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An Exposition Of the Epistles Of Saint Paul And Of The Catholic Epistles Volumes 1&2

Analysis

In this chapter, the Apostle, after exhorting Titus to teach sound doctrine, points out to him what instructions he should deliver to persons of different ages and conditions in life (6). He admonishes him to show himself as a model in the practice of every virtue (7–10). He proposes the example of Christ, our Saviour, who appeared visibly in order to instruct all classes of men, both by word and example, as a motive to stimulate him to teach the same, with greater zeal (11). He shows what it is that Christ has taught us (12, 13). He points out the end and object of Christ’s death (14). He, finally, wishes that Titus should authoritatively teach all these things (15).

Paraphrase

1. (These wicked men may teach fables). But do thou (as a faithful minister of the Gospel) teach thy people the things that are in accordance with sound doctrine, either as regards the truths of faith or the principles of morality.

2. (Exhort) the aged men to practise sobriety, to observe becoming propriety of conduct, especially in matters of chastity, to exhibit prudence and moderation in their conduct, to be sincere in faith, in love, and in the patient endurance of adversity.

3. Aged women, in like manner (exhort) to observe in their whole exterior, in their gait, gesture, discourse, and dress, a modesty suited to Christian sanctity; to guard against indulging in calumny or detraction; not to indulge too much in wine; teaching in their private instructions at home, both by word and by example, the things that are good and proper.

4. Let them, therefore, teach the young women all the wisdom becoming their age, sex, and condition, viz., to love their husbands—to love their children.

5. To be prudent, chaste, sober, remaining constantly at home, and taking care of their domestic concerns, kind and gentle towards their domestics, obedient and subject to their (own) husbands; so that the doctrine and gospel of Christ may not be brought into disrepute by them among the infidels.

6. Young men, in like manner, exhort to be sober and to govern their passions.

7. In all things, show thyself as a model in the performance of good works (in the practice of every virtue), in sound doctrine and the manner of propounding it, in purity of life, in the gravity of your government and holy conversation.

8. In teaching, employ language in accordance with sound faith, and which will not bring on you censure or contempt; so that the adversary, be he Jew or Greek, may be ashamed to encounter us, not having it in his power to charge us with anything evil.

9. Exhort slaves to be subject to their masters, to be solicitous to please them in all things lawful, and not to disrespect or murmur against their commands.

10. Not defrauding, or privately stealing from them, but in all things practising the greatest fidelity, so that by this fidelity and obedience, they may render the Christian faith and doctrine commendable in the eyes of all, and thus become ornaments of the faith.

11. For the salutary beneficence of God’s redemption has been made manifest to all classes of men without exception.

12. Instructing us to renounce impiety, and worldly corrupt desires, and to lead in this world a life of wisdom and temperance in regard to ourselves, of justice and equity towards the neighbour, and of piety and religion towards God.

13. Expecting eternal happiness, the object of our hope, and the glorious coming of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

14. Who has delivered himself up to death for us, to redeem and purify us from all iniquity and from the stains of sin, and after thus cleansing us by his blood, to claim us as his peculiar people, his precious distinguished possession, a people exceedingly zealous for good works.

15. Teach all these things to the ignorant, and exhort all those who already know them, to reduce them to practice. But rebuke the refractory and disobedient with full power, as minister of God, and by acting thus, no one will dare to contemn thee.

Commentary

1. The Jewish zealots teach false doctrines, and prescribe practices purely human and opposed to the law of God—but Titus, as a faithful minister of the Gospel, should inculcate the truths of faith and sound principles of morals; and because the Cretans were “slothful bellies,” addicted to sensuality and intemperance, he should, therefore, inculcate the observance of temperance on all classes.

2. “That aged men be sober;” the word “exhort,” or some such, is understood, as appears from the Greek; “sober,” in the use of drink, particularly; the moderate use of wine may be of use for old men—its excess, very injurious—and by observing sobriety themselves, they would serve as models for the young in this respect; “chaste,” the Greek word, σεμνους, means, grave, of composed, orderly habits; “sound in faith,” having no admixture of errors; “in love,” without dissimulation; “in patience,” suffering patiently the reverses of life for God’s sake, with conformity to his will; the chief prop of patience is the hope of future rewards; hence, the words “the enduring of hope” (1 Thess. 1), so that the three Theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, are here inculcated; and, in the practice of these, the aged should serve as models to the young.

3. “Aged women, in like manner,” encourage, “not false accusers,” in Greek, μὴ διαβολους, not devils. The devil, was so called, in consequence of falsely accusing God, when tempting Eve. “Teaching well.” In Greek, καλοδιδασκάλους, teaching good things, in their private instructions at home, teaching young females, not idle, old wives’ tales, but what is virtuous and religious.

