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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary for Schools and Colleges

Titus 2

Verses 1-99

Ch. 2. The Apostolate; its Efficiency and its Sphere

1 3 . What standard of holy living is to be maintained; first, for elder men and women

After these instructions to Titus for the appointment of presbyters and the repression of false teachers in chap. 1, St Paul proceeds to lay down for him the standard of Christian life ( v . 1), in old men ( v . 2), old women ( v . 3), young women ( vv . 4, 5), young men, including Titus himself ( vv . 6 8), slaves ( vv . 9, 10); based on the gifts of God’s grace in Christ and the hope of God’s glory ( vv . 11 14); this standard to be authoritatively maintained ( v . 15).

1 . sound doctrine ] See on 1:9, 1 Timothy 1:10 .

2 . the aged men] Better, aged men ; here of the ordinary life of the older men, as the comparative is used in 1 Timothy 5:1 ‘rebuke not an elder’; not ‘elders’ or ‘presbyters.’ St Paul is himself four or five years older than when he wrote to Philemon ‘being such an one as Paul the aged’ ( v . 9).

sober, grave, temperate ] Render sober, grave, pure , in preference to R.V. ‘temperate, grave, sober-minded,’ which are too nearly allied in modern significance; R.V. has the restricted modern sense of ‘temperate’ here (of use in drink), when in 1:8 it has been used in the large and proper sense. Bp Wordsworth for ‘grave’ suggests ‘reverend,’ ‘worshipful.’ ‘Sober’ in regard to ‘strong drink,’ see note on the word 1 Timothy 3:2 ; ‘grave’ in all ‘propriety of demeanour,’ see note on the corresponding substantive 1 Timothy 3:4 ; ‘pure’ in respect of ‘unclean thought and desire,’ see notes on the word 1 Timothy 3:2 ; below ver. 4.

sound in faith, in charity, in patience ] The articles seem intentionally prominent, sound in their faith, their love, their patience ; ‘these are recognised essentials of Christian character, but be careful that you have the real wholesome graces, without anything spurious or diseased.’ The article is used throughout the emphatic enumeration of these and other Christian virtues, 2 Peter 1:5-7 , where R.V. translates with italics ‘in your temperance patience, &c. There ‘faith’ is the first and ‘love’ the last. The ‘patience’ is especially seen in tribulation, cf. Romans 12:12 .

3 . The aged women likewise ] That aged women , not of any order of women corresponding to that of ‘elders’; though this exact word is used of such an order in the 11th Laodicean Canon, ‘those that are called elder women, to wit those that preside in the church, must not be ordained’; cf. Neander, Ch. Hist ., iii. 305 sqq.; and in Apocryphal Acts and Martyrdom of Matthew, Tisch. Act, apocr. apost ., p. 187. It undoubtedly arose later, based upon this passage, see note on 1 Timothy 5:3-16 .

be in behaviour ] Vulg. here ‘in habitu sancto,’ and in 1 Timothy 2:9 ‘in habitu ornato,’ but the Greek word here more properly corresponds to the classical sense of habitus ‘ settled ways and bearing,’ (comp. ‘behaviour’), while the Greek word there fits its Low Latin sense ‘raiment’ (‘ arrayment ’), (comp. ‘riding habit ’). The translation by the earlier English versions, Wiclif ‘habite,’ Tyndal, Cranmer ‘raiment,’ makes it likely that the sense of the Vulgate was the later sense of ‘habitus’ and therefore here inadequate. R.V. rightly demeanour as covering more than the modern sense of ‘behaviour,’ Jerome’s ‘incessus, motus, vultus, sermo, silentium.’

as becometh holiness ] One word, an adjective, in the Greek, for which R.V. gives reverent , Alford ‘reverend,’ with a difference of meaning intended, though ‘reverent’ had once the sense of ‘reverend,’ e.g. Homilies , p. 345, ‘partakers of his reverent Sacraments.’ But ‘reverent’ now implies ‘with a certain dignity of sacred decorum,’ to use Jerome’s words. ‘Reverend’ occurs in English Bible only in Psalms 111:9 , ‘holy and reverend is his name,’ and 2 Macc. 15:12, ‘a virtuous and a good man, reverend in conversation.’

