Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Ch. 3. The Apostolate—its Ministry of Goodwill and Good Works
The last verse of chap, 2, in gathering up the previous counsels, also makes a link for passing to the further consideration of social and civil duties generally. So the R.V. in printing the verse as a separate paragraph. Westcott and Hort connect entirely with chap. 3.
The duty is laid down in Titus 3:1-2 of living ‘in the bond of peace,’ (‘even if tyrannical’ is implied, but with Pauline tact not expressed), and ‘in dutiful allegiance to the constituted authority.’ This is enforced (Titus 3:3-5) by the motive of God’s saving love to men ‘even when they were enemies,’ and (Titus 3:6-7) of the power, conveyed through the gift of the Spirit, for such a spiritual life. The appeal to this high calling closes the last of the special counsels in practical duty; as a similar lofty strain closed the last but one, Titus 3:14. St Paul, in drawing to an end, recapitulates (as at the end of the first letter to Timothy) the main points of the letter, viz., (1) the practical issues of religion in all the duties of life, in Titus 3:8; a summary of Titus 2:1 to Titus 3:7; the silencing of false teachers through his appointment of good and sound elders, and his own vigorous soundness, in Titus 3:9-11; a summary of Titus 1:5-16. The chapter and letter then close with personal directions (Titus 3:12-14), and salutations (Titus 3:15).
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,1–7. The duty of living in peace from a sense of God’s love and through the Spirit’s power
1. Put them in mind] ‘Them’ must be ‘the Cretan Christians’ generally: St Paul is gathering all up in his mind for his final counsel. The verb for ‘put in mind,’ and its substantive, occur twice in St John, once in St Luke, but in St Paul only in the Pastoral Epistles three times; in St Peter’s Epistles three times; and once in St Jude’s. John 14:26 shews the full construction, accus. of person and of thing, ‘He shall bring all things to your remembrance.’ The A.V. in 3 John 1:10, ‘I will remember his deeds,’ is surely in the old sense of ‘remember,’ which survives in our valedictory request ‘remember me to all your circle;’ R.V. ‘bring to remembrance,’ cf. note on the similar compound 2 Timothy 1:6.
to be subject to principalities and powers] Rather, more fully as R.V. to be in subjection. Elsewhere in St Paul’s Epistles the phrase ‘principalities and powers’ refers to spiritual and angelic powers, good or evil, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 1:16. But the word in its old sense (see Bible Word-Book, p. 477) was used of any ‘chief place,’ as in 2Ma 4:27 of the office of high priest. And the meaning here is the same as in the two places where it occurs in the Gospels, Luke 12:11, where our Lord prophesies that His disciples shall be brought before ‘the rulers and the authorities,’ and Luke 20:20, ‘so as to deliver him up to the rule and to the authority of the governor.’ There is not sufficient warrant for the connecting ‘and’ here; render to rulers to authorities. Both words illustrate the idiom ‘res pro persona.’ Vulg. ‘potestates’ from whence the Italian podestà a magistrate. The difference between the two words is that the former expresses a governing de facto, whether also de jure or not, the latter a governing de jure, a duly constituted authority. ‘They who rule’ occurs with ‘the authorities’ in the locus classicus, Romans 13:1, where, however, R.V. has retained ‘power,’ apparently because from that passage the phrase ‘the powers that be’ has become an English household word in the sense of ‘lawful authority.’ The other household use of ‘powers’ in the phrase ‘The Great Powers,’ seems to belong rather to the synonym dynamis as expressing material force. In Matthew 28:18 the change from ‘power’ to ‘authority’ in R.V. enhances the kingly office and prerogative.
to obey magistrates] The word only occurs Acts 5:29; Acts 5:32; Acts 27:21, where a dative follows; and so it may be here, if we join it with the preceding; but it seems more Pauline to add the verb absolutely. From note on Titus 2:5 we should expect it to differ from the preceding clause, in being more specific in its reference to the official system of government; render perhaps to obey their rules, ‘to obey state laws.’ Fairbairn refers to the earlier history of the island and a ‘known tendency on the part of the Cretans to insubordination and turmoil,’ quoting from Polybius vi. 46, ‘constantly upset by seditions and murders and tribal wars.’
to be ready to every good work] This takes us on a step still further; first a general submission, then a loyal acceptance and execution of public orders, then the learning and labouring truly to get one’s own living and to do one’s duty, domestic, social and civil. That ‘the good work’ has such a reference is implied in Romans 13:3. The ‘ready’ is exactly ‘whatsover ye do, do it heartily unto the Lord,’ cf. Colossians 3:23. ‘The true workman never shirks when the overseer is not by; he has not one rule for work done for himself, and another for work done for his master. There is a work that is mean and pitiful; all grudging unwilling toil, all ‘scamped’ work, fair to the eye but second rate in reality, is mean and pitiful; it is like work done by the slave at the whip’s end, or like the labour of the convict in gaol; it is forced and unwelcome and as badly done as possible.’ M. A. Lewis, Faithful Soldiers and Servants, p. 58.
