Paul, (1) a (a) servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's (b) elect, (2) and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
(1) He vouches his apostleship (not for Titus, but for the Cretian's sake) both by the testimony of his outward calling, and by his consent in which he agrees with all the elect from the beginning of the world.
(a) A minister, as Christ himself, in his office of minister and head of the Prophets, is called a servant; (Isaiah 43:10).
(b) Of those whom God has chosen. (2) The faith in which all the elect agree, is the true and sincere knowledge of God for this purpose, that worshipping God correctly, they may at length obtain everlasting life according to the promise of God, who is true, which promise was exhibited in Christ in due time according to his eternal purpose.
(3) But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our (f) Saviour;
(3) This truth is not to be sought anywhere else, but in the preaching of the apostles.
(f) This word "Saviour" does not only signify a preserver of life, but also a giver of life.
(4) To Titus, [mine] own son after the common faith: (5) Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
(4) The apostle exhorts the Cretians to hear Titus, by setting forth his consent and agreement with them in the faith, and in addition shows by what special note we may distinguish true ministers from false. (5) There is but one way of salvation, common both to the pastor and the flock.
(6) For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
(6) The first admonition: to ordain elders in every church.
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or (g) unruly.
(g) This word is used of horses and oxen, who will not tolerate the yoke.
(7) For a bishop must be blameless, as the (h) steward of God; not (i) selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
(7) The second admonition: what faults pastors (whom he referred to before under the word elders) ought to be void of, and what virtues they ought to have.
(h) Whom the Lord has appointed steward of his gifts.
(i) Not stubborn and hard to please.
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, (k) sober, just, holy, temperate;
(k) Cautious, and of a sound judgment, and of a singular example of moderation.
(8) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, (9) that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
(8) The third admonition: the pastor must hold fast that doctrine which the apostles delivered, and pertains to salvation, leaving behind all curious and vain matters. (9) The fourth admonition: to apply the knowledge of true doctrine to use, which consists in two things, that is, in governing those who show themselves able to learn, and confuting the obstinate.
(10) For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the (l) circumcision:
(10) An applying of the general proposition to a particular: the Cretians above all others need sharp reprehensions: both because their minds are naturally given to lies and slothfulness, and because of certain covetous Jews, who under a pretence of godliness, partly combined certain vain traditions, and partly old ceremonies with the Gospel.
(l) Of the Jews, or rather of those Jews who went about to join Christ and the Law.
(m) One of themselves, [even] a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians [are] alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
(m) Epimenides, who was considered a prophet amongst them. See Laertius, and Cicero in his first book of divination.
This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them (n) sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
(n) Clearly and plainly, and do not go about the bush with them.
(11) Unto the pure all things [are] pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving [is] nothing pure; but even their (o) mind and conscience is defiled.
(11) He shows in few words, that purity consists not in any external worship, and that which is according to the old Law (as indifference of meats, and washings, and other such things which are abolished) but in the mind and conscience. And whoever teaches otherwise, does not know what true religion really is, and also is not to be heeded.
(o) If our minds and consciences are unclean, what cleanness is there in us before regeneration?