1.But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine He points out the remedy for driving away fables, namely, that Titus should devote himself to edification. He gives the appellation of sound doctrine to that which may instruct men to godliness; for all trifles vanish away, when that which is solid is taught. When he enjoins him to speak those things which agree with “sound doctrine,” it is as if he had said, that Titus must be continually employed in this preaching; for to mention these things once or twice would not be enough. And Paul does not speak of the discourse of a single day; but so long as Titus shall hold the office of pastor, he wishes him to be employed in teaching this doctrine.
“Sound doctrine” is so called from the effect produced by it; as, on the contrary, he says, that unskillful men dote about questions which do no good. Sound, therefore, means wholesome, that which actually feeds souls. Thus, by a single word, as by a solemn proclamation, he banishes from the Church all speculations which serve rather to promote ostentation than to aid godliness, as he did in both of the Epistles to Timothy.
He makes “sound doctrine” to consist of two parts. The first is that which magnifies the grace of God in Christ, from which we may learn where we ought to seek our salvation; and the second is that by which the life is framed to the fear of God, and inoffensive conduct. Although the former, which includes faith, is far more excellent, and therefore ought to be more zealously inculcated; yet Paul, in writing to Timothy, was not careful about attending to order; for he had to deal with an intelligent man, to whom he would offer an insult, if he dictated to him word by word, as is usually done to apprentices or beginners. Under the person of Titus, indeed, he instructs the whole church of Crete; yet he attends to the rules of propriety, that he may not appear to distrust his prudence. Besides, the reason why he is longer in his exhortations is, that they who gave their whole attention to idle questions — needed especially to be exhorted to the practice of a good and holy life; for nothing is better fitted to restrain the wandering curiosity of men than to know in what duties they ought to be employed.
But speak thou – In thine own ministry. In the previous chapter he had given him instructions as to the kind of persons who were to be put into the sacred office. Here he gives him special instructions in regard to his own preaching. “The things which become sound doctrine.” To wit, those which he proceeds immediately to specify. On the phrase sound doctrine, see the notes at 1Ti_1:10; compare 2Ti_4:3.
2.That aged men be sober He begins with particular duties, that the discourse may be better adapted to the instruction of the people. And he does so, not only that he may accommodate himself to their capacity, but that he may press every one more closely; for a general doctrine produces a less powerful impression; but when by holding out a few cases, he has instructed every person about his duty, there is no one who may not easily conclude, that the Lord has sufficiently instructed him as to the work in which he ought to be employed. We must not therefore, look for a regular method here; for Paul’s design was only to state briefly what were the subjects concerning which godly teachers ought to speak, and not to undertake to treat largely of those subjects.
“Aged men” are mentioned by him in the first place. He wishes them to be “sober,” because excessive drinking is a vice too common among the old. Gravity, which he next mentions, is procured by well-regulated morals. Nothing is more shameful than for an old man to indulge in youthful wantonness, and, by his countenance, to strengthen the impudence of the young. In the life of old men, therefore, let there be displayedσεμνότης “a becoming gravity,” which shall constrain the young to modesty. This will be followed chiefly by temperance, which he immediately adds.
Sound in faith I do not know whether the word “sound” or “healthy” contains an indirect allusion to the various diseases of old men, with which he contrasts this health of the soul; at least, I think so, though I do not affirm it. With good reason does he include in these three parts — faith, love, patience — the sum of Christian perfection. By faith we worship God; for neither calling upon him, nor any exercises of godliness, can be separated from it. Love extends to all the commandments of the second table. Next follows patience as the seasoning of “faith” and “love;” for without “patience” faith would not long endure, and many occurrences are taking place every day — instances of unhandsome conduct or evil temper, which irritate us so much that we should not only be languid, but almost dead, to the duties of love towards our neighbor, if the same “patience” did not support us.
Jameson, Fausset, and Brown
sober — Translated “vigilant,” as sober men alone can be (1Ti_3:2). But “sober” here answers to “not given to wine,” Tit_2:3; Tit_1:7.
grave — “dignified”; behaving with reverent propriety.
temperate — “self-restrained”; “discreet” [Alford], (Tit_1:8; 1Ti_2:9).
faith … charity [love] … patience — combined in 1Ti_6:11. “Faith, hope, charity” (1Co_13:13). “Patience,” Greek, “enduring perseverance,” is the attendant on, and is supported by, “hope” (1Co_13:7; 1Th_1:3). It is the grace which especially becomes old men, being the fruit of ripened experience derived from trials overcome (Rom_5:3).
That the aged men – All aged men – for there is no reason to suppose that the apostle refers particularly to those who were in office, or who were technically elders, or Presbyters. If he had, he would have used the common word – πρεσβύτερος presbuteros – “presbyter” (see Mat_15:2; Mat_16:21; Mat_21:23; Mat_26:3, Mat_26:47, Mat_26:57, Mat_26:59; 1Ti_5:1, 1Ti_5:17, 1Ti_5:19; Tit_1:5; Jam_5:14; 1Pe_5:1), instead of the unusual word – πρεσβύτης presbutēs – an old or aged man – a word which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament except in Luk_1:18, “For I am an old man,” and Phm_1:9, “being such an one as Paul the aged.” It is in no instance applied to an office. Besides, the instructions which Titus was to give to such men was not that which especially pertained to elders as officers in the church, but to all old men. The idea is, that he was to adapt his instructions to the special character of different classes of his hearers. The aged needed special instructions, and so did the young.
Be sober – Margin, “vigilant.” See the word explained in the notes at 1Ti_3:2, where it is rendered vigilant. In 1Ti_3:11, the same word is rendered sober. –
Grave – Serious; see the notes at 1Ti_3:8; compare the notes at Phi_4:8, where the same word is rendered hottest.
Temperate – σώφρονας sōphronas. Rather, prudent, or sober-minded. See it explained in the notes, 1Ti_3:2, where it is rendered “sober.” Also Tit_1:8.
Sound in faith – 1Ti_1:10 note; Tit_1:13 note.
In charity – In love; Notes, 1 Cor. 13. The meaning is, that an old man should evince love for all, especially for those who are good. He should have overcome, at his time of life, all the fiery, impetuous, envious, wrathful passions of his early years, and his mind should be subdued into sweet benevolence to all mankind.
In patience – In the infirmities of old age – in the trials resulting from the loss of the friends of their early years – in their loneliness in the world, they should show that the effect of all God’s dealings with them has been to produce patience. The aged should submit to the trials of their advanced years, also, with resignation – for they will soon be over. A few more sighs, and they will sigh no more; a little longer bearing up under their infirmities, and they will renew their youth before the throne of God.
3.That aged women in like manner We very frequently see, that females advanced in age either continue to dress with the lightness of youthful years, or have something superstitious in their apparel, and seldom hit the golden mean. Paul wished to guard against both extremes, by enjoining them to follow a course that is agreeable both to outward propriety and to religion; or, if you choose to express it in simpler language, to give evidence, by their very dress, that they are holy and godly women.
He next corrects another two vices, to which they are often addicted, when he forbids them to be slanderers and slaves to much wine Talkativeness is a disease of women, and it is increased by old age. To this is added, that women never think that they are eloquent enough, if they are not given to prattling and to slander — if they do not attack the characters of all. The consequence is, that old women, by their slanderous talkativeness, as by a lighted torch, frequently set on fire may houses. Many are also given to drinking, so that, forgetting modesty and gravity, they indulge in an unbecoming wantonness.
