1:1-4 All are the servants of God who are not slaves of sin and Satan. All gospel truth is according to godliness, teaching the fear of God. The intent of the gospel is to raise up hope as well as faith; to take off the mind and heart from the world, and to raise them to heaven and the things above. How excellent then is the gospel, which was the matter of Divine promise so early, and what thanks are due for our privileges! Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; and whoso is appointed and called, must preach the word. Grace is the free favour of God, and acceptance with him. Mercy, the fruits of the favour, in the pardon of sin, and freedom from all miseries both here and hereafter. And peace is the effect and fruit of mercy. Peace with God through Christ who is our Peace, and with the creatures and ourselves. Grace is the fountain of all blessings. Mercy, and peace, and all good, spring out of this.
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TITUS Commentary by A. R. Faussett
Genuineness.—Clement of Rome quotes it [Epistle to the Corinthians, 2]; Irenæus [Against Heresies, 3.3.4] refers to it as Paul's; Theophilus of Antioch [To Autolychus, 3.14], quotes it as Scripture. Compare Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 1, p. 299]; Tertullian [The Prescription against Heretics, 6].
Time and Place of Writing.—This Epistle seems to have been written from Corinth [Birks], subsequently to his first imprisonment, when Paul was on his way to Nicopolis (Tit 3:12) in Epirus, where he purposed passing the winter, shortly before his martyrdom, A.D. 67. Birks thinks, from the similarity of the Epistle to Titus and First Timothy, that both were written from the same place, Corinth, and at dates not widely apart; First Timothy shortly after coming to Corinth, before he had planned a journey to Epirus, the Epistle to Titus afterwards. The journey to Crete and Ephesus for the bearers of his letters would be easy from Corinth, and he could himself thence easily pass into Epirus. He had shortly before visited Crete, wherein a Church existed (though without due organization), the first foundation of which he may have partly laid at his former visit (Ac 27:7, &c.), when on his way to his first imprisonment at Rome. That he returned to the East after his first imprisonment appears most probable from Php 2:24; Phm 22. However, there may have been seeds of Christianity sown in Crete, even before his first visit, by the Cretans who heard Peter's preaching on Pentecost (Ac 2:11).
Occasion of Writing.—Corrupt elements soon showed themselves in the Cretan Church, similar to those noticed in the Epistles to Timothy, as existing in the Ephesian Church, Judaism, false pretensions to science, and practical ungodliness. Paul, on his late visit, had left Titus in Crete to establish Church government, and ordain presbyters (deacons are not mentioned). Titus had been several times employed by Paul on a mission to the Corinthian Churches, and had probably thence visited Crete, which was within easy reach of Corinth. Hence the suitableness of his selection by the apostle for the superintendence of the Cretan Church. Paul now follows up with instructions by letter those he had already given to Titus in person on the qualifications of elders, and the graces becoming the old, the young, and females, and warns him against the unprofitable speculations so rife in Crete. The national character of the Cretans was low in the extreme, as Epimenides, quoted in Tit 1:12, paints it. Livy [History, 44.45], stigmatizes their avarice; Polybius [Histories, 6.46.9], their ferocity and fraud; and [Histories, 6.47.5], their mendacity, so much so, that "to Cretanize" is another name for to lie: they were included in the proverbial three infamous initials "K" or "C," "Cappadocia, Crete, Cilicia."
Notices of Titus.—It is strange that he is never mentioned by this name in Acts, and there seems none of those mentioned in that book who exactly answers to him. He was a Greek, and therefore a Gentile (Ga 2:1, 3), and converted by Paul (Tit 1:4). He accompanied the apostle on the deputation sent from the Church of Antioch to Jerusalem, to consult the apostles respecting the circumcision of Gentile converts (Ac 15:2); and, agreeably to the decree of the council there, was not circumcised. He was in company with Paul at Ephesus, whence he was sent to Corinth to commence the collection for the Jerusalem saints, and to ascertain the effect of the First Epistle on the Corinthians (2Co 7:6-9; 8:6; 12:18), and there showed an unmercenary spirit. He next proceeded to Macedon, where he joined Paul, who had been already eagerly expecting him at Troas (2Co 2:12, 13, "Titus my brother," 2Co 7:6). He was then employed by the apostle in preparing the collection for the poor saints in Judea, and became the bearer of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (2Co 8:16, 17, 23). Paul in it calls him "my partner and fellow helper concerning you." His being located in Crete (Tit 1:5) was subsequent to Paul's first imprisonment, and shortly before the second, about A.D. 67, ten years subsequent to the last notice of him in Second Corinthians (2Co 12:18), A.D. 57. He probably met Paul, as the apostle desired, at Nicopolis; for his subsequent journey into Dalmatia, thence (or else from Rome, whither he may have accompanied Paul) would be more likely, than from the distant Crete (2Ti 4:10, written subsequently to the Epistle to Titus). In the unsettled state of things then, Titus' episcopal commission in Crete was to be but temporary, Paul requiring the presence of Titus with himself, whenever Artemas or Tychicus should arrive in Crete and set him free from his duties there.
Tradition represents him to have died peaceably in Crete, as archbishop of Gortyna, at an advanced age.
Tit 1:1-16. Address: For What End Titus Was Left in Crete. Qualifications for Elders: Gainsayers in Crete Needing Reproof.
1. servant of God—not found elsewhere in the same connection. In Ro 1:1 it is "servant of Jesus Christ" (Ga 1:10; Php 1:1; compare Ac 16:17; Re 1:1; 15:3). In Ro 1:1, there follows, "called to be an apostle," which corresponds to the general designation of the office first, "servant of God," here, followed by the special description, "apostle of Jesus Christ." The full expression of his apostolic office answers, in both Epistles, to the design, and is a comprehensive index to the contents. The peculiar form here would never have proceeded from a forger.
according to the faith—rather, "for," "with a view to subserve the faith"; this is the object of my apostleship (compare Tit 1:4, 9; Ro 1:5).
the elect—for whose sake we ought to endure all things (2Ti 2:10). This election has its ground, not in anything belonging to those thus distinguished, but in the purpose and will of God from everlasting (2Ti 1:9; Ro 8:30-33; compare Lu 18:7; Eph 1:4; Col 3:12). Ac 13:48 shows that all faith on the part of the elect, rests on the divine foreordination: they do not become elect by their faith, but receive faith, and so become believers, because they are elect.
and the acknowledging of the truth—"and (for promoting) the full knowledge of the truth," that is, the Christian truth (Eph 1:13).
after godliness—that is, which belongs to piety: opposed to the knowledge which has not for its object the truth, but error, doctrinal and practical (Tit 1:11, 16; 1Ti 6:3); or even which has for its object mere earthly truth, not growth in the divine life. "Godliness," or "piety," is a term peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles: a fact explained by the apostle having in them to combat doctrine tending to "ungodliness" (2Ti 2:16; compare Tit 2:11, 12).