Blaine Robison, M.A.
Published 25 September 2013; Revised 23 January 2016
Chapter 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
Scripture Text: The text of 1 Corinthians 11 is prepared by Blaine Robison with consideration given to the American Standard Version (which is in the public domain) and the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. The essentially literal translation seeks to reflect the Jewish character of the author and writing. All other Scripture quotations are from the NASB Updated Edition (1995), unless otherwise indicated. Click here for Abbreviations of Bible Versions.
Sources: Bibliographic data for works cited and resources consulted may be found at the end of the commentary. Works without page numbers are cited ad loc. Unless otherwise indicated references to the Talmud are from the Soncino Babylonian Talmud (1948); available online at Halakhah.com. Click here for Talmud Abbreviations.
Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic canon and its central figure I use Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament). The abbreviation LXX stands for the Septuagint, the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which was in use by Jews by the mid-2nd century B.C.
Grammar: Unless otherwise noted the meaning of Greek words is from F.W. Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009), and the meaning of Hebrew words is from The New Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (1981), abbreviated as "BDB." See the Greek Guide for the meaning of grammar abbreviations.
For an overview of Paul the apostle, his life, his ministry and his writings, see my web article Paul: Shaliach of Messiah Yeshua.
Historical Setting― The letter was written by Paul the apostle, probably in 62-64 after release from his first imprisonment. The recipient was leading the congregation on the island of Crete, which consisted of Jews and Gentiles.
Literary Character― Titus is a private letter with considerable hortatory material. Paul writes in Jewish Greek, argues in a rhetorical fashion, and is overall positive in tone. The purpose of the letter seems to be to address theological controversies and provide guidance to Titus in congregational management and discipleship.
Outline― Titus can be outlined according to the following topics:
· Salutation, 1:1-4
· Qualifications of Elders, 1:5-9
· False Teachers, 1:10-16
· Duties in Households, 2:1-10
· Instructions in Piety, 2:11 - 3:8
· Discipline in the Congregation, 3:9-11
· Closing Instructions, 3:12-15
1 Paul, a servant of God, an apostle of Yeshua the Messiah, according to the faithfulness of the elect of God, and the knowledge of the truth, according to godliness,
Verses 1 through 3 are one sentence in Greek; a lengthy elaboration of Paul's apostleship.
Paul: Grk. Paulos, from the Latin Paulus, meaning small or humble, which first occurs in Acts 13:9. He no doubt engages in a word play on this meaning of his name when he said, "I am the least of the apostles" (1 Cor 15:9). When he acquired the name of Paul is not mentioned, but as a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28) it likely occurred at birth. Roman citizens had three names. The praenomen (first name) was little more than a formality. The nomen (second name) denoted the Roman tribe to which one belonged. The third name was the cognomen, the family name. Paulus was most likely his cognomen, probably taken from the patron who freed Paul's ancestors from slavery (Polhill 16).
Paul's Hebrew name was Sha’ul (Saul, lit. "asked for" or "prayed for"). Of interest is that Luke uses Saulos, a Graecized form of Sha'ul, 14 times to identify Paul in his history (e.g., Acts 7:58; none after 13:9), but Yeshua speaking to Paul on the Damascus Road addresses him with his Hebrew name (Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14), as did Ananias (Acts 22:13), which Luke transliterates exactly as Saoul, in accordance with LXX usage. (The Greek has no letter with an "sh" sound.). Paul was apparently proud of his Roman name, since this is the only name by which he refers to himself in all his writings. Paul's life is the best documented of the apostles. He was born in Tarsus of Cilicia (Acts 21:39) of the tribe of Benjamin (Php 3:5). He was an observant Jew throughout his life (Acts 16:3; 18:18; 20:16; 21:26), educated under Gamaliel (Acts 5:34), served in some capacity with the Sanhedrin (Acts 8:1; 9:1-2; 26:10), spoke several languages (Acts 21:37-40; 1Cor 14:18), and lived and remained a Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 26:5; Php 3:5).
He persecuted disciples of Yeshua (Acts 8:1), but was transformed by an encounter with Yeshua on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-4). He was then equipped for ministry by the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:5-20). Paul's ministry consisted of three missionary journeys (Acts 13–21) and wherever he went he made disciples in accordance with the Great Commission, established congregations, equipped leaders and appointed elders. His written corpus consists of letters to seven congregations and three individuals. There is strong evidence that Paul also wrote Hebrews. According to tradition he died as a martyr in Rome by the decree of Nero in 67.
a servant: Grk. doulos can mean either slave or servant. In the LXX doulos translates the Heb. ebed, which similarly described someone enslaved after being captured in war or in order to pay a debt, whether voluntarily or involuntarily (cf. Ex 21:7; Lev 25:39, 44, 47). In addition, ebed identified those that served God, especially service in the temple (DNTT 3:593ff). The great Hebrew and Jewish heroes of the faith considered themselves servants of God the King and it was considered a high honor for a person to be called a servant of God. Abraham was the first to use this title (Gen 18:3; 26:24), but the most frequent usage is in relation to Moses (Ex 4:10; Deut 34:5) and over 40 citations remind Jews of his status, including 18 in the book of Joshua alone.
Many other Israelite leaders also bore this title. Others called "servant of the Lord" include Isaac (Gen 24:14), Jacob (Deut 9:27), Job (Job 1:8), Caleb (Num 14:24), Joshua (Josh 24:29), Samson (Judg 15:18), Samuel (1Sam 3:10), David (2Sam 3:18), Elijah (2Kgs 9:36), Jonah (2Kgs 14:25), Hezekiah (2Chr 32:16), Nehemiah (Neh 1:11), Isaiah (Isa 20:3), Zerubbabel (Hag 2:23), Daniel (Dan 6:20) and all the Hebrew prophets (Jer 25:4). The nation of Israel is also considered a servant of the Lord (Isa 44:2). In his earthly ministry Yeshua was the preeminent servant of the Lord (Phil 2:7), but other notable spiritual leaders are named, including Mary (Luke 1:38), Simeon (Luke 2:29), Apollos (1Cor 3:5), Timothy (Php 1:1), Epaphras (Col 1:7), Tychicus (Col 4:7), Jacob (Jas 1:1), Peter (2Pet 1:1) and John (Rev 1:1).