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.2. to speak evil of no man] Cf. 1 Timothy 1:20; 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:5. In the first place used absolutely ‘to blaspheme,’ as Acts 26:11, ‘I strove to make them blaspheme.’
to be no brawlers, but gentle] Better, as R.V., not to be contentious; the word only occurs in N. T., 1 Timothy 3:3, where it is joined, as here, with ‘gentle’ or ‘forbearing’; see note there.
shewing all meekness] The compound form of the word has occurred 1 Timothy 6:11, coupled with ‘patience,’ see note. The distinction between ‘gentleness’ above and ‘meekness’ is given by Aquinas (quoted in N. T. Syn. p. 152), as twofold, (1) ‘gentleness,’ clementia, is ‘lenitas superioris ad inferiorem’; meekness, mansuetudo, is ‘cuiuslibet ad quemlibet’: (2) ‘gentleness’ is in outward acts, ‘est moderativa exterioris punitionis’; ‘meekness’ is in the inner spirit, ‘proprie diminuit passionem irae.’ But besides its separateness of force in combination with ‘gentleness,’ the ‘meekness’ here is especially fitted to lead on to the argument of the next verse from its own proper sense. ‘It is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God, when we accept His dealings with us without disputing. He that is meek indeed will know himself a sinner amongst sinners; or if there was One who could not know Himself such, yet He too bore a sinner’s doom and endured therefore the contradiction of sinners, Matthew 11:29, “I am meek and lowly of heart;” and this knowledge of his own sin will teach him to endure meekly the provocations with which they may provoke him, and not to withdraw himself from the burdens which their sin may impose upon him (Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:25).’ N. T. Syn. p. 150.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.3. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish] ‘Sometimes’ in the old sense of ‘sometime,’ Ephesians 2:13, ‘ye who sometimes were afar off.’ Cp. Shaksp. Rich. II. 1. 2. 54 (Bible Word-Book, p. 551):
‘Farewell, old Gaunt: thy sometimes brother’s wife
With her companion grief must end her life.’
The position and tense of the verb and particle justify our rendering For there was a time when we too were foolish. ‘Foolish’; ‘in this word there is always a moral fault lying at the root of the intellectual,’ N. T. Syn. § 75; as in Luke 24:25, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart,’ and Galatians 3:1 ‘O foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you?’ so ‘wanting in spiritual sense,’ ‘blind’; cf. 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Timothy 3:9.
disobedient, deceived] disobedient, as Titus 1:16, 2 Timothy 3:2, and all other N.T. passages; ‘insuadibiles,’ Theod. Mops. Lat.; ‘inobedientes,’ Jerome; not as Vulg.’ increduli,’ ‘distrustful;’ going astray, rather than ‘deceived;’ the verb is no doubt used in both passive and neuter sense, but compare the use of the pres. part., Matthew 18:12, ‘doth he not leave the ninety and nine … and seek that which goeth astray?’ and 1 Peter 2:25, ‘For ye were going astray like sheep;’ where the argument for patience from a sense of having erred and strayed is just the same. May not St Peter have taken up this very force of the word, and so been led to the quotation from Isaiah 53? It is a question whether even in 2 Timothy 3:13 ‘leading astray and going astray’ would not express the antithesis better than ‘deceiving and being deceived.’ There is no stress on their ‘being deceived,’ which might furnish rather an excuse than an aggravation.
serving divers lusts and pleasures] The Greek is stronger, being the slaves of, as Luke 16:13 ‘to be God’s slave and Mammon’s slave’ and elsewhere. ‘Divers’ is only used by St Paul in these ‘Pastoral’ letters; of diseases, Luke 4:40 : twice in Heb., twice in St Peter, once in St James. But the compound is used of ‘wisdom,’ Ephesians 3:10. ‘Pleasures’ in the N.T. use is stronger than our English word. It only occurs James 4:1; James 4:3 of lusts and adulteries, 2 Peter 2:13 of day-revels and debauchery, and Luke 8:14 of their ‘choking’ effect, along with carking care and riches.
living in malice and envy] ‘Malice’ is the ‘evil habit of mind’ which manifests itself in positive evil and harm-doing, see note on Titus 2:9 and Trench, N. T. Syn. § 11. It comes between a state of envy and the actual working of ill to a neighbour.
hateful, and hating one another] Vulg. ‘odibiles odientes invicem’; ‘hateful’ in the particular form of the Greek word here does not occur elsewhere in N.T., but is formed just as ‘abominable’ in Titus 1:16. The full sense is well seen in the compound ‘hateful to God’ (not as A.V. ‘haters of God’) Romans 1:30.
