Titus 2:8
Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
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(8) Sound speech, that cannot be condemned.—The substance of Titus’ teaching, whether in the more private intercourse with individuals or in his preaching in the Christian gatherings, must be healthy, practical, manly, in contrast to the sickly, morbid, fanciful instruction the false teachers of Crete were in the habit of giving. His words, too, must be well weighed and thoughtful, as well as earnest and impassioned; they must be such as would expose him neither to contempt nor to the charge of presumption. Between the lines of the exhortation of the 7th and 8th verses we can read the anxiety of the Apostle that his representative in Crete should take all possible care that the matter of his teaching and preaching was studied and prepared with all the attention and thought so important a duty demanded. He should remember, too, that the words as well as the works of the Christian teacher will be subject to a sharp and often hostile criticism. These warnings and reminders of St. Paul, it should be borne in mind, belong to all ages of the faith.

That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.—The older authorities, with one exception, read “of us,” instead of “of you.” If Titus fairly carries out the exhortation of the last two verses, then the enemy, either the false teacher or the Pagan opponent of Christianity, confounded by the pure, self-sacrificing, earnest life, overcome by the well-weighed, thoughtful utterance of great truths, by the impassioned exhortation to men and women to lead noble, honest lives, will surely be ashamed of his bitter opposition, when he finds neither in the life nor in the teaching anything which he can fairly criticise as “bad.” As the better supported reading, “of us,” associates St. Paul and others with Titus, the evil thing which might have been said of Titus in reality would be spoken against St. Paul and the elder Apostles.

2:1-8 Old disciples of Christ must behave in every thing agreeably to the Christian doctrine. That the aged men be sober; not thinking that the decays of nature will justify any excess; but seeking comfort from nearer communion with God, not from any undue indulgence. Faith works by, and must be seen in love, of God for himself, and of men for God's sake. Aged persons are apt to be peevish and fretful; therefore need to be on their guard. Though there is not express Scripture for every word, or look, yet there are general rules, according to which all must be ordered. Young women must be sober and discreet; for many expose themselves to fatal temptations by what at first might be only want of discretion. The reason is added, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Failures in duties greatly reproach Christianity. Young men are apt to be eager and thoughtless, therefore must be earnestly called upon to be sober-minded: there are more young people ruined by pride than by any other sin. Every godly man's endeavour must be to stop the mouths of adversaries. Let thine own conscience answer for thine uprightness. What a glory is it for a Christian, when that mouth which would fain open itself against him, cannot find any evil in him to speak of!Sound speech - Notes, 1 Timothy 1:10. He was to use language that would be spiritually "healthful" (ὑγιῆ hugiē); that is, true, pure, uncorrupted. - This word, and its correlatives, is used in this sense, in the New Testament, only by the apostle Paul. It is commonly applied to the body, meaning that which is healthful, or whole; see Luke 5:31; Luke 6:10; Luke 7:10; Luke 15:27; Matthew 12:13; Matthew 15:31; Mark 3:5; Mark 5:34; John 5:4, John 5:6,John 5:9, John 5:11, John 5:14-15; John 7:23; Acts 4:10; 3 John 1:2. For Paul's use of the word see 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13;2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13; Titus 2:1-2, Titus 2:8. It does not elsewhere occur.

That cannot be condemned - Such as cannot be shown to be weak, or unsound; such that no one could find fault with it, or such as an adversary could not take hold of and blame. This direction would imply purity and seriousness of language, solidity of argument, and truth in the doctrines which he maintained.

That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed ... - Ashamed that he has opposed such views.

8. speech—discourse in public and private ministrations.

he that is of the contrary part—the adversary (Tit 1:9; 2Ti 2:25), whether he be heathen or Jew.

may be ashamed—put to confusion by the power of truth and innocence (compare Tit 2:5, 10; 1Ti 5:14; 6:1).

no evil thing—in our acts, or demeanor.

of you—So one of the oldest manuscripts. Other very old manuscripts read, "of US," Christians.

