Titus 1:1
(1) Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ.--The titles here assumed by St. Paul in his introductory greeting are in some respects slightly different to any of his usual designations. In the other two so-called Pastoral Epistles addressed to Timothy, St. Paul simply styles himself "an Apostle of Jesus Christ." Possibly, the longer and more formal title is here adopted because his relations were hardly ever of so intimate a character with Titus as with Timothy; the latter would seem to have held the position of St. Paul's adopted son. (See Note below on Titus 1:4, "To Titus.")

According to the faith of God's elect.--The English version here entirely fails to give the meaning of the Greek preposition. The rendering should be, "for (the furtherance of) the faith," or, in other words, "the object of my (Paul's) apostleship was, that through my instrumentality the chosen of God should believe." The whole question respecting these "elect," or "chosen of God," is surrounded with deep mystery; three or four guiding thoughts may, however, be safely laid down. (1) In the visible world such an apparently arbitrary election to special privileges, fortune, happiness. utterly irrespective, in the first instance, of individual merit, does exist. This is clear to all of us. (2) In grace we are distinctly told repeatedly that a similar election exists, and our own observation certainly coincides here with revelation. (3) Such election in no case seemingly affects our position here as free agents; surrounded with the most precious privileges, gifted with much knowledge, it is possible, as we, alas, too often see, deliberately to refuse the good and to choose the evil. (4) All such allusions to the "elect" as, for instance, the one here before us, are intended, not as a stumbling-block for the believer, but as a comfort for the faithful, struggling man of God, for it tells him how the Eternal "before the ages" had chosen him to be His servant.

And the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness.--More accurately rendered, and the full knowledge of the truth which is designed for godliness, or, which leadeth to godliness. Here the further purpose of St. Paul's apostleship is specified. St. Paul was appointed an Apostle that through him the elect of God might believe and heed "the truth"--that truth, the knowledge of which produces as its fruit in the individual a holy, useful life.

Verse 1. - - Knowledge for acknowledging, A.V.; according to for after, A.V. A servant of God (δοῦλος Θεοῦ); so in the superscriptions: Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1. St. Paul also calls himself "the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10); and the phrase, δοῦλον Κυρίου, occurs in 2 Timothy 2:24. But neither "servant of God" nor any equivalent is in the superscription of either 1 or 2 Timothy. "Servant" is a better rendering than "slave," as Farrar renders it. An apostle, etc.; as in both 1 and 2 Timothy, and also in Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1 2 Corinthians 1:1, etc.; showing that this is not a private letter, but a public and official document, conveying official authority to Titus over the Church in Crete. According to the faith of God's elect. The phrase is peculiar to this passage, and the exact force of κατὰ is not easy to determine (see Bishop Ellicott's notes, who renders κατὰ "for," and explains that "the faith of God's elect is the destination of the apostleship," with the further explanation that this meaning of κατά is about equivalent to "with special reference to," or "destination for," as its object). It is nearly the same thing to say that the true faith, and the perfect knowledge of the truth, and the hope of eternal life promised by God, are the sphere in which the apostolic office moves and acts. "The faith of God's elect," etc., seems to imply that there was in some who were not elect (1 John 2:19, 20) a corruption of the faith, a departure from it - a faith that was no faith, and something calling itself truth which was not "according to godliness," and so to point to rising heresies. The authors of these heresies were chiefly Jews (ver. 10), of whom there was a considerable colony in Crete (Conybeare and Howson, vol. it. p. 475; and Lewin, vol. 2. p. 337). According to godliness (for the use of εὐσεβεία in the pastoral Epistles, see 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:7, 8; 1 Timothy 6:3, 5, 6, 11; 2 Timothy 3:5, and notes).