The whole verse seems an echo, in brief, of the fuller description of heathen life written ten years before in Romans 1:18-32. As in Titus 2:12, St Paul identifies himself with the Cretans in self-condemnation, and divine mercy; exemplifying the ‘meekness’ he inculcates.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,4. The contrast is striking; God hated the sinners’ sins, and the sinners hated one another, but God loved all the sinners through it all, and at the right time let His ‘loving kindness’ ‘appear.’ Render: When the kindness of our Saviour God and his love toward man appeared. ‘Kindness’ is the word in Ephesians 2, the passage of which the present seems a reminiscence; there its colleague is the Pauline ‘grace,’ Titus 2:5; Titus 2:7-8. The proper force of the word is well given N. T. Syn. § 63 ‘Wine is chrestos which has been mellowed with age, Luke 5:39; Christ’s yoke is chrestos, as having nothing harsh or galling about it, Matthew 11:30.’ Jerome’s definition from the Stoics is quoted, ‘Benignitas est virtus sponte ad benefaciendum exposita.’ Abp Trench adds: ‘This chrestotes was so predominantly the character of Christ’s ministry that it is nothing wonderful to learn from Tertullian (Apol. 3) how ‘Christus’ became ‘Chrestus,’ and ‘Christiani’ ‘Chrestiani, on the lips of the heathen—with the undertone, it is true, of contempt.’ In N.T. usage the word is peculiar to St Paul. ‘Love toward man’—our ‘philanthropy’—occurs Acts 28:2, and the adverb Acts 27:3, ‘shewed us no common kindness,’ ‘treated Paul kindly.’ But St Paul, as with many other words, elevates it to a higher height than that of man’s kindness to man, and ‘philanthropy’ is thenceforth even in its ordinary sphere transfigured with the brightness of the character of God. The best Christian should be the best philanthropist.
God our Saviour] As before, so frequently, of the Father; while below the same title is given to the Son, Titus 3:6; as in chap. Titus 2:10-11 followed by 13.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;5. not by works of righteousness] The exact grammatical form is rendered by not by virtue of works, works in righteousness which we did. We should read the neut. accus. of the relative with the best authorities, rather than the genitive here. Bp Wordsworth well explains the reason of the clause: that when those false teachers were asked what was their ground of hope of salvation, they would reply ‘The works wrought in righteousness which we did’; but St Paul would answer ‘God’s mercy.’
he saved us] Vulg. ‘salvos nos fecit.’ Compare the aorist tenses in Colossians 2:13-15. Bp Lightfoot thus brings out the force (Revision of N.T. p. 85): ‘St Paul regards this change from sin to righteousness, from bondage to freedom, from death to life, as summed up in one definite act of the past; potentially to ail men in our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, actually to each individual man when he accepts Christ, is baptized into Christ.’ ‘It is the definiteness, the absoluteness of this change, considered as a historical crisis, which forms the central idea of St Paul’s teaching, and which the aorist marks.’ See also note on 1 Timothy 2:4.
by the washing of regeneration] Properly through the washing or through the laver; the preposition expresses the channel or means through which; the ‘washing’ or ‘laver’ ‘of regeneration’ is evidently one phrase for the sacrament of Holy Baptism. The genitive marks the attribute or inseparable accompaniments,’ Winer § 30 2 b, who quotes Mark 1:4, ‘repentance-baptism.’ Cf. Colossians 1:22, ‘his flesh-body,’ i.e. His material, natural body, distinguished from the mystical body before mentioned. Cf. also ‘the fire of testing,’ Teaching of the Twelve Apostles xvi. 5.
