Matters of ministry concern, 1:5-3:11

v] Living as the church in the world, 3:1-8


Having examined right behaviour within the church fellowship, Paul now examines right behaviour in the wider society, encouraging peaceful and considerate behaviour, v1-2. As in chapter 2, he supports his exhortation with reference to the gospel, in particular, God's grace in salvation and the renewing work of the Spirit, v3-8.


i] Context: See 1:5-9. This second part to the teaching section of the letter presents in three parts:

*A summary of requirements for believers living in society, 3:1-2;

*A theological justification for the requirement that believers be gracious in their dealings with nonbelievers, 3:3-8;

*An exhortation to avoid senseless arguments and to avoid those who persist with them, 3:9-11.


ii] Background: See 1:1-4.


iii] Structure: Paul's summary of social responsibilities:

Instruction, v1-2:

In respect to relations of believers with outsiders:

subjection to authorities;

inclined to good works;



Theological support for the instructions - the gospel, v3-7:

Humanity found in the state of sin, v3:


addicted to pleasure;


The saving actions of God in Christ, v4-7:

a temporal intrusion in human history- oJte, "when";

based on grace - kata, "in accordance with";

for salvation - eswsen hJmaV, "he saved us";

by means of - dia, "through";

"regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit";

by means of - dia, "through [Christ]";

purpose / result;

eternal life;

by being in a state of / because of justification.

Instruction, v8.

teach these things.


iv] Interpretation:

In this instruction to Titus, Paul follows a similar format to that of his earlier instructions. The ethical instruction in v1-2 is given a theological base in v3-7. Again, the atonement serves as the fundamental doctrinal truth, as in 2:11-15, but here it is applied to the life of a believer through the "rebirth and renewal" of the Holy Spirit. The importance of this doctrinal truth is underlined by giving it the status of "a trustworthy saying", v8a. Paul concludes in v8b by telling Titus that when it comes to his teaching ministry "these are the points I want you to stress", Barclay.

As Marshal notes, "whereas in chapter 2 the function of the (doctrinal) passage was more to explain that the purpose of God's act of redemption was to create a people who would do good works, here the function is more to explain how the readers are capable of doing good works in that they have been saved by God." This is a profound piece of theology in that it is not unreasonable to assume (along with the false teachers) that a believer overcomes sin to produce good good works through effort applied to God's law. Yet, acting righteously is not in our nature, but we can so act (albeit imperfectly) when we rely on God's grace in salvation through the regeneration and renewal of the Spirit of Christ. Paul's point is that believers should walk by the Spirit rather than the law.

Barrett proposes that Paul's intent in v3-8 is to explain "the depraved state of mankind apart from the gospel; the divine act of redemption, which takes place independently of man's desert; the constant desire to do good which those who have put their trust in God should feel, not with a view to earn his favour, but in gratitude for it."


v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 3:1

Living in the world, v1-8: i] Ethical instruction toward living a considerate and peaceable life within the wider secular society, v1-2. When it comes to relating to secular society consider the following:

*Civil obedience, cf. Rom.13:1-8, 1Tim.2:2. Of course, if the State demands that we act against the will of God then we may have to defy the State, Rev.6:9-11, 12:11, 13-14;

*Be ready for every good work. A general cover-all exhortation;

*Slander no one;

*Don't be quarrelsome;

*Be conciliatory;

*Show true humility.

These exhortations are, of themselves, worthy of a follower of Christ, but also serve to maintain the good reputation of believers in secular society and so not undermine the integrity of the gospel.

uJpotassesqai (uJpotassomai) pres. pas. inf. "to be subject" - [remind them] to be subordinate to, subject to. The infinitive, as with "to be obedient" and "to be [ready]", is used to introduce a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Titus is to remind his congregation. The present tense is possibly durative, expressing ongoing action. "Remind your people to obey", CEV.

arcaiV exousiaiV "to rulers and authorities" - powers authorities. Dative of direct object after the infinitive "to be subject to", sometimes classified as a dative of subordination. Elsewhere, Paul has used the term "rulers and authorities" to refer to spiritual powers, but obviously here, it is the secular authorities we are to submit to. "To submit to the government and the authorities", Barclay.

peiqarcein (peiqarcew) pres. inf. "to be obedient" - to obey one in authority. Again, the infinitive is introducing a dependent statement of indirect discourse expressing what Titus is to remind the people. "To obey them", Barclay, ie. the secular authorities, "magistrates", AV.

