Titus 1
Matthew Poole's Commentary
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;
Tit 1:1-4 The salutation.

Tit 1:5 For what end Titus was left in Crete.

Tit 1:6-9 How they should be qualified who are ordained

to the ministry.

Tit 1:10,11 The mouths of evil teachers must be stopped.

Tit 1:12-16 The bad character of the Cretians.

Paul, a servant of God; that is, in the work of the ministry.

And an apostle of Jesus Christ; who glory in this as my greatest honour and dignity, that I was one immediately sent by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel.

According to the faith of God's elect; kata pistin according to what the elect, or chosen of God from the beginning of the world, have believed; so as it is no new doctrine which I bring: or else kata here should be translated for, denoting the final cause, as some judge it signifieth, 2Ti 1:1, and in Tit 1:9 of this chapter; then the sense is, that he was sent to be an instrument to beget faith in such as God had chosen unto life. Act 26:18, for those only ordained to eternal life believe, Act 13:48, and Paul was sent to be a helper of their faith. Some think the apostle by this phrase only distinguisheth himself from the ministers of the law.

And the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; to which faith men are brought by the knowledge of the truth, and it worketh by the owning, profession, and acknowledgment of the truth; not all propositions of truth, but that which is productive of a godly life, lying in the true worship of God, and a universal obedience to the Divine will.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
In hope of eternal life; which faith also, producing the acknowledgment, profession, and obedience to the truth, according to godliness, produceth in the soul a hope, or certain expectation, of eternal salvation or happiness.

Which God, that cannot lie, promised; nor doth this hope grow up as a rush without mire, or a flag without water, but is bottomed in God’s declaration of his will to that purpose; and it is impossible that the God of truth should lie, or speak what he never intended to effect. ’ Ephggeilato might as well here have been translated purposed, and must be so interpreted, if we interpret the next words, before the beginning of time, unless we say it was promised to the Head of the elect, Christ, on their behalf.

Before the world began; before the beginning of time, or rather, many ages since, as Romans 16:25. Thus eternal life was promised, though more obscurely, Genesis 15:1 17:7 22:18.

But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
But hath in due times; in proper time, (saith the Greek), in such time as God had eternally purposed, and as seemed good to the Divine wisdom.

Manifested his word through preaching; he hath by setting up the ordinance of preaching, or publishing the gospel, by men sent by him, manifested this promise of eternal life, which lay much obscured under the veil of temporal promises under the Old Testament.

Which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; which office of preaching, or which word, was committed to me, by the will of God, or immediate command of God: as to which, see Acts 26:17,18.

To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Mine own son after the common faith; from hence we learn that Titus was converted to Christianity by Paul. Timothy was so called, 1 Timothy 1:2. The salutation is the same with that to Timothy, 1 Timothy 1:2 2 Timothy 1:2, and in most of the Epistles, with small variation: See Poole on "1 Timothy 1:2", See Poole on "2 Timothy 1:2", and in the beginning of most of the Epistles.

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
In Crete; in Candia, as it is now called: see the Argument to this Epistle.

Set in order the things that are wanting; set to rights things which I left undone, being hastened away to other places.

And ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: in this island we are told there were a hundred cities, in how many of them the gospel had taken place we are not told. Paul left Titus in this place for this end, to regulate the churches, and constitute officers for the holy ministry, to execute the office of an evangelist; doing what the apostle should have done there could he have stayed.

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
If any be blameless: the apostle now directs what kind of persons should be made elders or officers in the church. It is an elliptic speech, where must be something understood to perfect the sense. Do not make every one an elder, but if any be anegklhtov, see the notes on 1 Timothy 3:10, such a one, as though possibly he may be clamoured on by ill men, yet cannot be justly charged with or accused of any notorious crime.

The husband of one wife; one that doth not take the sinful liberty, taken by the Jews and heathens, (but contrary to the rule of Christ), to have at the same time more than one wife: see the notes on 1 Timothy 3:2.

Having faithful children; having also a religious family, children that are believers, or at least honest in a moral sense (so then ministers in those days might marry).

Not accused of riot; the Greek is, under an accusation of aswtiav, we translate it by a general word, riot, and undoubtedly our English words, sots and sottishness, comes from this word. The word signifieth any kind of luxury, drunkenness, whoredom, prodigality.

Unruly; sons of Belial, ungoverned, disorderly persons, like soldiers that will not keep their ranks, or rather, like cattle untamed, that will not endure any yoke.

Objection. But why must none be put into the ministry that have such children? The fathers may be good men, though the children be bad.


1. Because the honour and repute of the church is more to be regarded than the interest of any private person.

2. Because it is an ill sign that the parents of such children have not ruled their own houses well, keeping their children in all subjection and gravity under authority, and are therefore very unfit to rule the greater society of a church.

For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
For a bishop must be blameless; one that hath an oversight of the church of God, ought to be one whom none can truly tax with any scandalous sin.