Should we render here ‘washing’ or ‘laver’? It has been usual among English commentators as Wordsw., Alf., Conybeare, Ellicott, to render ‘laver,’ and to understand the baptismal font, on the ground that the Greek word ‘means always a vessel or pool in which washing takes place.’ So no doubt the form in tron properly signifies, as e.g. arotron a plough, alabastron, an ointment-bottle. But classical usage is in the plural ‘a bath,’ Hom. Il. xviii. 489, Æsch. Ag. 1080; in the sing, ‘the act of washing,’ Hes. Op. 755, ‘expiatory libations,’ Soph. El. 84, ‘water for washing,’Œd. Col. 1599; Aristoph. Lys. 378. The Septuagint usage is only in the sing., Jeremiah 31:25, ‘A man baptized from the death of sin, and again taking hold of it, what does he gain from his washing?’ Song of Solomon 4:2 ‘Thy teeth are like a flock of ewes that are newly shorn, which are come up from the washing.’ The N.T. usage is only in the sing., Ephesians 5:26, ‘having cleansed it (the Church) by the washing of water with the word,’ R.V., with margin ‘Gr. laver,’ and the present passage where R.V. gives ‘washing,’ with margin ‘Or, laver.’ According to R.V. rules this inconsistency neutralises its verdict. For in Ephesians 5:26 it is implied that ‘laver’ is more exact; in Tit. that ‘washing’ is more, and ‘laver’ less likely, as the meaning of the Greek. On the whole the classical usage, the A.V. and R.V. text, support the rendering ‘washing.’ As to the form of the word, the Greeks may have been at liberty to divert it from its proper meaning, having the kindred form loutêr for ‘a bath,’ which, according to analogy, should be ‘a bathing man.’ Somewhat similarly having astêr for ‘a star’ they used astron for ‘a cluster of stars.’
regeneration] ‘Palingenesia is one of the many words which the Gospel found, and, so to speak, glorified.’ Abp Trench, who admirably draws out the enlargement here, N. T. Syn. § 18. The word had been used by the Pythagoreans, in the doctrine of transmigration of souls, for their reappearance in new bodies; by the Stoics for the periodic renovation of the earth in spring; in Cicero it describes his restoration to his dignities and honours after his return from exile; in Josephus the restoration of the Jewish nation after the captivity. The word does not occur in the Septuagint; and in N.T. only here and Matthew 19:28. ‘In our Lord’s words there is evident reference to the new birth of the whole creation (Acts 3:21), which shall be when the Son of Man hereafter comes in His glory; while St Paul’s “washing of regeneration” has to do with the new birth not of the whole travailing creation, but of the single soul, which is now evermore finding place.… The palingenesia which Scripture proclaims begins with the microcosmus of single souls; but it does not end there; it does not cease its effectual working till it has embraced the whole macrocosmus of the universe.’
But if, as seems most consistent with the whole chapter, and with St Matthew’s grand aim to paint a present ‘kingdom of the heavens,’ the reference of Matthew 19:28 is to the Church, Catholic and Apostolic, then ‘regeneration’ in both passages refers to the same act and epoch, when our Lord having ‘overcome the sharpness of death’ opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers, and on the day of Pentecost 3000 souls said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ and were baptized by them ‘unto the remission of their sins,’ and ‘continued stedfastly in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship.’ In our Lord’s words and in St Paul’s the setting up of this kingdom, the entrance into it, is life from the dead, a second birth; and John 3:3; John 3:5 ‘Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God; Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,’ (summed up in palingenesia Matthew 19:28) explains and is explained by Ephesians 5:25-26, ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it, that he might cleanse it by the washing of water with the word’ (summed up in palingenesia:, Titus 3:5).
and renewing of the Holy Ghost] R.V. keeps this rendering of A.V. which necessarily makes ‘renewing’ depend like ‘regeneration’ on ‘the washing’; giving in the margin as a good, but not so good, construction ‘and through renewing,’ where the government is carried back to the preposition. It is only a question of the naturalness of the order of words, and of the doctrine that ‘renewing’ or ‘renovation’ depends on Baptism being expressly stated or left to be inferred. The doctrine itself cannot but be true, as life must precede growth, and growth must depend upon life. Compare Ephesians 5:26, where the purpose of Christ giving Himself up for the Church is stated to be, first that He might cleanse it by the washing of water through the word (as above), and then that He might sanctify it, till there should be no spot nor blemish; and Romans 12:2, ‘Be ye transformed (present tense) by the renewal of your mind;’ see that the gradual restoration of the Divine image be ever going forward. No nobler commentary on the phrase has been written than the ancient ‘Veni Creator.’
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;6. which he shed on us abundantly] More closely in R.V. which he poured out upon us richly; the verb is the same, in the same tense, as in Acts 2:33, ‘he hath poured forth this’; the aorist there being used according to Greek idiom of what has just happened, here of God’s objective act once for all, in which all His successive giving was potentially included.
through Jesus Christ our Saviour] ‘As its channel and medium,’ Alford. ‘All the spiritual Blessings of the New birth, and of the New life, are represented as flowing down to us from and out of the one fountain and well-spring of the love of God the Father; and are all derived to us through God the Son, God and Man, Who is the sole channel of all grace to men; and are applied to us personally by the agency of God the Holy Ghost. All these Blessings come to us through the Incarnation of God the Son, Who took our nature and died for us, and washed us from our sins by His blood. And the Incarnation is, as it were, the point of contact at which the Channel of Filial Grace joins on to the Well-spring of Paternal Love. And the point of contact at which the living water of Grace, which flows from the Well-spring of Paternal Love through the Filial channel of Grace, is poured forth into our souls is in the laver of our New Birth in Baptism.’ Wordsworth.
