Titus 3

CHAPTER III.

The necessity of obedience to the civil powers, and of meek and

gentle deportment towards all men, is to be diligently

enforced, 1, 2.

The wretched state of man, previously to the advent of Christ,

3.

The wonderful change which the grace of God makes, and the means

which it uses to bring men to glory, 4-7.

The necessity of a holy life, and of avoiding things which

produce strifes and contentions, and are unprofitable and vain,

8, 9.

How to deal with those who are heretics, 10, 11.

St. Paul directs Titus to meet him at Nicopolis, and to bring

Zenas and Apollos with him, 12; 13.

Concluding directions and salutations, 14, 15.

NOTES ON CHAP. III.

Verse 1. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities,

&c.] By principalities, αρχαις, we are to understand the Roman

emperors, or the supreme civil powers in any place.

By powers, εξουσιαις, we are to understand the deputies of the

emperors, such as proconsuls, &c., and all such as are in

authority-under the supreme powers wherever we dwell. See the

doctrine of obedience to the civil powers discussed at large in

the notes on Ro 13:1-7.

This doctrine of obedience to the civil powers was highly

necessary for the Cretans, who were reputed a people exceedingly

jealous of their civil privileges, and ready to run into a state

of insurrection when they suspected any attempt on the part of

their rulers to infringe their liberties. Suidas, under the word

ανεσειον, they stirred up, gives the following fragment: οιδε

κρητεςφοβουμενοιμητιτιμωριαςτυχωσινανεσειονταπληθη

παρακαλουντεςτηνεξαιωνοςπαραδεδομενηνελευθεριανδιαφυλαττειν.

"But the Cretans, fearing lest they should be punished, stirred up

the populace, exhorting them that they should carefully preserve

that liberty which they had received from their ancestors." What

part of the history of Crete this refers to I cannot tell; the

words stand thus insulated in Suidas, without introduction or

connection. To be jealous of our civil rights and privileges, and

most strenuously to preserve them, is highly praiseworthy; but to

raise a public tumult to avoid merited chastisement, under

pretence that our civil privileges are in danger, is not the part

of patriots but insurgents. For such advice as that given here

the known character of the Cretans is a sufficient reason: "They

were ever liars, ferocious wild beasts, and sluggish gluttons."

Such persons would feel little disposition to submit to the

wholesome restraints of law.

Verse 2. To speak evil of no man] μηδεναβλασφημειν. To

blaspheme no person, to reproach none, to speak nothing to any

man's injury; but, on the contrary, bearing reproach and contumely

with patience and meekness.

Verse 3. For we ourselves] All of us, whether Jews or

Gentiles, were, before our conversion to Christ, foolish,

disobedient, and deceived. There is no doubt that the apostle

felt he could include himself in the above list, previously to his

conversion. The manner in which he persecuted the Christians, to

whose charge he could not lay one moral evil, is a sufficient

proof that, though he walked according to the letter of the law,

as to its ordinances and ceremonies, blameless, yet his heart was

in a state of great estrangement from God, from justice, holiness,

mercy, and compassion.

Foolish] ανοητοι. Without understanding-ignorant of God, his

nature, his providence, and his grace.

Disobedient] απειθεις. Unpersuaded, unbelieving, obstinate,

and disobedient.

Deceived] πλανωμενοι. Erring-wandering from the right way in

consequence of our ignorance, not knowing the right way; and, in

consequence of our unbelief and obstinacy, not choosing to know

it. It is a true saying, "There are none so blind as those who

will not see." Such persons are proof against conviction, they

will not be convinced either by God or man.

Serving divers lusts and pleasures] δουλευοντες. Being in a

state of continual thraldom; not served or gratified by our lusts

and pleasures, but living, as their slaves, a life of misery and

wretchedness.

Divers lusts-επιθυμιαις. Strong and irregular appetites of

every kind.

Pleasures-ηδοναις. Sensual pleasures. Persons intent only on

the gratification of sense, living like the brutes, having no

rational or spiritual object worthy the pursuit of an immortal

being.

Living in malice and envy] ενκακιακαιφθονωδιαγοντες.

Spending our life in wickedness and envy-not bearing to see the

prosperity of others, because we feel ourselves continually

wretched.

Hateful] στυγητοι. Abominable; hateful as hell. The word

comes from στυξ, Styx, the infernal river by which the gods were

wont to swear; and he who (according to the mythology of the

heathens) violated this oath, was expelled from the assembly of

the gods, and was deprived of his nectar and ambrosia for a year;

hence the river was hateful to them beyond all things, and the

verb στυγεω, formed from this, signifies to shiver with horror.