The Greek means literally ‘as becometh a sacred office,’ and, as the simple word and its derivatives are used especially of the priesthood, well expresses a reverential spirit of consecration, mindful of the Christian believer’s priesthood and its requirements. This passage and 1 Timothy 2:9 ‘that women adorn themselves … which becometh women professing godliness through good works,’ taken with 1 Peter 2:9 , ‘a royal priesthood , a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,’ and Titus 2:14 , ‘a people for his own possession, zealous of good works,’ seem to supplement and explain one another. The phrase finds full recent appropriation in Miss F. R. Havergal’s lines:

‘Keep my life, that it may be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Keep my feet, that they may be

Swift and ‘beautiful’ for Thee.

Keep my lips, that they may be

Filled with messages from Thee.

Keep myself, that I may be

Ever, only , all, for Thee.’

Who that has known the happiness of help for Christian living from the example and service of such an elder saintly woman among his own kinsfolk or acquaintance, but will bless St Paul as Founder and Patron, through the Holy Spirit his Inspirer, of the best women’s rights, although he ‘suffered not a woman to speak in the church’?

not false accusers ] As 1 Timothy 3:11 , A.V. and R.V., not slanderers; see note.

not given to much wine ] Lit. with R.V. nor enslaved to much wine , cf. Romans 6:16-18 , where however the Revisers leave the weaker ‘servants’; lit. ‘ye were enslaved to Righteousness.’ Cf. 2 Peter 2:19 , ‘slaves of corruption, for of whom a man is overcome to the same is he also enslaved.’ The use of the word rendered ‘temperate’ in 1 Timothy 3:11 in conjunction with ‘not slanderers,’ and corresponding to our phrase here, defines its meaning in these Epistles as strictly literal ‘ sober , as to strong drinks;’ see ver. 2.

This character of women generally for intemperance is satirised in Anthology , xi. 297, 1:

‘Mother, how is it thou lovest the wine

More than thou lovest this son of thine?’

And xi. 298, 1 5:

‘The thirsty boy begs mother for a draught;

But, like her sex, quite overcome with wine,

Still drinking deep and turning just her head,

“I can’t ’tis such a drop, dear laddie mine,

This flagon holds but thirty pints,” she said.’

teachers of good things ] The only other N.T. compound with this word for ‘good,’ ‘fair,’ ‘beautiful’ is in 2 Thessalonians 3:13 , ‘be not weary in well-doing .’ The adjective, used with ‘works,’ is specially characteristic of this Epistle; below vv . 7, 14, 3:8, 14. The emphatic repetition in 3:8 further shews that we are right in interpreting the compound here ‘ teachers of good works .’ Compare the passages quoted above on ‘reverent.’ The contrast in these last four phrases of high calling and low falling is precisely parallel to that in 1 Timothy 3:2 , and strictly in accord with the early Church history of grand saintliness and gross sin. It strengthens the argument for the literal meaning there of ‘husband of one wife.’

4, 5 . The standard of holy living for young women

4 . that they may teach the young women to be sober ] A.V. ‘teach to be sober’ (i.e. pure) gives the full meaning of the verb, but not its grammatical force train in purity to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children . The verb has in Philo and other authors come to have hardly more than the force ‘school,’ ‘train,’ but surely St Paul is here restoring and raising it. The verb is only here, and the subst. only in 2 Timothy 1:7 , where see note.

