Follow Scripture (chapter 3)

Paul pointed out that Timothy had learned from childhood about the importance of sacred writings. They are very useful for instruction in the faith about Jesus Christ.  All scripture is inspired by God.  Therefore, it can be used for correction and training.  Thus, there is great value in sacred scripture.  Everyone should be proficient in the word of God, ready for every good work.  How proficient are you in the word of God?

False asceticism (chapter 4)

Paul wanted Timothy to guard the truth in the Church in the face of the apostasy of some people who were renouncing their faith in Jesus Christ.  They were paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of the demons.  They were lying hypocrites.  They had burnt consciences.  They were forbidding marriage.  They wanted abstinence from food that God has created.  Those who believe and know the truth receive food with thanksgiving.  Everything that God has created is good.  They should not reject it but give thanks for God’s creation.  Everything is sanctified by God’s word and prayer.  Do you accept food because God has created it?

Believing brothers, not enemies (2 Thess. 3:15)

“Do not regard them

As enemies,

But admonish them

As a believing brother.”

καὶ μὴ ὡς ἐχθρὸν ἡγεῖσθε, ἀλλὰ νουθετεῖτε ὡς ἀδελφόν.

Paul said, “Do not (καὶ μὴ) regard them (ἡγεῖσθε) as enemies (ὡς ἐχθρὸν), but admonish them (ἀλλὰ νουθετεῖτε) as a believing brother (ὡς ἀδελφόν).”  Paul had a final remark about this situation in Thessalonica.  These Christian idlers or unruly believers were not enemies, but brotherly believers.  Thus, they should be esteemed or regarded as fellow erring brothers, not as mortal enemies.  These idle Christians were not enemies but just unruly brothers.  How do you treat people who do not agree with you as erring brothers or mortal enemies?

Love and steadfastness (2 Thess. 3:5)

“May the Lord

Direct your hearts

To the love

Of God

And to the steadfastness

Of Christ.”

Ὁ δὲ Κύριος κατευθύναι ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας εἰς τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ εἰς τὴν ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Paul said, “May the Lord (Ὁ δὲ Κύριος) direct (κατευθύναι) your hearts (ὑμῶν τὰς καρδίας) to the love (εἰς τὴν ἀγάπην) of God (τοῦ Θεοῦ) and to the steadfastness (καὶ εἰς τὴν ὑπομονὴν) of Christ (τοῦ Χριστοῦ).”  Paul concluded his prayer by asking the Lord to direct the hearts of these Thessalonians to the love of God and the persistence and endurance of Jesus Christ.  Their hearts had to be set on God’s love.  They could rely on Jesus Christ in the long run.  Paul’s prayer for them was complete.  How do you pray for other people?

The day of the Lord (2 Thess. 1:10)

“Christ will come

On that day

To be glorified

By his saints

And to be marveled at

Among all

Who have believed,

Because they have believed

Our testimony

To you.”

ὅταν ἔλθῃ ἐνδοξασθῆναι ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ καὶ θαυμασθῆναι ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύσασιν, ὅτι ἐπιστεύθη τὸ μαρτύριον ἡμῶν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς, ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ.

Paul said, “Christ will come (ὅταν ἔλθῃ) on that day (ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ) to be glorified (ἐνδοξασθῆναι) by his saints (ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ) and to be marveled at (καὶ θαυμασθῆναι) among all who have believed (ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύσασιν), because they have believed (ὅτι ἐπιστεύθη) our testimony (τὸ μαρτύριον ἡμῶν) to you (ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς).”  Only this letter to the Thessalonians used this unique word ἐνδοξασθῆναι, that means to glorify, acknowledge the glory belonging to, or recognize as glorious.  Paul indicated that Jesus Christ, the Lord, would come on the day of wrath.  Then he would be glorified by all this holy saints here on earth.  They would marvel at his presence because they have believed the testimony that Paul had given them.  Do you believe the gospel testimony?

Give relief (2 Thess. 1:7)

“This is intended

To give relief

To you,

The afflicted,

As well as to us.

