Titus-A Little Book With a Big Message

 

THE EPISTLE TO TITUS

 

Introduction

“This is a short epistle, but it contains such a quintessence of Christian doctrine, and is composed in such a masterly manner, that it contains all that is needful for Christian knowledge and life.”

—Martin Luther

I. Unique Place in the Bible

Titus consists of three short chapters written over twenty centuries ago to a little-known missionary on an obscure island by an aging senior missionary—“can there be any relevance here for modern-day Christians?” Actually, it has a great deal for Christians today, in fact, If it only contained the words of Paul (and many liberals will not even grant that) it would still be of interest to history buffs.

 But this book, as well as the other sixty-five books of the Bible are God's words, not Paul's. Therefore it makes a contribution that no other book can make. The subject of elders (preachers and deacons) supports a similar teaching found in 1 Timothy. Some would say that it is only a repeat of the 1 Timothy teaching. But you will find that God uses repetition through-out the Bible, and especially in the OT.

Probably the most loved passage in Titus is 2:11–14, concerning the doctrine of grace. when He wants His people to grasp certain principles.

II. Authorship

Paul is the accepted author of Titus as well as the other Pastoral letters.

III. Date and Setting

The Mediterranean island of Crete is 156 miles long and up to 30 miles wide, and its first-century inhabitants were notorious for untruthfulness and immorality (1:12–13). “To act the Cretan” became a phrase, meaning “to play the liar.” A number of Jews from Crete were present in Jerusalem at the time of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11), and some of them may have believed in Christ and introduced the gospel to their countrymen. Certainly Paul would not have had the opportunity to do evangelistic work during his brief sojourn in Crete while he was en route to Rome (Acts 27:7–13). The apostle spread the gospel in the cities of Crete after his release from Roman imprisonment and left Titus there to finish organizing the churches (1:5). Because of the problem of immorality among the Cretans, it was important for Titus to stress the need for righteousness in Christian living. False teachers, especially “those of the circumcision” (1:10), were also misleading and divisive. Paul wrote this letter c. a.d. 63, perhaps from Corinth, taking advantage of the journey of Zenas and Apollos (3:13), whose destination would take them by way of Crete. Paul was planning to spend the winter in Nicopolis (western Greece), and he urged Titus in this letter to join him there upon his replacement by Artemas or Tychicus (3:12). Paul may have been planning to leave Nicopolis for Spain in the spring, and he wanted his useful companion Titus to accompany him.

Besides the general themes that Titus shares in common with the other two Pastoral Epistles, Titus gives a fine concise summary of how a believer should embellish the doctrine of grace with godliness and good works. Many today who seem pleased with the doctrine of grace apparently have little interest in displaying it in good works, or even godliness. Such an attitude is wrong and suggests a misapprehension of true grace.

Paul sums up the theme perfectly: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” (3:8a).

 

 IV. Theme

Besides the general themes that Titus shares in common with the other two Pastoral Epistles, Titus gives a fine concise summary of how a believer should embellish the doctrine of grace with godliness and good works. Many today who seem pleased with the doctrine of grace apparently have little interest in displaying it in good works, or even godliness. Such an attitude is wrong and suggests a misapprehension of true grace.

Paul sums up the theme perfectly: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” (3:8a).

 

V. Survey of Titus 

Titus, like First Timothy, was written by Paul after his release from Roman imprisonment and was also written to an associate who was given the task of organizing and supervising a large work as an apostolic representative. Paul left Titus on the island of Crete to “set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city” (1:5). Not long after Paul’s departure from Crete, he wrote this letter to encourage and assist Titus in his task. It stresses sound doctrine and warns against those who distort the truth, but it also is a conduct manual that emphasizes good deeds and the proper conduct of various groups within the churches. This epistle falls into two major sections: the appointment of elders (1); setting things in order (2–3).

Appoint Elders (1): The salutation to Titus is actually a compact doctrinal statement, which lifts up “His word” as the source of the truth that reveals the way to eternal life (1:1–4). Paul reminds Titus of his responsibility to organize the churches of Crete by appointing elders (also called overseers; see 1:7) and rehearses the qualifications these spiritual leaders must meet (1:5–9). This is especially important in view of the disturbances that are being caused by false teachers who are upsetting a number of the believers with their Judaic myths and commandments (1:10–16). The natural tendency toward moral tolerance among the Cretans coupled with that kind of deception is a dangerous force that must be overcome by godly leadership and sound doctrine.

Set Things in Order (2–3): Titus is given the charge to “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (2:1), and Paul describes Titus’ role with regard to various groups in the church, including older men, older women, young women, young men, and servants (2:2–10). The knowledge of Christ must effect a transformation in each of these groups so that their testimony will “adorn the doctrine of God” (2:10). The second doctrinal statement of Titus (2:11–14) gives the basis for the appeals Paul has just made for righteous living. God in His grace redeems believers from being slaves of sin, assuring them the “blessed hope” of the coming of Christ that will eventually be realized. Paul urges Titus to authoritatively proclaim these truths (2:15).

In chapter 3, Paul moves from conduct in groups (2:1–10) to conduct in general (3:1–11). The behavior of believers as citizens must be different from the behavior of unbelievers because of their regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. The third doctrinal statement in this book (3:4–7) emphasizes the kindness, love, and mercy of God who saves us “not by works of righteousness which we have done” (3:5). Nevertheless, the need for good deeds as a result of salvation is stressed six times in the three chapters of Titus (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14). Paul exhorts Titus to deal firmly with dissenters who would cause factions and controversies (3:9–11) and closes the letter with three instructions, a greeting, and a benediction (3:12–15).

VI. Outline

I.  SALUTATION  (1:1–4)

II. ELDERS IN THE CONGREGATION (1:5-9)

III.  ERROR IN THE CONGREGATION  (1:10–16)

IV.  EXERCISE IN THE CONGREGATION  (2:1–15)

V.  EXHORTATION IN THE CONGREGATION  (3:1–11)

VI.  CONCLUSION  (3:12–15)

 

 Commentary On Titus

Chapter 1, Verses 1-4:

Title: Salutation

Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 1:1-4; NKJV)  

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Paul emphasizes as part of his salutation, the nature of his service as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He will make three claims:
1. Salvation: God’s purpose is to save the elect by the gospel.
2. Sanctification: God’s purpose is to build up the saints by the Word of God.
3. Glorification: God’s purpose is to bring believers to eternal glory

SALUTATION 

 1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ,  according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with Godliness.

Alternate Translation (NLT): This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to bring faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live Godly lives.

Paul, a bondservant of God.  The apostle does not use this phrase elsewhere. In other epistles he calls himself the “bondslave of Jesus Christ,” Romans 1:1; “of Christ,” Galatians 1:10; “of Christ Jesus,” Philippians 1:1.

The common way to begin a letter in Paul’s day was with an identification of the author by name and title. Paul did not vary from this form. He was both a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. The first pictures him as a slave of the Supreme Master, the second as an envoy of the Sovereign Lord. The first speaks of submission, the second of authority. He became a bondservant by personal commitment, an apostle by divine appointment. He is not just a worker but one who  gives himself wholly to another’s will. This was Paul’s view of himself in relation to God and ought to be that of every Christian. On the other hand, he was chosen by God to be an apostle. What a humble and high position he held at the same time. He was an apostle according to “or in accord with” the faith, the whole body of revealed truth. This is a high honor; it is the glory of angels that they are ministering spirits, and sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation--"Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" (Heb 1:14;NKJV).

Paul is described as a chief minister, an apostle of Jesus Christ; one who had seen the Lord, and was immediately called and commissioned by him, and received his doctrine from him. Note, The highest officers in the church are only servants. The apostles of Jesus Christ, who were engaged in spreading and cultivating his religion, were also the servants of God; they did not set up any thing that was inconsistent with the truths and duties of the Christian religion. Christianity, which they preached, was designed by God and was meant to clarify and enforce those  principles of truths and duties, as well as to develop them, and to spread them to men in their degenerate state. Therefore the apostles of Jesus Christ were the servants of God. But the early church had to test those who “say they are apostles” ([1]Rev 2:2). Paul could stand the test.

[1] “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.”

"and an apostle of Jesus Christ;" Paul frequently speaks of himself by this phrase, and here he combined the two, “the bondservant of God and the apostle of Jesus Christ” (1James 1:1). The reason for this title may be that this epistle was of a somewhat more official character than those to Timothy. Moreover his relations with Timothy were more intimate than those with Titus (see [2]1 Tim. 1:2 and [3]2 Tim. 1:2). Or the reason he asserts his apostleship here is that he is going to give instructions to the organized church. These instructions come from an apostle, the appointed writer of the Lord Jesus who was now communicating with His church through His apostles. The Epistle to Titus is also a communication to us from the Lord Jesus.

[2] (1 Tim. 1:2) “It is written to Timothy, my true child in the faith. May God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.” 

[3] (2 Tim 1:2) “It is written to Timothy, my dear son. May God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.”

When Paul summoned one of his fellow workers to do a task, he always began by mentioning his own authority to speak, and then he would lay again the foundation of the gospel. That is what he is doing at the beginning of this letter to Titus. First, by saying he is an apostle, he points out that he belongs to a great succession of men who could also say of themselves, “I am a slave of God“, men like Amos, Jeremiah, and Joshua. It gave him great authority. He was the envoy of Jesus Christ. When he spoke, it was with the authority of Christ.

according to the faith of God’s elect . The words “according to,” signify more than conformity to something or to someone, it also conveys the idea of a direct purpose ([4]2 Tim. 1:1), and what the apostle points out is that the object of his ministry was that through him those chosen of God should believe. “The faith” mentioned here is faith which accepts the truth. [5]Acts 13:48 shows that all faith on the part of the elect rests in the hands of God; they do not become elect by their faith. But they receive faith from Christ, and so becomes believers, because they are elect.

[4[ “This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus.” It is great to know the will of God for one’s life. God has a will (desire) for each one’s life.

[5]  Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

The goals of his ministry were to further the faith of God’s [6]elect and the acknowledgement of the truth. Furthering their faith may mean either bringing them to faith (conversion) in the first place, or leading them on in the faith after salvation. The apostles’ two basic aims were: (1) evangelism —furthering the faith of God’s elect; (2) education—furthering their knowledge of the truth. It is an echo of Matthew 28:20—“preaching the gospel to all nations and teaching them to observe all things Christ commanded.” In specifying without apology that it is the faith of God’s elect he is called to promote, the apostle confronts us with the doctrine of [7]election. Few doctrines of Scripture have suffered more misunderstanding, provoked more debate, and strained more intellects. Briefly, it teaches that God chose certain ones in Christ before the foundation of the world with the ultimate intention that they should be holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4). 

[6] ELECT — a person or group chosen by God for special favor and for the rendering of special service to Him. In the Old Testament the Hebrew people were described as God’s elect. The New Testament speaks of Christ as God’s Chosen One (1 Pet. 2:4, 6) and of the church as God’s new chosen people (Rom. 8:33; 2 John 1, 13).

[7] ELECTION — the gracious and free act of God by which He calls those who become part of His kingdom and special beneficiaries of His love and blessings. The Bible describes the concept of election in three distinct ways. Election sometimes refers to the choice of Israel and the church as a people for special service and privileges. Election may also refer to the choice of a specific individual to some office or to perform some special service. Still other passages of the Bible refer to the election of individuals to be children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Believers are elect to the extent that they are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world ([8]Eph. 1:4), all of them being foreknown and foreseen as such by God ([9]John 17:6 and [10]Romans 8:29). Those whom He foreknew He chose, and that always for specific purposes. The source of their election is God’s grace, not human will, ([11] Ephesians 1:4-5).
But, how is it that the elect come to faith in Jesus Christ? The Holy Spirit gives precious divine faith to those who are the elect of God ([12]1 Pt. 1:2), and that faith is appropriate for those who are chosen to eternal life (2 Th. 2:13, 14): "...God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto he called you by our gospel. The exercise of personal faith leading to salvation is prompted and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

[8] “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” This is a definite statement of God’s elective grace concerning believers in Christ. Apart from Christ, there would have been no election and no salvation. God always deals with man in Christ, who is the one and only Mediator between God and men (I Tim 2:5). Paul traces man’s salvation back to the plan of God’s will. God’s choice was eternal; His plan is timeless. The fall of man was no surprise to God, and redemption was no afterthought. God provided for our salvation before one star glittered in the infinite expanse. We must be careful not to draw false conclusions from this sublime truth. God is not stating a fatalistic doctrine in which He arbitrarily elects some to heaven and consigns all others to hell. There is no scriptural doctrine of election to damnation. God’s election provides for the means as well as the ends. God’s infallible Word plainly states, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13). Man either receives or disbelieves God’s provisions in Christ. “So far as the human race is concerned, every man may not only accept Christ as Savior but is urged and invited to do so. The ground of this invitation is the work of the incarnate Son … Divine foreordination and human freedom are humanly irreconcilable, but like two parallel lines that meet in infinity, they have their solution in God.”

[9] “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word”

[10] " For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”

[11] just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

[12] elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with Godliness, The implication is that having knowledge through the Word, is a powerful influence on a person. It is only through having a connection to Jesus Christ that the truth can be fully apprehended. Hence, the verse states two purposes of ministry: (1) faith, (2) the knowledge of the truth in a Godly life. God declares His truth through dedicated people, and it is a joy to share the Word with others. The truth Paul has in mind here is the gospel truth, the saving message of the death , burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The angels in heaven would love to change places with us, so we should never cease to marvel that God would use us.

