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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Titus 1

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The Epistle of Paul to Titus

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET

CHAPTER 1

Tts 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 Rom 1:1 it is "servant of Jesus Christ" ( Gal 1:10 Phl 1:1; compare Act 16:17 Rev 1:1 15:3 ). In Rom 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.
      according to the faith--rather, "for," "with a view to subserve the faith"; this is the object of my apostleship (compare Tts 1:4, 9 Rom 1:5 ).
      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 Rom 8:30-33; compare Luk 18:7 Eph 1:4 Col 3:12 ). Act 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 ( Tts 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 Tts 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" ( Tts 2:13 3:7 Act 23:6 24:15 28:20 ).
      that cannot lie-- ( Rom 3:4 11:29 Hbr 6:18 ).
      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 ( Act 1:7 ).
      manifested--implying that the "promise," Tts 1:2, had lain hidden in His eternal purpose heretofore (compare Col 1:26 2Ti 1:9, 10 ).
      his word--equivalent to "eternal life" ( Tts 1:2 Jhn 5:24 6:63 17:3, 17 ).
      through preaching--Greek, "in preaching," of rather as ALFORD (see on JF & B for 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 Jud 1:25 Luk 1:47 ). Also Psa 24:5 Isa 12:2 45:15, 21, Septuagint. Applied to Jesus, Tts 1:4 Tts 2:13 3:6 2Ti 1:10.

      4. Titus, mine own son--Greek, "my genuine child" ( 1Ti 1:2 ), that is, converted by my instrumentality ( 1Cr 4:17 Phm 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 Jud 1:3 ).
      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 JF & B for 1Ti 1:2; JF & B for 2Ti 1:2). There are many similarities of phrase in the Pastoral Epistles.
      the Lord Jesus Christ--The oldest manuscripts read only "Christ Jesus."
      our Saviour--found thus added to "Christ" only in Paul's Pastoral Epistles, and in 2Pe 1:1, 11 2:20 3:18.

      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 ( Act 2:11 ). The number of Jews in Crete was large ( Tts 1:10 ), and it is likely that those scattered in the persecution of Stephen ( Act 11:19 ) preached to them, as they did to the Jews of Cyprus, &c. Paul also was there on his voyage to Rome ( Act 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 Tts 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 JF & B for 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 ( Tts 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 ( Hbr 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" ( Tts 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.
      not given to wine--(See on JF & B for 1Ti 3:3; JF & B for 1Ti 3:8).
      not given to filthy lucre--not making the Gospel a means of gain ( 1Ti 3:3, 8 ). In opposition to those "teaching for filthy lucre's sake" ( Tts 1:11 1Ti 6:5 1Pe 5:2 ).

      8. lover of hospitality--needed especially in those days ( Rom 12:13 1Ti 3:2 Hbr 13:2 1Pe 4:9 3Jo 1:5 ). Christians travelling from one place to another were received and forwarded on their journey by their brethren.
      lover of good men--Greek, "a lover of (all that is) good," men or things ( Phl 4:8, 9 ).
      sober--towards one's self; "discreet"; "self-restrained" [ALFORD], (see on JF & B for 1Ti 2:9).
      just--towards "men."
      holy--towards God (see on JF & B for 1Th 2:10).
      temperate--"One having his passions, tongue, hand and eyes, at command" [CHRYSOSTOM]; "continent."

      9. Holding fast--Holding firmly to (compare Mat 6:24 Luk 16:13 ).
      the faithful--true and trustworthy ( 1Ti 1:15 ).
      word as he has been taught--literally, "the word (which is) according to the teaching" which he has received (compare 1Ti 4:6, end; 2Ti 3:14 ).
      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], ( Tts 1:13 ).

      10. unruly--"insubordinate."
      and--omitted in the oldest manuscripts. "There are many unruly persons, vain talkers, and deceivers"; "unruly" being predicated of both vain talkers and deceivers.
      vain talkers--opposed to "holding fast the faithful word" ( Tts 1:9 ). "Vain jangling" ( 1Ti 1:6 ); "foolish questions, unprofitable and vain" ( Tts 3:9 ). The source of the evil was corrupted Judaism ( Tts 1:14 ). Many Jews were then living in Crete, according to JOSEPHUS; so the Jewish leaven remained in some of them after conversion.
      deceivers--literally, "deceivers of the minds of others" (Greek, Gal 6:3 ).