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.7. being justified … be made heirs] The word ‘justifying’ and ‘justification’ occur 25 times in the great group of Epistles, written 10 years before this to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, whose subject is ‘Christ the Redeemer,’ ‘Christ for us.’ It has not been used in the next great group written five years before this, to the Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians, whose subject is ‘Christ the Life,’ ‘Christ in us,’ ‘Christ our Sanctification.’ ‘Righteousness,’ however, that right relation between God and man, the restoration to which is justification, occurs seven times against 50 times in the former group. So in Ephesians 5:26 (already quoted as parallel in form and sense to our present passage), ‘the cleansing’ is the justifying, and the ‘sanctifying’ follows, as here ‘being heirs’ follows. This verse then, in its two clauses, repeats, with reference to God the Son, what in Titus 3:5 was said with reference to God the Father as to the twofold saving mercy; just as in the former ‘Gospel’ passage, Titus 2:11-14, ‘renunciation’ and ‘obedience’ are both spoken of, first as the work of God the Father’s grace (11, 12), and then as the result of God the Son’s gift of Himself (14). The justification by God the Father’s grace—the regeneration—effected potentially once for all by Christ through His death, resurrection and outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and appropriated individually by Faith (expressed or implied) in Baptism, is to be followed by a ‘life of heirship’ or ‘sanctification’; so the Latin translation of Theod. Mops. ‘ut heredes efficiamur,’ and the comment, ‘at segregavit nos in ditissimam quam nobis bonorum praestitit fruitionem,’—the third of the Baptismal Blessings, ‘inheritors of the kingdom of heaven,’ with a right and title to receive now ‘the fruits of the Spirit.’
according to the hope of eternal life] (1) In A.V. and R.V. it is implied that these words are to be taken together and ‘made heirs’ left absolute; then this last clause finds an eloquent expansion in Ephesians 5:27 (see above), and ‘glorification’ crowns ‘sanctification,’ as sanctification followed justification. (2) The R.V. margin gives ‘heirs, according to hope, of eternal life.’ in this case ‘eternal life’ must most fittingly be interpreted as usually in St John, and 1 Timothy 4:8; 1 Timothy 6:12; 1 Timothy 6:19, ‘the spiritual life that is and is to come;’ ‘according to hope,’ will be as Ephesians 4:4, ‘called in one hope of your calling,’ and 1 Timothy 1:1, ‘Christ Jesus our hope,’ where this life’s state of salvation must be included in the object of hope; and ‘justification’ and ‘sanctification’ will be the only two objects named of the Spirit’s outpouring. But the phrase in Titus 1:2, as there interpreted, favours (1).
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.8–14. The abiding practical holiness of Good Works
8. See summary at the beginning of the chapter, and note in Appendix E on The Faithful Sayings.
This is a faithful saying] Render as 1 Timothy 1:15, where see note, Faithful is the saying. We begin a new paragraph embodying ‘another of the compendious fruitful utterances,’ thus uniting the wisdom of many, the wit of one, of God’s prophets. As in the other cases, it is to be referred to the following clause, and here to that which comes after the parenthesis, see to it that they which have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. So Bp Wordsworth, ‘a formula introducing a solemn asseveration which declares the practical character of the doctrine of Regeneration by Baptism … the teaching of St Paul in the Pastoral Epistles on the necessity of good works,’ 1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:21; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:7; Titus 2:14; Titus 3:14 … ‘they who have been born anew in baptism have entered into a solemn covenant with God, by which they obliged themselves to a new and holy life.’ The particle ‘in order that’ may be taken as part of the quotation, as Conybeare suggests, and as used with the subjunctive for an imperative; cf. Ephesians 5:33, ‘and (let) the wife (see) that she fear her husband;’ Mark 5:23 ‘(I pray thee), that thou come and lay thy hands on her;’ Cic. Fam. 14, 20, ‘ibi ut sint omnia parata.’ See Winer § 43, 5, a.
these things] should be rather, concerning these things.
affirm constantly] Rather, the compound implies affirm confidently. The word is only (in N.T.) here and 1 Timothy 1:7; the middle as there and Titus 1:5.