Faith is the first principle of sanctification. The gospel is truth; the great, sure, and saving truth ([13]Col. 1:5)-the word of the truth of the gospel. Divine faith does not rest on fallible reasoning and probable opinions, but on the infallible word, the truth itself, which is after Godliness (of a Godly nature and tendency), pure, and purifying the heart of the believer. This is how to judge doctrines: all doctrines must come from God; whatever is impure, and prejudicial to true piety and practical religion, cannot be from God. All gospel truth is after Godliness, teaching and nourishing reverence and fear of God, and obedience to him; it is truth not only to be known, but acknowledged; it must be engaged in word and practice, ([14]Phil. 2:15-16). With the heart man believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom. 10:10).

[13] “because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” Because of the hope, not on account of the hope. The hope here is for heavenly rewards, specifically, the crown of righteousness. It is stored up like a treasure, reserved (II Tim 4:8; I Pet 1:3–5). The hope Paul speaks of is still future, and its nature is still unknown, but its possession is absolutely certain.

[14] that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Paul will dwell on this theme that when the gospel is believed it will lead to godliness because the people on the island of Crete were abusing the grace of God. They said that if they had been saved by grace they were free to live in sin if they wanted to. Paul answers that right here in the first verse by saying that when the truth of God is believed it will lead to godliness. Grace saves us, but it also lays down certain disciplines for our lives and calls us to live on a high plane. You cannot use the doctrine of the grace of God to excuse sin. If you think you can be saved by grace and live in sin--may I say this kindly, but I must say it--you are not saved by grace; you are not saved at all. Salvation by grace leads to a godly life.

2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

Alternate Translation (NLT): This truth gives them the confidence of eternal life, which God promised them before the world began—and he cannot lie.

in hope of eternal life which God. Paul’s commission in connection with the gospel has a third great emphasis. It was not only concerned with: (1) evangelism—furthering the faith of God’s elect, past tense; and (2) education—furthering their knowledge of the truth, present tense; but also (3) expectation—in hope of eternal life, future tense.

The NT speaks of eternal life as both a present possession and a future hope. The word “hope” does not imply uncertainty. The moment we trust Christ as Savior we have eternal life as a present possession ([15]John 5:24) and we become heirs to all the benefits of His redemptive work, but we will not experience the practical enjoyment of all of them until we reach our eternal home. We hope in the sense that we are looking forward to eternal life in its final form when we will receive our glorified bodies and be forever free from sin, sickness, sorrow, suffering, and death [16]Phil. 3:20-21).

[15] “Most assuredly, I say to you, she who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."

[16] “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Our citizenship is in heaven. Heaven is the Christian’s home; he is only temporarily in this world. The church is really a colony of heaven: our names are enrolled in heaven; we are under heaven’s government; we share heaven’s glory; we enjoy heaven’s honor. Heavenly conduct should mark the Christian. Our allegiance is to Jesus Christ. We wait with eager expectation for the Second Coming of Christ. This is the normal attitude of a citizen of heaven.

The hope is sure because it was promised by God. Nothing is as sure as the word of God, who cannot lie, who cannot be deceived, and who would not deceive. There is no risk in believing what He says. In fact nothing is more reasonable than for the creature to believe his Creator.
Another, and perhaps even better, translation of the preposition “in“ within this context and within the phrase “in hope of eternal life” is “upon.” Therefore, the phrase would be “Upon hope of eternal life” upon the basis of a hope or expectation of eternal life.

Since eternal life in the future is a matter of divine promise, its conferral, is consistent with the character of God. The promise was made not merely “before the world began” (A.V.), but before time began ([17]2 Tim. 1:9).

[17] "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began"

The gospel is intended to do more than give the “good news” of salvation through faith in Christ. It will also bring about hope and faith; and take the mind and heart  off of the world, and put them on heavenly things. The faith and Godliness of Christians lead to eternal life, and give hope, for the God, that cannot lie, hath promised it. It is to the honor of God that he cannot lie or deceive: and this is a comfort to believers, whose treasure is laid up and kept for them according to his faithful promises. But how is it that he can make a promise before the world began? Answer, The Holy Trinity took council before there was ever a world and decided that faith in the Son of God would be the basis of salvation. That was the embryo of the promise given in [18]Genesis 3:15.  How wonderfully excellent is this gospel, which was given so early! How much then, should we esteem him, and thank him for our privileges as saints of his kingdom!

[18] "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

We believers have eternal life now ([19]Jn. 5:11-12), but when Jesus returns, we will enjoy eternal life in an even greater way.

[19] "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The message of the apostles was essentially this: the one who has the Son, that is in the sense of believing in Him, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

who cannot lie, The phrase “Who cannot lie,” literally means “free from falsehood,” and is used only here in the New Testament. Perhaps Paul used this phrase to make a comparison of the character of God, who cannot lie, with that of the Cretans, who lie continually. It says in Romans 3:4, “…let God be true, but every man a liar…” You see, God must be true to Himself. If He is holy and He is righteous--that is His nature, and there are certain things He cannot do because of His nature. It is not because it is impossible for Him to do it; but because God is true to His nature, He cannot do it. He is righteous, He is just, and He never deceives. He is One you can depend upon.

promised before time began, God promised eternal life before time began. This may be understood in two ways. First, God determined in past eternity to give eternal life to all who would believe on the Lord Jesus, and what He determined was the same as a promise. Or it may mean that all the blessings of salvation were contained in germ form in the promise of the Messiah found in [18]Genesis 3:15. This was before the ages of time or dispensations began to unfold. God’s plan of salvation was not an afterthought ([20]Rev 13:8). The time for Christ’s coming was fixed by God in eternity past, and it was the exact right time for Him to come.

[20] “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” This will not happen at the Rapture, but at the Second Coming of Christ. With the display of such unprecedented power, it is easy to see how all that dwell upon the earth will be quick to enlist themselves as worshippers of him. The times of the Gentiles began with man-worship (see. Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 3); and they will end the same way, as is clearly stated here. Only those who have trusted Christ as Savior, whose names are eternally recorded in the book of life of the Lamb, will refuse the beast the worship that belongs only to God.

3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;

Alternate Translation (NLT): And now at the right time he has revealed this Good News, and we announce it to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been trusted to do this work for him.

but has in due time manifested His word through preaching. God has a schedule and is always on time. God’s plan is revealed in his word and His Word is made known through preaching. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (the message of the Cross) to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). All of Paul’s ministry was done with a “view” to eternal life. It was promised in eternity past by God, who cannot default on His Word.

There are seasons or periods appointed by God as the appropriate time for the manifestation of His word to us. The “word” is the gospel which was due to be proclaimed as an immediate result of Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross, the resurrection and ascension of Christ and the descending of the Holy Spirit. When God was dealing with mankind during all the preceding ages, he was preparing them for the coming of Christ and the cross. The preaching of the gospel is the message for today, and everyone needs to hear it for Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, by the word preached.

which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior   At just the right time, God made known this glorious program of eternal life which He had decided on in past ages. He had not fully revealed it in OT times. Believers then had a very hazy idea of life after death. But the vagueness disappeared with the coming of the Savior. He “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). And the good news was broadcast by Paul and the other apostles in fulfillment of the commandment of God our Savior, that is, in obedience to the Great Commission.

Paul stated that he was appointed by God to perform his ministry. The ministry is a trust and an honor, and all those who are appointed or called to preach, must preach the word ([21]1 Co. 9:16). Preaching is a work appointed by God the Savior. The proof of Christ’s deity, and that He committed the preaching of the gospel to Paul is found in his conversion (Acts 9:15, 17, and ch. 22:10, 14, 15), and again when Christ appeared to him, v. 17–21. Christ is this Savior: the Father saves by the Son through the Spirit, and all three concur in sending ministers. Therefore, do not accept a minister who rests in men’s calling, but is without God’s, since it is God who furnishes, calls, authorizes, and gives the opportunity for the work of a preacher.

[21] “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”   Paul is ironically answering now the questions he asked to begin with. “Am I not free, am I not an apostle?” The implied answer to the first is “no”; as for the second, “yes, but that is no cause for glorying.” "For necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"

4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

Alternate Translation (NLT): This letter is written to Titus, my true child in the faith that we share. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.

To Titus, a true son in our common faith: The Letter is addressed to Titus, Paul’s true son in a common faith. But who is this Titus? We have to piece together his biography from sparse references to him in three of Paul’s Letters. A Greek by birth ([22]Gal. 2:3), he was born again by faith in the Lord Jesus, possibly through Paul’s ministry. A battle was then raging over what was the true gospel. On one side were Paul and all those who taught salvation by grace through faith plus nothing. On the other side were the Judaizers who insisted that circumcision (and thus lawkeeping) was required, for first-class citizenship in God’s kingdom. Titus became a test case in the controversy. Paul and Barnabas took him to Jerusalem ([23]Gal. 2:1) for a conference with the apostles and elders. The decision of the council was that a Gentile like Titus did not have to submit to Jewish laws and ceremonies in order to be saved ([24]Acts 15:11). Gentiles did not have to become Jews. Jews did not have to become Gentiles. Rather, Jews and Gentiles became a new creation when they believed in Jesus.

[22] "But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:"

[23] “Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me."

[24] “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” 

From then on, Titus became one of Paul’s most valuable assistants, serving as a “trouble-shooter” in Corinth and Crete. He was the right man for a tough assignment. The apostle first sent him from Ephesus to Corinth with one of the severest letters Paul ever wrote ([25]2 Cor. 8:16), presumably to correct doctrinal and ethical disorders in the assembly there. When Titus later rejoined Paul in Macedonia, Paul was overjoyed to hear that the Corinthians had responded positively to his apostolic admonitions (2 Cor. 2:12, 13; 7:5–7, 13–16). From Macedonia, Paul sent Titus to Corinth again, this time to expedite a collection for poor saints in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:6, 16, 17; 12:18). Paul described him as “my partner and fellow worker concerning you” (2 Cor. 8:23). We do not  know definitely when Paul was with Titus in Crete, but it is generally believed to have been after the apostle’s first imprisonment in Rome.

[25]  “But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.” What Paul is asking of the Corinthians in terms of spontaneous loving concern for brethren in need, is reflected in the attitude of Titus toward them. Notice here that Paul understands that the character qualities distinctive of a spiritual life are not intrinsic to human nature, but given by God."

The last mention of Titus is in [26]2 Timothy 4:10. He was with Paul during part of his second imprisonment, but then Paul reports him as having left for Dalmatia, the Yugoslavia of today. Paul may have sent him there, though the general tone of the verse is that of a lonely and deserted man.

[26] "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia."

The apostle speaks of Titus as his true son (his spiritual son) in a common faith (the faith common to all the people of God). This may mean that Paul was instrumental in Titus’ conversion, but not necessarily. Paul also addressed Timothy as his true son in the faith ([2]1 Tim. 1:2), yet it is possible that Timothy was already a disciple when Paul first met him ([27]Acts 16:1). So the expression may mean that these younger men exhibited spiritual qualities similar to Paul’s, and that in Christian service there was a family-like bond.

[27] “Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.”

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. For his young lieutenant, Paul wishes grace, mercy, and peace. In this context, grace means the divine strength needed for life and service. Mercy is compassion on man’s deep need. Peace means freedom from anxiety, panic, and distraction despite adverse circumstances. These come jointly from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. In thus linking the Father and the Son as the sources of grace, mercy, and peace, the Spirit of God implies their complete equality.


Summary

As you review this material, you can see that Paul related everything in his ministry to the Word of God. His calling and His preaching depended on faith in Christ. He wanted Titus to grasp this fact and to make the Word of God a priority in his ministry. Throughout all three of his Pastoral Epistles-1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus-there is an emphasis on teaching the Word of God. Local churches ought to be “Bible schools” where the Word of God is taught systematically and in a practical way.

 

Chapter 1, Verses 5-9

Title: Elders in the Congregation

 

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. (NKJV)  

 

INTRODUCTION

Sometimes there are problems because unqualified people get into places of leadership or because places of leadership have not been filled. The Greek word translated “set in order” is a medical term that means “to set a broken bone.” The church body suffers when we avoid facing and solving serious problems.

ELDERS IN THE CONGREGATION

5 For this reason I left you in [1]Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.When Paul left Crete, there were certain things that still needed to be set in order; there were false teachers to be silenced, and there was the pressing need for recognized spiritual guides in the assemblies. He left Titus to handle these matters.  It was always Paul’s custom to ordain elders as soon as a church was founded ([2]Acts 14:23).  It was Paul’s principle that his little churches should be encouraged to stand on their own feet as soon as possible.

Crete was evidently a pretty bad place, and the people were not very good people.  Paul himself says that they were liars, and that is certainly the thing for which they were noted in that day.  Although they were known as liars, and Paul will have other uncomplimentary things to say about them, many of them turned to the Lord.

 We do not know how the Christian faith first came to Crete. Perhaps the best guess is that Cretans who were in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost ([3]Acts 2:11) returned with the good news, and that local churches were subsequently established.

Neither can we be sure as to when Paul was in Crete with Titus. We know that he touched in at Crete on his voyage to Rome as a prisoner ([4]Acts 27:12), but the circumstances would hardly have permitted active ministry in the churches. Since Acts makes no other reference to Paul’s being in Crete, it is generally supposed that the visit took place after his first Roman imprisonment. Resorting to a little biblical detective work, we can reconstruct the following itinerary from various references in Paul’s writings.

First Paul sailed from Italy to Crete on his way to Asia (Western Turkey today). Leaving Titus in Crete, he traveled to Ephesus, the capital of Asia. At Ephesus he deputized Timothy to correct doctrinal errors that were creeping in there ([5]1 Tim. 1:3, 4). Then he sailed across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia to fulfill his prior intention while in prison to visit Philippi as soon as he was free ([6]Phil. 1:26). Finally, he traveled southwest across Greece to Nicopolis, where he planned to stay for the winter and where he expected Titus to join him ([7]Tit. 3:12).

According to Homer, there were between ninety and one hundred cities in Crete as early as his time, and churches had apparently been formed in several of them. In each there was a need for responsible elders to be appointed.