4. “That they teach the young women,” &c. The duty of private instruction of the young women is committed to old women by the Apostle; because, in regard to such, private interviews might not be edifying in Titus, he should address such persons only in public discourses. These are the things they shall teach them, viz., to love their husbands and their children.

5. To be “discreet,” “sober.” For both these words there is but one word in the Greek, σωφρονας, which bears both meanings—“obedient to their husbands,” the Greek is, to their own (τοῖς ἰδίοις), husbands. “That the word of God be not blasphemed,” as if it taught erroneous doctrine, or at least was of no advantage to its professors.

6. This is the fourth time he inculcates sobriety; luxury had corrupted the young and old of both sexes in Crete; and hence, his repeated inculcation of sobriety. The word for “sober,” σωφρονεῖν, also signifies a restraint over the carnal passions, in which sobriety is of great advantage, nay, very necessary. Both meanings are united in the Paraphrase. It is needless to remark that sobriety is a necessary accompaniment of chastity. It is hard to conceive how an intemperate man can be chaste.

7. As example is far more powerful than precept; hence, he requires of Titus to invite men to the practice of good works by the powerful force of example. This he enjoins on Timothy (1 Ep. 4:12), and St. Peter enjoins the same (1 Ep. 5), “being made a pattern of the flock from the heart.” The Apostle instances a few of the things in which Titus should particularly serve as a model, “in doctrine,” &c. The Greek reading runs thus: “in doctrine (exhibiting) integrity, gravity,” to which some copies add, incorruptibility, according to which reading, “integrity, gravity,” &c., regard the doctrine.

8. “The sound word that cannot be blamed.” According to the Greek construction, these words are a continuation of the preceding, and refer to “doctrine,” depending on the word “exhibiting,” i.e., (exhibiting also) “the sound words which will not expose you to censure or contempt.” Though their may be some diversity of construction in the passage, the meaning is quite clear. The Apostle exhorts Titus and through him, all bishops, to be the models of every virtue, to preach sound doctrine, without any admixture of error, grave doctrine, free from all futile vanities, conformable to sound faith, and beyond all reprehension or censure. “No evil to say of us;” in Greek, no evil … of you.

9. “Slaves will perform their duties towards their masters, if they reverence them for God, and look upon them as holding his place in their regard (see Ep. 6:6; Colos. 3:23); not gainsaying,” i.e., not replying disrespectfully to them or murmuring at their commands.

10. “Not defrauding.” St. Jerome interprets it “not stealing.” It implies stealth, committed in taking property, as well as in squandering the time marked out for labour—“but in all things showing good faith.” i.e., by exhibiting perfect fidelity, both in reference to the substance of their masters, as well as in serving them, they would render the doctrine of Christ commendable, and not expose it “to blasphemy.”—(1 Tim. 6)

11. By “the grace of our Saviour,” or (as in the Greek, ἡ χάρις ἡ σωτήριος,) the salutary grace, some understand, as in Paraphrase, the salutary benevolence of God displayed in the work of redemption (see 2nd Cor. 6:1); others, Christ himself, the fountain of grace, the divine essential grace. This shows that as the benefit of redemption was displayed to all classes, men, women, slaves, &c.; so, Titus should instruct every class, not excepting slaves.

12. “Impiety,” i.e., unbelief, “worldly desires,” the corrupt passions of ambition, avarice, lusts, &c.—“we should live soberly, justly, and piously,” by fasting, alms, deeds, and prayer; these good works are specially recommended to all, specially opposed to the three enemies of salvation—the world, the flesh, and the devil; and to the three great leading maxims of the world—“the concupiscence of the flesh, of the eyes, and the pride of life.”—(John 2:16).

13. “The blessed hope;” “hope” means the thing hoped for, the object of hope. “The great God.” The article in the Greek shows that by this is meant, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Besides, it is our Saviour alone that “the glorious coming” is attributed in SS. Scripture. Hence, an argument for the Divinity of Christ. “The blessed hope,” regards the beautitude of our souls at death—“the coming,” &c., the glorification of our bodies.

14. He not only was born for us, and appeared to us, and instructed us, but he also died for us. “A people acceptable.” St. Jerome has translated it, “an especial, eminent people.” It is allusive to the passage in Exodus (19:5), when God says of the Jews, “you shall be my peculiar possession,” &c. “The Hebrew for peculiar possession,” Segullah, according to St. Jerome, signifies “a most precious treasure.” St. Paul here followed the Septuagint version, which means, “acceptable people,” an excellent possession, &c.

15. So act in the exercise of authority, that no one will despise thee.








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