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Titus Chapter Three


Titus 3

With respect to the conduct of Christians towards the world, grace has banished violence, and the spirit of rebellion and resistance which agitates the heart of those who believe hot, and which has its source in the self-will that strives to maintain its own rights relatively to others.

The Christian has his portion, his inheritance, elsewhere; he is tranquil and submissive here and ready to do good. Even when others are violent and unjust towards him, he bears it in remembrance that once it was no otherwise with himself: a difficult lesson, for violence and injustice stir up the heart; but the thought that it is sin, and that we also were formerly its slaves, produces patience and piety. Grace alone has made the difference, and according to that grace are we to act towards others.

The apostle gives a grievous summary of the characteristics of man after the flesh-that which we once were. Sin was foolishness-was disobedience; the sinner was deceived-was the slave of lusts, filled with malice and envy, hateful, and hating others. Such is man characterized by sin. But the kindness of God, of a Saviour-God, His good-will and charity towards men (sweet and precious character of God!) [1] has appeared. The character that He assumed is that of Saviour, a name especially given Him in these three epistles, in order that we should bear its stamp in our walk, that it should pervade our spirit. Our walk in the world and our conduct towards others depend on the principles of our relationships with God. That which has made us different from others is not some merit in ourselves, some personal superiority: we were sometime even as they. It is the tender love and grace of the God of mercy. He has been kind and merciful to us: we have known what it is, and are so to others. It si true that in cleansing and renewing us this mercy has wrought by a principle, and in a sphere of a life, that are entirely new,, so that we cannot walk with the world as we did before; but we act towards others who are still in the mire of this world, as God has acted towards us to bring us out of it, that we might enjoy those things which, according to the same principle of grace, we desire that others also should enjoy. The sense of what we once were, and of the way in which God has acted towards us, combine to govern our conduct towards others.

Now when the kindness of a Saviour-God appeared, it was not something vague and uncertain; He has saved us, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy by washing and renewing us. This is the double character of the work in us, the same two points which we find in John 3 in the Lords' discourse with Nicodemus; except that here is added that which has now its place because of the work of Christ, namely, that the Holy Ghost is also shed on us abundantly to be the strength of that new life of which He is the source. The man is washed, cleansed. He is washed from his former habits, thoughts, desires, in the practical sense. We wash a thing that exists. The man was morally bad and defiled in his inward and outward life. God has saved us by purifying us; He could not do it otherwise. To be in relationship with Himself there must be practical purity.

But this purification was thorough. It was not the outside of the vessel. It was purification by means of regeneration; identified with the communication of a new life no doubt, which is the source of new thoughts, in connection with God's new creation, and capable of enjoying His presence and in the light of His countenance, but which in itself is a passage from the state we were in into a wholly new one, from flesh by death into the status of a risen Christ.

But there was a power which acted in this new life and accompanies it in the Christian. It is not merely a subjective change, as they say. There is an active divine Agent who imparts something new, of which He is Himself the source-the Holy Ghost Himself. It is God acting in the creature (for it is by the Spirit that God always acts immediately on the creature); and it is in the character of the Holy Ghost that He acts in this work of renewal. It is a new source of thoughts in relationship with God; not only a vital capacity, but an energy which produces that which is new in us.

It has been a question, When does this renewal by the Holy Ghost take place? Is it at the commencement, [2] of which the apostle speaks? I think that the apostle speaks of it according to the character of the work; and adds "shed on us" (that which characterizes the grace of this present period) to shew that there is an additional truth, namely, that the Holy Ghost, as "shed on us," continues in order to maintain by His power the enjoyment of the relationship into which He has brought us. The man is cleansed in connection with the new order of things; but the Holy Ghost is a source of an entirely new life, entirely new thoughts; not only of a new moral being, but of the communication of all that in which this new being develops itself. We cannot separate the nature from the objects with regard to which the nature develops itself, and which form the sphere of its existence and characterize it.

It is the Holy Ghost who gives the thoughts, who creates and forms the whole moral being of the new man. The thought and that which thinks, cannot be separated, morally, when the heart is occupied with it. The Holy Ghost is the source of all in the saved man: he is ultimately saved, because this is the case with him.

