A Handbook on Paul’s Letter To Titus


Daniel C. Arichea


Howard A. Hatton

UBS Handbook Series

United Bible Societies

New York

© 1995 by the United Bible Societies

All Rights Reserved

No part of this book may be translated or reproduced in any form without the written permission of the United Bible Societies.

The text of the Revised Standard Version used in this publication is copyrighted 1946, 1952 © 1971, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U. S. A., and used by permission.

Quotations from Today’s English Version, © 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992 are used by permission of the copyright owner, the American Bible Society.

The illustration on page 127 is by John Lear, © 1960, American Bible Society. The illustrations on pages 136 and 251 are by Horace Knowles, Copyright © The British and Foreign Bible Society, London, England, 1954, 1967, 1972.

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L. C. Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Arichea, Daniel C.

A handbook on Paul’s letters to Timothy and to Titus / by Daniel C. Arichea and Howard A. Hatton.

p. cm.—(UBS handbook series) (Helps for translators)

Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN 0-8627-0168-X

1. Bible. N.T. Pastoral Epistles—Translating. 2. Bible. N.T. Pastoral Epistles—Commentaries. I. Hatton, Howard, 1929-. II. Title. III. Series. IV. Series: Helps for translators.

BS2735.5.A75 1995.

227′.83077—dc20 95-31605.



See introductory material for 1, 2 Timothy and Titus

Salutation 1:1–4

In accordance with the literary customs of that time, this letter begins in very much the same way as 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. The writer, Paul, refers to himself in the third person, states his qualifications, then mentions the addressee in the third person, and finally pronounces a short blessing. The only thing that is somewhat unusual in this introduction is that, instead of simply stating what his credentials are, Paul makes a rather lengthy statement about the purpose and function of his apostleship. One wonders why Paul needs to be so formal in his introduction, when in fact he is writing to someone so close to him. But it may very well be that Paul is not in fact addressing Titus alone, but the whole church as well, and that this very private letter from the apostle to one of his co-workers was from the very beginning intended to be read as a public document for the total Christian community. There are indications in the letter itself to prove that this is so.

Of special interest to translators is the fact that these four verses are one long sentence in the Greek text. As in similar cases, it may be necessary to break these down into several short and more manageable sentences. A good model for this is TEV, which has six sentences: 1a, 1b–2a, 2b–3a, 3b, 4a, and 4b.

Section Heading: it should be noted that TEV does not have a section heading for these first four verses. In the outline included in this Handbook, it is suggested that this section has the heading “Salutation,” which may also be rendered “Paul greets Titus.”

Chapter 1

Titus 1:1

For apostle see 1 Tim 1:1. In his two letters to Timothy, Paul identifies himself as an apostle, and he does the same thing here. But he adds another designation, namely, servant of God. Many New Testament writers also call themselves servants, but of Jesus Christ rather than of God (see, for example, Rom 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; and Jude 1:1). In these cases the meaning of servant is almost identical to “slave” (which is the literal translation of the Greek word), and the emphasis is on being owned by Jesus Christ and being committed to him in complete obedience. In the present case, however, the proper background is that of the Old Testament characters who are designated in the same way, as for example Moses (1 Chr 6:49; 2 Chr 24:9; Neh 10:29; and Dan 9:11), Daniel “servant of the living God,” Dan 6:20), David (Psa 89:3), and Abraham (Psa 105:42). The focus, then, is on being called by God and designated to perform certain tasks among God’s people. In cultures where “slaves” are unknown, one may translate, for example, “I, Paul, who serves God with complete obedience.”

The word order Jesus Christ is used here, whereas the usual order in the Pastoral Letters is “Christ Jesus.” Another exception is 2 Tim 2:8, for which see discussion there.