5 . to be discreet, chaste ] The ‘expulsive power of the new affection’ for husband and for child would lead them on best to be wholly pure (note above on ver. 2 and on 1 Timothy 3:2 ) in mind and spirit, and chaste in look, and word, and act.

keepers at home ] Rather, we should read with R.V. workers at home , following ms. authority though with no support from the older versions. Vulg. ‘domus curam habentes.’ The word, which appears not to be found elsewhere, is formed similarly to the word for ‘malefactor,’ which in N.T. occurs only 2 Timothy 2:9 , and Luke 23:32 , Luke 23:33 , Luke 23:39 : and to that used of the younger widows, 1 Timothy 5:13 , ‘prying round into other people’s work.’ The verb occurs with the same variation of reading, Clem. Rom. ad Cor . 1. 1, the Alexandrine ms. reading ‘workers’ as here; ‘And ye taught them to be grave workers at home, keeping to the due limits of subjection, wholly pure minded;’ an evident reminiscence of this passage.

good, obedient to their own husbands ] Vulg. excellently, ‘benignas,’ kindly , ‘amiable,’ ‘good,’ as we say ‘a good man is good to his beast’; so it is used evidently of masters towards slaves in union with ‘gentle,’ i.e. ‘considerate,’ 1 Peter 2:18 , ‘in subjection to your masters, not only to the kindly and considerate, but also to the churlish.’ Render the next clause, which is identical in 1 Peter 3:1 and 5, in subjection to their own husbands . This participial phrase is almost proverbial apparently at this time. The word and thought ‘subjection’ occurs prominently in Titus and St Peter; Titus 2:5 , Titus 2:9 , Titus 2:3 :1; 1 Peter 2:3 , 1 Peter 2:18 , 1 Peter 2:3 :1, 1 Peter 2:5 , 1 Peter 2:5 :5.

that the word of God be not blasphemed ] Better, be not evil spoken of ; the word of God is here ‘the Gospel’ in the sense of ‘the Christian religion;’ in 1 Timothy 6:1 called ‘the name of God,’ and ‘the doctrine.’ For ‘the word of God’ cf. Revelation 1:2 , Revelation 1:9 , Revelation 1:6 :9. St Paul’s earlier usage connects itself more with the preaching of the Gospel, 1 Corinthians 14:36 ; 2 Corinthians 2:17 , 2 Corinthians 2:4 :2; Colossians 1:25 . The clause belongs to the whole instruction. ‘If Christians profess to be influenced by a supernaturally strong and sacred motive, and then fail to do what lower and ordinary motives often succeed in effecting, the world charges the failure on the lofty motive itself, and Christ bears once again the sins of His people.’ Dr Reynolds.

6 8 . The standard of holy living for young men

6 . The younger women in Crete were to be placed under the guidance of elder women, though in Ephesus Timothy was himself to instruct them. The young men are to have the special care of Titus.

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded ] Rather, the younger men … pure minded . The verb occurs in Mark 5:15 , Luke 8:35 , of the ‘possessed of devils’ being restored to sound reason; and in Romans 12:3 , 2 Corinthians 5:13 , of sober, reasonable judgment; but here, from the context, and from the use of the cognate verb ver. 4 and its context, and of the corresponding adjectives, 1 Timothy 3:2 ; Titus 1:8 , Titus 1:2 :2, Titus 1:5 , it seems limited to ‘purity of mind and spirit.’ In the somewhat similar exhortation to Timothy, 1 Timothy 5:22 , the word is different, ‘keep thyself chaste,’ as above in ver. 5 ‘chaste’ is joined with ‘pure’. ‘Chaste’ is suitable there because sins, actual sins, are the contrast rather than an impure spirit and state of mind.

7 . shewing thyself ] The middle participle and the reflex pron. for emphasis; Winer, iii. 38, 6.

a pattern of good works ] The simple word our ‘type’ here with the thing, as in 1 Timothy 4:12 with the person. So the compound with the thing, 2 Timothy 1:13 , with the person, 1 Timothy 1:16 . The latter is the first rough model of the sculptor; the former, the model when worked over afterwards with care. So in the sister art, the compound (1 Peter 2:21 ) and the simple word (whence our ‘graphic’) are the ‘pencil drawing’ and the ‘painting.’ See Bp Lightfoot on Clem. Rom. ad Cor . 1. 5, ‘the greatest example of patience.’