of God: Grk. theos is the God of Israel. In secular Greek writings a number of deities, always represented in anthropomorphic form, were called theos. In ancient polytheistic culture theos was not one omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator and ruler of the universe and certainly not spirit as described in Scripture (John 4:24). In the LXX theos primarily renders the general names of God: El, Eloah and Elohim, but also YHVH (DNTT 2:67-70). As with many other Greek words the LXX infused new meaning into theos. The only God in existence is the God who chose Israel out of all the nations on the earth (Isa 44:6; 45:5-6, 14, 18, 21; 46:9). Only Judaism and Christianity worship the true God.
an apostle: Grk. apostolos, a delegate, ambassador, envoy, messenger, emissary or official representative. Only here does Mark use the word "apostles" for the disciples. In this context the title is descriptive of their function and is not a title. In Greek culture apostolos was used of an envoy representing a king and a commander of a naval expedition. In the LXX apostolos occurs only in 1 Kings 14:6 where it translates Heb. shaluach, pass. part. of the verb shalach (SH-7971), "one being sent." The verb shalach is rendered some 700 times in the LXX by the verbs apostellō ("sent") or exapostellō ("sent out"). The verb shalach appears many times of an angelic or human agent by God on a mission to deliver a message or accomplish deliverance (e.g., Gen 19:13; Ex 3:12; Num 20:16; 1Sam 12:11; 2Sam 12:1; 2Chr 32:21; Jer 26:12; 49:14; Ezek 3:5).
First century Judaism institutionalized the office of shaliach, (Aram. pass. part. of shalach) who acted as an official messenger or a proxy for and with the full authority of the sender, as the Mishnah says, "the agent (Heb. shaluach) is as the one who sends him" (Ber. 5:5). When the high priest authorized Paul to initiate persecution against the disciples he was acting as the priest's shaliach (Acts 9:1-2). A peculiarity of the shaliach is that these representatives were not missionaries to win others to Judaism. The shaliach’s mission was "limited in scope and duration by definite commission and terminating on its completion" (DNTT 1:128). Nevertheless, when Yeshua, the Great High Priest, appointed the twelve disciples and Paul as his shlichim (pl. of shaliach), the mission was broad and its duration indefinite.
In the apostolic writings the term "apostle" is first applied to the original Twelve (Matt 10:2), then Mattathias (Acts 1:25-26), Paul (Rom 1:1), Barnabas (Acts 14:4) and Jacob (the brother of Yeshua, Gal 1:19), because they too had "seen the Lord" and been approved to speak on His behalf (Acts 9:27; 1Cor 9:1; 15:6; 1Jn 1:1). In Romans 16:7 Paul mentions Andronicus and Junia as apostles. All true apostles had the authority to proclaim the good news, determine orthodox doctrine, impose requirements ("bind and loose," Matt 16:19; 18:18), and shepherd the congregations they founded (cf. 1Cor 14:37). While the gift of apostleship (e.g., serving as a cross-cultural missionary), continued beyond the first century (1Cor 12:28), the unique authority of the apostolic office ended with the original apostles and the publication of their sacred writings.
of Yeshua: Grk. Iēsous, a transliteration of the Hebrew name Yeshua, the name given to him at his birth by his Jewish parents (Matt 1:21, 25; Luke 1:31; 2:21). Yeshua is a contraction of the Hebrew name Y’hoshua, which means “YHVH is salvation" (BDB 221). Yeshua has the same Hebrew root as yoshia (“He will save”) and is also the masculine form of the Hebrew word yeshu‘ah, ("salvation”) (Stern 4). Both Yeshua ("Jeshua") and Y’hoshua ("Joshua") are common names and rendered in the LXX as Iēsous. The name of Yeshua was given to six men in the Tanakh and translated as "Jeshua" in English versions (1 Chron 24:11; 2 Chron 31:15; Neh 3:19; 7:7, 11; 8:7, 17).
The English word “Jesus” reflects the development of the English language using the Latin alphabet. For many Jews the name "Jesus" is a distinctly Christian word. Sadly, for many Christians the name "Jesus" does not evoke the reality of his Jewish identity. In his thirty-some years on earth people called him Yeshua. Christian believers must never forget that Yeshua was born to a Jewish mother, raised in a Jewish home in a Jewish community situated among the Jewish people in the land God gave to Abraham and his Jewish posterity. By virtue of His incarnation and Jewish mother, Yeshua must still be a Jew.
the Messiah: Grk. Christos, the expected fulfiller of the hopes of Israel for an end-time deliverer and ruler, "Jewish Messiah." In Greek culture christos comes from chriein, to rub lightly, and in its secular use had no religious connotation at all. Christos as an adjective described someone smeared with whitewash, cosmetics or paint, and was anything but an expression of honor. As a personal reference it even tended toward the disrespectful (DNTT II, 334). Christos was chosen deliberately by the Jewish translators of the LXX to render Mashiach and in so doing infused new meaning into the Greek word. The Heb. title Mashiach lit. means ‘anointed one’ or ‘poured on.’ Mashiach was used in the Tanakh for (1) the patriarchs (1 Chron 16:16-22; Ps 105:15); (2) the High Priest, Lev 4:5; (3) the King of Israel, 1 Sam 12:3; 2 Sam 22:51; and (4) the Messianic King, Ps 2:2 and Dan 9:25-26 (BDB 603). This last usage defined the term among first century Jews.
The significance of being known as “The Anointed One” is that Israelite kings were crowned and priests were ordained in a ceremony of anointing with olive oil, which invested them with the authority of their positions. There was no comparable concept in Greek culture. Yeshua's anointing was not in the customary manner. He was first anointed with the Holy Spirit to fulfill the ministry prophesied in Isaiah 61:1 (Matt 3:16; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38). Then he was anointed with nard in preparation for the ministry of being an atoning sacrifice (Mark 14:3-8; John 12:3). Finally he was anointed with the power of resurrection to assume his rightful place on the throne of David as King and Judge over the earth (Luke 1:32; Acts 3:18-26; 10:40-42; 13:30-34; 17:31; Eph 1:18-23).
