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Titus Chapter One


Titus 1

The Epistle to Titus is occupied with the maintenance of order in the churches of God.

The especial object of those written to Timothy as the maintenance of sound doctrine, although speaking of other things with regard to which the apostle gives directions for the conduct of Timothy. This the apostle himself tells us. In the First Epistle to Timothy we see that Paul had left his beloved son in the faith at Ephesus, in order to watch that no other doctrine was preached there; the assembly is the pillar and support of the truth. In the Second Epistle we find the means by which Christians are to be strengthened in the truth, when the mass have departed from it.

Here, in Titus, the apostle says expressly that he had left him in Crete to set in order things that wee yet wanting, and to establish elders in every city. Although more or less the same dangers presented themselves to the mind of Paul as when writing to Timothy, yet we find that the apostle enters at once upon his subject with a calmness which shews that his mind was not pre-occupied in the same way with those dangers, and that the Spirit could engage him more entirely with the ordinary walk of the assembly; so that this epistle is much more simple in its character. The walk that becomes Christians, with regard to the maintenance of order in their relationships of each other, and the great principles on which this walk is founded, form the subject of the book. The state of the assembly comes but little before us. Truths that flow more entirely from the Christian revelation, and that characterize it, have more place in this epistle than in those addressed to Timothy. On the other hand, prophecies concerning the future condition of Christianity, and the development of the decline that had already commenced, are not repeated here. While stating in a remarkable way certain truths with respect to Christianity, the tone of the epistle is more calm, more ordinary.

The promise of life is particularly spoken of here as well as in Timothy. Moreover this promise distinguishes Christianity, and the revelation of God (as the Father) in Christ, from Judaism.

But in this epistle the great boundaries of Christianity are set forth at the outset. The faith of the elect, the truth which is according to godliness, the promise before the world began of eternal life, and the manifestation of the word of God through preaching are the subjects of the introduction. The title of "Saviour" is here, as in Timothy, added to the name of God as well as to that of Christ.

This introduction is not without importance. That which it contains is presented to Titus by the apostle as characterizing his apostleship, and as the special subject of his ministry. It was not a development of Judaism, but the revelation of a life, and of a promise of life which subsisted (that is, in Christ, the object of the divine counsels) before the world was. Accordingly faith was found, not in the confession of the Jews, but in the elect brought by grace to the knowledge of the truth. It was the faith of the elect: this is an important truth, and that which characterizes faith in the world. Others may indeed adopt it as a system; but faith is in itself the faith of the elect. Among the Jews this was not the case. The public confession of their doctrine, and confidence in the promises of God, belonged to every one who was born an Israelite. Others may pretend to the Christian faith; but it is the faith of the elect. Its character is such that human nature neither embraces it nor conceives it, but finds it to be a stumbling-stone. It discloses a relationship with God, which to nature is inconceivable and at the same time presumptuous and insupportable. To the elect it is the joy of their soul. the light of their understanding, and the sustainment of their heart. it places them in a relationship with God which is all that their heart can desire, but which depends entirely on that which God is; and this the believer desires. It is a personal relationship with God Himself; therefore it is the faith of God's elect. Hence also it is for all the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

This faith of God's elect has an intimate character in relation to God Himself. It rests on Him, it knows the secret of His eternal counsels-that love which made the elect the object of His counsels. But there is another character connected with it, namely, confession before men. There is the revealed truth by which God makes Himself known, and claims the submission of man's mind and the homage of his heart. This truth places the soul in a true relationship with God. It is truth according to godliness.

The confession of the truth therefore is an important character of Christianity, and of the Christian. There is in the heart the faith of the elect, personal faith in God and in the secret of His love; and there is confession of the truth.

Now that which formed the hope of this faith was not earthly prosperity, a numerous posterity, the earthly blessing of a people whom God acknowledged as His own. I t was life eternal, promised of God in Christ before the world was, outside the world and the divine government of the world and the development of the character of Jehovah in that government.