Tit 2:3. The aged women likewise] That aged women, not of any order of women corresponding to that of ‘elders’; though this exact word is used of such an order in the 11th Laodicean Canon, ‘those that are called elder women, to wit those that preside in the church, must not be ordained’; cf. Neander, Ch. Hist., iii. 305 sqq.; and in Apocryphal Acts and Martyrdom of Matthew, Tisch. Act, apocr. apost., p. 187. It undoubtedly arose later, based upon this passage, see note on 1Ti_5:3-16.
be in behaviour] Vulg. here ‘in habitu sancto,’ and in 1Ti_2:9 ‘in habitu ornato,’ but the Greek word here more properly corresponds to the classical sense of habitus ‘settled ways and bearing,’ (comp. ‘behaviour’), while the Greek word there fits its Low Latin sense ‘raiment’ (‘arrayment’), (comp. ‘riding habit’). The translation by the earlier English versions, Wiclif ‘habite,’ Tyndal, Cranmer ‘raiment,’ makes it likely that the sense of the Vulgate was the later sense of ‘habitus’ and therefore here inadequate. R.V. rightly demeanour as covering more than the modern sense of ‘behaviour,’—Jerome’s ‘incessus, motus, vultus, sermo, silentium.’
as becometh holiness] One word, an adjective, in the Greek, for which R.V. gives reverent, Alford ‘reverend,’ with a difference of meaning intended, though ‘reverent’ had once the sense of ‘reverend,’ e.g. Homilies, p. 345, ‘partakers of his reverent Sacraments.’ But ‘reverent’ now implies ‘with a certain dignity of sacred decorum,’ to use Jerome’s words. ‘Reverend’ occurs in English Bible only in Psa_111:9, ‘holy and reverend is his name,’ and 2Ma_15:12, ‘a virtuous and a good man, reverend in conversation.’
The Greek means literally ‘as becometh a sacred office,’ and, as the simple word and its derivatives are used especially of the priesthood, well expresses a reverential spirit of consecration, mindful of the Christian believer’s priesthood and its requirements. This passage and 1Ti_2:9 ‘that women adorn themselves … which becometh women professing godliness—through good works,’ taken with 1Pe_2:9, ‘a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,’ and Tit_2:14, ‘a people for his own possession, zealous of good works,’ seem to supplement and explain one another. …
…Who that has known the happiness of help for Christian living from the example and service of such an elder saintly woman among his own kinsfolk or acquaintance, but will bless St Paul as Founder and Patron, through the Holy Spirit his Inspirer, of the best women’s rights, although he ‘suffered not a woman to speak in the church’?
not false accusers] As 1Ti_3:11, A.V. and R.V., not slanderers; see note.
not given to much wine] Lit. with R.V. nor enslaved to much wine, cf. Rom_6:16-18, where however the Revisers leave the weaker ‘servants’; lit. ‘ye were enslaved to Righteousness.’ Cf. 2Pe_2:19, ‘slaves of corruption, for of whom a man is overcome to the same is he also enslaved.’ The use of the word rendered ‘temperate’ in 1Ti_3:11 in conjunction with ‘not slanderers,’ and corresponding to our phrase here, defines its meaning in these Epistles as strictly literal—‘sober, as to strong drinks;’ see ver. 2…
…teachers of good things] The only other N.T. compound with this word for ‘good,’ ‘fair,’ ‘beautiful’ is in 2Th_3:13, ‘be not weary in well-doing.’ The adjective, used with ‘works,’ is specially characteristic of this Epistle; below vv. 7, 14, 3:8, 14. The emphatic repetition in 3:8 further shews that we are right in interpreting the compound here ‘teachers of good works.’ Compare the passages quoted above on ‘reverent.’ The contrast in these last four phrases of high calling and low falling is precisely parallel to that in 1Ti_3:2, and strictly in accord with the early Church history of grand saintliness and gross sin. It strengthens the argument for the literal meaning there of ‘husband of one wife.’
Aged women (πρεσβύτιδας)
N.T.o. See on πρεσβύτεραι, 1Ti_5:2.
N.T.o. See on καταστολή apparel, 1Ti_2:9. It means, primarily, condition or state. Once in lxx, 3 Macc 5:45, κατάστημα μανιῶδες the maddened state into which the war-elephants were excited. Hence the state in which one habitually bears himself – his deportment or demeanor.
As becometh holiness (ἱεροπρεπεῖς)
N.T.o. lxx, 4 Macc. 9:25; 11:20. In the Theages (wrongly ascribed to Plato), τῷ υἱεῖ τὸ ὄνομα ἔθου καὶ ἱεροπρεπές you have given your son (Theages) an honorable and reverend name (122 D). It means beseeming a sacred place, person, or matter. Thus Athenaeus, vii, of one who had given a sacred banquet, says that the table was ornamented ἱεροπρεπέστατα in a manner most appropriate to the sacred circumstances. The meaning here is becoming those who are engaged in sacred service. This is the more striking if, as there is reason to believe, the πρεσβύτιδες represented a quasi-official position in the church. See on 1Ti_5:3, and comp. 1Ti_2:10; Eph_5:3.
False accusers (διαβόλους)
Better, slanderers. See on Mat_4:1, and see on 1Ti_3:6, 1Ti_3:11.
Given to much wine (οἴνῳ πολλῷ δεδουλωμένας)
More correctly, enslaved to much wine. The verb only here in Pastorals. Comp. 1Ti_3:8.
Teachers of good things (καλοδιδασκάλους)
N.T.o. olxx, oClass.
4.That they may teach young women temperance That they may be more attentive to duty, he shows that it is not enough if their own life be decent, if they do not also train young women, by their instructions, to a decent and chaste life. He therefore adds, that by their example they should train to temperance and gravity those younger women whom the warmth of youth might otherwise lead into imprudence.
To love their husbands and their children I do not agree with those who think that this is a recapitulation of the advices which elderly women should give to those who are younger for a careful perusal of the context will enable any one easily to perceive that Paul goes on in explaining the duties of women, which apply equally to those who are older. Besides, the construction would be inappropriate, σωφρονίζωσι, σώφρονας εἶναι Yet while he instructs elderly females what they ought to be, he at the same time holds out to the younger the example which they ought to follow. Thus he indiscriminately teaches both. In short, he wishes women to be restrained, by conjugal love and affection for their children, from giving themselves up to licentious attachments, he wishes them to rule their own house in a sober and orderly manner, forbids them to wander about in public places, bids them be chaste, and at the same time modest, so as to be subject to the dominion of their husbands; for those who excel in other virtues sometimes take occasion from them to act haughtily, so as to be disobedient to their husbands.
That they may teach the young women to be sober – That it was natural for the young to imitate the old will be readily allowed; it was therefore necessary that the old should be an example of godly living to the young. St. Jerome, taking it for granted that drunkenness and impurity are closely connected, asks this serious question: Quomodo potest docere anus adolescentulas castitatem, cum, si ebrietatem vetulae mulieris adolescentula fuerit imitata, pudica esse non possit? “How can an elderly woman teach young women chastity, when, if the young woman should imitate the drunkenness of the matron, it would be impossible for her to be chaste?”
To love their husbands – The duties recommended in this and the following verses are so plain as to need no comment; and so absolutely necessary to the character of a wife, that no one deserves the name who does not live in the practice of them.
When he adds, that the word of God may not be evil spoken of, it is supposed that this relates strictly to women who were married to unbelieving husbands, who might judge of the gospel from the wicked conduct of their wives; and this appears to be confirmed by 1Pe_3:1. But what if he does not speak of husbands alone? And, indeed, it is probable that he demands such strictness of life as not to bring the gospel into the contempt of the public by their vices. As to the other parts of the verse, the reader will find them explained in the Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy.
