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VI. The apostle now closes his epistle with a variety of miscellaneous directions and advices, repeating some things which he had mentioned before, on which he
therefore be supposed to have laid particular stress.
1. That is, that such slaves as have not obtained their liberty, pay due obedience to their masters, whose property they are.
As the Jews were great boasters of their liberty, and held it to be even unlawful to be subject to any other nation, and as the Gnostic teachers at Ephesus, as well as at Corinth, appear to have been Jews, it is probable that they extended the same imaginary privileges to the converts to Christianity from the Gentiles, and they taught them, that being now of so much more consequence than they had been before, they were in the eye of God fully entitled to their civil liberty. That such a doctrine as this was maintained by some teachers of
hristianity, may be clearly inferred from this and other passages in the apostolical epistles. Now, had this been generally understood to be the genuine doctrine of Christianity, it is easy to perceive what an obstacle it must have proved to the reception of it, as it would have armed all free-men against it. The apostle therefore informs Timothy, and the Christian church at Ephesus through him, that Christianity makes no change whatever in the civil condition of men, magistrates, or subjects, free-men or slaves. He clearly gives them to understand that all moral obligations, arising from the outward conditions of men, continue the same as before ; nay, that the peculiar duties of slaves, as well as those that were incumbent on other classes of men, were enforced by additional considerations, every man acting as in the sight of God, and discharging his duty so as to be approved by that great Being, who has thought proper, for wise reasons, to place him in the station he occupies, whatever it be.
2. There is ambiguity in the phrase partaking of the benefil,* since some may understand it of the benefit or blessings of the gospel, but it is more probable that it refers to the benefit of their service; and therefore, the sense will be, that Christian slaves should be more careful to discharge their duty to those masters who are Christians. They should particularly respect them on that account, and serve them with greater cheerfulness.
3. From the apostle's passing immediately from his direction concerning slaves, to his admonitions concerning the Gnostic teachers, against whom he had warned Timothy
* See Doddridge.
before, it is very probable that this doctrine of the exemption of Christian slaves from servitude had been held by them.
4.* Pride and conceit were among the chief characteris. tics of the Gnostics, in all ages. They were in fact philosophical persons who despised the vulgar; but theirs being a false philosophy, when it became incorporated with Christianity, it was a source of much corruption of the genuine principles of true religion, from which the latter is not even now thoroughly freed.
5. We cannot suppose that any persons ever seriously maintained that the acquisition of wealth was godliness or virtue; but they might be as attentive to it as if they had thought it to be as valuable as godliness; or they might make a gain of godliness, making their harangues or set speeches in favour of it for bire, which appears to have been the case with the Gnostic teachers at Corinth; for they cultivated eloquence as well as science. From this circumstance of the attention that these Gnostic teachers gave to gain, the apostle takes occasion to make some excellent observations on the subject, and to urge the duty and the wisdom of moderation in the pursuit of wealth.
10.7 Here again we see an avaricious temper joined with false principles of Christianity.
13. [Who quickeneth all things.] That is, who will raise the dead and judge the world.
[Witnessed a good confession.] Notwithstanding his cruel persecution and sufferings, which were as great as any that his followers can be called to endure.
15, 16. There is a disorder in the construction of this sentence, contained in these two verses, which may occasion the misunderstanding of them. The true meaning I apprehend to be as follows :-Having mentioned the appearance of Jesus Christ, or his second coming to raise the dead and judge the world, the apostle says, which appearing, he, viz. almighty God, who is the only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, &c. shall shew or manifest ; that is, this great event, which is yet future, will become present, being brought forward in its due time by that great Being who has promised it, and who has power to fulfil all his promises.
*“S. Panl décrit ici les Rabbins et les faux docteurs, qui les imitoient, aussi bien que ceux qui coufondoient la philosophie payenne avec la doctrine de Jesus-Christ.” Le Clerc. " See Doddridge; Bowyer.
+ See Doddridge. “ L'avarice est appellée avec bien de la justice et beaucoup de raison la racine de tous les maux; et les crimes odieux auxquels cette passion basse et violente porte les hommes ont fait faire à un Poëte (Äneid. iii. 36) cette exclamation si connuë,
Quid pon mortalia pectora cogis
M. Roques (on Gehazi), VI. p. 54.
20.* Here again the apostle alludes to the false and specious philosophy of the Gnostic teachers, which he had mentioned so often before.
Titus, to whom this epistle was addressed, was a Gentile, converted by Paul, probably at Antioch, and one who accompanied him from that place to Jerusalem, whither he was sent, together with Barnabas, to carry a charitable contribution to the poor of that place. This was A. D. 43, about three years after the gospel had been preached to the Gentiles, and yet, as Paul observes, he would not suffer Titus to be circumcised, notwithstanding the very strong prejudices of the Jewish Christians at that time in favour of their ceremonies, t and though he had ordered Timothy to be circumcised, on account of his mother being a Jewess. After this we find Titus occasionally in the company of Paul, in the same capacity as Silas, Timothy, and some others, viz. to assist him in preaching the gospel, to be sent to particular places for that purpose, or to be fixed for some time where it was judged that they might be employed to advantage. The station of Titus was in the island of Crete, as that of Timothy, when Paul wrote to him, was at Ephesus.
These two epistles to Timothy and Titus resemble one another in many particulars, so that they seem to have been written in similar situations of things; Timothy having been appointed to regulate the church at Ephesus, and to ordain proper officers there, and Titus to do the same in Crete. They had likewise both of them the same difficulties to struggle with, from the false teachers of those times, who appear to have been Jewish Gnostics ; being at the same time zealous for the law of Moses, and yet tinctured with the principles of that specious philosophy which made matter to be the source of all evil, and led them to disbelieve the doctrine of a resurrection. Teachers of this
See Le Clerc; Lardner, VI. p. 34; Doddridge; Bowyer. + See Gal. ii. 1-5.
Some Cretans were present, Acts ii. 11, and it is probable that these brought the Christian religion along with them into Crete. St. Paul spent some time in that island, on his journey to Rome, Acts xxvii. 8, and probably neglected not to sow the good seed of the gospel.” Michaelis's Introd. Lect. (Sect. cxlii.) p. 310.
class, who appear to have read lectures for hire, and to have undervalued the apostle Paul, we have found at Corinth and at Ephesus, and they were likewise, as we shall see, in Crete.
It is not easy to fix the time when this epistle was written, on account of the great difficulty of determining when Paul was at Crete: be evidently had been there in company with Titus some time before the writing of this epistle; and yet Luke makes no mention of his ever having been there in the account of his travels. Some, therefore, are of opinion, that both the visit to Crete and the writing of this epistle were subsequent to all that Luke has recorded concerning Paul, and that it was one of the last epistles that he wrote. But upon the whole it appears to me more probable, that he wrote it from Macedonia, presently after he had written the preceding epistle to Timothy, not long after his leaving Ephesus, A. D. 56.*
Some think it possible that Paul might go to Crete immediately after leaving Ephesus at this time, though Luke [Acts xx. 1] says, that he departed thence to go to Macedonia, and mention is made, 2 Cor. ii, 12, 13, of his being at Troas before he came to Macedonia, and his being surprised not to find Titus there. But on the whole I think it more probable, that Paul might have gone to Crete from Corinth during the two years which Luke says he spent there, that being his principal residence about three years before this time, and Titus going thither for reasons unknown to Paul, might be the cause of his not meeting with him at Troas.
it-3. I shall paraphrase these three verses as follows:
I Paul, who address this epistle to thee Titus, do it as the servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, preaching that gospel which is held by all his true church and people ; the object of which is to promote the practice of virtue, in
• See Michaelis's Introd. Lect. (Sect. cxliii.) pp. 309, 310; Lardner, VI. pp. 320824; Doddridge's Introd. V. p. 554.
+ God's elect. “ These elect were such as had the promise of life made known to them by the preaching which was committed to Paul, (vers. 2,3,) which was the prear hing of the gospel to the Gentiles. St. Peter also (1 Ep. i. 1) uses the word elect, in the same sense, as signifying the Gentile Christians." "Hallett
, II. p. 145. Ver. 2. Before the world began. “ Cette promesse suppose des sujets ou des personnes, à qui elle fut faire, qui n'ont subsisté que depuis la creation du monde. Il faut traduire il y a plusieurs siècles, ou depuis plusieurs siècles, et non pas avant les siècles." Le Cene.
" It deserves notice, that in this single verse, the word awvog is taken in two different senses; for Zan awrios, signifies eternal life, that is, which shall never have any end; but mpw Xpovwv awww.wy cannot possibly mean here, from eternity, but before the secular times, or many ages ago, as in 2 Tim. i. 9; and this turn upon words is usual with St. Paul, as Grotius, Mr. Locke, and others, have frequently observed." N. T. 1729, II. p. 796.
hope of obtaining that eternal life and happiness which God, who is faithful to all his promises, has designed for all who are duly qualified for it, from the beginning of the world; but who did not fully reveal this promise to mankind before the present preaching of the gospel, the dispensation of which is in part committed to me by the express appointment of God our Saviour.
4. Titus was Paul's own convert, and is therefore here called his son.
We see that the term Saviour is equally applied to God and to Christ. It signifies nothing more than deliverer, and therefore may, with equal propriety, be applied to God in the first instance, and to any instrument that he may employ. Thus Moses is frequently called a saviour, or deliverer.
5*—7. It is evident that elders and bishops were the same persons, for in one verse they are called elders, and in the next verse bishops; and as every city or town, for there were no great cities in the island, had bishops, it is evident, that they could not have been such as are now called diocesan bishops, having ministers of other churches subordinate to them.
We see by the qualifications here mentioned, and the similar ones in the Epistle to Timothy, that these officers were only to be persons of more respectable characters, and free from such faults as would bring reproach upon the church. The reason why, as we may infer from these directions, there were many persons in the Christian church at that time whose moral characters were very imperfect, was, no doubt, their late conversion from the very disorderly life that was led by the Gentiles in general; and Christianity did not act as a charm, or suddenly, but gradually; there being in the first place a change of belief, or speculative principles only, and these producing in time a change of temporal conduct.
10. From this and other passages it is evident that the opposers of Paul were Jews, zealous for the law; and as he does not appear to have had more than one sect or kind of opposers, and as in other places they are said to be great pretenders to knowledge, and to disbelieve the resurrection, it is evident they were exactly such persons as the new teachers at Corinth, or Jewish Gnostics.
*." Crete was called ÉkaToutohis, an island of an hundred cities: Titus bad no settled character there, but, as an evangelist, appointed a presbyter, a priest, or pastor, for every city, and then went to Dalmatia. See Ch. iii. 12." N. T. 1720) II. p. 796.