It was eternal life. It is in connection with the nature and with the character of God Himself; and, having its source in Him, proceeding from Him, it was the thought of His grace, and declared to be such in Christ, before a world existed into which the first man was introduced in responsibility (his failure in which is his history up to Christ the second Man, and the cross in which He bore its consequences for us, and obtained that eternal life for us in its full glory with Himself), and which was the sphere of the development of God's government over that which was subject to Him-a very different thing from the communion of a life by which one participates in His nature, and which is its reflection. This is the hope of the gospel (for we are not speaking of the assembly here), the secret treasure of the faith of the elect, of which the revealed word assures us.

"Promised before the world began" is a remarkable and important expression. One is admitted into the thoughts of God before the existence of this changing and mingled scene, which bears witness of the frailty and sin of the creature-of the patience of God, and His ways in grace and in government. Eternal life is connected with the unchangeable nature of God, with counsels which are as abiding as His nature, with His promises, in which He cannot deceive us, and to which He cannot be unfaithful. Our portion in life existed before the foundation of the world, not only in the counsels of God, not only in the Person of the Son, but in the promises made to the Son as our portion in Him. It was the subject of those communications from the Father to the Son, of which we were the objects, the Son being their depository. [1] Marvelous knowledge which has given us of the heavenly communication of which the Son was the object, in order that we might understand the interest which we have in the thoughts of God, of which we were the objects in Christ before all the ages!

That which the word is becomes also more clear to us through this passage. The word is the communication, in time, of the eternal thoughts of God Himself in Christ. It finds man under the power of sin, and reveals peace and deliverance, and it shews ho he can have part in the result of God's thoughts. But these thoughts themselves are nothing else than the plan, the eternal purpose, of His grace in Christ, to bestow on us everlasting life in Christ-a life which existed in God before the world was. The word is preached, manifested (that is, the revelation of the thoughts of God in Christ). Now those thoughts gave us eternal life in Christ; and this was promised before the ages. The elect, believing, know it, and possess the life itself. They have the witness in themselves; but the word is the public revelation on which faith is founded, and which has universal authority over the consciences of men, whether they receive it or not. Just as in 2 Timothy 1:9,10 it is presented as salvation, but then made manifest.

It will be observed that faith here, is faith in a personally held, known, truth; a faith which only the elect can have, who possess the truth as God teaches it. "The faith" is used also for Christianity as a system in contrast with Judaism. Here it is the secret of God in contrast with a law promulgated to an outward people. This promise, which dated from before the revealed ages, and which was sovereign in its application, was especially committed to the apostle Paul that he might announce it by preaching. To Peter the gospel was committed more as the fulfillment of the promises made to the fathers, which Paul also recognizes, with the evangelical events that confirmed and developed them by the power of God manifested in the resurrection of Jesus, the witness of the power of this life.

John presents life more in the Person of Christ and then imparted to us, the characteristic fruits of which he sets forth.

We shall find that the apostle has not the same intimacy of confidence in Titus as in Timothy. He does not open his heart to him in the same way. Titus is a beloved and faithful servant of God and also the apostle's son in the faith; but Paul does not open his heart to him in the same manner-does not communicate to him his anxieties, his complainings-does not pour out his soul to him-as he did to Timothy. To tell of all one sees that is heart-breaking and disquieting in the work one is engaged in-that is the proof of confidence. One has confidence with regard to the work, and one speaks of it with regard to oneself, with regard to all, and there is no restraint, no measuring how far one ought to speak of oneself, of what one feels, of all things. This the apostle does with Timothy, and the Holy Ghost has been pleased to portray it for us. In writing to Timothy doctrine above all occupied the apostle's mind: by its means the enemy wrought and endeavored to ruin the assembly. Bishops only come into mind as an accessory thing. Here they have a primary place. Paul had left Titus in Crete to set in order the things that were yet wanting, and to ordain elders in every city, as he had already commanded him. It is not here a question of the desire any one might have to become a bishop, nor (in that view) of describing the character suitable to this charge, but of appointing them; and for this task Titus was furnished with authority on the apostle's part. The necessary qualifications are made known to him, in order that he might be able to decide according to apostolic wisdom. So that on the one hand he was invested by the apostle with authority to appoint them, and on the other hand instructed by him with respect to the requisite qualifications. Apostolic authority and wisdom concurred to render him competent to perform this grave and important work.

