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The Letter of Paul to Titus: Chapter 1

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1Paul, a servant a Gk slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that is in accordance with godliness, 2in the hope of eternal life that God, who never lies, promised before the ages began— 3in due time he revealed his word through the proclamation with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior,

4To Titus, my loyal child in the faith we share:

Grace b Other ancient authorities read Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

5I left you behind in Crete for this reason, so that you should put in order what remained to be done, and should appoint elders in every town, as I directed you: 6someone who is blameless, married only once, c Gk husband of one wife whose children are believers, not accused of debauchery and not rebellious. 7For a bishop, d Or an overseer as God's steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or addicted to wine or violent or greedy for gain; 8but he must be hospitable, a lover of goodness, prudent, upright, devout, and self-controlled. 9He must have a firm grasp of the word that is trustworthy in accordance with the teaching, so that he may be able both to preach with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.

10There are also many rebellious people, idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision; 11they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what it is not right to teach. 12It was one of them, their very own prophet, who said,

“Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons.”

13That testimony is true. For this reason rebuke them sharply, so that they may become sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Jewish myths or to commandments of those who reject the truth. 15To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure. Their very minds and consciences are corrupted. 16They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.


a Gk slave

b Other ancient authorities read Grace, mercy,

c Gk husband of one wife

d Or an overseer

Text Commentary view alone

1.1–4 :

Epistolary opening. The longest opening in the Pastorals names the writer, the recipient, and God as agents of truth, preparing for the attack on the false teachers ( 1.12–14 ).

1 :

Servant, literally “slave,” of God, form the roots of this expression in the Hebrew Scriptures, see 2 Sam 7.5; Jer 7.25 . In the undisputed letters Paul uses “servant of Christ” (Rom 1.1; Gal 1.10; Phil 1.1 ).

3 :

Command, literally “order upon.” The Greek word is related to other terms in the letter: “directed” ( 1.5 ); “submissive” ( 2.5, 9 ); “authority” ( 2.15 ); “subjected” ( 3.1 ). Savior, see 1.4; 2.10, 13; 3.4, 6; see also 2.11; 1 Tim 2.3; 4.10 .

4 :

Loyal child, see 1 Tim 1.2; 2 Tim 1.2; 2.1 .

1.5–16 :

Instructions on church order. The letter contrasts the elders and the false teachers: The false teachers are motivated by sordid gain (v. 11 ); the elders must not be greedy for gain (v. 7 ). The false teachers upset whole families (v. 11 ); the elders must be able to control their own families (v. 6 ).

5 :

Paul, while a captive, spent time at Crete (Acts 27.7–15 ), but neither Acts nor his own letters says he started a mission there. Furthermore, after Crete Paul is taken on to Malta, not Nicopolos (Acts 28.1 ).

5–7 :

Elders and bishops seem to be the same.

9 :

The determination of sound (healthy or correct) doctrine is based on the reasoning of a community; see 1.13; 2.1, 2, 8; 1 Tim 1.10; 6.3; 2 Tim 1.13; 4.3 .

12 :

A stereotype attributed by some early Christians (Clement of Alexandria, Chrysostom, and Jerome) to Epimenides, a Cretan poet from the sixth century BCE.

16 :

Work, see 1.16; 2.7, 14; 3.1, 8 ).

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