Titus 1:9
Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the disputers.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught.—More literally, according to the teaching; but the English version gives the sense clearly and exactly. The elder must, St. Paul says, hold fast the faithful word or saying; or, in other words, must steadily adhere to that Christian doctrine taught by St. Paul and his brother Apostles. So St. Paul pressed on Timothy, the chief presbyter of Ephesus, “to hold the pattern of sound words which thou heardest from me” (2Timothy 1:13); and again, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (2Timothy 3:14). Here “the faithful saying,” that formulary so common in the Epistles to Timothy and to Titus, and which we have generally explained as including the great Christian watchwords of the faith, echoes probably of sayings of Christ, taken up and expanded by His chosen servants, and then adopted in the various churches and woven into the tapestry of the earliest liturgies—now, possibly, after a form like the “comfortable words” of our Communion Service, now into a creed, now into a hymn, but in one shape or other thoroughly well known and loved in the different congregations—here the faithful word or saying seems to include all the faithful sayings, and denotes generally the teaching of St. Paul and the Apostles.

To exhort and to convince the gainsayers.—Two special purposes are specified for which the “sound doctrine” which the elder will acquire by steadfast application may be used. The first, with the sound, healthy teaching—sound, healthy, practical, compared with that sickly, morbid, and unpractical teaching of those gainsayers of whom he is going to speak—he is to exhort the adversaries; secondly, with the same true words he is to confute their arguments. Chrysostom well remarks “that he who knows not how to contend with adversaries, and is not able to demolish their arguments, is far from the teacher’s chair.”

1:5-9 The character and qualification of pastors, here called elders and bishops, agree with what the apostle wrote to Timothy. Being such bishops and overseers of the flock, to be examples to them, and God's stewards to take care of the affairs of his household, there is great reason that they should be blameless. What they are not to be, is plainly shown, as well as what they are to be, as servants of Christ, and able ministers of the letter and practice of the gospel. And here are described the spirit and practice becoming such as should be examples of good works.Holding fast the faithful word - That is, the true doctrines of the gospel. This means that he is to hold this fast, in opposition to one who would wrest it away, and in opposition to all false teachers, and to all systems of false philosophy. He must be a man who is firm in his belief of the doctrines of the Christian faith, and a man who can be relied on to maintain and defend those doctrines in all circumstances; compare notes, 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

As he hath been taught - Margin, "in teaching." Greek "According to the teaching." The sense is, according to that doctrine as taught by the inspired teachers of religion. It does not mean as he had individually been taught; but he was to hold the faith as it was delivered by those whom the Saviour had appointed to make it known to mankind. The phrase "the doctrine," or "the teaching," had a sort of technical meaning, denoting the gospel as that which had been communicated to mankind, not by human reason, but by teaching.

That he may be able by sound doctrine - By sound teaching, or instruction; Notes, 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 4:16. He was not to dictate, or to denounce; but to seek to convince by the statement of the truth; see the notes at 2 Timothy 2:25.

Both to exhort and to convince - To persuade them, or to bring them over to your views by kind exhortation, and by the instruction which shall convince. The former method is to be used where men know the truth, but need encouragement to follow it; the latter, where they are ignorant, or are opposed to it. Both exhortation and argument are to be used by the ministers of religion.

The gainsayers - Opposers Literally, those who speak against; that is, against the truth; Notes, Romans 10:21.

9. Holding fast—Holding firmly to (compare Mt 6:24; Lu 16:13).

the faithful—true and trustworthy (1Ti 1:15).

word as he has been taught—literally, "the word (which is) according to the teaching" which he has received (compare 1Ti 4:6, end; 2Ti 3:14).

by—Translate as Greek, "to exhort in doctrine (instruction) which is sound"; sound doctrine or instruction is the element IN which his exhorting is to have place … On "sound" (peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles), see 1Ti 1:10; 6:3.

convince—rather, "reprove" [Alford], (Tit 1:13).