We see also that this apostolic delegate was authorized to set in order that which necessary to the welfare of the assemblies in Crete. Already founded, they yet needed directions with regard to many details of their walk; and apostolic care was requisite to give them these, as well as for the establishment of functionaries in the assemblies. This task the apostle had committed to the approved fidelity of Titus, furnished with his own authority by word of mouth and here in writing; so that to reject Titus was to reject the apostle and consequently the Lord who had sent him. Authority in the assembly of God is a serious thing-a thing that proceeds from God Himself. It can be exercised through influence by the gift of God; by functionaries, when God establishes them by instruments whom He has chosen and sent for this purpose.

It is not necessary here to enter upon the detail of qualifications that were fill the office of bishop suitably. They are, in the main, the same as those mentioned in the epistle to Timothy. They are qualities, not gifts; qualities-outward, moral, and circumstantial-that proved the fitness of the individual for the charge of watching over others. It may perhaps occasion surprise that the absence of gross misconduct should have a place here; but the assemblies were more simple than people think, and the persons of whom they were composed had but recently come out from the most deplorable habits; and therefore a previous conduct that commanded the respect of others was necessary to give weight to the exercise of the office of superintendence. It was also needful that he who was invested with this charge should be able to convince gainsayers. For they would have to do with such, especially among the Jews, who were always and everywhere active in opposition to the truth, and subtle in perverting the mind.

The character of the Cretans occasioned other difficulties, and required the exercise of preemptory authority; Judaism mingled itself with the effect of this national character. It was needful to be firm and to act with authority, that they might continue sound in the faith.

Moreover, he had still to speak concerning ordinances and traditions, those evil plagues in the church of God which provoke Him to jealousy, and which, by exalting man, are opposed to His grace. One thing was not pure, another was forbidden by an ordinance. God claims the heart. To the pure all things are pure; for him whose heart is defiled it needs not to go out of himself to find that which is impure; but convenient, in order to be able to forget what is within. The mind and conscience are already corrupt. They talk of knowing God, but in their works they deny Him, being unprofitable and reprobate as regards every work really good.

Titus, who was not only to appoint others for the purpose, but, being there clothed with authority, was himself to watch over the order and moral walk of the Christians, was charged (as is the case throughout these three epistles-Timothy, Titus, Philemon) to see that every one, according to his position, walked in agreement with moral and relative propriety-an important thing, and which shelters from the attacks of Satan, and from confusion in the assembly. True liberty reigns in the assembly; moral order secures this; and the enemy finds no better occasion to dishonour the Lord and ruin the testimony and throw all into disorder, thus giving the world occasion to blaspheme, than the forgetfulness of grace and holy order among Christians. Let us not deceive ourselves: if these proprieties are not maintained (and they are beautiful and precious), then the liberty (and it is beautiful and precious, and unknown to the world, who are ignorant of what grace is), the excellent liberty of the christian life, gives room for disorder which dishonors the Lord and throws moral confusion into everything.

Often, in perceiving that the weakness of man has given occasion to disorder where christian liberty reigns, instead of seeking the true remedy, men have destroyed the liberty; they banish the power and operation of the Spirit-for where the Spirit is, there is liberty in every sense-the joy of the new relationships in which all are one. But, while severing every bond for the Lord's sake when necessary, the Spirit recognizes every relationship which God has formed; even when we break them-as death does-through the exigency of the call of Christ, which is superior to them all. But while we are in them (the call of Christ apart), we are to act suitably to the relationship. Age and youth, husband and wife, child and parent, slave and master, all have their own proprieties to maintain towards each other, a behavior in accordance with the position in which we stand.


