They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him.—These bitter foes to the truth, Titus must remember, will present themselves under the guise of friends. They will rank themselves in the Christian company openly, with their lips confessing God, but in their way of life, in their acts, practically denying the very things they were so careful to affirm with their lips; in other words, taking back, withdrawing, the solemn declaration of faith they had been making.
Being abominable.—This is the only place where this strong expression is used in the New Testament. It signifies that the life and actions of these men, who professed to be His servants, had made them hateful in the sight of God.
And disobedient.—Rebellious and opposed to all law and order would Titus find them.
And unto every good work reprobate.—As a consequence of their hypocritical, selfish, defiled life, these men, when any good and noble work had to be done, were simply useless, worthless; and to teachers of this kind were many of the Cretan believers content to go for instruction in Christian doctrine and practice.Titus 1:14. All those persons were professors of religion, and claimed that they had a special knowledge of God.
But in works they deny him - Their conduct is such as to show that they have no real acquaintance with him.
Being abominable - In their conduct. The word here used - βδελυκτοὶ bdeluktoi - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means that which is detestable, or to be held in abhorrence.
And disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate - Margin, "void of judgment." On the word here used - ἀδοκίμος adokimos - see the Romans 1:28 note; 2 Corinthians 13:5 note. It means here that in reference to everything that was good, their conduct was such that it could not be approved, or deserved disapprobation. It was for this reason; from the character of the people of the island of Crete, and of those who claimed to be teachers there enforcing the obligation of the Mosaic law, that it was so important for Titus to exercise special care in introducing men into the ministry, and in completing the arrangements contemplated in the organization of the churches there. Yet is this character confined to them? Are there none now who profess that they know God, but in works deny him; whose conduct is such that it ought to be abhorred; who are disobedient to the plain commands of God, and whose character in respect to all that pertains to true piety is to be disapproved by the truly pious, and will be by God at the last day? Alas, taking the church at large, there are many such, and the fact that there are such persons is the grand hindrance to the triumphs of religion on the earth. "The way to heaven is blocked up by dead professors of religion."
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 Le 11:10-13; Ro 2:22).
disobedient—to God (Tit 3:3; Eph 2:2; 5:6).
reprobate—rejected as worthless when tested (see on Ro 1:28; 1Co 9:27; 2Ti 3:8).They profess that they know God; he is speaking of the Jews, who (all of them) professed to know and to believe one living and true God.
But in works they deny him; but they lived like atheists, as if there were no God in the world, Romans 2:17-24.
Being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate; they are persons justly to be abominated of all good men, apeiyeiv, unbelieving in the gospel, disobedient to the rule of the law, and awkward to, and averse from, any good work.
but in works they deny him. The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "in their own works"; they were not professed, but practical atheists; they owned there was a God, and boasted of their knowledge of him; but their lives and conversations showed that they had no true knowledge of him, and that the fear of him was not before their eyes; these gave the lie to their profession; they practically denied that faith they professed to hold, and the power of godliness, of which they had the form.
Being abominable; in the sight of God, however esteemed by men; and notwithstanding the vizor and mask of sanctity and religion they put on, which could not screen them from the omniscience of God, who will one day declare he knows them not, and will bid them depart from him, being workers of iniquity.
And disobedient; to God; to his law, and Gospel; to his ministers and churches; and even to parents and civil magistrates; for of this cast were the false teachers, and their followers, as maybe learned from many passages.
And unto every good work reprobate: or "unaccustomed", unused to them, as the Arabic version renders it; or rather "without judgment", and understanding, concerning them; there was no good in them, nor was it in them to do good; to do good they had no knowledge, nor any inclination; they were unfit for it, and had not a capacity to perform it; they were not good themselves, and therefore could not do good; the tree must first be made good, ere its fruit will be good; they were without Christ, and without his Spirit, and grace, without which no man can do anything that is spiritually good; they had no true faith, and therefore what they did was sinful; they had neither right principles, from which, nor right ends to which they acted, and therefore were not qualified for the performance of good works; which require that men should be good men, created in Christ Jesus, be believers in him, and have principles of truth and love, and views to the glory of God.They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Titus 1:16. Θεὸν ὁμολογοῦσιν εἰδέναι] not: “they pretend” (Matthies), but “they loudly and publicly confess,” that they know God. Paul leaves it undecided whether their confession is correct or not. He does not grant to them, as de Wette thinks, that “they have the theoretical knowledge of God, and in a practical aspect,” nor does he deny this to them. His purpose here is to declare that, in spite of this their confession, their actions are of such a nature as to argue that they had no knowledge of God: τοῖς δὲ ἔργοις ἀρνοῦνται] ἀρνοῦνται, opposed to ὁμολογοῦσιν, see 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Timothy 3:5. Supply Θεὸν εἰδέναι (so, too, van Oosterzee, Hofmann).
βδελυκτοὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀπειθεῖς] βδελυκτός (ἅπ. λεγ.), equivalent to abominabilis, detestable (comp. Luke 16:15); Luther: “whom God holds in abomination.”
The word is joined with ἀκάθαρτος in Proverbs 17:15, LXX. Paul does not apply this epithet to the heretics, because they were defiling themselves with actual worship of idols, which especially was regarded by the Jews as βδέλυγμα, but in order to describe their moral depravity.
καὶ ἀπειθεῖς] “and disobedient,” synonymous with ἀνυπότακτοι in Titus 1:10; this indicates why they are βδελυκτοί.
καὶ πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἀδόκιμοι] “the result of the preceding characteristics” (Wiesinger); ἀδόκιμος, as 2 Timothy 3:8.Titus 1:16. θεὸν ὁμολογοῦσιν εἰδέναι: “We know God”; that was their profession of faith. They “gloried in God,” Romans 2:17. This is an allusion to the Jewish pride of religious privilege. Weiss points out that this phrase alone is sufficient to prove that the heretics in question are not the Gnostics of the second century (Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 133). See the use of the phrase in Galatians 4:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:5. Compare 2 Timothy 3:5, “Holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof”; also 1 John 2:4. There is here the constant antithesis between words and deeds.
τοῖς δὲ ἔργοις ἀρνοῦνται: Their lives give the lie to their professions; “They acted as if this Supreme Being was a mere metaphysical abstraction, out of all moral relation to human life, as if He were neither Saviour nor Judge” (J. H. Bernard comm. in loc.).
πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν: See note on 2 Timothy 3:17.
ἀδόκιμοι: worthless, unfit. See note on 2 Timothy 3:8.16. They profess that they know God] Vulg. ‘confitentur’; ‘profess’ is retained by R.V., though its modern sense is more generally ‘pretend’: the Greek is ‘openly acknowledge,’ and the word is used of those Books of the Bible which are ‘homologoumena,’ ‘fully acknowledged.’ This sense of ‘profess’ remains in our ‘Professor’ or Public Teacher. Cf. Matthew 7:23 ‘then will I profess unto them.’
being abominable, and disobedient] Vulg. ‘cum sint abominati.’ Compare Revelation 21:8 ‘the fearful and unbelieving and abominable,’ 27 ‘anything unclean or he that maketh an abomination and a lie.’
unto every good work reprobate] The first of six occurrences of the phrase ‘good or ‘fair’ ‘work’ in this Epistle, cf. Titus 2:7; Titus 2:14, Titus 3:1; Titus 3:8; Titus 3:14. So in 1 Tim. it occurs six times and twice in 2 Tim. For the force of this particular word for ‘good’ see note on 1 Timothy 1:18. The application of sound doctrine to daily life is the natural and necessary object of the Apostle at this stage of progress in the Christian Church. See Introduction, pp. 32–34. ‘Reprobate’ comes from the Vulg. ‘reprobi’; the Greek is lit. ‘unable to stand the test,’ ‘tried and found wanting.’ It occurs again 2 Timothy 3:8. Its best known use is in 1 Corinthians 9:27 ‘lest after I have preached to others I myself should be rejected.’ Worthless here gives the force.Titus 1:16. Θεὸν, God) Whom to know is the highest wisdom.—ὁμολογοῦσι εἰδέναι) profess, and by profession claim to themselves knowledge; 1 Timothy 6:20.—ἀρνοῦνται) deny God.—βδελυκτοὶ) abominable. This agrees with the LXX., Proverbs 17:15 : ἀκαθάρτος καὶ βδελυκτός, unclean and abominable.—ἀδόκιμοι) This may here be taken actively for those who are not fit for anything, because they cannot approve what is good either in themselves or in others.Verse 16. - By their for in, A.V. They profess that they know God (comp. Romans 2:17-20). The arrogant claim to be God's people and to superior holiness, while all the while they were denying God by their evil deeds, and bringing dishonor upon his Name among the Gentiles, was a marked feature of the Jews in St. Paul's time (comp. 2 Timothy 3:5). Abominable (βδελυκτοὶ); objects or causes of disgust; only here in the New Testament, but found in the LXX. But βδέλυγμα and βδελύσσομαι are not uncommon. Reprobate (ἀδόκιμοι); as 2 Timothy 3:8 (where see note). This picture of the circumcision is indeed sad (comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:15, 16; Acts 28:25-28).
Better, confess. See on 2 Corinthians 9:13, and comp. 1 Timothy 6:12. Not loudly and publicly profess (as Huther), but confess as opposed to deny (John 1:20); comp. Hebrews 11:13; Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10.
N.T.o. Class. lxx, Proverbs 17:15; Sir. 41:5; 2 Macc. 1:27. See on βδέλυγμα abomination, Matthew 24:15, and comp. Revelation 17:4, Revelation 17:5; Revelation 21:27. The kindred verb, βδελύσσεσθαι abhor, Romans 2:22; Revelation 21:8.
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