In subjection for subject, A.V.; rulers for principalities. A.V.; to authorities for and powers, A.V. and T.R.; to be obedient for to obey magistrates, A.V.; unto for to, A.V. Put them in mind ( ὑπομίμνησκε); as 2 Timothy 2:14. To rulers, to authorities. Many uncials, which the R.T. follows, omit the καὶ, but it seems necessary to the sense. The change from "principalities and powers" to" rulers" and "authorities" does not seem desirable. ἀρχάι and ἐξουσίαι is a favorite juxtaposition el' St. Paul's (1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16; Colossians 2:10, Colossians 2:15). It occurs also in 1 Peter 3:22. In all the above examples the words, it is true, apply to the angelic hosts, but the words are elsewhere applied separately to human government, and in Luke 20:20, they are applied together to the authority of the Roman governor. To be obedient ( πειθαρχεῖν); only here and in Acts 5:29, Acts 5:32; Acts 27:21. It follows here its classical use, "to obey a superior," well expressed in the Authorized Version "to obey magistrates." The simple "to be obedient" of the Revised Version does not express the sense. To be ready unto every good work. St. Paul is still speaking with especial reference to magistrates and the civil power. Christians were to show themselves good citizens, always ready for any duty to which they were called. Christianity was not to be an excuse for shirking duties, or refusing obedience where it was due. The only limit is expressed by the word "good." They were to give tribute to whom tribute was due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor; but, if ordered to do evil, then they must resist, and obey God rather than man (Acts 4:19). (See the similar limitation in Titus 2:10, note, and compare, for the whole verse, the very similar passage, Romans 13:1-7.)
Not to be contentious for to be no brawlers, A.V.; to be for but, A.V.; toward for unto, A.V. To speak evil of no man ( μηδένα βλασφημεῖν). Probably especially pointed in the first place at a natural tendency of oppressed Christians to speak evil of their rulers (2 Peter 2:10; Jud 10), but extended into a general precept which might be especially needful for the rough and turbulent Cretans. Not to be contentious ( ἀμάχους εἴναι); as 1 Timothy 3:3, note. To be gentle ( ἐπιεικεῖς); coupled, as here, with ἀμάχους in 1 Timothy 3:3. Showing ( ἐνδεικνυμένους); a word of frequent occurrence in St. Paul's vocabulary (Romans 2:15; Romans 9:17.22; Ephesians 2:7, etc.; see above, Titus 2:10, note). Meekness ( πραότητα); another Pauline word (1 Corinthians 4:21; 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:23, etc.; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:25). The precept is given its widest extension by the double addition of "all" and "to all men." The roughness, or want of courtesy, of others is no excuse for the want of meekness in those who are the disciples of him who was meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29). All men, whatever their station, the highest or the lowest, are to receive meek and gentle treatment from the Christian.
We for we ourselves, A.V.; afore-time for sometimes, A.V.; hating for and hating, A.V. Foolish ( ἀνόητοι); a Pauline word (Galatians 3:1, Galatians 3:3), found also in Luke 24:25 (see 1 Timothy 6:9); of frequent use in classical Greek. Disobedient ( ἀπειθεῖς); as Titus 1:16. In Luke 1:17 it stands, as here, absolutely, meaning disobedient to God and his Law. Deceived ( πλανώμενοι); led astray, made to wander from the path of troth and right, either by false systems of religion, or by our own evil affections and appetites (see 2 Timothy 2:13; 1 Peter 2:25; 2 Peter 2:15, etc.). Serving; slaves to ( δουλεύοντες); 2 Peter 2:19 (see above, Titus 2:2). Lusts ( ἐπιθυμίαις); not always in a bad sense, as here, though usually so (see Luke 22:15; Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:17; Revelation 18:14). Pleasures ( ἡδοναῖς); always in a bad sense in the New Testament (Luke 8:14; James 4:1, James 4:3; 2 Peter 2:13). Living ( διάγοντες); see 1 Timothy 2:2, where it is followed by βίον, which is here understood. διάγειν τὸν βίον αἰῶνα χρόνον σάββατον. etc., are common phrases both in the LXX. and in classical Greek for passing or spending one's life, time, age, etc. But it is only found in the New Testament here and in 1 Timothy 2:2. Malice ( κακίᾳ). This word is sometimes used of wickedness generally, as Acts 8:22; James 1:21; 1 Corinthians 5:8; and probably Romans 1:29; anti even of badness in things, as Matthew 6:34. But it frequently in the New Testament denotes malice, the desire to do harm to others, as Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8, etc. Envy ( φθόνῳ); almost always found in St. Paul's enumeration of sins (Romans 1:29; Galatians 5:21; 1 Timothy 6:4, etc.). Hateful ( στυγητοί); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX. (though the verb στυγέω occurs once or twice in the Maccabees), but used in good classical Greek. The above is a sad but too true picture of human life without the sweetening influences of God's Holy Spirit.
