This short letter was addressed to Titus, a Christian worker in Crete. It includes advice on the character and conduct required of Church leaders and reveals God’s grace and the gift of the Spirit.
BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE BOOK OF TITUS CHAPTER 3:1-15.
The pastoral letters are letters from Paul the Apostle to Timothy and to Titus. They are given the title because they are addressed to individuals with pastoral oversight of churches.
THE CHRISTIAN AS A CITIZEN (Chap. 3:1-2).
Here we encounter some obligations of citizenship and the attitude with which Christians are to relate to secular government.
V. 1 “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities” or “that they have a duty of submissive loyalty to the government and those in authority” (KNOX).
Obviously, this is not new advice for they are to be reminded, indicating they already were aware of these things. The nature of many cults is to disdain government and authority. Both Paul and Peter were careful to instruct those they had influence over to be good citizens [Rom. 13:1-7; I Tim. 2:1-2; I Pet 2:13-15].
Christians have dual citizenship. We are not only citizens of our country of birth or adoption, but, as Paul says: “For our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20]. Our relationship with the government of God has a higher priority than our earthly obligations, but this does not suggest that we are not to fulfil our duties as citizens of our natural country.
This advice would be particularly relevant to the Cretans. They were constantly giving the authorities trouble with insurrections, murders, and wars:
“to obey” or “to respect and obey the powers that be” (TCNT). ; % Mere lip-service to governmental authority is not what Paul is asking, he says “to obey. As long as your rulers do not ask you to do something that violates your conscience, you must cooperate with their laws and obey them. Jesus said: “You are the salt of the earth” [Matt. 5:13], and in order to be a positive influence on society, we must show ourselves to be responsible and law-abiding citizens. Whatever our personal feelings on civil government may be, it is ordained by God, and life would be chaotic and dangerous without it.
“To be ready for every good work” or “useful service” (GSPD).
No one was ever remembered for what he received but for what he gave. We who enjoy the benefits of good government should be willing to do our part. The fact that the author stresses “good” or “honest work” (RSV) suggests the conditions of our obedience: Many Christians, in times past, lost their lives because they would not obey a magistrate’s command to commit idolatry.
To the Christian, this would not be “good”, so he disobeys, even if he must make the supreme Sacrifice
V. 2 “to speak evil of no one” or “to slander no one” (NEB).
As William Barclay says: “The good citizen will be as careful of the words he speaks as of the deeds he does. We must continually remember that as Christians we are not only citizens but are representatives of the Gospel, and ambassadors of Christ. So the standard laid out here is very high. Good advice to Christians is to “let your words be few” [Eccl 5:2] and be well ordered.
“To be peaceable” or “to avoid quarrelling” (TCNT); “no brawlers” (KJV).
Because the peace of God abides in the Christian’s heart he can be at peace with his fellow man: But peace at any price is not the criteria for at times the tide must be bucked and the trend resisted We must have the courage of our convictions and yet, not be unnecessarily contentious in our attitude.
“Gentle” or “lenient” (BER), “considerate” (KNOX).
This word addresses our manner of dealing with others rather than our attitude. “It expresses the considerateness that looks humanely and reasonably at the facts of a case” (Vine). It is giving your neighbor the benefit of a doubt, taking into consideration his human weakness and “not insisting on the letter of the law” (Vine). It carries out the spirit of the law rather than the legalities.
“Showing all humility to all men” or “unqualified meekness” (BER), “showing (showing) courtesy” (KNOX), and “all meekness” (KJV).
This word is usually translated as gentleness or meekness. It depicts the attitude a child of God is to portray, for it is an integral part of the fruit of the spirit [, Gal. 5:23], This is the only acceptable attitude with which one can restore a fallen brother [, Gal. 6:1], or correct one who is erring [2 Tim. 2:25]. It is with this humility or meekness that we are to receive the Word of God [Jas. 1:21], and in the same manner, we are to share the Word [I Pet. 3:15]. Our Lord gave us a divine example when He said of Himself: “I am meek and lowly” [Matt. 1129].