Keepers at home – Οικουρους. A woman who spends much time in visiting, must neglect her family. The idleness, dirtiness, impudence, and profligacy of the children, will soon show how deeply criminal the mother was in rejecting the apostle’s advice. Instead of οικουρους, keepers of the house, or keepers at home, ACD*EFG, and several of the Itala, have οικουργους, workers at home; not only staying in the house and keeping the house, but working in the house. A woman may keep the house very closely, and yet do little in it for the support or comfort of the family.
That the word of God be not blasphemed – The enemies of the Gospel are quick-eyed to spy out imperfections in its professors; and, if they find women professing Christianity living an irregular life, they will not fail to decry the Christian doctrine on this account: “Behold your boasted religion! it professes to reform all things, and its very professors are no better than others! Our heathenism is as good as your Christianity.” These are cutting reproaches; and much they will have to answer for who give cause for these blasphemies.
Sober-minded for discreet, A.V.; workers for keepers, A.V. and T.R.; kind for good, A.V.; being in subjection for obedient, A.V. Sober-minded (σώφρονας); as in Tit_2:2 and Tit_1:8; 1Ti_3:2. “Discreet” is nearer the sense than “sober-minded.” Perhaps the French sage is nearer still. Workers at home (οἰκουργούς, for the T.R. οἰκουρούς). Neither word occurs elsewhere in the New Testament or in the LXX., nor does οἰκουργός in classical Greek. But οἰκουρός, which is probably the true reading (Huther), is common in good classical Greek for “stayers at home.” It is derived from οἷκος and οὗρος, a “keeper.” Kind (ἀγαθάς). The idea of kindness or good nature seems to be the side of goodness here intended; as we say, “He was very good to me” (so Mat_20:15 and 1Pe_2:18). Kindness is the leading idea in ἀγαθός. Obedient (ὑποτασσόμενας). These identical words occur in 1Pe_3:1 (see too Eph_5:22; Col_3:18). That the Word of God be not blasphemed (see 1Ti_6:1). St. Paul complains that the Name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles on account of the evil deeds of the Jews (Rom_2:24; see Eze_36:20-23). Our Lord, on the other hand, exhorts that Christians, by their good works, should lead men to glorify their Father which is in heaven. The passage before us shows how much the honor of Christianity is bound up with the faithful discharge by Christians of the simple domestic duties of life. In truth, the family is the chief seat, and often the main test, of Christian virtue, as it is the distinctive feature of humanity as ordained by God.
6Exhort likewise younger men He merely enjoins that young men be instructed to be temperate; for temperance, as Plato shows, cures the whole understanding of man. It is as if he had said, “Let them be well regulated and obedient to reason.”
Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded – Margin, “discreet.” On the meaning of the Greek word used here (σωφρονεῖν sōphronein), see the notes at Tit_2:2, Tit_2:4. The idea is, that they should be entreated to be prudent, discreet, serious in their deportment; to get the mastery over their passions and appetites; to control the propensities to which youth are subject; and that there should be such self-government, under the influence of, religion, as to avoid excess in everything. A well-governed mind, superior to the indulgence of those passions to which the young are prone, will express the meaning of the word here. They should be “steady in their behaviour, superior to sensual temptations, and constant in the exercise of every part of self-government.” Doddridge. The reasons for this are obvious:
(1) The hopes of the church depend much on them.
(2) A young man who cannot govern himself, gives little promise of being useful or happy.
(3) Indulgence in the propensities to which young men are prone, will, sooner or later, bring ruin to the body and the soul.
(4) They are just at the period of life when they are exposed to special temptations, and when they need to exercise a special guardianship over their own conduct.
(5) Like others, they may soon die; and they should be habitually in such a frame of mind, as to be prepared to stand before God. A young man who feels that he may be soon in the eternal world, cannot but be sensible of the propriety of having a serious mind, and of living and acting as in the immediate presence of his Maker and Judge.
7.In all things shewing thyself For doctrine will otherwise carry little authority, if its power and majesty do not shine in the life of the bishop, as in a mirror. He wishes, therefore, that the teacher may be a pattern, which his scholars may copy.
A pattern of good works in doctrine, uprightness, gravity In the original Greek the style is here involved and obscure, and this creates ambiguity. First, he makes use of the words in doctrine, and then adds, in the accusative case, integrity, gravity, etc. Without mentioning the interpretations given by others, I shall state that which appears to me to be the most probable. First, I connect these words, of good works in doctrine; for, after having enjoined Titus that, in teaching he shall inculcate the practice of good works, he wishes that good works, which correspond to this doctrine, may be visible in his life; and consequently the preposition in means that they shall be suitable, or shall correspond, to the doctrine. What follows is in no degree obscure; for; in order that he may exhibit a representation of his doctrine in morals, he bids him be “upright and grave.”
In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works – Not merely teaching others, but showing them by example how they ought to live. On the word rendered “pattern” (τύπον tupon, type), see the Heb_9:5 note; 1Co_10:6 note; Phi_3:17 note.
In doctrine – In your manner of teaching; notes, 1Ti_4:16.
Showing uncorruptness – The word here used does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means, here, the same as purity – that which is not erroneous, and which does not tend to corrupt or vitiate the morals of others, or to endanger their salvation. Everything in his teaching was to be such as to make men purer and better.
Gravity – See this word explained in the notes at 1Ti_2:2, where it is rendered “honesty;” compare the notes at 1Ti_3:4, where it is rendered “gravity.” It does not elsewhere occur; see the use of the adjective, however, in Phi_4:8; 1Ti_3:8, 1Ti_3:11; Tit_2:9. The word properly means “venerableness;” then, whatever will insure respect, in character, opinions, deportment. The sense here is, that the manner in which a preacher delivers his message, should be such as to command respect. He should evince good sense, undoubted piety, an acquaintance with his subject, simplicity, seriousness, and earnestness, in his manner.
Sincerity – See this word (ἀφθαρσι ́α aphtharsia) explained in the notes at Eph_6:24. It is rendered immortality in Rom_2:7; 2Ti_1:10; incorruption, in 1Co_15:42, 1Co_15:50, 1Co_15:53-54; and sincerity, Eph_6:24, and in the place before us. It does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. It means incorruption, incapacity of decay; and, therefore, would be here synonymous with purity. It should be said, however, that it is wanting in many msS, and is rejected in the later editions of the New Testament by Wetstein, Tittman, and Hahn.
Sound speech – Λογον ὑγιη· Sound or healing doctrine. Human nature is in a state of disease; and the doctrine of the Gospel is calculated to remove the disease, and restore all to perfect health and soundness. All false doctrines leave men under the influence of this spiritual disease; the unadulterated doctrine of the Gospel alone can heal men.
He that is of the contrary part – Whether this may refer to the Judaizing teachers in general, or to some one who might, by his false doctrine, have been disturbing the peace of the Churches in Crete, we cannot tell.
Having no evil thing to say of you – Against a person who is sound in his doctrine, and holy in his life, no evil can be justly alleged. He who reports evil of such a person must be confounded when brought to the test. Instead of περι ὑμων, of You, περι ἡμων, of Us, is the reading of CDEFG, and about forty others; with both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Slavonic, Vulgate, Itala, and several of the primitive fathers. This reading makes a better sense, and is undoubtedly genuine.
