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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

Titus 3

Verses 1-11


Further directions, which Titus is to give to believers, which he is to impress by exhibiting the grace shown to them, and firmly to insist on, in opposition to the false teachers

Titus 3:1-11

1Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates [to be subject to magistrates (and1) powers, to obey], to be ready to every good work, 2To speak evil of [slander] no man [one], to be no brawlers [not to be contentious], but gentle [yielding], shewing all meekness unto all men. 3For we ourselves also were sometime [once] foolish, disobedient, deceived [erring], serving divers lusts and pleasures [desires and lusts], living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4But after that [when] the kindness [goodness] and love of God our Saviour towards man [friendliness-towards-men 5of God our Saviour] appeared, Not by [on account of] works of righteousness which2 we have done [did], but according to [in virtue of] his mercy he saved us, by the washing [laver] of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6Which he shed on us abundantly [richly] through Jesus Christ our Saviour 7[Lord]; That, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life [heirs, according to hope, of eternal life]. 8This is a faithful saying [Trustworthy is the word], and these things [this] I will that thou affirm constantly [strongly], that [in order that] they which [who] have believed in God might be careful [may take care] to maintain good works. These things3 are good and profitable unto men. 9But avoid foolish questions [of controversy], and genealogies [genealogical registers], and contentions [quarrels], and strivings [controversies] about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10A man that is an heretic [an heretical man], after the first and second [one and a second] admonition, reject [shun]; 11Knowing that he that is such [such a one] is subverted [perverted], and sinneth, being [since he is] condemned of [by] himself.


Titus 3:1. Put them in mind. The Apostle, after having reminded (Titus 2:1-10) believers of the duties they owe to their fellow-believers, adds a memento in respect to their relation particularly to those who are not Christians (Titus 3:1-2), which he makes still more emphatic by referring to their own former state (Titus 3:3), and the mercy which had been shown to them (Titus 3:4-7). For the Cretians, characteristically inclined, as a people, to rebellion, such an exhortation was necessary, especially at a time in which those who had Jewish feelings were showing a disposition more and more to resist the authority of the heathen magistrates (see on 1 Timothy 2:1).—Magistrates [and] powers, especially of Rome, under whose dominion Crete now stood.—To be subject to, to obey; the former indicates the internal disposition, the latter the external act which proceeds from it.—To be ready to every good work; meaning, in the connection, those good works especially which the government demands of subjects; so that the intimation is here given, at least indirectly, that if the demand of the government is in conflict with God’s will, the duty of obedience ceases (Acts 5:29).

Titus 3:2. To slander no one, μηδένα βλασφημεῖν (the reading μή in F. G. is too feebly attested to be received), to calumniate no one, to which the lying Cretians (Titus 1:12) must have been prone. There is no ground for the assumption, that the Apostle is now speaking directly of the magistrates (comp. Romans 13:7), for the exhortations which follow are general, and refer to the relation of Christians to non-Christians.—Not to be contentious, [but] yielding; the one a negative, the other a positive description of the peaceable character of those who, neither for the promotion of public or private interests, nor in the sphere of religion or politics, light the torch of discord.—Shewing allmeekness, &c.; a specially needed injunction for these Cretian churches, on account of the mingling of different races and individuals on the island.

Titus 3:3. For we ourselves also were, &c. [Were, ἦμεν, put forward emphatically, in sharp contrast to the better present; Ellicott.—D.] The Apostle urges the performance of the duties just mentioned, by reminding the Cretians of the grace which had glorified itself in them, who by nature were no better than others. The remembrance of this should prompt them not only to the most humble gratitude towards God, but also to gentleness towards those who were at that moment in the most degraded condition.—Foolish, ἀνόητοι (comp. Ephesians 4:18; Romans 1:21). Here, and in the following verses, Paul places, as he often does, the ποτέ and νῦν of the Christian life in direct contrast, and includes himself with Titus among those who were formerly “foolish,” without making the slightest distinction between those who had become Christians from heathenism or Judaism. Upon Titus especially, who was of heathen descent, must such a reference to the sin-stained past have had an excellent effect.—Disobedient, like those whose opposition it is now not unfrequently extremely difficult for us to bear. [Disobedient to God; Titus 1:16. He is no longer speaking of authorities, but has passed into a new train of thought; Alford.—D.]—Erring [going astray; Ellicott.—D.], πλανώμενοι, not only in respect to the truth, but also with regard to the most sacred obligations.—Serving divers desires and lusts (2 Timothy 3:6). The Apostle appears, not exclusively, but yet mainly, to refer to fleshly lusts. “They are styled ‘divers,’ I think, because the lusts by which the carnal man is driven to and fro are like adverse waves, which, in dashing against each other, turn him hither and thither, so that almost every moment he shifts and changes. Such, certainly, is the disquietude of all who abandon themselves to the desires of the flesh, because there is no stability but in the fear of God;” Calvin.—In malice and envy. Here, as in 1 Timothy 2:2, is meant not simply a momentary state, but the steady direction of the life—a life wholly controlled, as respects its ruling disposition, by malice and envy.—Hateful, στυγητοί (only once in N. T.), = μισητοί, odibiles, not exactly in the eyes of God and the holy angels (which undoubtedly is also true, but is not here meant), but generally worthy of abhorrence in the view of all who have reached a higher moral position.—Hating one another (comp. Galatians 5:15; Romans 1:29).

