Titus 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Titus 1)

Verse 1

[1] Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ — Titles suitable to the person of Paul, and the office he was assigning to Titus.

According to the faith — The propagating of which is the proper business of an apostle.

A servant of God — According to the faith of the elect.

An apostle of Jesus Christ — According to the knowledge of the truth. We serve God according to the measure of our faith: we fulfil our public office according to the measure of our knowledge.

The truth that is after godliness — Which in every point runs parallel with and supports the vital, spiritual worship of God; and, indeed, has no other end or scope. These two verses contain the sum of Christianity, which Titus was always to have in his eye.

Of the elect of God — Of all real Christians

Verse 2

[2] In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

In hope of eternal life — The grand motive and encouragement of every apostle and every servant of God.

Which God promised before the world began — To Christ, our Head.

Verse 3

[3] But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

And he hath in his own times — At sundry times; and his own times are fittest for his own work. What creature dares ask, "Why no sooner?" Manifested his word - Containing that promise, and the whole "truth which is after godliness." Through the preaching wherewith I am intrusted according to the commandment of God our Saviour - And who dares exercise this office on any less authority?

Verse 4

[4] To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

My own son — Begot in the same image of God, and repaying a paternal with a filial affection.

The common faith — Common to me and all my spiritual children.

Verse 5

[5] 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:

The things which are wanting — Which I had not time to settle myself.

Ordain elders — Appoint the most faithful, zealous men to watch over the rest. Their character follows, Titus 1:6-9. These were the elders, or bishops, that Paul approved of;-men that had living faith, a pure conscience, a blameless life.

Verse 6

[6] If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

The husband of one wife — Surely the Holy Ghost, by repeating this so often, designed to leave the Romanists without excuse.

Verse 7

[7] For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

As the steward of God — To whom he intrusts immortal souls.

Not selfwilled — Literally, pleasing himself; but all men "for their good to edification." Not passionate - But mild, yielding, tender.

Verse 9

[9] Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

As he hath been taught — Perhaps it might be more literally rendered, according to the teaching, or doctrine, of the apostles; alluding to Acts 2:42.

Verse 10

[10] For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

They of the circumcision — The Jewish converts.

Verse 11

[11] Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

Stopped — The word properly means, to put a bit into the mouth of an unruly horse.

Verse 12

[12] One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

A prophet — So all poets were anciently called; but, besides, Diogenes Laertius says that Epimenides, the Cretan poet, foretold many things.

Evil wild beasts — Fierce and savage.

Verse 14

[14] Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

Commandments of men — The Jewish or other teachers, whoever they were that turned from the truth.

Verse 15

[15] Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

To the pure — Those whose hearts are purified by faith this we allow.

All things are pure — All kinds of meat; the Mosaic distinction between clean and unclean meats being now taken away.

But to the defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure — The apostle joins defiled and unbelieving, to intimate that nothing can be clean without a true faith: for both the understanding and conscience, those leading powers of the soul, are polluted; consequently, so is the man and all he does.