Among Christians "Christ" is generally used first and foremost to mean the second person of the triune Godhead as presented in Christian creedal statements. Sometimes Christians use "Christ" as a last name, which is strange since no one would say "David King." It cannot be emphasized too many times that the title Christos was the invention of Jews long before Yeshua was born. In fact, "Christ" is not a translation of Christos, but a transliteration. The Christos of the apostles was both high priest and king of the Jews who fulfilled all the promises made to the patriarchs and the nation of Israel and will be the priestly king in the age to come.
While Yeshua is described by a variety of titles (Lord, Redeemer, Savior, Son of God, Son of Man, Rabbi, Emmanuel, Lamb of God, Mediator, Apostle, Prophet and the Word) the predominate title (531 times in the Besekh) is Christos. The importance of this title is the authority it represents. Yeshua is the supreme ruler over the Kingdom of God. All authority has been given to him in heaven and earth (Matt 28:18). Yeshua's authority extends to all the nations of the earth (Rev 15:3) as was prophesied in Genesis 49:10, "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh [i.e. Messiah] comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the nations." The essential part of the Great Commission is to bring about recognition of Yeshua's ruling authority and obedience to everything he taught (Matt 28:20; cf. Ezek 37:24).
according to: Grk. kata, prep. whose root meaning is "down," is used in general expressing measure and the idea of something associated with or lining up with something else. With the accusative case of the noun following the word means "according to," signifying relation (DM 107). Rienecker says the thrust of the preposition is "for the furtherance of" (Rienecker). the faithfulness: Grk. pistis means (1) constancy in awareness of obligation to others, thus faithfulness or fidelity; and (2) belief or confidence evoked by another's reputation for trustworthiness, thus faith, trust or confidence.
Stern notes that the Grk. pistis corresponds to Heb. emunah (229). Therefore, biblical faith is composed of two elements. The first element of faith is confidence or trust: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6; cf. Heb 4:2). True faith leads one to seek God and then trust Him to respond with His good gifts. The second element of true faith involves commitment, constancy or faithfulness, which includes following God’s direction for life and producing works of righteousness (cf. Eph 2:8-10; James 2:17-18). There is no essential difference between the faith of the Hebrew patriarchs and the faith spoken of by Yeshua and the apostles.
of the elect: Grk. eklektos, to be favored with select status, chosen. In the Tanakh "God's elect" (chosen ones) only has reference to Israel (Deut 7:6), but in the apostolic writings elektos would correspond to the four designations for Israel - the Sheep Flock (John 10:14-16), the Commonwealth (Eph 2:11-13), the Olive Tree (Rom 11:17-24) and the Temple (Eph 2:14; 1 Pet 2:4-9) - to which Gentile disciples of Yeshua have been joined (cf. Rom 8:33; 16:13; Col 3:12; 2 Tim 2:10). The concept of the elect in Scripture is not equivalent to Christianity, which historically denied God's covenantal relationship to Israel. of God: Grk. theos. and the knowledge: Grk. epignōsis, recognition or knowledge. of the truth: Grk. alētheia, that which is really so. To the Hebrew mind truth is not debatable nor culturally relative. Truth is revelation from God as found in Scripture and any proposition of man that contradicts Scripture is not truth. according to: Grk. kata. godliness: Grk. eusebeia, devotion to and awesome reverence for God, devoutness, piety.
2 in hope of life eternal, which God, who cannot lie, promised before times ages ago;
in hope: Grk elpis, may refer to (1) a state of looking forward to something that is desirable, or (2) the basis of firm expectation, which Danker applies to this verse (123). The Jewish concept of hope is far different than the pagan Greek, which was little more than a possible outcome of circumstances. Jews anchored their hope in the person and promises of the covenant-keeping God. of life: Grk. zōê, alive in contrast with being dead. eternal: Grk. aiōnios adj., can mean (1) relating to a period of time extending far into the past; long ages ago; (2) relating to time without boundaries or interruption; eternal; or (3) relating to a period of unending duration; permanent, lasting.
In the LXX aiōnios occurs as the equivalent for Heb. olam, "a long duration, antiquity or futurity" (BDB 761), which is also used as an adverb meaning "for ever, for all time" (DNTT 3:827). In the Tanakh olam is used for ancient time (Gen 49:26), and indefinite futurity, which may equate to a man's lifetime (Deut 15:17), but more often to the everlasting nature of God (Gen 21:33), His laws (Ps 119:89), His promises (Isa 40:8) and His covenant (Gen 9:16; 17:7; Ex 31:16; 2Sam 23:5). Lastly, olam encompasses existence after death and eternity (Ps 90:2; Isa 45:17; Dan 12:2-3).
"Eternal life" is the ultimate prize and the quality of life manifested in glory, honor and immortality. Both the Pharisees and Essenes embraced the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and resurrection (Josephus, Wars II, 8:11, 14). Reward and punishment would begin after death and the souls of the righteous would enter heavenly blessedness, while the souls of the ungodly are punished in Hadês in the depths of the earth (Luke 16:22-26). Eternal life, however, is not just eternal existence, but sharing in the life of God. For that reason Yeshua taught that the abundant life, the best kind of life possible, begins now (Matt 10:39; John 6:35, 63; 10:10). It doesn't wait until after one dies.
which God, who cannot lie: Grk. apseudēs, not a liar, unlying, one who does not lie. promised: Grk. epaggello, aor. mid. ind., to promise. before: Grk. pro, prep., indicates precedence or a time earlier than; ahead, before. times: pl. of Grk. chronos, a span or period of time. ages ago: pl. of Grk. aiōn, an extended period of time, which may be (1) a general reference to a long period of time in the past ('ages ago') or in the future of a period with no apparent end; eternity; or (2) a segment of extended time determined by qualifiers as present or future; age. In the LXX aiōn occurs over 450 times and renders Heb. olam, first in Genesis 3:22. In Hebrew thought historical time was divided into ages, perhaps coinciding with the great covenants that God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and David (Ecc 1:10; Rom 16:25; 1Cor 2:7; 10:11; Eph 3:9; Col 1:26; Titus 1:2; Heb 9:26). God's purpose of redemption was formed before creation (Col 1:23; Rev 13:8), but has now been revealed through Paul's proclamation of the good news (cf. Eph 3:5).