Sound speech – Notes, 1Ti_1:10. He was to use language that would be spiritually “healthful” (ὑγιῆ hugiē); that is, true, pure, uncorrupted. – This word, and its correlatives, is used in this sense, in the New Testament, only by the apostle Paul. It is commonly applied to the body, meaning that which is healthful, or whole; see Luk_5:31; Luk_6:10; Luk_7:10; Luk_15:27; Mat_12:13; Mat_15:31; Mar_3:5; Mar_5:34; Joh_5:4, Joh_5:6,Joh_5:9, Joh_5:11, Joh_5:14-15; Joh_7:23; Act_4:10; 3Jo_1:2. For Paul’s use of the word see 1Ti_1:10; 1Ti_6:3; 2Ti_1:13;2Ti_4:3; Tit_1:9, Tit_1:13; Tit_2:1-2, Tit_2:8. It does not elsewhere occur.
That cannot be condemned – Such as cannot be shown to be weak, or unsound; such that no one could find fault with it, or such as an adversary could not take hold of and blame. This direction would imply purity and seriousness of language, solidity of argument, and truth in the doctrines which he maintained.
That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed … – Ashamed that he has opposed such views.
9.Servants, that they be subject to their masters It has been already said that Paul merely glances at some things by way of example, and does not explain the whole of these subjects, as if he undertook, expressly, to handle them. Accordingly, when he enjoins servants to please their masters in all things, this desire of pleasing must be limited to those things which are proper; as is evident from other passages of a similar nature, in which an exception is expressly added, to the effect that nothing should be done but according to the will of God.
It may be observed that the Apostle dwells chiefly on this point, that they who are under the authority of others shall be obedient and submissive. With good reason he does this, for nothing is more contrary to the natural disposition of man than subjection, and there was danger lest they should take the gospel as a pretext for becoming more refractory, as reckoning it unreasonable that they should be subject to the authority of unbelievers. So much the greater care and diligence ought pastors to use for either subduing or checking this rebellious spirit.
In subjection to for obedient unto, A.V.; be well-pleasing to them for please them well, A.V.; gainsaying for answering gain, A.V. Servants; i.e. dares (δούλους), the correlative to which is δεσπόταις, masters, who had absolute power over their slaves, and property in them. The construction is carried on from the “exhort” of Tit_2:6. Well-pleasing (εὐαρέστους); elsewhere spoken with reference to God (Rom_12:1; 2Co_5:9; Eph_5:10, etc.). In all things (ἐν πᾶσιν); nearly the same as περὶ πάντα in Tit_2:7; to be taken with εὐαρέστους. Some, however, connect the words with ὑποτα ́σσεσθαι, “to be obedient in all things.” Gainsaying (ἐντιλε ́γοντας); as in Tit_1:9 (see note). Here, however, the” answering again” of the A.V. is a better rendering. It implies, of course, a resistance to the will of their master, and impatience of any rebuke.
10Not thievish but shewing all good faith He censures two vices that are common among servants, petulant replies, and a propensity to steal. The comedies are full of instances of excessively ready talk, by which servants cheat their masters. Nor was it without reason that an exchange of names took place in ancient times, by which “servant “and “thief “became convertible terms. Thus prudence requires that we make our instructions apply to the morals of each individual.
Byfaith he means fidelity to their masters; and therefore, to shew all faith is to act faithfully, without using fraud or doing injury, in transacting the affairs of their masters.
That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things This ought to be a very sharp spur of exhortation to us, when we learn that our becoming conduct adorns the doctrine of God, which, at the same time, is a mirror of his glory. And, indeed, we see that this usually happens; as, on the other hand, our wicked life brings disgrace upon it; for men commonly judge of us from our works. But this circumstance ought also to be observed, that God deigns to receive an “ornament” from shaves, whose condition was so low and mean that they were wont to be scarcely accounted men; for he does not mean “servants,” such as we have in the present day, but slaves, who were bought with money, and held as property, like oxen or horses. And if the life of those men is an ornament to the Christian name, much more let those who are in honor take care that they do not stain it by their baseness.
Not purloining – Μη νοσφιζομενους· Neither giving away, privately selling, nor in any way wasting, the master’s goods. The word signifies, not only stealing but embezzling another’s property; keeping back a part of the price of any commodity sold on the master’s account. In Act_5:2, we translate it, to keep back part of the price; the crime of which Ananias and Sapphira were guilty. It has been remarked that among the heathens this species of fraud was very frequent; and servants were so noted for purloining and embezzling their master’s property that fur, which signifies a thief, was commonly used to signify a servant; hence that verse in Virgil, Eclog. iii. 16: –
Quid domini faciant, audent cum talia Fures?
“What may not masters do, when servants (thieves) are so bold?”
On which Servius remarks: Pro Servo Furem posuit, furta enim specialiter servorum sunt. Sic Plautus de servo, Homo es trium literarum, i.e. fur. “He puts fur, a thief, to signify a servant, because servants are commonly thieves. Thus Plautus, speaking of a servant, says: Thou art a man of three letters, i.e. f-u-r, a thief.” And Terence denominates a number of servants, munipulus furum, “a bundle of thieves.” Eun. 4, 7, 6. The place in Plautus to which Servius refers is in Aulul., act ii. scene iv. in fine: –
– Tun’, trium literarum homo,
Me vituperas? F-u-r, etiam fur trifurcifer.
“Dost thou blame me, thou man of three letters?
Thou art a thief, and the most notorious of all knaves.”
It was necessary, therefore, that the apostle should be so very particular in his directions to servants, as they were in general thieves almost by profession.
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
Not purloining — Greek, “Not appropriating” what does not belong to one. It means “keeping back” dishonestly or deceitfully (Act_5:2, Act_5:3).
showing — manifesting in acts.
all — all possible.
good — really good; not so in mere appearance (Eph_6:5, Eph_6:6; Col_3:22-24). “The heathen do not judge of the Christian’s doctrines from the doctrine, but from his actions and life” [Chrysostom]. Men will write, fight, and even die for their religion; but how few live for it! Translate, “That they may adorn the doctrine of our Savior God,” that is, God the Father, the originating author of salvation (compare Note, see on 1Ti_1:1). God deigns to have His Gospel-doctrine adorned even by slaves, who are regarded by the world as no better than beasts of burden. “Though the service be rendered to an earthly master, the honor redounds to God, as the servant’s goodwill flows from the fear of God” [Theophylact]. Even slaves, low as is their status, should not think the influence of their example a matter of no consequence to religion: how much more those in a high position. His love in being “our Savior” is the strongest ground for our adorning His doctrine by our lives. This is the force of “For” in Tit_2:11.
Not purloining – Not to appropriate to themselves what belongs to their masters. The word “purloin” means, literally, to take or carry away for oneself; and would be applied to an approbation to oneself of what pertained to a common stock, or what belonged to one in whose employ we are – as the embezzlement of public funds. Here it means that the servant was not to apply to his own use what belonged to his master; that is, was not to pilfer – a vice to which, as all know, servants, and especially slaves, are particularly exposed; see the word explained in the notes at Act_5:2.
But showing all good fidelity – In laboring, and in taking care of the property intrusted to them.
That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things – That they may show the fair influence of religion on them, in all respects, making them industrious, honest, kind, and obedient. They were to show that the effect of the religion which they professed was to make them better fitted to discharge the duties of their station in life, however humble; or that its influence on them was desirable in every respect. In this way, they might hope also that the minds of their masters might be reached, and that they might be brought to respect and love the gospel. Hence, learn:
(1) That one in the most humble walk of life may so live as to be an ornament to religion, as well as one favored with more advantages.
(2) That servants may do much good, by so living as to show to all around them that there is a reality in the gospel, and to lead others to love it.
(3) If in this situation of life, it is a duty so to live as to adorn religion, it cannot be less so in more elevated situations. A master should feel the obligation not to be surpassed in religious character by his servant.