CLARIFYING ELDERS

I want to digress for a few minutes from our main subject, the qualifications for an elder, to clarify the responsibilities of an elder.Elders in the New Testament sense are mature Christian men of excellent character who provide spiritual leadership in a local assembly. The name elder, which refers to the spiritual maturity of the man, is translated from the Greek word presbuteros, (which turned into the English “presbyter”). The Greek word episkopos, translated “bishop,” “overseer” or “guardian,” is also used in reference to elders, describing their function as undershepherds of God’s flock. The names “elders” and “bishops” are generally understood to refer to the same persons for the following reasons. In [8]Acts 20:17, Paul called for the elders from Ephesus; in verse [9]28 he addressed them as overseers. In [10]1 Peter 5:1, 2, Peter similarly uses the terms interchangeably. The qualifications for bishops in 1 Timothy 3 and those for elders in Titus 1 are substantially the same.

In modern usage, “bishop” has come to mean a minister of God who supervises a diocese or a group of churches in a district. But the word never means this in the New Testament. The scriptural pattern is to have several bishops in one church rather than one bishop over several churches.

Nor should an elder be confused with the modern pastor, who is primarily responsible for preaching, teaching, and administering the sacraments in a local church. It is generally acknowledged that there was no such person in the early church. The primitive assemblies were composed of saints, bishops, and deacons ([11]Phil. 1:1)—that is all. The clerical system did not rise until the second century.

A pastor in the New Testament sense is one of the special-service gifts which the risen, ascended Christ bestowed to build up the saints for the work of ministering ([12]Eph. 4:11, 12). In many respects the work of pastors and elders is similar; both are called to tend and feed the flock of God. But the two are never equated. Conceivably, a pastor may have a traveling ministry, while an elder is usually associated with one local assembly.

The functions of elders are given in considerable detail:

1.      They shepherd and care for the church of the Lord (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:5; 1 Pet. 5:2).

2.      They are alert to protect the church from attacks, both from without and within (Acts 20:29–31).

       3.      They lead and rule, but by guiding, not driving (1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:7, 17; 1 Pet. 5:3).      

       4.      They preach the word, teach sound doctrine, and refute those who contradict it (1 Tim. 5:17; Tit. 1:9–11).

       5.      They moderate and arbitrate in doctrinal and ethical matters (Acts 15:5, 6;16:4).  

      6.    By their life they are an example to the flock (Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 5:3).                                       

       7.      They seek to restore the believers who have been overtaken in any trespass (Gal. 6:1).

       8.      They keep watch over the souls of Christians in the local assembly as those who will have to give account (Heb.13:17).     

       9.      They exercise a ministry of prayer, especially with regard to the sick (Jas. 5:14, 15).

       10.  They are involved in the care of poor saints (Acts 11:30).

       11.  They share in the commendation of gifted men to the work to which God has called them (1 Tim. 4:14).It is clear that in the early church, elders were appointed by the apostles and their representatives. This does not mean, however, that the apostles and their delegates had the power to make a man an elder. In order to become a bishop, there must be both divine enablement and human willingness. Only the Holy Spirit can make a man a bishop or guardian ([13]Acts 20:28), but the man must aspire to the work ([14]1 Tim. 3:1). There must be this mingling of the divine and the human.

When local churches were first established in the apostolic days, there were no elders in them; all the believers were novices. But as time passed, the Lord prepared certain ones for this important ministry. Since the New Testament was not yet available in written form, Christians in general did not know the qualifications and duties of elders. Only the apostles and their assistants knew. On the basis of this knowledge, they singled out the men who met the divine standards and publicly named them as such.

Today we have the complete New Testament. We know what an elder is and what he is supposed to do. When we see qualified men who are actively serving as over seers, we recognize them ([15]1 Thess. 5:12) and obey them ([16]Heb. 13:17). It is not a question of our electing them but of recognizing those whom God has raised up for this work.

The qualifications of elders are found in[17]1Timothy 3:1–7 and here in Titus. Sometimes we hear the remark that if these are the requirements, then there are no bishops today. This idea downgrades the authority of the Scriptures by implying that they don’t mean what they say. There is nothing unreasonable or unattainable in the standards given. We betray our own low spiritual state when we treat the Bible as excessively idealistic.6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of [18]dissipation or insubordination.

Elders are men who are blameless, that is, of unquestioned integrity. No charge of false doctrine or irregular behavior can be proved against them. His life must be above reproach.  That does not mean that they are sinless, but that if they do minor wrongs, they are prompt to make them right by confession to God, by apology to the person(s) wronged, and by restitution, if applicable.

The second qualification, that they be the husband of one wife, has been understood in at least seven different ways: (1) a man must be married; (2) he must not be divorced; (3) he must not be remarried after divorce; (4) he must not be remarried after the death of his first wife; (5) he must not be a polygamist; (6) he must not have concubines or lesser wives; (7) in general, he must be a faithful husband and an example of strict morality.

If the phrase husband of one wife means that a man must be married, then by the same reasoning he must have children, because this same verse states that his children must be believers. Certainly it is preferable for an elder to have a family; he can deal more intelligently with family problems in the congregation. But it is doubtful that this verse prohibits any unmarried man from being an elder.

It probably does not mean that he must not be divorced under any circumstances, because the Savior taught that divorce is permissible in at least one instance ([19]Matt. 5:32).Neither can it be taken as an absolute prohibition of remarriage after divorce in all cases. For example, a believer who is entirely innocent might be divorced by an unbelieving wife who then remarries. In such a case, the Christian was not responsible. Since the first marriage was broken by the divorce and remarriage of his unbelieving partner, he is free to remarry

 The interpretation that eligibility for the work of an elder is forfeited if a man remarries after the death of his first wife is ruled out by the principle stated in 1 Corinthians 7:39: “A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”

In addition, the bishop or elder must have faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. More than most of us care to admit, the Bible holds parents responsible for the way their children turn out ([20]Prov. 22:6). When a family is well-governed and well-trained in the word of God, the children generally follow the godly example of their parents. Although a father cannot determine the salvation of his children, he can prepare the way to the Lord by positive instruction in the word, by loving discipline, and by avoiding hypocrisy and inconsistency in his own life.  Christianity begins at home.  It is no virtue for any man to be so engaged his work that he neglects his own home. All the church services in the world not for atone for the neglect of a man’s own family.

There is a question whether this requirement concerning faithful children (believing children, not accused of rebellion or being disruptive) applies only as long as children are under parental authority in the home, or whether it includes those who are away from home. I favor the first view, remembering, however, that home training is one of the principal determinants of one’s ultimate character7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a [21]steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

A steward does not own but manages all that his master puts into his hands.  Perhaps the most famous steward in the bible is Joseph, who had complete control over all of Potiphar’s business (Genesis 39: 1-9). A bishop is a steward of God.  He is deputized to handle God’s affairs in God’s church. He must never say, “This is mine!” All that he has comes from God, and must be used for God. His time, possessions, ambitions, and talents are all loaned to him by the Lord; and he must be faithful to use them to honor God and build his church. Of course, all Christians ought to be faithful stewards, and not the pastors only!

For the second time it is specified that he must be blameless—surely this is repetition for emphasis. Let there be no doubt—he must be a man who is above reproach both doctrinally and morally. He must not be self-willed.  The man who is self-willed has been described as the man who is so pleased with himself that nothing else pleases him and he cares to please nobody.  Clearly the man said to be self-willed is an unpleasant character.  He is intolerant, condemning everything that he cannot understand and thinking that there is no way of doing anything except his way.  If a man is headstrong, obstinately right with no possibility that those who differ might be, if he is unyielding and unaccepting of contradiction, then he is unsuited to be a spiritual leader. An elder is a moderator, not a dogmatic autocrat.

He must not be quick-tempered. If he has a volatile temperament, he has learned to bridle it. If he has a hot temper, he never lets it show.

 He must not be given to wine. In our culture, this might seem so elementary that it scarcely needs mentioning. But we must remember that the Bible was written for all cultures. In countries where wine is used by Christians as a common beverage, there is the danger of overindulgence and disorderly conduct. That lack of self-control is in view here.

The Bible distinguishes between the use of wine and its abuse. Its use in moderation as a beverage was allowed when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1–11). Its use for medicinal purposes is prescribed by Paul for Timothy ([22]1 Tim. 5:23). The abuse of wine and strong drink is condemned in Proverbs 20:1; 23:29–35. While total abstinence is not demanded in the word, there is one situation in which refraining is called for, namely, when drinking wine would offend a weaker brother or cause him to stumble ([23]Rom. 14:21). This is the overriding consideration which causes great numbers of Christians in North American to abstain from alcohol entirely.

With the elder, the question is not the total prohibition of wine, but rather the excessive use of wine, which leads to disorderly behavior.

Neither should he be violent. He must not resort to the use of physical force by striking others. We have heard of overbearing ministers who used heavy-handed discipline on unruly members of their church. This type of overbearing intimidation is forbidden for a bishop.

He must not be greedy for money, and determined to get rich, no matter what it takes. A true elder can say with Paul: “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel” (Acts 20:33).

8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,

Here and in verse 9 is given the positive qualifications of a bishop or elder. First, he must be hospitable. His home should always be open to strangers, to those with personal problems, to the disheartened and the oppressed. It should be a place of happy Christian fellowship, where every guest is received as if he were the Lord Himself.

Next he must be a lover of what is good—good people and good things. His speech, his activities, and his associations should reveal that he is separated from all that is shady, questionable, or wrong.

 He must be sober-minded. This means that he is prudent, discreet, and master of himself. The same word is used in Titus 2:2, 5, 6, 12, where it has the thought of being sensible, self-controlled, and sober. In his dealings with others, the elder must be just.  He must give to all men the respect and to God the reverence, which are due them.  In relation to God he must be holy. The root meaning of “holy” is “different.” Christians are different from lost sinners because Christians are new creations by the grace of God ([24]2 Cor. 5:17). In respect to himself he must be self-controlled. This is what Paul referred to in Galatians 5:22, 23: “The fruit of the Spirit is ... self-control.” It means that a person has every passion and appetite under control to obey Christ. While the power for this can only come from the Holy Spirit, there must be discipline and cooperation on the part of the believer.

9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

The bishop must be sound in the faith. This is necessary in order to exhort, encourage, and help believers and convince or convict those who contradict the Word of God.  The bishop must be able to encourage the members of the church.  The navy has a rule which says that no officer shall speak disparagingly to any other officer in the performance of his duties.  There is always something wrong with preaching or teaching with the purpose to discourage others.  The function of the true Christian preacher and teacher is not to drive a man to despair, to lift him up to hope.

He must be able to convict the opponents of the faith.  He must be able to rebuke a man in such a way that he is compelled to admit the error of his ways.  Christian rebuke means far more than flinging angry and condemning words at a man.  It means speaking in such a way that he sees the error of his ways and accepts the truth.

The bishop or elder must hold tenaciously to the spiritually healthful doctrines taught by the Lord Jesus and the apostles which have been preserved for us in the New Testament. Only then will he be able to give the saints a balanced diet of sound doctrine, and silence those who speak against the truth.One other point should be mentioned. The picture that emerges of a godly elder is not that of a man who arranges for speakers, disburses funds, contracts for building repairs, and that’s all! The true elder is deeply and vitally involved in the spiritual life of the church by his instruction, exhortation, encouragement, rebuke, and correction.These are the qualifications of spiritual guides in the local church. It should be noted that nothing is said about their physical ability, educational attainments, social status, or business expertise. A hunchbacked street sweeper, down-to-earth and illiterate, might be a qualified elder because of his spiritual stature. It is not true, as is sometimes suggested, that the same qualities that make a man successful in business also fit him for leadership in the church.

 

 


[1] Crete, one of the largest islands of the Mediterranean where Paul ministered with Titus, probably between his imprisonments. Paul’s ministry must have been fantastic. He left a church and converts wherever he went and they needed to set in order a church and ordain elders in every city.

[2] (Acts 14:23) So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.[2]

[3] (Acts 2:11) “Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” The apostles were speaking in tongues at Pentecost. Much to their amazement, the visitors heard these Galilean disciples speaking in a great variety of foreign languages. The miracle, however, was with those who spoke, not with those who heard. Whether those in the audience were Jews by birth or converts to Judaism, each one heard the mighty works of God described in his own language.[3]

[4] (Acts 27:12) “And because the harbor was not suitable to winter in, the majority advised to set sail from there also, if by any means they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete opening toward the southwest and northwest, and winter there.” It was felt that the harbor was not as suitable as Phoenix would be as a place to spend the winter. Phoenix was located forty miles west of Fair Havens, at the southwest tip of Crete. Its harbor opened toward the southwest and northwest.[4]

[5] (1 Tim. 1:3, 4) “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.” Timothy was also exhorted to charge these men not to pay attention to fables and endless genealogies. Such worthless subjects serve only to provoke questionings and doubts in people’s minds.[5]

[6] (1 Tim. 1:3, 4). that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.” Through his being spared for longer life and service on earth, the Philippians would have added cause for rejoicing in the Lord when he would visit them once again. Can you not imagine how they would throw their arms around him and kiss him, and praise the Lord with great joy when he would arrive at Philippi? Perhaps they would say, “Well, Paul, we prayed for you, but honestly, we never expected to see you here again. But how we praise the Lord that He has given you back to us once more!”[6

[7] (Tit. 3:12) “When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.”  As soon as he arrived, Titus was to go to Nicopolis, where Paul had determined to spend the winter. There were at least seven cities called Nicopolis in those days, but most commentators believe Titus chose the one in Epirus, in western Greece.[7]

[8] (Acts 20:17) From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. [8]

 [9] (Acts 20:28) “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.[9]

[10] (1 Peter 5:1-2) The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;[10

[11] (Philippians 1:1) Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:[11]

[12] (Eph. 4:11, 12) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, [12]

[13] (Acts 20:28) Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.[13]

[14] (1 Tim. 3:1) This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.[14]

[15] (1 Thess. 5:12) And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you. [15]

[16] (Heb. 13:17) Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.[16]

[17] (1Timothy 3:1–7) 1This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.[17]

[18] corruption: a state of moral corruption

[19] (Matt. 5:32) “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.[19]

[20] (Prov. 22:6) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.[20]

[21] Steward: primarily stands for “the manager of a household or estate” (usually slaves or freedmen). Preachers of the gospel and teachers of the Word of God are stewards according to 1 Corinthians 4:1; here, elders or bishops in churches are stewards; finally believers in general are called stewards in1 Peter 4:10.[21]

[22] (1 Tim. 5:23) No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. [22]

[23] (Rom. 14:21) It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.[23]

[24] (2 Cor. 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 Commentary On Titus

Chapter 1, Verses 10-16

Title: ERROR IN THE CONGREGATION 

For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:10-16; NKJV)

INTRODUCTION

Paul is now going to talk about the bad reputation of the Cretans.  We must remember that all men are sinners; we are all brothers in the sense that we are all sinners.  All men are not in the brotherhood of God, because that comes only through the New Birth by becoming a son of God through faith in Christ.  Surely we are all sons of Adam and “in Adam all die,” because all have sinned--"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”  ( 1 Corinthians 15:22).  However, these Cretans had a particularly bad reputation.