The Holy Ghost does not only give a new nature; He gives it us in connection with an entirely new order of things ("a new creation"), and fills us as to our thoughts with the things that are in this new creation. This is the reason, that, although we are placed in it once for all, this work-as to the operation of the Holy Ghost-continues; because He ever communicates to us more and more of the things of this new world into which He has brought us. He takes of the things of Christ and shews them to us; and all that the Father has is Christ's. I think that the "renewing of the Holy Ghost" embraces all this; because he says, "which shed on us abundantly." So that it is not only that we are born of Him, but that He works in us, communicating to us all that is ours in Christ.

The Holy Ghost is shed on us abundantly by means of Jesus Christ our Saviour, in order that, having been justified by the grace of this Saviour, we should be heirs according to the hope of eternal life. I think that the antecedent of "in order that" is "the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost;" and that the sentence, "which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour," is an accessory parenthesis introduced to shew us that we have the fullness of the enjoyment of these things by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Thus he has saved us by this renewing that we may be heirs according to the hope of eternal life, It is nothing outward, earthly, or corporeal. Grace has given us eternal life, In order to this, we have been justified by the grace of Christ. [3] Thus there is energy, power, hope, through the rich gift of the Holy Ghost. In order to our participating in it we have been justified by His grace, and our inheritance is in the incorruptible joy of eternal life.

God has saved us, not by works--[4] anything that we are, but by His mercy. But the He has acted towards us according to the riches of His own grace, according to the thoughts of His own heart.

With these things the apostle desires that Titus would be occupied-with that which brings us with thanksgiving into practical connection with God Himself and makes us feel what our portion is, our eternal portion, before Him. This acts upon the conscience, fills us with love and good works, makes us respect all the relationships of which God Himself is the center. We are in relationship with God according to His rights; we are before God, who causes everything that He has Himself established to be respected by the conscience.

Idle questions and disputes on the law Titus was to avoid, together with everything that would destroy the simplicity of our relationship with God according to the immediate revelation of Himself and of His will in Jesus Christ. It is still the Gnostic Judaism setting itself up against the simplicity of the gospel; it is the law and human righteousness, and that which, by means of intermediate beings, destroys the simplicity and the immediate character of our relationship with the God of grace.

When a man tried to set up his own opinions, and by that means to form parties in the assembly, after having admonished him once and a second time, he was to be rejected; his faith was subverted. He sins, he is judged of himself. He is not satisfied with the assembly of God, with the truth of God: he wants to make a truth of his won. Why is he a Christian, if Christianity, as God has given it, does no suffice him? By making a party for his own opinions he condemns himself.

We have, at the end of the epistle, a little glimpse of the Christian activity which the love of God produces, the pains taken that the flock should enjoy all the help with which God supplies the assembly. Paul wished that Titus should come to him: but the Cretans needed his services; and the apostle makes the arrival of Artemas or Tychicus (the latter well known by the services he had rendered to Paul) the condition of the departure of Titus from the field in which he was laboring. We find too that Zena, a lawyer, and Apollos, who had also displayed his active zeal at Ephesus and Corinth, were disposed to occupy themselves in Crete with the work of the Lord.

Observe also that we have the two kinds of labourers: those who were in personal connection with the apostle as fellow-laborers, who accompanied him, and whom he sent elsewhere to continue the work he had begun, when he could no longer carry it on himself; and those who labored freely and independently of him. But there was no jealousy of this double activity. He did not neglect the flock that were dear to him. He was glad that any who were sound in the faith should water the plants which he had planted. He encourages Titus to show them all affection, and to provide whatever they needed in their journey. thought suggest to him the counsel that follows; namely, that it would be well for Christians to learn how to do useful work in order to supply the wants of others as well as their own.

The apostle ends his epistle with the salutations that christian love always produces; but, as we saw at the beginning, there is not here the same expansion of heart that we find in Paul's communications to Timothy. Grace is the same everywhere; but there are special affections and relationships in the assembly of God.


[1] In Greek it is the word 'philanthropy', which in scripture is only used in speaking of God; and which moreover has much greater force than the English word, because 'phil' is an especial affection for anything, a friendship.

[2] "palinggenisia" the word here used, is not being born again ("anagennao"). It is used, besides this passage, only in the end of Matthew 19 for the millennium. The renewing of the Holy Ghost is a distinct thing from the regeneration. This last is a change of one state of things to another.

[3] It is because "Christ" is in the parenthesis, and not in the principal sentence, that we read "ekeinos".

[4] Here, as everywhere, the responsibility of man and God's saving grace, by which purpose also is accomplished, are clearly distinguished.

