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with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Titus 1

The apostle salutes Titus. (1-4) The qualifications of a faithful pastor. (5-9) The evil temper and practices of false teachers. (10-16)

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The apostle salutes Titus

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;

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

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

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.

The qualifications of a faithful pastor

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:

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

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;

8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;

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.

The evil temper and practices of false teachers

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

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

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

13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

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

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.

16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. According to the faith of the elect of God; that is, of the Christians, now the elect people of God. — Truth, which is according to piety: because there may be truth also in things that regard not piety. By truth, S. Chrys. here understands the truth of the Christian religion, as distinguished from the Jewish worship, which consisted in a great measure in the figures and types of truth. Wi.

Ver. 2. Who[1] lieth not, or who cannot lie, being truth itself. — Hath promised; that is, decreed to give life everlasting to his faithful servants. — Before the times of the world.[2] Lit. before secular times. Wi.

Ver. 3. Manifested his word. S. Jerom understands the word incarnate; others, the word of God preached, which S. Paul says, was committed to him, &c. See S. Chrys. p. 383. Wi.

Ver. 4. To Titus, my beloved, (in the Greek, my true and[3] genuine son, . . . grace and peace. In the present ordinary Greek copies is added mercy, which the Prot. translators followed; but it is judiciously omitted by Dr. Wells, as not found in the best MSS. nor in S. Chrys. Greek edition, nor in the ancient Greek and Latin Fathers. Wi.

Ver. 5. That thou shouldst,[4] &c. The sense cannot be, that he was to change any thing S. Paul had ordered, but to settle things which S. Paul had not time to do; for example, to establish priests[5] in the cities, that is to say, bishops, as the same are called bishops v. 7; and, as S. Chrys. and others observe, it is evident from this very place, that the word presbyter was then used to signify either priests or bishops. If S. Jerom here meant that bishops were only placed over priests by ecclesiastical and not by divine institution, as some have expounded his words, his singular opinion against so many others is not to be followed. Wi. — That the ordaining of priests belongs only to bishops, is evident from the Acts and from S. Paul’s epistles to Timothy and Titus. It is true, S. Jerom seems to express himself as if in the primitive Church there was no great difference between priests and bishops, yet he constantly excepts giving holy orders, (ep. 85) as also confirming the baptized, by giving them the Holy Ghost by imposition of hands and holy chrism; (dial. cont. Lucif. c. iv.) which pre-eminence he attributes to bishops only. To assert that there is no distinction between a priest and bishop is an old heresy, condemned as such by the Church. See S. Epiphanius, hær. 75. S. Austin, hær 53.

Ver. 6. Without crime. See the like qualifications, 1 Tim. iii. Wi. — These words if taken in their strictest meaning, do not seem to have all the force S. Paul meant them to have. For it is not sufficient that a bishop be free from great crimes; he ought, moreover to lead such a life as to draw others by his example to the practice of virtue. Calmet. — If we consult all antiquity we shall find, that if in the early infancy of the Church some who had been once married were ordained to the ministry, we shall find that after their ordination they abstained from the use of marriage. See S. Epiph. l. iii. cont. hær. and l. ii. hæres. 59.

Ver. 7. Not proud.[6] The Greek word is of an extensive signification, which the Protestants have translated self-willed. The Latin interpreter (2 Pet. ii. 10.) for the same Greek word has put, pleasing themselves; as it were never pleased with others, the unhappy disposition of a proud man. Wi.

Ver. 8. Continent:[7] though both the Latin and Greek word signify in general, one that hath abstained, or contained, and overcome himself: yet it is particularly used for such as contain themselves from carnal pleasures. Wi.

Ver. 10. For there are also many. S. Paul here alludes principally to the Jews, who were of the circumcision, from whom S. Paul suffered much during the greater part of his life. They constantly enforced the necessity of the new converted Gentiles observing the law of Moses, and of their being circumcised, if they wished to be saved. There were many Jews of this description in Crete; to resist whom, S. Paul here tells Titus he ought to appoint bishops remarkable for their zeal and learning. Josephus. Socrates, l. ii. c. 38. Hist. Eccles. — Especially they who are of the circumcision; which shews who were chiefly the false teachers. Wi.