11For the grace of God hath appeared He argues from the design of redemption, which he shews to be a desire to live a godly and upright life. Hence it follows, that the duty of a good teacher is rather to exhort to a holy life than to occupy the minds of men with useless questions. “He hath redeemed us,” says Zacharias in his song, —
“that we may serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.” (Luk_1:74.)
For the same reason Paul says, the grace of God hath appeared, teaching us; for he means that it ought to hold the place of instruction to us to regulate our life well. What is proclaimed concerning the mercy of God is seized by some as all occasion of licentiousness; while others are hindered by slothfulness from meditating on “newness of life.” But the manifestation of the grace of God unavoidably carries along with it exhortations to a holy life.
Bringing salvation to all men, That it is common to all is expressly testified by him on account of the slaves of whom he had spoken. Yet he does not mean individual men, but rather describes individual classes, or various ranks of life. And this is not a little emphatic, that the grace of God hath let itself down even to the race of slaves; for, since God does not despise men of the lowest and most degraded condition, it would be highly unreasonable that we should be negligent and slothful to embrace his goodness.
For the grace of God – The favor of God, shown to the undeserving; see the notes at Rom_1:7.
That bringeth salvation – Margin, to all men, hath appeared. That is, in the margin, “the grace which brings salvation to all men has been revealed.” The marginal reading is most in accordance with the Greek, though it will bear either construction. If that which is in the text be adopted, it means that the plan of salvation has been revealed to all classes of men; that is, that it is announced or revealed to all the race that they may be saved; compare the notes at Col_1:23. If the other rendering be adopted, it means that that plan was fitted to secure the salvation of all men; that none were excluded from the offer; that provision had been made for all, and all might come and be saved. Whichever interpretation be adopted, the sense here will not be essentially varied. It is, that the gospel was adapted to man as man, and therefore might include servants as well as masters; subjects, as well as kings; the por, as well as the rich; the ignorant, as well as the learned; see 1Ti_2:1-2 notes; Act_17:26 note.
12Teaching us that, denying, ungodliness He now lays down the rule for regulating our life well, and how we ought to begin, namely, with renouncing our former life, of which he enumerates two parts, “ungodliness and worldly desires.” Under ungodliness, I include not only superstitions, in which they had gone astray, but irreligious contempt of God, such as reigns in men, till they have been enlightened in the knowledge of the truth. Although they have some profession of religion, yet they never fear and reverence God sincerely and honestly, but, on the contrary, have consciences that are useless, so that nothing is further from their thoughts than that they ought to serve God.
By worldly desires he means all the affections of the flesh; because we look at nothing but the world, till the Lord has drawn us to himself. Meditation on the heavenly life begins with regeneration. Before we have been regenerated, our desires lean towards the world, and rest on the world.
That we may live temperately, and righteously, and piously As he formerly mentioned those three, when he wished to give a comprehensive summary of Christian life, so he now makes it to consist of those three, “piety, righteousness, and temperance.” “Piety” is religion towards God. “Righteousness” has place among men. He who is endowed with both of these lacks nothing for perfect virtue; and, indeed, in the law of God there is absolute perfection, to which nothing whatever can be added. But as the exercises of godliness may be regarded as appendages to the first table, so “temperance,” which Paul mentions in this passage, aims at nothing else than keeping the law, and, as I said before about patience, is added to the former as a seasoning. Nor does the Apostle contradict himself, when at one time he describes patience, and at another time temperance, as the perfection of a holy life; for they are not distinct virtues, since σωφροσύνη (here translated temperance) includes patience under it.
He adds, in this world, because the Lord has appointed the present life for the trial of our faith. Although the fruit of good actions is not yet visible, yet the hope should be sufficient for stimulating us to doing well; and this is what he immediately adds, —
Teaching us, that, denying, etc. – Παιδευουσα· Instructing us as children are instructed. Christ is the great teacher; and men, in order to learn, must become his disciples – must put themselves under his tuition, and learn of him.
Denying ungodliness – Ασεβειαν· All things contrary to God; whatever would lead us to doubt his being, deny any of his essential attributes; his providence or government of the world, and his influence on the souls of men. Every thing, also, which is opposed to his true worship; theoretical and practical atheism, deism, and irreligion in general.
Worldly lusts – Such desires, affections, and appetites, as men are governed by who have their portion in this life, and live without God in the world. Gluttony, drunkenness, lasciviousness, anger, malice, and revenge; together with the immoderate love of riches, power, and fame.
We should live soberly – Having every temper, appetite, and desire, under the government of reason, and reason itself under the government of the Spirit of God.
Righteously – Rendering to every man his due, injuring no person in his body, mind, reputation, or property; doing unto all as we would they should do to us; and filling up the duties of the particular stations in which it has pleased God to fix us, committing no sin, omitting no duty.
And godly – Ευσεβως. Just the reverse of what is implied in ungodliness. See above.
In this present world – Not supposing that any thing will be purified in the world to come that is not cleansed in this. The three words above evidently include our duty to God, to our neighbor, and to ourselves.
1. We are to live soberly in respect to ourselves.
2. Righteously in respect to our neighbor. And
3. Godly, or piously, in respect to our Maker.
Teaching us – That is, the “grace of God” so teaches us; or that system of religion which is a manifestation of the grace of God, inculcates the great and important duties which Paul proceeds to state.
That denying ungodliness and worldly lusts – “That by denying ourselves of these, or refusing to practice them, we should lead a holy life.” The word ungodliness here means all that would be included under the word impiety; that is, all failure in the performance of our proper duties towards God; see the notes at Rom_1:18. The phrase “worldly lusts” refers to all improper desires pertaining to this life – the desire of wealth, pleasure, honor, sensual indulgence. It refers to such passions as the people of this world are prone to, and would include all those things which cannot be indulged in with a proper reference to the world to come. The gross passions would be of course included, and all those more refined pleasures also which constitute the characteristic and special enjoyments of those who do not live unto God.
We should live soberly – See the word “soberly” (σωφρόνως sōphronōs) explained in the notes at Tit_2:2, Tit_2:4. It means that we should exercise a due restraint on our passions and propensities.
Righteously – Justly – δικαίως dikaiōs. This refers to the proper performance of our duties to our fellow-men; and it means that religion teaches us to perform those duties with fidelity, according to all our relations in life; to all our promises and contracts; to our fellow-citizens and neighbors; to the poor, and needy, and ignorant, and oppressed; and to all those who are providentially placed in our way who need our kind offices. Justice to them would lead us to act as we would wish that they would towards us.
And godly – Piously; that is, in the faithful performance of our duties to God. We have here, then, an epitome of all that religion requires:
(1) Our duty to ourselves – included in the word “soberly” and requiring a suitable control over our evil propensities and passions;
(2) Our duty to our fellow-men in all the relations we sustain in life; and,
(3) Our duty to God – evinced in what will be properly regarded as a pious life.
He that does these things, meets all the responsibilites of his condition and relations; and the Christian system, requiring the faithful performance of these duties, shows how admirably it is adapted to man.
In this present world – That is, as long as we shall continue in it. These are the duties which we owe in the present life.
13Looking for that blessed hope From the hope of future immortality he draws an exhortation, and indeed, if that hope be deeply seated in our mind, it is impossible that it should not lead us to devote ourselves wholly to God. On the contrary, they who do not cease to live to the world and to the flesh never have actually tasted what is the worth of the promise of eternal life; for the Lord, by calling us to heaven, withdraws us from the earth.
Hope is here put for the thing hoped for, otherwise it would be an incorrect mode of expression. He gives this appellation to the blessed life which is laid up for us in heaven. At the same time he declares when we shall enjoy it, and what we ought to contemplate, when we desire or think of our salvation.