It maybe taken actively, says Leigh, as it is read, hateful; or

else passively, and so may be read hated, that is, justly

execrable and odious unto others, both God and man.

Hating one another.] μισουντεςαλληλους. This word is less

expressive than the preceding: there was no brotherly love,

consequently no kind offices; they hated each other, and

self-interest alone could induce them to keep up civil society.

This is the true state of all unregenerate men. The words which

the apostle uses in this place give a finished picture of the

carnal state of man; and they are not true merely of the Cretans

and Jews that then were, but of all mankind in every age and

country; they express the wretched state of fallen man.

Some of the Greek moralists expressed a dissolute and sensual

life by nearly the same expressions as those employed by the

apostle. Plutarch, in Precept. Conjug., says: σωματοςεστι

κηδεσθαιμηδουλευονταταιςηδοναιςαυτουκαιταιςεπιθυμιαις.

"We must take care of the body, that we may not be enslaved by its

lusts and pleasures." And Josephus, speaking of Cleopatra,

Antiq., lib. xv. cap. 4, says: γυναικαπολυτεληκαιδουλευουσαν

ταιςεπιθυμιαις. "She was an expensive woman, enslaved to lusts."

Verse 4. But after that the kindness and love of God] By

χρηστοτης we may understand the essential goodness of the Divine

nature; that which is the spring whence all kindness, mercy, and

beneficence proceed.

Love toward man-φιλανθρωπια. Philanthropy. It is to be

regretted that this attribute of the Divine nature, as it stands

in relation to man, should have been entirely lost by a

paraphrastical translation. Philanthropy is a character which God

gives here to himself; while human nature exists, this must be a

character of the Divine nature. God loves man; he delighted in

the idea when formed in his own infinite mind, he formed man

according to that idea, and rejoiced in the work of his hands;

when man fell, the same love induced him to devise his redemption,

and God the Saviour flows from God the Philanthropist. Where love

is it will be active, and will show itself. So the philanthropy

of God appeared, επεφανη, it shone out, in the incarnation of

Jesus Christ, and in his giving his life for the life of the

world.

Verse 5. Not by works of righteousness] Those who were

foolish, disobedient, and deceived, serving divers lusts and

pleasures, could not possibly have works of righteousness to

plead; therefore, if saved at all, they must be saved by mercy.

See Clarke on Eph 2:8;

and see a discourse entitled, Salvation by Faith proved, 8vo.,

1816, in which I have examined every system invented by man for

his restoration to the Divine favour and image: and have

demonstrated, by mere reason, their utter insufficiency to answer

the end for which they have been invented; and have proved that

the doctrine of salvation by faith is the only rational way of

salvation.

By the washing of regeneration] διαλουτρουπαλιγγενεσιας.

Undoubtedly the apostle here means baptism, the rite by which

persons were admitted into the Church, and the visible sign of the

cleansing, purifying influences of the Holy Spirit, which the

apostle immediately subjoins. Baptism is only a sign, and

therefore should never be separated from the thing signified; but

it is a rite commanded by God himself, and therefore the thing

signified should never be expected without it.

By the renewing of the Holy Ghost we are to understand, not

only the profession of being bound to live a new life, but the

grace that renews the heart, and enables us thus to live; so the

renewing influences are here intended. Baptism changes nothing;

the grace signified by it cleanses and purifies. They who think

baptism to be regeneration, neither know the Scriptures nor the

power of God; therefore they do greatly err.

Verse 6. Which he shed on us abundantly] ουεξεχεεν. Which

he poured out on us, as the water was poured out on them in

baptism, to which there is here a manifest allusion; but as this

was sometimes only sprinkled on the person, the heavenly gift was

poured out, not in drops, but πλουσιως, richly, in great

abundance.

Through Jesus Christ] Baptism is nothing in itself; and there

had been no outpouring of the Holy Spirit, had there been no

saving and atoning Christ. Through him alone all good comes to

the souls of men.

Verse 7. That, being justified by his grace] Being freed from

sin; for the term justification is to be taken here as implying

the whole work of the grace of Christ on the heart, in order to

its preparation for eternal glory.

Should be made heirs] The Gospel not only gave them the hope

of an endless state of glory for their souls, but also of the

resurrection and final glorification of their bodies; and they

who were children of God were to be made heirs of his glory.