einai (eimi) pres. inf. "to be" - The infinitive introduces the third dependent statement expressing what Titus is to remind the people.

etoimouV adj. "ready" - prepared, ready. Predicate adjective.

proV + acc. "to [do whatever is good]" - toward [every good work]. Probably here expressing purpose; "for every good work." These words seem to apply to the ethical instructions that follow, rather than to the requirement to submit to secular authorities. "To turn their hands to every good work", Bruce.


blasfhmein (blasfhmew) pres. inf. "to slander" - [no one] to blaspheme, treat with contempt, slander. The infinitive again introduces a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Titus should uJpomimnhskw, "remind" the congregation to do, namely "to speak evil of no one." Usually of God, but here of people, so "insult", "speak evil of", TEV.

einai (eimi) pres. inf. "to be [peaceable]" - to be [not a brawler]. The infinitive as above. "Peaceable" in the sense of showing forbearance.

epieikeiV adj. "and considerate" - forbearing, gentle. Predicate adjective, standing in apposition to "to be peaceable", "that is, forbearing."

endeiknumenouV (endeiknumi) part. "and to show / to be " - displaying, demonstrating, showing forth [all meekness]. The participle is possibly imperatival, attendant on uJpomimnhskw, "remind", "display perfect gentleness to all people", but more likely taking the place of an infinitive and so serving to introduce another dependent statement, as TNIV, "showing" = "and to show." Also used in the sense of doing something to someone. The sense of "doing" seems best here, as Paul is obviously not saying we should "display" our humility, but rather that we should "do" it; "they should be gentile and kind to everyone", CEV, ie., exhibiting a gentle disposition.

proV + acc. "toward" - toward [all men]. Spacial, expressing direction toward.


ii] Paul now outlines the theological basis for his instructions toward considerate and peaceful living, v3-7. It does seem that this theological statement serves as "a trustworthy saying", v8a: we were once lost in sin, v3, but when ...... he saved us .... so that ...... v4-7. What we have before us is a creedal gospel statement consisting of two sentences in the Gk., v3, and v4-7. First, our state of sin, v3: without understanding; disobedient to God; misguided - duped by Satan; driven by passion; living with malice and envy; full of hate.

gar "-" - for. Introducing a a causal clause explaining why a believer should act ethically, namely because we were once lost, but are now found, v3-7. "After all, there was a time when we ourselves were without sense", Cassirer.

pote adv. "at one time" - [we were] once. Temporal adverb. Paul is referring to his pre-Christian state. "For we ourselves have known what it is to be ......", Phillips.

anohtoi adj. "foolish" - [also] foolish. without understanding. Predicate adjective. Spiritually foolish, "senseless", is intended.

apeiqeiV adj. "disobedient" - Predicate adjective. Obviously disobedient to God, "unrepentant".

planwmenoi (planaw) pas. part. "deceived" - being led astray, deceived, misguided. The participle is adjectival, predicative; "for we ourselves were once senseless, disobedient, astray, ...", Moffatt. For Paul, it was "led astray by the Law."

douleuonteV (douleuw) pres. part. "enslaved" - being slaves to. The participle as above.

poikilaiV dat. adj. "by all kinds" - various kinds. Attributive adjective, dative in agreement with "lusts" and "pleasures".

hdonaiV (h hV) "pleasures" - [lusts and] physical pleasures (often sexual). Dative of direct object after the participle, "serving as a slave to", although note that the NIV treats the dative as instrumental. This is the only time Paul uses this common word. Possibly "luxuries", JB, but linked to "passions". Paul probably has "sexual pleasures" in mind.

diagonteV (diagw) pres. part. "we lived" - living, spending time. The participle is again adjectival, predicative; "Passing our days", NRSV.

en + dat. "in" - in [malice and envy]. Local, state or condition.

misounteV (misew) pres. part. "hating" - hating [one another]. The participle is again adjectival, predicative.