And the appearing of the glory of the great God and Savior I interpret the glory of God, to mean not only that by which he shall be glorious in himself, but also that by which he shall then diffuse himself on all sides, so as to make all his elect partakers of it. He calls God great, because his greatness — which men, blinded by the empty splendor of the world, now extenuate, and sometimes even annihilate, as far as lies in their power — shall be fully manifested on the last day. The luster of the world, while it appears great to our eyes, dazzles them so much that “the glory of God” is, as it were, hidden in darkness. But Christ, by his coming, shall chase away all the empty show of the world — shall no longer obscure the brightness, shall no longer lessen the magnificence, of his glory. True the Lord demonstrates his majesty every day by his works; but because men are prevented by their blindness from seeing it, it is said to be hidden in obscurity. Paul wishes that believers may now contemplate by faith that which shall be manifested on the last day, and therefore that God may be magnified, whom the world either despises, or; at least, does not esteem according to his excellence.
It is uncertain whether these words should be read together thus, “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great God and our Savior,” or separately, as of the Father and the Son, “the glory of the great God, and of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” The Arians, seizing on this latter sense, have endeavored to prove from it, that the Son is less than the Father, because here Paul calls the Father “the great God” by way of distinction from the Son. The orthodox teachers of the Church, for the purpose of shutting out this slander, eagerly contended that both are affirmed of Christ. But the Arians may be refuted in a few words and by solid argument; for Paul, having spoken of the revelation of the glory of “the great God,” immediately added “Christ,” in order to inform us, that that revelation of glory will be in his person; as if he had said that, when Christ shall appear, the greatness of the divine glory shall then be revealed to us.
Hence we learn, first, that there is nothing that ought to render us more active or cheerful in doing good than the hope of the future resurrection; and, secondly, that believers ought always to have their eyes fixed on it, that they may not grow weary in the right course; for, if we do not wholly depend upon it, we shall continually be carried away to the vanities of the world. But, since the coming of the Lord to judgment might excite terror in us, Christ is held out to us as our “Savior,” who will also be our judge.
13. looking for that blessed hope] The blessed hope, cf. Rom_8:24, where it is both the hope and the object of the hope; Col_1:5, ‘ “for the hope,” i.e. looking to the hope which is stored up; the sense of “hope,” as of the corresponding words in any language, oscillates between the subjective feeling and the objective realisation.’ Bp Lightfoot. Cf. 1Ti_1:1.
and the glorious appearing] So A.V., considering the two nouns as a Hebraism for a noun and an adjective; but R.V. better, literally, and appearing of the glory; this substantive, from the verb ‘hath appeared’ of ver. 11, is limited in N.T. use to St Paul, who has it six times, and always, except 2Ti_1:10, of the future appearing of Christ (see note on 1Ti_6:14). It comes three times in St Paul’s last letter, 2 Tim. The word has been adopted for all the epiphanies of the Son of God in O.T. days, as the angel of the covenant, at Bethlehem, to the Gentiles with ‘the doctors,’ in His miracles and parables, in the ‘infallible proofs’ of the ‘forty days,’ in ‘the powers of Pentecost,’ in the life of His Church and of each Christian soul by faith, until His ‘coming with power and great glory.’
the great God and our Saviour] So A.V., Winer, Alford, Conybeare, on the ground that St Paul’s usage is against ‘our great God Jesus Christ.’ Alford rightly says that it can be no objection to this that St Paul’s usage is also against ‘the manifestation of the Father God,’ because it is the appearing of the glory that St Paul speaks of, and this glory is certainly the Father’s and the Son’s, Mat_16:27 compared with Mat_25:31, ‘come in His Father’s glory,’ ‘come in His glory.’ Nor can the rule that the one article indicates the one subject, and that therefore the two expressions refer to one personality, be too strongly relied upon as decisive against this view. Bp Ellicott who opposes this A.V. rendering yet admits this, ‘there is a presumption in favour of it on this account, but on account of the defining genitive “of us,” nothing more;’ and in Aids to Faith (quoted in Winer, iii. § 19, 5, note), ‘the rule is sound in principle but in the case of proper names or quasi-proper names, cannot safely be pressed.’ The usage in 2Pe_1:1, and in Jud_1:4, is also doubtful: R.V. which renders there ‘our God and Saviour,’ ‘our only Master and Lord,’ but adds the marginal ‘Or, our God and the Saviour,’ ‘Or, the only Master, and our Lord,’ here too gives our great God and Saviour, but adds in the margin, ‘Or, of the great God and our Saviour.’ The early Fathers are with R.V. Ignatius, ad Ephes. i., seems to quote it ‘according to the will of the Father and Jesus Christ our God.’ See Bp Lightfoot’s note. Chrysostom asks ‘Where are they who say that the Son is less than the Father?’ Jerome, ‘Magnus Deus Jesus Christus salvator dicitur.’ Compare the long list in Bp Wordsworth’s note; Calvin, Ellicott, Fairbairn, &c. among moderns. The objection raised on the ground of St Paul’s usage will be less felt, when the strong language of 1Ti_3:15, 1Ti_3:16 with the reading ‘He who,’ and of Php_2:6, Php_2:7, Col_1:15-20 is weighed; and when the connexion of this Epistle in its language and thought with St Peter and St Jude is remembered, it may well seem that the later mode of speaking of Christ, in the now settled faith and conviction of the Church, is beginning to find place.
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
Looking for — with constant expectation (so the Greek) and with joy (Rom_8:19). This will prove the antidote to worldly lusts, and the stimulus to “live in this present world” conformably to this expectation. The Greek is translated, “waiting for,” in Luk_2:25.
that — Greek, “the.”
blessed — bringing blessedness (Rom_4:7, Rom_4:8).
hope — that is, object of hope (Rom_8:24; Gal_5:5; Col_1:5).
the glorious appearing — There is but one Greek article to both “hope” and “appearing,” which marks their close connection (the hope being about to be realized only at the appearing of Christ). Translate, “The blessed hope and manifestation (compare Note, see on Tit_2:11) of the glory.” The Greek for “manifestation” is translated “brightness” in 2Th_2:8. As His “coming” (Greek, “parousia”) expresses the fact; so “brightness, appearing,” or “manifestation” (epiphaneia) expresses His personal visibility when He shall come.
the great God and our Saviour Jesus — There is but one Greek article to “God” and “Savior,” which shows that both are predicated of one and the same Being. “Of Him who is at once the great God and our Savior.” Also (2) “appearing” (epiphaneia) is never by Paul predicated of God the Father (Joh_1:18; 1Ti_6:16), or even of “His glory” (as Alford explains it): it is invariably applied to Christ’s coming, to which (at His first advent, compare 2Ti_1:10) the kindred verb “appeared” (epephanee), Tit_2:11, refers (1Ti_6:14; 2Ti_4:1, 2Ti_4:8). Also (3) in the context (Tit_2:14) there is no reference to the Father, but to Christ alone; and here there is no occasion for reference to the Father in the exigencies of the context. Also (4) the expression “great God,” as applied to Christ, is in accordance with the context, which refers to the glory of His appearing; just as “the true God” is predicated of Christ, 1Jo_5:20. The phrase occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but often in the Old Testament. Deu_7:21; Deu_10:17, predicated of Jehovah, who, as their manifested Lord, led the Israelites through the wilderness, doubtless the Second Person in the Trinity. Believers now look for the manifestation of His glory, inasmuch as they shall share in it. Even the Socinian explanation, making “the great God” to be the Father, “our Savior,” the Son, places God and Christ on an equal relation to “the glory” of the future appearing: a fact incompatible with the notion that Christ is not divine; indeed it would be blasphemy so to couple any mere created being with God.