COMMENTARY

10For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,

In the early church there was “the liberty of the Spirit,” that is, freedom for the men to participate in the meetings as led by the Holy Spirit. Paul describes such an “open” meeting in 1 Corinthians 14:26: “How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” It is an ideal situation when the Spirit of God is free to speak through various members of the congregation. But human nature being what it is, wherever such liberty exists, you almost invariably find men rushing in to abuse it with false doctrine, unedifying nit-picking, or seemingly endless rambling, devoid of the Spirit.

 
This had happened in the Cretan congregations. Paul realized that there must be strong spiritual leadership to control the abuses and to preserve the liberty of the Spirit. He also realized that great care was needed in appointing elders who were fully qualified. So here he goes over the conditions which called for prompt action in appointing elders in the churches.

Many insubordinate men had risen up to defy the authority of the apostles and deny their teachings. They were undisciplined; they were like disloyal soldiers who refused to obey the word of command.  They refused to accept the creed or the control of the church.  It is perfectly true that the church was not seeking to impose upon man a flat uniformity of belief; but there are certain things which a man must believe to be a Christian, greatest of which is the all-sufficiency of Christ. 

 
They were both idle talkers and (mind) deceivers. They were conceited and believed themselves to be wise, but heir talk produced no spiritual benefits. Rather, it robbed people of the truth and led them into the wrong doctrine.  They were intellectuals for whom the truth of God was too simple and too good to be true. 

 
The principal troublemakers were those of the circumcision party, that is, Jewish teachers who professed to be Christians and yet insisted that Christians must be circumcised and observe the ceremonial law. This was a practical denial of the all-sufficiency of the work of Christ.
The need for elders arose because of false teachers.

11whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

Whose mouths must be stopped originally meant to put something in the mouth like a gag.

It didn’t take long for false teachers to arise in the early church.  Wherever God sows the truth, Satan quickly shows up to sow lies.  Titus faced an enemy similar to that described in 1 Timothy—a mixture of Jewish legalism, man-made traditions, and mysticism.  These men must be muzzled.  That does not imply that they are to be silenced by violence or by persecution.  The Greek word used here means “to silence a person by reason.” The way to combat false teaching and the only truly indisputable teaching is the teaching of a Christian life.  Paul gave three facts about these false teachers:

1. What they were personally.  They were disobedient, which means “they cannot and will not be persuaded.” Their minds have been made up and they will not face the truth.  “Reprobate” literally means “not able to pass the test.”
2. What they did.  They were teaching “Jewish fables”, which probably described their far-fetched interpretations of the genealogies in the Old Testament-- “Nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”  ( 1 Tim. 1:4).
3. Why they did it. Their main motive was to teach false doctrine and to live false lives, and the result was a defiled conscience that did not convict them.  This is one step closer to that “seared conscience” Paul wrote about (1 Timothy 4:2)--"Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"


Having shared these three facts about these false teachers, Paul added one further matter.  What Titus was to do. First, he was to “exhort and to convince” by means of “sound doctrine”.  The only weapon against Satan’s lies is God’s truth.  “Thus saith of the Lord!” is the end of every argument. 

Many of these false-teachers were seeking money. But behind this covetousness was another problem: their minds and consciences had been defiled.  This is what happens when a person lives a double-life: outwardly, he commands respect; inwardly, he is corrupt.  No one can serve two masters.  These deceivers, these false teachers, were teaching things which they should not have taught (namely, the necessity of circumcision, and of keeping the Law of Moses, etc.); their teaching was wrong.  As for their conduct, they were unruly and uncontrolled, unlike the children mentioned in verse six—“If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.”

Men like this must be the muzzled.  They must learn that church is not a democracy, and that freedom of speech has its limits.They had been upending whole households.  This could mean that they had been peddling their destructive doctrines behind the scenes in private homes? It is a favorite method used by the cults-- “For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,” ( 2 Tim. 3:6). Their motives were suspect since they were out for money, using the ministry as a front for a lucrative business. Their message appealed to the legalistic streak in man, encouraging him to believe that he can gain God’s favor by going through religious motions even though his life may be corrupt and defiled. They taught for dishonest gain what they had no right to teach.

12One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”

Here Paul reminds Titus of the kind of people he is dealing with. The unusually blunt and scathing description was true of the false teachers in particular and of the Cretans in general. A prophet of their own probably refers to the famed Cretan poet Epimenides. He quotes Epimenides, who lived around 600 B.C., as calling them incurable liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons.

It seems that every people have national characteristics, but few could beat the Cretans in depravity. They were habitual and compulsive liars.  This does not mean that everybody who lived in Crete was a liar any more than when you say that all Scottish people are tightfisted—some are very generous.  But the Cretans had the general reputation of being liars.  Just as sodomy refers to an infamous sin of which Sodomites were guilty, so “Cretan” became almost synonymous with a liar. They were like fierce animals, living to indulge gross and wild passions. Allergic to work and addicted to gluttony, they lived lives that were all kitchen and no chapel!

13This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

The apostle confirms the accuracy of his description of their character. Titus had unpromising raw materials to work with—enough to discourage any missionary! But Paul did not write the people off or counsel Titus to abandon them. So Paul advises his assistant to rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound or healthy in the Christian faith. Sharply meant “to cut off abruptly.” That meant the purpose of the rebuke was that they may be sound or “healthy” in the faith. Rebuke was not vindictive but therapeutic, as it should always be.

The great characteristic of the Jewish faith was its thousands of rules and regulations.  This, that and the next thing were branded as unclean; this, that and the next food were held to be taboo.  When Judaism and Gnosticism joined hands even the body became unclean and the natural instincts of the body were held to be evil.  The inevitable result was that long lists of sins are constantly being created.  It became a sin to touch this or that; became a sin to eat this or that food; even became a sin to Mary and to beget children.  These things which were either good in themselves or were quite natural became defiled.  Paul had already said in Romans 14:20: “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.” To those who constantly have questions about clean and unclean foods, he said: “all things are pure.”

There was no place for timidity here. Someday these men might be not only very good believers, but also godly elders in the local churches. This passage overflows with encouragement for Christian workers in difficult fields of the world (and what field is not difficult?). Beyond the grossness, denseness, and unresponsiveness of the people, there is always the vision of their becoming gracious, pure, and fruitful saints.

 
Paul’s purpose of course, was to convince these teachers and get them to be “sound in the faith.”  But while he is doing this, he must protect the church from their false teachings.  False doctrine is like yeast: it enters secretly; it grows quickly, and permeates completely—“A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9).

A man must keep the white shield of his innocence unstained.  If he lets impurity infect his mind, he sees all things through a clutter of uncleanness.  His mind soils every thought that enters into it; his imagination turns to lust for every picture which it forms; he misinterprets every motive; he gives a double meaning to every statement.  To escape that uncleanness we must walk in the cleansing presence of Jesus Christ. The best time to attack false doctrine is at the beginning, before it has a chance to spread.

The attitude of some church members is, “it makes no difference what you believe, just as long as you believe something.” All would not agree with that foolish philosophy.  It makes all the difference between life and death whether or not you believe the truth of the Word or believe lies.  You can choose what to believe, but you cannot change the consequences.

“And he shall know the truth,” said Jesus Christ, “and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

14not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.

When severely rebuking the false teachers, Titus warned the Christians against Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. These false doctrines are the subject of  I Tim 1:4–11--“nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”. This was an ever-present danger for the Jews-- “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”  He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ “But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), “then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” ( Mk 7:7–13). Paul appealed to the congregation that they show themselves to be truly changed from the evil tempers and manners the Cretans were known for, and to avoid the Jewish traditions and the superstitions of the Pharisees, which would be apt to make them disregard the gospel, and the sound and wholesome truths it contains.

The Judaizers lived in a world of religious fantasies and of rules centering on clean and unclean foods, the observance of days, and the avoidance of ceremonial defilement. These are the things which Paul wrote about in Colossians 2:23: “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

Matthew Henry wrote, “Fancies and devices of men in the worship of God are contrary to truth and piety. Jewish ceremonies and rites, that were at first divine appointments, the substance having come and their season and use being over, are now but unwarranted commands of men, which stand not with, but turn from, the truth, the pure gospel truth and spiritual worship, set up by Christ instead of that bodily service under the law. A fearful judgment it is to be turned away from the truth, to leave Christ for Moses, the spiritual worship of the gospel for the carnal ordinances of the law, or the true divine institutions and precepts for human inventions and appointments. “Who hath bewitched you (said Paul to the Galatians, ch. 3:1, 3) that you should not obey the truth? Having begun in the Spirit, are you made perfect by the flesh?”

15To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.

What the apostle says here has given rise to so much misinterpretation that it requires a detailed explanation. First of all, Paul is referring to the Jewish legalists who were extremists about Old Testament Jewish ceremonial washings. These insisted on the ceremonial washings and were still calling some meats unclean. He writes: “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.”

If we take the words to the pure all things are pure out of context as a statement of absolute truth in all areas of life, we are in trouble! All things are not pure, even to those whose minds are pure. Yet people have actually used this verse to justify vile magazines, suggestive movies, and even immorality itself. This is what Peter speaks of as twisting the Scriptures “to their own destruction”--“as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. ” ( 2 Pet. 3:16).

This verse has absolutely nothing to do with things that are sinful in themselves and condemned in the Bible. This proverbial saying must be understood in the light of the context. Paul has not been speaking about matters of clear-cut morality, of things that are inherently right or wrong. Rather, he has been discussing matters of moral indifference, things that were ceremonially defiling for a Jew living under the law but that are perfectly legitimate for a Christian living under grace. The obvious example is the eating of pork. It was forbidden to God’s people in the Old Testament, but the Lord Jesus changed all that when He said that nothing entering into a man can defile him--“There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man” ( Mark 7:15). The Lord made the revolutionary pronouncement that it was not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him (such as food eaten with unwashed hands) but what comes out of man (such as traditions that set aside God’s Word).  In saying this He pronounced all foods clean-- “because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”  ( Mark 7:19). Paul echoed this truth when he said: “But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse” (1 Cor. 8:8). When he says: “To the pure all things are pure,” he means that to the born again believer all foods are clean, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure. It is not what a person eats that defiles him but what comes out of his heart. If a man’s inner life is impure, if he does not have faith in the Lord Jesus, then nothing is pure to him. The observance of dietary rules won’t do a thing for him. More than anything else he needs to be converted, to receive salvation as a free gift rather than trying to earn it through rituals and legalism. The very minds and consciences of defiled people are corrupted. Their mental processes and their moral powers are defiled. It is not a question of external ceremonial defilement, but of inward corruption and depravity.

These false disciples were condemned by Paul, and it was not too strong.  Whenever a man who has been a leader in the church is revealed to be involved in corruption, the faith of the community in all virtue is shaken.  Conversely, whenever a crisis of the daily round of life reveals character that is Christ like, the faith of the community in all goodness is strengthened.

16They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Paul is obviously speaking of the false teachers, that is, the Judaizers. He says that they profess to know God, but by their works they deny Him. They pose as Christian believers, but their practice does not match their profession.  False teachers are corrupt on the inside (“mind and conscience”) and the outside (“works” and “disobedience”)--“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?"  ( Matthew 7:15-16).  Profession and performance should not contradict each other. To amplify his stinging reprimand, the apostle denounces them as being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified. Their personal behavior was abhorrent. In God’s eyes, theirs was a record of outrageous disobedience. As for good works toward God or man, they were worthless. Was it within the bounds of Christian love for Paul to speak about others in such strong language? The answer is an emphatic yes! Love never glosses over sin. These men were perverting the gospel, dishonoring the Person and work of the Lord Jesus, and deceiving the souls of men. To be tolerant of such deceivers is sin. The apostle, instructed Titus to rebuke sharply; now he rebukes sharply; he gives them very hard words, but no harder than their case warranted and their need required.


There are many who profess to know God, and yet in their lives and conversations they deny and reject him; their practice is a contradiction to their profession. “They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (Eze. 33:31).

Being abominable—deserving that God and good men should turn away their eyes from them as nauseous and offensive.

Disobedient—unpersuadable and unbelieving. They might do various things; but it was not the obedience of faith, or what was commanded; it fell far short of the command.  A disobedient man cannot obey the will of God.  His conscience is darkened.  He has made himself so that he can hardly hear the voice of God, let alone obey it.  A man like that cannot be anything else but an evil influence and is therefore unfit to be an instrument in the hand of God.
Disqualified for every good work—ineligible to do any good works; without the skill or judgment to do anything right.

