Titus 1
Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

Chap. 1:1-4.] Address and greeting.

1.] The occurrence of δοῦλος θεοῦ, not elsewhere found in the superscriptions of St. Paul’s Epistles, is a mark of genuineness: a forger would have been sure to suit every expression of this kind to the well-known habits of the Apostle.

ἀπ. δέ] δέ further defines—a servant of God,—this is general:—but a more particular designation also belongs to the present matter. κατὰ πίστιν has been variously rendered: (1) ‘according to the faith of,’ &c., so E. V., Luth., Matthies, al.: (2) similarly Calv., Beza, Aret., ‘mutuus est inter meum apostolatum et fidem electorum Dei consensus:’ (3) ‘so as to bring about faith in,’ &c.,—as De W., justifying it by κατὰ τὴν ληΐην ἐκπλώσαντες, Herod. ii. 152, κατὰ θέαν ἥκειν, Thuc. vi. 31,—so also Thdrt. (ὥστε πιστεῦσαι τῆς ἐκλογῆς ἀξίους, Œc. 2, Thl. 1, Jer., Grot., al., but see below). We may at once say that (1) and (2) are inadmissible, as setting up a standard which the Apostle would not have acknowledged for his Apostleship, and as not suiting ἐπίγνωσιν below, which also belongs to the κατά. Nor do the instances given to justify (3) apply here: for as Huther has observed, in them it is the acquisition of the noun which is spoken of: so that here it would be to get, not to produce faith. The best sense seems to be that which he gives,—that of reference, ‘with regard to,’ i.e. to bring about, cherish, and perfect: nearly in the same sense as εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως, Romans 1:5. See also 2Timothy 1:1. I would render then ‘for:’ Paul, a servant of God, but an Apostle of Jesus Christ, for (on this sense of κατά, destination, see Ellic.’s note) the faith of the elect of God (those whom God has chosen of the world—reff.: and their faith is the only true faith—the only faith which the apostolic office would sub-serve) and the thorough knowledge (reff. and notes: subjective, and κατά as before—to promote the knowledge. Thl. gives as an alternative,—διότι ἐπέγνεν τὴν ἀλή θειαν, διὰ τοῦτο ἐπιστεύθην κ.τ.λ.) of the truth—which is according to (belongs to,—is conversant in and coincident with: for as Chrys., ἐστὶν ἀλήθεια πραγμάτων ἀλλʼ οὐ κατʼ εὐσέβειαν, οἷον τὸ εἰδέναι τὰ γεωργικά, τὸ εἰδέναι τέχνας, ἀληθῶς ἐστὶν εἰδέναι· ἀλλʼ αὕτη κατʼ εὐσέβειαν ἡ ἀλήθεια. κατά cannot, as De W., import the aim, ‘which leads to εὐσ.:’ it does not lead to it, but rather runs parallel with) piety,

2.] in hope (on condition of, in a state of, see note on ἐφʼ ᾧ, Romans 5:12) of life eternal (to what are the words ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ζ. αἰ. to be referred? Not back to ἀπόστολος, regarding them as a co-ordinate clause with κατὰ πίστιν κ.τ.λ. (not for the reason assigned by Huther, that thus καί would be required, cf. the similar sentence, Romans 16:25, Romans 16:26,—but because such a personal reference would not agree with ver. 3 below, where his preaching, not his prospects, is in question):—not to κατὰ πίστιν καὶ ἐπίγ. τ. ἀλ. as subordinate to it—nor to εὐσέβειαν, nor to any one portion of the preceding sentence: for by such reference we develope an inferior member of the former sentence into what evidently is an expansion of the main current of thought, and thus give rise to a disproportion:—but to the whole, from κατὰ πίστιν to εὐσέβ., as subordinate to that whole, and further conditioning or defining it: q. d., that the elect of God may believe and thoroughly know the truth which is according to piety, in hope of eternal life), which (eternal life: not ἀλήθεια, nor ἐλπίς) God who cannot lie (so μαντήϊον ἀψευδές, Herod. i. 49: Eur. Orest. 364, ἀψευδὴς θεός, ὅς μοι τάδʼ εἶπεν ἐμφανῶς παρασταθείς: see Wetst. and cf. Hebrews 6:18) promised from eternal ages (the very distinct use of πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων in 2Timothy 1:9, where the meaning ‘from ancient times’ is precluded, should have kept Commentators from endeavouring to fix that sense on the words here. The solution of the difficulty, that no promise was actually made till the race of man existed, must be found by regarding, as in 2 Tim. l. c., the construction as a mixed one,—compounded of the actual promise made in time, and the divine purpose from which that promise sprung, fixed in eternity. Thus, as there God is said to have given us grace in Christ from eternal ages, meaning that the gift took place as the result of a divine purpose fixed from eternity, so here He is said to have promised eternal life from eternal ages, meaning that the promise took place as the result of a purpose fixed from eternity. So Thdrt. ταῦτα γὰρ ἄνωθεν μὲν καὶ πρὸ αἰώνων ἐδέδοκτο τῷ τῶν ὅλων θεῷ· δῆλα δὲ πεποίηκεν, ὅτε ἐδοκίμασε),