If the king of the universe could be gentle and humble among men, who are we to be or to do anything less. In practical terms, we fill the bill when we “show perfect courtesy toward all men” (RSV). No doubt, Titus would at times get exasperated and impatient with the disposition of the Cretans so Paul reminds him of his own past. One can walk in the ways of God for so long that he forgets the pit from which he was dug [Is. 51:1], He consequently has a tendency to be self-righteous in dealing with, particularly, new Christians who still have some trappings of the world hanging on them. But when we remember that we were no more sanctified than they were in our early days as Christians, it helps us to be considerate and allow room and time for growth.
FORMER DAYS RECALLED (3:3)
Here is a personal acknowledgement and description of mankind apart from Divine intervention.
V. 3 “For we ourselves were also once foolish” or “reckless” (KNOX), without understanding (WMS).
The apostle includes himself in this evaluation. Even though Paul had served the Lord God of Israel from his youth, he recognized the sin principle in himself. James Strong says the word, by implication, means sensual. It literally means that we had no real or spiritual understanding of truth [Eph. 4:17-18]. Truth, in Biblical terms, is revealed by the Spirit of God. That is why Paul could say that we are no better than they. Everything we have is from God. This is clearly shown in I Cor. 4:7. There is an arrogant self-confidence in fools, that is their downfall [Prov. 14; 16], [Also see Prov. 1:7,22; 14:8; Ps. 14:1].
“Disobedient” or “obstinate” (WEY), “rebellious” (KNOX).
It is only a fool who thinks that he can disobey God and get away with it. This tendency expresses itself in all areas of life. The rebellious are resistant to all authority, parents, government, church, or anyone else who represents an authority figure in their minds. But thank God we do not have to stay that way, God can change the hardest heart [Jer. 23:29]. The Lord Jesus said that part of the ministry of the Spirit of Elijah was to “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just” [Luke 1:17]. Much of the rebellion in youth today can be directly related to the failure of fathers. Their hearts have been everywhere but with their family. God
helps us to have the right priorities.
“Deceived” or “misled” (WMS), “dupes of error” (KNOX), “led astray” (INT).
Those who wander from the path of truth do so because they have no understanding. The lot of every deceiver is that he too will be deceived [2 Tim. 3:13]. The natural man easily falls prey to deception because his very “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” or incurably sick [Jer. 17:9].
“The world does not need cosmetic surgery; it needs a heart transplant and only the power of Jesus Christ can perform that operation” (Francis Anfuso). When Christ comes into a life, one has more than a religious experience, he receives a new heart [Ezek. 36:26-27}. This new heart is also called “a pure heart” [Heb. 10:22]. Scripture teaches that the early Christians served God with “simplicity of heart” [Acts 2:46]. They did not complicate the things of God, they simply believed Him.
Believers’ hearts are said to be circumcised [Deut 10:16; 30:6; Rom, 2:29]. K
As Stephen, the first Christian martyr pointed out it is the uncircumcised in heart and ears who always resist the Holy Spirit [Acts 7:31].
“Serving various lusts and pleasures.” or “slaves to all kinds of passions and vices” (TCNT).
This was an accurate description of heathen life in general, but particularly in Crete. The sinner looks at the restrictions of the Word of God as bondage, not understanding, two important facts:
1. The truth sets men free [John 8:30-36].
2. The sinner is the slave of sin. “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” [John 8:34; Rom. 6:6; 2 Pet 2:19].
Those who reject the authority of God are not free, they are slaves of their own passions. There is, no doubt, pleasure in sin, but it is short-lived [Heb. 11:24]. The servant of God on the other hand, “abides forever” [I John2:15-17].
“Living in malice and envy” or “wickedness and jealously” (Beck).
Something very interesting can be observed in this.
When lust is left unchecked and passion is satisfied unconditionally, man is still not content Not only does the sinner desire yet more sin, but he frequently becomes envious of others who have what he does not have and experiences malicious feelings toward them. This is not an occasional situation for the author uses the word “living”, showing that it is a lifestyle he is describing.
