Titus 3:8
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that you affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
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(8) This is a faithful saying.—Then St. Paul, having, in those few but sublime words we have been considering, painted our present happy state—happy even on earth, where the glorious promised inheritance was still only a hope—and having shown how that this blessedness was the result of no efforts of our own, but that we owe it solely to the tender love and to the divine pity of God for man—cries out, Yes, “faithful is this saying!”

And these things I will that thou affirm constantly.—I will that ever and again, in the congregation, these words of mine, woven into the tapestry of creed, or hymn of thanksgiving or supplication, be repeated by the faithful believers in the Lord, to remind them, not only of the glorious hope of eternal life, but also to bring Him to their remembrance to whom they owe this glorious heritage; and as they repeat or hear the words telling them of the wondrous mercy showed to them for no merit or desert of their own, they will the more willingly think kindly of, and act loyally with, other men still living in that deep and loathsome darkness where they once dwelt, until God, in His pity, delivered them. Hearing this “faithful saying,” thought? the old man St. Paul, my children in Christ will surely be disposed to be more loyal subjects, more faithful citizens, more loving neighbours, though their civil magistrates, their fellow-citizens, their neighbours, be still idolaters, living without God in the world. And there was yet another reason for the constant repetition of this “faithful saying:” men would see that they owed all their glorious Christian privileges, their present peace, their future hope, to God’s free grace—that they had done nothing to deserve all this. Surely such a thought would spur them on to noble deeds, if it were only to show they were not wholly ungrateful. So he writes, Yes, affirm constantly this faithful saying.

That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.—But not only would St. Paul have them show their gratitude for the great mercy they had received, but he is specially anxious that they who by God’s grace had been led into the Christian company should now not only quietly and unobtrusively take their part in good works, but should ever be careful to be forward in all such things; he would have Christians conspicuous in their generous zeal to forward all good and useful undertakings. “Good works” here by no means is confined to works of mercy and charity though, of course, they include such, still they possess in this passage a far more comprehensive signification. All useful and beneficent undertakings, public as well as private, are reckoned among these “good works.” As was observed before, St. Paul’s ideal Christian must be a generous, public-spirited man. In the eyes of this great teacher the cloistered ascetic would have found but little favour; his hero, while ever the devoted, self-sacrificing lover of the Lord, must be known among his fellow-citizens “as careful to maintain good works.”

These things are good and profitable unto men.—The accurate translation of the Greek here would be, These are the things which are good and profitable unto men; but the older authorities omit the article, ta, before kala. The rendering, then (omitting the article), as given in the English version, would be correct: “These things”—that is, this practical everyday teaching, which bids Christians distinguish themselves among their fellow-citizens and countrymen in all generous and useful enterprises—in all good things, whether public or private—these things, says the Apostle, are good and profitable unto men; in sharp contrast to the unpractical and useless points insisted upon in the false teaching, apparently too common in the Cretan Church, and against which Titus is earnestly warned in the next (9th) verse.



Titus 3:8.

THERE is so much about ‘good works’ in the so-called Pastoral Epistles {the two to Timothy, and this to Titus}, that some critics who think they have sharp eyes have concluded that Paul was not their author. But surely it is very natural that as a man gets older he shall get more practical, and it is equally natural that he should fight the enemies who are in front of him at the moment, and not thrice slay the slain. Obviously the churches whom he had in view in his letters to Timothy and Titus did not stand in need of the elaborate and far-reaching argumentation of the Epistle to the Romans, or of the great protest against Jewish ritualism in the Epistle to the Galatians, or of the profound teaching about the Church which is in the Epistle to the Ephesians. The foundation had been laid, and, like a sensible man, Paul proceeded to build upon it. So instead of the difference in tone between those more theological letters and this more practical one being a cause of suspicion as to the authorship of the latter, it seems to me to be an argument in favour of the identity of authorship. The variation in tone corresponds to what happens in the case of every thoughtful Christian teacher as he grows in years, and comes to feel more and more that all doctrine is for practice. Here, then, we have the Apostle’s last will and testament, so to speak, left to all the churches, that ‘they which believe in God might be careful to maintain good works.’