The phrase ‘good works’ is perhaps the most striking of the characteristic phrases of the Epistle. See note on ver. 3 and on 1 Timothy 6:18 . Its exact force in St Paul’s mind seems to be an echo of Matthew 5:16 , ‘let your light shine … that they may see your good works ( kalos ) and glorify your Father .’ The word kalos is ‘good to view as well as good within,’ agathos , ‘good in itself.’ Hence the two are joined to describe ‘a gentleman.’ The Christian religion was felt to be by this time on its trial before the world, and its works must be ‘fair and white’ in the fierce light of ill-wishing scrutiny, which ‘blackens every blot.’

in doctrine shewing uncorruptness ] ‘Shewing’ is to be supplied from ‘shewing thyself’ as a second clause; again, the doctrine , as 1 Timothy 1:10 , &c.

‘Uncorruptness’ joined with ‘gravity’ points to the absence of corruption ‘from the intrusion of a lower motive’ in the teacher; ‘with no doubtful motive and no doubtful manner.’ For this sense of ‘uncorruptness’ compare 1 Timothy 6:5 , ‘men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, whose motive in religion is gain.’ For ‘gravity’ as before compare 1 Timothy 2:2 . The word rendered ‘sincerity’ in A.V. should be omitted from lack of ms. authority.

8 . sound speech ] For the ‘Pastoral’ word ‘sound’ cf. 1 Timothy 1:10 , 1 Timothy 1:6 :3; 1 Timothy 1:13 . From the union in this counsel of ‘speech’ and ‘doctrine’ we must understand ‘sound speech’ to be part of the public teaching function of Titus. ‘That cannot be condemned,’ Vulg. ‘irreprehensibile’; cf. 1 Timothy 6:14 for the similar formation and sense ‘that cannot be laid hold of.’

may be ashamed ] The active is ‘to shame,’ 1 Corinthians 4:14 (present). Cf. the subst. ‘to your shame,’ 1 Corinthians 6:5 . The middle pres. and imperf. with 2 fut. pass, are ‘to shame myself at,’ ‘to take shame at’; Luke 18:4 , ‘regard not man;’ Hebrews 12:9 , ‘gave them reverence’; Matthew 21:37 , ‘they will reverence my son.’ The 2 aor. pass., which occurs here and 2 Thessalonians 3:14 without an object, should be classed with these, rather than be regarded (as by Bp Ellicott) as a passive ‘be shamed.’ His quotation from Psalms 35:26 is quite inconclusive; for the aor. pass, of the verb, with which our tense is there coupled, has clearly a middle sense in 1 John 2:28 , where Bp Westcott renders ‘that we may not shrink with shame.’ Be ashamed is therefore correct, as A.V. and R.V.

having no evil thing to say of you ] i.e. ‘since he has, and finds that he has.’ The reading ‘us’ for ‘you’ should be adopted with the best mss. St Paul identifies himself with Titus and all Church teachers and workers. So St John with his ‘children’ 1 John 2:1 , ‘we have an advocate’; 2:28, ‘that we may have boldness.’ The word for ‘evil’ is not common in N.T.; twice in St John’s Gospel, R.V. ‘doeth ill,’ ‘they that have done ill’; twice in St Paul besides, R.V. ‘good or bad’; once in St James, R.V. ‘confusion and every vile deed.’ ‘Worthlessness is the central notion,’ Trench, N.T. Syn . § 84, ‘nequam,’ ‘naughty,’ originally ‘light’ and ‘slight.’ Contrasted is the ‘positively evil’ or ‘mischief working,’ ‘deliver us from the evil,’ Matthew 6:13 . The point of the word is here then ‘he should have nothing mean, contemptible, good for nothing, to taunt us with.’ The ‘good’ above and the ‘evil’ here find (as does the thought) apt illustration in Shakespeare’s

‘So shines a good deed in a naughty world.’

9, 10 . The standard of holy living for slaves

9. Exhort servants ] The verb is supplied from ver. 6. The phrases and the necessary limits of Christian counsel to slaves are touched on in notes 1 Timothy 6:1 , 1 Timothy 6:2 Lewin well observes here ‘at that time slavery was a civil institution, which Christianity without any civil power could not disturb.’ The more special counsel here may have been suggested by some particular cases of insubordination among the restless Cretans. See above on 1:12.

The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles gives a still stronger admonition ‘Ye servants shall be in subjection to your masters as to a figure of God in reverence and fear.’

to be obedient ] As R.V. to be in subjection , cf. ver. 5. The adjective well pleasing is frequently used by St Paul, but (except here) with ‘God’; so the verb and adverb in Ep. to Hebrews. Vulg. ‘in omnibus placentes.’ The context suggests as most natural the addition of to them to complete the sense.

not answering again ] Vulg. ‘contradicentes,’ not gainsaying , i.e, withstanding, cf, 1:9; John 19:12 , ‘speaketh against,’ margin R.V. ‘opposeth Cæsar’; Romans 10:21 , ‘a disobedient and gainsaying people’; Hebrews 12:3 , ‘him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against themselves’; Jude II, ‘perished in the gainsaying of Korah.’ The Old Eng. ‘withsay’ is a curious link between ‘gainsay’ and ‘withstand’. Compare the German wider and gegen.

The Bible Word Book , p. 280, quotes from Gower:

‘There may no man his hap withsain .’

10. not purloining ] Old French purloigner , i.e. pour-loin, to convey far , to ‘make away with,’ rendering the adverb in the Greek ‘afar,’ ‘apart.’ The verb only occurs in N.T. here and Acts 5:2 , Acts 5:3 , ‘ put away part of the price.’

But ‘purloin’ has come to have so petty a meaning as to narrow unduly the thought here. Almost all trades arts and professions were at this time in the hands of slaves; and so all tricks of trade, all mercantile or professional embezzlement and dishonesty, are covered by the word; just as ‘all good fidelity’ ‘covers the whole realm of thought, of speech temper and gesture, as well as embraces the sanctity of covenants, the sacredness of property, and the dignity of mutual relations.’

all good fidelity ] The weight of ms. authority is in favour of this reading, though ‘all love’ has strong support.

God our Saviour ] God the Father, as above, 1 Timothy 1:1 , &c.; render our Saviour God. The phrase fits with the thought, ‘quo vilior servorum conditio eo dignior Deus Salvator, dignior Dei redemptio.’ Dr Reynolds quotes Chrysostom, ‘The Greeks judge of doctrines, not from the doctrine itself but from conduct and life; women and slaves may be, in and of themselves, teachers,’ and adds, ‘God gets his highest praise from the lips of little children, his robes of glory from the faithfulness honour and simplicity of bondslaves.’ Sec Appendix, J, on St Paul and Slavery .

11 15. The sphere of the Apostolate to claim all Life for God, through His Grace, and for His Glory

11 14. The first of the two Evangelical outbursts of that ‘spring of living water’ in St Paul’s own heart which kepd his life and teaching always green and fresh. It corresponds with the passage in 1 Timothy 1:2 , 1 Timothy 1:12 , where see note, but is (as we should expect from St Paul’s less close and tender relation to Titus) more general. Coming to the end of the plain practical counsels for men and women, old and young, whether free or slaves, he ‘goes off at a phrase,’ one which he has used several times, but the full significance of which he now allows himself to dwell on ‘our Saviour God.’

Upon this he enlarges fervently, bringing out of it at the same time the true springs of holy living for all alike; these are, as the General Thanksgiving of the Prayer Book puts it, (1) the grateful appropriation of the ‘inestimable Love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,’ (2) the thankful realisation ‘of the means of grace,’ and (3) the joyful anticipation ‘of the hope of glory’; all three being really but one Christ Jesus, for us, and in us.

Thus (1) ver. 11. The grace of God appeared in Christ, ‘who for us men came down from heaven’ bringing salvation to all. (2) ver. 12. It guides us daily to ‘true repentance and His Holy Spirit’ that we may ‘live a godly, righteous and sober life.’ (3) ver. 13. So living we look for the appearing again with power and great glory, ‘when we shall be made like unto Him.’ In other words, ver. 14 He gave Himself for us, ‘that we may dwell in Him and He in us,’ a people for His own possession now and evermore.

‘Live your creed,’ says St Paul, ‘adorn your doctrine, as indeed you well can. Work from Life; let doctrine inspire duty. This is the doctrine of our Saviour God; God the Father Almighty, who made all men and hateth nothing that He made, really did, as a past fact of history, manifest His love by sending His only Son to redeem all men; that love really does as a present fact of experience give us the life of His Son through His Spirit; that love really will as an equally certain fact in the future manifest the glory of His Son as God, and give us the fulness of Divine Life, the fruition of His glorious Godhead. And the Father’s love is the Son’s; He gave Himself to redeem us, He gives Himself to purify us, to possess us, that we may be zealots for the ideal, the Divine, life, whose glory is “my Father worketh hitherto and I work.” Claim, then, all life for Him.’

11 . For the grace of God ] ‘Grace’ is well defined as ‘ Love imparting itself and producing its own image and likeness.’ Hence the fitness of the three words in the Apostolic Valediction which is also a Benediction: ‘The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost,’ 2 Corinthians 13:14 . The stress, from the order of the words, is on ‘appeared’ and ‘to all men’; and the article before ‘bringing salvation’ should now (owing to the additional authority of Cod. Sin. against it) be omitted, making the adjective into a predicate. For the grace of God was truly manifested, bringing salvation to all men . The verb occurs 3:4 and Luke 1:79 , the dayspring from on high shall visit us, to shine upon them that sit in darkness,’ from which hymn the word may well have been taken. ‘The hymn of prophecy became the fact of history.’ The light of God’s Grace dawned on the world at the birth of Christ. The aorist marks the certainty of the event itself, that it took its place in history.

12 . teaching us that ] Rather, ‘training us’; and the present participle implies a continued training, putting us under discipline ; this form of the word is explained on 1 Timothy 1:20 . The comma should be before ‘that,’ which has its proper meaning in order that . This ‘training,’ ‘discipline,’ ‘education,’ is through the means of grace. ‘The moral aim of the disciplining in question is expressed first in the negative then in the positive form.’ Fairbairn.

denying ungodliness and worldly lusts ] Better, having renounced , though R.V. keeps ‘denying’, and Alford urges that the aorist participle and aorist verb cover the same extent, the whole life. This no doubt is a thoroughly correct use of the participle, but not a necessary use; and the position of the participle at the very beginning and the verb at the end of the clause suggests rather the other equally legitimate use of the participle, to express the priority of the renunciation. So ‘I renounce the devil, the world, the flesh’ is the first act in the first of the ‘means of grace,’ holy baptism.

ungodliness ] The opposite of ‘godliness,’ see notes 1 Timothy 1:9 , 1 Timothy 2:2 . Our present word and its connexions occur three times in the Pastoral Epistles, three times in St Peter, three times in St Jude; otherwise only in Ep. to Romans.

worldly lusts ] The adjective ‘worldly’ is only used once besides in N.T., in Hebrews 9:1 , of the sanctuary in the wilderness, ‘a sanctuary of the world.’ Here the phrase covers the ground of 1 John 2:16 , 1 John 2:17 , where see Bp Westcott’s full note. ‘The desire of things earthly as ends in themselves comes from the world and is bounded by the world. It is therefore incompatible with the love of the Father.… In themselves all finite objects, “the things that are in the world,” are “of the Father.” It is the false view of them which makes them idols.… The three false tendencies which S. John marks cover the whole ground of “worldliness,” the desire to set up the creature as an end.’ This word ‘worldly’ occurs in the Apostolical Constitutions , vii. 1, ‘abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts,’ apparently combining this passage and 1 Peter 2:11 , though its original, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles , has ‘fleshly and bodily,’ 1.4.

we should live soberly, righteously, and godly ] The clause is adopted to describe a true Christian life in the Pr.-Bk. ‘General Confession’ and ‘Baptismal Service for Adults.’ See above and ver. 11. Bp Ellicott rightly; ‘Christian duties under three aspects, to ourselves, to others , and to God ; but not to be too much narrowed, though the order and the meanings point to this;’ and see notes on 1 Timothy 2:9 ; Titus 1:8 .

this present world ] See note on 1 Timothy 6:17 .

