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Paul's letter is directed to Titus but also looks beyond him to the churches he supervised. There are at least three major themes: Christian elders, in contrast to the false teachers (chapter 1), Christian homes, our duties to each other being enforced by confidence in the first and second comings of Christ (chapter 2), and Christian relationships in public life, which are the direct fruits of salvation (chapter 3). These chapters also relate to the main contexts of Christian living in the church, the home and the world.
Paul, a servant
Cf. e.g., Jos 1:2; 24:29; Je 7:25; Is 44:1.
of God, and an apostle
of Jesus Christ
[christou; Heb. Messiah]
, according to
of God's chosen ones
, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness
in hope of eternal life
, which God, who can't lie
, promised before time began
[pro chronon aiōniōn]
but in his own time revealed
in the message with which I was entrusted
according to the commandment of God our Saviour; 4
Greek by birth (Gal 2:3), and one of Paul's converts. Likely to have accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys, he came into prominence in relation to the Corinthian church, where he was sent on his first diplomatic mission. His second was also to Corinth and related to the collection which Paul was organizing among the Greek churches for the benefit of the poorer churches in Judea. Titus is later summoned by Paul to join him at Nicopolis for the winter, near the Adriatic coast (3:11). It may have been from here, or later from Rome, that Titus went (on a mission?) further north along the Adriatic to the coastal area of Dalmatia (2 Tim 4:10). Eusebius wrote (c. AD 325) that Titus returned to Crete to become its first bishop, and that he died there in old age (Ecclesiastical History 3.4.6.).
, my true
child according to a common
, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. 5
I left you in Crete for this reason, that you would set in order
the things that were lacking
, and appoint
in every city
, as I directed you; 6
if anyone is blameless
, the husband of one wife, having children
Usually refers to youngsters who are still in their minority and therefore under their parents' authority but cf. Ac 2:39 and Mk 2:5.
who believe, who are not accused of loose
For the overseer
Elder (presbyteros) and bishop (episkopos) are not two distinct church offices, but the same people with distinct titles; 'presbyter-bishops'. The emergence of three orders of ordained ministry (bishops, presbyters and deacons) belongs to the beginning of the second century. It is not found in the NT, although Titus may be seen as an embryonic 'bishop' in that he had jurisdiction over a number of churches in Crete, and chief responsibility for the selection and appointment of pastors.
must be blameless
'Without blame', 'unaccused', 'unimpeachable'; not unblemished (amōmos referring to the final perfection, e.g., Eph 1:4).
, as God's steward
; not self-pleasing
, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain
but given to hospitality
, as a lover of good
, sober minded
, holy, self-controlled
holding to the faithful
which is according to the teaching
, that he may be able to exhort
in the sound doctrine
, and to convict
those who contradict
For there are also many unruly
men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11
whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow
, teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest
gain's sake. 12
One of them, a prophet
By the poet Epimenides (a sixth century BC native of Knossos, Crete) who was held in high esteem by the Cretans as a prophet and miracle-worker. In Greek literature, to "Cretanize" meant to lie or cheat; krētismos meant 'falsehood'. Epimenides joked that the absence of wild beasts on the island was supplied by its human inhabitants. Their avarice was proverbial, so that Polybius could say, 'Greed and avarice are so native to the soil in Crete, that they are the only people in the world among whom no stigma attaches to any sort of gain whatever'. Paul may have had the Cretans 'on the horns of a dilemma' for if they endorsed their prophet's statement, they condemned themselves; if they repudiated it, they made him the liar he said they were!.
of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons." 13
is true. For this cause, reprove
them sharply, that they may be sound
in the faith
not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men
who turn away from
the truth. 15
To the pure
, all things are pure
; but to those who are defiled
, nothing is pure
; but both their mind and their conscience
that they know God, but by their works they deny
him, being abominable
, and unfit for any good work.
But say the things which fit sound
'To be healthy'. Hygiēs (like 'hygiene') also means 'healthy' or 'fit'. Cf. healing of those made whole in Mk 5:34; Jn 5:9; Ac 4:10.
that older men should be temperate, sensible, sober minded, sound
, in love
, and in patience
and that older women
likewise be reverent
Only occurrence in NT; 'befitting a holy person or thing' or 'like a priest(ess).