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? Holding fast the faithful word,.... The doctrine of the Gospel, so called because it is true, and to be believed; it is the word of truth, and truth itself, and contains nothing but truth; and because it never deceived any, that gave credit to its doctrines, and its promises; and because it is pure, unmixed, and unadulterated, and is the sincere milk of the word; and because in it is a glorious display of the faithfulness of God to his perfections, to his holiness and justice, to his law, and to his covenant, word, and oath; and of the faithfulness of Christ, to him that appointed him and to his covenant engagements, and which has appeared in the discharge of his various offices: and this is not only to be held forth by the elder, but to be held fast, and tenaciously abode by; in opposition to all wavering about it, departure from it, dropping or concealing any part of it, and pusillanimity concerning it; whatever temptations there may be to the contrary, through popular applause on the one hand, and reproaches and persecutions on the other; and though there may be many that may endeavour to wring it out of his hands; see 2 Timothy 1:13,

as he hath been taught; or "according to doctrine": that is, according to the doctrine of the Scriptures, Christ, and his apostles; according to the doctrine that lies in the Scriptures that was delivered by Christ, and preached by his apostles; whatever is according to that should be held fast:

or which is for doctrine, which tends to teach, instruct, and edify the minds of men, that ought to be constantly abode by: or as the elder himself has been taught, not by men, in a theoretical way, as logic, rhetoric, and other arts and sciences are taught; for such who are only taught the faithful word in this way, are not likely to hold it fast, in a time of temptation; but as he has been taught it experimentally by the Spirit of God; and such an one, who has not only the knowledge of it in his head, but the experience of it in his heart, will hold it, and hold it fast against all opposition:

that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers; sound doctrine is the faithful word, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, which being retained, qualify an elder to discharge the following branches of his office; to "exhort" the members of churches to their duty, according to their age, sex, state, and condition, as in chapter 2 to which the doctrines of grace influence and engage; or to comfort them, as the word also signifies, and the Alexandrian copy reads, "to comfort them in all tribulation"; and this is one considerable part of the elder's work, to comfort souls under affliction, whether of body or mind; and sound doctrines, or the doctrines of the Gospel, are wonderfully suited to such a purpose: and the other part of his work is, "to convince gainsayers"; such who resist the truth, oppose themselves to it, cavil at it, and object against it; these are to be refitted, and convinced by the Scriptures, and arguments taken from them, as the Jews were by Apollos, Acts 18:28 and nothing is so powerful to do it as sound doctrine, and holding fast the faithful word.

{8} Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, {9} that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

(8) The third admonition: the pastor must hold fast that doctrine which the apostles delivered, and pertains to salvation, leaving behind all curious and vain matters.

(9) The fourth admonition: to apply the knowledge of true doctrine to use, which consists in two things, that is, in governing those who show themselves able to learn, and confuting the obstinate.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Titus 1:9. To these requisites, somewhat general in nature, Paul adds another with special bearing on the official duties of a bishop: ἀντεχόμενον τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν πιστοῦ λόγου] The exposition given by most of the compound idea τοῦλόγου is inaccurate and confused. Heydenreich divides the expression into two parts: (1) ὁ πιστὸς λόγος, “the true doctrine of the gospel;” and (2) ὁ λόγος κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν, “the doctrine in which the bishop is instructed,” and gives the following translation: “holding firmly, as instructed, by the word which is certain (to reliable doctrine).” But manifestly this translation arbitrarily inverts the meaning. The words κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν are not dependent on πιστοῦ, but on λόγου, defined by πιστοῦ, so that τοῦ κ. τ. διδ. πιστοῦ λόγ. is equivalent to τοῦ πιστοῦ λόγου, τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν. Ὁ πιστὸς λόγος does not occur elsewhere in our epistles, but there is no doubt that Paul means thereby the pure, wholesome word (λόγοι ὑγιαίνοντες, 1 Timothy 6:3; οἱ λόγοι τῆς πίστεως, 1 Timothy 4:6) of the gospel, in contrast to the false doctrine of the heretics. He uses the epithet πιστός because it is not treacherous, it can be relied on: “the sure, reliable word.” This sure word is defined more precisely by κατὰ τὴν διδαχήν] διδαχή is not active (Luther: “that which can teach”), but means, as it often does in the N. T., “doctrine.” Here it denotes “the Christian doctrine,” which is none other than that preached by Christ Himself and by His apostles; so Matthies, Wiesinger, Plitt, Hofmann. It is less appropriate to explain διδαχή to be “the instruction imparted” (so van Oosterzee, and formerly in this commentary); comp. 1 Timothy 4:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:15.