But in Christ God's grace is revealed.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument, underlining the altered situation that developed. "But when once there shone upon us the kindness of God our Saviour, his love for mankind, then he saved us from all these things", Bruce. "Saved", the main verb, is found in v5; "saved" from our state of loss rather than an outward expression of that state.

oJte "when" - Temporal conjunction serving to introduce a temporal clause.

epefanh (epifainw) aor. pas. "appeared" - [the kindness and love to man] appeared. "Appear" in the same sense as the light of the sun appears in the morning. "Appeared upon the scene", Barclay. Paul uses the word of Christ's second coming, but sometimes of the incarnation. Here obviously the epiphany of Christ is in mind, his coming to live with us and die for us, and for this reason the passage serves as one of the epistles for the Christmas season.

tou ..... qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - [of the saviour of us] god. The genitive tou swthroV, "the Saviour", may be classified as ablative, source / origin, of the characteristics of kindness and love that flow from our Saviour, or verbal, subjective. The genitive "God" stands in apposition to "the Saviour." "God" is obviously God the Father here, functioning as our saviour.


Out of kindness God saved us, not because of our goodness, but because of his mercy; he saved us by the washing of the Spirit that brings regeneration - rebirth and renewal.

eswsen (swzw) aor. "he saved [us]" - Spiritually.

ek + gen. "because of" - [not] from [works]. Here with a causal sense, "not because of / as a consequence of works", or possibly instrumental, "not by works."

twn gen. "-" - the. This genitive article serves as a nominalizer turning the relative clause "which we did in righteousness" into a substantive standing in apposition to the genitive noun "works"; "not because of / by works, the works which we did in righteousness, but ......"

en + dat. "of" - in [righteousness which]. Probably expressing sphere, "deeds done in the sphere of righteousness", so Marshall, but possibly adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the doing (poiew), "righteously", ie., deeds done in conformity with the will of God. Here "righteousness" takes an ethical, rather than theological, sense.

hJmeiV pro. "we" - we [we did]. Nominative subject of the verb "we did"; emphatic by use.

alla "but" - Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction; "not ......, but ......"

kata + acc. "because of" - according to [the mercy of him he saved us]. Normally expressing a standard, "according to, in accordance with", but sometimes adverbial, modal, "in the manner of", or possibly as here, means / agency, "by his mercy." Our salvation is dependent on the mercy of God.

dia + gen. "[he saved us] through" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing means. Introducing a clause made up of four genitive nouns and the genitive adjective "holy", all of which make translation difficult. The NIV, as with RSV, NRSV, JB, REB ..., take "rebirth" and "renewal" as two separate events, the first achieved by "washing" and the second "by the Holy Spirit". The genitive, "of the Holy Spirit", may be ablative, source / origin, or better, adverbial, of means,"by means of the Holy Spirit." It seems likely that the Spirit is the agent of both rebirth and renewal, not just renewal. In fact, he is probably the agent of "washing", which serves as an image of both rebirth and renewal. "God saved us by means of the renewing power of the Holy Spirit."

loutrou (on) "the washing" - the washing. Here in the sense of cleansing. Not used here as a reference to water baptism.

paliggenesiaV (a) gen. "of rebirth" - of regeneration. The genitives "regeneration and renewal" are adjectival limiting "washing", verbal, subjective, or epexegetic". The washing is of the regeneration and renewal type which is effected by the Spirit. The idea is one of recreation and was used by the Jews of a restored Eden in the new kingdom to be realised at the time of the messiah's coming. Here the idea is of personal recreation.

anakainwsewV (iV ewV) gen. "renewal" - [and] of renewing, making new. Probably of our relationship with God. "He gave us new birth and a fresh beginning", CEV. Possibly, but unlikely (see above), in an ethical sense as a consequence of regeneration, thus "moral renewal", Phillips.

pneumatoV (a atoV) "by the [holy] Spirit" - of [the holy] spirit. The NIV takes the genitive as adjectival, verbal, subjective "saved us through ....... and the renewing power of the Holy Spirit", REB.


This rebirth and renewal is through Christ.

ou| gen. pro. "whom" - which. Properly accusative, but attracted to the genitive pneumatoV aJgiou, "Holy Spirit."

execeen (ekcew) aor. "poured out" - he poured out, shed. Cf., Joel 2:28-30. The "washing" image continues, but a simple "bestowed", "gave", CEV, is less confusing to the modern mind. Since regeneration seems to be on Paul's mind in v5b, a simple "which he gave us so generously", Phillips, probably makes the point.

ef (epi) + acc. "out on [us]" - upon [us richly]. Local, expressing space.

dia + gen. "through" - through, by means of [jesus christ]. That Jesus is the agent / instrument of the gift of the Holy Spirit and his work of regeneration, serves here as a once-only Pauline statement.

tou swthroV (hr roV) gen. "[our] Saviour" - the saviour [of us]. Genitive, standing in apposition to "Jesus Christ." He is "our" Saviour; the genitive hJmwn, "our", being classified as either adjectival, relational, or verbal, objective.