When for after that, A.V.; the kindness of God our Savior, and his love toward man for the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man, A.V. Kindness ( χρηστότης), used by St. Paul only in the New Testament, and by him frequently in the sense of "kindness," whether of God (as Romans 2:4; Romans 11:22; Ephesians 2:7) or of man (as 2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12). In Romans 3:12, where it has the wider sense of "good" or "right," it is the phrase of the LXX., who use χρηστότης for the Hebrew בוֹט . In like manner, χρηστός is frequently used in the sense of "kind" (Luke 6:35; Romans 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:3). This is exactly analogous to the use of κακός and κακία, in the limited sense of "malicious," "malice" (see preceding note to Romans 3:3). Love toward man ( φιλανθρωπία); only here and Acts 28:2 in the New Testament. It occurs repeatedly in the Books of the Maccabees, and is common in good classical Greek. God our Savior (see 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3; Titus 2:10, etc.). Appeared (Titus 2:11).
Done in for of, A.V.; did ourselves for hare done, A.V.; through for by, A.V. By works ( ἐξ ἔργων); i.e. in consequence of. God's kindness and love to man did not spring from man's good work as the preceding and producing conditions (comp. Galatians 2:16, and the notes of Bishops Ellicott and Lightfoot). Done in righteousness( τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ); the particular description of the works wrought in a sphere or element of righteousness (Alford and Ellicott). Which we did ourselves; emphasizing that they were our good works, done by us in a state of righteousness. All this, as the cause of our salvation, the apostle emphatically denies. Not, etc., but according to his mercy he saved us. The predisposing cause, the rule and measure of our salvation, was God's mercy and grace, originating and completing that salvation. Through the washing of regeneration ( διὰ λουτροῦ παλλιγενεσίας). Here we have the means through or by which God's mercy saves us. The washing or rather laver of regeneration ( λουτρόν)—found elsewhere in the New Testament only in Ephesians 5:26, in exactly the same connection—is the laver or bath in which the washing takes place. The nature or quality of this bath is described by the words, "of regeneration" ( τῆς παλιγγενεσίας); elsewhere in the New Testament only in Matthew 19:28, where it seems rather to mean the great restoration of humanity at the second advent. The word is used by Cicero of his restoration to political power, by Josephus of the restoration of the Jews under Zerubbabel, and by several Greek authors; and the LXX. of Job 14:14 have the phrase, ἕως πάλιν γένωμαι, but in what sense is not quite clear, παλιγγενεσία, therefore, very fifty describes the new birth in holy baptism, when the believer is put into possession of a new spiritual life, a new nature, and a new inheritance of glory. And the laver of baptism is called "the laver of regeneration," because it is the ordained means by or through which regeneration is obtained. And renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is doubtful whether the genitive ἀνακαιγώσεως depends upon διὰ or upon λούτρου. Bengel, followed by Alford, takes the former, "per lavacrum et renovationem;" the Vulgate (lavacrum regenerationis et renova-tionis Spiritus Sancti), the latter, followed by Huther, Bishop Ellicott, and others. It is difficult to hit upon any conclusive argument for one side or the other. But it is against the latter construction that it gives such a very long rambling sentence dependent upon λούτρου. "The laver of regeneration and of the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." And it is in favor of the former that the "laver of regeneration" and "the renewing of the Holy Ghost" seem to describe very clearly the two parts of the sacrament, the outward visible sign and the inward spiritual grace; the birth of water and of the Holy Ghost. So that Bengel's rendering seems on the whole to be preferred. Renewing ( ἀνακαινώσεως); only here and Romans 12:2, and not at all in the LXX. or in classical Greek. But the verb ἀνακαινόω is found in 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10. The same idea is in the καινὴ κτίσις, the "new creature" of 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15, and the καινότης ζωῆς of Romans 6:4, and the καινότης πνεύματος of Romans 7:6, and in the contrast between the "old man" (the παλαιὸς ἄνθρωπος) and "the new man" (the καινὸς ἄνθρωπος) of Ephesians 4:22-24. This renewal is the work of the Holy Ghost in the new birth, when men are "born again" of the Spirit (John 3:5). Alford is wrong in denying its application here to the first gift of the new life. It is evidently parallel with the παλιγγεσία. The connection of baptism with the effusion of the Holy Spirit is fully set forth in Acts 2:1-47. (see especially Acts 2:38; comp. Matthew 3:16, Matthew 3:17).
