Titus Chapter 3
“Verses 1-11”: In his closing remarks, Paul admonished Titus to remind believers under his care of their attitudes toward:
(1) The unsaved rulers (verse 1), and people in general (verse 2);
(2) Their previous state as unbelievers lost in sin (verse 3);
(3) Of their gracious salvation through Jesus Christ (verses 4-7);
(4) Of their righteous testimony to the unsaved world (verse 8);
(5) And of their responsibility to oppose false teachers and factious members within the church (verses 9-11).
All of these matters are essential to effective evangelism.
Speak evil of no man literally means blaspheme no one.
Be no brawlers (literally, “abstain from fighting”). Unto all men indicates the universal extent of the Christian mission.
Salvation is not accomplished by works of righteousness, but by the washing of regeneration. That is the cleansing that results from being born again (John 3:3). This is not a reference to baptism but to the spiritual renewing produced by the Holy Ghost (see Ezekiel 36:25-26). Consequently, we are justified by his grace and will be made heirs because we have the hope (strong confidence), of eternal life.
Titus 3:1 “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,”
“Subject”: Submission to the authority of Scripture demands submission to human authorities as part of a Christian’s testimony (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:12-17).
We have discussed before how God makes a person be king or president, or in fact, governors or lesser offices, for His purpose. To go against the ruling government would be saying that you cannot trust God’s judgment.
The way to go up against them is at the voting booth. The only time we should go against the government is if what they ask you to do is against your belief in God. It is best to keep the laws of the land and live peaceable lives.
Titus 3:2 “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.”
“All men”: Christians are to exemplify these godly virtues in their dealings with everyone. The admonition applies especially to dealings with unbelievers. The use of this phrase here to refer to mankind in general (particularly those who cross our paths). Rather than every person who lives, supports the fact that it has the same meaning (in 2:11).
We should not even speak evil against our enemy. We are not to create trouble for ourselves, or anyone else. We are to be peacemakers. The meekness above is really speaking of being humble.
The worldly man tends to talk about others, thinking it will make him look better, but Christians should do the opposite and build others up.
Titus 3:3 “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.”
“Ourselves”: It is not that every believer has committed every sin listed here, but rather that before salvation every life is characterized by such sins. That sobering truth should make believers humble in dealing with the unsaved, even those who are grossly immoral and ungodly.
If it weren’t for God’s grace to His own, they would all be wicked (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:25). For other lists of sins (see Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:17-19).
This is a perfect description of all of us before we came to Jesus. This is the way of the world or the way of the flesh. Selfish, unsaved people do all the things above because they are listening to the lust of their flesh. Until we receive the pattern of the perfect love of Jesus, we do not know how to love.
I love the answer Jesus gave when the disciples asked Him; what were the most important commandments. The following is the answer He gave them.
Mark 12:30-31 “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment.” “And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandments greater than these.”
Hate is of the world, love is of God.
Titus 3:4 “But after that, the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,”
“Kindness … appeared” (as in 2:11). Paul is speaking of Jesus Christ, who was kindness and love incarnate, appearing in human form (Ephesians 2:4-6).
A companion Scripture to this is;
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
While we were yet in sin, Christ gave Himself to save us;
1 Timothy 4:10 “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe.”
The kindness and love of God our Savior toward men is caught up in one word, grace. “Grace” is unmerited favour from God to man.
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”
Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
“Not by works of righteousness”: Salvation has never been by deeds, or works (see Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:19-28).
“According to his mercy”: (Ephesians 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Peter 1:3, 2:10).
“Washing of regeneration” (see notes on Ezekiel 36:25-31; Ephesians 5:26-27; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23). Salvation brings divine cleansing from sin and the gift of a new, Spirit generated, Spirit-empowered, and Spirit-protected life as God’s own children and heirs (verse 7). This is the new birth (John 3:5; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1).
“Regeneration” refers to the work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation experience that produces new life in the believer. To express this concept, Jesus used the expression “born again” in His conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:3-7).