3 but in his own times revealed his word with the message with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior;
but: Grk. de, conj., a multi-purpose conj. used to indicate (1) a contrast to a preceding statement or thought, "but;" (2) a transition in presentation of subject matter, "now, then;" or (3) a connecting particle to continue a thought, "and, also" (BAG). In this verse de is used indicate a contrast. in his own: Grk. idios, an adjective that functions as a personal pronoun, meaning 'belonging to oneself.' Idios particularly emphasizes the nature of a relationship, that is, belonging to an individual in contrast to what is public property or belongs to another. times: pl. of Grk. kairos may mean (1) an appropriate or set temporal segment of time, or (2) a period, definite or approximate, in which an event takes place (cf. Gal 4:4). Kairos alludes to a sovereignly appointed predestined time prophesied multiple times in the Tanakh. Yeshua's coming was no accident.
revealed: Grk. phaneroō, to be in a state to make observation possible, to make clear, to manifest. his: Grk. autos, a personal pronoun that refers to Yeshua. word: Grk. logos, a vocalized expression of the mind, as communication ranging broadly in extent of content and variety of form; word, discourse, statement, message or speech. In the LXX logos stands principally for Heb. dabar (SH-1697), which has a similar range of meaning: saying, speech, word, message, report, tidings, discourse, story, command, advice, counsel, promise, thing, or matter, whether of men or God (Gen 29:13; BDB 182) (DNTT 3:1087).
with: Grk. en, prep. generally functioning to mark position, lit. "within." With the dative case of the noun following, the preposition may be translated as 'with' or 'by means of,' to express means (DM 105)., the message: Grk. kērugma, an important public announcement or proclamation. The technical term derives from kērux, which in Greece denoted a man commissioned by his ruler or the state to call out with a clear voice some item of news and so to make it known (DNTT 3:48). In striking contrast to Greek literature the noun kērux occurs only four times altogether in the LXX, and in three of these instances without a Hebrew equivalent. Of these only two are in the Tanakh (Gen 41:43; Dan 3:4). This is evidence that a figure comparable to the Grk. kērux was unknown in Israel, and that it would be inappropriate to describe the prophets in this way, since they spoke for God and not the king.
Similarly, kērugma occurs only four times in the LXX, each in reference to a separate kind of proclamation: (1) the proclamation of Hezekiah for all Israel to celebrate Passover (2Chr 30:5); (2) the cry of Wisdom (personifying God) to seek understanding (Prov 9:3); (3) the proclamation of judgment against Nineveh (Jon 3:2) and (4) a proclamation by Ezra for all those who returned from captivity and had unlawfully taken pagan wives to come to Jerusalem for "civil" judgment (1Esdras 9:3; cf. Ezra 10:7).
Outside the LXX kērux occurs in Josephus in its classical Greek sense, but is found in Philo as a technical term for utterances of the Hebrew prophets. In rabbinic literature kērux and its verb kērussō are used in a technical and formal way to introduce rabbinic decisions on doctrine, or the citation of Scripture (DNTT 3:52). Of interest is that kērugma occurs on the lips of Yeshua only in reference to the proclamation against Nineveh (Matt 12:41; para. Luke 11:42). The remaining occurrences of kērugma in the apostolic writings occur only in the letters of Paul to refer to apostolic teaching in general (1Cor 1:21; 15:14), and especially his own teaching (as here, Rom 16:25; 1Cor 2:4; 2Tim 4:17).
with which: Grk. hos, relative pronoun. I was entrusted: Grk. pisteuō, aor. pass. ind., in general Greek usage means to have confidence in the reliability or trustworthiness of some thing or someone; believe, trust, entrust. according to: Grk. kata, prep. the commandment: Grk. epitagē may mean (1) an authoritative directive; a command or order; or (2) a commanding presence in the sense of authority. Paul alludes to the commission received in Damascus and in Jerusalem (Acts 9:15; 22:17-21; 26:16-18). of God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. See verse 1 above. our Savior: Grk. sotēr, one who liberates from real or threatening harm or loss, savior, deliverer, or benefactor. The Greek phrase, all in the genitive case, is lit. tōu sōtēros hēmōn theou, of the Savior of us of God," which also occurs in 2:10 and 3:4. The word sotēr occurs 24 times in the Besekh and always refers to a divine deliverer, and in the apostolic letters always of Yeshua.
Paul's distinction between the God the Father and Yeshua the Savior may be clearly seen in verse 4. The combination of "our Savior" occurs five more times in the letter (1:4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6). In the LXX sotēr renders the Heb. yeshu'ah ("one who brings deliverance") and the participle moshia a derivative of the verb yasha ("to save") (DNTT 3:217), which is another form of the word hoshia and is related to Yeshua’s own name (see Matt 1:21). In the Judges 3:9, 15 sotēr appears to be a technical term for the judge-deliverers. Above all sotêr is applied to the God of Israel. Often the LXX speaks concretely of "God my Savior," whereas the MT speaks of "God of my salvation." God, as Savior, delivers from things outward, such as enemies (Ex 14:30; 1Sam 4:3; 2Sam 3:18), and things inward, such as sin (Ezek 36:29). He delivers people who are contrite and humble (Job 22:29; Ps 34:19).
4 to Titus, my true child according to common faithfulness: Grace and peace from God the Father, Messiah Yeshua our Savior.
Titus: Grk. Titos, a Roman praenomen, or first name, of unknown meaning, possibly related to Latin titulus "title of honour" (BehindtheName.com). Titus is identified as a Hellēn in Galatians 2:3, which Bible versions translate as "Greek," and thereby generally assumed to be a Gentile. There are reasons to believe that Paul used Hellēn of Titus in the sense of a Hellenistic Jew. First, Hellēn is not an ethnic term restricted to Greece as a specific country or people. After Alexander the Great conquered the world he and his successors sought to educate and assimilate people in the Greek way of life. All who adopted the Greek language and culture were counted as Hellēn, even though they were of a different ethnic group (DNTT 2:124). So, when Paul referred to people who were Hellēn (13 times in his letters), by definition he would have included Hellenistic Jews.
Second, the point of mentioning Titus in Galatians 2:3 as a Hellēn was because he was not required to be circumcised. Many versions translate the verse as "even though he was a Hellēn." There would be no point for Paul's comment if he meant "even though he was a Gentile." Titus is often contrasted with Timothy whose mother was a Jewess (Grk. Ioudaios), that is, a traditional Jew, and his father was a Hellēn, which Bible versions translate it as "Greek." Paul circumcised Timothy because the traditional Jews in that area would not have accepted Timothy otherwise. They probably knew that Timothy's mother and grandmother were traditional Jews. On the other hand, there was no compelling need for Paul to circumcise Titus. It was not uncommon for Hellenistic Jews to forgo circumcision (Tarn & Griffith 224).