The Lord Jesus

Will be revealed

From heaven

With his mighty angels.”

καὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς θλιβομένοις ἄνεσιν μεθ’ ἡμῶν, ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ μετ’ ἀγγέλων δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ

Paul said, “This is intended to give relief (ἄνεσιν) to you (καὶ ὑμῖν), the afflicted or oppressed (τοῖς θλιβομένοις), as well as to us (μεθ’ ἡμῶν). The Lord Jesus (τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ) will be revealed (ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει) from heaven (ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ) with his mighty powerful angels (μετ’ ἀγγέλων δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ).”  Paul indicated that the day of judgment, the day of the second coming of Jesus Christ was to give relief to those who were oppressed like the Thessalonians and Paul and his companions.  The Lord Jesus would be revealed as coming from heaven with all his powerful angels.  Paul began his description of the Jewish day of wrath as portrayed by the many Jewish prophets.  However, the Lord Jesus, not the Lord Yahweh, would come to bring his vengeance on the evil doers, those opposed to the early followers of Jesus Christ.  Will judgment day be a day of relief for you?

We boast about you (2 Thess. 1:4)

“Therefore,

We ourselves

Boast about you

Among the churches of God

For your steadfastness

And faith

During all your persecutions

And afflictions

That you are enduring.”

ὥστε αὐτοὺς ἡμᾶς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐνκαυχᾶσθαι ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τοῦ Θεοῦ ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑπομονῆς ὑμῶν καὶ πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς διωγμοῖς ὑμῶν καὶ ταῖς θλίψεσιν αἷς ἀνέχεσθε,

Paul said, “Therefore, we ourselves (ὥστε αὐτοὺς ἡμᾶς) boast (ἐνκαυχᾶσθαι) about you (ἐν ὑμῖν) among the churches of God (ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις τοῦ Θεοῦ) for your steadfast perseverance (ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑπομονῆς ὑμῶν) and faith (καὶ πίστεως) during all your persecutions (ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς διωγμοῖς ὑμῶν) and afflictions (καὶ ταῖς θλίψεσιν) that you are enduring (αἷς ἀνέχεσθε).”  Only the Pauline letters use this word ἐνκαυχᾶσθαι, that means to boast, glory, or proudly.  Paul and his companions were boasting among the various churches of God about their steadfast perseverance in their faith in Jesus Christ during the various persecutions and tribulations that they suffered and endured in Thessalonica.  Paul had mentioned this in his First letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 1:6.  In spite of great difficulties (ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ), they received the word of God.  Paul himself had some difficulties with the Jews in Thessalonica in Acts, chapter 17:5-9.  It was not smooth sailing in Thessalonica despite their great faith in Jesus Christ.  Do you preserve in your faith despite some difficulties?

Date of this letter in the early 60s

This letter may have been written by Paul at Rome during his imprisonment.  Paul likely wrote it at roughly the same time that he wrote Philemon and Ephesians, since all three letters were sent with Tychicus and Onesimus.  A date of 62 CE assumes that the imprisonment Paul spoke about is his Roman imprisonment that followed his voyage to Rome.  Other scholars have suggested that it was written from Caesarea while he was in prison there or even earlier from Ephesus.  If the letter is not considered to be an authentic part of the Pauline corpus, then it might be dated during the late first century, possibly as late as 90 CE.  However, everything seems to point to a Roman imprisonment in the early 60s CE.  Certainly, it was written in the second half of the first century after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Nicopolis (Titus 3:12)

“When I send Artemas

To you,

Or Tychicus,

Do your best

To come to me

At Nicopolis.

I have decided

To spend

The winter there.”

Ὅταν πέμψω Ἀρτεμᾶν πρὸς σὲ ἢ Τυχικόν, σπούδασον ἐλθεῖν πρός με εἰς Νικόπολιν· ἐκεῖ γὰρ κέκρικα παραχειμάσαι.