3.] but (contrast to the eternal and hidden purpose, and to the promise, just mentioned) manifested in its own seasons (not, ‘His own seasons’ (Ellic. al.), cf. ref. Gal.:—the times belonging to it, τουτέστι, τοῖς ἁρμόζουσι, τοῖς ὠφελημένοις, Thl.,—fixed by Him for the manifestation) His word (we naturally expect the same object as before, viz. ζωὴν αἰώνιον: but we have instead, τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ,—not to be taken in apposition with ἥν, as Heinrichs:—i.e. the Gospel, see Romans 16:25) in (as the element or vehicle of its manifestation) the proclamation (see 2Timothy 4:17) with which (on the construction, see reff.) I was entrusted according to (in pursuance of, reff.) the command of our Saviour God:

4.] to Titus (see Prolegg. § i.) my true (genuine, see on 1Timothy 1:2) child according to (in respect of, or agreeably to, in conformity with the appointed spread and spiritually generative power of that faith) the common faith (common to us both and to all the people of God: hardly as Grot., ‘Judæis, qualis Paulus, et Græcis qualis Titus:’ for there is no hint of such a distinction being brought out in this Epistle): grace and peace from God the Father (see on 1Timothy 1:2), and Christ Jesus our Saviour (reff.).

5-9.] Reason stated for Titus being left in Crete—to appoint elders in its cities. Directions what sort of persons to choose for this office.

5.] For this reason I left thee behind (reff.: ἀπέλ. gives the mere fact of leaving behind when Paul left the island;—κατέλ. would convey the idea of more permanence: cf. Acts 18:19; Acts 24:27. This difference may have occasioned the alteration of the reading from ecclesiastical motives, to represent Titus as permanent bishop of Crete) in Crete (on the island, and the whole matter, see Prolegg.) that thou mightest carry forward the correction (already begun by me: ἐπι implying the furtherance, addition of διορθώματα. The middle voice, as so often, carries only so far the subjective sense, that whereas the active would state the mere fact of διόρθωσις, the middle implies that the subject uses his own agency: facit per se: see Krüger, Griechische Sprachlehre, p. 363, who calls this the dynamic middle. So Polybius, xxx. 5. 13, τὰ μὲν οὖν κατὰ τοὺς Καυνίους … ταχέως οἱ Ῥόδιοι διωρθώσαντο) of those things which are defective (‘quæ ego per temporis brevitatem non potui expedire,’ Beng.: ὁ γὰρ τῆς εὐσεβείας λόγος παρεδίδοτο πᾶσι παρʼ αὐτοῦ, ἐλείπετο δὲ οἰκονομῆσαι τὰ κατὰ τοὺς πεπιστευκότας, καὶ εἰς ἁρμονίαν αὐτοὺς καταστῆσαι ταῖς ἐκκλησιαστικαῖς διατυπώσεσι. Theodr-Mops. in Huther), and (καί brings out, among the matters to be attended to in the ἐπιδιόρθωσις, especially that which follows) mightest appoint city by city (reff.) elders (see 1Timothy 4:14: note on Acts 20:17. Thl. remarks, τοὺς ἐπισκόπους οὕτως ἐνταῦθά φησιν, ὡς καὶ ἐν τῇ πρὸς Τιμόθεον· κατὰ πόλεις δέ φησιν. οὐ γὰρ ἐβούλετο πᾶσαν τὴν νῆσον ἐπιτετράφθαι ἑνί, ἀλλʼ ἑκάστην πόλιν τὸν ἴδιον ποιμένα ἔχειν· οὕτω γὰρ καὶ ὁ πόνος κουφότερος, καὶ ἡ ἐπιμέλεια ἀκριβεστέρα), as I prescribed (reff.) to thee (“διεταξάμην refers as well to the fact of appointing elders, as to the manner of their appointment,—which last particular is now expanded in directions respecting the characters of those to be chosen.” De W.):