Poured out upon us richly for shed on us abundantly, A.V. Which ( οὖ); viz. the Holy Ghost. It is in the genitive (instead of the accusative ὁ, which is another reading), by what [he grammarians call attraction. Poured out ( ἐξέχεεν); the same word as is applied to the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:17, Acts 2:18, Acts 2:33, and in the LXX. of Joel 2:28, Joel 2:29. Richly ( πλουσίως); as 1 Timothy 6:17; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:11 (compare the use of πλοῦτος in Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:7). Through Jesus Christ. It is our baptism into Christ which entitles us to receive the Holy Spirit, which we have only in virtue of our union with him. The Spirit flows from the Head to the members. In Acts 2:33, Acts 2:34 Christ is said to have received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, and to have poured it forth upon the Church.
Might for should, A.V. Being justified by his grace; showing very clearly that righteousness in man did not precede and cause the saving mercy of God, but that mercy went before and provided the justification which is altogether of grace, and which issues in the possession of eternal life. Heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This seems to be the right rendering rather than that in the margin, heirs, according to hope, of eternal life, making "eternal life" depend upon "heirs." The passage in Titus 1:2, "In hope of eternal life," is a very strong reason for taking the same construction here. The answer in the Church Catechism, "Wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven," follows very closely St. Paul's teaching in the text (see Romans 4:13, Romans 4:14; Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29, Galatians 4:7).
Faithful is the saying for this is a faithful saying, A.V.; concerning these things for these things, A.V., confidently for constantly, A.V.; to the end that for that, A.V.; God for in God, A.V.; may for might, A.V.; full stop after good works, and colon after men. Faithful is the saying; as 1 Timothy 1:15 (where see note). Here the faithful saying can only be the following maxim: "That they which have believed in God may be careful to maintain good works;" the words, "These things I will that thou affirm confidently," being interpolated to give yet more weight to it. Concerning these things; i.e. with respect to the things or truths which are the subject of the faithful saying. I will that thou affirm confidently ( διαβεβαιοῦσθαι); see 1 Timothy 1:7. "Never be weary of dwelling on these important truths, and asserting them with authority. For such doctrine is really good and profitable for those whom you are commissioned to teach. But leave alone the foolish and unprofitable controversies." To the end that ( ἵνα). It is not necessary to give to ἵνα the meaning "to the end that," in such a sentence as this (see note on Titus 2:12). After words of command especially, ἵνα, frequently, has simply the force of "that." So here, "lay it down as a rule that they which have believed God must be careful to maintain good works." If the sentence had run on without interruption, it would have been πιστὸς ὁ λόγος ὅτι κ. τ. λ. But the interposition of the διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, with the idea of commanding obedience, has caused the use of ἵνα. Believed God ( οἱ πεπιστευκότες θεῷ or τῷ θεῷ). The meaning is not the same as πιστεύειν ἐν, or ἐπί, "to believe in," or "on," but "to believe" (as Romans 4:3,Romans 4:17 and 1 John 5:10, where the context shows that it is the act of believing God's promise that is meant). And so here, the believing refers to the promises implied in the preceding reference to the hope and the inheritance. May be careful ( φροντίζωσι); only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek. The word means "to give thought" about a thing, "to be careful" or "anxious" about it. To maintain ( προΐ́στασθαι); usually in the sense of "presiding over" or "ruling" (as Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4, 1 Timothy 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:12; 1 Timothy 5:17). Here, alter the analogy of the classical use, προΐ́στασθαι τέχνης, to "undertake," to "carry on," or the like, fairly expressed by to "maintain." The idea does not seem to be "to stand at the head of," or "to be foremost in." Good works; i.e. practical godliness of all kinds (see 1 Timothy 1:14). These things are good, etc. If the reading of the T.R., τὰ καλὰ κ. τ. λ., is retained, the rendering ought to be, "These are the things that are really good and profitable unto men, not foolish questions, etc., they are unprofitable." But the R.T. omits the τά. With regard to the interpretation above given of 1 Timothy 1:8, it must be admitted that it is very doubtful. But the great difficulty of the other way of rendering it, as most commentators do, is that it is impossible to say which part of what precedes is "the faithful saying" alluded to; and that the "care to maintain good works" is not that which naturally springs from it; whereas the reiteration in 1 Timothy 1:8 implies that "good works" is the special subject of "the faithful saying."
Shun for avoid, A.V.; questionings for questions, A.V.; strifes for contentions, A.V.; fightings for strivings, A.V. Shun ( περάτασο); see 2 Timothy 2:16. Foolish questionings; as 2 Timothy 2:23. Genealogies; as 1 Timothy 1:4. Strifes ( ἔρεις); as 1 Timothy 6:4. Fightings about the Law ( μάχας νομικάς); such as St. Paul alludes to in 1 Timothy 1:1-20., and are probably included in the λογομαχίαιof 1 Timothy 6:4. Unprofitable ( ἀνωφελεῖς); only here and Hebrews 7:18; but it is found in the LXX. and other Greek Versions, and in classical Greek (compare, for the sense, 2 Timothy 2:14). Vain ( μάταιοι); compare the use of ματαιολόγοι, "vain talkers" (Titus 1:10), and ματαιολογία "vain talking" (1 Timothy 1:6). The whole picture is unmistakably one of the perverse Jewish mind.
Heretical for an heretick, A.V.; a for the, A.V.; refuse for reject, A.V. Heretical ( αἱρετικόν); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX., but used in classical Greek for "intelligent," i.e. able to choose. The use of it here by St. Paul is drawn from the use of αἵρεσις for "a sect" (Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5, Acts 24:14; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20; 2 Peter 2:1), or the doctrines taught by a sect. The heretic is one who forsakes the truth held by the Church, and chooses some doctrine of his own devising ( αἵρεσις). The tendency of such departures from the doctrine of the Church to assume more and more of a deadly character, and to depart wider and wider from the truth, gave to the name of heretic a darker shade of condemnation in the mouth of Church writers as time advanced. But even in apostolic times some denied the resurrection (2 Timothy 2:11, 2 Timothy 2:12); others denied the Lord that bought them (2 Peter 2:1); and there were some who were of the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9); so that already an heretical man, drawing away disciples after him, was a great blot in the Church. Admonition ( νουθεσία); as 1 Corinthians 10:11; Ephesians 6:4. After a first and second admonition refuse ( παραιτοῦ); see 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11. It does not clearly appear what is intended by this term In 1 Timothy 5:11 it meant refusing admission into the college of Church widows. If these had been persons seeking admission into the Church, or ordination, it would mean "refuse them." Vitringa (Huther) thinks it means "excommunication." Beza, Ellicott, Huther, Alford, etc., render it "shun," "let alone," "cease to admonish," and the like.
Such a one for be that is such, A.V.; perverted for subverted, A.V.; self-condemned for condemned of himself, A.V. Is perverted ( ἐξέστραπται); only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX., and found in classical Greek in a material sense, "to turn inside out," "to root up," and the like. Here it means the complete pervert-ion of the man's Christian character, so as to leave no hope of his amendment. But this is not to be presumed till a first and second admonition have been given in vain. Self-condemned ( αὐτοκατάκριτος); only here in the New Testament, not found in the LXX. nor in classical Greek. It means what Cicero (quoted by Schleusner) says of C. Fabricius, that he was suo judicio condemnatus, condemned by his own judgment, which, he says, is a heavier condemnation than even that of the law and of the judges ('Pro Cluentio,' 21, at the end). Fabricius was self-condemned because he had left the court in confusion at a critical part of his trial. So the heretics were self-condemned by the very fact that they continued to head the schism after repeated admonitions.
Give diligence for be diligent, A.V.; there I have determined for I have determined there, A.V. When I shall send Artemas, etc. The action of St. Paul in sending Artemas or Tychicus to take the place of Titus in Crete is exactly the same as he pursued with regard to Ephesus, whither he sent Tychicus to take Timothy's place (2 Timothy 4:11, 2 Timothy 4:12). He would not leave the presbyters in either place without the direction and superintendence of one having his delegated apostolic authority. This led to the final placing of a resident bishop in the Churches, such as we find in the second century. We may conclude that Artemas (otherwise unknown) was the person eventually sent to Crete, as Tychicus (Colossians 4:7) we know went to Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12). We have also an important note of time in this expression, showing clearly that this Epistle was written before the Second Epistle to Timothy (as it probably also was before 1 Timothy)—an inference abundantly corroborated by 2 Timothy 4:10, by which it appears that Titus had then actually joined St. Paul, either at Nicopolis or elsewhere, and had started off again to Dalmatia. Give diligence ( σπούδασον); 2 Timothy 2:15, note; 2 Timothy 4:9, 2 Timothy 4:21. Nicopolis, in Epirus. The most obvious reason for St. Paul's wintering at Nicopolis is that it was near Apollonia, the harbor opposite Brindisium, which would be his way to Rome, and also well situated for the missionary work in Dalmatia, which we learn from 2 Timothy 4:10 was in hand. Nicopolis (the city of victory) was built by Augustus Caesar to commemorate the great naval victory at Actium over Antony. It is now a complete ruin, uninhabited except by a few shepherds, but with vast remains of broken columns, baths, theatres, etc.. To winter ( παραχειμάσαι); Acts 27:12; Acts 28:11; 1 Corinthians 16:6. (On the question whether the winter here referred to is the same winter as that mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21, see Introduction.)
Set forward for bring, A.V. Set forward ( πρόπεμψον); the technical expression both in the New Testament and the LXX., and also in classical Greek, for helping a person forward on their journey by supplying them with money food, letters of recommendation, escort, or whatever else they might require (see Acts 15:3; Acts 20:38; Acts 21:5; Romans 15:24; 1 Corinthians 16:6; 2 Corinthians 1:16; 3 John 1:6). Zenas the lawyer. He is utterly unknown. His name is short for Zenodorus, but whether he was "a Jewish scribe or Roman legist" can hardly be decided. But his companionship with Apollos, and the frequent application of the term νομικός in the New Testament to the Jewish scribes and lawyers (Matthew 22:35; Luke 7:30; Luke 10:25; Luke 11:45, Luke 11:48, Luke 11:52; Luke 14:3), makes it most probable that he was a Jewish lawyer. Apollos; the well-known and eminent Alexandrian Jew, who was instructed in the gospel by Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus, and became a favorite teacher at Corinth (Acts 18:24; Acts 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12, and the following chapters, and 1 Corinthians 16:12). It is a probable conjecture of Lewin's that Apollos was the bearer of this letter, written at Corinth, and was on his way to Alexandria, his native place, taking Crete on the way.
Our people for ours, A.V. Our people also. The natural inference is that Titus had some fund at his disposal with which he was to help the travelers, but that St. Paul wished the Cretan Christians to contribute also. But it may also mean, as Luther suggests, "Let our Christians learn to do what Jews do, and even heathens too, viz. provide for the real wants of their own." To maintain good works (verse 8, note) for necessary uses ( εἰς τὰς ἀναγκαίας χρείας); such as the wants of the missionaries. The phrase means "urgent necessities," the "indispensable wants." In classical Greek τὰ ἀνάγκαια are "the necessaries of life." That they be not unfruitful ( ἄκαρποι); comp. 2 Peter 1:8 and Colossians 1:6, Colossians 1:10.
Salute for greet, A.V.; faith for the faith, A.V. That love us in faith has no sense. "The faith" is right (see 1 Timothy 1:2, note). Grace be with you all. So, with slight varieties, end St. Paul's other Epistles. The T.R. has Amen, as have most of the other Epistles.
Mercy begetting mercy.