Paul said, “When I send (Ὅταν πέμψω) Artemas (Ἀρτεμᾶν) to you (πρὸς σὲ), or Tychicus (ἢ Τυχικόν), do your best (σπούδασον) to come to me (ἐλθεῖν πρός με) at Nicopolis (εἰς Νικόπολιν).  I have decided (γὰρ κέκρικα) to spend the winter (παραχειμάσαι) there (ἐκεῖ).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word σπούδασον, that means to make haste, to give diligence, eager, or zealous.  Paul had plans for Titus.  He wanted to meet him in Nicopolis where he was going to spend the winter.  Thus, Paul was not in prison at the time of this writing.  He was going to send his friend Artemas or Tychicus to Crete to take the place of Titus while he left there to meet with Paul.  Nicopolis, the city of victory, was the capital city of the Roman province of Epirus, located in the western part of the modern state of Greece, founded in 29 BCE by Caesar Augustus in commemoration of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra.  The Apostle Paul decided to spend the winter at Nicopolis and he invited his co-worker Titus to join him there from Crete.  Apparently, a Christian community was in existence in that city.  Pope Eleutherius (174–189) was born in Nicopolis.  Around 330, Eusebius of Caesarea mentioned that bishops from Epirus attended the first Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325.  Thus, there was a thriving Christian community there.  However, this is the only mention of Artemas in the New Testament writings, but there were four mentions of Tychicus elsewhere.  In Acts, chapter 20:4, Tychicus was called an Asian.  In 2 Timothy, chapter 4:12, Paul sent him to Ephesus.  In Ephesus, chapter 6:21, Paul said that he was a beloved brother and trustworthy so that he was sending him to Ephesus in order that the Ephesians would know more about how things were going with Paul.  In Colossians, chapter 4:7, once again Paul was sending his beloved brother and trustworthy minister Tychicus to let the people of Colossae know what was happening with him.  Thus, it did not seem out of place to send Tychicus to Crete so that Titus could go to Nicopolis.  Have you ever spent the winter some place?

Self-condemned (Titus 3:11)

“You know

That such a person

Is perverted,

And sinful,

Being self-condemned.”

εἰδὼς ὅτι ἐξέστραπται ὁ τοιοῦτος καὶ ἁμαρτάνει, ὢν αὐτοκατάκριτος.

Paul said, “You know that (εἰδὼς ὅτι) that such a person (ὁ τοιοῦτος) is perverted (ἐξέστραπται), and sinful (καὶ ἁμαρτάνει), being self-condemned (ὢν αὐτοκατάκριτος).”  Only this letter to Titus used this word ἐξέστραπται, that means to turn inside out, to pervert, change for the worse, or corrupt, and the word αὐτοκατάκριτος, that means self-condemned.  These heretical sectarian dissenters were perverted and sinners.  They condemned themselves.  Titus would not have to do much since these dividers of the Christian community knew that they were doing wrong.  They were condemning themselves.  Do you know people who are sinners?

Avoid dissenters (Titus 3:10)

“After a first

And second admonition,

Have nothing more

To do

With anyone

Who causes

Sectarian heretical divisions.”

αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον μετὰ μίαν καὶ δευτέραν νουθεσίαν παραιτοῦ,

Paul said, “After a first (μετὰ μίαν) and second (καὶ δευτέραν) admonition (νουθεσίαν), have nothing more to do (παραιτοῦ) with anyone who causes sectarian heretical divisions (αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον).”  Only this letter to Titus used this word αἱρετικὸν, that means causing divisions, forms sects, sectarian, heretical, or factious.  Only the Pauline letters used this word νουθεσίαν, that means admonition, warning, or counsel.  Paul wanted Titus to take action against anyone who was causing sectarian heretical divisions in the emerging Christian communities.  He should give these people a first and second warning or admonition.  If they continued with their false disruptive views, they should be ostracized and put out of the Christian community.  Do you know anyone who was kicked out of a Christian community church?

Things to avoid (Titus 3:9)

“Avoid

Stupid controversies,

Genealogies,

Dissensions,

And quarrels

About the law.

They are

Unprofitable

And worthless.”