6.] if any man is blameless (see 1Timothy 3:10. No intimation is conveyed by the εἴ τις, as Heinr. and Heydenr. suppose, that such persons would be rare in Crete: see besides reff. Matthew 18:28; 2Corinthians 11:20), husband of one wife (see note on 1Timothy 3:2), having believing children (‘nam qui liberos non potuit ad fidem perducere, quomodo alios perducet?’ Beng.: and similarly Chrys., Thl. πιστοί implies that they were not only ‘ad fidem perducti,’ but ‘in fide stabiliti’), who are not under (involved in) accusation of profligacy (see Ephesians 5:18, note) or insubordinate (respecting the reason of these conditions affecting his household, see 1Timothy 3:4. I have treated in the Prolegg. ch. vii. § 1., the argument which Baur and De W. have drawn from these descriptions for dating our Epistles in the second century).

7 ff.] For it behoves an (τόν, as so often (reff.), generic, the, i.e. every: our English idiom requires the indefinite article) overseer (see note, 1Timothy 3:2; here most plainly identified with the presbyter spoken of before. So Thdrt.: ἐντεῦθεν δῆλον, ὡς τοὺς πρεσβυτέρους ἐπισκόπους ὠνόμαζον) to be blameless, as God’s steward (see 1Timothy 3:15, to which image, that of a responsible servant and dispensator (1Peter 4:10) in the house of God, the allusion perhaps is, rather than to that of 1Corinthians 4:1. There is clearly no allusion to the ἐπίσκ.’s own household, as Heydenr. supposes. Mack well remarks, meaning perhaps however more than the words convey, “God’s steward;—consequently spiritual superiors are not merely servants and commissioned agents of the Church. According to the Apostle’s teaching, church government does not grow up out of the ground”), not self-willed (ἐπίσκοπος ἑκόντων ἄρχων, οὐκ ὀφείλει αὐθάδης εἶναι ὥστε αὐτογνώμως καὶ αὐτοβούλως καὶ ἄνευ γνώμης τῶν ἀρχομένων πράττειν. τυραννικὸν γὰρ τοῦτο, Thl. σεμνότης δʼ ἐστὶν αὐθαδείας ἀνὰ μέσον τε καὶ ἀρεσκείας, ἐστὶ δὲ περὶ τὰς ἐντεύξεις. ὅ τε γὰρ αὐθάδης τοιοῦτός ἐστιν οἷος μηθενὶ ἐντυχεῖν μηδὲ διαλεγῆναι, ἀλλὰ τοὔνομα ἔοικεν ἀπὸ τοῦ τρόπου κεῖσθαι· ὁ γὰρ αὐθάδης αὐτοάδης τίς ἐστιν, ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐτὸς αὐτῷ ἀρέσκειν, Aristot. Magn. Moral. i. 29: see also Theophr. Char. c. xvi. (αὐθάδειά ἐστιν ἀπήνεια ὁμιλίας ἐν λόγοις): Suicer, i. p. 572: and Ellic.’s note here), not soon provoked (οἱ μὲν οὖν ὀργίλοι ταχέως μὲν ὀργίζονται, καὶ οἷς οὐ δεῖ, καὶ ἐφʼ οἷς οὐ δεῖ, καὶ μᾶλλον ἢ δεῖ· παύονται δὲ ταχέως ὃ καὶ βέλτιστον ἔχουσι, Aristot. Eth. Nic. iv. 5: this meaning, and not Thdrt.’s, ὀργίλον δέ, τὸν μνησίκακον,—must be taken), not a brawler, not a striker (for both these, see 1Timothy 3:3, notes), not greedy of gain (1Timothy 3:8, note), but hospitable (1Timothy 3:2, note, and 3John 1:5), a lover of good (cf. the opposite ἀφιλάγαθος, 2Timothy 3:3. It is hardly likely to mean a lover of good men, coming so immediately after φιλόξενον. Thl. explains it, τὸν ἐπιεικῆ, τὸν μέτριον, τὸν μὴ φθονοῦντα. Dionys. Areop., Ep. viii. 1, p. 597, calls God τὸν ὑπεράγαθον καὶ φιλάγαθον—and Clem. Alex., Pæd. iii. 11, p. 291 P., classes together ἀνδρία, σωφροσύνη, φιλαγαθία), self-restrained (see 1Timothy 2:9, note. I am not satisfied with this rendering, but adopt it for want of a better: “discreet is perhaps preferable.” See Ellic. on 1 Tim. as above), just, holy (see on these, and their distinction, in notes on Ephesians 4:24: 1Thessalonians 2:10), continent (τὸν πάθους κρατοῦντα, τὸν καὶ γλώττης καὶ χειρὸς καὶ ὀφθαλμῶν ἀκολάστων· τοῦτο γὰρ ἐστὶν ἐγκράτεια, τὸ μηδενὶ ὑποσύρεσθαι πάθει, Chrys., and id. Epist. ii. ad Olympiad., vol. iii. p. 560 (Migne), ἐγκρατεύεσθαι ἐκεῖνόν φαμεν … τὸν ὑπό τινος ἐπιθυμίας ἐνοχλούμενον, καὶ κρατοῦντα ταύτης. See Suicer i. p. 998 ff., for a full explanation of the subsequent technical usages of the word. Here, the sense need not be limited to sexual continence, but may be spread over the whole range of the indulgences), holding fast (see reff.: constantly keeping to, and not letting go,—φροντίζοντα, ἔργον τοῦτο ποιούμενον, Chrys.