See note on Ga 4:6, 7.

Verse 8. This is a faithful saying] πιστοςολογος. This is

the true doctrine; the doctrine that cannot fail.

And these things I will] καιπεριτουτωνβουλομαιδε

διαβεβαιουσθαι. And I will, or desire, thee to maintain earnestly

what concerns these points. The things to which the apostle

refers are those of which he had just been writing, and may be

thus summed up:-

1. The ruined state of man, both in soul and body.

2. The infinite goodness of God which devised his salvation.

3. The manifestation of this goodness, by the incarnation of

Jesus Christ.

4. The justification which they who believed received through

his blood.

5. The mission of the Holy Spirit, and the purification of the

heart by his influence.

6. The hope of the resurrection of the body, and the final

glorification of both it and the soul through all eternity.

7. The necessity of obedience to the will of God, and of

walking worthy of the vocation wherewith they had been called.

8. And all these points he wills him to press continually on

the attention of believers; and to keep constantly in view, that

all good comes from God's infinite kindness, by and through Christ

Jesus.

They which have believed in God] All Christians; for who can

maintain good works but those who have the principle from which

good works flow, for without faith it is impossible to please God.

These things are good and profitable] They are good in

themselves, and calculated to promote the well-being of men.

Verse 9. Avoid foolish questions, and genealogies] In these

the Jews particularly delighted; they abounded in the most

frivolous questions; and, as they had little piety themselves,

they were solicitous to show that they had descended from godly

ancestors.

Of their frivolous questions, and the answers given to them by

the wisest and most reputable of their rabbins, the following is a

specimen:-

Rabbi Hillel was asked: Why have the Babylonians round heads?

To which he answered: This is a difficult question, but I will

tell the reason: Their heads are round because they have but

little wit.

Q. Why are the eyes of the Tarmudians so soft?

A. Because they inhabit a sandy country.

Q. Why have the Africans broad feet?

A. Because they inhabit a marshy country.

See more in Schoettgen.

But ridiculous and trifling as these are, they are little in

comparison to those solemnly proposed and most gravely answered by

those who are called the schoolmen. Here is a specimen, which I

leave the reader to translate:-

Utrum essent excrementa in Paradiso? Utrum sancti resurgent

cum intestinis? Utrum, si deipara fuisset vir, potuisset esse

naturalis parens Christi?

These, with many thousands of others, of equal use to religion

and common sense, may be found in their writings. See the Summa

of Thomas Aquinas, passim. Might not the Spirit have these

religious triflers in view, rather than the less ridiculous Jews?

See Clarke on 1Ti 1:4; "2Ti 2:23".

Contentions, and strivings about the law] Of legal

contentions, and different and conflicting decisions about the

meaning of particular rites and ceremonies, the Talmud is full.

Verse 10. A man that is a heretic] Generally defined, one

that is obstinately attached to an opinion contrary to the peace

and comfort of society, and will neither submit to Scripture nor

reason. Here it means a person who maintains Judaism in

opposition to Christianity, or who insists on the necessity of

circumcision, &c., in order to be saved. This is obviously the

meaning of the word heretic in the only place in which it occurs

in the sacred writings.

After the first and second admonition, reject] Labour to

convince him of his error; but if he will not receive instruction,

if he have shut his heart against conviction, then-burn him alive?

No: even if demonstrably a heretic in any one sense of that word,

and a disturber of the peace of the Church, God gives no man any

other authority over him but to shun him, παραιτου. Do him no

harm in body, soul, character, or substance; hold no communion

with him; but leave him to God. See the notes on Ac 5:17; 24:14,

where the word heresy is particularly explained.

Verse 11. Is subverted] Is turned out of the way in which he

may be saved, and consequently sinneth-enters into that way that

leads to destruction.

Being condemned of himself.] This refers to the Judaizing

teacher, who maintained his party and opinions for filthy lucre's

sake. He was conscious of his own insincerity; and that he

proclaimed not his system from a conscientious love of truth, but

from a desire to get his livelihood. Were the Church in all

countries, whether established by law or unestablished, strictly

scrutinized, multitudes of heretics of this kind would be found.

And perhaps this is the only bad sense in which the word should be

understood.

Verse 12. When I shall send Artemas-or Tychicus] These were

either deacons or presbyters, which the apostle intended to send

to Crete, to supply the place of Titus. Who Artemas was we know

not; he is not mentioned in any other place in the New Testament.

Tychicus was a native of Asia, as we learn from Ac 20:4, where

see the note.