, not slanderers
nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good
that they may train the young women to love their husbands
, to love their children
to be sober minded
, chaste, workers at home
, kind, being in subjection
to their own husbands, that God's word
may not be blasphemed
Likewise, exhort the younger men to be sober minded
in all things showing yourself an example
of good works
; in your teaching
, seriousness, incorruptibility, 8
that can't be condemned; that he who opposes you may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say about us. 9
to be in subjection to
their own masters
, and to be well-pleasing
in all things; not contradicting
The regular term for petty larcenies, filching, etc..
, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn
Used of arranging jewels in order to display their beauty.
the doctrine of God, our Saviour, in all things. 11
For the grace
of God has appeared
, bringing salvation to all men, 12
us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly
, we would live soberly
, and godly in this present world
the blessed hope and appearing
A coming into view of what has been previously concealed. Used in classical Greek of the dawn or daybreak, when the sun leaps over the horizon into view; of an enemy emerging out of an ambush; and of the supposed saving intervention of a god(s) in human affairs; cf. Ac 27:20: the stars 'made no epiphany'. Apart from this one literal use or epiphaneia, the word occurs in the NT four times of Christ's first coming and six times of his second.
of the glory
[doxēs; Heb. Sh'khinah]
of our great God and Saviour
[megalou theou kai sōtēros]
God and Saviour was a stereotypical formula common in the first-century, normally referring to a single deity, and sometimes to the Roman Emperor.
, Jesus Christ; 14
who gave himself for us, that he might redeem
us from all iniquity
, and purify for himself a people for his own possession
Cf. LXX Ex 19:6; Dt 7:6; 14:2; 26:18 and 1 Pet 2:9.
for good works
these things and exhort
with all authority
. Let no man despise
Remind them to be in subjection
Perhaps Paul is glancing at the notoriously turbulent character of the Cretans, of whom Polybius tells us were constantly involved in 'insurrections, murders and internecine wars'. Crete had been subjugated by Rome in 67 BC, and since then had been continuously restive under the Roman colonial yoke, cf. 1:10 and 16.
and to authorities
, to be obedient, to be ready
for every good
to speak evil of
no one, not to be contentious
, to be gentle
Showing clemency, gentleness, meekness and being conciliatory. This ethic was in contradistinction to the cultural typecast of a true Roman, for what really mattered to him was ambition, desire to be the best, thirst after glory and honour.
, showing all humility
toward all men. 3
For we were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived
, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4
But when the kindness
of God our Savior and his love
toward mankind appeared, 5
not by works of righteousness
, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing
Taken by the early church fathers to refer to baptism by water, cf. 1 Cor 6:11; Eph 5:26.
Used by Jesus of the final renewal of all things (Mt 19:28) and by the Stoics for the periodical restoration of the world, in which they believed.
by the Holy Spirit, 6
whom he poured out on us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7
that, being justified
by his grace
, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8
This saying is faithful
[pistos ho logos]
, and concerning these things I desire that you affirm confidently, so that those who have believed
God may be careful to maintain
Lit. 'that they may take care good works to be forward in they who have believed'. This verb can have the technical sense 'to practice a profession', though here it has a more general meaning.
works. These things are good and profitable
to men; 9
'Questions' or 'speculations'.
, genealogies, strife, and disputes
about the law; for they are unprofitable
and vain. 10
Avoid a factious
The word heretic had not yet assumed the meaning we have given it. Heiresis meant a sect, party, school of thought, cf. Ac 5:17; 15:5; 24:14; 28:22 to see referents.
man after a first and second warning; 11
knowing that such a one is perverted, and sins, being self-condemned. 12
When I send Artemas
to you, or Tychicus
The five references in the NT tell us that he came from proconsular Asia, perhaps from Ephesus its capital, like Trophimus with who he is bracketed. He was one of those chosen to take the collection to Jerusalem. Paul sent him to go to Colosse, perhaps bearing the letter, to tell the churches about him. He is now proposing to send Tychicus to Crete to relieve Titus and will later send him from Rome to Ephesus, apparently to free Timothy to visit him as soon as possible.
, be diligent to come to me to Nicopolis
'City of Victory'. Three towns with this name have been identified but this one is most likely to be the capital of Epirus on the west Adriatic coast of Greece.
, for I have determined to winter there. 13
, the lawyer
Professional expert in Roman law.
, and Apollos
Perhaps the learned and eloquent Alexandrian (Ac 18:24f and refs in 1 Cor).
on their journey speedily
, that nothing may be lacking for them. 14
Let our people also learn to maintain
works for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful
All who are with me greet you. Greet
those who love
us in faith
be with you all. Amen