Sound speech, that cannot be condemned: Paul (as yet) seemeth to be directing Titus as a minister, and the rest of the ministers in Crete, how to behave themselves in the ministry, for the last word being plural, you, signifieth either the ministry, or else is put for thee; he would have Titus not only preach sound doctrine, not corrupt, and do it gravely, but also preach profitable doctrine, tending to make the souls of others sound and healthy; unless perhaps by logon be here meant his style and phrase, which he would have such as none could justly condemn. What was said of Caesar’s wife, that she ought not only to be chaste, but so to behave herself as not to be suspected otherwise, is applicable to ministers; their doctrine, and phrase used in their ministry, ought not only to be sound and grave, but such as none should judge or censure for other.

That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed; that the adversaries of the truth may be ashamed of their aspersing them or it.

Having no evil thing to say of you; and may have no evil thing to charge them with.

Sound speech that cannot be condemned,.... In the public ministry, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus should be used, and the doctrines of the Gospel be expressed, as near as can be, in the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, and not in the enticing words of man's wisdom; such speech or language should be chosen, that is plain, easy, and acceptable, and conveys just ideas of things; and which being agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, and the analogy of faith, cannot be justly found fault with: or this may refer to private conversation, in which no rotten speech, or corrupt communication should proceed out of the mouth; nothing but what is pure, sound, graceful, and edifying; no filthiness, nor foolish talking and jesting, which are not convenient, and are rightly condemned.

That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed: that is, that he who is on the other side of the question, who opposes the truths of the Gospel, and is an adversary to them; whether he be an Heathen philosopher, or a Jewish Rabbi, or a judaizing teacher, or an heretical man, under the Christian name, may be put to shame and confusion; partly on account of that uncorruptness in doctrine and conversation, which he observes in the true and faithful ministers of the word, and is wanting in himself; and so being convinced, may be converted and brought to repentance, and to the acknowledgment of the truth; and partly on the account of the false charges and accusations brought by him against such:

having no evil thing to say of you; whether with respect to doctrine or practice. The Vulgate Latin version, and all the Oriental versions, read "us", instead of "you". The whole body is reproached for the sake of one or more.

Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Titus 2:8. ἀκατάγνωστον: to which no exception can be taken. See Deissmann, Bible Studies, Trans. p. 200. ὑγιῆ implies the conformity of the doctrine taught with the Church’s standard (see note on 1 Timothy 1:10), while ἀκατάγνωστον has reference to the manner of its presentation to the hearer.

ὁ ἐξ ἐναντίας: The heathen opponent, official or unofficial, ὁ ἀντικείμενος (1 Timothy 5:14), οἱ ἀντιδιατιθέμενοι (2 Timothy 2:25), not the Devil himself (Chrys.).

ἐντραπῇ: vercatur (Vulg.); but confundatur, as in 2 Thessalonians 3:14, would be a better rendering here. An antagonist who finds that he has no case “looks foolish,” as we say.

φαῦλον: usually applied to actions. See reff. The clause means having nothing evil to report concerning us: not, as the English versions, having no evil thing to say, which might be explained as, “being unable to abuse us”.

8. sound speech] For the ‘Pastoral’ word ‘sound’ cf. 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; 1 Timothy 1:13. From the union in this counsel of ‘speech’ and ‘doctrine’ we must understand ‘sound speech’ to be part of the public teaching function of Titus. ‘That cannot be condemned,’ Vulg. ‘irreprehensibile’; cf. 1 Timothy 6:14 for the similar formation and sense ‘that cannot be laid hold of.’

may be ashamed] The active is ‘to shame,’ 1 Corinthians 4:14 (present). Cf. the subst. ‘to your shame,’ 1 Corinthians 6:5. The middle pres. and imperf. with 2 fut. pass, are ‘to shame myself at,’ ‘to take shame at’; Luke 18:4, ‘regard not man;’ Hebrews 12:9, ‘gave them reverence’; Matthew 21:37, ‘they will reverence my son.’ The 2 aor. pass., which occurs here and 2 Thessalonians 3:14 without an object, should be classed with these, rather than be regarded (as by Bp Ellicott) as a passive ‘be shamed.’ His quotation from Psalm 35:26 is quite inconclusive; for the aor. pass, of the verb, with which our tense is there coupled, has clearly a middle sense in 1 John 2:28, where Bp Westcott renders ‘that we may not shrink with shame.’ Be ashamed is therefore correct, as A.V. and R.V.