Then how are we to take the following words? Is τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν πιστοῦ λόγου equivalent to (1) τοῦ λόγου τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν πιστοῦ, or (2) τοῦ πιστοῦ λόγου τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν? (1) is taken by Wiesinger and Conyb. (the words which are faithful to (?) our teaching): (2) by Chrys., Thl., and almost all Commentators, and I believe rightly. For (α) it is hard to believe that even in these Epistles, such a sentence could occur as ἀντεχόμενον (τοῦ-κατὰ-τὴν-διδαχὴν-πιστοῦ) λόγου: had this been intended, it would certainly have stood τοῦ λ. τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδ. πιστοῦ: (β) the epithet πιστός, absolute, is so commonly attached to λόγος in these Epistles (1Timothy 1:15; 1Timothy 3:1; 1Timothy 4:9: 2Timothy 2:11: ch. 3:8) as to incline us, especially with the above reason, to take it absolutely here also. I therefore render accordingly) the faithful (true, trustworthy, see note on 1Timothy 1:15) word (which is) according to (measured by, or in accordance with) the instruction (which he has received) διδαχή may be active, as Calv., ‘qui in ecclesiæ ædificationem sit utilis:’ Luth., ‘dass lehren kann.’ But thus we should have a tautological sentence, in which the practice, and the result of the practice (ἵνα κ.τ.λ.) would have the same power to instruct predicated of them: besides that ἀντεχόμενον would require some forcing to make it apply in this sense of ‘constantly using.’ The passive acceptation of διδαχή is therefore preferable: and the meaning will be much the same as in 2Timothy 3:14, μένε ἐν οἷς ἔμαθες,—cf. 1Timothy 4:6, οἱ λόγοι τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς καλῆς διδασκαλίας ᾗ παρηκολούθηκας. So Ellic. also), that he may be able both to exhort (believers) in (the element of his παράκλησις) healthy teaching (the teaching which is healthy), and to reprove (see ver. 13 below) the gainsayers.

10-16.] By occasion of the last clause, the Apostle goes on to describe the nature of the adversaries to whom he alludes, especially with reference to Crete.