And so, having been justified by grace we become heirs of eternal life. The more expanded statement, "by grace through faith" is not used here, cf., Eph.2:8-9. Paul is simply reminding his readers that salvation flows from God's mercy, a salvation by which we become heirs of God's glory.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Possibly introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that ...... [we might become]", but better consecutive expressing result, "with the result that." "The result is that", Phillips.

dikaiwqenteV (dikaiow) aor. pas. part. "having been justified" - The participle is adverbial, best treated as causal (possibly temporal), "the result is that since / because we have been justified by his grace", with the participial construction coordinate with the previous clause controlled by the main verb eswmen, "he saved [us ...]", v5. As such, the participial construction "sums up the previous statements", Marshall. Although the root is "justify", in the sense of "make right", Paul's usage is usually forensic. God puts a person into a right relationship with himself by "declaring right / righteous" (although what God declares so is so = "make right"!!). Although note that Beasley Murray argues that, as in 1Cor.6:11, the meaning here is not forensic but rather dynamic. "We are acquitted by his grace", Phillips.

th/ .. cariti (iV itoV) dat. "by [his] grace" - by [that ones] grace. Instrumental dative, expressing means. If this letter is Pauline we would expect a typical Pauline understanding of grace, namely God's unmerited favour realised in Christ for the acquittal of the sinner. Those inclined to doubt Pauline authorship tend to see "grace", not in a forensic sense, but as divine aid toward living a good life; "so having been made morally upright by his grace", Houlden.

klhronomoi (oV) "heirs" - [we might become] heirs. Predicate nominative. For a Jew, this means inheritors of the promised land, which of course is a "hope."

kata "having" - according to [the hope]. Expressing a standard, "in accordance with, corresponding to", although "according to hope" seems somewhat strange. Does Paul mean "heirs of eternal life in accordance with hope", Holtzmann? Still, "becoming heirs in line with the hope" makes some sense. The phrase remains somewhat confusing, but is well paraphrased by Phillips; "and (we) can look forward to inheriting life for evermore."

zwhV (h) gen. "of [eternal] life" - The genitive is usually viewed as adjectival, verbal, objective, although epexegetic may be better where the "hope" is specified, "the hope which consists of eternal life", being the content of the inheritance for which he hope.


iii] Paul concludes the paragraph by noting that the theological truths outlined in v3-7 should be taken as a "trustworthy saying", v8a. Paul then applies these truths, encouraging his readers to "engage in honourable occupations", NEB, v8b. Moffatt also opts for the translation "honourable occupations", but a wider sense seems more likely, so Barrett, "those who have come to believe in God should make it their business to practise virtue. These precepts are good in themselves and useful to society." For a study on the meaning of a "trustworthy saying", see Knight, Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Letters.

pistoV oJ logoV "this is a trustworthy saying" - trustworthy the word. The trustworthy truth is revealed in the previous verses, not what follows. The saying would mark the end of the paragraph, so Barrett, "this has been said and truly said." "This is a solid truth", Phillips.

peri + gen. "-" - [and] concerning [these things]. Expressing reference / respect.

diabebaiousqai (diabebaioomai) mid. inf. "to stress [these things]" - [i counsel you] to affirm confidently, insist, make a point of it. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul boulomai, "counsels" them, namely, to strongly affirm the trustworthy saying.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose, "in order that ..."

oi pepisteukonteV (pisteuw) perf. part. "those who have trusted" - the ones having trusted, believed. The participle serves as a substantive.

qew/ (oV) dat. "in God" - god. Dative of direct object of the verb "to trust in."

frontizwsin (frontizw) subj. "may be careful" - may take thought, give heed to, think carefully about.

proistasqai (proisthmi) mid. inf. "to devote themselves" - to be involved in, engaged in. The infinitive again introduces an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what they should take careful thought about, namely, to be involved with good works. Literally "stand before", or technically "to practice a profession", and so, "maintain / keep / take the lead", etc.

kalwn ergwn gen. "what is good" - of good works. A genitive of direct object after the verb proisthmi. Of course, Paul fills out his "good works" as things which are "good and profitable." Possibly "make a point of practicing honourable occupations", Moffatt, but note above.

toiV anqrwpoiV (oV) dat. "for everyone" - to men. Dative of interest, advantage, as NIV.


Titus Introduction



[Pumpkin Cottage]