According to that, the hall-mark of a Christian is conduct - ‘good works.’ But we must beware of narrowing the meaning of that expression, as is too often done, so as to include in it mainly certain conventional forms of charity or beneficence, like ‘slumming’ or tract-distributing, or Sunday- school teaching, and the like. These and such as these are, no doubt, one form of good works, but by no means the whole, and their having all but monopolized the name is one reason why many Christian people fail to apprehend the full significance of New Testament teaching on the subject. These acts are but as a creek in a great sea. Paul tells us what he takes to be included in the designation, when he bids the Philippians think on ‘whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honourable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,’ and having thought on them, do them.

I have omitted one word in that quotation, for Paul speaks also of ‘whatsoever things are lovely.’ Loveliness is an essential quality of the highest kind of good works. Many of us know that the Greeks, wise beyond many who have clearer light but duller eyes, used the same word to express goodness and beauty. The Apostle uses that pregnant word in our text, and we should well ponder the teaching given by that word. For it tells Christians that they are to take heed to make their goodness lovely, not to ‘graft grace on a crab-stock,’ nor to present a frowning goodness to the world. It is not enough that they who believe in God should be careful to exhibit conduct which commends itself to every man’s conscience as right and pure. They should also commend themselves as being fair with a more than earthly beauty, and lustrous with a more than earthly radiance. There are many Christian people who spoil the effect of high-principled, self-sacrificing conduct by forgetting that beautifulness is an essential part of the highest goodness. Sour grapes are not the grapes that are intended to be grown on the true vine.

But now, will you notice, as a further light upon Paul’s notion of how to go about growing these grapes, what goes before? ‘These things. I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which believe in God might be careful to maintain good works.’ What are ‘these things’? They are a brief summary of what we call ‘the Gospel’; the evangelical teaching that ‘the kindness and love of God our Saviour’ had ‘appeared,’ and that ‘He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost... that.. ‘we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.’ In effect Paul says to Timothy: ‘Now keep on insisting upon that.’ The word translated ‘affirm constantly’ is a very strong one. It means a forcible and continually repeated enunciation, and the plain English of Paul’s injunction to Timothy is: Keep on preaching the gospel as the surest way to produce disciples full of good works. People say to us: ‘Come down to daily life and conduct; never mind your dogmas.’ If you leave out what these critics mean by dogma, and try to make daily life beautiful without it, you may as well hold your tongue. And the men who forget to ‘affirm’ these things ‘constantly,’ and preach morals without gospel, are like Builders who begin to build on the second story, whose baseless castles in the air are sure to come down in ruins. The true way to produce moral conduct is to bring into clear prominence evangelical truth.

But notice again, it is ‘those which believe in God who will be careful to maintain good works.’ That is to say, faith is the productive cause of good works, and good works are, as I said,’ the hall-mark of faith.’ If a man believes, then he will do ‘good works.’ The converse must also be true. If a man does not do good works, what, then, about his belief? ‘Show me thy faith without thy works’ - that is an impossible demand. The only way to show faith is by our works, and so all attempts to rend them apart, either in theory or in practice, are as absurd as it would be to take a piece of cloth, and try to tear away the inside from the outside. ‘Faith’ is the underside, ‘good works’ is the upper, and the web is one. Faith is the principle of works; works are the manifestation and making visible of faith.

So now turn for a moment to another point. The Apostle’s command here implies a principle, that Christian work should always, and will always, if the faith is genuine, be in advance of all other sorts of good work. That is implied in one of the words used here which means literally’ be foremost, stand in the front,’ and I see no reason why the literal meaning should not be retained here. If it is retained, we have the thought implied - if you are a Christian man you should be ahead of the world in your goodness. You should lead, and not follow, or keep step with those who are not Christians. The Church’s morality on the wide scale and individual practice on the narrow, ought to be, and will be, if we are true to the gospel, far in advance of the ordinary opinion and practice of the day in which we Bye. If we are Christians, we are meant to be leaders, and that means that we shall often, like other leaders, have to endure a great deal of obloquy and calumny from the people whom we are trying to lead, and who are loitering behind us. The Christian Church, as the Apostle James says, is meant to be a ‘kind of first fruits of God’s creatures,’ ripe before the others, riper than the others always. Does the Christian Church lead the conscience of England to-day? Does it even try to do it? Does it recognise that its function is not to re-echo the morality of the street or of the newspaper, but to peal out the morality of Jesus Christ? Is it enough that Christian people should be as good, as charitable, as beneficent, as much interested in social questions as others, or should have the better, the purer, and the happier lives of the community for their great aim, as much as other people have them? Would it be enough to say ‘the electric light is about as bright as a tallow candle?’ Is it enough to say, ‘Christian people keep abreast of the world’s morality?’ Let them go in advance, and if they go very far ahead sometimes, none the worse; the laggards will perhaps come up. But at all events, whether they do or not, ‘I will that these things thou affirm constantly, in order that they which believe in God may take the lead in good works.’