Regeneration is the work of God through the Holy Spirit, of placing in one who has faith a new nature, capable of doing God’s will.
“Renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 8:2). He is the agent of the “washing of regeneration.”
The Holy Spirit is the agent of the divine workman of this regeneration. His instrument is the bible which is likened to a hammer that judges sin (Jeremiah 23:29); a mirror that reveals sin (James 1:23), a sword that defeats Satan (Hebrews 4:12), and a lamp that guides the believers (Psalm 119:105).
People are instantaneously “born again,” the moment they trust Christ as Savior (1 Peter 1:23). Christians should be careful to cooperate with God in growing as children of God after they are regenerated, or given new life.
Our own righteousness is but filthy rags. We could work forever and the work would not make us righteous. We are righteous in God’s sight because we are dressed in white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb of God. We have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We are acceptable to God, because Jesus made us acceptable, not by any work we do.
Revelation 7:13-14 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Another type of washing that this could mean is the washing of regeneration mentioned in the following Scripture.
Ephesians 5:26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,”
Titus 3:6 “Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;”
“Abundantly”: When believers are saved, Christ’s Spirit blesses them beyond measure (Acts 2:38-39; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 13; Ephesians 3:20; 5:18).
We Christians, are born again in Jesus Christ. We die to the flesh and are quickened in our spirit by the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus promised the Comforter would come. The Comforter did come. He is the Holy Ghost. He empowers us in our spirit to minister.
Titus 3:7 “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
“Justified”: The central truth of salvation is justification by faith alone. When a sinner repents and places his faith in Jesus Christ, God declares him just, imputes the righteousness of Christ to him, and gives him eternal life by virtue of the substitutionary death of Christ as the penalty for that sinner’s iniquity (Romans 3:21 – 5:21; Galatians 3:6-22; Philippians 3:8-9).
“Heirs”: As adopted children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, believers become “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 1:3-4).
Because He shed His grace on us, we are justified (just as if we had never sinned).
Galatians 3:29 “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
All who are justified by Jesus will inherit life eternal and be sons of God.
1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
Titus 3:8 “[This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”
“Faithful saying”: A common expression in the early church, used 5 times in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 1:15; 3:1; 4:9: 2 Timothy 2:11), is in general, referring to those who respond by the holy witness to the gospel.
This is just simply saying we must walk in the salvation we have received of God. Paul is telling Titus to keep reminding his people to be working until Jesus comes. This is not only profitable to God but to man, as well.
Titus 3:9 “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.”
“Foolish questions”: Paul again warns against becoming embroiled in senseless discussions with the many false teachers on Crete (see 1:10, 14-16), especially the Judaizers who contended that a Christian must be obedient to “the Mosaic Law,” a view that assaulted the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone and, contrary to holy living, which was good and profitable, was “unprofitable and worthless.”
Proclaiming the truth, not arguing error, is the biblical way to evangelize.
It seemed the Jewish Christians kept bringing up questions about keeping the Law of Moses. Paul tells Titus not to even get into a discussion with them on these matters. It would just cause confusion and strife. They would not accomplish anything, except they would divide the people.
Jesus warned over and over about studying genealogies. This is as if one class of people are better than the other. Look what John the Baptist had to say about genealogies in the next verse.
Matthew 3:9 “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”
“Verses 10-11”: A heretic was originally one who caused divisions or factions, but later the word emphasized such a person’s peculiar or unorthodox beliefs. Therefore, heretics and schismatics are to be rejected. As in all his epistle, Paul urges fidelity to the apostles’ doctrine.
Titus 3:10 “A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject;”
“Reject”: Anyone in the church who is unsubmissive, self-willed, and divisive should be expelled. Two warnings are to be given, following the basic pattern for church discipline set forth by Christ (see notes on Matthew 18:15-17; Romans 16:17-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).