“Hateful and hating one another” or “detested ourselves and hating one another” (TCNT). There is no more miserable person than one who has no respect for himself and is filled with animosity for others. So as A. C. Hervey puts it: “The above is a sad but true picture of human life without the sweetening influence of God’s Holy Spirit.
SURPASSING KINDNESS. (3:4-7)
This passage portrays a graphic illustration of the grace and mercy of God, which comes to us in the midst of our hopelessness and degradation.
V. 4 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared” or “the graciousness and affection” (RHM).
Our salvation was certainly not wrought because of anything of value in us, it was brought about solely on the basis of God’s goodness and generosity [see Rom. 2:4; 11:22; Eph. 2:7]. The word for love, ‘philanthropia’, is the basis of our word philanthropy which literally means “love of mankind” or “benevolence.” This exact word appears just twice in the New Testament and only this once is it applied to God [see Acts 28:2],
This “kindness and generosity. . . dawned upon the world” (NEB) in the person of Jesus Christ; The same word translated “appeared” is used in Luke 1:79 where it states that when Christ comes He will “give light to those who sit in darkness,” It is clear from John 3:16 that God the eternal Father “loved the world” ‘agapao,’ but it took the coming of Christ to put feet to His love. With the coming of Christ, God fully identified with a man as a man [Rom. 8:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:9-18; Phil. 2:7-8]. Thus, the word ‘philanthropia’ is used here to denote the affection expressed by Christ for mankind and not ‘agape’, which is “unconquerable benevolence, based on a deliberate conviction of mind issuing in a deliberate policy of life” (Barclay).
V. 5 “not by works of righteousness which we have done” or, -upright actions” (GSPD), “moral achievements” (PHIL).
The Word of God is clear, salvation is not based on any good within men but rather on God’s mercy.
“But according to His mercy, He saved us.
God’s mercy is shown in what He did and does, and not just what He says. It is more than a feeling of compassion, it is demonstrated in action. “Mercy” “is the outward manifestation of pity; it assumes need on the part of him who receives it, and resources adequate to meet the need on the part of him who shows it” (Vine). When Moses asked God to show him His glory, He said among other things: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” [Ex. 33:19]. [See Rom. 9:15-16].
We see here that it is through the showing of mercy that God’s. Glory is revealed. Paul said: “To Him (God) be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages… [Eph. 3:21.] The fact that the church exists because of His mercy [Eph. 2:4-10] and is to openly display His glory in the earth [Eph. 5:27] shows this connection.
Let us never forget that “he saved us” to the end “that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory” [Rom. 9:23]. As Matthew Henry said: “Grace is glory begun, as glory is but grace in its perfection
We next observe the two-fold working of this salvation.
“Through the washing of regeneration” or “the washing of rebirth” (KTV), “the cleansing power which gives us a new birth” (KNOX). There are several views as to what these phrases mean. “Washing” means “a bath, a laver” (Vine). It is interesting that he uses this word in relation to regeneration. Only in one other verse is this word used, where Paul states that Christ will “sanctify and cleanse” the church “with the washing of water by the Word” [Eph. 5:26]. It is thought by some to refer to water baptism, but the danger of that thought is the association of salvation with the outward act of water baptism (baptismal regeneration), whereas the Scriptural injunction is “repent, and… be baptized” [Acts 2:38].
Water baptism then is an act of obedience on the part of an already regenerated person. When we understand the depravity of unregenerate men and their inability to please God [, Rom. 3:10-18], we then can understand what is meant by the washing effect of regeneration. Sin is the great moral defiler which can only be removed through the power of God. “Man by nature is sinful; therefore, he does not have any inclination toward that which is good in a spiritual sense” (W. E. Best). [See Rom. .3:10-18]. Outside of Christ, man is spiritually dead. He cannot see [John 3:3], understand [I Cor. 2:14], receive [John 14:17], come [John 6:44], cease from sin [2 Pet. 2:14], please God [Heb. 11:6] or enter the kingdom [John 3:5].
God answers all of this inability through the act of regeneration. His life-giving Spirit brings about a spiritual resurrection within and from that point on, man is able to see, understand, receive Christ and enter the kingdom of God [Eph. 2:15; John 3:3-5].