they which have believed in God] Lit. believed God, the least emphatic of the constructions with ‘believe,’ that is, the earliest and simplest form of faith, the personal going out of the soul to the personal God and Father, that ‘takes Him at His word.’ So how natural, at the end of a life’s experience which built up the Christian Creed, is St Paul’s return to the simplest elements of the personal trust which has underlain the life and doctrine all the time (perfect tense as here) ‘I know whom I have believed and do believe,’ ‘I know who is my trust,’ 2 Timothy 1:12; cf. Acts 16:34.
might be careful] May make it their study; nowhere else in N.T. but frequent in LXX., e.g. 1 Samuel 9:5, ‘leave caring for the asses and take thought for us,’ and in classical Greek.
to maintain good works] Lit. to ‘stand forward,’ in N.T. only in St Paul, as in 1 Timothy 3:4; 1 Timothy 5:17, of ‘presiding over’ ‘ruling’; so in LXX.; but in classical Greek in the sense here, ‘to be master of,’ ‘practised in,’ as a secondary sense, as well. Here the word carries further the thought in the Greek of ‘good;’ the good works are not only to be good in themselves, but seen to be good; Christians are not only to do such good works, but to let their light shine, to be to the front, in doing them. The corresponding word for a wrong zeal is used by St John: 2 John 1:9, ‘Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching.’ The use of these two verbs in their special sense, and the order of the words for evident special emphasis, confirm the view taken here, as by Bp Wordsworth and others (A.V. certainly, R.V. probably), that this clause is the ‘Faithful saying.’ We may perhaps render it as such, and try to mark the several points noted, in a proverbial couplet;—
‘Is God thy trust? Then make the study thine
In all good works to let thy candle shine.’
These things are good] As is St Paul’s way, the word ‘good’ from the immediately preceding context, serves to make the transition to another point. ‘Good works’ are necessary, all these practical counsels in fact are good and will bring their profit to men; for positive teaching of plain duties is the best safeguard against error.
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.9. The summary of the other chief topic of the letter; the dealing with the false teaching and evil living of the day. See note above.
avoid foolish questions] The Greek puts the errors first in stronger contrast to the good; ‘questions’ should be ‘questionings’ as in 1 Timothy 1:4. see note there; where also ‘genealogies’ is considered. ‘Genealogies’ would be a special and prevailing theme of the ‘questionings,’ and ‘fightings about the law,’ of the ‘contentions,’ as Bp Ellicott points out, following Wiesinger. Cf. 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; and Introduction on the Gnostic heresy. Keeping the A.V. avoid we may give it the due emphasis at the close, as we cannot with ‘shun’ of R.V. ‘Avoid’ from Fr. vuider, vider, ‘to make empty,’ is used intransitively and transitively, exactly as the Greek word here is also used to ‘give a wide berth,’ ‘to stand off and make a circuit.’ Cf. 1 Samuel 18:11, where R.V. still has ‘David avoided out of his presence twice;’ Proverbs 4:15, ‘walk not in the way of evil men: avoid it, pass not by it.’
unprofitable and vain] ‘Vain’ is added to intensify ‘unprofitable’; from its use here then it should mean ‘vain’ in its results, and be opposed to ‘good,’ which is ‘seen to be good’ above. So in 1 Corinthians 15:17, ‘your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins.’ While above, Titus 3:14, ‘our preaching is void; your faith also is void: we are found false witnesses;’ there is no true basis of fact for preaching or faith; the word there being different. See Bp Ellicott’s note, and references.
A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;10. This and the next verse seem to close the last instruction; St Paul reviews the counsel given as to doctrine and discipline; similarly at the close of 1 Tim. See summary at beginning of ch. vi.
A man that is a heretick] This being so, it would be unnatural if the epithet here were required to have the definite narrowed meaning which we now give to the word ‘heretic’. The internal consideration favours a meaning which covers quarrelsome opinionative controversy and speculation, contentiousness in faith and morals. The external consideration is from St Paul’s usage of the word and its substantive. Prof. Reynolds misrepresents Bp Ellicott as saying ‘St Paul uses the word for contentious conduct, not heterodox opinions: divisions, not doctrinal error.’ His words are, ‘the word does not imply specially the open espousal of any fundamental error in 1 Corinthians 11:18-19; Galatians 5:20; but more generally, “divisions in church matters,” possibly of a somewhat maturer kind.’ In that early day the ‘self chosen divergence,’ which is the essence of the word, included both religious belief and practice. Theod. Mops. Lat. Comm. defines ‘haereticum—illum qui ea quae contraria sunt pietatis praeelegit.’ And Augustine’s definition was exact, ‘haeresis schisma inveteratum.’ it was not till later that Jerome’s distinction held good, ‘haeresis perversum dogma habet; schisma propter Episcopalem dissensionem ab ecclesia separatur.’ This distinction as to doctrine and discipline found illustration in the Council of Nicæa, Arius being condemned as a heretic for maintaining that Christ was a Divine being but created, Meletius as a schismatic for ordaining bishops without the authority of his metropolitan or consent of his fellow bishops in the province of Egypt. Here the R.V. by its rendering heretical and its marginal ‘factious’ adopts this more general meaning for the word.