μωρὰς δὲ ζητήσεις καὶ γενεαλογίας καὶ ἔριν καὶ μάχας νομικὰς περιΐστασο· εἰσὶν γὰρ ἀνωφελεῖς καὶ μάταιοι.

Paul said, “Avoid (περιΐστασο) stupid (μωρὰς δὲ) controversies (ζητήσεις), genealogies (καὶ γενεαλογίας), dissensions (καὶ ἔριν), and quarrels (καὶ μάχας) about the law (νομικὰς).  They are (εἰσὶν γὰρ) unprofitable (ἀνωφελεῖς) and worthless (καὶ μάταιοι).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word γενεαλογίας, that means the making of a pedigree or a genealogy, and the word ἔριν, that means strife, contention, or wrangling, as well as the word μάχας, that means a fight, battle, conflict, strife, contention, or quarrel, and the word ἀνωφελεῖς, that means unprofitable or useless.  Paul told Titus, as he had told Timothy, to avoid any kind of controversies.  Here Paul mentioned that Titus should not get involved with stupid controversies in particular, as well as other dissensions, genealogies and disputes about the Jewish law because they were useless and a waste of time.  Paul wanted Titus to stay on task, not to be distracted by various disputes.  Do you get distracted with stupid arguments?

I insist on these things (Titus 3:8)

“This saying

Is sure.

I desire

That you insist

On these things.

Thus,

Those who have come

To believe

In God

May be careful

To devote themselves

To good works.

These things

Are excellent

And profitable

To everyone.”

Πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, καὶ περὶ τούτων βούλομαί σε διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, ἵνα φροντίζωσιν καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι οἱ πεπιστευκότες Θεῷ. ταῦτά ἐστιν καλὰ καὶ ὠφέλιμα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις·

Paul said, “This saying is sure (Πιστὸς ὁ λόγος).  I desire (βούλομαί) that you insist (σε διαβεβαιοῦσθαι) on these things (καὶ περὶ τούτων).  Thus, those who have come to believe in God (οἱ πεπιστευκότες Θεῷ) may be careful (φροντίζωσιν) to devote themselves (προΐστασθαι) to good works (καλῶν ἔργων).  These things are excellent (ταῦτά ἐστιν καλὰ) and profitable (καὶ ὠφέλιμα) to everyone (τοῖς ἀνθρώποις).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, that means to affirm confidently or assert emphatically, and the word προΐστασθαι, that means preside, rule over, give attention to, direct, maintain, or practice diligently, as well as the word ὠφέλιμα, that means useful, profitable, or beneficial.  Only this letter to Titus used this word φροντίζωσιν, that means to give heed, take thought, or be careful.  Paul made it clear that what he was talking about was very important.  Paul used the phrase that this is a sure or trustworthy phrase.  He insisted emphatically on these things.  Anyone who believed in God should carefully devote themselves to good works.  Although correct belief was certainly important, the result should be good works towards others.  Everyone should see the importance and benefit of doing good deeds.  There should be no question about that.  Do you ever question the benefit of good works or deeds?

We have been justified by grace (Titus 3:7)

“We have been justified

By his grace.

Thus,

We might become heirs

According to the hope

Of eternal life.”

ἵνα δικαιωθέντες τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι κληρονόμοι γενηθῶμεν κατ’ ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου.

Paul said, “We have been justified (ἵνα δικαιωθέντες) by his grace (τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι).  Thus, we might become (γενηθῶμεν) heirs (κληρονόμοι) according to the hope (κατ’ ἐλπίδα) of eternal life (ζωῆς αἰωνίου).”  Paul ended this mini-hymn by saying that we have been justified by God’s grace.  We now hope to be the heirs of eternal life.  We have been saved, renewed, and justified by the grace of Jesus Christ in the baptismal waters of regeneration.  Thus, our expectation is eternal life with Jesus Christ.  Do you expect a heavenly eternal life with Jesus Christ?

The Holy Spirit was poured out on us (Titus 3:6)

“God poured out

This Spirit

On us richly,

Through Jesus Christ

Our Savior.”