The practical lessons of the gospel were not exhausted in the preceding chapter, nor the motives which urge believers to godliness. The call to holiness in the last chapter was based upon the holy character of God's saving grace and the purpose of Christ's redeeming love. In these verses the grace and love of God are still the basis of the exhortation, but it takes its peculiar coloring from the thought of what we were ourselves. Tenderness, indulgence, and meekness toward our fellow-men are the duties to which these verses call us; and it is supposed that those fellow-men may be rough and evil-minded toward us, and provoking in their ways, and perhaps obstinate in evil-doing. The natural heart might be ready to speak evil of them, to contend fiercely with them, utterly to reject them as reprobates, to thrust them beyond the pale of hope and kindness. But stay! What were you yourselves when the kindness and love of God first appeared unto you? Were you walking in righteousness? Were your works the things which attracted God's love toward you? Nay! you were living in that folly which you now condemn in others; you were children of disobedience then as truly as they are now; you were deceived by sin then as they are now; you were the slaves of your own lusts then even as they are now; you lived in malice and envy then, both hateful and hating one another. But God's mercy found you out; God's love threw a veil over your sins; he provided a fountain to wash away your guilt; he sent his Holy Spirit to create in you a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within you; he justified you by his grace; he made you his heirs, and gave you the hope of eternal life. And will not you have mercy upon your fellow-men? Will not you, for whom the Divine gentleness and patience has done so much, be gentle and patient too? Will not you, humble in the remembrance of your own sins, and abashed at the thought of your own unworthiness, deal meekly and kindly even with unruly and sinful men, and cherish the hope that God's boundless grace may at last reach them, even as it reached you? Thus the doctrine of God's mercy toward men begets mercy from man to man, and the doctrine of grace is the strongest conceivable motive to charity.
Pearls before swine.
There is in some a habit of mind utterly out of harmony with the Word of God. It is not that dogmas, or creeds, or ceremonies are despised and forgotten by them, as they usually are by the pleasure-seeking or moneymaking world. On the contrary, these things are often in their minds and upon their lips. But they handle everything, not with a view to growth in goodness, not with a view to the formation within of a humble, pure, and holy character, but merely as matters of disputation. They raise questions, the solution of which has no bearing upon our duty to God or man, but which only give occasion for strife of words, and utterly unprofitable contentions. The most solemn truths, the most sacred mysteries of the Christian faith, are only food for a wrangling, disputatious spirit. They are always ready to start difficulties, to suggest doubts, or to propose new forms of doctrine in lieu of those once delivered to the saints. Strong in their own conceits and wise in their own esteem, they will not learn, no, not from Christ himself, but are always forward to teach some new thing. They value nothing which they have not invented themselves. They accept no truth which they have not adulterated with their own imaginations. Disciples they will not be. Masters they must be. When this habit of mind has clearly developed itself, the servant of God has only to withdraw from such. He must not be drawn into the whirlpool of vain jangling and unprofitable disputes. He must not go on casting his pearls before the swine. Silence is, in such cases, the best rebuke. When honest and gentle efforts to bring home to such persons the truths of God's Word in a reverential and practical way have utterly failed, and it is become evident that there is no desire in their hearts for Christ and his Word, it is time to cease from such efforts. "From such turn away" is the authoritative advice of St. Paul. Nothing can be in sharper contrast with the "unprofitable strivings" here condemned than the unobtrusive works of kindness, and active help to the furtherance of the gospel, inculcated upon Titus. Zenas and Apollos are to be brought on their way. Care is to be taken that they want for nothing. The Church in Crete is to be fruitful in good works for the wants of their brethren; and even the closing salutation is redolent of love and kindness. When Christians feel that the very essence of Christianity is unobtrusive love and kindness, shown in unselfish acts, and a readiness to help wherever help is needed, then will the Church be Christ's true witness upon earth; witnessing to Christ as the embodiment of the law of love, and witnessing to the Spirit of Christ as dwelling in her of a truth.
HOMILIES BY T. CROSKERY.
The apostle now turns to the duties which Christians owe to the pagan world around them.
I. THE NECESSITY OF THE INJUNCTION TO POLITICAL SUBMISSION. "Put them in mind." The words imply that the duty was already known, but needed to be recalled to Cretan memory. It is but too certain that the injunction was needed. Once a democratic state, now for over a century under Roman law, and always remarkable for a factious and turbulent spirit, the Cretan impatience of authority was reinforced by the spirit of insubordination which was such a characteristic of the Jewish part of the community.
II. THE DUTY OF SUBMISSION TO CONSTITUTED AUTHORITY. "Put them in mind to be subject to authorities, to powers, to obey the magistrate, to be ready towards every good work." The very redundancy of words used here is significant, as if to exclude the possibility of an evasion of the command.
1. Government is of God. "The powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13).
2. The form of government does not affect the duty of obedience. Monarchies, republics, oligarchies, have in them alike the ordination and power of God for the welfare of society.
3. There are limits to this obedience, but the apostle does not fix them. The exceptional cases are not mentioned, because they are summed up either in the primary law of self-preservation, which is antecedent to all government, or in the supremacy of conscience, which must always obey God rather than men. A king may become insane and murder his subjects, but the first principles of nature justify their resort to force in self-protection (Acts 5:29; Acts 4:9, Acts 4:20). The king may command his subjects to practice idolatry. In that case, if the Christian cannot resist, he must die.