Little considered by commentators is that the Pharisees, with whom Paul continued to identify, were strongly anti-Hellenist. Paul was a traditional Jew and while he spoke Greek to conduct cross-cultural ministry and became "all things to all men" (1Cor 9:22) to effectively witness, he never embraced Hellenistic culture with its paganism, superstition and syncretism as Hellenistic Jews did in the Diaspora in varying degrees. The fact that Paul the apostle embraces Hellenistic Jews as kinsmen and fellow workers, such as those listed in Colossians 4:12-15, says much about his transformation and servant heart.
Titus appears twelve times in the Besekh: 8 times in 2 Corinthians, twice in Galatians (2:1, 3) and once in 2 Timothy (4:10), but his point of origin is nowhere mentioned. Though Acts does not mention Titus, he was a fellow worker in Paul's ministry as shown in the Paul's letters. Titus accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem in an early trip (Gal 2:1), probably on the famine relief visit (Acts 11:28-30). Titus was later entrusted with delivering Paul's severe letter to Corinth (2Cor 2:1-4) and correcting problems there (2Cor 7:13-15). Being a Hellenistic Jew would give Titus the ideal background for handling problems in Corinth and Crete.
my true: Grk. gnēsios, belonging to ancestral stock, hence legitimate or true. child: Grk. teknon, child of undetermined age. The expression of "true child" was ordinarily associated with children born in lawful wedlock and not of a prohibited union. This expression suggests that it was through Paul's ministry that Titus embraced the Jewish Messiah as his Savior. according to: Grk. kata, prep. common: Grk. koinos, shared collectively, in common or shared, especially in contrast with priestly practice. faithfulness: Grk. pistis. See the note on verse 1 above. The common faithfulness would be what all the disciples of Yeshua held in common at that time, both of belief, trust and practice. The fact that Titus had not been circumcised did not matter. His heart had been circumcised and that was more than sufficient.
Grace: Grk. charis, a disposition marked by inclination to generosity, frequently unmotivated by the worth of the recipient. In various contexts charis may mean (1) graciousness, attractiveness; (2) favor, grace, gracious care or help, goodwill; (3) practical application of goodwill, benefaction; (4) exceptional effects produced by divine grace over and above what others experience; (5) thanks, gratitude. Charis is equivalent to Heb. hên (favor) or hesed (loyal love or loving-kindness) and rachamim (“mercy”) (Stern 156). When used of God hên denotes granting special favor to an individual or causing nonbelievers to grant favor to God’s people (Gen 6:8; 39:21; Ex 3:21; 11:3; 33:12; cf. Rom 1:5) (TWOT, I, 303). Hesed is often translated as mercy or lovingkindness, but primarily means the covenant fidelity demonstrated by God toward His people (TWOT, I, 306).
and peace: Grk. eirēnē, peace, which may be in reference to (1) a state of harmony as a result from cessation of hostilities, whether in political or personal relationships; or (2) a state of well-being, used Hebraically as a greeting or as characteristic of the Messianic age and divine favor. The Greek word corresponds to Heb. shalom, which means completeness, soundness, welfare, or peace (BDB 1022). In Jewish culture shalom is never peace in the negative sense, the absence of conflict, but the possession of everything that makes for man’s highest good. Thus, the greeting of shalom was an expected greeting in Jewish culture:
"If one knows that his friend is used to greet him, let him greet him first. For it is said: "Seek peace and pursue it" [Ps 34:15]. And if his friend greets him and he does not return the greeting he is called a robber. For it is said: "It is ye that have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses" [Isa 3:14]. (Berachot 6b)
The salutation of "grace and peace" is generally considered to be a greeting as one might say "Good morning." However, the Greek word used for the friendly greeting is chairō (be glad, rejoice), not charis. In the LXX chairō is used for Heb. samach (rejoice, be glad, BDB 970) and the word appears three times in the apostolic narratives as a greeting by individuals (Matt 26:49; 27:29; Luke 1:28). Beginning the letter with "grace and peace" is not mere politeness but a genuine wish that the recipients would experience the best kind of life from God. The salutation occurs 15 times in the Besekh and all but two (2Pet 1:2; Rev 1:4), occur in the letters of Paul (Rom 1:7; 1Cor 1:3; 2Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Col 1:2; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:2; 1Tim 1:2; 2Tim 1:2; Phm 1:3). Such frequency suggests that Paul originated the wish-salutation.
from: Grk. apo, prep. used generally as a marker of separation; from. Here the preposition puts the focus on agency or instrumentality. God: Grk. theos, the God of Israel. See verse 1 above. the Father: Grk. patēr, a male biological parent or ancestor. In Greek culture patêr was used of biological relation, of the patriarch of a family, as a title of honor for an old man or a philosopher, and of a deity to emphasize his authority and his power to beget. In the LXX patêr renders ab ("av"), which occurs about 1180 times. Paul described God as father to all mankind, but only in the sense of Creator (Acts 17:28-29; Eph 4:6). In the Tanakh the concept of God as Father occurs only a small number of times and only in relation to Israel (Ex 4:22; Deut 1:31; 8:5; 32:6; 2Sam 7:14; 1Chr 17:13; 22:10; 28:6; Ps 89:26; 103:13; Prov 3:12; Isa 63:16; 64:8; Jer 31:9; Hos 11:1; Mal 1:6; 2:10; cf. Matt 2:15; Rom 9:4) (DNTT 1:616f).
In the Besekh Yeshua continually referred to almighty God as "my Father." God is especially the father of the disciples of Yeshua, emphasized often in Paul's writings as "our Father" (Rom 1:7; 1Cor 1:3; 2Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; Col 1:2; 2Th 1:1; 2:16; Phm 1:3). Other apostles refer to God simply as "the Father" (Acts 2:33; Jas 1:17; 1Pet 1:2; 1Jn 1:2; Jude 1:1). and: Grk. kai, conj. Messiah Yeshua: See verse 1 above. our Savior: Grk. sotēr. See the previous verse.