── John DarbySynopsis of Titus


Titus 3

Chapter Contents

Obedience to magistrates, and becoming behaviour towards all, are enforced from what believers were before conversion, and what they are made, through Christ. (1-7) Good works to be done, and useless disputes avoided. (8-11) Directions and exhortations. (12-15)

Commentary on Titus 3:1-7

(Read Titus 3:1-7)

Spiritual privileges do not make void or weaken, but confirm civil duties. Mere good words and good meanings are not enough without good works. They were not to be quarrelsome, but to show meekness on all occasions, not toward friends only, but to all men, though with wisdom, James 3:13. And let this text teach us how wrong it is for a Christian to be churlish to the worst, weakest, and most abject. The servants of sin have many masters, their lusts hurry them different ways; pride commands one thing, covetousness another. Thus they are hateful, deserving to be hated. It is the misery of sinners, that they hate one another; and it is the duty and happiness of saints to love one another. And we are delivered out of our miserable condition, only by the mercy and free grace of God, the merit and sufferings of Christ, and the working of his Spirit. God the Father is God our Saviour. He is the fountain from which the Holy Spirit flows, to teach, regenerate, and save his fallen creatures; and this blessing comes to mankind through Christ. The spring and rise of it, is the kindness and love of God to man. Love and grace have, through the Spirit, great power to change and turn the heart to God. Works must be in the saved, but are not among the causes of their salvation. A new principle of grace and holiness is wrought, which sways, and governs, and makes the man a new creature. Most pretend they would have heaven at last, yet they care not for holiness now; they would have the end without the beginning. Here is the outward sign and seal thereof in baptism, called therefore the washing of regeneration. The work is inward and spiritual; this is outwardly signified and sealed in this ordinance. Slight not this outward sign and seal; yet rest not in the outward washing, but look to the answer of a good conscience, without which the outward washing will avail nothing. The worker therein is the Spirit of God; it is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Through him we mortify sin, perform duty, walk in God's ways; all the working of the Divine life in us, and the fruits of righteousness without, are through this blessed and holy Spirit. The Spirit and his saving gifts and graces, come through Christ, as a Saviour, whose undertaking and work are to bring to grace and glory. Justification, in the gospel sense, is the free forgiveness of a sinner; accepting him as righteous through the righteousness of Christ received by faith. God, in justifying a sinner in the way of the gospel, is gracious to him, yet just to himself and his law. As forgiveness is through a perfect righteousness, and satisfaction is made to justice by Christ, it cannot be merited by the sinner himself. Eternal life is set before us in the promise; the Spirit works faith in us, and hope of that life; faith and hope bring it near, and fill with joy in expectation of it.

Commentary on Titus 3:8-11

(Read Titus 3:8-11)

When the grace of God towards mankind has been declared, the necessity of good works is pressed. Those who believe in God, must make it their care to maintain good works, to seek opportunities for doing them, being influenced by love and gratitude. Trifling, foolish questions must be avoided, and subtle distinctions and vain inquiries; nor should people be eager after novelties, but love sound doctrine which tends most to edifying. Though we may now think some sins light and little, if the Lord awaken the conscience, we shall feel even the smallest sin heavy upon our souls.

Commentary on Titus 3:12-15

(Read Titus 3:12-15)

Christianity is not a fruitless profession; and its professors must be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. They must be doing good, as well as keeping away from evil. Let "ours" follow some honest labour and employment, to provide for themselves and their families. Christianity obliges all to seek some honest work and calling, and therein to abide with God. The apostle concludes with expressions of kind regard and fervent prayer. Grace be with you all; the love and favour of God, with the fruits and effects thereof, according to need; and the increase and feeling of them more and more in your souls. This is the apostle's wish and prayer, showing his affection to them, and desire for their good, and would be a means of obtaining for them, and bringing down on them, the thing requested. Grace is the chief thing to be wished and prayed for, with respect to ourselves or others; it is "all good."

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Titus


Titus 3

Verse 1

[1] Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

Remind them — All the Cretan Christians.

To be subject — Passively, not resisting.

To principalities — Supreme.

And powers — Subordinate governors. And to obey - Them actively, so far as conscience permits.

Verse 2

[2] To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

To speak evil — Neither of them nor any man.

Not to be quarrelsome — To assault none.

To be gentle — When assaulted.

Toward all men — Even those who are such as we were.

Verse 3

[3] For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

For we — And as God hath dealt with us, so ought we to deal with our neighbour.

