What Titus Is to Teach Concerning Christians'
Behavior towards the World: How He Is to
Treat Heretics: When and Where He Is to
Meet Paul. Salutation. Conclusion.
1. Put them in mind—as they are in
danger of forgetting their duty, though knowing it. The opposition of
Christianity to heathenism, and the natural disposition to rebellion of
the Jews under the Roman empire (of whom many lived in Crete), might
lead many to forget practically what was a recognized Christian
principle in theory, submission to the powers that be. Diodorus Siculus mentions the tendency of the
Cretans to riotous insubordination.
to be subject—"willingly" (so the
powers—Greek, "magistracies … authorities."
to obey—the commands of
"magistrates"; not necessarily implying spontaneous obedience.
Willing obedience is implied in "ready to every good work."
13:3, as showing that
obedience to the magistracy would tend to good works, since the
magistrate's aim generally is to favor the good and punish the
bad. Contrast "disobedient" (Tit 3:3).
2. To speak evil of no man—especially,
not of "dignities" and magistrates.
no brawlers—"not quarrelsome," not
gentle—towards those who attack us.
Yielding, considerate, not urging one's rights to the uttermost, but
forbearing and kindly (see on Php 4:5). Very
different from the innate greediness and spirit of aggression
towards others which characterized the Cretans.
meekness—(See on 2Co 10:1); the opposite of passionate severity.
unto all men—The duty of Christian
conduct towards all men is the proper consequence of the
universality of God's grace to all men, so often set forth in the
3. For—Our own past sins should lead us
to be lenient towards those of others. "Despise none, for such wast
thou also." As the penitent thief said to his fellow thief, "Dost thou
not fear God … seeing that thou art in the same
were—Contrast Tit 3:4, "But when," that is, now: a
favorite contrast in Paul's writing, that between our past state
by nature, and our present state of deliverance from it by
grace. As God treated us, we ought to treat our neighbor.
foolish—wanting right reason in our
course of living. Irrational. The exact picture of human life without
grace. Grace is the sole remedy for foolishness.
deceived—led astray. The same
Greek, "out of the way" (Heb 5:2).
serving—Greek, "in bondage
to," serving as slaves."
divers—The cloyed appetite craves
pleasures—of the flesh.
hateful … hating—correlatives.
Provoking the hatred of others by their detestable character and
conduct, and in turn hating them.
4. To show how little reason the Cretan
Christians had to be proud of themselves, and despise others not
Christians (see on Tit 3:2, 3). It is to the
"kindness and love of God," not to their own merits, that they owe
"benignity," which manifests His grace.
love … toward man—teaching us to
have such "love (benevolence) toward man" (Greek,
"philanthropy"), "showing all meekness unto all men" (Tit 3:2), even as God had "toward
man" (Tit 2:11);
opposed to the "hateful and hating" characteristics of unrenewed men,
whose wretchedness moved God's benevolent kindness.
of God our Saviour—Greek, "of
our Saviour God," namely, the Father (Tit 1:3), who "saved us" (Tit 3:5) "through Jesus Christ our Saviour"
appeared—Greek, "was made to
appear"; was manifested.
5. Not by—Greek, "Out of"; "not
as a result springing from works," &c.
"in righteousness," that is, wrought "in a state of
righteousness": as "deeds … wrought in God." There was
an utter absence in us of the element ("righteousness") in which alone
righteous works could be done, and so necessarily an absence of the
works. "We neither did works of righteousness, nor were saved in
consequence of them; but His goodness did the whole" [Theophylact].
we—emphatically opposed to "His."
mercy—the prompting cause of our
salvation individually: "In pursuance of His mercy." His
kindness and love to man were manifested in redemption
once for all wrought by Him for mankind generally; His
mercy is the prompting cause for our individual
realization of it. Faith is presupposed as the instrument of our
being "saved"; our being so, then, is spoken of as an accomplished
fact. Faith is not mentioned, but only God's part. as Paul's
object here is not to describe man's new state, but the saving agency
of God in bringing about that state, independent of all merit
on the man's part (see on Tit 3:4).
by—Greek, "through"; by means
the washing—rather, "the laver," that
is, the baptismal font.