[1] Compare Proverbs 8:30,31 and Luke 2:14 and Psalm 40:6-8, "hast thou opened" being really, "thou has dug ears for me"-that is, prepared a body, the place of obedience, or a servant (Phil 2)' so translated by LXX, and accepted in Hebrews as just.

── John DarbySynopsis of Titus


Titus 1

Chapter Contents

The apostle salutes Titus. (1-4) The qualifications of a faithful pastor. (5-9) The evil temper and practices of false teachers. (10-16)

Commentary on Titus 1:1-4

(Read Titus 1:1-4)

All are the servants of God who are not slaves of sin and Satan. All gospel truth is according to godliness, teaching the fear of God. The intent of the gospel is to raise up hope as well as faith; to take off the mind and heart from the world, and to raise them to heaven and the things above. How excellent then is the gospel, which was the matter of Divine promise so early, and what thanks are due for our privileges! Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; and whoso is appointed and called, must preach the word. Grace is the free favour of God, and acceptance with him. Mercy, the fruits of the favour, in the pardon of sin, and freedom from all miseries both here and hereafter. And peace is the effect and fruit of mercy. Peace with God through Christ who is our Peace, and with the creatures and ourselves. Grace is the fountain of all blessings. Mercy, and peace, and all good, spring out of this.

Commentary on Titus 1:5-9

(Read Titus 1:5-9)

The character and qualification of pastors, here called elders and bishops, agree with what the apostle wrote to Timothy. Being such bishops and overseers of the flock, to be examples to them, and God's stewards to take care of the affairs of his household, there is great reason that they should be blameless. What they are not to be, is plainly shown, as well as what they are to be, as servants of Christ, and able ministers of the letter and practice of the gospel. And here are described the spirit and practice becoming such as should be examples of good works.

Commentary on Titus 1:10-16

(Read Titus 1:10-16)

False teachers are described. Faithful ministers must oppose such in good time, that their folly being made manifest, they may go no further They had a base end in what they did; serving a worldly interest under pretence of religion: for the love of money is the root of all evil. Such should be resisted, and put to shame, by sound doctrine from the Scriptures. Shameful actions, the reproach of heathens, should be far from Christians; falsehood and lying, envious craft and cruelty, brutal and sensual practices, and idleness and sloth, are sins condemned even by the light of nature. But Christian meekness is as far from cowardly passing over sin and error, as from anger and impatience. And though there may be national differences of character, yet the heart of man in every age and place is deceitful and desperately wicked. But the sharpest reproofs must aim at the good of the reproved; and soundness in the faith is most desirable and necessary. To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; they abuse, and turn things lawful and good into sin. Many profess to know God, yet in their lives deny and reject him. See the miserable state of hypocrites, such as have a form of godliness, but are without the power; yet let us not be so ready to fix this charge on others, as careful that it does not apply to ourselves.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Titus


Titus 1

Verse 1

[1] Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ — Titles suitable to the person of Paul, and the office he was assigning to Titus.

According to the faith — The propagating of which is the proper business of an apostle.

A servant of God — According to the faith of the elect.

An apostle of Jesus Christ — According to the knowledge of the truth. We serve God according to the measure of our faith: we fulfil our public office according to the measure of our knowledge.

The truth that is after godliness — Which in every point runs parallel with and supports the vital, spiritual worship of God; and, indeed, has no other end or scope. These two verses contain the sum of Christianity, which Titus was always to have in his eye.

Of the elect of God — Of all real Christians

Verse 2

[2] In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

In hope of eternal life — The grand motive and encouragement of every apostle and every servant of God.