Titus 3:4. But when … appeared. In contrast with this sad past, the Apostle points out the blessed present, the fruits of which believers continually enjoy.—But when the goodness (χρηστότης) and friendliness-towards-men (φιλανθρωπία) of God, &c. The distinction between “goodness” and “friendliness-towards-men” is, that the former expresses the Divine benevolence in general, the latter more specifically his compassion for mankind; so that both, taken together, are identical with grace (comp. “the grace that bringeth salvation;” Titus 2:11). Here also, as in 1 Timothy 1:1, God is styled Saviour, and, as in Titus 2:11, an “appearing” of the Divine love for sinners is spoken of. Although, under the old covenant, believers enjoyed the love and friendship of God (Psalms 34:9), they nevertheless saw but the first dawning of the day of salvation which subsequently appeared, and possessed only the promise of that which the Christian enjoys in actual fulfilment. The whole of the passage which now follows has a great similarity with Titus 2:11-14, and yet has a character entirely its own. There the Apostle, in order to stimulate to Christian devoutness, exhibited the holy aim of the redemption which men obtain through Christ: here, on the other hand, in contrast with the entire unworthiness of unbelievers, be dwells upon the grace shown to them, in order to incite them to a gratitude which shall first of all manifest itself in love toward those who have not yet attained the priceless privileges of believers.

Titus 3:5. Not on account of works of righteousness, &c. (τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ) [in righteousness, as the element and condition in which they were wrought; Alford.—D.]; those works which must be wrought in a state of righteousness before God. The Apostle by no means affirms that believers have actually performed such works, but, on the contrary, expressly denies it. Not the least, consequently, could have been found in them to call forth the Divine complacency.—[Which we did (emphatic), not “had done,” as A. V. and Conybeare, which, in fact, obscures the meaning; for God’s act, here spoken of, was a definite act in time—and its application to us, also a definite act in time; and if we take this ἐποιήσαμέν pluperfect, we confine the Apostle’s repudiation of our works as moving causes of those acts of God, to the time previous to those acts. For aught that this pluperfect would assert, our salvation might be prompted on God’s part by future works of righteousness which he foresaw we should do. Whereas, the simple aoristic sense throws the whole into the same time—“His goodness, &c, was manifested … not for works which we did … He saved us,” and renders the repudiation of human merit universal; Alford.—D].—But in virtue of his mercy, κατὰ τὸν αὐτοῦ ἔλον (comp. 1 Peter 1:3 ; Luke 1:78). In this way God’s saving grace is described as from every side entirely free and undeserved, quite in the manner of Paul, as in Romans 3:20-24; Ephesians 2:3-10.—He saved us, ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς; us, namely, who believe in Christ. Although the enjoyment of salvation is still incomplete so long as we remain in the body of sin and death, yet its possession is assured and sealed from the moment we come into union with Christ by faith. The Apostle distinctly points out what is and what is not the ground of this salvation wrought in them, and also by what means they are made partakers of it.—By the laver of regeneration, &c; a reference to baptism, which might all the more easily be exhibited as a laver, λουτρόν, since it was originally performed by the entire submersion of the person baptized (comp. Ephesians 5:26). Baptism is styled “laver of regeneration” (παλιγγενεσίας), not because it obligates to regeneration, nor because it is the symbol of regeneration, but because it is really the means of regeneration, if truly desired and received in faith (which is tacitly assumed in respect to those adult Christians who by their own free act were baptized). Whoever, with the desire of salvation, went down into the baptismal water, with the confession of an honest faith, came forth therefrom as one newborn, to live henceforth a new life (comp. Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:11-12). On this ground Paul could say that God had saved them by (διά) the laver of regeneration; since, as a general rule, the submission to the rite of baptism was necessarily, in the case of those who repeated the question of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:36), the decisive act, the great turning-point in the history of their inner and outer life.—And renewing of the Holy Ghost, ἀνακαινώσεως (Vulgate: per lavacrum regenerations et renovationis). This expression may perhaps differ from the preceding, in indicating the further progress and development of the new life, while the former designates only its commencement. One corresponds with ἁγιασμός, as used by Paul, the other with γεννεθῆναι ἄνωθεν and ἐκ θεοῦ, in John. Both are wrought by the Holy Spirit, which is here placed in the genitive as indicating the efficient cause. “This regeneration and renovation entirely take away the death and old state described in Titus 3:3 (2 Corinthians 5:17);” Bengel.