10.] For (explains τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας of ver. 9) there are many [and] insubordinate (ver. 6 above. The joining πολύς with another adjective by καί is a common idiom. So Herod. viii. 61, πολλά τε καὶ κακὰ ἔλεγε: Aristoph. Lys. 1159, πολλῶν κἀγαθῶν: Plato, Rep. x. p. 325, πολλά τε καὶ ἀνόσια εἰργασμένος: Xen. Mem. ii. 9. 6, συνειδὼς αὑτῷ πολλὰ καὶ πονηρά. Matthiæ, § 444) vain talkers (see 1Timothy 1:6, and ch. 3:9) and deceivers (see Galatians 6:3 deceivers of men’s minds), chiefly (not only—there were some such of the Gentile converts) they of the circumcision (i.e. not Jews, but Jewish Christians: for he is speaking of seducers within the Church: cf. ver. 11. On the Jews in Crete, see Jos. Antt. xvii. 12. 1: B. J. ii. 7. 1: Philo, Leg. ad Cai. § 36, vol. ii. p. 587), whose mouths (ἐλέγχειν σφοδρῶς, ὥστε ἀποκλείειν αὐτοῖς τὰ στό ματα, Thl.) it is necessary to stop (we hardly need introduce here the figure of a bit and bridle, seeing that ἐπιστομίζειν is so often used literally of ‘stopping the mouth,’ without any allusion to that figure: e.g. Aristoph., Eq. 841, ἐμοὶ γάρ ἐστʼ εἰργασμένον τοιοῦτον ἔργον ὥστε " ἁπαξάπαντας τοὺς ὲμοὺς ὲχθροὺς ἐπιστομίζειν: Plato, Gorg., p. 329 d,—αὐτὸς ὑπὸ σοῦ ἐμποδισθεὶς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις ἐπεστομίσθη αἰσχυνθεὶς ἃ ἐννοεῖ εἰπεῖν: and see other examples in Wetst. And Plut., Alcib. 2, speaks of τὸν αὐλὸν ἐπιστομίζειν καὶ ἀποφράττειν. Cf. Palm and Rost’s Lex.): such men as (“inasmuch as they,” Ellic.: which perhaps is logically better) overturn (ref. 1 Tim.: so, literally, Plato, Rep. v. p. 471 b, οὔτε τὴν γῆν ἐθελήσουσι κείρειν αὐτῶν, … οὔτε οἰκίας ἀνατρέπειν: and fig., Demosth. 778. 22, ἀνατρέψειν οἴει τὰ κοινὰ δίκαια, and so often) whole houses (cf. Juv. Sat. x. 5: “evertere domos totas optantibus ipsis " Di faciles.” Here it will mean, “pervert whole families.” Thl. says, μοχλοὶ γάρ εἰσι τοῦ διαβόλου, διʼ ὧν καθαιρεῖ τοὺς τοῦ θεοῦ οἴκους), teaching things which are not fitting (on the use of ἃ οὐ δεῖ (things which are definitely improper or forbidden), and ἃ μὴ δεῖ (things which are so either in the mind of the describer, or which, as here, derive a seeming contingency from the mode in which the subject is presented), see Ellic.’s note here and his references to Herm. on Viger, 267, and Krüger, Sprachlehre, § 67. 4. 3) for the sake of base gain (cf. 1Timothy 6:5).

12.] One of them (not, of the πολλοί spoken of above,—nor, of the οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς: but of the inhabitants of Crete, to which both belonged), their own prophet (see below) said, “The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies” (Thl. says: ὁ μὲν οὖν εἰρηκώς, Ἐπιμενίδης ἐστίν, ἐν τοῖς μάλιστα τῶν παρʼ Ἕλλησι σοφῶν θειασμοῖς καὶ ἀποτροπιασμοῖς προσέχων, καὶ μαντικὴν δοκῶν κατορθοῦν. And so also Chrys., Epiph., and Jer. But Thdrt. ascribes the verse to Callimachus, in whose Hymn to Zeus, ver. 8, the words Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται are found. To this however Jer. (as also Epiph.) answers, “integer versus de Epimenide poeta ab Apostolo sumptus est, et ejus Callimachus in suo poemate usus est exordio.”