And now there is a last point to be noted, and that is the Apostle’s warning that, although thus the belief of the gospel, and the faith which springs from the belief, are the spring of good work, yet these will not become ours unless we are careful to stand in front.

What does that carefulness mean? The word implies two things, and the first of them may be put in the shape of an exhortation - bring your brains to bear on these truths that are being thus ‘constantly affirmed.’ Bring them into your hearts through your minds, that they may filter into and shape the life. I believe that one main reason why the morality of the Christian Church is not much further in advance of the morality of the world than it is, is because the individual members of the Church do not bring their minds into contact with the great truths of the gospel in such a fashion as they should. Christian practice is thin and poor and inconsistent, because Christian meditation on the gospel and on the Lord of the gospel, is shallow and infrequent. The truths that are to be ‘affirmed’ are the fuel that feeds the fire, and if there are no coals put on, the fire will very soon die down-And so there must be ‘carefulness,’ which means the occupation of the mind with the truths that produce holiness of life.

And there must be another thing, there must be a definite and direct and continuous effort to increase our faith. I have been saying that faith is the underside of all noble conduct; and in the measure in which it is strengthened, in that measure accurately will our ‘good works’ increase. Suppose Manchester had had two pipes from Thirlmere instead of one, during recent droughts, should we have been in such straits for water? There was plenty in the lake, but we could not get it into our houses because we had not piping enough. There is plenty of power in our gospel and in our God to make us rich in ‘good works.’ What is lacking is that we have not that connection, which is made by faith, through which the fulness of God will flow into our lives. If they want to grow crops in Eastern lands they have little to do but to sow the seed and to irrigate. Christ has sown the seed in His gospel. We have to look after the irrigation, and the crops will come of themselves. So our main effort should be to keep ourselves in touch with that great Lord, and to increase the faith by which we make all His power our very own.Titus 3:8. This is a faithful saying — A saying of infallible truth and infinite importance; (see on 1 Timothy 1:15;) and these things I will that thou affirm constantly Βουλομαι σε διαβεβαιουσθαι, I will that thou strenuously, zealously, and continually assert, as a matter of unspeakable moment; that they who have believed in the living and true God — Or rather, who have believed God, (as the words οι πεπιστευκοτες τω Θεω signify,) namely, with respect to the revelation which he has made of his will; might be careful — Ινα φροντιζωσι, may think, consider, contrive, prepare, and take care; to maintain — Greek, προιστασθαι, to excel, take the lead, and go before others; in good works — Of all kinds which they have ability and opportunity to perform, namely, works of piety toward God, and of justice and mercy for the good of men. Though the apostle does not lay these for the foundation of men’s confidence and hope of eternal life, yet he brings them in, as we see here and elsewhere, in their proper place, and then mentions them, not slightly, but as affairs of great importance. He insists that all believers should fix their thoughts upon them, use their best contrivance, their utmost endeavours, not barely to practise, but to excel, to be eminent and distinguished in them, because, though they do not procure our reconciliation with God, yet they are goodΚαλα, amiable and honourable, as the word means, namely, to the Christian profession, and bring glory to God; and are profitable to men — To those who do them, and to those who are the objects of them: to the former, as being the means of exercising, and thereby increasing, their grace, and preparing them for a greater reward in the everlasting kingdom of their God and Saviour; and to the latter, as lessening their miseries and increasing their happiness in a variety of ways.3:8-11 When the grace of God towards mankind has been declared, the necessity of good works is pressed. Those who believe in God, must make it their care to maintain good works, to seek opportunities for doing them, being influenced by love and gratitude. Trifling, foolish questions must be avoided, and subtle distinctions and vain inquiries; nor should people be eager after novelties, but love sound doctrine which tends most to edifying. Though we may now think some sins light and little, if the Lord awaken the conscience, we shall feel even the smallest sin heavy upon our souls.This is a faithful saying - See the notes at 1 Timothy 1:15. The reference here is to what he had been just saying, meaning that the doctrine which he had stated about the method of salvation was in the highest degree important, and entirely worthy of belief.