of regeneration—designed to be
the visible instrument of regeneration. "The apostles are wont to draw
an argument from the sacraments to prove the thing therein signified,
because it ought to be a recognized principle among the godly, that God
does not mark us with empty signs, but by His power inwardly makes good
what He demonstrates by the outward sign. Wherefore baptism is
congruously and truly called the laver of regeneration. We must
connect the sign and thing signified, so as not to make the sign empty
and ineffectual; and yet not, for the sake of honoring the sign, to
detract from the Holy Spirit what is peculiarly His" [Calvin], (1Pe 3:21). Adult candidates for baptism are
presupposed to have had repentance and faith (for Paul often assumes in
faith and charity that those addressed are what they profess to be,
though in fact some of them were not so, 1Co 6:11), in which case baptism would be the
visible "laver or regeneration" to them, "faith being thereby
confirmed, and grace increased, by virtue of prayer to
God" [Article XXVII, Church of England]. Infants are charitably
presumed to have received a grace in connection with their
Christian descent, in answer to the believing prayers of their
parents or guardians presenting them for baptism, which grace is
visibly sealed and increased by baptism, "the laver of regeneration."
They are presumed to be then regenerated, until years of
developed consciousness prove whether they have been actually so
or not. "Born of (from) water and (no 'of' in Greek) the
Spirit." The Word is the remote and anterior instrument
of the new birth; Baptism, the proximate instrument. The Word,
the instrument to the individual; Baptism, in relation to the
Society of Christians. The laver of cleansing stood outside the
door of the tabernacle, wherein the priest had to wash before entering
the Holy Place; so we must wash in the laver of regeneration before we
can enter the Church, whose members are "a royal priesthood." "Baptism
by the Spirit" (whereof water baptism is the designed accompanying
seal) makes the difference between Christian baptism and that of John.
As Paul presupposes the outward Church is the visible community of the
redeemed, so he speaks of baptism on the supposition that it answers to
its idea; that all that is inward belonging to its completeness
accompanied the outward. Hence he here asserts of outward baptism
whatever is involved in the believing appropriation of the divine facts
which it symbolizes, whatever is realized when baptism fully
corresponds to its original design. So Ga 3:27; language holding good only of those in
whom the inward living communion and outward baptism coalesce. "Saved
us" applies fully to those truly regenerate alone; in a general sense
it may include many who, though put within reach of salvation, shall
not finally be saved. "Regeneration" occurs only once more in New
Testament, Mt 19:28,
that is, the new birth of the heaven and earth at Christ's
second coming to renew all material things, the human body included,
when the creature, now travailing in labor-throes to the birth, shall
be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty
of the children of God. Regeneration, which now begins in the
believer's soul, shall then be extended to his body, and thence to all
and renewing—not "the laver
('washing') of renewing," but "and BY
the renewing," &c., following "saved us." To make "renewing of the
Holy Ghost" follow "the laver" would destroy the balance of the clauses
of the sentence, and would make baptism the seal, not only of
regeneration, but also of the subsequent process of
progressive sanctification ("renewing of the Holy Ghost").
Regeneration is a thing once for all done; renewing is a
process daily proceeding. As "the washing," or "laver," is connected
with "regeneration," so the "renewing of the Holy Ghost" is
connected with "shed on us abundantly" (Tit 3:6).
6. Which—the Holy Ghost.
he shed—Greek, "poured out";
not only on the Church in general at Pentecost, but also "on us"
individually. This pouring out of the Spirit comprehends the
grace received before, in, and subsequently to, baptism.
through Jesus Christ—the channel and
Mediator of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
our Saviour—immediately; as the Father
is mediately "our Saviour." The Father is the author of our salvation
and saves us by Jesus Christ.
7. That, &c.—the purpose which He
aimed at in having "saved us" (Tit 3:5), namely, "That being (having been)
justified (accounted righteous through faith at our
'regeneration,' and made righteous by the daily 'renewing of the
Holy Ghost') by His grace (as opposed to works, Tit 3:5) we should be made heirs."
his grace—Greek, "the grace of
the former," that is, God (Tit 3:4; Ro 5:15).
according to the hope of eternal
life—Tit 1:2, and
also the position of the Greek words, confirm English
Version, that is, agreeably to the hope of eternal life; the
eternal inheritance fully satisfying the hope. Bengel and Ellicott
explain it, "heirs of eternal life, in the way of hope," that
is, not yet in actual possession. Such a blessed hope, which
once was not possessed, will lead a Christian to practice holiness and
meekness toward others, the lesson especially needed by the
8. Greek, "faithful is the saying." A
formula peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles. Here "the saying" is the
statement (Tit 3:4-7)
as to the gratuitousness of God's gift of salvation. Answering to the
these things, &c.—Greek,
"concerning these things (the truths dwelt on, Tit 3:4-7; not as English Version, what
follow), I will that thou affirm (insist) strongly and
persistently, in order that they who have believed God
(the Greek for 'believed in God' is different, Joh 14:1. 'They who have learnt to credit
God' in what He saith) may be careful ('Solicitously sedulous';
diligence is necessary) to maintain (literally, 'to set before
themselves so as to sustain') good works." No longer applying their
care to "unprofitable" and unpractical speculations (Tit 3:9).
These things—These results of doctrine
("good works") are "good and profitable unto men," whereas no such
practical results flow from "foolish questions." So Grotius and Wiesinger. But Alford, to avoid the tautology, "these (good works)
are good unto men," explains, "these truths" (Tit 3:4-7).
9. avoid—stand aloof from. Same
Greek, as in 2Ti 2:16; see
on 2Ti 2:16.
producing no moral fruit. "Vain talkers."
genealogies—akin to the "fables" (see
on 1Ti 1:4). Not so much direct heresy as yet is
here referred to, as profitless discussions about genealogies of aeons,
&c., which ultimately led to Gnosticism. Synagogue discourses were
termed daraschoth, that is, "discussions." Compare
"disputer of this world (Greek, 'dispensation')."
strivings about the law—about the
authority of the "commandments of men," which they sought to confirm by
the law (Tit 1:14; see
on 1Ti 1:7), and about the mystical meaning of
the various parts of the law in connection with the "genealogies."
10. heretic—Greek "heresy,"
originally meant a division resulting from individual self-will;
the individual doing and teaching what he chose, independent of
the teaching and practice of the Church. In course of time it came to
mean definitely "heresy" in the modern sense; and in the later Epistles
it has almost assumed this meaning. The heretics of Crete, when Titus
was there, were in doctrine followers of their own self-willed
"questions" reprobated in Tit 3:9, and
immoral in practice.
reject—decline, avoid; not formal
excommunication, but, "have nothing more to do with him," either in
admonition or intercourse.
11. is … subverted—"is become
condemned of himself—He cannot say, no
one told him better: continuing the same after frequent admonition, he
is self-condemned. "He sinneth" wilfully against knowledge.
12. When I shall send—have sent.
Artemas or Tychicus—to supply thy
place in Crete. Artemas is said to have been subsequently bishop of
Lystra. Tychicus was sent twice by Paul from Rome to Lesser Asia in his
first imprisonment (which shows how well qualified he was to become
Titus' successor in Crete); Eph 6:21; and
in his second, 2Ti 4:12.
Tradition makes him subsequently bishop of Chalcedon, in Bithynia.
Nicopolis—"the city of victory,"
called so from the battle of Actium, in Epirus. This Epistle was
probably written from Corinth in the autumn. Paul purposed a journey
through Ætolia and Acarnania, into Epirus, and there "to winter."
See my Introduction to the Pastoral
13. Bring … on their
journey—Enable them to proceed forward by supplying
necessaries for their journey.
Zenas—the contracted form of
lawyer—a Jewish "scribe," who, when
converted, still retained the title from his former occupation. A
Apollos—with Zenas, probably the
bearers of this Epistle. In 1Co 16:12,
Apollos is mentioned as purposing to visit Corinth; his now being at
Corinth (on the theory of Paul being at Corinth when he wrote) accords
with this purpose. Crete would be on his way either to Palestine or his
native place, Alexandria. Paul and Apollos thus appear in beautiful
harmony in that very city where their names had been formerly the
watchword of unchristian party work. It was to avoid this party rivalry
that Apollos formerly was unwilling to visit Corinth though Paul
desired him. Hippolytus mentions Zenas
as one of the Seventy, and afterwards bishop of Diospolis.
14. And … also—Greek, "But
… also." Not only thou, but let others also of "our"
fellow believers (or "whom we have gained over at Crete") with
for necessary uses—to supply the
necessary wants of Christian missionaries and brethren, according
as they stand in need in their journeys for the Lord's cause. Compare
Tit 1:8, "a lover of hospitality."
15. Greet—"Salute them that love
us in the faith." All at Crete had not this love rooted in
faith, the true bond of fellowship. A salutation peculiar to
this Epistle, such as no forger would have used.
grace," namely, of God.
with you all—not that the Epistle is
addressed to all the Cretan Christians, but Titus would
naturally impart it to his flock.