Commentary On Titus

 

Chapter 2,

 Verses 1-15:

Title: EXERCISE IN THE CONGREGATION 

 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

 

INTRODUCTION

In Chapter 2, Paul instructs Titus concerning his ministry in three areas:

1.      Living (1–10). Whether we are young or old, married or single, we are all needed in the local church; and God has a job for us to do. One test of spiritual fellowship is its ability to accept and minister to a variety of people. How we live either blasphemes the Word (v. 5) or beautifies it (v. 10), and those who minister should set the example (vv. 7–8).

2.      Learning (11–12). God’s grace not only saves us but also teaches us how to live the Christian life. Those who use God’s grace as an excuse for sin have never experienced its saving power ([1]Rom. 6:1). The same grace that redeems us also renews us so that we want to obey His Word (v. 14).

3.      Looking (13–15). What starts with grace will lead to glory! The return of Jesus Christ for His people is more than a blessed hope; it is a joyful hope ([2]Rom. 5:2; 12:12), a unifying hope ([3]Eph. 4:4), a living hope ([4]1 Pet. 1:3), a stabilizing hope ([5]Heb. 6:19), and a purifying hope ([6]1 John 3:3).

I never begin my work in the morning without thinking that perhaps He may interrupt my work and begin His own. I am not looking for death, I am looking for Him.

G. Campbell Morgan

 

COMMENTARY

1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:

Sound doctrine in the Pastoral Epistles refers to wholesome Christian teaching or instruction in the Word of God, the Bible.

How is the word of God to be preached by those that are called to be ministers to His people? They that are called to labor in the ministry of the word, are to preach sound doctrine, (Tit. 2:1,8) diligently, (Acts 18:25) in season and out of season; (2 Tim. 4:2) plainly, (1 Cor. 14:19) not in the enticing words of man’ s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; (1 Cor. 2:4) faithfully, (Jer. 23:28, 1 Cor. 4:1–2) making known the whole counsel of God; (Acts 20:27) wisely, (Col. 1:28, 2 Tim. 2:15) applying themselves to the necessities and capacities of the hearers; (1 Cor. 3:2, Heb. 5:12–14, Luke 12:42) zealously, (Acts 18:25) and fervent love to God (2 Cor. 5:13–14, Phil. 1:15–17) and the souls of his people; (Col. 4:12, 2 Cor. 12:15) sincerely, (2 Cor. 2:17, 2 Cor. 4:2) aiming at his glory, (1 Thess. 2:4–6, John 7:18) and their conversion, (1 Cor. 9:19–22) edification, (2 Cor. 12:19, Eph. 4:12) and salvation. (1 Tim. 4:16, Acts 26:16–18)

The lives of the false teachers were a slander rather than a Bible. By their conduct they denied the great truths of the faith. Who can measure the damage to the Christian testimony by those who professed great holiness but lived a lie?

The task assigned to Titus (and to all true servants of the Lord) was to teach what is proper for sound doctrine. He was to close the awful chasm between the lips of God’s people and their lives. Actually this is the keynote of the Epistle—the practical living of a life demonstrates healthy doctrine in good works. I have heard it said many times, “You are the only Bible that some people will ever read. If you are a Christian, your life has a tremendous effect on those who watch you; family, friends, and others you meet through the day.  Through Titus Paul was instructing the whole church of Crete.

The following verses give practical examples of what these good works should be:

2 that the older men are sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;

First we come to the older men—not elders in the official sense, but men of physical age and maturity. They should be sober. Primarily this means moderate in the use of wine, but extends to mean careful in all areas of conduct. They should be reverent and dignified, yes, but please—not gloomy! Others have enough troubles of their own. The older men should be temperate, that means “to curb one’s desires and impulses.” They should be sound in faith. Age makes some people callous, bitter, and cynical. Those who are healthy in faith are thankful, optimistic, and good company.  The older men should know what they believed, and their doctrinal convictions should be in accord with God’s Word.  They should be sound in love. Love is not self-centered; it thinks of others and manifests itself in giving. And they should be strong in patience. Age has its infirmities and disabilities, which are often hard to take. Those who are sound in endurance bear up under their trials graciously and with fortitude.

The years must teach us, not to trust God less, but to trust him more.  The years should temper a man like steel, so that he can bear more and more and emerge more and more the conqueror over life’s troubles.  The years ought to bring, not increasing intolerance but increasing sympathy with the views and mistakes of others.

There is a dignity to old age that produces respect, and this respect gives an older saint authority.

3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.

Older women should also be reverent in behavior. Healthy doctrine is evidenced in the aged women … in their behavior or “demeanor.” Every believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and everything done should be suitable for the temple of God. Deliver us from giddy women whose thoughts are centered on frivolous matters! They should not be slanderers. The word Paul uses here is the Greek word for devil (diabolism). It is an apt word because malicious gossip is cruel and evil in its source and character. Women are not to be false accusers but teachers of good things.

They should not be slaves to drink. In fact, they should not become enslaved by any food, beverage, or medicine. Although not assigned a public teaching ministry in the church, older women are commissioned to teach in the home. Who can measure the potential of such a ministry!

Possibly the word likewise means that the older women were to have the same qualities as the older men, plus the additional ones listed.

4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,

Specifically, an older woman should admonish the young women. Years of Bible study and practical experience enable her to pass on valuable counsel to those starting out in life. Otherwise each new generation is doomed to learn the hard way, repeating the mistakes of the past. While the responsibility for teaching is put on the older women here, any wise young person will cultivate the friendship of godly older Christians and solicit their advice and correction. Older Christian women have a responsibility to give their years of experience to the younger women. They are the best teachers of younger women.

      A young woman should be taught to love her husband. But this means more than just kissing him when he leaves for work. It includes the numerous ways in which she can show that she really respects him—by acknowledging his headship in the home, by making no major decisions apart from him, by keeping an orderly home, by paying attention to personal appearance, by living within their means, by confessing promptly, by forgiving graciously, by keeping the lines of communication always open, by refraining from criticizing or contradicting her husband in front of others, and by being supportive when things go wrong. This will give rise to friendly companionship in which husband and wife do things together. Most homes could use a lot of this teaching.

They should be taught to love their children—by reading and praying with them, by being at home when they return from school or play, by disciplining firmly and fairly, and by molding them for the Lord’s service rather than for the world—and hell.

Like the other virtues mentioned in this passage, love is unconditional.  It is based on God’s will, not on a husband’s worthiness.

5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

Young women should be taught to be discreet. This means having a fine sense of what is appropriate for them as Christians and avoiding extremes. They should be chaste (pure), faithful to their husbands and avoiding impurity in thought, word, or action. They should be good homemakers. Paul is no male chauvinist. God-ordained women are to work at home, but not as a maid or slave. Being a good home keeper is not demeaning. There is no higher calling. Every man knows the transforming power in the home of a lovely, godly wife. Her power is felt in a much greater institute than a bank or political office when she influences the home and children for God. They should realize that this is divine service which can be done for the glory of God. Older women should try to instill the high honor of serving the Lord in the home as a wife and mother rather than working in industry or business and neglecting the home and family. Young women should be taught how to be good—how to live for others, to be hospitable, to be gracious and generous, and not to be self-centered and possessive. They should be obedient to their own husbands, acknowledging them as head of the house. If a wife is more gifted and capable than her husband, rather than dominating him, she should encourage and aid him to be more active in home leadership and in serving the local church. If tempted to nag, she should resist the temptation and praise him instead. What an awesome responsibility this puts on the husband to be a man of God and represent Christ in the home! All of this is to keep the word of God from being blasphemed or discredited. Throughout this Letter, Paul is conscious of the reproach brought upon the Lord’s cause by the inconsistent lives of His people.

Paul also tells Titus that the word of God may not be blasphemed.  This is the purpose of godly conduct–to eliminate any reproach on scripture from a professed Christian who is leading a sinful life; the unsaved need to see someone who lives a holy life.  When Christians claim to believe God’s Word but do not obey it, the Word is dishonored.  Many have mocked God and his truth because of the sinful behavior of those who claim to be Christians.

6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded,

Paul did not urge Titus to teach the young women. For discretion’s sake this ministry is left to the older women. But Titus is told to exhort the young men, and the particular admonition is that they should be sober-minded and control themselves. An appropriate word—since youth is the time of overflowing zeal, restless energy, and burning drives. In every area of life, young men need to learn stability and balance, and to curb their desires and impulses.”

In youth there is often that confidence which comes from lack of experience.  In almost every sphere of life a younger person is more reckless than his elders, for the simple reason that he has not yet discovered all the things which can go wrong.  For that very reason, the first thing at which any young person must aim is self–mastery.  No one can ever serve others until he has mastered himself.  “He who rules his spirit is greater than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32).

7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,

Paul has a special bit of advice for Titus. As one charged with a public ministry in the churches, Titus has to exercise care to present a consistent pattern of good works. There should be a close parallel between his doctrine and his behavior.  If Titus’s teaching is to be effective, it must be by the witness his own life.  He is to be the demonstration of all that he teaches.

It must be clear that his motives are absolutely pure.  The Christian teacher and preacher are always faced with certain temptations.  There is always the danger of self–display, the temptation to demonstrate one’s own cleverness and to seek to attract notice to oneself rather than to God’s message.  There is always the temptation to seek power.  The teacher, preacher, the pastor is always confronted with the temptation to be a dictator.  Leader he must be, but dictator never.  Nothing so injures the cause of Christ than for the leaders of the church and the pastors of the people to descend to conduct and to words unbefitting and envoy of Christ.  It is common for young men to have a hero and pastors should be the best human models for them to pattern themselves after.His teaching should be characterized by integrity, reverence, and incorruptibility. Integrity means that the teaching should correspond with the faith once-for-all delivered to the saints. By reverence Paul insists that the teaching should be dignified and sensible. Incorruptibility, a virtue unfortunately deleted here in most modern Bible versions, has to do with the sincere teacher who cannot be corrupted from the way of truth.

8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

Sound speech that cannot be condemned is free from anything to which exception might be taken. It should be free from side-issues, doctrinal novelties, fads, vulgarity, and the like. This type of ministry is appealing. Those who oppose sound teaching are put to shame because they cannot find a chink in the believer’s armor. There is no argument as effective as a holy life!

Besides being a good pattern as a leader, the pastor must exhibit the wisdom to speak only that which is well-thought-out and not that which is rash or disgraceful. He should say nothing that will bring blame to his ministry ([7]I Tim 5:14).  Again, as in verse 5, the purpose of godly living is to silence the opponents of Christianity and the gospel, and make the power of Christ believable.

9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back,

Special instructions are now given for slaves. We should remember that the Bible acknowledges the existence of institutions of which it does not necessarily approve. For instance, the Old Testament records the polygamous lives of many of the patriarchs, yet polygamy was never God’s will for His people. God has never approved of the injustices and cruelties of slavery; He will hold the masters responsible in a coming day. At the same time the New Testament does not advocate the overthrow of slavery by forcible revolution. Rather, it condemns and removes the abuses of slavery by the power of the gospel. History shows that the evils of slavery have disappeared wherever the Word of God has been widely preached and taught.

But in the meantime, where slavery still exists, a slave is not excluded from the very best in Christianity. He can be a witness to the transforming power of Christ, and he can adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. More space in the New Testament is devoted to slaves than to rulers of nations! This may be a clue to their relative importance in the kingdom of God. Christian bondservants (or slaves) should be obedient, except when it would mean disobeying the Lord. In that case they would have to refuse and patiently suffer the consequences as Christians. They should give satisfaction in every respect, that is, be productive both with regard to quantity and quality. All such service can be done as to Christ and will be fully rewarded by Him. They should not talk back or be impudent. Many slaves had the privilege of leading their masters to the Lord Jesus in the early days of Christianity, largely because the difference between pagan slaves and themselves was so glaring.

A Christian slave is in fact serving, not his earthly master, but the Lord Christ who will vindicate him in the end ([8]Colossians 3:23-24).

Paul did not get side-tracked into social reform. One cannot reform a lost society. The gospel will transform individuals in society and this is the minister’s calling. The trend today is to go around passing out aspirins, in the form of a so-called social gospel, to a sick society when it needs the work of a doctor “delivering” new babes into the kingdom of God. This is a much harder work and is opposed by every demon of hell, but it is the only lasting work and must be done by the man of God. Not answering again means not “contradicting. 

10 not [9]pilfering, but showing all good [10]fidelity, that they may [11]adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

One of the most obvious differences was that Christians slaves did not succumb to the common sin of other slaves, namely, pilfering. Petty thievery was common among slaves and they felt no compunction against it. Too many workers today fall into this same error. Businesses lose millions annually to employees who see nothing wrong with such thievery. Christian ethic bound them to strict honesty. Is it any wonder that Christian slaves commanded higher prices at public auctions? In general they were taught to show complete and true fidelity. They were to be totally trustworthy and thus adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every aspect of their lives and service. What was true of Christian bondservants then should be true of all Christian employees today.

11 For the [12]grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

The next four verses form a beautiful illustration of our salvation. But in admiring this literary gem, we must not separate it from its setting. Paul has been urging consistent behavior from all members of the family of God. Now he shows that one of the great purposes of our salvation is to produce lives of untainted holiness.

For the grace of God ... has appeared. Here the grace of God is virtually synonymous with the Son of God. God’s grace appeared when the Lord Jesus visited our planet and especially when He gave Himself for our sins. He appeared for the salvation of all men. His substitutionary work is sufficient for the redemption of all. A bona fide offer of pardon and forgiveness is made to all. But only those who truly receive Him as Lord and Savior are saved. There is no suggestion here or elsewhere in the Bible that everyone will be saved at last. Universal salvation is a lie of the devil.