Be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis] Nicopolis was a city

of Epirus, on the gulf of Ambracia, near to Actium, which Augustus

built in commemoration of his victory over Mark Antony. There was

another Nicopolis in Thrace, at the entrance of Macedonia, on the

river Nessus; but the former is supposed to be the place here

intended.

For I have determined there to winter.] Hence the apostle was

at liberty, seeing his spending the winter at this or at any other

practicable place depended on his own determination. It was

probably now pretty late in the autumn, and the apostle was now

drawing near to Nicopolis; for he certainly was not yet arrived,

else he would not have said, I have determined εκει, THERE, to

winter.

Verse 13. Bring Zenas the lawyer] This person is only

mentioned in this place; whether he was a Jewish, Roman, or Greek

lawyer, we cannot tell.

And Apollos] Of this person we have some valuable particulars

in Ac 18:24; 1Co 1:12; 3:5, 6; 4:6. Either St. Paul had left

these at Crete when he visited that island, or he had heard that,

in their evangelical itinerancy, they were about to pass through

it.

On their journey diligently] Afford them the means to defray

their expenses. The Churches through which these evangelists

passed, bore their expenses from one to the other. See 3Jo 1:6.

Verse 14. And let others also learn to maintain good works]

There is something very remarkable in this expression. The words

καλωνεργωνπροιστασθαι, which we translate to maintain good

works, occur also in Tit 3:8;

and some think they mean, to provide for our own, and the

necessities of others, by working at some honest occupation; and

that this was necessary to be taught to the Cretans, let OURS also

learn, &c., who were naturally and practically idle gluttons.

Kypke observed that the words mean, 1. To be employed in good

works. 2. To defend good works, and to recommend the performance

of them. 3. To promote and forward good works; to be always first

in them.

For necessary uses] That they may be able at all times to help

the Church of God, and those that are in want.

That they be not unfruitful.] As they must be if they indulge

themselves in their idle, slothful disposition.

Verse 15. All that are with me] He means his companions in

the ministry.

Salute thee.] Wish thee well, and desire to be affectionately

remembered to thee.

Greet them that love us in the faith,] All that love us for

Christ's sake, and all that are genuine Christians.

Grace be with you] May the Divine favour be your portion for

ever.

Some MSS. read, The grace of the Lord be with you all; others,

The grace of God be with you all; and one, Grace be with THY

spirit, as if the greeting was sent to Titus only, whereas the

others send it to the whole Church at Crete.

Amen.] This is wanting in ACD, and some others.

The subscriptions are, as usual, various. Those of the

VERSIONS are the following:-

The Epistle to Titus was written from Nicopolis; and sent by

the hands of Zena and Apollo.-SYRIAC.

To the man Titus.-AETHIOPIC.

The end of the epistle: it was written from Nicopolis.

Incessant and eternal praise be to the God of glory.

Amen.-ARABIC.

Written in Nicopolis, and sent by Artemas, his

disciple.-COPTIC.

The Epistle to Titus is ended, who was the first bishop of the

Church of the Cretans: and it was written from Nicopolis of

Macedonia.-PHILOXENIAN SYRIAC.

There is no subscription in the VULGATE.

The MANUSCRIPTS are also various.

To Titus.-C, and Clarom.

That to Titus is completed: that to Philemon begins.-DEFG.

To Titus, written from Nicopolis.-A.

To Titus, written from Nicopolis of Macedonia.-of the

Macedonians.-From Nicopolis, which is a province of Macedonia.

Paul the apostle's Epistle to Titus.

To Titus, ordained the first bishop of the Church of the

Cretans: written from Nicopolis of Macedonia.-Common Greek Text.

To Titus, archbishop of Crete.-One of the Vienna MSS., written

A. D. 1331.

THERE is not one of these subscriptions of any authority, and

some of them are plainly ridiculous. We do not know that Titus

was what we term bishop, much less that he was ordained bishop of

Crete, as appointed to a particular see; and still less that he

was the first bishop there. As to his being archbishop, that is

the fiction of a time of deep darkness. That the epistle was

written from some place near to Nicopolis, of Epirus, is very

probable. That it was not written at Nicopolis is evident; and

that this was not Nicopolis of Macedonia is also very probable.

See the preface to this epistle for farther information on this

point. And see a treatise by old Mr. Prynne entitled, The

unbishoping of Timothy and Titus, 4to. Lond. 1636 and 1660, where,

among many crooked things, there are some just observations.

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