Titus 3:6. Which [viz., the Holy Spirit] he shed on us richly, as was promised under the old covenant (Joel 2:28-32; Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 44:3), and was fulfilled in the new covenant in the most abundant manner (John 7:37-39).—Through Jesus Christ, is not to be referred to the remote word “he saved” (Bengel), but to the proximate word “shed.” Here, as often in other places, the glorified Saviour is represented as imparting to His church the communication of the Spirit, without which the conversion of individuals would have ever been an absolute impossibility. Comp. Act 2:33 ; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; John 1:33.

Titus 3:7. That, being justified by his grace. A reference to the high end for which God has blessed them in Christ (Titus 3:5), and renewed them by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:6). Here, where the main design is not so much to point out to them directly their duties (as in Titus 2:12), as their priceless privileges, the Apostle mentions not their sanctification, but simply their eternal blessedness, as the mark towards which everything is to be made to tend. Justified, δικαιωθέντες (comp. Romans 1:17), must be understood in the sense in which the word is usually employed in the Epistles of Paul; so that it does not here signify found righteous, or sanctified, but acquitted from the guilt and punishment of sin, and thus received again into the friendship and favor of God, which had been forfeited by sin. For that justification, in the view of Paul, is more than the mere forgiveness of sin, and, along with this negative idea, includes also the positive one of a restitutio in integrum, is plain from Romans 4:5. By “his,” ἐκείνου, we are to understand not Christ, or the Holy Spirit just mentioned (Titus 3:6), but God the Father, who had been named, in Titus 3:4, as the source of this entire plan of salvation.—Might be made heirs of eternal life. The same Pauline thought is expressed also in Romans 8:17; here the Apostle adds, according to hope, κατʼ ἐλπίδα. This phrase must be connected with κληρονόμοι, “heirs,” and be understood as saying that the inheritance of eternal life here mentioned is not yet in its whole extent an actual possession, but is only expected through hope, of which once we were entirely destitute, as something which is certainly to be ours. So Starke: “The children of God are already indeed justified, and abundantly enjoy the goodness of God; but because the proper distribution of the full inheritance is yet future, they must still expect it, in faith and living hope, as certain. See Romans 8:23-24. No dead and imaginary hope is here meant, since even a man without faith can say: “I hope, certainly—I think, indeed, that I shall be saved.”

Titus 3:8. Trustworthy is the word (see on 1 Timothy 1:15). This asseveration refers to the whole course of thought (Titus 3:4-7).—And this I will that thou strongly affirm (Vulgate: de his vole te confirmare). The Apostle will have Titus lay a very special emphasis upon the great truth of faith brought out in Titus 3:4-7. Διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, affirm strongly, as in 1 Timothy 1:7. What is to be aimed at by this, is indicated by the following ἵνα, which shows, once more, that the Apostle desires with such earnestness to have the doctrine of free grace preached, because it is the great means of leading sinners to holiness.—That they who; describing the Cretian Christians in contrast with their previous paganism and idolatry (comp. Acts 16:34).—May take care (comp. Titus 2:10), φροντίζειν (ἅπαξ λεγόμ.): “Thus he wishes them to apply their study and care; and when he says φροντίζωσιν, the Apostle seems elegantly to allude to those empty contemplations which philosophize without fruit or life;” Calvin.—These things [sc., these instructions, this practical teaching; De Wette, Ellicott.—D.], in opposition to what follows, in Titus 3:9 (see the critical observations), are good (in themselves) and profitable (comp. on 1 Timothy 2:3). It is arbitrary to limit this requirement of good works exclusively to works of love. [“Good works,” not merely with reference to works of mercy (Chrysostom), but, as in Titus 2:7, perfectly generally, and comprehensively. It was not to be a hollow, specious, false, ascetic, and sterile Christianity, but one that showed itself in outward actions; Ellicott.—D.]