Which God promised before the world began — To Christ, our Head.

Verse 3

[3] But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

And he hath in his own times — At sundry times; and his own times are fittest for his own work. What creature dares ask, "Why no sooner?" Manifested his word - Containing that promise, and the whole "truth which is after godliness." Through the preaching wherewith I am intrusted according to the commandment of God our Saviour - And who dares exercise this office on any less authority?

Verse 4

[4] To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

My own son — Begot in the same image of God, and repaying a paternal with a filial affection.

The common faith — Common to me and all my spiritual children.

Verse 5

[5] For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

The things which are wanting — Which I had not time to settle myself.

Ordain elders — Appoint the most faithful, zealous men to watch over the rest. Their character follows, Titus 1:6-9. These were the elders, or bishops, that Paul approved of;-men that had living faith, a pure conscience, a blameless life.

Verse 6

[6] If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

The husband of one wife — Surely the Holy Ghost, by repeating this so often, designed to leave the Romanists without excuse.

Verse 7

[7] For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

As the steward of God — To whom he intrusts immortal souls.

Not selfwilled — Literally, pleasing himself; but all men "for their good to edification." Not passionate - But mild, yielding, tender.

Verse 9

[9] Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

As he hath been taught — Perhaps it might be more literally rendered, according to the teaching, or doctrine, of the apostles; alluding to Acts 2:42.

Verse 10

[10] For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

They of the circumcision — The Jewish converts.

Verse 11

[11] Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

Stopped — The word properly means, to put a bit into the mouth of an unruly horse.

Verse 12

[12] One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

A prophet — So all poets were anciently called; but, besides, Diogenes Laertius says that Epimenides, the Cretan poet, foretold many things.

Evil wild beasts — Fierce and savage.

Verse 14

[14] Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

Commandments of men — The Jewish or other teachers, whoever they were that turned from the truth.

Verse 15

[15] Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

To the pure — Those whose hearts are purified by faith this we allow.

All things are pure — All kinds of meat; the Mosaic distinction between clean and unclean meats being now taken away.

But to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure — The apostle joins defiled and unbelieving, to intimate that nothing can be clean without a true faith: for both the understanding and conscience, those leading powers of the soul, are polluted; consequently, so is the man and all he does.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Titus


Chapter 1. Qualifications for Elders

To the Pure
All Things Are Pure

I. Personal Ministry

  1. A Servant of God
  2. An Apostle of Christ
  3. Preacher of the Gospel

II. Appoint Overseers and Elders

  1. Blameless
  2. Respectable
  3. Hold Firmly to the Truth

III. Circumstances in Crete

  1. Always Liars
  2. Evil Brutes
  3. Lazy Gluttons

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Chapter One General Review
1) To review the qualifications for elders in the church
2) To examine the work of elders related to the Word of God
Paul begins by identifying himself as a servant and an apostle whose
service is according to the faith of God's chosen people and the truth
which is according to godliness.  It is also in hope of the eternal
life promised by God before time began, and whose word is now being 
manifested through preaching.  He then greets Titus as his "true son in
the common faith", bestowing upon him grace, mercy and peace from God
the Father and Jesus our Savior (1-4).
Paul quickly addresses the reason he left Titus in Crete, to set in 
order what things were lacking and to appoint elders in every city.  To
assist him in that task, Paul reviews the qualifications necessary for
those who would be appointed as elders (5-9).
The last qualification for elders (being able to convict those who 
contradict) leads right into the final section of this chapter, in 
which Titus is told to sharply rebuke those of the circumcision who 
through insubordination and deceit had been subverting entire 
households, acting just like the characterization made by one of the 
ancient Cretan prophets.  Motivated by dishonest gain, giving heed to
Jewish fables and commandments of men, they became defiled even in
their mind and conscience.  These false teachers may have professed to
know God, but by their works they denied Him and proved themselves
unfit for every good work (10-16).
   A. FROM PAUL (1-3)
      1. A servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ (1a)
      2. According to... (1b)
         a. The faith of God's elect
         b. The acknowledgment of the truth which is according to 
      3. In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie... (2-3)
         a. Promised before time began
         b. In due time has manifested His Word
            1) Through preaching
            2) Which was committed to him according to the commandment
               of God
   B. TO TITUS (4)
      1. His true son in their common faith (4a)
      2. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ
         our Savior (4b)
      1. To set in order the things that are lacking (5a)
      2. To appoint elders in every city as Paul commanded him (5b)
      1. Positive qualifications
         a. Blameless
         b. The husband of one wife
         c. Having faithful children not accused of dissipation or
         d. Blameless as a steward of God
         e. Hospitable
         f. A lover of what is good
         g. Sober-minded
         h. Just
         i. Holy
         j. Self-controlled
         k. Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught
         l. Able by sound doctrine to exhort and convict those who
      2. Negative qualifications
         a. Not self-willed
         b. Not quick-tempered
         c. Not given to wine
         d. Not violent
         e. Not greedy for money
   A. THEIR CHARACTER (10-13a)
      1. Insubordinate (10a)
      2. Idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the 
         circumcision (10b-11)
         a. Whose mouths must be stopped
         b. For they subvert whole households
         c. For they teach things which they ought not, for the sake of
            dishonest gain
      3. They live up to the estimation of one of Crete's own prophets:
         "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." (12-
      1. They are to be rebuked sharply (13b-14)
         a. That they may be sound in the faith
         b. That they not give heed to Jewish fables and commandments
            of men
      2. To the pure all things are pure... (15)
         a. But to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is
         b. But even their mind and conscience are defiled
      3. They profess to know God... (16)
         a. But in works they deny Him
         b. Being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every
            good work
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Introduction (1-4)
   - Concerning elders (5-9)
   - Concerning false teachers (10-16)
2) In keeping with what two things was Paul a servant of God and an
   apostle of Jesus Christ? (1)
   - The faith of God's elect
   - The acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness
3) What is said about eternal life and God's Word? (2-3)
   - Eternal life was promised before time began
   - His Word was manifested in due time through preaching
4) How does Paul describe Titus? (4)
   - My true son in our common faith
5) What were the two reasons Titus had been left in Crete? (5)
   - To set in order the things that are lacking
   - To appoint elders in every city
6) What are the positive qualifications for elders? (6-9)
   - Blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not
     accused of dissipation or insubordination, blameless as a steward
     of God, hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just,
     holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has
     been taught, able by sound doctrine to exhort and convict those 
     who contradict
7) What are the negative qualifications for elders? (6-9)
   - Not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not 
     violent, not greedy for money
8) Who especially in Crete were insubordinate, idle talkers, and 
   deceivers? (10)
   - Those of the circumcision
9) Why must their mouths be stopped? (11)
   - They were subverting whole households, teaching things they ought
     not, for dishonest gain
10) What had one of the Cretan prophets said? (12)
   - "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."
11) What was Titus to do with these false teachers? (13)
   - Rebuke them sharply
12) What two reasons are given for extending such rebuke? (13-14)
   - That they may be sound in the faith
   - That they not give heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men
13) What is said of the pure?  Of those who are defiled and 
    unbelieving? (15)
   - All things are pure
   - Nothing is pure; even their mind and conscience is defiled
14) How did some who professed to know God actually deny Him? Why? (16)
   - In their works
   - They were abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good


--《Executable Outlines


Qualifications for elders

To the Pure

All things are pure


I.  Personal ministry

1.    A servant of God

2.    An apostle of Christ

3.    Preacher of the gospel

II.Appoint overseers and elders

1.    Blameless

2.    Respectable

3.    Hold firmly to the truth

III.       Circumstances in Crete

1.    Always liars

2.    Evil brutes

3.    Lazy gluttons

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament