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1. Titus' Task on Crete
1Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal; 3but in his own seasons manifested his word in the message, wherewith I was intrusted according to the commandment of God our Saviour; 4to Titus, my true child after a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour. 5For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge; 6if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children that believe, who are not accused of riot or unruly. 7For the bishop must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; 8but given to hospitality, as lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled; 9holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers. 10For there are many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision, 11whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. 12One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idle gluttons. 13This testimony is true. For which cause reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Tit 1:1-16. Address: For What End Titus Was Left in Crete. Qualifications for Elders: Gainsayers in Crete Needing Reproof.
1. servant of God—not found elsewhere in the same connection. In Ro 1:1 it is "servant of Jesus Christ" (Ga 1:10; Php 1:1; compare Ac 16:17; Re 1:1; 15:3). In Ro 1:1, there follows, "called to be an apostle," which corresponds to the general designation of the office first, "servant of God," here, followed by the special description, "apostle of Jesus Christ." The full expression of his apostolic office answers, in both Epistles, to the design, and is a comprehensive index to the contents. The peculiar form here would never have proceeded from a forger.
the elect—for whose sake we ought to endure all things (2Ti 2:10). This election has its ground, not in anything belonging to those thus distinguished, but in the purpose and will of God from everlasting (2Ti 1:9; Ro 8:30-33; compare Lu 18:7; Eph 1:4; Col 3:12). Ac 13:48 shows that all faith on the part of the elect, rests on the divine foreordination: they do not become elect by their faith, but receive faith, and so become believers, because they are elect.
and the acknowledging of the truth—"and (for promoting) the full knowledge of the truth," that is, the Christian truth (Eph 1:13).
after godliness—that is, which belongs to piety: opposed to the knowledge which has not for its object the truth, but error, doctrinal and practical (Tit 1:11, 16; 1Ti 6:3); or even which has for its object mere earthly truth, not growth in the divine life. "Godliness," or "piety," is a term peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles: a fact explained by the apostle having in them to combat doctrine tending to "ungodliness" (2Ti 2:16; compare Tit 2:11, 12).
2. In hope of eternal life—connected with the whole preceding sentence. That whereon rests my aim as an apostle to promote the elect's faith and full knowledge of the truth, is, "the hope of eternal life" (Tit 2:13; 3:7; Ac 23:6; 24:15; 28:20).
promised before the world began—a contracted expression for "purposed before the world began (literally, 'before the ages of time'), and promised actually in time," the promise springing from the eternal purpose; as in 2Ti 1:9, the gift of grace was the result of the eternal purpose "before the world began."
3. in due times—Greek, "in its own seasons," the seasons appropriate to it, and fixed by God for it (Ac 1:7).
through preaching—Greek, "in preaching," of rather as Alford (see on 2Ti 4:17), "in the (Gospel) proclamation (the thing preached, the Gospel) with which I was entrusted."
according to—in pursuance of (compare 1Ti 1:1).
of God our Saviour—rather as Greek, "of our Saviour God." God is predicated of our Saviour (compare Jude 25; Lu 1:47). Also Ps 24:5; Isa 12:2; 45:15, 21, Septuagint. Applied to Jesus, Tit 1:4; Tit 2:13; 3:6; 2Ti 1:10.
after the common faith—a genuine son in respect to (in virtue of) the faith common to all the people of God, comprising in a common brotherhood Gentiles as well as Jews, therefore embracing Titus a Gentile (2Pe 1:1; Jude 3).
Grace, mercy, and peace—"mercy" is omitted in some of the oldest manuscripts. But one of the best and oldest manuscripts supports it (compare Notes, see on 1Ti 1:2; 2Ti 1:2). There are many similarities of phrase in the Pastoral Epistles.
the Lord Jesus Christ—The oldest manuscripts read only "Christ Jesus."
5. I left thee—"I left thee behind" [Alford] when I left the island: not implying permanence of commission (compare 1Ti 1:3).
in Crete—now Candia.
set in order—rather as Greek, "that thou mightest follow up (the work begun by me), setting right the things that are wanting," which I was unable to complete by reason of the shortness of my stay in Crete. Christianity, doubtless, had long existed in Crete: there were some Cretans among those who heard Peter's preaching on Pentecost (Ac 2:11). The number of Jews in Crete was large (Tit 1:10), and it is likely that those scattered in the persecution of Stephen (Ac 11:19) preached to them, as they did to the Jews of Cyprus, &c. Paul also was there on his voyage to Rome (Ac 27:7-12). By all these instrumentalities the Gospel was sure to reach Crete. But until Paul's later visit, after his first imprisonment at Rome, the Cretan Christians were without Church organization. This Paul began, and had commissioned (before leaving Crete) Titus to go on with, and now reminds him of that commission.
ordain—rather, "appoint," "constitute."
in every city—"from city to city."
as I … appointed thee—that is, as I directed thee; prescribing as well the act of constituting elders, as also the manner of doing so, which latter includes the qualifications required in a presbyter presently stated. Those called "elders" here are called "bishops" in Tit 1:7. Elder is the term of dignity in relation to the college of presbyters; bishop points to the duties of his office in relation to the flock. From the unsound state of the Cretan Christians described here, we see the danger of the want of Church government. The appointment of presbyters was designed to check idle talk and speculation, by setting forth the "faithful word."
6. (Compare Notes, see on 1Ti 3:2-4.) The thing dwelt on here as the requisite in a bishop, is a good reputation among those over whom he is to be set. The immorality of the Cretan professors rendered this a necessary requisite in one who was to be a reprover: and their unsoundness in doctrine also made needful great steadfastness in the faith (Tit 1:9, 13).
having faithful children—that is, believing children. He who could not bring his children to faith, how shall he bring others? [Bengel]. Alford explains, "established in the faith."
not accused—not merely not riotous, but "not (even) accused of riot" ("profligacy" [Alford]; "dissolute life" [Wahl]).
unruly—insubordinate; opposed to "in subjection" (1Ti 3:4).
7. For … must—The emphasis is on "must." The reason why I said "blameless," is the very idea of a "bishop" (an overseer of the flock; he here substitutes for "presbyter" the term which expresses his duties) involves the necessity for such blamelessness, if he is to have influence over the flock.
steward of God—The greater the master is, the greater the virtues required in His servant [Bengel], (1Ti 3:15); the Church is God's house, over which the minister is set as a steward (Heb 3:2-6; 1Pe 4:10, 17). Note: ministers are not merely Church officers, but God's stewards; Church government is of divine appointment.
not self-willed—literally, "self-pleasing"; unaccommodating to others; harsh, the opposite of "a lover of hospitality" (Tit 1:6); so Nabal (1Sa 25:1-44); self-loving and imperious; such a spirit would incapacitate him for leading a willing flock, instead of driving.
8. lover of hospitality—needed especially in those days (Ro 12:13; 1Ti 3:2; Heb 13:2; 1Pe 4:9; 3Jo 5). Christians travelling from one place to another were received and forwarded on their journey by their brethren.
sober—towards one's self; "discreet"; "self-restrained" [Alford], (see on 1Ti 2:9).
holy—towards God (see on 1Th 2:10).
temperate—"One having his passions, tongue, hand and eyes, at command" [Chrysostom]; "continent."
the faithful—true and trustworthy (1Ti 1:15).
by—Translate as Greek, "to exhort in doctrine (instruction) which is sound"; sound doctrine or instruction is the element IN which his exhorting is to have place … On "sound" (peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles), see 1Ti 1:10; 6:3.
convince—rather, "reprove" [Alford], (Tit 1:13).