And these things I will that thou affirm constantly - Make them the constant subject of your preaching. "That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works." This shows that Paul supposed that the doctrines of the gospel were fitted to lead people to holy living; compare Titus 3:1, and the notes at Philippians 4:8. The "good works" here refer not merely to acts of benevolence and charity, but to all that is upright and good - to an honest and holy life.

These things are good and profitable unto men - That is, these doctrines which he had stated were not mere matters of speculation, but they were fitted to promote human happiness, and they should be constantly taught.

8. Greek, "faithful is the saying." A formula peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles. Here "the saying" is the statement (Tit 3:4-7) as to the gratuitousness of God's gift of salvation. Answering to the "Amen."

these things, &c.—Greek, "concerning these things (the truths dwelt on, Tit 3:4-7; not as English Version, what follow), I will that thou affirm (insist) strongly and persistently, in order that they who have believed God (the Greek for 'believed in God' is different, Joh 14:1. 'They who have learnt to credit God' in what He saith) may be careful ('Solicitously sedulous'; diligence is necessary) to maintain (literally, 'to set before themselves so as to sustain') good works." No longer applying their care to "unprofitable" and unpractical speculations (Tit 3:9).

These things—These results of doctrine ("good works") are "good and profitable unto men," whereas no such practical results flow from "foolish questions." So Grotius and Wiesinger. But Alford, to avoid the tautology, "these (good works) are good unto men," explains, "these truths" (Tit 3:4-7).

This is a faithful saying: we had this phrase before, 1 Timothy 1:15 3:1 4:9 2 Timothy 2:11. It may be applied to what went before, or what follows.

And these things I will that thou affirm constantly; this is the doctrine I would have thee preach, maintain, and stand to.

That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works; that those who assent to these things as true, and have cast their souls upon God and Jesus Christ for the fulfilling of them, may (considering good works are the condition annexed to the promise of this eternal life and salvation) be careful to practise all that God hath commanded them in all their relations.

These things are good and profitable unto men; all these things are true in themselves, and profitable for men to know and understand. This is a faithful saying,.... Meaning the whole of what is before expressed, concerning the state and condition of God's elect by nature; the appearance of the love and kindness of God to them in the effectual calling; the salvation of them, according to the mercy of God, and not by works of righteousness; regeneration, and renovation by the Spirit of God, in which such an abundance of grace is communicated; and justification by the free grace of God, as God's way of salvation; and by which men are made to appear to be heirs of eternal life, and to have hope of it: now all, and each of this is a faithful saying, is true doctrine, and to be believed, professed, and published: wherefore it follows,

and these things I will that thou affirm constantly; that is, the above doctrines; the Arabic version renders it, "I will that thou be firm in these things"; and the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, "I will that thou confirmest them": the sense of the apostle is, that he would have Titus be assured of those truths himself; be at a point about them, and without any doubt or hesitation concerning them; and abide firm and constant in them, and speak of them with certainty, boldness, and confidence to others; and endeavour to confirm and establish them in them: for which purpose he would have them be frequently inculcated and insisted on; and that with this further view,

that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works; for "that", does not design the subject matter of the charge, or what the apostle would have constantly affirmed, but the end, and final event and issue of it; and nothing can more strongly engage to a studious concern for the performance of good works than the frequent insisting upon the above doctrines of grace: "by good works", are meant, not merely honest trades, and the lawful occupations and businesses of life, which should be carefully attended to, and diligently followed, in order to be useful and profitable to themselves, their families, and others; but every good work, every branch of duty, moral, civil, and religious: to "maintain" these according to the signification of the word used, is to excel in them; to outdo others; to go before others, by way of example, and so to provoke to love and to good works; and to make them the employment and business of men's lives; for which there should be a thoughtfulness, a carefulness, a studious concern, especially in those who "have believed in God"; who are regenerated and renewed by the Spirit of God, and are justified by faith in the righteousness of Christ; who believe in him for peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation: these are under great obligations to perform good works; the love of Christ should constrain them to them; and they are the only persons that are capable of doing them well, for they are sanctified, and made meet, and ready for every good work; they are created in Christ Jesus to them; they have the Spirit of Christ in them, and the strength of Christ with them, without which they cannot be performed well; and they have faith in Christ, without which it is impossible to please God.