To further the faith is literally “according to the faith,” which opens up two possibilities of reading the Greek text. (1) Faith is a further description of the nature of Paul’s apostleship; in fact it is its distinctive mark and, together with knowledge and hope, is the standard by which it is measured. So REB “marked as such by the faith of God’s chosen people …”

(2) Faith defines the purpose of Paul’s apostleship; “according to” can then be understood as “for the sake of” (NRSV). A further concern then is to define more closely how in fact Paul’s apostleship benefits the faith of God’s elect, and here there are several possibilities as well:

(a)    Paul’s purpose is to initiate faith, that is, to make believers out of unbelievers (so NJB “to bring those whom God has chosen to faith”). This is in agreement with 2 Tim 2:10. But does it make sense to make God’s elect believe? Unless of course the term God’s elect refers only to Jews, but then that would go against the very claim of Paul that he was sent as an apostle to the Gentiles. Or unless the term God’s elect is a definite entity that includes those who already believe and those who have not yet believed! It is suggested that one way out of this dilemma is to read the text to mean that the purpose of Paul’s apostleship is to initiate among nonbelievers the same kind of faith that is possessed by the elect.

(b)    Paul’s purpose is to build up the faith of the elect. This is the option followed by RSV, TEV, and some other translations (for example, TNT “to build up the faith”). This interpretation at least avoids the problems mentioned in (a) above (compare CEV “encourage God’s own people to have more faith”), and this is the interpretation recommended by this Handbook.

For faith see 1 Tim 1:2, 4. Here it can be taken subjectively, referring to trust in and commitment to Jesus Christ, or objectively, referring to accepted teaching or doctrine. This second option is possible only when “according to” is taken to mean “build up” (verse 2b above).

For elect see 1 Tim 5:21, where the term is used in connection with angels, and 2 Tim 2:10, which has the same meaning as here.

For knowledge of the truth see 1 Tim 2:4.

for godliness see 1 Tim 2:2 (“godly”) and 4:7. How is truth related to godliness? The Greek here is literally “truth according to godliness,” which presents us with a similar problem that was encountered at the beginning of this verse. Several possibilities may be mentioned: (1) Truth agrees with godliness. This is the popular choice of most translations. Both RSV and TEV choose this option, although they vary in their interpretation of godliness, with RSV taking it as a quality of life (compare Phps “a God-fearing life”), and TEV as referring to the Christian faith as a religious body. (2) Truth results in godliness (see, for example, NJB “truth that leads to true religion,” NIV “truth that leads to godliness”). Here definitely godliness has to be taken in its moral or ethical sense, that is, living as God wants.

Alternative translation models for the final part of this verse are:

They [God and Jesus Christ] sent me to help God’s people to believe more strongly and to gain a better understanding of the true teachings about Christ, which will help them to live as God wants them to live.


… and to gain a better understanding of the true doctrine which our [inclusive] religion teaches.

Titus 1:2

As already noted, this verse is still a part of the one sentence that goes all the way to the end of verse 4, and the verse simply begins with in hope of eternal life (literally “upon hope of eternal life”). The preposition “upon” is used in various ways; in fact there are at least twenty ways in which this preposition can be interpreted. Here it can be understood in at least three ways: (1) It expresses the reason or ground for something. This makes possible a rendering like TEV “based on” or NIV “resting on.” This is possible on linguistic grounds, but there is an objection that is theologically based, and that is, the hope of eternal life is at best a result rather than the foundation or basis of the Christian life. (2) It denotes purpose or result. This means that Paul’s ministry as an apostle has as its goal to cause God’s people to expect with confidence experiencing eternal life (compare NJB “and to give them the hope of the eternal life …,” and CEV “Then they will have the hope of eternal life”). (3) It denotes the content of something. In the present case the hope of eternal life is then included in the truth of the Christian faith (compare REB “with its hope of eternal life”). The choice seems to be between the first and second alternatives, with the second being slightly better.

A further question is, how is this phrase connected with what precedes? Again, several possibilities may be mentioned.

(1)    It is connected with “truth.” The following restructurings are possible: “This truth is based on our hope for eternal life”; “this truth (or, the teachings of our religion) includes the hope of eternal life”; “this truth (or, knowledge of this truth) leads to (or, results in) a hope of eternal life.”

(2)    It is connected with “godliness,” in which case the following restructurings are possible: “this godliness (or godly behavior) results in eternal life”; “our religion is based on the hope of eternal life.”

(3)    It is connected with both “faith” and “knowledge of the truth” (compare NIV “a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life”). A further restructuring can be “This faith and knowledge results in (or, leads to) a hope of eternal life.”

(4)    It is connected with “apostle” and “servant”; in other words, it is part of Paul’s role as an apostle. In this case Paul’s function is twofold: to help them in the area of faith and knowledge of truth, and to lead them to experience the hope of eternal life. This kind of understanding is reflected in NJB “to bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth … and to give them the hope of the eternal life that was promised so long ago by God.”