Epimenides was a native of Phæstus in Crete (Ἐπιμ. ὁ Φαίστιος, Plut. Solon 12: or Cnossus, Diog. Laert. i. 109, Κρὴς τὸ γένος, ἀπὸ Κνώσσου. He makes his father’s name to have been Φαίστιος:—πατρὸς μὲν ἦν Φαιστίου, οἱ δέ, Δωσιάδου, οἱ δὲ Ἀγησάρκου), and lived about 600 b.c. He was sent for to Athens to undertake the purification of the city from the pollution occasioned by Cylon (see artt. ‘Epimenides’ and ‘Cylon,’ in the Dict. of Biogr. and Mythol.), and is said to have lived to an extreme old age, and to have been buried at Lacedæmon (Diog. Laert. i. 115). The appellation ‘prophet’ seems to have belonged to him in its literal sense: see Cicero, de Divin. i. 18,—“qui concitatione quadam animi, aut soluto liberoque motu futura præsentiunt, ut Baris Bœotius, ut Epimenides Cres:” so also Apuleius, Florid. ii. 15. 4,—“necnon et Cretensem Epimenidem, inclytum fatiloquum et poetam:” see also id. Apol. 449. Diog. Laert. also gives instances of his prophetic power, and says, λέγουσι δέ τινες ὅτι Κρῆτες αὐτῷ θύουσιν ὡς θεῷ. On the character here given of the Cretans, see Prolegg. to this Epistle, § ii. 9 ff. As to the words,—κακὰ θηρία is abundantly illustrated out of various writers by Wetst., Kypke, and Raphel: γαστέρες ἀργαί is said of those who by indulging their bodily appetites have become corpulent and indolent: so Juv. Sat. iv. 107, “Montani quoque venter adest abdomine tardus”).

13.] This testimony is true. Wherefore (ἐπειδὴ ἦθος αὐτοῖς ἐστιν ἰταμὸν καὶ δολερὸν καὶ ἀκόλαστον, Chrys.) reprove them sharply (ὅταν ψεύδωνται προχείρως καὶ δολεροὶ ὦσι καὶ γαστρίμαργοι καὶ ἀργοί, σφοδροῦ καὶ πληκτικοῦ τοῦ λόγου δεῖ· προσηνείᾳ γὰρ οὐκ ἂν ἀχθείη ὁ τοιοῦτος, Chrys. ἀπότομος, ‘cut off,’ ‘abrupt:’ hence, met., ‘rugged,’ ‘harsh;’ so Eur. Alcest. 985, οὐδέ τις ἀποτόμου λήματός ἐστιν αἰδώς: Soph. Œd. Tyr. 876, ἀπότομον ὤρουσεν εἰς ἄναγκαν), that (in order that: De W. takes ἵνα κ.τ.λ., for the substance of the rebuke, as in παραγγέλλειν ἵνα and the like (?): but there appears to be no sufficient reason for this) they may be healthy in the faith (not, ‘in faith,’ as Conyb.: even were no article expressed after ἐν, it might be ‘in the faith:’ when that article is expressed, the definite reference can never be overlooked. The Κρῆτες indicated here, who are to be thus rebuked in order to their soundness in the faith, are manifestly not the false teachers, but the ordinary believers: cf. ver. 14),

14.] not giving attention to (ref.) Jewish fables (on the probable nature of these, see 1Timothy 1:4 note: and on the whole subject, the Prolegg. to these Epistles, § i. 12 ff. They were probably the seeds of the gnostic mythologies, already scattered about and taking root) and commandments (cf. 1Timothy 4:3: Colossians 2:16, Colossians 2:22: and our next verse, by which it appears that these commandments were on the subject of abstinence from meats and other things appointed by God for man’s use) of men turning away (or the pres. part. may express habitual character—whose description it is that they turn away—in idiomatic English, the participial clause being merely epithetal, not ratiocinative (agst Ellicott), “who turn away”) from (ref.) the truth.

15.] The Apostle’s own answer to those who would enforce these commandments. All things (absolutely—all things with which man can be concerned) are pure to the pure (οὐδὲν ὁ θεὸς ἀκάθαρτον ἐποίησεν· οὐδὲν γὰρ ἀκάθαρτον, εἰ μὴ ἡ ἁμαρτία μόνη. ψυχῆς γὰρ ἅπτεται καὶ ταύτην ῥυποῖ, Chrys. ‘Omnia externa iis qui intus sunt mundi, munda sunt,’ Bengel. Cf. Matthew 23:26: Luke 11:41. There is no ground whatever for supposing this to be a maxim of the false teachers, quoted by the Apostle, any more than the πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν of 1Corinthians 6:12, where see note. The maxim here is a truly Christian one of the noblest order.