after the first and second admonition, reject] A first and second admonition. Cf. Ephesians 6:4, ‘nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.’ ‘Discipline’ or ‘chastening’ (see the verb ch. Titus 2:11) is per poenas, ‘admonition’ is verbis, encouraging or reproving words according to the occasion. Here the reference must be to Titus 1:13, the reproof of confutation and condemnation. ‘Reject’ should be rather refuse, as in 1 Timothy 4:7 where see note; and (of the widows) 1 Timothy 5:11; refuse, that is, to argue with, or to countenance. St Paul’s use is against the interpretation which has classical support, ‘exclude’ from Church membership, as in Lucian of divorcing a wife. But his use is for a stronger meaning than ‘avoid.’
Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.11. he that is such is subverted] Is perverted, the word is used by Lucian for ‘turning inside out,’ in LXX. for ‘a very froward generation,’ Deuteronomy 32:20. Vulg. has ‘subversus,’ but Theod. Mops. Lat. ‘perversus.’ it does not occur again in N.T., the usual compound being with the preposition ‘through and through’ instead of ‘out and out.’ Cf. Acts 20:30 ‘speaking perverse things,’ Php 2:15 ‘in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.’ It cannot, as Professor Reynolds thinks, describe ‘the effect of the isolation’ recommended, but is rather the state of obstinate wrongheadedness (to use a similar English metaphor), which, after two chances of enlightenment rejected, becomes wilful sin. The present tense should have its full force, is a wilful sinner. Cf. Ephesians 4:26 ‘Be ye angry and sin not,’ 1 John 3:6 ‘Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not,’ is not a sinner in wilful purpose and habit.
being condemned of himself] Self-condemned, as such, by callousness to the two approaches of God’s minister: the word does not occur again in N.T.
When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.12. When I shall send] Lit. ‘when I shall have sent,’ aor. subj.: Vulg. ‘cum misero.’ Titus would of course wait for his deputy’s arrival.
to Nicopolis] The town of that name in Epirus most probably, since ‘there was a large population, a good harbour, and numerous opportunities of coming into contact with old friends from the churches of Achaia.’ The Nicopolis in Cilicia has nothing to recommend it; that in Thrace is preferred by the Greek commentators; compare too the subscription at the end of the Epistle ‘Nicopolis in Macedonia.’ But this has no authority; and the supposed better fitting in of this Nicopolis with the last journey west (cf. 2 Timothy 4:10) is too uncertain to have weight against the evident fitness of a well-known post as the rendezvous for the winter, and a base of further operations.
for I have determined there to winter] Shewing that St Paul was at liberty; that is, between (as may be safely assumed) the first and second imprisonment. Cf. Introduction, p. 44.
12–14. Personal directions. As to the conjectural chapter of biography of which we have traces here, see introduction, pp. 40–44. We may suppose that the object of the sending Tychicus or Artemas was to take the place of Titus during his stay with St Paul. From 2 Timothy 4:12, Tychicus would seem to have been sent to Ephesus, so that Artemas may have been finally chosen for Crete. Of him nothing is known. Tychicus is one of the most valued of the ‘fellow helpers,’ ‘the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord,’ entrusted with the Ephesian and Colossian letters, and the ‘comfortable words,’ five years before, in the enforced absence of the first imprisonment at Rome, Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7.
Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.13. Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey] The verb ‘bring on their journey’ is literally ‘send forward,’ and so Vulg. here ‘praemitte’; but in the other eight places of its use in N.T. ‘deduco’ is used, that is, ‘conduct,’ ‘take them a certain part of the way.’ So in old provincial English ‘I will send you a mile,’ meaning ‘accompany you.’ R.V. in four places has ‘bring on the way,’ in five, ‘set forward on the journey;’ but in only one, Acts 21:5, does the context require that the ‘accompanying’ should be prominent, ‘they all with wives and children brought us on our way till we were out of the city.’ Here set forward with less thought of bringing (A.V.) seems sufficient.