As the steward of God; as a chief servant in God’s house, intrusted to dispense his mysteries, 1 Corinthians 4:1, one that should set an example to the under-servants in the house of God.

Not self-willed; not auyadh, one that pleaseth himself, proud, stubborn, pertinacious, confident, &c., having a high opinion of his own person, parts, judgment, or humour; for all this the word signifies.

Not soon angry; orgilon, not too quick and subject to passion; how then shall he in meekness instruct those that are without?

Not given to wine: see the notes on 1 Timothy 3:3, where the same word is used.

No striker, not given to filthy lucre: See Poole on "1 Timothy 3:3", where both these qualifications are mentioned, and opened.

But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
But a lover of hospitality; a lover of strangers: See Poole on "1 Timothy 3:2".

A lover of good men; one that hath a kindness for good men, or who loves all good things.

Sober: See Poole on "1 Timothy 3:2".

Just; just in his dealings between man and man, giving to all their due.

Holy; one that reverenceth and worshippeth God, and is heavenly and spiritual in his conversation.

Temperate; one that restraineth all his evil inclinations and propensions, that hath brought his sensitive appetite under the dominion and government of his reason.

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Holding fast the faithful word, as he hath been taught; no airy, uncertain man, that is of that opinion which his company is of, or his age favours, but holding steady the word of faith, as he hath learned it from me, and the rest of the apostles.

That he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort, his work is to persuade others to the faith,

and to convince the gainsayers; by sound arguments to convince those that speak contrary to it; and if he himself be ignorant of, or uncertain, as to that, how can he ever discharge this employment?

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
For there are many unruly and vain takers: we have had both of these words before; the first signifieth stubborn, unruly men; the second, idle, foolish, vain talkers: the apostle saith, that in that age there were many of these.

And deceivers; and such who were deceivers of other men’s souls, or had their own souls deceived.

Specially they of the circumcision; especially (he saith) the Jews, who mixed the law with the gospel; pressed the necessary observance of their ceremonies, and taught that all the Jews should be saved: of these there were many in Crete, they at this time being scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.

Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
Whose mouths must be stopped; the word is active; such ministers ought to be placed in cities as shall be able and fit to stop such persons’ mouths, by sound doctrine and arguments fit to convince them: or, thou oughtest to stop their mouths by silencing them; though I do not see how this was practicable in a pagan country, otherwise than by persuading Christians not to hear them.

Who subvert whole houses; who, as to the foundation of faith and its building, overturn whole families of Christians.

Teaching things which they ought not; infusing false doctrine into them.

For filthy lucre’s sake; and all for filthy gain: and all gain is so, that is got by deceiving and ruining of people’s souls, as to their faith and salvation.

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
One of themselves, even a prophet of their own; Epimenides, a Greek poet, thus spake of the people of this country, whom he calls a prophet, because he was a poet, and wrote something about such divine oracles as they had.

Said, The Cretians are alway liars: the Cretians were famous for lying and falsehood, so as it became a proverb. He called them

evil beasts, either for their cruelty or treachery.

Slow bellies; a lazy, idle people, that had much more inclination to eat and drink than they had to work in any honest labour. From all this the apostle would infer, that Titus had the more need be watchful in his place, and faithful in the discharge of his office, being amongst such a people.

This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
This witness is true; this testimony of Epimenides is true, what I have found by experience, and those of them that in profession have embraced the Christian faith may have some tincture of their nation’s vices.

Wherefore rebuke them sharply; if thou meetest with any such, reprove or convince them apotomwv, cuttingly, that is, sharply, severely: the metaphor possibly is fetched from surgeons, who cut out dead flesh to the quick.

That they may be sound in the faith; that they may be sound in the doctrine of the gospel, or in their minds, not infected with any vice.

Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Not giving heed to Jewish fables: by his calling them Jewish fables, ( not old wives’ fables, as in the Epistle to Timothy), he lets us know that he reflects upon those Jews that seemed to be proselyted, but yet had a tincture of their Jewish education, and spent their discourse about such fabulous traditions as the Jews had.

And commandments of men; and the traditions and constitutions of the scribes and Pharisees.

That turn from the truth; abhorring the gospel, and the doctrine of truth in it.

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
Unto the pure all things are pure: by the pure here (as appeareth by the terms opposed to it) are meant all those whose hearts are purified by faith, working by love in a holy life. To these he saith all things, that is, all the creatures of God, all meats and drinks, are pure. What God hath cleansed none ought to call common or impure, Acts 10:14; so as, notwithstanding any law of God to the contrary, any believers under the gospel may eat of any meats.

But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but if men be unbelievers, and so defiled, having not their hearts purified by faith, Acts 15:9, nothing is pure to them.

But even their mind and conscience is defiled; their mind, their notion and understanding, is defiled; and their conscience, which is the practical judgment they make up about things, is defiled: if they forbear to eat, they are defiled through superstition; if they do eat, they sin by acting against the dictate of their conscience, which is the proximate rule of men’s actions.

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
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.

Matthew Poole's Commentary

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