Titus 1

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1 Paul, a servant[a] of God and 1an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and 2their knowledge of the truth, 3which accords with godliness,
2 4in hope of eternal life, which God, 5who never lies, 6promised 7before the ages began[b]
3 and 8at the proper time manifested in his word 9through the preaching 10with which I have been entrusted 11by the command of God our Savior;
4 To Titus, 12my true child in 13a common faith: 14Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Qualifications for Elders

5 15This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and 16appoint elders in every town as I directed you--
6 17if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife,[c] and his children are believers and not open to the charge of 18debauchery or insubordination.
7 For an overseer,[d]19as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not 20be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent 21or greedy for gain,
8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, 22and disciplined.
9 He must 23hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in 24sound[e] doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
10 For there are many who are insubordinate, 25empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of 26the circumcision party.
11 They must be silenced, since 27they are upsetting whole families by teaching 28for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.
12 29One of the Cretans,[f] a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."[g]
13 This testimony is true. Therefore 30rebuke them 31sharply, that they 32may be sound in the faith,
14 33not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and 34the commands of people 35who turn away from the truth.
15 36To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and 37unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both 38their minds and their consciences are defiled.
16 39They profess to know God, but they 40deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, 41unfit for any good work.

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Titus 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

This epistle chiefly contains directions to Titus concerning the elders of the Church, and the manner in which he should give instruction; and the latter part tells him to urge obedience to magistrates, to enforce good works, avoid foolish questions, and shun heresies. The instructions the apostle gave are all plain and simple. The Christian religion was not formed to answer worldly or selfish views, but it is the wisdom of God and the power of God.

The apostle salutes Titus. (1-4) The qualifications of a faithful pastor. (5-9) The evil temper and practices of false teachers. (10-16)

Verses 1-4 All are the servants of God who are not slaves of sin and Satan. All gospel truth is according to godliness, teaching the fear of God. The intent of the gospel is to raise up hope as well as faith; to take off the mind and heart from the world, and to raise them to heaven and the things above. How excellent then is the gospel, which was the matter of Divine promise so early, and what thanks are due for our privileges! Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; and whoso is appointed and called, must preach the word. Grace is the free favour of God, and acceptance with him. Mercy, the fruits of the favour, in the pardon of sin, and freedom from all miseries both here and hereafter. And peace is the effect and fruit of mercy. Peace with God through Christ who is our Peace, and with the creatures and ourselves. Grace is the fountain of all blessings. Mercy, and peace, and all good, spring out of this.

Verses 5-9 The character and qualification of pastors, here called elders and bishops, agree with what the apostle wrote to Timothy. Being such bishops and overseers of the flock, to be examples to them, and God's stewards to take care of the affairs of his household, there is great reason that they should be blameless. What they are not to be, is plainly shown, as well as what they are to be, as servants of Christ, and able ministers of the letter and practice of the gospel. And here are described the spirit and practice becoming such as should be examples of good works.

Verses 10-16 False teachers are described. Faithful ministers must oppose such in good time, that their folly being made manifest, they may go no further They had a base end in what they did; serving a worldly interest under pretence of religion: for the love of money is the root of all evil. Such should be resisted, and put to shame, by sound doctrine from the Scriptures. Shameful actions, the reproach of heathens, should be far from Christians; falsehood and lying, envious craft and cruelty, brutal and sensual practices, and idleness and sloth, are sins condemned even by the light of nature. But Christian meekness is as far from cowardly passing over sin and error, as from anger and impatience. And though there may be national differences of character, yet the heart of man in every age and place is deceitful and desperately wicked. But the sharpest reproofs must aim at the good of the reproved; and soundness in the faith is most desirable and necessary. To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; they abuse, and turn things lawful and good into sin. Many profess to know God, yet in their lives deny and reject him. See the miserable state of hypocrites, such as have a form of godliness, but are without the power; yet let us not be so ready to fix this charge on others, as careful that it does not apply to ourselves.

Cross References 41

  • 1. See 2 Corinthians 1:1
  • 2. See 1 Timothy 2:4
  • 3. 1 Timothy 6:3
  • 4. 2 Timothy 1:1; Hebrews 9:15; [Titus 2:13; Titus 3:7]
  • 5. Numbers 23:19; 2 Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 6:18
  • 6. Romans 1:2
  • 7. See 2 Timothy 1:9
  • 8. See 1 Timothy 2:6
  • 9. [Romans 10:14]
  • 10. See 1 Timothy 1:11
  • 11. 1 Timothy 1:1
  • 12. See 3 John 4
  • 13. Jude 3; See 2 Peter 1:1
  • 14. See 1 Timothy 1:2
  • 15. [1 Timothy 1:3]
  • 16. [Acts 14:23; 2 Timothy 2:2]
  • 17. For ver. 6-8, see 1 Timothy 3:2-4
  • 18. See Ephesians 5:18
  • 19. Luke 12:42; 1 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Peter 4:10
  • 20. 2 Peter 2:10
  • 21. 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Peter 5:2
  • 22. [1 Corinthians 9:25]
  • 23. [2 Thessalonians 2:13, 15]; See 1 Timothy 1:15; 2 Timothy 1:13
  • 24. See 1 Timothy 1:10
  • 25. 1 Timothy 1:6
  • 26. See Acts 11:2
  • 27. [2 Timothy 3:6]
  • 28. 1 Timothy 6:5; 2 Peter 2:3
  • 29. [Acts 17:28]
  • 30. Titus 2:15; 1 Timothy 5:20
  • 31. 2 Corinthians 13:10
  • 32. Titus 2:1, 2
  • 33. See 1 Timothy 1:4
  • 34. See Colossians 2:22
  • 35. See 1 Timothy 6:20
  • 36. [Luke 11:41; 1 Timothy 4:3]; See Acts 10:15
  • 37. [Romans 14:23]
  • 38. See 1 Timothy 6:5
  • 39. [1 John 2:4]
  • 40. See 1 Timothy 5:8
  • 41. 2 Timothy 3:8