οὗ ἐξέχεεν ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς πλουσίως διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν,

Paul said, “God poured out (οὗ ἐξέχεεν) this Spirit on us (ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς) richly (πλουσίως), through Jesus Christ (διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ) our Savior (τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word πλουσίως, that means richly or abundantly.  Paul explained to Titus that God has poured out abundantly his Holy Spirit on us.  All this has been done through Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Perhaps these last few verses were part of a baptismal hymn.  Do you let the Holy Spirit into your life?

Jesus saved us (Titus 3:5)

“Jesus saved us,

Not because of any works

Of righteousness

That we had done,

But according

To his mercy,

Through the washing water

Of rebirth

And renewal

By the Holy Spirit.”

οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς διὰ λουτροῦ παλινγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως Πνεύματος Ἁγίου,

Paul said, “Jesus saved us (ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς), not because of any works (οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων) of righteousness (τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ) that we had done (ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς), but according to his mercy (ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος), through the washing water (διὰ λουτροῦ) of rebirth (παλινγενεσίας) and renewal (καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως) by the Holy Spirit (Πνεύματος Ἁγίου).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word λουτροῦ, that means a washing, a bath, or water for washing, and the word ἀνακαινώσεως, that means renewal or change of heart or life.  Paul explained it very clearly.  Jesus Christ has saved us, not because of any righteous thing that we have done.  No, we are saved because of Christ’s mercy.  We have been saved through the washing waters of baptism.  Thus, we have been reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit.  Everything starts new with our baptism in Jesus Christ.  Rebirth and renewal began our new life in Christ.  Do you live a renewed saved life in Christ?

Our Savior appeared (Titus 3:4)

“Then the goodness

And loving kindness

Of God

Our Savior

Appeared.”

ὅτε δὲ ἡ χρηστότης καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία ἐπεφάνη τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Θεοῦ,

Paul said, “Then the goodness (ὅτε δὲ ἡ χρηστότης) and loving kindness (καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία) of God (Θεοῦ) our Savior (τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν) appeared (ἐπεφάνη).”  Only the Pauline letters used this word χρηστότης, that means goodness, excellence, uprightness, kindness, or gentleness.  Things changed for Paul.  So too, they can change for you.  The good and kind God, his Savior appeared to Paul.  Everything changed for the better.  Once Christ appears, everything gets better.  Goodness and kindness overcome hate and self-indulgence.  Could your life get better?

We were once foolish (Titus 3:3)

“We ourselves

Were once

Foolish,

Disobedient,

Led astray,

Slaves

To various passions

And pleasures.

We passed

Our days

In malice,

And envy,

Hating one another.”

Ἦμεν γάρ ποτε καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀνόητοι, ἀπειθεῖς, πλανώμενοι, δουλεύοντες ἐπιθυμίαις καὶ ἡδοναῖς ποικίλαις, ἐν κακίᾳ καὶ φθόνῳ διάγοντες, στυγητοί, μισοῦντες ἀλλήλους.

Paul said, “We ourselves (καὶ ἡμεῖς) were once (Ἦμεν γάρ ποτε) foolish (ἀνόητοι), disobedient (ἀπειθεῖς), led astray (πλανώμενοι), slaves (δουλεύοντες) to various (ποικίλαις) passions (ἐπιθυμίαις) and pleasures (καὶ ἡδοναῖς).  We passed our days (διάγοντες) in malice (ἐν κακίᾳ) and envy (καὶ φθόνῳ), hating (στυγητοί) one another (μισοῦντες ἀλλήλους).”  Only this letter to Titus used this word στυγητοί, that means hateful, detestable, or disgusting.  Paul then made a general confession about all humanity and more particularly about his own life before Jesus Christ came into his life.  He admitted that he was foolish, disobedient, deceived, and a slave to passions and pleasures.  He spent most of his time doing evil, envious of others, and at the same time hating them.  A life without Christ was a degenerating vicious brutal life, full of self-indulgence and hatred.  How do you spend your life?