Qualifications of Elders
5 I left you in Crete for this reason, that you would set in order the things that were lacking, and appoint elders in every city, as I directed you;
I left you in Crete: Grk. Krētē, a mountainous island south of mainland Greece, running 170 miles east to west but never more than about 35 miles wide. The island had a long history as a center of maritime commerce. Crete came under Roman rule in 67 BC and became part of a double province with Cyrene, under a proconsul who ruled the island and the opposite coast of North Africa from the Roman capital Gortyna. Cretans, whether Jews or proselytes, were among those listed as present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11), and the good news may first have reached the island through them. The location is only mentioned four other times in the Besekh, all in Acts 27 as a place Paul passed on his way to Rome to face trial before Caesar.
After Paul's release from his first Roman imprisonment he made additional journeys that are not recorded in Acts. One of these took him and Titus to Crete, where Titus remained behind to oversee the congregation. Paul did not intend Titus to stay on Crete indefinitely, because in this letter he asks Titus to join him in Nicopolis on the west coast of Greece (Titus 3:12). After Paul's second Roman imprisonment, Titus was sent to Dalmatia (2Tim 4:10). According to church tradition, Titus was the first overseer (bishop) of Crete.
that you would set in order: Grk. epidiorthoō, aor. mid. subj., put in order, straighten out. the things that were lacking: Grk. leipō, pres. act. part., to be deficient in something requiring attention, to lack. In other words, Titus is to fix what's broken. and appoint: Grk. kathistēmi, aor. act. subj., to put into a position of responsibility, to appoint. elders: pl. of Grk. presbuteros (Heb. zakenim) is related to presbus, which means "an old man," and thus means someone ranked as superior in age. In Scripture presbuteros primarily carries the idea of ruling authority, leadership or acting in an official capacity. Prior to A.D. 70 the term was used for officers in a synagogue, for members of local councils in individual cities, and for members of a group in the Sanhedrin (BAG). The Jewish synagogue had seven elders: the nasi (President) with two assistants, chazan (pulpit minister), three parnasin (receivers of alms) (Moseley 9). Presbuteros is mentioned only three times in Pauline letters (also 1Tim 5:17, 19), but Paul appointed elders over new congregations wherever he went (Acts 14:23). He directs Titus to do the same in every city on Crete in which there was a congregation.
6 if anyone is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, who are not accused of loose or unruly behavior.
if anyone: Grk. tis, masc. pers. pronoun, someone or anyone. Paul clearly has a man in mind. is blameless: Grk. anegklētos, (from the verb agkaleō, bring a charge against) not subject to blame, irreproachable, blameless, held in high respect. the husband: Grk. andra, accusative case of anēr (Heb. adam), is an adult man without regard to marital status, but in this context one who has taken a woman as wife. of one: Grk. mias, adj., genitive case of mia, the numeral “one,” alone, or unity. In the LXX mia is also used as “the first” in summaries (Genesis 2:1) and calendar references (Genesis 8:5), as well as one in contrast to another (Exodus 18:3). wife: Grk. gunaikos, genitive case of gunē, is an adult female person, without respect to age or social status except as defined in the context. In the LXX gunē renders the Heb. ishshah ("woman"). In Scripture when a woman belongs to one man with the expectation of sexual intercourse (Gen 2:21-22), the Hebrew or Greek word is translated as "wife." For the process of a woman becoming a wife see my web article Marriage in Ancient Israel.
The phrase is lit. "one woman man" without definite articles or prepositions. Five possible interpretations have been proposed for the marital standard:
1. Marriage as a requirement for ministry. Paul places this expectation early in the list of qualifications (also 1 Timothy 3:2). The requirement is supported by Paul’s command to be married in 1 Corinthians 7:2 and 1 Timothy 5:14. However, this could not be an absolute requirement since 1 Corinthians 7:7-8, 25-33 recommend remaining unmarried during a time of distress. Scripture also records a number of people who were servants of God with no indication of being married (e.g., Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, John the Immerser and Yeshua). Acts 6:3 lists only three qualifications for the first group of deacons, none of which related to marriage.
2. Polygamy restriction. Polygamy did exist among first century Jews, and Messianic congregations likely included polygamous men. Therefore, Paul may have sought to minimize competition for a leader’s time and service. Early Church Fathers favored this view. Later the Church went further and prohibited priests to be married contrary to Paul's instruction in 1 Timothy 4:1-3. However, Paul, the observant Pharisee, would hardly impose a standard that would nullify the Torah obligation of yibbum (levirate marriage, Deut 25:5-10) and his instruction in 1 Timothy 5 would seem to address this requirement. It's noteworthy that when Yeshua had the opportunity to cancel the law of yibbum he let it stand (Matt 22:23-32).
In the Jewish context being limited to one wife (ishshah) does not preclude having a wife of second degree, i.e., a pilegesh or concubine. It should be noted that Christians continued to practice concubinage after the first century until banned by the Council of Trent (1545-1563). One other consideration is that Paul could be applying the priestly principle of selective regulation; that is, rules were stricter for priests than for other Israelites. For example, the marriage rule for the high priest in the Torah (Lev 21:14) would have made it unlikely for him to be a polygamist. This interpretation may be behind the translation of "the husband of one wife" found in most Bible versions. For the history of plural marriage see my article Polygamy.
3. Only one wife in a lifetime. This position would preclude widower ministers from remarrying. The rationale is based on the potential burden of caring for a double family, posing a serious hindrance to ministry. The view is reflected in the New Revised Standard Version ("married only once"), but the wording of "only one wife" in the New Century Version, God’s Word Translation, and Good News Translation would support the position, as well. However, the verse simply does not say, “an elder must be married only once in his lifetime.”
4. No divorce. This is a very common view among conservative Christians. Since the rule pertains to ministry qualifications, some contend that remarriage after divorce disqualifies from ministry. Some also contend that divorce on other than biblical grounds (variously defined) disqualifies from ministry. Some extend the restriction to include a previously unmarried man who marries a divorced woman. This position implies that divorce is a sin without redemption and relegates divorced persons to second-class citizens in the kingdom. As with the previous interpretation the verse does not say “an elder can never have been divorced and remarried.”