Let no one say grace gives license to sin or to be rude or crude. It would take volumes just to delve into the depths of God’s grace but II Corinthians 8:9 sums it up by saying, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Oh, how rich He was in glory, and how poor He became as He took our sins upon Himself! Then how rich we became as the “sons of God” and “heirs of God” ([13]Rom. 8:16-17). This is the salvation grace brings ([14]Ephesians 2:8–10). Has appeared refers to the past act of Christ’s first coming to give himself for us, that he might redeem us.

12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age

The same grace that saves us also trains us in the school of holiness. There are “No-No’s” in that school which we must learn to renounce. The first is ungodliness, which means irreligion. Our initial response to God’s grace must be denying ungodliness. Some very blindly accuse those who believe salvation is solely by grace of turning grace into a license to sin. The second is worldly lusts—not just sexual sins, but also the lust for wealth, power, pleasure, fame, or anything else that is essentially worldly. While in the world the believer is not of the world and his desires are not to be set on this world system and its values.

On the positive side, grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously toward others, and godly in the pure light of His presence. Righteously, in simple terms, means just do right no matter what others may do! Godly means in a godly manner, not “holier than thou,” but with true piety. In the present age with regard to the gospel is not a pie in the sky, but it is for the here and now, and it teaches how to really live and not just exist, as the world does. These are the virtues that should characterize us in this world, where everything about us is going to be dissolved. It is the place of our pilgrimage and not our final home.  Christians live “in this present age”, but they do not live like it or for it.  Christ has redeemed us from this evil age ([15]Galatians 1:4), and we must not be conformed to it ([16]Romans 12: 1-2); neither should we walk according to its standards ([17]Ephesians 2:2).  We have tasted the powers of “the coming age” ([18]Hebrews 6:5), and we should not desire to cultivate the present age with its shallowness and godlessness.

13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

While living as aliens in the world, we are inspired to look for a magnificent hope—there is much more to come. Jesus is coming again and it will be the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, who are one-and-the-same. This is a strong statement of the deity of Christ. “Let God be true but every man a liar” but Jesus is God, not simply like God or godly, but He is God, for indeed, “the Word was God” ([19]Jn 1:1).

The Greek construction here is fantastic for the construction makes the blessed hope and glorious appearing to be one and the same thing. The one true hope and expectation of the believer is seeing Jesus as He is and being like Him ([20]I Jn 3:2). How the heart of the believer longs for that day ([21]II Tim 4:8). This is referring to the Rapture, when Christ appears in glory to the church and conveys it to heaven ([22]1 Thess. 4:13–18)? Or does it refer to Christ’s coming to reign, when He appears in glory to the world, puts down His foes, and sets up His kingdom ([23]Rev. 19:11–16)? Basically I believe Paul is speaking of the first—Christ’s coming for His bride, the church. But whether it is His coming as Bridegroom or as King, the believer should be prepared and looking for His glorious arrival.

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Cor 15:19).

14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

As we await His Return we never forget the purpose of His First Coming and of His self-sacrifice. He gave Himself not only to save us from the guilt and penalty of sin but to redeem us from every lawless deed. It would have been a half-way salvation if the penalty of sin had been canceled but its dominion in our lives was left unconquered.

Jesus also gave Himself to purify for Himself His own special people. The 1611 King James quaintly  says “a peculiar people.” Too often we are a peculiar people, but not in the way He intended! He didn’t die to make us an odd or strange people, but a people who belong to Him in a special way—not to the world or to ourselves. And He gave Himself for us that we might be zealous for good works. We should have enthusiasm to perform acts of kindness in His name and for His glory. When we think of the zeal of men for sports, politics, and business, we should be provoked to jealousy and inspired to good deeds. This is why He humbled Himself ([24]Phil 2:5–8) and became a man so He, the God-man, might suffer and die for our sins and redeem us from all iniquity. The word redeem (Gr lutroō) means “to set free by the payment of a ransom.” The believer is now set free from sin to become zealous of good works. He is “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” ([25]Eph 2:10), not because of good works which would be contrary to salvation by grace.15  Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

These are things that Titus was commissioned to teach—every thing discussed in the foregoing verses, and particularly the purposes of the Savior’s passion. He was to exhort or encourage the saints to live lives of practical godliness and to rebuke any who contradicted the apostolic teachings either by word or by life. And he didn’t have to be apologetic in carrying on a forceful ministry; let him do it with all authority and boldness of the Holy Spirit. Let no one despise you. Titus doesn’t need to have qualms about his youth, his Gentile background, or any natural disability. He was speaking the word of God, and this made all the difference.

Here Paul succinctly lays before Titus’ the threefold task of the Christian preacher, teacher and leader.  Titus’ was told to step out aggressively in his public ministry, encouraging those who were doing well, rebuking those who needed to be corrected, being intimidated by no one.

      It is a task of proclamation.  There is a message to be proclaimed.  There are some things where argument is not possible and on which discussion is not relevant.  There are times when he must say: “Thus saith of the Lord.”

It is a task of encouragement.  Any preacher who reduces his audience to bleak despair has failed in his task.  Men must be convicted of their sin, not that they may feel that their case is hopeless, but that they may be led to the grace which is greater than all their sin.

It is a task of conviction.  The eyes of the sinner must be opened to his sin; the mind of the misguided must be led to realize its mistake; the heart of the heedless must be stabbed away. The Christian message is no opiate to send men to sleep; it is rather the blinding light which shows men themselves as they are and God as he it is.


[1] (Rom. 6:1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? [1]

[2] (Rom. 5:2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Rom. 12:12) rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;[2]

[3] (Eph. 4:4) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;[3]

[4]  (1 Pet. 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead[4]

[5] (Heb. 6:19) This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, [5]

[6] (1 John 3:3) And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.[6]

[7] (I Tim 5:14) Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. [7]

[8] (Colossians 3:23-24) And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. [8]

[9] Pilfering: (a) To steal small things: to steal small items of little value, especially habitually. (b) In Acts 5:2, 3, it describes the act of Ananias and his wife in “retaining” part of the price of the land.

[10] Fidelity: loyalty to an allegiance, promise, or vow.

·         relating to God: the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of eternal salvation through Christ

·         relating to Christ: a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God

·         the religious beliefs of Christians[10]

[11] Adorn: enhance: to add to the beauty or glory of something or somebody

[12] Grace: God’s lavish favor on undeserving sinners.  Grace reforms us because God purifies us and makes us his own special possession.  This process of purification is called “sanctification,” and its goal is to make the believer more like Jesus Christ (Romans 8:39).  Sanctification is not only separation from sin, but it is also devotion to God (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).

[13] (Rom. 8:16-17) and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.[13]

[14] (Ephesians 2:8–10) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.[14]

[15] (Galatians 1:4) who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,[15]

[16] (Romans 12: 1-2) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.[16]

[17] (Ephesians 2:2) in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, [17]

[18] (Hebrews 6:5) and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,[18]

[19] (Jn 1:1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.[19]

[20] (I Jn 3:2) Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.[20]

[21] (II Tim 4:8). Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.[21]

[22] (1 Thess. 4:13–18)? But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words.[22]

[23] (Rev. 19:11–16) And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon. One woe is past. Behold, still two more woes are coming after these things. Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. [23]

[24] (Phil 2:5–8) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. [24]

[25] (Eph 2:10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.[25]

 Commentary On Titus

 

 

Chapter 3:Verses 1-11

 Title: EXHORTATION IN THE CONGREGATION 

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
--Titus 3: 1-11; NKJV

 

INTRODUCTION

We all need frequent reminders!

Remember what you should do (1–2). Christians are citizens of earth as well as citizens of heaven, and they should be the kind of people described in these two brief verses.
Remember what you were (3). God has forgotten our sins, and we should, too; but it does us good to remember what it was like to be a lost sinner. (See Deut. 5:15; 15:15; 24:18, 22; 1 Pet. 4:1–4.)
Remember what God did for you (4–7). Did you deserve to hear the gospel and receive the gift of eternal life? No, it all happened because of God’s kindness, love, and grace. “He saved us”—we did not save ourselves. He has washed away our sins; we stand justified in His sight; and we face the future confidently because we are the heirs of God.
Remember what God expects of you (8–11). A major theme in this letter is good works (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14). People who are busy for the Lord do not have time for useless arguments.


EXHORTATION IN THE CONGREGATION


1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,

Titus was also to remind believers in the Cretan assemblies of their responsibilities toward their government. The Christian approach is that all governments are ordained of God--“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”  ( Rom. 13:1). A regime might be very unchristian or even anti-Christian, but any government is better than no government at all. The absence of government is anarchy, and people cannot survive for long under anarchy. Even if a ruler does not know God personally, he is still “the anointed of the Lord” in his official position, and should be respected as such.  Respect and obedience are to be paid to the office and not necessarily to the person. Christians should be obedient to rulers and authorities. But if a government leaves its God-ordained sphere and commands a believer to disobey God, then the believer should refuse on the principle of Acts 5:29: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” If he is punished he should bear the punishment meekly as to the Lord. He should never join in rebellion against the government or seek its overthrow by violence.

Believers should obey the laws, including traffic laws, and pay their taxes and other levies. In general they should be law-abiding, respectful, obedient subjects. However, there are three areas in which Christians differ considerably as to their proper responsibility. These are the matters of voting, of seeking elected office, and of going to war with the armed forces. With regard to the first two, the following helpful guidelines are laid down in the Bible:


1. Christians are in the world but are not of it: “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14-16).

2. The whole world system is in the hands of the wicked one, and has been condemned by God: “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. (John 12:31).

3. The Christian’s mission is not to improve the world, but to see men saved out of it.
While the believer is almost unavoidably a citizen of some earthly country, his primary citizenship is from heaven—so much so that he is to look upon himself as a pilgrim and an alien down here-- “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil 3:20).

4. No soldier on active duty should entangle himself with the affairs of this life, lest he displease the one who has enlisted him: “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Tim. 2:4).

5. The Lord Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). As His ambassadors, we should represent this truth to the world.

6. Politics tend to become corrupt by their very nature. Christians should separate themselves from iniquity: “Therefore Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:17, 18).

7. In voting, a Christian would normally vote for a man thought to be upright and honest. But sometimes it is God’s will to exalt the lowest of men-- "This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men" ( Dan. 4:17). How could we know and obey the will of God in such cases?

The other question is whether a believer should go to war when ordered by his country. There are strong arguments on both sides, but it seems to me that the balance of evidence is against participating. The principles listed above bear on the problem, but there are additional ones. (1) Our Lord said, “If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight” (John 18:36). (2) He also said, “All who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). (3) The whole idea of taking human life is opposed to the teaching of Him who said, “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44).

Those who are opposed to bearing arms can be grateful if they live in a country where they are allowed to register as conscientious objectors or non-combatants.

 
On the other hand, many Christian men have served in combat with honor. They have noted that the New Testament presents centurions (e.g. Cornelius and Julius) in a very favorable light. Also, figures of speech from military life are used to illustrate the Christian warfare-- Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; ( Eph. 6:10–17). If soldiering were inherently wrong it is hard to see how Paul could call on us to be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” Whichever view a person holds, he should not judge or condemn those who disagree. There is room for differing opinions.

An additional obligation of the Christian disciple is that he be ready for every good work. Not all jobs are honorable—much modern advertising is built on lies, and some businesses sell products that are harmful to man’s spiritual, mental, and physical health. In all good conscience, these occupations should be avoided.

2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

 A Christian should speak evil of no one. Elsewhere the Bible specifically forbids speaking evil of a ruler ( *Ex. 22:28; **Acts 23:5)—a command that all Christians should remember in the heat of a political campaign or in times of oppression and persecution. But here the injunction is broadened to protect everyone from ridicule, slander, insult, or verbal abuse. What oceans of grief and trouble could be avoided if Christians would obey this simple precept to speak evil of no one!  We are to guard against maligning anyone, and we are not to repeat gossip.  It has been said that you can’t believe everything you here today, but you can repeat it!  Another old saying is that some people will believe anything if it is whispered to them!

*(Ex. 22:28) “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

**(Acts 23:5) “Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’ ”

 

We should be peaceable and avoid quarreling. It takes two to generate a dispute. When someone tried to pick a quarrel with Dr. Ironside over a matter of minor importance which he had preached on, he would reply, “Well, dear brother, when we get to heaven, one of us is going to be wrong, and perhaps it will be me.” That spirit put an end to all argument.

We should be gentle, that is, there should be an attitude of moderation and sweet reasonableness. It is hard to think about this quality without thinking of the Lord Jesus. He was mild-mannered and kind, peaceful and conciliatory. And we should show all humility, or courtesy, to all men. It seems so proper that courtesy should be taught as one of the Christian virtues. Essentially it means humbly thinking of others, putting others first and saying and doing the gracious thing. Courtesy serves others before self, jumps at opportunities to assist, and expresses prompt appreciation for kindnesses received. It is never crude, vulgar, or rude.

3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

God’s picture of us before our conversion is not flattering. It is so easy to forget what manner of men we once were. Professing to know all the answers, we were actually foolish, unable to comprehend spiritual truths, and unwise in our choices and conduct. We were disobedient to God and perhaps to parents and other authorities as well. Romans 1:18 shows just how far the unbeliever will go to be disobedient to God—“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” We were deceived by the devil and our own perverted judgment, always missing the right way and ending up on dead-end streets. We were serving various unclean habits, enslaved by an evil thought-life and besetting sins of all kinds. Life was a constant round of bitter malice and envy toward others. Unlovable and selfish, we were miserable and made others miserable. Hateful and hating one another: What a sad commentary on life among quarreling neighbors, warring fellow employees, cut-throat business competitors, and feuding families!

Paul never lost his memory of what he once was, and it moved him to compassion for the lost.  And like Paul, our own past sins should lead us to be lenient towards those of others.