“and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
This simply refers to the renovation which the Holy Spirit brings about in the life of one who is truly redeemed and regenerated. This word is used in Rom. 12:2 where Paul exhorts-the Roman Christians “to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Here he is dealing with “the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking of the mind of God, which is designed to have a transforming effect upon the life” (Vine). While regeneration is instantaneous and accomplished totally by God, renewing is a process, which, while also accomplished by God, we can and must cooperate with.
As Peter exhorts: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” [2 Pet. 3:18]. [Also see 2 Cor. 4:16; Col. 3:10]. So one might say that “regeneration” is the entrance to new life, and “renewal” is the Holy Spirit’s influence on the quality of the new life. While there is a distinctness about each of these words, too much must not be made of this. The phrase taken together shows that they are “twin metaphors for the same spiritual reality – the re-creating work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life” (Gordon D. Fee);
V. 6 “whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”
While this verse is reminiscent of the outpouring on the Day of Pentecost, it is personalized by Paul when he says “on us. No Biblical author ever stressed the necessity of the enabling power of the Holy Spirit more than Paul [Rom. 8; Gal. 5]. As William Barclay puts it: “All the work of the church, all the words of the church, all the sacraments of the church are inoperative unless the power of the Holy Spirit is there.
It is exciting to know that God pours out the Holy Spirit “abundantly,” “richly” (ASV), or “generously” (PHIL) upon us. The Holy Spirit, according to this verse, is not just given to us but is said to be “poured out richly, in order to convey some idea of the plenteous beneficence of the gift” (Patrick Fairbairn). Believers are said to be “born of. . . the Spirit” [John 3:5], they are to “be filled with the Spirit” [Eph. 5:18], they are said to “live in the Spirit” [Gal. 5:25], they are to “walk in the Spirit” [Gal. 5:16, 25], and they are to “pray with the Spirit [I Cor. 14:15; Jude 20],
God has not intended His ‘work to be accomplished by human effort alone, but by anointed vessels, empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the source of life and the governor of activities to the child of God. As a physical man lives in his natural atmosphere so the spiritual
man lives in Christ, never separated from Him. As the airman breathes fills him, so the Spirit of God fills the Christian and works on him that he might be, causing him to be Spirit-controlled, Christ-centered, and God-focused. “The mediator of this priceless gift is Jesus Christ our Savior” (Guthrie).
V. 7 “that having been justified by His grace.”
Paul said in Rom. 3:24 that we are “justified freely by His grace. [See Rom. 5;1, 9; 8:30, 33]. Grace is literally the favour of God, and it is because He has chosen to favour, us that He justifies us, and declares us to be righteous. This is based solely on His love and mercy and “not by works of righteousness which we have done” [v. 5].
“We should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Every truly born-again believer already has eternal life [John 3:36], which comes through the knowledge of Christ [John 17:3]. As we mentioned earlier [ch. 1:2], “that hope of eternal life” is not a hope that we might receive eternal life, rather it is the hope that eternal life gives. There are many wonderful “things that accompany salvation” [Heb. 6:9], not the least of which is “the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ [2:13]. God has provided for us to presently experience power [Acts 1:8], peace [John 14:27], joy [John 15:11], health [3 John 2], and abundant, overflowing life [John 10:10].
These are but a few of the blessings that accompany our salvation. Ours is not a “pie in the sky, bye and bye” religion, it is a relationship that enables us to “reign in life through … Jesus Christ” [Rom. 5:17]. Yet, on top of all this, there is the hope and confident expectation within each believer that one day Jesus Christ will come again to harvest the crop which He planted on Earth. Jesus said, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” [John 12:24]. He, being the divine seed of heaven, died and was buried (planted), rose again and ascended into heaven, and is now waiting “for the precious fruit of the earth” [Jas. 5:7] [See Matt. 13:36-43].
V. 8 “This is a faithful saying.”
This phrase is found only in the Pastoral Epistles [I Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9] and is thought by some to be part of an existing creed. It probably refers to the preceding statement [v. 4-7] concerning “God’s method of procedure in respect to salvation” (Fairbairn).