1:1-4 All are the servants of God who are not slaves of sin and Satan. All gospel truth is according to godliness, teaching the fear of God. The intent of the gospel is to raise up hope as well as faith; to take off the mind and heart from the world, and to raise them to heaven and the things above. How excellent then is the gospel, which was the matter of Divine promise so early, and what thanks are due for our privileges! Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; and whoso is appointed and called, must preach the word. Grace is the free favour of God, and acceptance with him. Mercy, the fruits of the favour, in the pardon of sin, and freedom from all miseries both here and hereafter. And peace is the effect and fruit of mercy. Peace with God through Christ who is our Peace, and with the creatures and ourselves. Grace is the fountain of all blessings. Mercy, and peace, and all good, spring out of this.Paul, a servant of God,.... So James styles himself, James 1:1 and others of the apostles, as Peter and Jude, call themselves the servants of Jesus Christ; and as does the Apostle Paul also; and both seem to be esteemed by them as high characters and titles of honour, by which they chose to be described and known. Paul, before his conversion, was a servant of sin, of divers lusts and pleasures, and which he owns in this epistle, Titus 3:3 but being called by grace, he became free from the vassalage of sin, and became a servant of God, and of righteousness; and henceforward, from a principle of grace, and being constrained by love, served the Lord, and yielded obedience to his commands and ordinances, with all readiness and cheerfulness: though this character belongs to him in a higher sense than it does to believers in common; and respects his ministerial service, or his serving God in the Gospel of his Son; in which he, and others, were eminently the servants of the most high God, whose business greatly lay in showing unto men the way of salvation.

And an apostle of Jesus Christ: constituted, qualified, and sent by him to preach his Gospel; and who had his mission, commission, and doctrine from him; and was an ambassador of his, who represented him, and preached him; and had a power of working miracles to confirm his mission and ministry; and so had all the signs and proofs of an apostle in him; See Gill on Romans 1:1.

And according to the faith of God's elect: which may either denote the agreement there was between the ministry of the apostle, and the faith of the choice and eminent saints of God, under the former dispensation; he saying no other things than what Moses, and the prophets did; and laying no other foundation of salvation than they did, and which is therefore called the foundation of the apostles and prophets; and directing souls to the righteousness, sacrifice, and blood of Christ, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, to which the faith of Old Testament saints looked, and by whose grace they were justified, pardoned, and saved, as we are: or else the way and manner in which he became an apostle; it was "by, in, or through the faith of God's elect", as the Syriac version renders it; he was chosen of God, and brought as such to believe in Christ, and then called to be an apostle: or rather this may regard the end of his apostleship, and be rendered, "unto the faith of God's elect"; that is, either he was appointed an apostle, to preach the doctrine of faith, which once he destroyed, and which is but one, and is common to all the elect, and what is commonly received, and embraced by the elect of God, in all ages; or to be a means and instrument of bringing the elect of God to that faith in Christ, which is peculiar to them; see Romans 1:5. There are some persons who are styled the elect of God; these are not all men, some are vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, ungodly men, foreordained to condemnation and given up to believe a lie, that they might be damned; nor the Jews only, nor all of them, for though, as a nation, they were chosen, above all others, to many outward privileges, yet they were not chosen to special grace, and eternal glory; only a remnant, according to the election of grace: but these are some of both, Jews and Gentiles; some of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; these were chosen in Christ from eternity, and are the peculiar objects of the affection and care of God, whom he calls, justifies, and glorifies: and there is a special "faith" that belongs to these; which is a spiritual looking to Christ, a going to him, a laying hold and leaning on him, and trusting in him for salvation; and this faith is peculiar to the elect of God; all men have it not, and those that have it, have it through the free gift of God; nor is it given to any but to the chosen ones. The reason why the Jews did not believe in Christ, was, because they were not of this number, John 10:26. And this faith is secured and, made sure to them by their election; they are chosen to it, and through it to salvation; they believe in consequence, and by virtue of it; and certainly obtain it in all ages, as well as righteousness, life, and salvation; and it is that by which they are known to be the elect of God: and the apostle mentions it in this form, and manner, to distinguish it from other faith; the faith of devils, and of reprobates, and the historical and temporal faith of hypocrites, and nominal professors.

And the acknowledging of the truth; by which is meant the Gospel, often called the truth, and the word of truth; in distinction from that which was shadowy, the ceremonies of the law; and in opposition to that which is false, it being from the God of truth, concerning Christ, who is the truth; and containing nothing but truth, and what is led into by the Spirit of truth. Now to preach, spread, and defend this, was the apostle constituted in his office as such; and which he did preach with all clearness and faithfulness, to bring souls to a spiritual and experimental knowledge of it, and so to an acknowledgment, a public owning and professing of it:

which is after godliness; the Gospel is a doctrine according to godliness; the truths of it have an influence, both on internal and external godliness; they direct to, and promote the worship and fear of God, and a religious, righteous, sober, and godly life and conversation.

2 Timothy 4:22
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