Ver. 12. One of them, a prophet of their own.[9] He does not mean a true prophet, but as the pretended prophets of Baal were called prophets. S. Paul understands Epimenides, a poet of Crete, who by some pagan authors was thought to know things to come; but Aristotle says, he knew only things past, not to come. The ill character he gave of the Cretians was, that they were always liars, evil beasts, slothful bellies, addicted to idleness and sensual pleasures. Wi.

Ver. 13. This testimony, or character, says the apostle, is true, by public fame of them, and therefore they must be rebuked sharply,[10] their condition and dispositions requiring it; which, therefore, is not contrary to the admonition he gave to Timothy, to be gentle towards all. 2 Tim. ii. 24. Wi.

Ver. 14. Jewish fables, and commandments of men. False traditions of the Jewish doctors, which were multiplied at that time. Calvin pretended from hence, that holydays and fasting days, and all ordinances of the Catholic Church were to be rejected as null, because they are the precepts of men. By the same argument must be rejected all laws and commands of princes and civil magistrates, as being the precepts of men. Fine doctrine! He might have remembered what S. Paul taught, (Rom. xiii.) that all power is from God; and what Christ said, (Lu. x. 16,) “He that hears you, hears me,” &c. He might have observed that the men the apostle here speaks of, had turned[11] away themselves from the Christian faith. Wi.

Ver. 15. All things are clean to the clean. That is, no creature is evil of its own nature; and the distinction of animals, clean and unclean, is now out of date, as are the other ceremonies of the Jewish law. And that to these unfaithful, defiled men, nothing is clean, because their consciences are defiled when they make use of them against their conscience. Wi. — S. Paul here tells Titus, to be particularly on his guard against those who wished to introduce among Christians a distinction of meats, and to preach up the necessity of divers purifications prescribed by the Mosaic law. All kinds of meats, he says, are clean to those who preserve their hearts free from sin; it is not what enters into the body defiles a man; it is from the heart that proceed wicked desires and wicked counsels: those defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands; to eat swine’s flesh, or meat that has been offered to idols: these things in themselves are indifferent actions, though particular circumstances may make them criminal. 1 Cor. viii. 4, 5, 6, &c. Calmet. — But to the defiled, &c. On the contrary, the man whose soul is defiled with sin, or who lives in infidelity, never can possess purity of heart; whatever legal washings or purifications, whatever sacrifices or ceremonies of the law he may make use of, all these cannot wash away the stains of the soul. Estius. Men. Tir.

Ver. 16. They confess that they know God. He speaks not therefore of those who were properly infidels, without the knowledge of the true God; so that it is foolish to pretend from hence, that every action of an infidel must be a sin. Wi.

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[1] V. 2. Qui non mentitur, o apseudes.

[2] Ibid. Ante tempora sæcularia, pro chronon aionion.

[3] V. 4. Dilecto filio, Gnesio tekno.

[4] V. 5. Ut corrigas, epidiorthose, ut supercorrigas.

[5] Ibid. Per civitates presbyteros, presbuterous. S. Chrys. (p. 387) tous episkopous.

[6] V. 7. Non superbum. S. Jerom says, non tumidum, me authade. See Corn. a Lapide and Legh’s Critica. 2 Pet. ii. 10.

[7] V. 8. Continentem, egkrate. The Prot. translate the verb, (1 Cor. vii. 9.) If they cannot contain, let them marry.

[8] V. 11. Universas domos, olous oikous.

[9] V. 12. Propheta, prophetes. Cretenses, semper mendaces, malæ bestiæ, ventres pigri; Kretes, aei pseustai, kaka theria, gasteres argai. Aristotle, l. iii. Rhetor. c. xvii. Epimenides ille de futuris non vaticinabatur: peri ton esomenon ouk emanteueto, alla peri ton gegonoton.Kretixeiin was proverbially used for uttering falsehood, and it was a received adage, and very illiberal on the inhabitants of Crete, Cappadocia, and Cilicia.

Kretes, Kappadokes, Kilikes, tria Kappa Kakista.

[10] V. 13. Durè, apotomos; a metaphor from surgeons cutting.

[11] V. 14. Adversantium se a veritate, apostrephomenon.