Looking for – Expecting; waiting for. That is, in the faithful performance of our duties to ourselves, to our fellow-creatures, and to God, we are patiently to wait for the coming of our Lord.
(1) We are to believe that he will return;
(2) We are to be in a posture of expectation, not knowing when he will come; and,
(3) We are to be ready for him whenever he shall come; see the Mat_24:42-44 notes; 1Th_5:4 note; Phi_3:20 note.
That blessed hope – The fulfillment of that hope so full of blessedness to us.
The glorious appearing – Notes, 2Th_2:8; compare 1Ti_6:14; 2Ti_1:10; 2Ti_4:8.
Of the great God – There can be little doubt, if any, that by “the great God” here, the apostle referred to the Lord Jesus, for it is not a doctrine of the New Testament that God himself as such, or in contradistinction from his incarnate Son, will appear at the last day. It is said, indeed, that the Saviour will come “in the glory of his Father, with his angels” Mat_16:27, but that God as such will appear is not taught in the Bible. The doctrine there is, that God will be manifest in his Son; that the divine approach to our world be through him to judge the race; and that though he will be accompanied with the appropriate symbols of the divinity, yet it will be the Son of God who will be visible. No one, accustomed to Paul’s views, can well doubt that when he used this language he had his eye throughout on the Son of God, and that he expected no other manifestation than what would be made through him.
In no place in the New Testament is the phrase ἐπιφάνειαν τοῦ Θεοῦ epiphaneian tou Theou – “the manifestation or appearing of God” – applied to any other one than Christ It is true that this is spoken of here as the “appearing of the glory – τῆς δόξης tēs doxēs – of the great God,” but the idea is that of such a manifestation as became God, or would appropriately display his glory. It is known to most persons who have attended to religious controversies, that this passage has given rise to much discussion. The ancients, in general, interpreted it as meaning” The glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” This sense has been vindicated by the labors of Beza, Whitby, Bull, Matthaei, and Middleton (on the Greek article), and is the common interpretation of those who claim to be orthodox; see Bloomfield, Rec. Syn., and Notes, in loc. He contends that the meaning is, “the glorious appearance of that great being who is our God and Saviour.” The arguments for this opinion are well summed up by Bloomfield. Without going into a critical examination of this passage, which would not be in accordance with the design of these Notes, it may be remarked in general:
(1) That no plain reader of the New Testament, accustomed to the common language there, would have any doubt that the apostle referred here to the coming of the Lord Jesus.
(2) That the “coming” of God, as such, is not spoken of in this manner in the New Testament.
(3) That the expectation of Christians was directed to the advent of the ascended Saviour, not to the appearing of God as such.
(4) That this is just such language as one would use who believed that the Lord Jesus is divine, or that the name God might properly be applied to him.
(5) That it would naturally and obviously convey the idea that he was divine, to one who had no theory to defend.
(6) That if the apostle did not mean this, he used such language as was fitted to lead people into error.
(7) And that the fair construction of the Greek here, according to the application of the most rigid rules, abundantly sustains the interpretation which the plain reader of the New Testament would affix to it. The names above referred to are abundant proof that no violation is done to the rules of the Greek language by this interpretation, but rather that the fair construction of the original demands it. If this be so, then this furnishes an important proof of the divinity of Christ.
14Who gave himself for us. This is another argument of exhortation, drawn from the design or effect of the death of Christ, who offered himself for us, that he might redeem us from the bondage of sin, and purchase us to himself as his heritage. His grace, therefore, necessarily brings along with it “newness of life,” (Rom_6:4,) because they who still are the slaves of sin make void the blessing of redemption; but now we are released from the bondage of sin, in order that we may serve the righteousness of God; and, therefore, he immediately added, —
A peculiar people, zealous of good works; by which he means that, so far as concerns us, the fruit of redemption is lost, if we are still entangled by the sinful desires of the world. And in order to express more fully, that we have been consecrated to good works by the death of Christ, he makes use of the word purify; for it would be truly base in us to be again polluted by the same filth from which the Son of God hath washed us by his blood.
Who gave himself for us – Who gave his own life as a ransom price to redeem ours. This is evidently what is meant, as the words λυτρωσηται and λαον περιουσιον imply. The verb λυτροω signifies to redeem or ransom by paying a price, as I have often had occasion to observe; and περιουσιος signifies such a peculiar property as a man has in what he has purchased with his own money. Jesus gave his life for the world, and thus has purchased men unto himself; and, having purchased the slaves from their thraldom, he is represented as stripping them of their sordid vestments, cleansing and purifying them unto himself that they may become his own servants, and bringing them out of their dishonorable and oppressive servitude, in which they had no proper motive to diligence and could have no affection for the despot under whose authority they were employed. Thus redeemed, they now become his willing servants, and are zealous of good works – affectionately attached to that noble employment which is assigned to them by that Master whom it is an inexpressible honor to serve. This seems to be the allusion in the above verse.
A people for his own possession for a peculiar people, A.V. Who gave himself for us. The resemblance in thought and diction to 1Ti_2:3-6 has been already pointed out. “Who gave himself” (ὃς ἔδωκεν ἑαυτόν) is there expressed by ὁ δοὺς ἑαυτόν, and “that he might redeem us” (ἵνα λυτρώσηται ἡμᾶς) by ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων. (For the great truths contained in the words “who gave himself,” comp. Joh_10:11, Joh_10:17, Joh_10:18; Gal_1:4; Eph_5:2, Eph_5:25; 1Pe_2:24; Heb_9:14.) The voluntary offering of himself is also implied in the office of our Lord as High Priest (Heb_9:11-14). For us (ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν); on our behalf; not exactly synonymous with ἀντὶ ἡμῶν, “in our stead.” Both phrases, however, are used of our redemption by Jesus Christ. We find ὑπὲρ in Luk_22:19, Luk_22:20; Joh_6:51 : Joh_10:11, Joh_10:15; Joh_11:50-52; Joh_15:13; Joh_18:14; Rom_5:6, Rom_5:8; Rom_8:32; 1Co_5:7; 2Co_5:14, 2Co_5:15, 2Co_5:21; Gal_1:4; Eph_5:2, Eph_5:25; 1Th_3:10; Heb_2:9; 1Pe_2:21; 1Pe_3:18; 1Pe_4:1; 1Jn_3:16 : and we find ἀντί in Mat_20:28 and Mar_10:45, and in αντίλυτρον, 1Ti_2:6. The literal meaning of ὑπὲρ is “in defense of,” and hence generally “on behalf of,” “for the good of.” The primary idea of ἄντι is “standing opposite,” and hence it denotes “exchange,” “price,” “worth,” “instead,” etc. Redeem (λυτρώσηται); as Luk_24:21 :1Pe Luk_1:18; common in classical Greek. In the middle voice, as here, it means “to release by payment of a ransom;” in the active voice, “to release on receipt of a ransom.” In 1Pe_1:18 the ransom price is stated, viz. “the precious blood of Christ;” as in Mat_20:28 it is “the life of the Son of man.” The effect of this redemption is not merely deliverance from the penalty of sin, but from its power also, as appears by the following words: “a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” and by the passage in St. Peter above referred to. Purify (καθαρίσῃ); as very frequently in the New Testament of cleansing lepers, the outside of the platter, etc., cleansing the Gentiles (Act_10:15), putting away all sin (2Co_7:1), cleansing the Church (Eph_5:26), purging the conscience (Heb_9:14), etc. The iniquity just spoken of was a defilement; the redemption from iniquity removed that defilement. The blood of Jesus Christ, the price paid for the redemption, was the instrument of cleansing (1Jn_1:7, 1Jn_1:9). A people for his own possession (καὸν περιούσιον); only here in the New Testament, but frequent in the LXX., coupled, as here, with λαός (Exo_19:5; Deu_7:6; Deu_14:2; Deu_26:18), to express the Hebrew הלָּגֻסְ or הלָּגֻסְמעַ, a people the peculiar property, or treasure, of God; “peculiar” being derived from the Latin peculium, one’s own private property, reserved for one’s own private use. The Authorized Version “peculiar” expresses the sense exactly, and the περιούσιος of our text and of the LXX., from whom it is borrowed, is meant to define either that special reserved portion of a man’s property over and above what he spends for ordinary expenses, which nobody can interfere with, or those jewels on which he sets a special value, and places safely in his treasury. In 1Pe_2:10 λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν (“a peculiar people,” Authorized Version) means the same thing, that being the LXX. translation of the same Hebrew word, הלָּגֻסְ, in Ma 1Pe_3:17 (“jewels,” Authorized Version), “They shall be my reserved portion or possession.” The application of the phrase, λαὸν περιούσιον, descriptive in the Old Testament of Israel, to the Church of Christ, is very instructive. The passage in 1Pe_2:10 is exactly analogous, as is the phrase, “the Israel of God” (Gal_6:16). Zealous (ζηλωτής); as Act_21:20; Act_22:3; 1Co_14:12; Gal_1:14. From its special application to those who were zealous for the Law of Moses it became the name of the sect or party of the Zealots who played such a terrible part in the Jewish war (see Luk_4:15). Canaanite is the Hebrew for Ζηλωτής. Zeal for good works is the indispensable mark of God’s peculiar people, the inseparable fruit of the redemption and purification which is by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Who gave himself for us – See the notes at Eph_5:2.
