others should be persuaded to lead holy lives. In preaching to others, also, they were not to be proud or arrogant. They were to remember that they were formerly in the same condition with those whom they addressed, and whom they exhorted to reformation. They were not to forget that what they had that was superior to others they owed to the grace of God, and not to any native goodness. He will exhort the wicked to repentance most effectually who remembers that his own former life was wicked; he will evince most of the proper spirit in doing it who has the deepest sense of the errors and folly of his own past ways.

Foolish. See this word explained in See Barnes "Lu 24:26, where it is rendered fools. Comp. Ro 1:14, where it is rendered unwise; and Ga 3:1,3; 1 Ti 6:9, where it is rendered foolish.

Disobedient. To law, to parents, to civil authority, to God. This is the natural character of the human heart. See Lu 1:17; Ro 1:30 2 Ti 3:2; Tit 1:16, where the same word occurs.

Deceived. By the great enemy, by false teachers, by our own hearts, and by the flattery of others. It is a characteristic of man by nature that he sees nothing in its true light, but walks along amidst constant, though changing and very beautiful illusions. Comp. Mt 24:4,6,11; 2 Ti 3:13; 1 Pe 2:25; Re 12:9; 18:23, where the same word occurs. See also Re 20:3,8,10, where the same word is applied to that great deceiver who has led the world astray. Every one who is converted feels, and is ready to confess, that before conversion he was deceived as to the comparative value of things, as to the enjoyment which he expected to find in scenes of pleasure and riot, and often in what seemed to him well-formed plans.

Serving divers lusts and pleasures. Indulging in the various corrupt passions and propensities of the soul. We were so under their influence that it might be said we were their servants, or were slaves to them (douleuontev;) that is, we implicitly obeyed them. See Barnes "Ro 6:16,17".

 

Living in malice. Gr., in evil en kakia; that is, in all kinds of evil. See Barnes "Ro 1:29, where the word is rendered maliciousness.

And envy. Displeasure at the happiness and prosperity of others. See Barnes "Ro 1:29".

 

Hateful. stughtoi. This word does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means, that our conduct was such as to be worthy of the hatred of others. Of whom, before his conversion, is not this true?

And hating one another. There was no brotherly love; no true affection for others. There was ill-will felt in the heart, and it was evinced in the life. This is an apt description of the state of the heathen world before the gospel shines on it, and it may be regarded as the characteristic of all men before conversion. They have no true love for one another, such as they ought to cherish, and they are liable constantly to give indulgence to feelings which evince hatred. In contentions, and strifes, and litigations, and wars, this feeling is constantly breaking out. All this is suggested here as a reason why Christians should now be gentle and mild toward those who are evil. Let us remember what we were, and we shall not be disposed to treat others harshly. When a Christian is tempted to unkind thoughts or words towards others, nothing is more appropriate for him than to reflect on his own past life.

{c} "we ourselves" 1 Co 6:11; 1 Pe 4:3

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