“And these things I want you to affirm constantly. Again a reference to what has been shared in the previous verses.
“That those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. The practical byproduct of a proper understanding of salvation is “good works. We are not saved by good works [v. 5], but we are saved unto good works [Eph. 2:8-10], According to Jesus, we let our lights shine and glorify God by doing good works [Matt. 5:16].
“These things are good and profitable to men.
What things? The good works. Some believe this is impossible. The more common view, however, is that “these things” are but another reference to the truths just brought forth. Notice some variant translations: “these points (WEY), “these subjects” (TSNT), these matters (PHIL). There is value in either application. No doubt, Christians doing good, as a result of believing and embracing teaching that is good, will have a profitable effect on those whose lives they touch.
As Gordon Fee says: “doing what is good benefits (is profitable for) people, not only by affecting them positively but also by attracting them to the truth of the Gospel.
FURTHER WARNINGS (3:9-11)
V. 9 “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law.”
The final phrase “about the law, gives us an indication as to the topic of the above disputations. Considering themselves the chosen people, the Jews attached great importance to their heritage. This preoccupation with their history degenerated into four foolish things which Christians Were
1. “Disputes” or “controversies (WMS), “questionings” (ASV).
[See 2 Tim. 2:23]. When attitudes are not right, the word becomes a battleground instead of the foundation of blessings and peace.
2. “Genealogies” Or “lists of ancestors” (Beck), “but take no part in vain researches into pedigrees” (KNOX).
It was an ancient and strong tendency for the Jews to concern themselves with their ancestry Or genealogy. It is possible that the Jewish Christians may also have gotten caught up in attaching great importance to their family heritage. Paul links these questions and genealogies right along with Jewish myths and fables. (See comments on ch. 1:14). As far as the Gospel is concerned “There is neither Jew nor Greek,.. . for you are all one in Christ Jesus” [Gal. 3:28]. Hence, the research of pedigrees is irrelevant.
3. “Contentions” or “dissensions” (MOFF), “arguments” (LIY).
The idea behind this word is wrangling or quarrelling. A Jewish man once said to me: “show me four Jews and I’ll show you five opinions. How often that could be said of all men.
4. “Strivings” or “fighting” (ASV); “quarrels” (LIV), “battle” (LEX).
No warfare is as emotional as religious warfare. Jesus said that the time would come when His followers would be put out of synagogues and that men would kill them, thinking they were doing God a service [John 16:2].
“for they are unprofitable and useless. These things are the exact opposite to the things Paul called “good and profitable to men” [v. 8]. “Such questions had eaten the heart out of Judaism. They must not be allowed in Christianity” (T. Croskery in the Pulpit Commentary). These questionings and contentions accomplish nothing constructive rather, they tear down faith and disrupt people’s lives.
V. 10 “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition” or “warning” (TGNT).
This person who is described as a “heretic” (KJV) or one who “is inclined to a sect” (GSPD), should be given one or two warnings and then be rejected. The Greek adjective ‘hairetikos’ appears only once (this verse) in the New Testament, but the noun form – hairesis’ occurs nine times and has been translated by the words “heresy”, “sect” or “fractions” among others. The idea of attaching a belief in false doctrine to the word heresy came later in history. “Originally, both adjective and noun had a neutral meaning, simply signifying choice” (Ernest F. Scott in the Interpreters Bible.) To hold an opinion is a good and healthy thing if it’s an informed opinion, but to be so into one’s own ideas as to assume there is no other possible view, is to become “a factious man” (ASV). E.K. Simpson describes such a one as “an opinionative propagandist who promotes dissension by his pertinacity” (Guthrie). If this willfulness is coupled with personal charisma and the ability to organize followers, a sect will soon arise.
Understandably, we are not to blindly follow our leaders in the church, and yet if our personal pride of opinion or love for power robs us of the grace necessary for cooperation with our brothers and sisters in Christ, then we are a heretic in our attitude and will have to be dealt with. As Gordon, Fee points out: “The context [v. 9] makes it clear that the problem is with these people’s behaviour, not their theology per see. One can be wrong in God’s eyes even though he is theologically correct if his heart and attitude are not right.