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Or slave; Greek bondservant
  • [b]. Greek before times eternal
  • [c]. Or a man of one woman
  • [d]. Or bishop; Greek episkopos
  • [e]. Or healthy; also verse 13
  • [f]. Greek One of them
  • [g]. Probably from Epimenides of Crete

Chapter Summary


Titus, to whom this epistle is inscribed, was a Greek, an uncircumcised Gentile, and so remained; nor did the apostle circumcise him, as he did Timothy, when he became his companion; nor did the apostles at Jerusalem oblige him to be circumcised, when Paul took him with Barnabas along with him thither, Ga 2:1,3. He was a man of great grace, and large gifts, and very dear to the apostle: he calls him his brother, his partner, and fellow helper, and says he walked in the same spirit, and in the same steps, \2Co 2:13 8:23 12:18\. He was employed by the apostle much, and sent into various parts, on different occasions: he sent him to Corinth, to finish there the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem, 2Co 8:6,16,17 and to Dalmatia, to know the state of the saints there, and to confirm them in the faith, 2Ti 4:10. As he was a Greek, so his name is a Greek name, yet used among the Romans, as Titus Vespasian, and others {a}; and among the Jews, so we read of R. Chijah bar ojyj, "Titas" {b}, and of R. Judah ben Titas {c}: when and where this epistle was written, is not very easy to determine; some think it was written between the first and second time the apostle was in bonds at Rome; and certain it is, that he was not in bonds when he wrote it, for he desires Titus to meet him at Nicopolis, Tit 3:19 from whence some have supposed it to be written, as the subscription shows; but others think it was wrote much earlier, and when the apostle was at Ephesus, towards the close of his three years stay there, before he went into Macedonia; but it seems rather that it was written when he returned from Macedonia into Greece: he left Titus at Crete, and staying in Greece three months, he intended to have sailed to Syria, but was prevented by the Jews lying in wait for him, upon which he steered his course to Macedonia again; and as he was going there, or when there, writes this letter to Titus, to come to him at Nicopolis. The occasion of it was partly the judaizing preachers, and false teachers, that got into that island, and were corrupting the principles of the people; and partly the unbecoming conversation and practices of some professors of religion: and whereas the apostle had left Titus in Crete, to finish what he had begun, and to put the churches in order, and see that they had proper officers, particularly pastors over them, that they might be taken care of, both with respect to doctrine and practice; the design of this epistle is to lay before Titus the several qualifications of a pastor, which might be instruction to him, and to the churches, in the choice and ordination of them; and to stir him up to zeal and diligence in refuting false teachers, and dealing with heretics; and to put him upon exhorting the saints to the discharge of their duty, in every branch of it, from the best principles, by arguments taken from the grace of God, and the doctrines of it. This epistle is supposed to be written about the year 55.

{a} Vid. Martial. Epigram. l. 1. ep. 18. l. 7. ep. 48. {b} T. Hieros. Trumot, c. 8. fol. 45. 3. {c} T. Hieros. Trumot Biccurim, fol. 65. 4. & Succa, fol. 55. 4.


This chapter contains the inscription of the epistle, the apostle's salutation and preface to it; an account of the qualifications of an eider, or pastor of a church; a description of these teachers; and a charge to Titus to rebuke the Cretians for their errors and immoralities. The inscription and salutation are in Tit 1:1-4, in which the writer of the epistle is described by his name and office; by the faith and hope he had; and by the ministration of the Gospel, committed to him by the order of Christ: and the person to whom it is written is mentioned by name; and is described by the spiritual relation he stood in to the apostle, and to whom he wishes grace, mercy, and peace: the preface to the epistle is in Tit 1:5 which gives the reason of the apostle's leaving Titus in Crete, which was to set things in order there, and to ordain elders in all the churches; which leads him to point at the necessary qualifications of them for his direction; some of which respect their moral life and conversation, and others their doctrine, and are in Tit 1:6-9 and on occasion of the latter, and which is a reason why the elders should be sound in the faith, and hold it fast, the apostle takes notice of the false teachers that were in Crete, whom he describes by their noisy, vain, and deceitful talk; by their being pernicious and hurtful to whole families; and by their covetousness and sensuality, which is confirmed by a testimony out of one of the Cretian poets, Tit 1:10-12 wherefore he charges Titus sharply to rebuke either these false teachers, or those they had corrupted, that they regard sound doctrine, and not Jewish fables, and the commandments of erroneous men, Tit 1:13,14 and instances in things forbidden in the law of Moses as unclean, which were not now to be attended to by those who were pure in heart, and sound in faith, to whom all things were pure and lawful; and as for others that were impure, whose minds and consciences were defiled, and were unbelieving, nothing was pure to them, Tit 1:15 and who are further described as professors in words of the true knowledge of God, and yet practically were deniers of him; and as abominable in their nature and actions, disobedient to law and Gospel, and unfit for any good work whatever, Tit 1:16.

Titus 1 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.