Titus 1:14
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
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(14) Not giving heed to Jewish fables.—Such as we now find embodied in the Talmud. (See Note on 1Timothy 1:4.) The oral law and traditional interpretations and glosses had, to a great measure, obscured the original simple text. The Israelite of the time of St. Paul, trained in the stricter Jewish schools, was taught that the way to win the approval of the Most High was through the observance of countless ceremonies and the practice of an elaborate ritual.

And commandments of men.—The nature of these commandments we gather from the words of the next (the 15th) verse. They seem to have been on the subject of abstinence from meats and from other things created by God for the use and enjoyment of man. The directions of St. Paul here are, in spirit, in exact accordance with the Lord’s teaching at Jerusalem, related in Matthew 15:1-9. St. Paul’s dread of this kind of asceticism and of the peculiar school of teaching, then so popular among the Jews, which enjoined an elaborate system of ritual and observance, which pronounced meritorious in the sight of the Eternal the practice of rites and ceremonies minute and trifling, was grounded upon a fear—too often, alas, verified—lest with the observance of the ritual, and the careful practice of the ceremonies and rites, the moral law should be lost sight of. With this school a holy life consisted rather in observing carefully a ritual, than in living justly, nobly, generously.

1:10-16 False teachers are described. Faithful ministers must oppose such in good time, that their folly being made manifest, they may go no further They had a base end in what they did; serving a worldly interest under pretence of religion: for the love of money is the root of all evil. Such should be resisted, and put to shame, by sound doctrine from the Scriptures. Shameful actions, the reproach of heathens, should be far from Christians; falsehood and lying, envious craft and cruelty, brutal and sensual practices, and idleness and sloth, are sins condemned even by the light of nature. But Christian meekness is as far from cowardly passing over sin and error, as from anger and impatience. And though there may be national differences of character, yet the heart of man in every age and place is deceitful and desperately wicked. But the sharpest reproofs must aim at the good of the reproved; and soundness in the faith is most desirable and necessary. To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; they abuse, and turn things lawful and good into sin. Many profess to know God, yet in their lives deny and reject him. See the miserable state of hypocrites, such as have a form of godliness, but are without the power; yet let us not be so ready to fix this charge on others, as careful that it does not apply to ourselves.Not giving heed to Jewish fables ... - See the notes at 1 Timothy 1:4.

And commandments of men that turn from the truth - Notes, Matthew 15:3-5.

14. Jewish fables—(See on [2522]1Ti 1:4; [2523]1Ti 4:7; [2524]2Ti 4:4). These formed the transition stage to subsequent Gnosticism; as yet the error was but profitless, and not tending to godliness, rather than openly opposed to the faith.

commandments of men—as to ascetic abstinence (Tit 1:15; Mr 7:7-9; Col 2:16, 20-23; 1Ti 4:3).

that turn from the truth—whose characteristic is that they turn away from the truth (2Ti 4:4).

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.

Not giving heed to Jewish fables,.... Concerning God himself, the angels, and the creation of man; concerning the giving of the law at Mount Sinai; concerning the Messiah and his earthly kingdom, and the feast that will be made for the righteous in his days, which will consist of flesh, fish, and fowl, Behemoth, Leviathan, and Zuz, and of wine kept in the grape from the foundation of the world; and concerning the rolling of the dead through the caverns of the earth at the resurrection, with a multitude of other things which were traditionally received.

And commandments of men: the traditions of the elders, which the Jews charged the disciples of Christ with the transgression of; and he, on the other hand, very justly reproached them with breaking the commands of God, by attending to them, Matthew 15:1. These were the laws and traditions of the fathers, which the Apostle Paul was brought up in, and was zealous of, before his conversion, Acts 22:3 and which these judaizing preachers and professors, he here has respect to, were fond of, though they were made by men,

that turn from the truth; or "hate it", as the Syriac version renders it; who were enemies unto it, as Hillell and Shammai, the heads of the traditional doctors, and as the Jews, and their Rabbins in general were; and therefore their commandments, of all men, should not be given heed to, by those that bear the Christian name.

Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Titus 1:14. One especial requisite for the ὑγιαίνειν ἐν τῇ πίστει is given by Paul in the participial clause: μὴ προσέχοντες Ἰουδαϊκοῖς μύθοις καὶ ἐντολαῖς κ.τ.λ.] προσέχοντες, see 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:1. Here, as in the epistles to Timothy, the heresies are called μῦθοι, from the theories they contained; see on 1 Timothy 1:4. Here, however, they are further defined by the epithet Ἰουδαϊκοί, as they were peculiar to Jewish speculation, though their substance was derived from Gentile modes of thought. The description, too, in the First Epistle to Timothy shows that to the speculative part of the heresy there was added a legal element founded on an arbitrary interpretation of the Mosaic law. The ἐντολαί of the heretics are here called ἐντολαὶ ἀνθρώπων ἀποστρεφομένων τὴν ἀλήθειαν: “commands of men which depart from the truth,” because they were founded not on Christianity, but on the arbitrary wills of men estranged from Christianity. These ἐντολαί consisted not so much of moral precepts, as of prohibitions of food and the like, see 1 Timothy 4:3. Hofmann refers the adjective Ἰουδαϊκοῖς, and the defining words ἀνθρώπων κ.τ.λ., to both substantives,—a possible construction, but not necessary. His reasons are far from sufficient.

ἀποστρεφομένων] see 2 Timothy 1:15.

Titus 1:14. προσέχοντες: See on 1 Timothy 1:4. The word implies the giving one’s consent, as well as one’s attention.

Ἰουδαϊκοῖς: This determines the nature of the μῦθοι referred to in these epistles. See on 1 Timothy 1:4.

ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων ἀποστρεφομένων: We are naturally reminded of Mark 7:7-8, with its antithesis between the ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων and ἐντολὴν τοῦ θεοῦ, and Colossians 2:22, where the same passage of Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13) is echoed. But here the antithesis is not so strongly marked. The commandments are depreciated, not because their authors are men, but because they are men who turn away from the truth, impure men (In 1 Timothy 4:3 “they that believe and know the truth” are men whose thoughts are pure). The truth here, as elsewhere in the Pastorals, is almost a Christian technical term. It can hardly be doubted that the ἐντολαί referred to were of the same nature as those noted in Colossians 2:22, arbitrary ascetic prohibitions.

14. not giving heed to Jewish fables] See note on 1 Timothy 1:4 and Introduction, pp. 45 sqq. ‘The old Judaism got itself entangled in a new Platonism. Those endless genealogies which had always charmed the Israelite, as he traced his own pedigree from Seth and Abraham and David, were now beginning to soar into higher heights of speculation, till at length they dealt with angelic relationships and lost themselves in interminable mazes of celestial emanations.’ Dr Vaughan, The Wholesome Words of Jesus Christy, p. 7.

commandments of men] See note on 1 Timothy 4:3 and Introduction, pp. 46, 48, 50; ‘erga escarum insumptionem scrupuloso agere videbantur,’ Theod. Mops. The addition of the participial clause without the article leaves more emphasis on ‘men’ as opposed to God the true lawgiver; the participle is only formally in agreement with men; the real stress is on the thought ‘desertion of the truth,’ ‘human commandments with the truth abandoned.’ Compare Titus 1:6, where the main attribute to ‘children’ is ‘believing’ and ‘not in accusation &c.’ is secondary. Winer, Pt. iii. § 20, 4. The translation of A.V., by putting the comma after ‘men’ and rendering ‘that turn away’ as the more general relative, seems nearer to this force of the Greek than the R.V. ‘men who turn.’

Titus 1:14. Μύθοις, fables) The antithesis is truth.

Verse 14. - Who for that, A.V.; turn away for turn, A.V. Jewish fables (see 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4, where the Jewish origin of the fables is implied, though not so distinctly stated as here). Commandments of men (ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων); so in Colossians 2:22 the apostle speaks of the precepts "touch not," "taste not" (originating with the Judaizing teachers), as τὰ ἐντάλματα καὶ διδασκαλίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων (see following note). Turning away from (ἀποστρεφομένεν); see 2 Timothy 1:15, note. Titus 1:14Not giving heed (μὴ προσέχοντες)

Reprove sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, and may show their soundness by not giving heed, etc. See on 1 Timothy 1:4.

To Jewish fables (Ἱουδαΐκοῖς μύθοις)

See on 1 Timothy 1:4. Note Jewish. The nature of these we do not know.

Commandments of men (ἐντολαῖς ἀνθρώπων)

See on 1 Timothy 6:14. Comp. Colossians 2:22. Prescriptions concerning abstinence from meats, marriage, etc. The men are probably those of the circumcision, Titus 1:10. What they teach theoretically, by means of the myths, they bring to bear practically, by means of their precepts.

That turn from the truth (ἀποστρεφομένων τὴν ἀλήθειαν)

Comp. 2 Timothy 4:4, where the truth and fables appear in contrast.

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