τοῖς καθαροῖς is the dat. commodi,—‘for the pure to use,’ not, as often taken, ‘in the judgment of the pure.’ This is plainly shewn by the use of the same dative in Romans 14:14, where to render it ‘in the judgment of’ would introduce an unmeaning tautology: τῷ λογιζομένῳ τι κοινὸν εἶναι, ἐκείνῳ κοινόν—‘to him (for his use) it is really κοινόν.’ As usual in these Epistles (see Prolegg. § i. 38), purity is inseparably connected with soundness in the faith, cf. Acts 15:9,—and 1Timothy 4:3, where our τοῖς καθαροῖς is expanded into τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ ἐπεγνωκόσιν τὴν ἀλήθειαν), but to the polluted and unbelieving (cf. the preceding remarks) nothing is pure, but both (or ‘even,’ as E. V.:—but the other seems preferable, on account of the close correspondence of καὶ ὁ νοῦς with καὶ ἡ συνείδ.) their mind (their rational part, Ephesians 4:17, which presides over and leads all the determinate acts and thoughts of the man) and their conscience is polluted (ef. Dion. Hal. de Thucyd. 8,—κράτιστον δὲ πάντων τὸ μηδὲν ἑκουσίως ψεύδεσθαι, μηδὲ μιαίνειν τὴν αὑτοῦ συνείδησιν.

And therefore, uncleanness tainting their rational acts and their reflective self-recognitions, nothing can be pure to them: every occasion becomes to them an occasion of sin, every creature of God an instrument of sin; as Mack well observes, “the relation, in which the sinful subject stands to the objects of its possession or of its inclination, is a sinful one.” Philo de legg. spec. ad 6 Est_7 dec. cap. § 337, vol. ii. p. 333 f., has a sentence which might be a comment on our verse:—ἀκάθαρτος γὰρ κυρίως ὁ ἄδικος καὶ ἀσεβὴς … πάντα φύρων καὶ συγχέων διά τε τὰς ἀμετρίας τῶν παθῶν καὶ τὰς τῶν κακῶν ὑπερβολάς· ὥστε ὧν ἂν ἐφάψηται πραγμάτων πάντα ἐστὶν ἐπίληπτα τῇ τοῦ δρῶντος συμμεταβάλλοντα μοχθηρίᾳ. καὶ γὰρ κατὰ τὸ ἐναντίον αἱ πράξεις τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἐπαινεταί, βελτιούμεναι ταῖς τῶν ἐνεργούντων ἀρεταῖς, ἐπειδὴ πέφυκέ πως τὰ γινόμενα τοῖς δρῶσιν ἐξομοιοῦσθαι. Here again, the reference of the saying has been variously mistaken—ἡ ῥυπαρὰ διάνοια κακῶς περὶ τούτων λογιζομένη ἑαυτῇ συμμιαίνει ταῦτα, Œc.: and similarly Chrys., Thl., al.: ‘non placent Deo quæ agunt etiam circa res medias, quia actiones tales ex animo Deus æstimat,’ Grot.: ‘iis nihil prodest externa ablutio et ciborum dierumque observatio,’ Baldwin, Croc. in De W.).

16.] Expansion of the last clause, shewing (cf. Dion. Hal. above) their ἑκουσίως ψεύδεσθαι. They make confession (openly, in sight of men: but not so only—their confession is a true one so far, that they have the knowledge, and belie it: not ‘they profess,’ as E. V.: ὁμολογοῦσιν necessarily contains an implication of the subjective truth of the thing given out) that they know God, but in (or, by) their works they deny (Him) (not ‘it:’ see 2Timothy 2:12), being abominable (cf. βδέλυγμα ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ, Luke 16:15. In ref. Prov. βδελυκτὸς παρὰ θεῷ is joined with ἀκάθαρτος) and disobedient, and for (towards the accomplishing of) every good work worthless (ref.).

Henry Alford - Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

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