Next, we are given some idea as to why such an individual is the way they are.
V. 11 “knowing that such a person is warped and sinning” or “perverted” (ASV), “crooked”
(WMS), “corrupt” (GSPD).
To be found in such a state is not just unfortunate, it is to be “sinning. Anything that attacks the unity and well-being of God’s church is a sin.
“being self-condemned” or “his own actions condemn him” (GSPD).
An unreasonable and persistent insistence on having one’s own way, reveals that such a person “has a distorted mind” (NEB). We are exhorted by Paul to “be transformed by the renewing of our mind” [Rom. 12:2]. This requires one to have an open, responsible attitude, but a stubborn argumentative person cannot go on with God for He will not yield. Thus, he is self-condemned.
FAREWELL THOUGHTS. (3:12-15)
It is very typical of Paul to end his letter with personal messages and greetings [Rom. 16:1-2; I. Cor, 16:5-12; Col. 4:7-9].
V. 12 “When I send Artemus to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.”
By this statement, we assume that Titus’ tenure in Crete is coming to an end. His replacement is to be either Artemas, of whom we know-nothing, or Tychicus who was evidently a close associate of Paul [Acts 20:4]. He was loved by Paul who called him “a beloved: brother and faithful minister” [Eph. 6:21; Col. 4:7]. Tychicus was eventually sent to Ephesus probably to relieve Timothy who was urged by Paul to visit him in Rome where he is imprisoned [2 Tim. 4:9, 12].
“Nicopolis” means “victory city” and was a name frequently given to new cities founded as a result
of a military victory. The question which must be addressed is; which Nicopolis is he referring Since Paul decided to winter there, it obviously was a winter resort. It is quite generally assumed that it was Nicopolis in Epirus on the Adriatic Sea. A city built by Augustus to commemorate his victory over Mark Anthony at Actium in 31 B.C; on the site of his army’s camp That particular city was best situated to be a centre for missionary work in the Roman province of Dalmatia where according to 2 Tim. 4:11, Titus ended up going
V. 13 “Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste.”
“Zenas” too is unknown apart from this verse and is identified simply as -the lawyer. There is discussion as to whether this means that he was a converted Jew and was an expert therefore in Hebrew law or simply a jurist by profession, an expert in Roman law. “It is a Pauline touch to identify a professional by his title (cf. “Luke the physician, Col. 4:14; Erastus, the city treasurer,-Rom. 16:23 (Gordon Fee).
“Apollos” we meet in Acts 18:24 where he is described as “an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures. This fervent servant of God received some much-needed help with his message from Paul’s old friends Aquila and Priscilla [Acts 18:25-26].
(see Acts 16:1; 1 Cor 1:12; 16:12).
It seems from this statement that these two brethren had or would be visiting Grete and as was the custom, Paul encourages the host pastor to minister to their needs and help them in any way he could.
“that they may lack nothing” or “see that they have everything they need, (GSPD).
It is a well-known fact that for the work of God to be done there must be those who go and those who send [Rom. 10:14-15]. This thought of sending the servants of God on the way had in it the idea of “supplying them with money, food, letters of recommendation, escort, or whatever else they might require [see Acts 15:3; 20:38; 21:5; Rom. 15:24; I Cor. 16:6; 2 Cor. 1:16; 3 John 6].
These gifted servants of God were ready and willing to preach the Gospel, but they needed help and support and this principle still applies. The rewards of those who “stay with the stuff ‘or” with the: supplies” will be the same as those who go into the front lines of battle [I Sam.-30:24]. Some must stay and take care of the home front and give to support missionary efforts around the world,
V. 14 “And let our people also learn to maintain good works.”
We cannot be responsible for what others do, but for what “our people” do. The exhortation to our people is that they “learn to make it their business to do good” (GSPD). R.F. Weymouth translates this as “learn to follow honest occupations. [See Eph. 4:28]. God never intended for there to be a separation between things spiritual and things carnal in the lives of His people. All toe often “religion” is kept within the four walls of the church building and is not allowed to influence one’s
occupation or social life. This springs from a faulty understanding of the kingdom of God. He is ruler over all and is as vitally interested in how one transacts his business and entertains himself as to how he sings his hymns, prays his prayers, or pays his tithes. [See Prov. 15:3; Heb. 4:13; 2 Cor. 16:9; Job 28:10].