      11. mouths. . . stopped--literally, "muzzled," "bridled" as an unruly beast (compare Psa 32:9 ).
      who--Greek, "(seeing that they are) such men as"; or "inasmuch as they" [ELLICOTT].
      subvert. . . houses--"overthrowing" their "faith" ( 2Ti 2:18 ). "They are the devil's levers by which he subverts the houses of God" [THEOPHYLACT].
      for filthy lucre-- ( 1Ti 3:3, 8 6:5 ).

      12. One--Epimenides of Phaestus, or Gnossus, in Crete, about 600. He was sent for to purify Athens from its pollution occasioned by Cylon. He was regarded as a diviner and prophet. The words here are taken probably from his treatise "concerning oracles." Paul also quotes from two other heathen writers, ARATUS ( Act 17:28 ) and MENANDER ( 1Cr 15:33 ), but he does not honor them so far as even to mention their names.
      of themselves. . . their own--which enhances his authority as a witness. "To Cretanize" was proverbial for to lie: as "to Corinthianize" was for to be dissolute.
      alway liars--not merely at times, as every natural man is. Contrast Tts 1:2, "God that cannot lie." They love "fables" ( Tts 1:14 ); even the heathen poets laughed at their lying assertion that they had in their country the sepulchre of Jupiter.
      evil beasts--rude, savage, cunning, greedy. Crete was a country without wild beasts. Epimenides' sarcasm was that its human inhabitants supplied the place of wild beasts.
      slow bellies--indolent through pampering their bellies. They themselves are called "bellies," for that is the member for which they live ( Rom 16:18 Phl 3:19 ).

      13. This witness--"This testimony (though coming from a Cretan) is true."
      sharply--Gentleness would not reclaim so perverse offenders.
      that they--that those seduced by the false teachers may be brought back to soundness in the faith. Their malady is strifes about words and questions ( Tts 3:9 1Ti 6:4 ).

      14. Jewish fables--(See on JF & B for 1Ti 1:4; JF & B for 1Ti 4:7; JF & B for 2Ti 4:4). These formed the transition stage to subsequent Gnosticism; as yet the error was but profitless, and not tending to godliness, rather than openly opposed to the faith.
      commandments of men--as to ascetic abstinence ( Tts 1:15 Mar 7:7-9 Col 2:16, 20-23 1Ti 4:3 ).
      that turn from the truth--whose characteristic is that they turn away from the truth ( 2Ti 4:4 ).

      15. all things--external, "are pure" in themselves; the distinction of pure and impure is not in the things, but in the disposition of him who uses them; in opposition to "the commandments of men" ( Tts 1:14 ), which forbade certain things as if impure intrinsically. "To the pure" inwardly, that is, those purified in heart by faith ( Act 15:9 Rom 14:20 1Ti 4:3 ), all outward things are pure; all are open to, their use. Sin alone touches and defiles the soul ( Mat 23:26 Luk 11:41 ).
      nothing pure--either within or without ( Rom 14:23 ).
      mind--their mental sense and intelligence.
      conscience--their moral consciousness of the conformity or discrepancy between their motives and acts on the one hand, and God's law on the other. A conscience and a mind defiled are represented as the source of the errors opposed in the Pastoral Epistles ( 1Ti 1:19 3:9 6:5 ).

      16. They profess--that is, make a profession acknowledging God. He does not deny their theoretical knowledge of God, but that they practically know Him.
      deny him--the opposite of the previous "profess" or "confess" Him ( 1Ti 5:8 2Ti 2:12 3:5 ).
      abominable--themselves, though laying so much stress on the contracting of abomination from outward things (compare Lev 11:10-13 Rom 2:22 ).
      disobedient--to God ( Tts 3:3 Eph 2:2 5:6 ).
      reprobate--rejected as worthless when tested (see on JF & B for Ro 1:28; JF & B for 1Co 9:27; JF & B for 2Ti 3:8).

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