4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,

The dismal picture of man’s depravity is interrupted by one of the great buts of Scripture. How thankful we can be for these nick-of-time conjunctions that signal God’s marvelous intervention to save man from destroying himself! Someone has called them God’s roadblocks on man’s way to hell.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared ... This occurred when the Lord Jesus appeared to the world over two thousand years ago. In another sense, God’s goodness and loving-kindness appeared to us when we were saved. It was a demonstration of these attributes when He sent His beloved Son to die for a world of rebellious sinners. The word used for love ... toward men is the Greek word from which philanthropy comes; it combines the thoughts of love, graciousness, and compassion.  Love and grace have, through the Spirit, great power to turn the heart of God.  The title God our Savior refers to God the Father—our Savior in the sense that He sent His Son into the world as our Sacrifice for sin. The Lord Jesus is also called God our Savior [(Titus 2:13) “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"] because He paid the necessary penalty in order that we might be pardoned and forgiven.

5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

He saved us from the guilt and penalty of all our sins—past, present, and future. They were all future when the Savior died, and His death covered them all. But one of the simplest, clearest truths of the gospel is the most difficult for man to receive. It is that salvation is not based on good works.  This eliminates all works whatsoever; not only those done by an unsaved man in self righteousness, but also works done in true righteousness. One doesn’t become a Christian by living a Christian life. It is not good people who go to heaven. The consistent testimony of the Bible is that man cannot earn or merit salvation. (*Eph. 2:9; Rom. 3:20; 4:4, 5; 9:16; 11:6 Gal. 2:16; 3:11). Man cannot save himself by good works; all his righteous deeds are like polluted rags in God’s sight--"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." ( Isa. 64:6). He cannot become a Christian by living a Christian life for the simple reason that he has no power in himself to live a Christian life. It is not good people who go to heaven; it is sinners who have been saved by God’s grace!

*(Ephesians 2.9) "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Good works do not earn salvation; they are the result of salvation. Wherever there is true salvation there will also be good works. So we read that God did not save us because of works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy. Salvation is a work of mercy—not justice. Justice demands that the deserved punishment be administered; mercy provides a righteous way by which the punishment is averted.

God saved us by the washing of regeneration.  “Salvation comes not by trusting our works of righteousness, but His work of redemption on the cross. Jesus spoke of it as being born again. It is the act of the Holy Ghost--"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" ( Jn 3:5–8). Conversion creates a new creation--"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" ( 2 Cor. 5:17); and here that new creation is presented under the figure of a bath. It is the same figure used by the Lord Jesus when He taught the disciples that there is only one bath of regeneration but many necessary cleansings from defilement--"Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all" ( John 13:10). That bath of regeneration has nothing to do with baptism. It is not a bodily cleansing by water, but a moral cleansing by the word of God--"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." ( John 15:3). Baptism is not even a symbol of this bath; it rather depicts burial with Christ into death and rising with Christ to new life--"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" ( Rom. 6:4).

Our new birth is also spoken of as a renewing of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God brings about a marvelous transformation—not putting new clothes on the old man, but putting a new man in the clothes! The Holy Spirit is the Agent in regeneration and the word of God is the instrument. Through the Holy Spirit we mortify sin, perform duty, walk in God’s ways; all the working of the divine life in us, and the fruits of righteousness without, are through this blessed and Holy Spirit.

6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

God poured out the Holy Spirit on us abundantly.  Have you notice that in every thing God does there is a surplus? He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. Every believer is indwelt by the Spirit from the moment he is born again. The Spirit is sufficient to bring about the glorious renewal referred to. The Spirit is given through Jesus Christ our Savior. Just as the abundance of Pharaoh’s court was made available to Jacob’s sons through Joseph, so the blessings of God, including the inexpressible blessing of His Spirit, are made available to us through the Lord Jesus. Jesus is our “Joseph.”

All three Persons of the Blessed Trinity are mentioned in connection with our salvation: God the Father, (v. 4); the Holy Spirit, (v. 5); and God the Son (v. 6). God thought it, Christ bought it, and the Spirit wrought it.

7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The central truth of salvation is justification by faith alone. When a sinner repents and places his faith in Jesus Christ, God declares him just, imputes the righteousness of Christ to him, and gives him eternal life by virtue of the substitutionary death of Christ as the penalty for that sinner’s inequity.


Justification, in the gospel sense, is the free forgiveness of a sinner; accepting him as righteous through the righteousness of Christ received by faith.

The immediate result of our regeneration is that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, God reckons us righteous by an act of amazing grace. He declares a believing sinner righteous because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. God puts to our account the righteousness of His Son, so that we can no longer be condemned. Not only does He forget our sins, but He forgets that we were even sinners. And we become heirs of all that God has prepared for those who love Him; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ--"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" ( Rom 8:16–17). Everything that is included in being with Christ and like Him for all eternity is our hope. What a “great salvation”--"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;" ( Heb 2:3).

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

When Paul says “This is a faithful saying” are we to understand that he is referring to the preceding section, or the rest of the verse? The thrust of his argument seems to be that, having been saved from so much by such a great salvation, we should live in a manner worthy of our high calling.

When Paul says, I want you to affirm constantly, the word “affirm” is the same word used of the false teachers in  I Timothy 1:7; "desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm." It means to strongly affirm. Affirm that believers are to maintain good works. Sometimes this is neglected and believers can take a “who cares” attitude. This must not be so.

Titus was to insist on these things (discussed in vv. 1–7) in his ministry in Crete so that believers would be careful to maintain good works. Although the expression good works may mean honorable occupations, the wider meaning—good works in general—is probably the right one. Teaching which calls for behavior that is consistent with one’s Christian profession is excellent and profitable. All teaching should have a personal and practical application.

The fact that the believer is saved by the grace of God does not excuse him from performing good works.  The fact of the matter is, he is to “be careful to maintain good works.” Paul says that Titus should just keep affirming this constantly.

My friend, after you have been saved, God is going to talk to you about good works.  Until that time, God is not even interested in your “good works” because what you call a good work God calls dirty laundry.  The righteousness of man is filthy rags in His sight--"But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away" ( Isaiah 64:6).  He doesn’t want any of that.  He wants to save you.

9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.

Of course, there are always traps to be avoided in the Christian ministry. In Paul’s day there were stupid disputes over clean and unclean foods, Sabbath regulations, and observance of holy days. Arguments arose over genealogies, both angelic and human. There was bickering over intricate regulations that had been superimposed on the law. Paul was disgusted with them as being unprofitable and useless.  You may whip a man down intellectually by your arguments, but that does not touch his heart and win him for Christ.

Servants of the Lord in our day may take Paul’s advice to heart by avoiding the following tangents:
1. Pre-occupation with methods rather than with spiritual realities. For example, the ancient debates over whether to use fermented wine or grape juice, leavened or unleavened bread, a common cup or individual cups—as if these were important questions in the Bible!
2. Quibbling over words.
3. Concentrating on one truth, or even one aspect of a truth, to the exclusion of all else.
4. Allegorizing the Scriptures (making them look like fables or just made-up stories) until they becomes absurd.
5. Theological nit-picking that edifies no one.
6. Wandering from the word into political by-paths and into Christian crusades against this and that.

What a tragedy to spend precious time on these things while a world is perishing!

10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second  admonition (warning),

The man who majors on these minors (see v. 9) is a divisive heretic. He usually has one string on his violin and plays it to death. Soon he gathers around himself a crowd of people with a negative outlook, and the rest he drives away. He will divide an assembly rather than abandon his doctrinal hobbyhorse. No church should put up with such nonsense. If after one or two warnings, he refuses to desist, he should be expelled from the fellowship of the local church and the Christians should refrain from having social contact with him. Hopefully, this ostracism will bring him to repentance and to a more balanced handling of the Word of God.

11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

Just in case anyone thinks that such a person is not a serious threat to the church, the apostle reprimands him as warped and sinning, being self-condemned. His behavior is a perversion rather than a version of Christianity. He is sinning by forming a sect or party. He is self-condemned because he stubbornly clings to his wickedness after being warned by responsible Christians.
This person is twisted by his own beliefs; he condemns himself and shows whose camp he is in.

 Commentary On Titus

Chapter 1, Verses 1-4

Title: Salutation

Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 1:1-4; NKJV)  

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Paul emphasizes as part of his salutation, the nature of his service as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He will make three claims:
1. Salvation: God’s purpose is to save the elect by the gospel.
2. Sanctification: God’s purpose is to build up the saints by the Word of God.
3. Glorification: God’s purpose is to bring believers to eternal glory.

 

SALUTATION 

 

1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ,  according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with Godliness.

Alternate Translation (NLT): This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to bring faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live Godly lives.

Paul, a bondservant of God.  The apostle does not use this phrase elsewhere. In other epistles he calls himself the “bondslave of Jesus Christ,” Romans 1:1; “of Christ,” Galatians 1:10; “of Christ Jesus,” Philippians 1:1.

The common way to begin a letter in Paul’s day was with an identification of the author by name and title. Paul did not vary from this form. He was both a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. The first pictures him as a slave of the Supreme Master, the second as an envoy of the Sovereign Lord. The first speaks of submission, the second of authority. He became a bondservant by personal commitment, an apostle by divine appointment. He is not just a worker but one who  gives himself wholly to another’s will. This was Paul’s view of himself in relation to God and ought to be that of every Christian. On the other hand, he was chosen by God to be an apostle. What a humble and high position he held at the same time. He was an apostle according to “or in accord with” the faith, the whole body of revealed truth. This is a high honor; it is the glory of angels that they are ministering spirits, and sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation--"Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" (Heb 1:14;NKJV).

Paul is described as a chief minister, an apostle of Jesus Christ; one who had seen the Lord, and was immediately called and commissioned by him, and received his doctrine from him. Note, The highest officers in the church are only servants. The apostles of Jesus Christ, who were engaged in spreading and cultivating his religion, were also the servants of God; they did not set up any thing that was inconsistent with the truths and duties of the Christian religion. Christianity, which they preached, was designed by God and was meant to clarify and enforce those  principles of truths and duties, as well as to develop them, and to spread them to men in their degenerate state. Therefore the apostles of Jesus Christ were the servants of God. But the early church had to test those who “say they are apostles” ([1]Rev 2:2). Paul could stand the test.

[1] “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.”

"and an apostle of Jesus Christ;" Paul frequently speaks of himself by this phrase, and here he combined the two, “the bondservant of God and the apostle of Jesus Christ” (1James 1:1). The reason for this title may be that this epistle was of a somewhat more official character than those to Timothy. Moreover his relations with Timothy were more intimate than those with Titus (see [2]1 Tim. 1:2 and [3]2 Tim. 1:2). Or the reason he asserts his apostleship here is that he is going to give instructions to the organized church. These instructions come from an apostle, the appointed writer of the Lord Jesus who was now communicating with His church through His apostles. The Epistle to Titus is also a communication to us from the Lord Jesus.

[2] (1 Tim. 1:2) “It is written to Timothy, my true child in the faith. May God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.” 

[3] (2 Tim 1:2) “It is written to Timothy, my dear son. May God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.”

When Paul summoned one of his fellow workers to do a task, he always began by mentioning his own authority to speak, and then he would lay again the foundation of the gospel. That is what he is doing at the beginning of this letter to Titus. First, by saying he is an apostle, he points out that he belongs to a great succession of men who could also say of themselves, “I am a slave of God“, men like Amos, Jeremiah, and Joshua. It gave him great authority. He was the envoy of Jesus Christ. When he spoke, it was with the authority of Christ.

according to the faith of God’s elect . The words “according to,” signify more than conformity to something or to someone, it also conveys the idea of a direct purpose ([4]2 Tim. 1:1), and what the apostle points out is that the object of his ministry was that through him those chosen of God should believe. “The faith” mentioned here is faith which accepts the truth. [5]Acts 13:48 shows that all faith on the part of the elect rests in the hands of God; they do not become elect by their faith. But they receive faith from Christ, and so becomes believers, because they are elect.

[4[ “This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, sent out to tell others about the life he has promised through faith in Christ Jesus.” It is great to know the will of God for one’s life. God has a will (desire) for each one’s life.

[5]  Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

The goals of his ministry were to further the faith of God’s [6]elect and the acknowledgement of the truth. Furthering their faith may mean either bringing them to faith (conversion) in the first place, or leading them on in the faith after salvation. The apostles’ two basic aims were: (1) evangelism —furthering the faith of God’s elect; (2) education—furthering their knowledge of the truth. It is an echo of Matthew 28:20—“preaching the gospel to all nations and teaching them to observe all things Christ commanded.” In specifying without apology that it is the faith of God’s elect he is called to promote, the apostle confronts us with the doctrine of [7]election. Few doctrines of Scripture have suffered more misunderstanding, provoked more debate, and strained more intellects. Briefly, it teaches that God chose certain ones in Christ before the foundation of the world with the ultimate intention that they should be holy and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4). 

[6] ELECT — a person or group chosen by God for special favor and for the rendering of special service to Him. In the Old Testament the Hebrew people were described as God’s elect. The New Testament speaks of Christ as God’s Chosen One (1 Pet. 2:4, 6) and of the church as God’s new chosen people (Rom. 8:33; 2 John 1, 13).