“To Meet Urgent Needs.”
Maturity in Christ enables His people to learn how to be self-supporting and financially independent, that they might not be a burden on others but in fact, are able to help those with pressing needs. The true Christian attitude is that of a “giver” rather than a “taker
The context here has caused some to associate this statement with the missionary needs mentioned in verse 13. The pressing demands or needs would seem to be those of Zenas and Apollos.
“that they may not be unfruitful.”
God desires for His people to be fruitful and productive. They are to “have a walk worthy: of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work” [Col. 1:10]. “Fruitful Christians are so as they minister to the needs of others” (Fee.) Every Christian should be learning now to bear his own load [Gal. 6:5], and not be living like drone bees, on the labours of others, but be fruitful themselves contributing to the common benefit.
V. 15 “All who are with me greet you.”
Paul’s letters were not only spiritual food to the readers and hearers, but were life links between people who may never meet one another in this world. While greetings and salutations may seem to have only formal value to some, in that day it showed the family connection between the widely scattered flocks of God. Since no names are mentioned, we have no way of knowing who it was that was with Paul. [See I Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12-13; Phil. 4:2]. [Also see Rom. 16:21-23 and Col. 4:10-14 where those with Paul are mentioned by name]
Greet those who love us in the faith” or “our friends in the faith” (TCNT).
While the Christian is to love everyone, even his enemies, there is a special affection reserved for those “who hold us dear” (WEY). This exact statement may have been written to show the contrast between the heretics, which resisted Paul, and those who loved him and faithfully served With him.
“Grace Be With You All. Amen.”
Having taken care of necessary business and salutations, Paul’s final word, as in every letter, is grace. The benediction includes “all” those in Crete, showing this to be an ecclesiastical or church letter as well as personal.
The journey did not include Miletus. There is a possibility that Paul was released from prison for a while, as some authors believe, and during that time he visited Miletus again at which time Trophimus took sick and had to be left there. This would account for his not being with Paul in Rome. Paul makes sure Timothy understands why Trophimus is not at his side.
V 21. “Do your utmost to come before winter.
No doubt Paul was concerned that winter weather conditions would hinder Timothy’s visit- If he did not come soon he may have to wait till spring, and that could be too late. Also, he longs for Timothy’s fellowship and could obviously use the warm cloak and books he requested [v: 13].
“Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren,
The four names referred to here are mentioned nowhere else in the New Testament. Legend suggests that Pudens was a Roman senator converted by Peter and that he married Claudia, who was a British princess living in Rome as a result of a political arrangement. Claudia, as the story goes, was probably introduced to Christianity by Pomponia, the wife of AulusPlautius who had formerly been the governor in Britain. Pomponia was brought to court because she was “tainted with a foreign superstition, probably Christianity. At any rate, the tradition goes on to state that Linus was Claudia’s son and that he went on to become the bishop of Rome. All very interesting, but unprovable.
The interesting thing is that Paul sends these greetings at all, in light of verse 16 where he said “alt-
forsook me. It could be that they did not see fit to testify in court for Paul but did not totally desert him. As we have seen, Paul’s attitude toward them was magnanimous. So, a sufficient fellowship remained between them, for Paul to send their greetings to Timothy.
V. 22 “The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
This benediction is typical of Paul [Gal. 6:18; Phil 4:23; Phm. 25].
“Grace be with you. Amen.”
The “you” in this line is plural, whereas the “your” in the previous line is singular signifying a dual salutation. The first is directed to Timothy personally, and the second to the whole church: These are very likely the last recorded words we have of Paul, the man who brought a greater change in the Spiritual understanding of humanity than anyone who has ever lived.
I SHALL STOP HERE FOR NOW, TILL THE NEXT UPDATE.
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