having no evil thing to say of you] i.e. ‘since he has, and finds that he has.’ The reading ‘us’ for ‘you’ should be adopted with the best mss. St Paul identifies himself with Titus and all Church teachers and workers. So St John with his ‘children’ 1 John 2:1, ‘we have an advocate’; 1 John 2:28, ‘that we may have boldness.’ The word for ‘evil’ is not common in N.T.; twice in St John’s Gospel, R.V. ‘doeth ill,’ ‘they that have done ill’; twice in St Paul besides, R.V. ‘good or bad’; once in St James, R.V. ‘confusion and every vile deed.’ ‘Worthlessness is the central notion,’ Trench, N.T. Syn. § 84, ‘nequam,’ ‘naughty,’ originally ‘light’ and ‘slight.’ Contrasted is the ‘positively evil’ or ‘mischief working,’ ‘deliver us from the evil,’ Matthew 6:13. The point of the word is here then ‘he should have nothing mean, contemptible, good for nothing, to taunt us with.’ The ‘good’ above and the ‘evil’ here find (as does the thought) apt illustration in Shakespeare’s

‘So shines a good deed in a naughty world.’

Titus 2:8. Ἐντραπῇ, may be confounded) The great force of truth and innocence.

Verse 8. - Us for you, A.V. and T.R. Sound speech (λόγον ὑγιῆ); still depending upon παρεχύμενος. Besides his personal qualities as a teacher, his speech, or doctrine, must be sound. The word, common of bodily health, is only here applied to speech or doctrine; the common phrase in the pastoral Epistles is ὑγιασινούση διδασκαλία, ὑγιαίνουσι λόγοις, and the like. That cannot be condemned (ἀκατάγνωστον); only here in the New Testament, once in 2 Macc. 4:27. This marks the care that the Christian teacher must take not to say anything in his teaching rash, or reprehensible, or that can give offence or cause the ministry to be blamed (camp. 1 Timothy 5:14). May be ashamed (ἐντραπῇ). In the active voice ἐντρέπειν is "to put to shame" (1 Corinthians 4:14), and in classical Greek. In the middle voice ἐντρέπομαι, followed by a genitive of the person, or an accusative in later Greek, means to "respect, reverence" (Matthew 21:37; Luke 18:2, etc.). In the passive, as here and 2 Thessalonians 3:14, it means "to be put to shame," "to be ashamed" (comp. Psalm 34:4 LXX., 35:40. (Compare, for the sentiment, 1 Peter 2:15; 1 Peter 3:16; and note the frequent resemblances between the pastoral Epistles and those of St. Peter.) The shame of the detractors consists in their being put to silence, having nothing to say, being proved to be slanderers. No evil thing (μηδὲν φαῦλον); as James 3:16; John 3:20; John 5:29. The word means "mean, worthless, paltry," and is hence synonymous with Titus 2:8Sound speech (λόγον ὑγιῆ)

Ὑγιής sound, only here in Pastorals. The usual form is the participle, as ὑγιαινόντων λόγων, 2 Timothy 1:13; ὑγιαίνουσι λόγοις, 1 Timothy 6:3.

That cannot be condemned (ἀκατάγνωστον)

N.T.o. oClass. See 2 Macc. 4:47.

He that is of the contrary part (ὁ ἐξ ἐναντίας)

The phrase N.T.o. See Mark 15:39. The heathen opposer is meant. Comp. blasphemed, Titus 2:5, and 1 Timothy 6:1. Ἑναντίος contrary, in Paul only 1 Thessalonians 2:15.

May be ashamed (ἐντραπῇ)

Only here in Pastorals. In Paul, 1 Corinthians 4:14, note; 2 Thessalonians 3:14, note, and see on Matthew 21:37.

Evil thing (φαῦλον)

Only here in Pastorals. In Paul, Romans 9:11; 2 Corinthians 5:10. See on John 3:20.

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