Zenas the lawyer and Apollos] Zenas is the Greek form of Zenodorus, as Apollos of Apollodorus, Artemas of Artemidorus. Nothing is known of him, but the phrase itself suggests that he was one of the class of Jewish scribes or lawyers, i.e. experts in Jewish law who were especially numerous among the Pharisees. On his conversion he may have retained the name, as Simon the Zealot and Matthew the publican did theirs. As his class had for their fuller title ‘teachers of the law,’ ‘doctors,’ Luke 2:46; Luke 5:17, he would be especially fitted to become one of the order of the Christian ‘teachers’; cf. Ephesians 4:11, ‘some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.’ Apollos, on the other hand, was recognised as an apostle. He was an Alexandrian by race, a learned (or eloquent) man, mighty in the Scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord, to whom Priscilla and Aquila ‘expounded the way of God more carefully’ (Acts 18:26) at Ephesus. He became a most successful evangelist in Achaia and at Corinth, and was regarded by St Paul as a brother apostle, independent in will and action, 1 Corinthians 16:12, but preaching and serving an undivided Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:22-23. From this passage we may infer, not that they had been resident in Crete, which introduces an unnecessary complication with the official authority of Titus, but that they had undertaken such a ‘pastoral mission’ there as St Paul had invited Apollos to undertake to Corinth, 1 Corinthians 16:12; perhaps, with Mr Lewin, that they were on the way from Corinth to Alexandria, and were the bearers of this letter to Titus.
This visit of ‘an apostle’ and ‘a teacher,’ and the hospitality to be exercised towards them by Titus, are to stimulate, St Paul adds, the zeal and liberality of the whole body of Christians, the Cretan Church.
diligently] Vulg. ‘sollicite’ Theod. Mops. Lat. ‘velociter’; but the following clause ‘that nothing be wanting unto them,’ favours ‘attention’ rather than ‘speed,’ and implies provision for the journey as part of the sympathetic attendance; so in 3 John 1:6 ‘set forward on their journey worthily of God,’ i.e. with supplies worthy of their service to God, the following verses making this clear, ‘we therefore as fellow Christians ought to give them hospitable support.’
And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.14. let ours also learn] More clearly as R.V. and let our people also learn. Theod. Mops, excellently, because Titus (as a poor person) could not be expected to do all, ‘teach,’ he says, ‘your people to attend carefully to the support of their religious teachers.’ St Paul quotes again half of the ‘Faithful saying’ of Titus 3:8, ‘maintain good works,’ and gives this as a most important and primary application of the general law for a practical Christian life, by adding ‘for such necessary wants’ for the needful wants of the ministry. The article requires this interpretation; these well-known and existing wants that are inevitable, when your ministers have to spend their time in saving, not money, but men’s souls. For the usage of this word (in the plural) always as ‘wants,’ not ‘uses,’ cf. Acts 20:34 ‘these hands ministered unto my necessities,’ Romans 12:13 ‘communicating to the necessities of the saints.’
This passage recording the visit of an ‘apostle,’ and a ‘teacher,’ and dwelling on the support of the ministry, finds a striking illustration in the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, which dwells with especial prominence on the work of travelling and resident apostles, and prophets, and teachers, and on their support. It is noticeable too how in the twenty or thirty years which probably elapsed between this Epistle and the ‘Teaching’ the large-hearted law here laid down had been liable to abuse, and required guarding. Three out of the sixteen chapters. xi., xii., xiii., are occupied with this subject. See introduction, pp. 22–24.
All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.15. Closing Salutation
15. All that are with me salute thee] The companions of his journey or sojourn, cf. Galatians 1:2; Colossians 4:7-14. They are not specified and would be changing, as his needs and their feelings changed, cf. 2 Timothy 4:9-12.
Greet them that love us in the faith] Rather: salute them that love us in faith, ‘in faith,’ as 1 Timothy 1:2 ‘my true child in faith,’ i.e. spiritually, where see note. The phrase marks the gradual crystallising of the word ‘faith,’ somewhat as ‘our Christian friends’ has become a modern formula: cf. Titus 1:4 ‘in communion of faith.’
Grace be with you all. Amen] The shortest form of the Benediction, the fullest being at the end of 2 Cor. ‘An inclusive benediction that comprehends the episcopus and those committed to his oversight, Titus and all the faithful in Crete.’ Bp Ellicott; who rejects the final ‘Amen,’ as at the end of both the letters to Timothy, though the ms. authority for it is stronger here, on the ground that accidental omission seems less probable than insertion. The end recalls the beginning; the Apostle, whose sphere of ministry was the faith and full knowledge of the Cretan Christians, prays for ‘grace’ to be with them ‘all.’
The subscription given above has no sufficient authority; see note at end of 1 Tim.; and for ‘Macedonia’ note above, Titus 3:12. The best supported subscription here is simply To Titus.