The word Heresy literally means “choosing one’s own ideas,” but now refers to that which is untrue. Even the New Testament church had false or heretical teachers who taught erroneous doctrine. Some epistles were specifically written to combat them (e.g. Galatians and 2 Thessalonians).
Paul warned the Romans against identifying with those who promoted divisive, heretical teachings (Romans 16:17). He advised Titus to reject heretics if they did not respond after two warnings (verse 10). John warned that a heretic should not be admitted into a Christian’s home (2 John 10).
Not everyone who makes an incorrect doctrinal statement is a heretic. When Apollos was further instructed concerning the gospel, he grew into a mighty Christian leader (Acts 18:24-28). By contrast, Hymeneus and Philetus were heretics when they rejected Gods truth and hurt the faith of some believers (2 Timothy 2:16-18).
Christians should as much as possible dissociate themselves from every heretic, to be unhindered in their Christian lives.
A “heretic” is someone who does not accept the teachings of the church and decides to make up his own doctrine. “Admonition” means to rebuke, or warning. This means then, if you have warned him more than once, then reject him.
Titus 3:11 “Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”
“Being condemned”: By his own ungodly behaviour, a factious believer brings judgment on himself.
The word translated “subverted” could have meant perverted. It seems this person has gone so far that it is not probable he will change. Since he will not repent and change, he has condemned himself.
Verses 12-14: Paul gives Titus special instructions.
Titus 3:12 “When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.”
“Artemas”: Nothing is known of this man beyond Paul’s obvious confidence in him.
“Tychicus”: This “beloved brother and faithful servant” (Colossians 4:7), accompanied Paul from Corinth to Asia Minor (Acts 20:4), carried the apostle’s letter to the Colossian church (Colossians 4:7), and possibly his letter to Ephesus (see Ephesians 6:21).
“Nicopolis”: The name means “city of victory”, and this was but one of perhaps 9 different cities so named because of decisive military battles that were won in or near them. This particular Nicopolis was probably in southern Greece, on the West coast of Achaia, which was a good place “to spend the winter.”
It seems after Titus finished setting up the church at Crete, Paul wanted him to return to him. Paul would send Artemas to this church at Crete and Tychicus to Ephesus to minister in the church. It seems Paul was concerned that they might not get the proper message in their sermons, so he sent someone he had trained. This Nicopolis would have been on the way to Rome.
Titus 3:13 “Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.”
“Zenas”: Nothing is known of this believer whose expertise was either in biblical law or Roman law.
“Apollos”: Originally from Alexandria, he was an outstanding teacher of Scripture who was converted to Christ after being acquainted only with the teaching of John the Baptist (Acts 18:24-28). Some of his followers apparently formed a faction in the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:11-12; 3:4).
Apollos was well known, he is the same Apollos that Priscilla and Aquila had ministered to. Paul might need a lawyer when he got to Rome, but I hardly doubt that is why this is mentioned here.
Titus 3:14 “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”
“Good works:” Again, the emphasis is on good deeds as the platform for witnessing effectively (verse 8; 1:13-16; 2:5, 8, 10, 12, 14).
Ours here is speaking of the members of the church at Crete. The good works spoken of probably is speaking of taking up an offering for the travellers. They should be willing to help the missionaries who came by their church.
The main reason a person should give, besides the necessity, is what it will do for their own feelings knowing they have been of help in the ministry. They can participate in the missionary endeavour, even though they do not go on the trip.
The workers, who do make the trip, are just one part of the work that it takes to get them there. This way they could feel a part of the work, too.
Titus 3:15 “All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace [be] with you all. Amen.”
“All that are with me” (1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; Philippians 4:22; also Romans 16:21-23; Colossians 4:10-14), where those with Paul are mentioned by name.
This is a typical salutation from Paul. He includes all who are with him. Paul knows and feels the love of the people in the churches he had so much to do with. He knows their love stems from the fact that directly, or indirectly, he had brought them the message of faith in Jesus Christ.