The Epistle of Paul to
TITUS
1
Greeting
Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the faith of God's elect and a real knowledge of the Truth that accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life*—which life God, who cannot lie, promised before the ages of time but has manifested by a proclamation of His Word at chosen times, which word was entrusted to me by the command of our Savior God;§ to Titus, a true son in a common faith: Grace, mercy,* peace, from Father God and Sovereign Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Qualifications for elders
I left you in Crete for this reason, that you should set in order the things that were lacking and appoint elders in every town as I directed you —if a man is blameless, a one-woman man,§ having children* who believe and who are not open to the charge of being wild or disobedient. Because as an administrator under God the overseer must be blameless; not self-willed, not hotheaded, not given to wine, not a bully, not avaricious; but rather hospitable, a lover of what is good, prudent, just, holy, disciplined; holding fast the trustworthy Word as taught, so that he may be competent both to exhort with the sound doctrine and to correct those who oppose it.
They must face opposition
10 Because there really are lots of rebels, loudmouths and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group, 11 who must be silenced—they are ruining whole households, teaching things that they ought not, and for dishonest gain!§ 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true.* Therefore correct them rigorously, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish fables or to commands of men who are rejecting the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; in fact, both their minds and their consciences are defiled.§ 16 They profess to know God, but by their actions they deny Him, being detestable, disobedient and disqualified for any good work.
* 1:2 Paul frankly states his motivation; he wants eternal life, and the only way to get there is to be a slave of God. Since Jehovah the Son endured the cross with a view to the glory on the other side (Hebrews 12:2), Paul is in good company. We have the same opportunity. 1:2 This is one thing that God cannot do, being contrary to His nature, His essence. 1:2 How did Paul know this? Presumably it was revealed to him, perhaps when he was caught up to the third heaven. (See also 1 Peter 1:18-20.) Perhaps it refers to a promise made by the Father to the Son. The suggestion here is that ‘time’ is a concept limited to this planet, being irrelevant to an eternal Being. § 1:3 Paul is plainly claiming to be in the line of those whom God chose down through the ages to proclaim His Word, the implication being that it is a new proclamation, not just an exposition of what has already been written. The “hope of eternal life” has been proclaimed at chosen times throughout human history. * 1:4 Some 8% of the Greek manuscripts omit “mercy” (as in NIV, NASB, LB, TEV, etc.). 1:4 I take it that “Father God” and “Sovereign Jesus Christ” act here as proper nouns. Perhaps 5% of the Greek manuscripts omit “Sovereign” (as in NIV, NASB, LB, TEV, etc.). 1:5 When was this? We know that Luke and Aristarchus were with Paul on the boat that took him to Rome; he isn't mentioned, but might Titus have been there too? And when the boat stopped at Fair Havens, Crete, Paul may have sent Titus ashore. (Paul already knew that he would suffer shipwreck.) § 1:6 I take it that Paul is speaking of a quality, a kind of person. Many men have only one wife, but have wandering eyes—they would not qualify. * 1:6 Presumably adults who have left the ‘nest’ are not in view here. 1:7 If we are going to represent God in an official capacity, we need to be clean. 1:9 Unfortunately, this competence in the use of God's Word is in rather short supply these days. § 1:11 Apparently those people were not acting out of strong personal conviction, but just for material gain. Pitiful. Unfortunately, such people are still very much with us. * 1:13 Nothing like telling it like it is! (Paul had evidently not heard about being ‘politically correct’.) 1:13 Ingrained habits and cultural characteristics cannot be changed with a single rebuke; Paul is talking about a sustained effort to bring about a change in their attitudes and cultural values. 1:14 Before listening to someone, you need to check out their presuppositions. § 1:15 I am reminded of Matthew 6:22-23, words of the Sovereign Creator while He walked this earth: “The lamp of the body is the eye. So if your eye is sound your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is evil your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Of course we have two eyes, but the Text has “eye” in the singular. I take it that the reference is to the way we interpret what we see (which is our real ‘eye’)—two people, one pure and one vile, observing the same scene will give very different interpretations to it. ‘Evil’ here has the idea of malignant—aggressively evil. Someone with a malignant mind will give an evil interpretation to everything he sees, and in consequence his being will be filled with unrelenting darkness. That is what it says here in Titus 1:15; to someone who is defiled nothing is pure. With a defiled mind and conscience such a person is simply incapable of giving a decent interpretation to anything at all in this whole wide world. That is why Paul goes on to say in the next verse that such a person is disqualified for any good work. Surely, if you are full of evil, how can you do good?