5. Marital fidelity. This view is based on taking the phrase literally as “man of one woman” or “a one-woman man.” This view emphasizes the character of the man rather than his marital status. This view is reflected in the Common English Bible, Complete Jewish Bible, Contemporary English Version, The Message, New Living Translation, New International Version (2011), New International Reader's Version and Today’s New International Version.
6. Marital unity. This interpretation is built on the genitive case of "one wife" and the root meaning of "one." The genitive case is a case of definition or description and thus "one wife" attributes something to or describes something about "man." The phrase functions primarily as an adjective, but the genitive case may be used in one of three ways:
(1) A genitive of relationship is used to attribute a genital or marriage relationship, which would mean the "man" has a marriage. A genitive of relationship would support the first two interpretations given above.
(2) A genitive of possession expresses ownership, which would mean the "man" possesses or owns the "one wife" (a concept most Christians would not approve). A genitive of possession would support the third and fourth interpretations.
(3) A genitive of quality expresses a simple description of the object, which would make "one wife" a character quality of "man." Advocates of this view point out that the ministry qualifications are a series of character statements, rather than a list of persons or things the elder possesses. Also, the lack of definite articles supports this interpretation better than any other.
Paul very likely thought in Hebrew as he wrote in Greek, so mia would correspond to the Heb echad. Like mia, echad can have the variety of meanings listed above and also "unity" (Deut 6:4; Mal 2:10). Thus, in Hebrew the phrase would be echad ishshah ba'al (Orthodox Jewish Bible), and serve as a statement of marriage unity, specifically the wife must be in unity with the husband, a reflection of her submission. The fact that Paul goes on to address the management of the elder’s household implies the wife must support her husband’s leadership for him to effectively balance household management with congregational management.
having children: pl. of Grk. teknon, child of undetermined age, older than paidion (infant). The standard is not merely to have children, since the fruitful womb is a gift of God. who believe: Grk. echōn pista, lit. "having faithfulness." The Greek word echōn is pres. act. part. of echō, to have or possess. Pista is the accusative of the adj. pistos, characterized by constancy and therefore worthy of trust. The adjective may be translated as faithful, trustworthy or reliable. Danker interprets the word here as "believing with commitment." This standard can only apply in a culture where the children are regarded as adults. In Jewish culture a boy became accountable to God's commandments at age 13 and from that time on he was treated as an adult.
who are not accused: Grk. anegklētos, without indictment, unchargeable, above reproach. There is no "who are" in the Greek text, but the translation associates this negative quality with the children. of loose: Grk. asōtia. Rienecker gives the meaning as inability to save, one who wastes his money often with the implication of wasting it on pleasures, and so ruining himself; luxurious living, extravagant squandering of means. However, Danker gives the meaning as dissipation, that is, addiction to wine or drunkenness. BAG gives the meaning as debauchery, dissipation, profligacy, lit. incorrigibility. or unruly behavior: Grk. anupotaktos, independent, unruly, insubordinate. It's is not immediately clear if the absence of the negative characteristic applies to the children or the elder.
If this negative quality modified children, then they would be old enough to assist the elder in ministry. Their character should not be that of the ungodly sons of Eli (1Sam 2:12-17, 22) and Samuel (1Sam 8:1-3). In the list of overseer qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:3 "not being addicted to wine" is applied to the elder, not the children. The elder must be able to submit to higher authority and work within a team. So, the prohibition of the negative characteristic more likely pertains to the elder and not his children.
7 For the overseer must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-pleasing, not easily angered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for dishonest gain;
For the overseer: Grk. episkopos, one who engages in oversight, supervisor, overseer. All the early English versions and a few modern versions as the ASV, KJV, NRSV, and RSV have "bishop," but this translation reflects later organization in Christianity. NLT uses "elder." The term may be as a synonym of elder, but it could also refer to the chief minister, comparable to either the nasi (president) or the chazan (public minister) in the Jewish synagogue. Since the episkopos has a teaching role in verse 9 below then chazan is more likely (Moseley 9).
must be blameless: Grk. anegklētos. See the note on the previous verse. as God's steward: Grk. oikonomos, manager of a household or family, a steward. The word emphasizes the commitment of a task to someone and the responsibility involved. It is a metaphor drawn from contemporary life and pictures the manager of a household or estate (Rienecker). Following the positive standard are five negative qualities that must not be present in the elder. The repeated negative "not" (mē) rejects any thought of the steward's having these faults (Hiebert). In addition, the Greek case ending of the following negative qualities denote habit or custom (Rienecker).
not self-pleasing: Grk. authadēs, self-willed, obstinate in one's own opinion, arrogant, refusing to listen to others. It is the man who obstinately ;maintains his own opinion or asserts his own rights and is reckless of the rights, feelings and interests of others (Rienecker). not easily angered: Grk. orgilos, inclined to anger, quick-tempered. Leadership of a congregation requires considerable patience in handling diverse personalities and strong wills. not given to wine: Grk. paroinos, given to drink, heavy drinker. Scripture offers no criticism of the consumption of wine, only the indulgence that leads to drunkenness and other bad behavior. Hiebert says the word is lit. "alongside of wine" (paroinon), as addicted to its use; he must not be an alcoholic. not violent: Grk. plēktēs, one who strikes, a fighter. The elder must never react to conflict with physical violence. not greedy for dishonest gain: Grk. aischrokerdēs, greedy of shameful gain, making money discreditably, adopting one's teaching to the hearers in hope of getting money from them, or perhaps it refers to engaging in discreditable trade (Rienecker).
8 but given to hospitality, as a lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled;
but: Grk. alla, conj., used adverbially to suggest a contrast for consideration and may be translated as 'but, on the other hand, yet, nevertheless, indeed or certainly.' given to hospitality: Grk. philozenos, lover of strangers, hospitable. as a lover of good: Grk. philagathos, lover of all that which is good. It denotes devotion to all that is best (Rienecker). sober-minded: Grk. sōphrōn, marked by serious awareness of responsibility, prudent, self-controlled. just: Grk. dikaios, being in accord with Torah standards for acceptable behavior, upright or just. Some versions (AMP, CEV, GW, HNV, MSG, NLT, WEB) translate the word as "fair," but in contemporary culture "fair" means getting what one wants, regardless of God's standard of justice.
holy: Grk. hosios, free from anything that impedes relationship or contact with deity, holy, devout. Hosios occurs only nine times in the Besekh (Acts 2:27; 13:34, 35; 1Th 2:10; 1Tim 2:8; Heb 7:26; Rev 15:4; 16:5) and only three times is it not used to refer to God or the Messiah. In John's heavenly vision the angels say of God, "you alone are hosios" (Rev 15:4). In this context Paul certainly does not mean that the elder must be as holy as God, which is impossible. In the LXX hosios translates two words used to describe God – yashar, meaning “upright” (Deut 32:4) and hasid, meaning “kind” (Ps 145:17) (DNTT 2:237). In the Besekh the usual word for “holy” to which the saints aspire is hagios, which means to be set apart.
self-controlled: Grk. egkratēs, control over one's self. It means complete self-mastery, which controls all passionate impulses and keeps the will loyal to the will of God. Paul includes this virtue in his list of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:23). Hiebert suggests that the last three characteristics may be viewed as looking toward other men, toward God, and toward self respectively.