Were without understanding — Wholly ignorant of God.

And disobedient — When he was declared to us.

Verse 4

[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

When the love of God appeared — By the light of his Spirit to our inmost soul.

Verse 5

[5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Not by works — In this important passage the apostle presents us with a delightful view of our redemption. Herein we have, 1. The cause of it; not our works or righteousness, but "the kindness and love of God our Saviour." 2. The effects; which are, (1.) Justification; "being justified," pardoned and accepted through the alone merits of Christ, not from any desert in us, but according to his own mercy, "by his grace," his free, unmerited goodness. (2.) Sanctification, expressed by the laver of regeneration, (that is, baptism, the thing signified, as well as the outward sign,) and the renewal of the Holy Ghost; which purifies the soul, as water cleanses the body, and renews it in the whole image of God. 3. The consummation of all; - that we might become heirs of eternal life, and live now in the joyful hope of it.

Verse 8

[8] This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Be careful to excel in good works — Though the apostle does not lay these for the foundation, yet he brings them in at their proper place, and then mentions them, not slightly, but as affairs of great importance. He desires that all believers should be careful - Have their thoughts upon them: use their best contrivance, their utmost endeavours, not barely to practise, but to excel, to be eminent and distinguished in them: because, though they are not the ground of our reconciliation with God, yet they are amiable and honourable to the Christian profession.

And profitable to men — Means of increasing the everlasting happiness both of ourselves and others.

Verse 10

[10] A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

An heretic (after a first and second admonition) reject — Avoid, leave to himself. This is the only place, in the whole scripture, where this word heretic occurs; and here it evidently means, a man that obstinately persists in contending about "foolish questions," and thereby occasions strife and animosities, schisms and parties in the church. This, and this alone, is an heretic in the scripture sense; and his punishment likewise is here fixed. Shun, avoid him, leave him to himself. As for the Popish sense, "A man that errs in fundamentals," although it crept, with many other things, early into the church, yet it has no shadow of foundation either in the Old or New Testament.

Verse 11

[11] Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

Such an one is perverted — In his heart, at least.

And sinneth, being self-condemned — Being convinced in his own conscience that he acts wrong.

Verse 12

[12] When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.

When I shall send Artemas or Tychicus — To succeed thee in thy office. Titus was properly an evangelist, who, according to the nature of that office, had no fixed residence; but presided over other elders, wherever he travelled from place to place, assisting each of the apostles according to the measure of his abilities.

Come to me to Nicopolis — Very probably not the Nicopolis in Macedonia, as the vulgar subscription asserts: (indeed, none of those subscriptions at the end of St. Paul's epistles are of any authority:) rather it was a town of the same name which lay upon the sea-coast of Epirus.

For I have determined to winter there — Hence it appears, he was not there yet; if so, he would have said, to winter here. Consequently, this letter was not written from thence.

Verse 13

[13] Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

Send forward Zenas the lawyer — Either a Roman lawyer or an expounder of the Jewish law.

Verse 14

[14] And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

And let ours — All our brethren at Crete.

Learn — Both by thy admonition and example. Perhaps they had not before assisted Zenas and Apollos as they ought to have done.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Titus