13 . looking for that blessed hope ] The blessed hope , cf. Romans 8:24 , where it is both the hope and the object of the hope; Colossians 1:5 , ‘ “for the hope,” i.e. looking to the hope which is stored up ; the sense of “hope,” as of the corresponding words in any language, oscillates between the subjective feeling and the objective realisation.’ Bp Lightfoot. Cf. 1 Timothy 1:1 .

and the glorious appearing ] So A.V., considering the two nouns as a Hebraism for a noun and an adjective; but R.V. better, literally, and appearing of the glory ; this substantive, from the verb ‘hath appeared’ of ver. 11, is limited in N.T. use to St Paul, who has it six times, and always, except 2 Timothy 1:10 , of the future appearing of Christ (see note on 1 Timothy 6:14 ). It comes three times in St Paul’s last letter, 2 Tim. The word has been adopted for all the epiphanies of the Son of God in O.T. days, as the angel of the covenant, at Bethlehem, to the Gentiles with ‘the doctors,’ in His miracles and parables, in the ‘infallible proofs’ of the ‘forty days,’ in ‘the powers of Pentecost,’ in the life of His Church and of each Christian soul by faith, until His ‘coming with power and great glory.’

the great God and our Saviour ] So A.V., Winer, Alford, Conybeare, on the ground that St Paul’s usage is against ‘our great God Jesus Christ.’ Alford rightly says that it can be no objection to this that St Paul’s usage is also against ‘the manifestation of the Father God,’ because it is the appearing of the glory that St Paul speaks of, and this glory is certainly the Father’s and the Son’s, Matthew 16:27 compared with Matthew 25:31 , ‘come in His Father’s glory,’ ‘come in His glory.’ Nor can the rule that the one article indicates the one subject, and that therefore the two expressions refer to one personality, be too strongly relied upon as decisive against this view. Bp Ellicott who opposes this A.V. rendering yet admits this, ‘there is a presumption in favour of it on this account, but on account of the defining genitive “of us,” nothing more;’ and in Aids to Faith (quoted in Winer, iii. § 19, 5, note), ‘the rule is sound in principle but in the case of proper names or quasi-proper names, cannot safely be pressed.’ The usage in 2 Peter 1:1 , and in Jude 1:4 , is also doubtful: R.V. which renders there ‘our God and Saviour,’ ‘our only Master and Lord,’ but adds the marginal ‘Or, our God and the Saviour,’ ‘Or, the only Master, and our Lord,’ here too gives our great God and Saviour , but adds in the margin, ‘Or, of the great God and our Saviour.’ The early Fathers are with R.V. Ignatius, ad Ephes . i., seems to quote it ‘according to the will of the Father and Jesus Christ our God.’ See Bp Lightfoot’s note. Chrysostom asks ‘Where are they who say that the Son is less than the Father?’ Jerome, ‘Magnus Deus Jesus Christus salvator dicitur.’ Compare the long list in Bp Wordsworth’s note; Calvin, Ellicott, Fairbairn, &c. among moderns. The objection raised on the ground of St Paul’s usage will be less felt, when the strong language of 1 Timothy 3:15 , 1 Timothy 3:16 with the reading ‘He who,’ and of Philippians 2:6 , Philippians 2:7 , Colossians 1:15-20 is weighed; and when the connexion of this Epistle in its language and thought with St Peter and St Jude is remembered, it may well seem that the later mode of speaking of Christ, in the now settled faith and conviction of the Church, is beginning to find place.