These things are good and profitable unto men: which is to be understood not of good works, though these are good in themselves, and profitable to men in their effects; being done among them, and before them, they set them an example of doing good likewise, when evil communications corrupt good manners; and many of them issue in their temporal good, profit, and advantage: but rather the doctrines of the Gospel are here designed, which are before briefly treated of, and are said to be a faithful saying; and which the apostle would have affirmed with, certainty and constancy, in order to engage believers to the performance of good works; and that for this reason, because these doctrines are "good", excellent, valuable, and precious, comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones: the author, matter, end, and use of them are good; they come from God; they are concerning Jesus Christ, and his grace; they contain good tidings of good things; and are exceeding useful to influence faith, hope, love, and a cheerful obedience to the will of God: they are profitable in the hands of the Spirit of God for conviction, conversion, comfort, and edification; for the quickening and enlightening of dead and dark sinners; for the reviving, establishing, and building up of the saints; they are the wholesome words of Christ, and are according to godliness, and are nourishing, when other doctrines eat as a canker: and this sense is confirmed, not only by what goes before, but by what follows after in the next verse; where insipid notions and controversies are opposed unto them, as unprofitable and vain.

{3} This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain {c} good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

(3) Again with great earnestness emphasises how we ought to give ourselves to true godliness and avoid all vain questions, which serve to nothing but to cause strife and debate.

(c) Give themselves earnestly to good works.

Titus 3:8. Πιστὸς ὁ λόγος] refers, as in 1 Timothy 4:9, to what precedes, but not to the last sentence merely. So Chrysostom: ἐπειδὴ περὶ μελλόντων διαλέχθη καὶ οὔπω παρόντων, ἐπήγαγε τὸ ἀξιόπιστον. It refers to the entire thought expressed in Titus 3:4-7.

καὶ περὶ τούτων βούλομαί σε διαβεβαιοῦσθαι] Regarding the construction of the verb διαβεβ., see on 1 Timothy 1:7. Vulgate rightly: de his volo te confirmare; Wiesinger: “and on these points I wish you to be strongly assured;” Beza, on the contrary: haec volo te asseverare. De Wette also maintains that περὶ τούτων is the immediate object, but without proving it.

ἵνα φροντίζωσι καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι οἱ πεπιστευκότες [τῷ] Θεῷ] In harmony with the train of thought in Titus 3:2-3 ff., Paul here gives a practical purpose as his motive. The subject οἱ πεπιστευκότες Θεῷ are Christians generally; the designation is used because the Cretan Christians had before been heathen. Luther translates it rightly: “those who have become believers in God;” while Wiesinger is wrong in explaining it: “those who have put faith in God, i.e. in His gospel.” The phrase πιστεύειν Θεῷ expresses the relation to God Himself, not merely to His word; comp. Acts 16:34. Θεῷ is used here as τῷ κυρίῳ often is, comp. Acts 18:8; Acts 16:15; it is synonymous with εἰς τὸν, Θεόν, John 14:1; comp. πιστεύειν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰ. Χρ., 1 John 3:23, and π. εἰς τ. ὄν., John 1:12. Hofmann is altogether mistaken in construing Θεῷ with what follows. If Θεῷ were to be opposed to ἀνθρώποις, the latter would have been put before ὠφέλιμα; besides, ταῦτα clearly forms the beginning of a new clause.

φροντίζειν (ἅπ. λεγ., often in the Apocrypha of the O. T., also in the LXX.), “reflect on something, take an interest in something;” here, as often in the classics, with a suggestion of anxiety (comp. 1 Samuel 9:5, LXX.).

καλῶν ἔργων] depends on προΐστασθαι; it is quite general, and should not be restricted to the services to be rendered to the church (Michaelis), nor to official duties[20] (Grotius), nor to deeds of charity (Chrysostom).

προΐστασθαι here and in Titus 3:14 is used in the same sense as when it is joined with τέχνης (Synesius, Ephesians 2; Athenagoras, xiii. 612a), being equivalent to exercere, “carry on, practise an art;” properly, it is “present oneself before.” The Vulgate translates it: bonis operibus praeesse, which, however, is obscure; Beza incorrectly: bene agendo praecedere, which he explains in a peculiar fashion by sanctae et rectae vitae antistites. Wolf thinks that προΐστ. denotes not only the studium, but also the patrocinium of good works; comp. Romans 12:17 : προνοεῖσθαι καλά.