ἀντέχεσθαι (in Matthew 6:24, synonymous with ἀγαπᾷν, opposed to καταφρονεῖν; used in a similar sense, 1 Thessalonians 5:14) occurs often in Polybius (see Raphelius on the passage) in the sense of: adhaerere, studiosum esse (ἀντέχεσθαι τῆς ἀληθείας). Here, too, it has this meaning, as in Php 2:16 : ἐπέχειν; 2 Thessalonians 2:15 : κρατεῖν, “adhere to.” Luther: “he holds by the word.”

Heydenreich rightly remarks that this does not indicate the zeal the teacher was to show in speaking of divine doctrine, but his own internal adherence, etc.

ἵνα κ.τ.λ.] This adherence to the word is necessary for the bishop that he may discharge the duties of his office. It is further defined more precisely in two ways: ἵνα δυνατὸς ᾖ καὶκαί: “both … and.” The first is: παρακαλεῖν ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ, which refers to believers. παρακαλεῖν] encourage, exhort; viz. to remain in the way on which they have entered, and to advance ever further in it, ἐν being here instrumental: “through, by means of.” Matthies is incorrect: “to edify in sound doctrine;” comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:18.

ἡ διδασκ. ἡ ὑγιαιν.] see 1 Timothy 1:10.

The second is: τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας ἐλέγχειν] “By correction and reproof to refute those who contradict” (viz. the pure doctrine of the gospel), by which are meant the heretics.

Even in classic Greek, the two conceptions “refute” and “reprove” are sometimes combined in ἐλέγχειν; see Pape, s.v.

This verse leads on to further description of the heretics.Titus 1:9. ἀντεχόμενον: holding firmly to. ἀντέχομαι is stronger than ἔχειν, as used in a similar connexion, 1 Timothy 1:19, etc., etc. The R.V. holding to correctly suggests the notion of withstanding opposition, which is not so clearly felt in the A.V. holding fast. “Having care of it, making it his business” (Chrys.).

δυνατός: See note on 2 Timothy 2:2.

τοῦ κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν πιστοῦ λόγου: the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching. It is indicative of the weakening of the phrase πιστὸς λόγος that St. Paul strengthens and defines it here by κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν. It was noted on 1 Timothy 1:15 that πιστὸς λόγος here means the totality of the revelation given in Christ; and ἡ διδαχή is to be taken passively, as equivalent to ἡ διδασκαλία, as employed in these epistles. It is tautological to take it actively, the word which is faithful as regards the teaching of others; for that is expressed in what follows.

παρακαλεῖνἐλέγχειν: Cf. 2 Timothy 4:2 for this combination. The shepherd must be able to tend the sheep, and to drive away wolves.

ὑγιαινούσῃ: See on 1 Timothy 1:10. διδασκαλία here, as frequently, is a body of doctrine. So R.V., in the sound doctrine. The A.V., by sound doctrine, would refer to the faith as applied in its various parts to particular needs.

τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας: It is only a coincidence that where this word occurs in Acts it is in reference to Jewish opponents of the Gospel.9. holding fast the faithful word] Or, the faithful saying, keeping the connexion with the technical phrase of these Epistles, 1 Timothy 1:15. ‘Though no one “faithful saying” is quoted, yet it may be used comprehensively of them all, and is here guaranteed by “the teaching” of the Apostle himself.’ Dr Reynolds.

as he hath been taught] The grammar requires, as R.V., which is according to the teaching. The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is the title of a newly discovered manuscript of very early days placed by Bp Lightfoot ‘somewhere between a.d. 80–110.’ But its title is not intended to suggest its authorship. We may accept it as the private venture of someone who desires to set forth his views on moral conduct and Church order, believing them to represent the mind of the Apostles. See Introduction, pp. 22, 23. Similarly then ‘the teaching’ here meant is the oral Gospel and Instruction of St Paul.

able by sound doctrine both to exhort] Accurately with R.V. (the position of the verb in the clause being noted) able both to exhort in the sound doctrine. ‘Exhort’ has nothing to do with ‘gainsayers’ but refers to the building up by exhortation and comfort of believers. Compare 1 Timothy 5:1, where see note. The ‘Pastoral’ phrase ‘the sound doctrine’ is examined 1 Timothy 5:10, where ‘the doctrine’ is seen to be the equivalent English word, as it is passing into technical use. Didachê on the other hand remains untechnical, ‘teaching.’

and to convince the gainsayers] R.V. convict. See note 1 Timothy 5:20.Titus 1:9. Ἀντεχόμενον) one who will hold fast, defend, zealously urge. By this word the LXX. mostly translate the Hebrew verb הזק.—κατὰ) ὁ κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν λόγος [Engl. Vers. the word as he has been taught], the word appertaining to doctrine.—πιστὸς, firm, sure [lit. to be relied on], from which exhortation and power to convict (παρακαλεῖν, ἐλέγχειν) receive their strength.—καὶκαὶ) both—and.Verse 9. - Holding to for holding fast, A.V.; which is according to the teaching for as he hath been taught, A.V.; both to exhort in the sound doctrine for by sound doctrine, both to exhort, A.V.; convict for convince, A.V. Holding to (ἀντεχόμενος). Holding fast is a better and more forcible rendering than holding to. It answers to the Latin adherere, to cling to. The faithful word which is according to the teaching is awkwardly expressed. Ἠ διδαςή is "the Christian truth" as taught by the apostles, and "the faithful" or "sure word" to which Titus is to cleave is described as being" according to that truth" (comp. Titus 1:1, ἀληθείας τῆς κατ εὐσέβειαν). The A.V. gives substantially the apostle's meaning. The result of this adhesion to the faithful word is that he will be able to comfort and encourage believers by (ἐν) his wholesome teaching, and also to convict the opposers of the truth. The gainsayers; or, contradictors (τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας); such as those Jews described in Acts 13:45 and Acts 28:19 as "contradicting and blaspheming." Holding fast (ἀντεχόμενον)

Only here in Pastorals. In Paul, 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (note).

The faithful word (τοῦ πιστοῦ λόγου)

The trustworthy, reliable word. Comp. 1 Timothy 1:15 (note).

As he hath been taught (κατὰ τὴν διδαχὴν)

Lit. according to the teaching. Const. with word. Agreeing with the apostolic teaching. For διδαχή teaching see on 2 Timothy 4:2.

May be able by sound doctrine both to exhort (δυνατὸς ῇ καὶ παρακαλεῖν ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ τῇ ὐγιαινούσῃ)

Rend. "may be able both to exhort in the sound teaching." For δυνατὸς able or powerful, see on 2 Timothy 1:12. Used by Paul in the phrase εἰ δυνατόν if it be possible, Romans 12:18; Galatians 4:15 : τὸ δυνατόν that which is possible, Romans 9:22 : of God, Romans 4:21; Romans 11:23 : of men, in the ethical sense, Romans 15:1; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Corinthians 13:9.

Convince (ἐλέγχειν)

Better, convict. See on John 3:20, and see on ἐλεγμὸν, 2 Timothy 3:16.

The gainsayers (τοὺς ἀντιλέγοντας)

In Pastorals only here and Titus 2:9. Once in Paul, Romans 10:21, cit. Mostly in Luke and Acts. Gainsay, Angl. Sax. gegn (Germ. gegen) "against," and "say." Wiclif, Luke 21:15 : For I schal gyue to you mouth and wysdom, to whiche alle youre aduersaries schulen not mowe agenstonde, and agenseye."

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