Titus 3:9. But avoid foolish questions of controversy (comp. 1 Timothy 6:20; Titus 1:10). The Apostle has in view, as is clear from the subjoined adjective, μοράς, such researches as are utterly inconsistent with the Christian character and temper, and, in general, with all reasonable study—curious inquiries in respect to things which are of no consequence to Christian faith and spiritual life, and are even a hindrance to them. Two specialties which may be brought under this general category he particularly mentions: genealogical registers (see on 1 Timothy 1:4) and quarrels, ἔρεις, enmities arising in consequence of the various questions of controversy (ζητήσεις), and contentions about the law. It is plain enough from this, that here, too, Paul has his mind directed particularly to the contentions of the Jewish party (comp. 1 Timothy 1:7; Titus 1:14). This party frequently engaged in the most violent controversy, now upon the relation of the law to the gospel, and now upon the significance of particular Mosaic rites. These Titus was to avoid, to keep clear of (comp. 2 Timothy 2:16), for these things, in opposition to the καλά (Titus 3:8), are unprofitable and vain (fruitless).

Titus 3:10. An heretical man, αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον, hœreticus; whoever, by his own forwardness, breaks up the unity of the church (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 5:20; Romans 16:17), especially by propa gating errors which conflict with the orthodoxy of sound Apostolic doctrine.—After one and a second admonition; after thou hast repeatedly, but fruitlessly, warned him to turn from his error, to profess the pure doctrine. Νουθεσία, from νοῦς and τίθημι, admonitio, occurs elsewhere in the N. T. only in 1 Corinthians 10:10; Ephesians 6:4.—Shun, παραιτοῦ (1 Timothy 4:7). Cease to exhort and warn him any farther, since it will certainly be fruitless. A formal excommunication (Vitringa) is certainly not here spoken of. The ground for a direction which might seem severe and arbitrary is given in what immediately follows.

Titus 3:11. Knowing that such an one is perverted, ἐξέστραπται (comp. Deuteronomy 32:30). An entire corruption of feeling and aim is here indicated, in consequence of which a complete aversion and antagonism has obtained the ascendancy.—And sinneth, since he is condemned by himself, αὐτοκατάκριτος (comp. 1 Timothy 4:2). This last word defines the peculiar character of the sin of which these persons become guilty. They stumble not at all from precipitancy and weakness, but with the full consciousness of their guilt and condemnation. And this is just the reason why Titus is to let them alone: no exhortation or counsel can assuredly be of any service. They already bear about with them their sentence, and, consequently, can expect nothing in the future but condemnation.


1. In this passage the Apostle assumes—what he had more largely declared in Romans 13:1-7, and what is so constantly forgotten by the revolutionary politics of modern times—the doctrine of the Divine right of magistrates. Not that he maintains, by any means, that each and every person in authority is directly ordained of God Himself, and hence, as God’s vicegerent on earth, is entitled to demand a blind obedience, but simply that the office of the magistrate, as such, owes its origin, not to the will of men, nor to a supposed social contract (Rousseau), but to the will of God; that God Himself has originally regulated the relation between rulers and ruled according to His own wise counsel and purpose, and has therefore given to no citizen the right arbitrarily to absolve himself from the great duty of obedience, except in the single case provided for in Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29. Compare, on this whole subject, Arnold, Theolog. Experimentalis, 2:467–487; “Of Divine Order in Civil Government;” and, further, the Confess. August., art. 16, Formul. Concord., art. 12. Luther, in his larger Catechism, on the Fourth Commandment, maintains the duty of obedience even to unjust princes. Compare his exposition of Psalms 82:0.

