Titus 1:11-16
Titus 1:11 (KJB)
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
Be stopped - Silenced, muzzled, covering the mouth
Subvert - Overthrow, destroy, or ruin
Filthy - Shameful, disgraceful, or base
Lucre - Gain, profit, or advantage
Here Paul gives the real reason the false teachers want to gain as big a following as possible. Their desire is to experience some type of gain, many times it is money but it also may be prestige in the community and, of course, with that comes money. Paul is stating that these false teachers must be silenced because their teachings are overthrowing or ruining entire homes. This is what false teachings do, they tend to divide homes and then the home turns into a battlefield among the family members. The normal result is that the false teachings win out and then, as the verse states, the whole house is subverted. Paul wants to prevent a major incursion of false teachings into the community and church and this way families will be spared and souls too. The problem with false teachings is not just the immediate consequences but these false teachings are than passed down to the next generation and so on. This means that if false teachings are not stopped, they can go on indefinitely into posterity.
Titus 1:12 (KJB)
One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
Evil - Wicked, worthless, or depraved
Beasts - Wild animal
Slow - Lazy, useless, or careless
Bellies - Stomach - Used metaphorically for one who is a glutton
This statement has been attributed to Epimenides who was one of the seven wise men of Greece though he was a native of Knossos, Crete. He was born about 659 B.C. and was said to have lived to the age of 157 years. He was a philosopher who was held in high esteem. Paul uses the term “prophet of their own” to make known that he was not a prophet of God. He would have been a pagan prophet as one who would have interpreted the false gods of Olympus. Paul used this quote to reference the lifestyle of the Cretans. They obviously lived only for eating, feasting, and partying and it was this that Titus had to contend with in addition to the false teachers. This shows wisdom by Paul using a quote from one of their own, they could hardly rebuke it since Epimenedes was a native of Crete. If Paul would have accused them, they could have complained by saying how would he know, he doesn’t live here.
Titus 1:13 (KJB)
This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
Rebuke - Convict or reprove
Sharply - Severely to vigorously
They may be sound - Correct or wholesome
Paul states dogmatically that this testimony of the Cretans is still valid today. The word “is” is in the present tense which means Paul definitely had knowledge that the lifestyle of the Cretans had not changed since the time of Epimenedes. Therefore, Titus was charged to rebuke them very sharply for this lifestyle. It is obvious from the context that this lifestyle had pervaded many of the Christians too. Paul wanted Titus to rebuke them so they would be come stronger in the faith and correct in their doctrine. I seriously doubt that Titus would have crusaded all around the island to try and stop this party atmosphere in everyone, including the unbelievers. It was the responsibility of Titus to set things in order and ordain elders, so Titus would have focused on the Christian community, rather than everyone on the Island. It is unfortunate that so many times the world creeps into the church and soon the church has its front doors wide open for it. Paul would not have urged Titus to be sharp with them if they did not need a loud wake up call to repentance.
Titus 1:14 (KJB)
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Giving heed - Follow, paying attention, or be devoted to
Fables - Myth, fiction, or legends
When the truth of God comes into a person and they become saved, they are not to turn aside from the truth and embrace any type of teaching which could contaminate our understanding of free grace. The Judaizers had come to Crete and desired to bring these people under the law, so they would create scenarios in hopes that they would succumb to their teachings. In Mark 7, the Lord Jesus Christ condemned the Pharisees for turning the Word of God into traditions that were commandments of men. (Mark 7:13 KJV) Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. This is the fables which Paul wanted the Cretan Christians to reject. These Judaizers wanted to turn free grace into slavish law keeping. Their whole teaching system would have turned the Christians from the truth and this is why they needed a stern rebuke because obviously some were paying attention to these teachings.
Titus 1:15 (KJB)
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.
Defiled - Polluted, stained, or corrupted
Here Paul intimates, as he has in some of his other epistles, that because of free grace, the Christian is allowed to eat anything which was previously prohibited by the law. In Peter’s vision in Acts 10, God showed him many animals where were unclean under the law and Peter refused to eat. (Acts 10:15 KJV) And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. Now that Peter was under grace, he was allowed to eat any of those foods because they were no longer unclean. However, those who were still under the law, to them those things are still prohibited and, therefore, nothing is pure to them. This is also due to the fact that they added more traditions to God’s law making them legalistic. This legalism caused them to view everything with caution so they would not be breaking any commandment. The problem was that with all the added ordinances, no matter what they did, they were violating some rule, whether God’s law or their tradition. A good definition of legalism is going above and beyond what God wrote in His law. These traditions which were added on were legalistic. Not only is the external actions defiled by their legalism, but they are defiled in mind and conscience, from where all actions originate. If the mind is pure, the actions will be pure. If the mind is defiled, then all actions will be defiled, either in actuality or in principle. If both of these are considered defiled, then a man can do nothing from a pure vantage point.
Titus 1:16 (KJB)
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Deny - Renounce or refuse
Abominable - Detestable or disgusting
Disobedient - Refusing belief or unwilling to be persuaded
Reprobate - Depraved or unworthy
(Gen 27:22 KJV) And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. In the Bible Jacob was the line of promise while Esau was the line of unbelief. In the scenario where Jacob deceived Isaac into giving him the birthright which belonged to the firstborn, Isaac makes a very revealing statement. He says the voice is of Jacob but the hands are of Esau. Now let us make a spiritual application. Since Jacob is the line of promise, he was saved but Esau was not. What we have to look out for are those false teachers who preach the words of salvation but their works are the works of unbelief. In Titus 1:16, this application can be easily made. These false teachers were professing that they know God but their works showed that they did not. These were the words of Jacob but the works of Esau. This passage describes their spiritual condition that they were disobedient and as a result their works were also considered to be reprobate. If a person’s heart is still darkened by sin, their works will reflect their inner spiritual condition. Their refusal to seek the truth about salvation by grace alone would have led them down the path to eternal destruction along with those who accepted their teaching.