III. POLITICAL DUTY IN THE CASE OF CHRISTIANS INCLUDES MORE THAN SUBMISSION. They must be "ready toward every good work." As the magistrate is appointed to be a terror to evil-doers and the praise of them that do well (Romans 13:3), the disposition of Christian subjects to every good work has a tendency to make government easy and light.—T.C.
The right deportment of Christians toward all men.
It is described first negatively, then positively.
I. THEY MUST NOT BE REVILERS. "To speak evil of no man."
1. What evils spring from the wrong use of the tongue! "It is an unruly evil" (James 3:8).
2. If the evil we speak of others is false, we are slanderers; if it is true, we sin against charity. It usually betokens a malignant spirit.
3. It is to forget the example of Christ—"who, when he was reviled, reviled not again;" and the precepts of Christ, who taught us "to love our enemies." Let Christians, therefore, guard their tongues, and let their words be few and well-ordered.
II. THEY MUST NOT BE CONTENTIOUS. "No brawlers."
1. Such a disposition mars the influence of Christian people.
2. It is inconsistent with the spirit of him who did not strive, nor was his voice heard in the streets.
3. It leads to unseemly retaliations from the world, to the dishonor of Christ.
III. THEY MUST BE FORBEARING. "But gentle." It suggests the idea of giving way, of taking wrong rather than of revenging the injuries we receive.
IV. THEY MUST BE MEEK TO ALL MEN. "Showing all meekness to all men."
1. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22.)
2. It is precious in God's sight. (1 Peter 3:4.)
3. It is a characteristic of true wisdom. (James 3:17.)
4. It is necessary to a Christian walk. (Ephesians 4:1, Ephesians 4:2.)
5. It is specially needed in our conduct toward our fellow-men (James 3:13); in our efforts to restore the erring (Galatians 6:1) and to instruct opposers (2 Timothy 2:24, 2 Timothy 2:25).—T.C.
An humiliating retrospect.
The apostle adds, as a reason for the duties first specified, that "we also," including himself with the Gentile Christians, were once in a similar condition to the heathen, and had received mercy. It is a dark picture of men in their natural state, proceeding from a description of the inward source to the outward facts of this evil life.
I. HUMAN NATURE DEPICTED AS TO ITS MORE INWARD CHARACTER. "For we ourselves" were once foolish.
1. It is foolish. As wisdom is the choice of proper means of attaining our ends, so folly must be the direct contrary.
2. It is disobedient. The word implies that the root of all true obedience is faith. Human nature is without faith, and is therefore disobedient.
3. It is deceived. Because it is separated from Christ, who is the Light of the world. It is easily led astray by all sorts of delusion. It has no pole-star or compass to steer by, and is therefore in constant danger of shipwreck. It is deceived by itself as well as by the devil.
II. HUMAN NATURE DEPICTED AS TO ITS MORE OUTWARD CHARACTER.
1. Its service was impure. "Serving divers lusts and pleasures." This was the character of heathen life in an island like Crete, where the propensities of human nature would have free scope. The pleasures of this life were of a sinful and debasing nature. Such a service was bondage (Romans 6:6, Romans 6:16; Romans 16:18).
2. It implied a life of malice.
3. It implied a life of envy.
4. It implies hatefulness. "Hateful;" that is, possessing the qualities that excite hatred and dislike.
5. It implies a return of hate for hate. "Hating one another."
The origin, nature, means, and end of salvation.
The apostle reflects that he and other believers had no excuse for treating the heathen with haughtiness, since it was owing to no merit of his or theirs that their own lives had become purer.
I. THE MANIFESTATION OF THE DIVINE GOODNESS AND LOVE TO MAN. "But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love to man appeared."
1. The time of this manifestation. The expression implies a definite point of time. It was "the fullness of the time" (Galatians 4:4).
2. The nature of this manifestation.
(a) Kindness is the more general term, unlimited, undefined, all-embracing, touching the whole creation.
(b) Love to man is his special and distinguishing love to the children of men as distinct from angels.
(a) The title" Savior," so often given to the Son, is here given to the Father, because he is the Fountain from whence flow all the streams of Divine mercy. The Son is "the Unspeakable