To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness to all men.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)To speak evil of no man.—These commands of St. Paul to the Church of Crete breathe throughout the spirit of Christ, who “when He was reviled, reviled not again;” who said “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” The Christian in the days of St. Paul, and for “many days” after St. Paul had borne that gallant witness of his outside the gates of Rome, would indeed often be called in sad earnestness to put in practice these charges of the Apostle. In days of persecution, in times of suspicion, when the Christian profession exposed men to hatred and to sore danger, when all men spoke evil of them, these words of St. Paul were remembered and acted upon, and not only in Crete.
To be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.—Or better, not contentious, but, &c. These characteristics were not common virtues in Crete, then the resort and mart of so many different nationalities. Its singular situation in the Mediterranean, midway between Europe, Africa, and Asia, has been noticed, as have been the dispositions and vices of the inhabitants. Surely, St. Paul urges, the professed followers of the Crucified among the Cretans should aim at a nobler standard of life than was common among these rough and often selfish traders. These things charged here by St. Paul were new virtues to men. They are held up to admiration by no heathen moralists. The meekness signifies kindly forbearance. This Christian feeling, which looks lovingly on all sorts and conditions of men, on the stranger and the outcast, even on the vilest sinner, is especially enjoined here. It is the same sweet spirit of love which desires, in 1Timothy 2:1, that prayer and supplication be made in the public Christian assembly for all men.Matthew 9:3) no one." Doddridge renders it, "calumniate no one." The idea is, that we are not to slander, revile, or defame anyone. We are not to say anything to anyone, or of anyone, which will do him injury. We are never to utter anything which we know to be false about him or to give such a coloring to his words or conduct as to do him wrong in any way. We should always so speak to him and of him in such a way that he will have no reason to complain that he is an injured man. It may be necessary, when we are called to state what we know of his character, to say things which are not at all in his favor, or things which he has said or done that were wrong; but,
(1) we should never do this for the purpose of doing him injury, or so as to find a pleasure in it; and,
(2) where it is necessary to make the statement, it should be so as to do him no injustice.
We should give no improper coloring. We should exaggerate no circumstances. We should never attempt to express ourselves about his motives, or charge on him bad motives - for we know not what his motives were. We should state every palliating circumstance of which we have knowledge, and do entire justice to it. We should not make the bad traits of his character prominent, and pass over all that is good. In a word, we should show that we would rather find him to be a good man than a bad man - even if the result should be that we had been mistaken in our opinions. It is better that we should have been mistaken, than that he should be a bad man.
To be no brawlers - See the notes at 1 Timothy 3:3. The same Greek word occurs in both places. It is not elsewhere found in the New Testament.
no brawlers—"not quarrelsome," not attacking others.
gentle—towards those who attack us. Yielding, considerate, not urging one's rights to the uttermost, but forbearing and kindly (see on Php 4:5). Very different from the innate greediness and spirit of aggression towards others which characterized the Cretans.
meekness—(See on 2Co 10:1); the opposite of passionate severity.
unto all men—The duty of Christian conduct towards all men is the proper consequence of the universality of God's grace to all men, so often set forth in the pastoral Epistles.To speak evil of no man; Greek, to blaspheme no man. Blasphemy is a speaking evil, whether it be applied to God or man, though use hath so obtained, that we only in common discourse speak of blaspheming God.
To be no brawlers; to be no fighters, (amacouv) neither with hands nor tongues.
But gentle; to be modest, fair, equitable men.
Showing all meekness unto all men; forbearing wrath and passion in their converse with all.
to be no brawlers; or "fighters", either by blows or words; not litigious and quarrelsome, wrangling and striving about things to no profit, and to the detriment and disturbance of civil government, churches, neighbourhood, and families; which is very unbecoming the followers of Jesus, who strove not, nor cried, nor was his voice heard in the streets. But gentle, showing all meekness to all men; yielding and giving way, rather choosing to suffer wrong than to brawl, contend, and litigate a point; taking the advice of Christ in Matthew 5:39, carrying it in a meek and humble manner to men of all ranks and degrees, whether superior or inferior, rich or poor, bond or free, Jews or Gentiles, members of the church, or men of the world.To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Titus 3:2. ἀμάχους … ἐπιεικεῖς: coupled as qualifications of the episcopus, 1 Timothy 3:3.
πᾶσαν πραΰτητα: the greatest possible meekness. Compare Ephesians 4:2; 1 Peter 3:15.2. 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.Titus 3:2. Ἀμάχους, no brawlers) Such as do not attack.—ἐπιεικεῖς, gentle) Such as yield to any one attacking them.—πάντας, all) Crete was an island much frequented by men engaged in mercantile transactions); and they were generally such as are described, Titus 3:3.Verse 2. - Not to be contentious for to be no brawlers, A.V.; to be for but, A.V.; toward for unto, A.V. To speak evil of no man (μηδένα βλασφημεῖν). Probably especially pointed in the first place at a natural tendency of oppressed Christians to speak evil of their rulers (2 Peter 2:10; Jude 1:10), but extended into a general precept which might be especially needful for the rough and turbulent Cretans. Not to be contentious (ἀμάχους εἴναι); as 1 Timothy 3:3, note. To be gentle (ἐπιεικεῖς); coupled, as here, with ἀμάχους in 1 Timothy 3:3. Showing (ἐνδεικνυμένους); a word of frequent occurrence in St. Paul's vocabulary (Romans 2:15; Romans 9:17.22; Ephesians 2:7, etc.; see above, Titus 2:10, note). Meekness (πραότητα); another Pauline word (1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:23, etc.; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:25). The precept is given its widest extension by the double addition of "all" and "to all men." The roughness, or want of courtesy, of others is no excuse for the want of meekness in those who are the disciples of him who was meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). All men, whatever their station, the highest or the lowest, are to receive meek and gentle treatment from the Christian.
Better as Rev., not to be contentious. See on 1 Timothy 3:3. Pasto.
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