That he might redeem us from all iniquity – The word here rendered “redeem” – λυτρόω lutroō, occurs only here and in Luk_24:21; 1Pe_1:18. The noun, however – λύτρον lutron, occurs in Mat_20:28; and Mar_10:45; where it is rendered “ransom;” see it explained in the notes at Mat_20:28. It is here said that the object of his giving himself was to save his people from all iniquity; see this explained in the notes at Mat_1:21.
And purify unto himself –
(1) Purify them, or make them holy. This is the first and leading object; see the notes at Heb_9:14
(2) “Unto himself;” that is, they are no longer to be regarded as their own, but as redeemed for his own service, and for the promotion of his glory; – Notes, 1Co_6:19-20.
A peculiar people – 1Pe_2:9. The word here used (περιούσιος periousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, having abundance; and then one’s own, what is special, or peculiar (Robinson, Lexicon), and here means that they were to be regarded as belonging to the Lord Jesus. It does not mean, as the word would seem to imply – and as is undoubtedly true – that they are to be a unique people in the sense that they are to be unlike others, or to have views and principles unique to themselves; but that they belong to the Saviour in contradistinction from belonging to themselves – “peculiar” or his own in the sense that a man’s property is his own, and does not belong to others. This passage, therefore, should not be used to prove that Christians should be unlike others in their manner of living, but that they belong to Christ as his redeemed people. From that it may indeed be inferred that they should be unlike others, but that is not the direct teaching of the passage.
Zealous of good works – As the result of their redemption; that is, this is one object of their having been redeemed; Notes, Eph_2:10.
15Speak these things, and exhort, and reprove This conclusion is of the same meaning as if he enjoined Titus to dwell continually on that doctrine of edification, and never to grow weary, because it cannot be too much inculcated. He likewise bids him add the spurs of “exhortations and reproofs;” for men are not sufficiently admonished as to their duty, if they be not also vehemently urged to the performance of it. He who understands those things which the Apostle has formerly stated, and who has them always in his mouth, will have ground not only for teaching, but likewise for correcting.
With all authority I do not agree with Erasmus, who translates ἐπιταγή “diligence in commanding.” There is greater probability in the opinion of Chrysostom who interprets it to mean severity against more atrocious sins; through I do not think that even he has hit the Apostle’s meaning; which is, that Titus should claim authority and respect for himself in teaching these things. For men given to curious inquiries, and eager about trifles, dislike the commandments to lead a pious and holy life as being too common and vulgar. In order that Titus may meet this disdain, he is enjoined to add the weight of his authority to his doctrine. It is with the same view (in my opinion) that he immediately adds, —
Let no man despise thee Others think that Titus is instructed to gain the ear of men, and their respect for him, by the integrity of his life; and it is indeed true that holy and blameless conduct imparts authority to instruction. But Paul had another object in view; for here he addresses the people rather than Titus. Because many had ears so delicate, that they despised the simplicity of the gospel; because they had such an itch for novelty, that hardly any space was left for edification; he beats down the haughtiness of such men, and strictly charges them to desist from despising, in any way, sound and useful doctrine. This confirms the remark which I made at the outset, that this Epistle was written to the inhabitants of Crete rather than to any single individual.
These things speak – That is, teach; for λαλει, speak, has the same meaning here as διδασκε, teach, which, as being synonymous, is actually the reading of the Codex Alexandrinus.
And exhort – Παρακαλει· Repeat them again and again, and urge them on their attention and consciences.
And rebuke – Ελεγχε· Demonstrate the importance, utility, and necessity of them; and show them that God requires their obedience.
With all authority – Μετα πασης επιταγης· With all that authority with which thy office invests thee, and which thou hast received from God.
Let no man despise thee – That is: Act so that no person shall have any cause to despise thee, either for thy work, or the manner and spirit is which thou dost perform it.
1. Few portions of the New Testament excel this chapter. It may well form the creed, system of ethics, and text book of every Christian preacher. Does any man inquire what is the duty of a Gospel minister! Send him to the second chapter of the Epistle to Titus for a complete answer. There he will find what he is to believe, what he is to practice, and what he is to preach. Even his congregation is parcelled out to him. The old and the young of both sexes, and those who are in their employment, are considered to be the objects of his ministry; and a plan of teaching, in reference to those different descriptions of society, is laid down before him. He finds here the doctrine which he is to preach to them, the duties which he is required to inculcate, the motives by which his exhortations are to be strengthened, and the end which both he and his people should have invariably in view.
2. The Godhead of Jesus Christ is here laid down in a most solemn and explicit manner: He is the great God our Savior, ὁ μεγας Θεος και Σωτηρ· human language can go no higher, and the expressions are such, and are so placed, that it is impossible either to misunderstand or to misapply them. He who is the great God, higher than the highest, is our Savior; he who is our Savior is the great God; but Jesus Christ is our Savior, and Jesus Christ is here stated to be the great God.
3. The extent of human redemption is here also pointed out. The saving grace of this great God hath shone out upon every man; none has been passed by, none left uninfluenced, none without the first offer of life eternal, and a sufficiency of grace to qualify him for the state.
4. The operation of Divine grace in preparing the soul for glory is next referred to. It cleanses us from all unrighteousness, it purifies us unto God, and makes us fervent and abundant in good works. This system is worthy of God, and is properly suited to the state and necessities of man. These are truths which must be preached, which are not preached enough, and which cannot be preached too often. Awake, pastors! and do not the work of the Lord carelessly. Awake, people! and believe to the saving of your souls. How shall he who is styled a minister of the Gospel, and who neither knows, feels, nor heartily inculcates these things, give an account in the great day, of himself, his calling, and his flock, to God? And when this Gospel is preached faithfully and zealously, how shall the people escape who neglect so great a salvation? Neglect, in such a case, is the highest contempt which man can offer to his Maker. Surely such conduct must expect judgment without mixture of mercy. Reader, lay this to heart.