ταῦτά ἐστι [τὰ] καλὰ καὶ ὠφέλιμα τ. ἀνθρώποις] see 1 Timothy 2:3. Ταῦτα does not refer to καλῶν ἔργων (Heinrichs, Wiesinger), for the apostle certainly did not need to say that καλὰ ἔργα are καλά for men; nor does it resume περὶ τούων (de Wette, Hofmann). It should be referred either to φροντίζειν καλ. ἐργ. προΐστασθαι (Heydenreich, Matthies) or to διαβεβαιοῦσθαι. The latter reference might be preferred—as confirming the exhortation made to Timothy. On the reference of ταῦτα to one subject, see Winer, p. 153 [E. T. p. 201].

[20] Hofmann, too (Schriftbew. II. 2), restricts καλ. ἔργ. προΐστ. to “honest exertion,” by which “each one may support himself and contribute to the needs of others, or to the purposes of Christian church-life.” This interpretation, however, he seems to have given up, as he does not mention it in his commentary.Titus 3:8-11. To sum up what I have been saying: Belief in God is not a matter of theory or of speculation, but of practice; it must be accompanied by good works. This true religion unites the beautiful and the profitable. On the other hand, foolish speculations and controversies about the law are profitless and unpractical. Do not parley long with a confirmed schismatic. If he does not yield to one or two admonitions, reject him altogether. It is beyond your power to set him right.8–14. The abiding practical holiness of Good Works

8. See summary at the beginning of the chapter, and note in Appendix E on The Faithful Sayings.

This is a faithful saying] Render as 1 Timothy 1:15, where see note, Faithful is the saying. We begin a new paragraph embodying ‘another of the compendious fruitful utterances,’ thus uniting the wisdom of many, the wit of one, of God’s prophets. As in the other cases, it is to be referred to the following clause, and here to that which comes after the parenthesis, see to it that they which have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. So Bp Wordsworth, ‘a formula introducing a solemn asseveration which declares the practical character of the doctrine of Regeneration by Baptism … the teaching of St Paul in the Pastoral Epistles on the necessity of good works,’ 1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:21; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:7; Titus 2:14; Titus 3:14 … ‘they who have been born anew in baptism have entered into a solemn covenant with God, by which they obliged themselves to a new and holy life.’ The particle ‘in order that’ may be taken as part of the quotation, as Conybeare suggests, and as used with the subjunctive for an imperative; cf. Ephesians 5:33, ‘and (let) the wife (see) that she fear her husband;’ Mark 5:23 ‘(I pray thee), that thou come and lay thy hands on her;’ Cic. Fam. 14, 20, ‘ibi ut sint omnia parata.’ See Winer § 43, 5, a.

these things] should be rather, concerning these things.

affirm constantly] Rather, the compound implies affirm confidently. The word is only (in N.T.) here and 1 Timothy 1:7; the middle as there and Titus 1:5.

they which have believed in God] Lit. believed God, the least emphatic of the constructions with ‘believe,’ that is, the earliest and simplest form of faith, the personal going out of the soul to the personal God and Father, that ‘takes Him at His word.’ So how natural, at the end of a life’s experience which built up the Christian Creed, is St Paul’s return to the simplest elements of the personal trust which has underlain the life and doctrine all the time (perfect tense as here) ‘I know whom I have believed and do believe,’ ‘I know who is my trust,’ 2 Timothy 1:12; cf. Acts 16:34.

might be careful] May make it their study; nowhere else in N.T. but frequent in LXX., e.g. 1 Samuel 9:5, ‘leave caring for the asses and take thought for us,’ and in classical Greek.

to maintain good works] Lit. to ‘stand forward,’ in N.T. only in St Paul, as in 1 Timothy 3:4; 1 Timothy 5:17, of ‘presiding over’ ‘ruling’; so in LXX.; but in classical Greek in the sense here, ‘to be master of,’ ‘practised in,’ as a secondary sense, as well. Here the word carries further the thought in the Greek of ‘good;’ the good works are not only to be good in themselves, but seen to be good; Christians are not only to do such good works, but to let their light shine, to be to the front, in doing them. The corresponding word for a wrong zeal is used by St John: 2 John 1:9, ‘Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching.’ The use of these two verbs in their special sense, and the order of the words for evident special emphasis, confirm the view taken here, as by Bp Wordsworth and others (A.V. certainly, R.V. probably), that this clause is the ‘Faithful saying.’ We may perhaps render it as such, and try to mark the several points noted, in a proverbial couplet;—

‘Is God thy trust? Then make the study thine

In all good works to let thy candle shine.’