Chapter 3. The Authority of Elders

Knowing What Is Wrong
Commit Intentionally

I. The Way to Conduct Oneself and to Treat People

  1. Toward Government
  2. Toward People
  3. Self-examination

II. The Practice of Spiritual Life

  1. The Kindness and Love of God
  2. The Salvation of Jesus
  3. The Rebirth of the Holy Spirit

III. Command on Individuals

  1. Transfer Workers
  2. Devote to What Is Good
  3. Live Productive Life

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Chapter Three General Review
1) To review responsibilities Christians have toward those in authority
   and others in general
2) To consider how one is saved by God's mercy, through the washing of
   regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit
3) To notice the emphasis on being careful to maintain good works,
   while avoiding things that are unprofitable and useless (including
   some individuals)
In this final chapter Paul instructs Titus to remind the brethren 
concerning their duties toward those in authority and men in general
(1-2).  Exhortations to gentleness and humility toward all men is made
with a reminder that we too were once like those in the world (3).  We 
have been saved, not by our own works of righteousness, but by the
mercy of God who saved us through the washing of regeneration and 
renewing of the Holy Spirit (4-5).  The Spirit has been poured out 
abundantly on us, so that we who are justified might become heirs 
according to the hope of eternal life (6-7).  Paul also wants Titus to
affirm constantly that those who have believed in God should be
diligent in their good works (8).  At the same time, foolish disputes
and divisive men are to be avoided, for such are unprofitable and
useless (9-11).
The epistle closes with personal remarks and greetings.  Titus is
encouraged to come to Nicopolis as soon as Artemas or Tychicus have
arrived, for Paul has chosen to winter there (12).  In the meantime,
Titus is to send Zenas and Apollos on their journey with haste (13).  
Yet another exhortation is given to have the brethren learn to maintain
good works, meeting urgent needs, so they may not be unfruitful.  Paul 
then passes along greetings to Titus from those with him, and sends 
similar greetings to those who love the brethren (13-14).  A final 
benediction regarding grace ends the letter (15).
      1. Toward those in authority (1)
         a. Be subject to and obey rulers and authorities
         b. Be ready for every good work
      2. Toward all men (2)
         a. Speak evil of no one
         b. Be peaceable, gentle, showing humility to all
      1. In view of our past conduct (3)
         a. We were once foolish, disobedient and deceived
         b. We served various lust and pleasures
         c. We lived in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another
      2. In view of our salvation (4-7)
         a. We were saved according to God's kindness, love and mercy,
            not by works of righteousness which we have done (4-5)
         b. We were saved through the washing of regeneration and 
            renewing of the Holy Spirit (5-7)
            1) Whom God poured out abundantly through Jesus our Savior
            2) That being justified by grace we should become heirs
               according to the hope of eternal life
      3. In view of what is good and profitable (8)
         a. Those who have believed in God should be careful to 
            maintain good works
         b. This is a faithful saying, and should be affirmed
      4. In view of what is unprofitable and useless (9-11)
         a. Foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings
            about the law are to be avoided (9)
         b. A divisive man is to be rejected after two admonitions 
            1) For such is warped and sinning
            2) And is self-condemned
      1. To meet him at Nicopolis, after the arrival of Artemas or
         Tychicus (12)
      2. To send Zenas and Apollos on their journey with haste, lacking
         nothing (13)
      3. To aid others in learning to maintain good works, meeting 
         urgent needs, so as not to be unfruitful (14)
      1. Greetings from those with Paul
      2. Greetings to those who love the brethren in the faith
      3. Grace be with you all. Amen.
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Instructions for the brethren in general (1-11)
   - Concluding remarks (12-15)
2) What are the responsibilities of Christians toward rulers and 
   authorities? (1)
   - To be subject to them, to obey, to be ready for every good work
3) How should Christians conduct themselves toward men in general? (2)
   - To speak evil of none, to be peaceable, gentle, and humble toward
4) What should help us to be gentle and humble toward others? (3)
   - We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deceived
   - We had served various lusts and pleasures
   - We had been hateful and hating one another
5) What else should remind us to be humble? (4-5)
   - We were saved, not by works of righteousness which we have done,
     but according to the kindness, love and mercy of God
6) How has God in mercy saved us? (5)
   - Through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy 
7) Why has God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us? (6-7)
   - That having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs
     according to the hope of eternal life (cf. Ga 4:6-7; Ro 8:15-17)
8) What faithful saying did Paul want Titus to affirm constantly? (8)
   - Those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good
9) What was Titus to avoid?  Why? (9)
   - Foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about 
     the law
   - They are unprofitable and useless
10) Who was Titus to reject after two admonitions?  Why? (10-11)
   - A divisive man
   - Such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned
11) Where did Paul want Titus to join him? (12)
   - Nicopolis
12) Who was Titus to send along on their journey with haste, lacking 
    nothing? (13)
   - Zenas the lawyer and Apollos
13) What did Paul want Christians to learn? (14)
   - To maintain good works, to meet urgent needs
14) Who sent greetings to Titus?  Who did Paul send greetings to? (15)
   - All who with him
   - Those who love the brethren in the faith
15) What prayer did Paul offer as he closed this letter? (15)
   - Grace be with you all.  Amen.


--《Executable Outlines


The authority of elders

Knowing what is wrong

Commit intentionally


I.  The way to conduct oneself and to treat people

1.    Toward government

2.    Toward people

3.    Self=examination

II.The practice of spiritual life

1.    The kindness and love of God

2.    The salvation of Jesus

3.    The rebirth of the Holy Spirit

III.       Command on individuals

1.    Transfer workers

2.    Devote to what is good

3.    Live productive life

-- Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament