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2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
A literal translation removes all difficulty. The phrase [in Greek] is before the aionian times; that is, before the times of the Hebrew commonwealth were arranged, God promised eternal life, and in definite times, such times, namely, as are particularised in Daniel (Dan. 9:24-26), He made His word, which had before been a hidden mystery, manifest (Rom. 16:26) through the apostolic preaching.
Elpis Israel 2.1.
5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Titus was left in Crete to follow up and complete Paul's work of forming and organising ecclesias and arranging for elders to carry them on.
Then he was to join Paul at Nicopolis (on the western shore of Macedonia) where Paul was to make his headquarters for the winter in carrying on the Truth's work in a new region.
This would be just south of the Dalmatian coast, and doubtless the labours of Paul and Titus extended there, for later, from Rome (in 2 Timothy) we have noted Paul sent Titus to Dalmatia.
..."Ordain" simply means to appoint, and should be so translated, as it is in some versions. The "ordination" of "clergy" in the world's churches is a later invention.
Great stress is laid (v. 6-9) upon the qualifications of bishops (elders, arranging brethren). Seventeen requirements are listed, and they are worthy of much study and contemplation, for they are not just for elders-they are the required qualifications of ALL-Titus just had to make sure the elders he chose had the necessary Christian qualities that God requires of all believers.
Most are quite clear and, like most Scripture, need not explanation but application. The practical requirements of the Truth are usually quite clear and leave no excuse for neglect or misunderstanding.
It is the theoretical aspects we like to get side-tracked and bogged down in. It's more pleasing and less demanding upon the flesh to bandy unlearned questions than to face plain commands.
Bro Growcott - Zealous of Good Works
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
... the Gentiles have liberty to set up any, and all kinds of abominations in their court, or area of operation, without being subjected to immediate judgment for their crimes.
Hence, polygamous Mormonism, and adulterous Romanism, courtezan state-churchism, and hypocritical sectarianism, all flourish in their several spheres of abomination.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
...'soon angry' - "Not given to anger" is the true meaning.
"No striker" - The meaning is, "not pugnacious or belligerent, quarrelsome, contentious"-the opposite of a peacemaker.
Whenever you spend money, remember this: it is God's, not yours: you are but a steward -- under surveillance, handling that which belongs to another.
Do you "consume it on your lusts," or are you using it in His service? There will be a day of reckoning. You will have to give an account of your stewardship. For some, there will be "Well done!" For many there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In that day, all the precious passing rubbish acquired by unfaithful stewardship will rise to mock us with the grin of death.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Not just hospitable, but a LOVER of hospitality-one who takes joy in hospitality-who always reacts positively and eagerly to the opportunity, regardless of his own convenience. One at whose house all are not only welcome but also actively desired as an opportunity for service to God. One whose desire and pleasure is to help and take care of anyone in need.
"Sober" is calm, balanced, restrained, thoughtful, steady-minded - nothing silly or flippant - not changeable and excitable - thinking carefully before speaking, and meaning all that is said - a spiritual quality developed only by long contemplation of spiritual things.
"Temperate" is self-controlled, self-disciplined, always acting, not according to feeling or emotion or personal desire, but according to the guidance of the Spirit and the Word of God.
Overall, an elder must be strong, firm and determined, but gentle, calm and self-controlled.
The word "bishop"-literally, an overseer-occurs only 5 times, one of them applying to Christ. In the 4 times applied to brethren, the context in all cases indicates more than one in an ecclesia, and generally identifies them with "elders."
The lordly "bishops" of modern churches have no similarity with New Testament bishops.
Bro Growcott - Zealous of Good Works
14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
The gospel of the kingdom, so efficiently preached by the apostles, was soon after perverted by "men of corrupt minds" (2 Tim. 3:1-8;4:3,4; Tit. 1:10-14), whom Paul, who was very severe, but not too much so, upon this class of professors, styles
"seducing spirits, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared as with a hot iron" (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
Elpis Israel 2.1.
15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
'...At present, they are in fellowship with the Dowieites of Edinburgh. This compelled the editor to absent himself from their breaking of bread. In their present position, they are the Dowieites to every real friend of the truth; and no real friend of the truth would countenance the loose, uncertain, corrupt, and worldly attitude of the Dowieites.
There are many reasons why he would not. In the first place, he would not thus be partaker of their evil deeds. To fellowship, if it be fellowship at all, is to homologate, countenance, assist, encourage, sympathise with, promote and heartily abet the thing and the people fellowshipped.
We do not speak of the lifeless state of things commonly called fellowship, in which a man is only a formal adherent and not an active supporter and ardent lover of the cause of Christ. We refer to the real thing in which the deep purpose of life runs with unerring and unwearying flow in the channel of christian enthusiasm. Now for a man to extend this sort of support to an evil system is to incur a blame and do a wrong. He cannot do it and be guiltless, because complicity brings culpability.
On the other hand, his doing it adds to the system's power for mischief in the ratio of his own influence. On these grounds, a real friend of the truth will stand apart from Dowieism. It professes the name and deals in the phrases of the truth. For this reason, it is all the more to be avoided, because it is the more likely to receive the attention of the unwary, and to bring its blighting influence successfully to bear on the ripening seed of the kingdom. It holds a little of the truth, and that weakly, while it mixes with the truth the corrupting leaven of superstition and scripture perversion, and in its practical attitude in relation to even what it believes, it is thoroughly Laodicean and exerts a Laodiceanising influence upon those brought within its pale.
Why not teach the poor things? it is asked.
Did Jesus teach the Scribes and Pharisees? Kindly suasion is only possible where people are in a candid and teachable frame of mind, and where this disposition exists, the moral instincts will intuitively adapt themselves in yearning solicitude to the wants of those concerned. But this is out of the question where men set themselves in stubborn opposition for years, as the Dowieites have done, to many parts of the truth, and those who advocate it without compromise.
The only thing left is to come out from among them, and oppose them, leaving to them the responsibility of all that may result from their perversity and blindness. This we have done and mean to do to the end; and whatever the tongue of slander may utter, or the evil heart surmise, we have only one object in view, and that is, the preservation of the truth in its purity and vigour and potentiality over those embracing it.
This result is secured by isolating Dowieism from those means of influence which, for good or evil, arise from associational community. To do this effectually, every gap must be stopped, and we therefore felt compelled to refuse a connection with the Aberdeen ecclesia in its present attitude toward the Dowieites.
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Oct 1867. p242