1:1 From Paul, a slave of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God’s chosen ones and the knowledge of the truth that is in keeping with godliness, 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the ages began. 1:3 But now in his own time he has made his message evident through the preaching I was entrusted with according to the command of God our Savior.
A slave of God – This phrase is unique in Paul’s writings (but see Acts 16:17; Jas 1:1; 1 Pet 2:16; Rev 7:3; cf. Luke 2:29; Acts 2:18; 4:29; Rev 10:7; 11:18; 19:2, 5; 22:3, 6). This self-appellation is consistent with the theocentric nature of this letter.
God’s chosen ones – And so of special value to him. How does Paul know that God has chosen them? – because they have received and responded to the message of salvation.
The truth that is in keeping with godliness – ‘”Godliness” is an important concept in this letter, just as it was in 1 Timothy, even though the actual word is used only once. But the repetition of “good works” emphasizes the point. (Tit 1:16; 2:7,14; 3:1,5,8,14) The truth of the Gospel changes a life from ungodliness (Tit 2:12) to holy living. Sad to say, there were people in the churches on Crete, like some church members today, who professed to be saved, but whose lives denied their profession.’ (Tit 1:12) (Wiersbe)
A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life – ‘This faith in Jesus Christ not only saves us today and makes our lives godly, but it also gives us hope for the future. (Tit 1:2) we have assurance for the future because of God’s promises, and God cannot lie. (see Num 23:19) we are born again “unto a living hope” (1 Pet 1:3, NIV) because we have trusted the living Christ. We believers have eternal life now; (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 5:11-12) but when Jesus Christ returns, we will enjoy eternal life in an even greater way.’ (Wiersbe)
God, who does not lie – is free from all deceit. Of course God does not lie, we might respond. And yet we need, like Titus, to be reminded of God’s utter reliability in keeping his ancient promise. Cf. Ps 89:33.
Promised before the beginning of time – and therefore grounded in God’s eternal purposes.
1. The Son shared glory with the Father, Jn 17:5.
2. The Father loved the Son, Jn 17:24
3. God purposed to call us and save us by grace, 2 Tim 1:9.
4. God destined a secret and hidden wisdom, 1 Cor 2:7.
5. Eternal life was promised, Tit 1:2.
6. The sacrificial death of Christ was destined, 1 Pet 1:20.
7. God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless before him, Eph 1:4.
1:4 To Titus, my genuine son in a common faith. Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior!
Titus’ Task on Crete
1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was to set in order the remaining matters and to appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 1:6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of one wife, with faithful children who cannot be charged with dissipation or rebellion. 1:7 For the overseer must be blameless as one entrusted with God’s work, not arrogant, not prone to anger, not a drunkard, not violent, not greedy for gain. 1:8 Instead he must be hospitable, devoted to what is good, sensible, upright, devout, and self-controlled. 1:9 He must hold firmly to the faithful message as it has been taught, so that he will be able to give exhortation in such healthy teaching and correct those who speak against it.
The two problem areas that Paul addresses in this chapter are, (a) wildness (esp. sexual indiscipline); and (b) speculation. The latter will encompass (i) Jewish laws, (ii) moral requirements, (iii)
A man whose children believe – translated similarly in NASB, NLB. In the similar passage in 1 Timothy 3:4f, the elder is required to manage his own household competently, having his children ‘under control’. In a footnote, the ESV translates the present verse, ‘whose children are faithful’. So AV and several other translations. In v9 of the present chapter, Paul uses the same word, and it is translated, ‘trustworthy’; cf 1 Tim 3:11. The immediate context of v6 supports the translation of the relevant word as ‘trustworthy’. ‘A man whose children are trustworthy and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient’ makes excellent sense. The elder, in other words, should be capable of keeping his children under control.
In a review of the IVP Women’s Bible Commentary, Gilbert Bilezikian notes that ‘the same passage that forbids women to teach and to have authority over men also requires that men who want to lead, teach or manage the affairs of the church must be married (husbands of one wife) and have children who are believers, obedient, and show proper respect (Titus 1:6)…Such rigorous provisions exclude from church leadership ministries not only women but also single men, childless married men, married men with only one child, married men with children too small or too obstinate to profess faith, married men with disobedient believing children, and married men with obedient believing children who are not respectful in all things.’ The suggestion (assertion?) seem to be that the Pastoral Epistles are equally rigorous about men’s and women’s ministry, and that such high standards must have ‘unique historical circumstances that necessitated exceptionally restrictive measures not mandated in the rest of the NT.’
1:10 For there are many rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers, especially those with Jewish connections, 1:11 who must be silenced because they mislead whole families by teaching for dishonest gain what ought not to be taught. 1:12 A certain one of them, in fact, one of their own prophets, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 1:13 Such testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply that they may be healthy in the faith 1:14 and not pay attention to Jewish myths and commands of people who reject the truth.
“Cretans are always liars…” Such testimony is true – It is thought by some that Paul is engaging here in a racial slur. However, the ‘prophet’ quotes is likely the poet Epimenides of Crete (6th century BC), and we must allow for the distinct possibility of sarcastic humour on Paul’s part.
Actually, as Craig Blomberg remarks, there’s more to it than sarcasm or hyperbole. The Cretans boasted that they housed the tomb of Zeus. But Zeus could not die! That’s why they gained a rather humorous reputation for being liars. Epimenides coined the slogan that Paul quotes here. And, since Epimenides was himself a Cretan, there is an added layer of irony, for if when a Cretan says that ‘all Cretans are liars’, presumably he himself is lying?! (The ‘liar’s paradox’ was already well-known in Greek philosophy). ‘Anthony Thiselton suggests that Paul is actually trying to point out how self-defeating it is to live in ways that do not match one’s ideology or, in this case, religious commitments. This would certainly make the passage much more widely relevant and applicable, not only to situations that resemble Crete’s but to all of us.’
1:15 All is pure to those who are pure. But to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 1:16 They profess to know God but with their deeds they deny him, since they are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good deed.
‘Though there are few found who say, “There is no God,” yet many deny him in their practices…The world is full of practical atheists; most people live as if they did not believe there was a God. Durst they lie, defraud, be unclean, if they believed there were a God who would call them to account?’ (Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, 43)
‘Two tendencies of heresy are most revealing. We would be wise to ask ourselves regarding every kind of teaching both what its attitude is towards God and what effect is has upon men. There is invariably something about error which is dishonouring to God and damaging to men. The truth, on the other hand, always honours God, promoting godliness (cf. Tit 1:16) and always edifies its hearers.’ (Stott, Authentic Christianity, 128)