2. Short as is the Epistle to Titus, we yet find, for the second time before it closes, a passage (Titus 3:4-7) containing a compendium of the doctrine of salvation, and at the same time a compressed but rich summing up of what he had more at length expressed in the Epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. A new proof, this, that to the end of his life he remained the same, and continued faithful, even in a Pastoral Epistle, to the great theme of his preaching.

3. The doctrine of the free grace of God, displayed in the gratuitous justification of the sinner, is not only a main point in the Pauline theology, but the foundation and corner-stone of the whole structure of the Reformation, and the great centre in which Paul, Augustine, and Luther are at one with believers in every age.
4. According to the express doctrine of the Apostle in this passage, baptism [in the sense explained in the exegetical notes.—D.] is the means of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is evident, however, at a glance, that he is here speaking exclusively of adults, who, in the conscious and voluntary exercise of faith, descend into the baptismal water. To children, who are not in a condition to believe, nor to be converted, this expression can be applicable only cum grano salis; and accordingly we find here not the least authority for attributing to the baptismal water, in itself, a magical and mechanical efficacy, which would lead to the Romish idea of the efficacy of baptism ex opere operato. What the child receives, when brought by his parents to baptism, is, not regeneration itself, but the sign and seal of the grace of God for the remission of sins and renewal. It is not till afterwards, when a personal and vital faith has sprung up and become developed in his heart, that regeneration and renewal can be spoken of, of which the baptism received in infancy was the prophetic symbol, and, in a manner, the ideal beginning. From the reformed point of view, therefore, we may speak in an entirely legitimate sense of baptismal grace received, in so far as the child, by this sacred rite, is brought under the protection and nurture of the Christian Church, in which the Holy Spirit works through the word in the regeneration and sanctification of each individual. Lange, Positiv Dogmatik, p. 1131, says: “Since the child has as yet no will of his own, and no exercise of his rational faculties, and belongs, with all his individual self-direction, to the church, he is committed, in the fulness of his plastic faculties, to the unrestricted influence of the church. His ecclesiastical and social regeneration is thus decided. He is ecclesiastically new-born; for, through baptism, he is born again into church membership. This ecclesiastical regeneration is, however, an individual regeneration, in respect to the idea and potency of the change.” Compare the remark of Huther on this passage.

5. In regard to the question frequently mooted, whether, by the heretics spoken of in the New Testament, we are to understand men who swerve from sound doctrine, and wrest the truth; or rather those who, by ecclesiastical dissensions, destroy the unity of the body of Christ, and thus do violence to love, the answer is simply this: This whole distinction rests upon an arbitrary antithesis between truth and love, faith and life. In swerving from the purity of the Apostolic teaching, the heretics became also schismatics. And the schismatics, so far as they aimed to be such, and to establish a separate church, must inevitably adopt peculiar doctrines, and thereby come more and more into collision with the teaching of the Apostles.


The mission of Christians, to sanctify civil life also.—What the State owes to the Church, and the Church to the State.—The peculiarity of Christian obedience, and what distinguishes it from that of the natural man.—The great contrast between Once and Now in the history of the Christian life.—Nothing is better fitted to lead us to humble gratitude towards God, and to benignity towards men, than the thought of what we once were in ourselves, and of what we have now become through His grace.—“Hateful, and hating one another,” still and ever the character of the natural man (proofs from the ancient and modern history of missions).—The gospel a revelation of grace, in contrast with the law, which worketh death.—The doctrine of the gratuitous justification of the sinner: (1.) The main doctrine of Paul; (2.) the corner-stone of the Reformation; (3.) the inexhaustible fountain of glory to God, consolation, and sanctification.—Baptism, when received in faith, the laver of regeneration.—The difference between works of law and good works from the Christian point of view.—Unprofitable questions, many: the needful inquiry, one.—True preaching must be a full preaching of the gospel; but the full preaching of the gospel must ever have a practical tendency.—The position which becomes the servant of the gospel towards obstinate errorists and opponents.—The various degrees and punishments of sins in the Church of the Lord.