14 . who gave himself for us ] Dr Reynolds well gives the connexion ‘who in this lofty and august majesty, and because He was possessed of it delivered up Himself His whole unique personality on our behalf .’

that he might redeem us ] By the payment of a ransom price; see note 1 Timothy 2:6 for the origin of this image and its place among the metaphors of the Atonement. Compare Norris, Rudiments of Theology , pp. 168, 169, 173, 216. St Peter, 1 Peter 1:18 , calls the slavery, from which ‘ye were redeemed,’ ‘your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers’ writing to the Jewish Christians, who as Jews had had at least a certain moral standard. St Paul, thinking of the Cretans and their sunken state of morals, defines the slavery as all iniquity , a word which St Peter keeps for ‘the lascivious life of the wicked’ by which righteous Lot was sore distressed. Compare 1 Timothy 1:9 . Romans 2:14 , Romans 2:15 describes that ‘moral law of nature,’ the breaches of which make the ‘iniquity’ of Rome, and Ephesus, and Crete, and England, irrespective of the more defined written law.

and purify unto himself a peculiar people ] ‘Purify’ is the word constantly used of Christ in the days of His flesh ‘cleansing’ the lepers. Cf. Matthew 8:3 . His object in His great gift of Himself was that He might say to leprous souls ‘I will, be thou cleansed.’

a peculiar people ] ‘Peculiar’ in its old sense from ‘peculium,’ the property which a son or slave was allowed to possess as his own, cf. Exodus 19:5 . ‘Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all peoples.’ So Deuteronomy 7:6 , where the Septuagint has the same Greek word. ‘But the Percies affirmying them to be their owne propre prisoners and their peculiar praies , and to deliver them utterly denayed.’ Hall, Hen. IV ., fol. 19 b. Bible Word-Book , p. 454.

The Greek word means ‘one who remains over to me,’ ‘my acquisition,’ and so the parallel phrase 1 Peter 2:9 , ‘a people for a possession,’ interprets it. Vulg. ‘acceptabilis,’ and so Theod. Mops. Latin Text , but the Latin commentary, shewing Theodore’s own interpretation, far better ‘ut proprium sibi populum adquireret.’ For a full account of the word see Bp Lightfoot, Revision of the N. T ., p. 234 sq. ‘ People ’ is itself the proper word for the chosen, select, people; in the original phrase in O. T. therefore the Israelites, now the Church Catholic.

zealous of good works ] The force of this word can be seen in Luke 6:15 , ‘Simon who was called the Zealot,’ Acts 21:20 , ‘and they are all zealous for the law, 22:3, ‘being zealous for God, even as ye all are this day;’ what the ‘Zealot’ party which set itself up for extra loyalty and strictness to the Law as a nationalist badge was to the nation at large; what the Jewish Christians were to their better instructed Gentile brethren, and Jews generally to Christians, in respect of the old ritual observances: this Christ would have His Church be to the rest of the world in respect of good works shining before men, ‘zealots of goodness, charged with the genius of goodness the passion for godliness:’ Dr Reynolds. So St Peter again has the word ‘who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealots of goodness?’ 1 Peter 3:13 . But may we not also say here is the true ‘enthusiasm of humanity,’ the very purpose, mark, of the Incarnation and Atonement; that we may be zealots of philanthropy, charged with the genius of social regeneration, the passion for practical piety? This aim and scope of the Saviour’s work makes the ‘Faithful saying’ of the next chapter 3:8 rise plainly to the level of the other ‘Faithful sayings’ of 1 Tim. and 2 Tim.

15 . These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke ] The three verbs rise as a climax, describing the degrees of earnestness and intensity to be put forth according to the occasion; ‘these things,’ all from 2:1.

with all authority ] The word looks back to the ‘authority’ of St Paul’s own commission 1:3, and implies its delegated fulness. So 1 Timothy 1:1 , where see note.

Let no man despise thee ] ‘Do not thyself disesteem and cheapen thy authority.’ This is the exact force of the Greek verb used for ‘despise.’ Cf. ‘it is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer,’ Proverbs 20:14 . ‘Believe,’ as we might say now, ‘in the grace of holy orders.’ ‘Believe there is something in the faithful pastors, the faithful priest’s, visit to the sick or whole, different from and beyond the faithful layman’s. Foster this belief for your people’s sake. Their faith in this matter will have much to do with their healing.’ Cf. Bridges, Christian Ministry , c. x, ‘Expect great things attempt great things. This expectation is the life of faith the vitality of the Ministry that which honours God, and is honoured by God.’

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Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Titus 2". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.