9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict those who contradict him.
holding: Grk. antechomai, pres. mid. part., to have a close attachment to or interest in, to hold to, to adhere to. to the faithful: Grk. pistos, characterized by constancy and therefore worthy of trust. Used as a adjective pistos emphasizes reliability. word: Grk. logos, a vocalized expression of the mind, and could be rendered as 'message' or 'proclamation.' which is according to the teaching: Grk. didachē, teaching or instruction, primarily of the activity but with content implied. that he may be able: Grk. dunatos, having power, competence or ability. to exhort: Grk. parakaleō, pres. act. inf., to call to be at one's side, to hearten in time of trouble or to encourage performance. The emphasis here seems to be on urging compliance. in the sound: Grk. hugiainō, pres. part., to be in a state of well being, to be healthy, wholesome or sound.
doctrine: Grk. didaskalia may refer to the act of imparting information or instruction or the imparted information itself. "Teaching" would be a better translation (CEV, CJB, ERV, GW, HCSB, MW, NCV, NET, NLT, TEV), or even "instruction" (CEB, LEB, TLV), since "doctrine" has a particular usage in Christianity. "Healthy teaching" would be that of Yeshua as declared by the apostles. and to convict: Grk. elenchō, pres. inf., refers to evaluating or responding to improper behavior with varying modes of approach, depending on the context. The verb could mean (1) to expose wrongdoing, (2) disapprove of wrongdoing or (3) offer convincing evidence of wrongdoing. Danker prefers the third meaning for this verse. those who contradict him: Grk. antilegō, pres. part., to speak in an adversarial manner, to contradict, argue against or speak against.
10 For there are also many unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,
11 whose mouths must be stopped; men who overthrow whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for dishonest gain's sake.
12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and idle gluttons.”
13 This testimony is true. For this cause, reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
14 not paying attention to Judaic fables and commandment of men who turn away from the truth.
not: Grk. mē, adv., not, a particle of qualified negation. It differs from the other standard negative particle, oú, in that oú is objective, dealing only with facts, while mē is subjective, involving will and thought. With mē the negation concerns a supposition and thus prohibits or forbids (Grammar 265f). paying attention: Grk. prosdechomai, pres. part., (1) to receive to oneself in a kindly mode, to welcome and (2) to look forward to in a receptive frame of mind, to wait for. Danker favors the second meaning here. The verb combined with the negative particle mē is intended to stop the activity in progress.
to Judaic: Grk. Ioudaikos, adj., a derivation of Ioudaios, means Judean or Jewish. The term does not occur in the LXX, but is found in 2 Maccabees, Philo and Josephus (BAG 380). Christian versions uniformly translate the word as "Jewish." While Gruber translates the adjective as "Jewish" in Messianic Writings, Stern strongly objects to the Christian translation saying, "'Jewish,' is misleading and, in the ambience of the present world, antisemitic, insofar as it causes people to think less of normative non-Messianic Judaism. 'Jewishy' would probably convey the sense best but is too informal; hence 'Judaistic' (Complete Jewish Bible), that is, imitative of Judaism without actually emanating from normative Judaism (655). The Tree of Life version concurs with Stern rendering the word as "Judaic." The HNV avoids the issue by using the Hebrew word Yehudi. It is important to note that Paul is using the adjective to denote a source, and not the ethnicity of the offenders.
fables: pl. of Grk. muthos, tale or store with focus on imaginative or bizarre aspects. The term is found only in the late letters of Paul (1Tim 1:4; 2Tim 4:4) and Peter (2Pet 1:16). In 1 Timothy 1:4 Paul combines "myths" with "genealogies," which may have concerned midrashic elaboration of the genealogies of the Patriarchs, such as can be found, for example, in the Book of Jubilees, written by a Pharisee around 125 BC. Stern suggests that the error may have included a variation of the Galatian heresy which, in lieu of requiring circumcision for Gentiles, attributed spiritual value to having blood ties with the Jewish people (633). Another possibility is that the circumcision faction had given canonical status to legends associated with notable figures in the Bible. See Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, 1909.
and commandment: pl. of Grk. entolē, a directive for action, command, order or instruction. In the LXX entolē, occurs 244 times (46 times without a Hebrew equivalent). The noun is concentrated in the Torah, especially in Deuteronomy. In the majority of passages entolē renders Heb. mitsvah, (e.g., Ex 20:6; Ps 119:6), 159 times. A mitsvah is divine instruction intended for obedience and often associated with a good deed or charitable works with the promise of blessing for obedience. Violation produces guilt and need for atonement. However, the word mitsvah also relates to human activities, such as the terms of a contract (Jer 32:11) and the instruction of a teacher (Prov 2:1; 3:1). Mitsvah is derived from the verb tsava, command or charge, which is used for the instruction of a father to a son (1Sam 17:20), a farmer to his laborers (Ruth 2:9) and a king to his servants (2Sam 21:14) (TWOT 2:757).
of men: Grk. anthrōpos, human being, often used generically of mankind. Paul no doubt intends a contrast with "commandment of God," and thus "commandment of men" would be parallel to "tradition of men," an allusion to legalistic rules of the Pharisees (cf. Matt 15:3; Mark 7:3; Col 2:8). who turn away: Grk. apostrephō, pres. mid. part., to turn away from, to reject. from the truth: Grk. alētheia. See the note on verse 1 above.
15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
16 They profess that they know God, but by their works they deny him, being abominable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.
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