Starke: Not to be wise, expresses more than not to know; for a person may be unacquainted with many things, and yet be a wise man. An unconverted person is so destitute of understanding, that he regards all spiritual and Divine things as folly.—Cramer: As believers are in a peaceful and blessed state, so unbelievers are in one in which they have no peace or blessedness. For the former cordially love each other, while the latter hate one another, or else exercise a wrong love, in which they perish together.—The sole fountain of salvation for the whole human family is the love, mercy, and condescension of God.—If we feel the friendliness of God towards us, we also should be friendly to our neighbors.—Man can do no good works, unless he is already just, and blessed by faith.—Hedinger: Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven! On this depends the inheritance of eternal life. Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and blessedness.—The doctrine of good works must be so exhibited, that the power and perseverance requisite for a holy life shall be shown to flow from the evangelical source of grace and faith: where this is not done, nothing is secured beyond an external and pharisaical righteousness.—What should the true preacher discourse upon in the pulpit? Not subtle, unprofitable, and idle questions, but upon subjects by which his hearers may be made better in faith and life, to their souls’ salvation and blessedness.—No amount of talking and singing will compel men to repent. Let Babel loose, and it will not help matters.—If it is unchristian to persecute heretics, it is much more Unchristian to regard as heresy, reject, and condemn, particular opinions which do not affect, much less subvert the foundation of faith, and may even be most precious truths.—God has two kinds of judgments—public and private: the first, at the last day; the latter, already in our conscience. If this become aroused, it makes the world too narrow (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:15; 1 Corinthians 11:31).

For the Pericope. Lisco: To what the grace of God in Christ binds us.—For what the Christian has especially to thank God on Christmas: (1.) For the mercy He shows us; (2.) for the Spirit He gives us; (3.) for the blessedness to which He leads us.—How we are called, by the incarnation of Christ, to a participation in a higher, heavenly life.—Heubner: The mission of the Son of God a proof of the glory to which God will raise us.—Ranke: The aim of the grace of God: (1.) To deliver us from our old life; (2.) to create a new life in us; (3.) to raise us to the life everlasting.—Kapff: The Triune God is revealed to none but the regenerate Christian.—Palmer: What do we receive at our baptism?—Petri: How we hear the doctrine of the manifested condescension and friendliness of God.

W. Hofacker: How difficult problems are clearly solved to faith in the knowledge of the inscrutable God.—Luther: “Let now this Epistle teach us once more two things: faith and love—or to receive blessings from God, and to confer blessings upon our neighbor. For all Scripture urges these two, and one cannot exist without the other. Faith excites love, and love increases faith.—What more charming can be said, than such words to a sinful, distressed conscience? Alas, that the devil, by the Pope’s law, should have so miserably perverted these pure words of God!”


Titus 3:1; Titus 3:1.—Καί is omitted by Tischendorf [Lachmann, Alford, Ellicott.—D.] on the authority of A. C. D.1 E.1 F. G., Cod. Sin., but can hardly be dispensed with. [Still, although it is found in many of the versions and fathers, the weight of MS. authority is too decisive allow it to be retained.—D.]

Titus 3:5; Titus 3:5.—[The Recepta, Griesbach, Tischendorf, Ellicott, accept ων on the authority of C.2 D.3 E. K. L., Ath., Chrysostom, Theodoret, &c.; while Lachmann and Alford adopt a found in A. C.1 D.1 F. G., and now strengthened by Cod. Sin.—D.]

Titus 3:8; Titus 3:8.—Τὰ after ταῦτά ἐστι, the fuller text of the Recepta, is wanting in A. C. D. E. G., and other witnesses [also Cod. Sin.—D.]

Verses 12-15

Final Directions and Greetings

Titus 3:12-15

12When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent [hasten] to 13come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. Bring [forward] Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently [zealously], that nothing be wanting unto them. 14And let ours also [but also let ours, in Crete] learn to maintain [practise] good works for necessary uses [the necessary wants of others], that they be not unfruitful. 15All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.


Titus 3:12. Artemas or Tychicus. Of the first we hear nothing further: the second is mentioned also in 2 Timothy 4:12. One of these was to arrive at Crete before Titus could leave this post, and, in compliance with the wishes of the Apostle, meet him at Nicopolis. The city meant was probably Nicopolis in Epirus, which was built by the Emperor Augustus in commemoration of his victory at Actium. Other cities of the same name are at least less noted. On the design of Paul to spend the winter there, see the Introduction, § 2. The opinion of Märcker, that Nicopolis in Thrace is meant, would hardly have been defended with so much warmth, if it were not connected with the endeavor to put the Epistle to Titus at a later period of Paul’s life.