These things are good] As is St Paul’s way, the word ‘good’ from the immediately preceding context, serves to make the transition to another point. ‘Good works’ are necessary, all these practical counsels in fact are good and will bring their profit to men; for positive teaching of plain duties is the best safeguard against error.Titus 3:8. Πιστὸς, faithful) The reference is to what goes before.—περὶ τούτων, concerning these things) not concerning things frivolous: 1 Timothy 1:7, at the end.—φροντίζωσι, that they be careful) no longer foolish, Titus 3:3. [Diligence is necessary.—V. g.]—καλὰ, good) entirely and substantially so. The antithesis is, vain, in the next verse.—ὠφέλιμα, profitable) The antithesis is, unprofitable, ibid.Verse 8. - Faithful is the saying for this is a faithful saying, A.V.; concerning these things for these things, A.V., confidently for constantly, A.V.; to the end that for that, A.V.; God for in God, A.V.; may for might, A.V.; full stop after good works, and colon after men. Faithful is the saying; as 1 Timothy 1:15 (where see note). Here the faithful saying can only be the following maxim: "That they which have believed in God may be careful to maintain good works;" the words, "These things I will that thou affirm confidently," being interpolated to give yet more weight to it. Concerning these things; i.e. with respect to the things or truths which are the subject of the faithful saying. I will that thou affirm confidently (διαβεβαιοῦσθαι); see 1 Timothy 1:7. "Never be weary of dwelling on these important truths, and asserting them with authority. For such doctrine is really good and profitable for those whom you are commissioned to teach. But leave alone the foolish and unprofitable controversies." To the end that (ἵνα). It is not necessary to give to ἵνα the meaning "to the end that," in such a sentence as this (see note on Titus 2:12). After words of command especially, ἵνα, frequently, has simply the force of "that." So here, "lay it down as a rule that they which have believed God must be careful to maintain good works." If the sentence had run on without interruption, it would have been πιστὸς ὁ λόγος ὅτι κ.τ.λ. But the interposition of the διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, with the idea of commanding obedience, has caused the use of ἵνα. Believed God (οἱ πεπιστευκότες Θεῷ or τῷ Θεῷ). The meaning is not the same as πιστεύειν ἐν, or ἐπί, "to believe in," or "on," but "to believe" (as Romans 4:3, 17 and 1 John 5:10, where the context shows that it is the act of believing God's promise that is meant). And so here, the believing refers to the promises implied in the preceding reference to the hope and the inheritance. May be careful (φροντίζωσι); only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek. The word means "to give thought" about a thing, "to be careful" or "anxious" about it. To maintain (προι'´στασθαι); usually in the sense of "presiding over" or "ruling" (as Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4, 5, 12; 1 Timothy 5:17). Here, alter the analogy of the classical use, προι'´στασθαι τέχνης, to "undertake," to "carry on," or the like, fairly expressed by to "maintain." The idea does not seem to be "to stand at the head of," or "to be foremost in." Good works; i.e. practical godliness of all kinds (see ver. 14). These things are good, etc. If the reading of the T.R., τὰ καλὰ κ.τ.λ., is retained, the rendering ought to be, "These are the things that are really good and profitable unto men, not foolish questions, etc., they are unprofitable." But the R.T. omits the τά. With regard to the interpretation above given of ver. 8, it must be admitted that it is very doubtful. But the great difficulty of the other way of rendering it, as most commentators do, is that it is impossible to say which part of what precedes is "the faithful saying" alluded to; and that the "care to maintain good works" is not that which naturally springs from it; whereas the reiteration in ver. 8 implies that "good works" is the special subject of "the faithful saying." Affirm constantly (διαβεβαιοῦσθαι)

Pasto. See on 1 Timothy 1:7. Constantly, not continually, but uniformly and consistently. So Book of Common Prayer, "Collect for Saint John Baptist's Day," "and after his example constantly speak the truth." Rend. affirm steadfastly.

Might be careful (φροντίζωσιν)

N.T.o. Quite often in lxx. Frequent in Class. To think or consider; hence to take careful thought, ponder, be anxious about.

To maintain (προΐ̀στασθαι)

Mostly in Pastorals, and usually in the sense of ruling, as Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4, 1 Timothy 3:5. The sense here is to be forward in.

Profitable (ὠφέλιμα)

Pasto. olxx. Comp. 1 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy 3:16.

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