Titus 3 Study Notes


3:1-2 The phrase ready for every good work refers back to 1:16 and 2:14. The false teachers were “unfit for any good work” (1:16). One of the purposes of the cross was to create a people “eager to do good works” (2:14). And here, in contrast to the false teachers, Titus was to teach the people to be “ready for every good work.” The qualities encouraged here (vv. 1-3) are in contrast to the description of the false teachers in 1:10-16.

3:3-7 These verses provide the doctrinal basis for the teaching in vv. 1-2.

3:4 The words kindness of God . . . and his love for mankind stand in stark contrast to the description of lost humanity in v. 3. The difference is due to the appearance of God our Savior, Jesus Christ.

3:5 Salvation comes not by works but through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Some interpreters have understood this as saying that baptism (the washing) causes salvation, but in the context human deeds are clearly downplayed and the emphasis is on divine action and initiative. The washing described here is the spiritual cleansing that is symbolized outwardly by water baptism.

3:6-7 Part of our salvation involves receiving the Spirit whom Jesus poured out . . . on us.

3:8 The command to insist on these things is similar to 2:15. Note the emphasis on good works as a mark of believers (v. 1; 1:16; 2:14).

3:9 As elsewhere in the letters to Timothy and Titus, the exact nature of these debates and quarrels is not clear (e.g., 1:10-14). The point is that these disputes were worthless.

3:10-11 A divisive person who refused to repent and change after being confronted showed himself to be twisted by sin; thus, he was self-condemned. See Mt 18:15-17 for Jesus’s description of the stages of church discipline.

3:12-13 Apparently Paul had not decided which of the two men to send to Crete to replace Titus, or when. Before that, Paul was sending Zenas and Apollos through Crete, perhaps with this letter. Nicopolis was a port city about two hundred miles northwest of Athens.

3:14 Having emphasized the importance of good works throughout the letter and having just called for the assistance of fellow laborers (v. 13), Paul paused once more to emphasize the importance of good works. The opportunity to assist Zenas and Apollos was another example of how Titus could be involved in “good works.”

3:15 The plural greeting grace be with all of you appears odd in a letter addressed to an audience of one (Titus), but it shows Paul’s awareness (and likely his intention) that the letter, though written primarily to Titus, would be read to the entire congregation.