Titus 3:13. Zenas and Apollos. The former of these is entirely unknown; he is called a lawyer, be cause, before his conversion, he had belonged to that profession. On Apollos, comp. Acts 18:24-28. Both were just at present in Crete, but were proposing to take their departure, perhaps upon a missionary tour. On this journey Titus was to forward them, προπέμπειν (3 John 1:6), and that zealously, σπουδαίως, i.e., not speedily, but with diligence.—That nothing be wanting to them (comp. Romans 15:24; 1 Corinthians 16:6; 1 Corinthians 16:11). “Titus, therefore, had means. They were not to depart empty;” Bengel.

Titus 3:14. And let ours also, &c. The last particular direction in the Epistle leads the Apostle to make a more general exhortation.—Ours, in the connection, can be none other than the fellow-believers with Paul and Titus in Crete, who were to be witnesses of the faithful obedience of their overseer to the Apostle’s injunction (Titus 3:13).—To practise good works, καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασδαι (comp. Titus 3:8), here, decidedly, works of Christian beneficence and mercy.—Not unfruitful. If they lacked this love, they would show that their faith was like an unfruitful tree. There is no, good reason for restricting the clause which follows—for the necessary wants, εἰς τάς�—to the material supplies necessary for Zenas and Apollos, and to which the other Christians, along with Titus, were to contribute according to their ability. It would rather seem, from μανδανέτωσαν, that the present care of Titus for Zenas and Apollos was to teach the others, for the future, as often as it might be necessary hereafter, to do their part towards the support of needy brethren. “Whether, therefore, he directs them to excel in good works, or to yield the precedence, he means that it will be useful to them to exercise liberality, lest they become unfruitful under the pretext that occasion was wanting, or necessity did not require ;” Calvin.

Titus 3:15. Salute thee, &c. It is impossible to determine with certainty what fellow-laborers and friends Paul here has in mind.—Greet them that love us in the faith. The Apostle here confines his greeting to those with whom the common faith is the bond of the most intimate union.—Grace be with you all. The key-note on which the Pauline Epistles usually close. It cannot, indeed, be inferred from the words, “with you all,” in themselves alone, that the Epistle was addressed to the church in Crete, as well as to Titus; but we have seen, in the Introduction, that on other grounds this is probable, and the entire contents of the Epistle have only strengthened us in this conviction. The final word, Amen, found in the Recepta, is of later origin.


1. Down to the very close of the Pastoral Epistles, the Apostle remains like himself, both in his exhibition of the substance of the gospel, and his directions in respect to the government of the church and the conduct of its members and officers. Is it not an unequivocal proof of the moral greatness of Paul, the power of grace in him, and even of the genuineness of the Epistle itself, that, from beginning to end, it is so completely pervaded by the same original Apostolic spirit?
2. Between the Christian philanthropy which Paul here enjoins, and the mere humanitarian philanthropy which finds so many defenders in our day, there is a great difference in respect to their origin, extent, power, aim, and practical result, which can in no wise be overlooked or disregarded.
“Spiritual need lays a foundation for duties, that one may not be able to stand aloof from another;” Bengel.


The Christian is at liberty to lay plans for the future, provided only that he does so with a deep feeling of dependence (comp. Hebrews 6:3; James 4:13-15).—Travelling ministers of the gospel, and missionaries needing help, should be properly cared for.—The love which we see shown to others, we ourselves must imitate according to our ability.—Fruitful and unfruitful faith.—The communion of love.

Starke: There is a great diversity of gifts among the children of God, of which one is especially serviceable for this, and another for that (1 Corinthians 12:4 sqq.)—It is useful, as well as pleasing to God, that those who labor in the word, and are engaged in the same service, should live in mutual confidence, kindly seek each other’s advice, listen, and follow it.—A pastor must not leave his church, either for a long journey and a protracted absence, or permanently by the acceptance of a call elsewhere, until he is sure that his church either is or will be provided with a true minister of the word.—Happy are they who are able to divide their work with pious and faithful helpers: it will thus be the more successful.—Hedinger: Christianity demands training till one become habitually a doer of good works. Oh! strive, agonize, that ye be not unfruitful.—Osiander: We should do good to all, but especially to those who hold the true religion with us, and are fellow-believers.

Lisco: The fruits of true faith.—Are ye in the state of good works ? Whereby shall we know that the preaching of Christ has become effectual in us?

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Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Titus 3". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". 1857-84.