Titus 1

1 Paul, a servant [a] of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that is in accordance with godliness,
2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began—
3 in due time he revealed his word through the proclamation with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior,
4 To Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share: Grace [b] and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
5 I left you behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you:
6 someone who is blameless, married only once, [c] whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious.
7 For a bishop, [d] as God's steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain;
8 but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled.
9 He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.
10 There are also many rebellious people, idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision;
11 they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what it is not right to teach.
12 It was one of them, their very own prophet, who said, "Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons."
13 That testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply, so that they may become sound in the faith,
14 not paying attention to Jewish myths or to commandments of those who reject the truth.
15 To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted.
16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit 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.

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Gk [slave]
  • [b]. Other ancient authorities read [Grace, mercy],
  • [c]. Gk [husband of one wife]
  • [d]. Or [an overseer]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO TITUS

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.

\\INTRODUCTION TO TITUS 1\\

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