[7] ELECTION — the gracious and free act of God by which He calls those who become part of His kingdom and special beneficiaries of His love and blessings. The Bible describes the concept of election in three distinct ways. Election sometimes refers to the choice of Israel and the church as a people for special service and privileges. Election may also refer to the choice of a specific individual to some office or to perform some special service. Still other passages of the Bible refer to the election of individuals to be children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Believers are elect to the extent that they are chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world ([8]Eph. 1:4), all of them being foreknown and foreseen as such by God ([9]John 17:6 and [10]Romans 8:29). Those whom He foreknew He chose, and that always for specific purposes. The source of their election is God’s grace, not human will, ([11] Ephesians 1:4-5).
But, how is it that the elect come to faith in Jesus Christ? The Holy Spirit gives precious divine faith to those who are the elect of God ([12]1 Pt. 1:2), and that faith is appropriate for those who are chosen to eternal life (2 Th. 2:13, 14): "...God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto he called you by our gospel. The exercise of personal faith leading to salvation is prompted and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

[8] “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” This is a definite statement of God’s elective grace concerning believers in Christ. Apart from Christ, there would have been no election and no salvation. God always deals with man in Christ, who is the one and only Mediator between God and men (I Tim 2:5). Paul traces man’s salvation back to the plan of God’s will. God’s choice was eternal; His plan is timeless. The fall of man was no surprise to God, and redemption was no afterthought. God provided for our salvation before one star glittered in the infinite expanse. We must be careful not to draw false conclusions from this sublime truth. God is not stating a fatalistic doctrine in which He arbitrarily elects some to heaven and consigns all others to hell. There is no scriptural doctrine of election to damnation. God’s election provides for the means as well as the ends. God’s infallible Word plainly states, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10:13). Man either receives or disbelieves God’s provisions in Christ. “So far as the human race is concerned, every man may not only accept Christ as Savior but is urged and invited to do so. The ground of this invitation is the work of the incarnate Son … Divine foreordination and human freedom are humanly irreconcilable, but like two parallel lines that meet in infinity, they have their solution in God.”

[9] “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word”

[10] " For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”

[11] just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

[12] elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with Godliness, The implication is that having knowledge through the Word, is a powerful influence on a person. It is only through having a connection to Jesus Christ that the truth can be fully apprehended. Hence, the verse states two purposes of ministry: (1) faith, (2) the knowledge of the truth in a Godly life. God declares His truth through dedicated people, and it is a joy to share the Word with others. The truth Paul has in mind here is the gospel truth, the saving message of the death , burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The angels in heaven would love to change places with us, so we should never cease to marvel that God would use us.

Faith is the first principle of sanctification. The gospel is truth; the great, sure, and saving truth ([13]Col. 1:5)-the word of the truth of the gospel. Divine faith does not rest on fallible reasoning and probable opinions, but on the infallible word, the truth itself, which is after Godliness (of a Godly nature and tendency), pure, and purifying the heart of the believer. This is how to judge doctrines: all doctrines must come from God; whatever is impure, and prejudicial to true piety and practical religion, cannot be from God. All gospel truth is after Godliness, teaching and nourishing reverence and fear of God, and obedience to him; it is truth not only to be known, but acknowledged; it must be engaged in word and practice, ([14]Phil. 2:15-16). With the heart man believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Rom. 10:10).

[13] “because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” Because of the hope, not on account of the hope. The hope here is for heavenly rewards, specifically, the crown of righteousness. It is stored up like a treasure, reserved (II Tim 4:8; I Pet 1:3–5). The hope Paul speaks of is still future, and its nature is still unknown, but its possession is absolutely certain.

[14] that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Paul will dwell on this theme that when the gospel is believed it will lead to godliness because the people on the island of Crete were abusing the grace of God. They said that if they had been saved by grace they were free to live in sin if they wanted to. Paul answers that right here in the first verse by saying that when the truth of God is believed it will lead to godliness. Grace saves us, but it also lays down certain disciplines for our lives and calls us to live on a high plane. You cannot use the doctrine of the grace of God to excuse sin. If you think you can be saved by grace and live in sin--may I say this kindly, but I must say it--you are not saved by grace; you are not saved at all. Salvation by grace leads to a godly life.

2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,

Alternate Translation (NLT): This truth gives them the confidence of eternal life, which God promised them before the world began—and he cannot lie.

in hope of eternal life which God. Paul’s commission in connection with the gospel has a third great emphasis. It was not only concerned with: (1) evangelism—furthering the faith of God’s elect, past tense; and (2) education—furthering their knowledge of the truth, present tense; but also (3) expectation—in hope of eternal life, future tense.

The NT speaks of eternal life as both a present possession and a future hope. The word “hope” does not imply uncertainty. The moment we trust Christ as Savior we have eternal life as a present possession ([15]John 5:24) and we become heirs to all the benefits of His redemptive work, but we will not experience the practical enjoyment of all of them until we reach our eternal home. We hope in the sense that we are looking forward to eternal life in its final form when we will receive our glorified bodies and be forever free from sin, sickness, sorrow, suffering, and death [16]Phil. 3:20-21).

[15] “Most assuredly, I say to you, she who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."

[16] “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” Our citizenship is in heaven. Heaven is the Christian’s home; he is only temporarily in this world. The church is really a colony of heaven: our names are enrolled in heaven; we are under heaven’s government; we share heaven’s glory; we enjoy heaven’s honor. Heavenly conduct should mark the Christian. Our allegiance is to Jesus Christ. We wait with eager expectation for the Second Coming of Christ. This is the normal attitude of a citizen of heaven.

The hope is sure because it was promised by God. Nothing is as sure as the word of God, who cannot lie, who cannot be deceived, and who would not deceive. There is no risk in believing what He says. In fact nothing is more reasonable than for the creature to believe his Creator.
Another, and perhaps even better, translation of the preposition “in“ within this context and within the phrase “in hope of eternal life” is “upon.” Therefore, the phrase would be “Upon hope of eternal life” upon the basis of a hope or expectation of eternal life.

Since eternal life in the future is a matter of divine promise, its conferral, is consistent with the character of God. The promise was made not merely “before the world began” (A.V.), but before time began ([17]2 Tim. 1:9).

[17] "who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began"

The gospel is intended to do more than give the “good news” of salvation through faith in Christ. It will also bring about hope and faith; and take the mind and heart  off of the world, and put them on heavenly things. The faith and Godliness of Christians lead to eternal life, and give hope, for the God, that cannot lie, hath promised it. It is to the honor of God that he cannot lie or deceive: and this is a comfort to believers, whose treasure is laid up and kept for them according to his faithful promises. But how is it that he can make a promise before the world began? Answer, The Holy Trinity took council before there was ever a world and decided that faith in the Son of God would be the basis of salvation. That was the embryo of the promise given in [18]Genesis 3:15.  How wonderfully excellent is this gospel, which was given so early! How much then, should we esteem him, and thank him for our privileges as saints of his kingdom!

[18] "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

We believers have eternal life now ([19]Jn. 5:11-12), but when Jesus returns, we will enjoy eternal life in an even greater way.

[19] "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The message of the apostles was essentially this: the one who has the Son, that is in the sense of believing in Him, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

who cannot lie, The phrase “Who cannot lie,” literally means “free from falsehood,” and is used only here in the New Testament. Perhaps Paul used this phrase to make a comparison of the character of God, who cannot lie, with that of the Cretans, who lie continually. It says in Romans 3:4, “…let God be true, but every man a liar…” You see, God must be true to Himself. If He is holy and He is righteous--that is His nature, and there are certain things He cannot do because of His nature. It is not because it is impossible for Him to do it; but because God is true to His nature, He cannot do it. He is righteous, He is just, and He never deceives. He is One you can depend upon.

promised before time began, God promised eternal life before time began. This may be understood in two ways. First, God determined in past eternity to give eternal life to all who would believe on the Lord Jesus, and what He determined was the same as a promise. Or it may mean that all the blessings of salvation were contained in germ form in the promise of the Messiah found in [18]Genesis 3:15. This was before the ages of time or dispensations began to unfold. God’s plan of salvation was not an afterthought ([20]Rev 13:8). The time for Christ’s coming was fixed by God in eternity past, and it was the exact right time for Him to come.

[20] “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” This will not happen at the Rapture, but at the Second Coming of Christ. With the display of such unprecedented power, it is easy to see how all that dwell upon the earth will be quick to enlist themselves as worshippers of him. The times of the Gentiles began with man-worship (see. Nebuchadnezzar in Dan 3); and they will end the same way, as is clearly stated here. Only those who have trusted Christ as Savior, whose names are eternally recorded in the book of life of the Lamb, will refuse the beast the worship that belongs only to God.

3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;

Alternate Translation (NLT): And now at the right time he has revealed this Good News, and we announce it to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been trusted to do this work for him.

but has in due time manifested His word through preaching. God has a schedule and is always on time. God’s plan is revealed in his word and His Word is made known through preaching. “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (the message of the Cross) to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). All of Paul’s ministry was done with a “view” to eternal life. It was promised in eternity past by God, who cannot default on His Word.

There are seasons or periods appointed by God as the appropriate time for the manifestation of His word to us. The “word” is the gospel which was due to be proclaimed as an immediate result of Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross, the resurrection and ascension of Christ and the descending of the Holy Spirit. When God was dealing with mankind during all the preceding ages, he was preparing them for the coming of Christ and the cross. The preaching of the gospel is the message for today, and everyone needs to hear it for Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, by the word preached.

which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior   At just the right time, God made known this glorious program of eternal life which He had decided on in past ages. He had not fully revealed it in OT times. Believers then had a very hazy idea of life after death. But the vagueness disappeared with the coming of the Savior. He “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). And the good news was broadcast by Paul and the other apostles in fulfillment of the commandment of God our Savior, that is, in obedience to the Great Commission.

Paul stated that he was appointed by God to perform his ministry. The ministry is a trust and an honor, and all those who are appointed or called to preach, must preach the word ([21]1 Co. 9:16). Preaching is a work appointed by God the Savior. The proof of Christ’s deity, and that He committed the preaching of the gospel to Paul is found in his conversion (Acts 9:15, 17, and ch. 22:10, 14, 15), and again when Christ appeared to him, v. 17–21. Christ is this Savior: the Father saves by the Son through the Spirit, and all three concur in sending ministers. Therefore, do not accept a minister who rests in men’s calling, but is without God’s, since it is God who furnishes, calls, authorizes, and gives the opportunity for the work of a preacher.

[21] “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!”   Paul is ironically answering now the questions he asked to begin with. “Am I not free, am I not an apostle?” The implied answer to the first is “no”; as for the second, “yes, but that is no cause for glorying.” "For necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"

4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

Alternate Translation (NLT): This letter is written to Titus, my true child in the faith that we share. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.

To Titus, a true son in our common faith: The Letter is addressed to Titus, Paul’s true son in a common faith. But who is this Titus? We have to piece together his biography from sparse references to him in three of Paul’s Letters. A Greek by birth ([22]Gal. 2:3), he was born again by faith in the Lord Jesus, possibly through Paul’s ministry. A battle was then raging over what was the true gospel. On one side were Paul and all those who taught salvation by grace through faith plus nothing. On the other side were the Judaizers who insisted that circumcision (and thus lawkeeping) was required, for first-class citizenship in God’s kingdom. Titus became a test case in the controversy. Paul and Barnabas took him to Jerusalem ([23]Gal. 2:1) for a conference with the apostles and elders. The decision of the council was that a Gentile like Titus did not have to submit to Jewish laws and ceremonies in order to be saved ([24]Acts 15:11). Gentiles did not have to become Jews. Jews did not have to become Gentiles. Rather, Jews and Gentiles became a new creation when they believed in Jesus.

[22] "But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:"

[23] “Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me."
[24] “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” 
From then on, Titus became one of Paul’s most valuable assistants, serving as a “trouble-shooter” in Corinth and Crete. He was the right man for a tough assignment. The apostle first sent him from Ephesus to Corinth with one of the severest letters Paul ever wrote ([25]2 Cor. 8:16), presumably to correct doctrinal and ethical disorders in the assembly there. When Titus later rejoined Paul in Macedonia, Paul was overjoyed to hear that the Corinthians had responded positively to his apostolic admonitions (2 Cor. 2:12, 13; 7:5–7, 13–16). From Macedonia, Paul sent Titus to Corinth again, this time to expedite a collection for poor saints in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:6, 16, 17; 12:18). Paul described him as “my partner and fellow worker concerning you” (2 Cor. 8:23). We do not  know definitely when Paul was with Titus in Crete, but it is generally believed to have been after the apostle’s first imprisonment in Rome.
 
[25]  “But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.” What Paul is asking of the Corinthians in terms of spontaneous loving concern for brethren in need, is reflected in the attitude of Titus toward them. Notice here that Paul understands that the character qualities distinctive of a spiritual life are not intrinsic to human nature, but given by God."
 
The last mention of Titus is in [26]2 Timothy 4:10. He was with Paul during part of his second imprisonment, but then Paul reports him as having left for Dalmatia, the Yugoslavia of today. Paul may have sent him there, though the general tone of the verse is that of a lonely and deserted man.
 
[26] "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia."

The apostle speaks of Titus as his true son (his spiritual son) in a common faith (the faith common to all the people of God). This may mean that Paul was instrumental in Titus’ conversion, but not necessarily. Paul also addressed Timothy as his true son in the faith ([2]1 Tim. 1:2), yet it is possible that Timothy was already a disciple when Paul first met him ([27]Acts 16:1). So the expression may mean that these younger men exhibited spiritual qualities similar to Paul’s, and that in Christian service there was a family-like bond.
[27] “Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.”

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. For his young lieutenant, Paul wishes grace, mercy, and peace. In this context, grace means the divine strength needed for life and service. Mercy is compassion on man’s deep need. Peace means freedom from anxiety, panic, and distraction despite adverse circumstances. These come jointly from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. In thus linking the Father and the Son as the sources of grace, mercy, and peace, the Spirit of God implies their complete equality.


Summary

As you review this material, you can see that Paul related everything in his ministry to the Word of God. His calling and His preaching depended on faith in Christ. He wanted Titus to grasp this fact and to make the Word of God a priority in his ministry. Throughout all three of his Pastoral Epistles-1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus-there is an emphasis on teaching the Word of God. Local churches ought to be “Bible schools” where the Word of God is taught systematically and in a practical way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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