All of these are possible, but unfortunately translators will have to make a choice. When we weigh all the evidence, the first two alternatives seem closer to the meaning of the text, with the first of these having a slight advantage.

For hope see 1 Tim 1:1. The term includes the idea of confident expectation and not simply wishing that something will happen. For eternal life see 1 Tim 1:16.

Who never lies translates a Greek word that appears only here in the New Testament. The word denotes being free from deceit of any kind; positively it means utterly trustworthy. Another way of expressing this is “God is completely trustworthy!”

What God promised is eternal life, and this he did ages ago. For this last expression see 2 Tim 1:9. Some take ages ago to refer to the Old Testament era; it is more probable, however, that here it refers to the time before there was time, hence before time began (compare TEV), or before the world was created (compare SPCL “before the world began”).

Alternative translation models for this verse are:

This knowledge of the true message gives them the hope that they will receive eternal life, which God promised before the world began (or, he created the world). God is completely trustworthy (or, does not lie).


This trusting in Christ and the knowledge of the true message will give them the hope …


I was also chosen to help them to gain the hope that they will receive …

Titus 1:3

The Greek text of this verse is rather unusual, in that one would have expected another relative clause, but we find instead a direct clause that can in fact stand by itself as a complete sentence. Both RSV and TEV, however, translate this verse as a relative clause and identify “the hope of eternal life” as the thing that God manifested in his word.

The Greek text, however, can be translated more or less literally as “and at the proper time he manifested (revealed) his word through proclamation (preaching), which I was entrusted according to the command of God our Savior.” There are several translations that translate the Greek text rather closely (for example, NRSV “in due time he revealed his word …,” NIV “and at his appointed season he brought his word to light …,” NABR “who indeed at the proper time revealed his word …”), but without clarifying what word stands for, and how the whole of verse 3 is related to the first two verses. It does seem that it is perhaps better to take word, not as the means by which another message is made known (in this case “the hope of eternal life”), but as the message itself. Furthermore, it is possible to identify this message with what is contained in verses 1b–2, which includes “faith,” “knowledge of the truth,” “godliness,” and “hope of eternal life.” It may then be appropriate or even necessary to make this identification clear in the translation (as, for example, CEV “So, at the proper time, God our Savior gave this message”).

For the expression proper time see 1 Tim 2:6.

For manifested see 1 Tim 3:16.

For his word see 1 Tim 4:5 (“word of God”).

For preaching see 1 Tim 2:7.

For entrusted see 1 Tim 1:11.

For command see 1 Tim 1:1.

For God our Savior see 1 Tim 1:1.

The whole verse can be restructured as follows: “God our Savior made this message known at the proper time and has commanded me to proclaim it.”

Titus 1:4

After a long and somewhat complicated elaboration of Paul’s apostleship, the addressee of the letter is finally identified. For further information about Titus see 2 Tim 4:10. Paul’s greeting to Titus is quite similar to the way he addressed Timothy in 1 Tim 1:2, as the following comparison shows:

1 Tim 1:2.

Titus 1:3.

“To Timothy, my true child

“To Titus, my true child

“in the faith”

“in a common faith”

“Grace, mercy, and peace”

“Grace and peace”

“from God the Father”

“from God the Father”

“and Christ Jesus our Lord”

“and Christ Jesus our Savior”

Most of the translational issues have been discussed in 1 Tim 1:2. Therefore the comments here are limited to new issues.

In a common faith is literally “according to a common faith.”

Common translates a word that sometimes means “worthless” or “defiled,” but in this context it stresses the components of mutuality (that is, the faith that both Paul and Titus have) or commonly shared (that is, the faith that all Christians have). If the component of mutuality is focused on, a dual form of the pronoun “our” will have to be used in languages that have this form. If the latter option is chosen, then “our” will have to translated as inclusive, to include Paul, Titus, and all other believers. Faith here can be understood as trust in Christ, in which case the following restructurings are possible: “To Titus, whom I consider my true child because you trust in Christ Jesus as much as (or in the same way that) I do”; “… because you trust in Christ Jesus as much as I and other Christians do”; or “… because both you and I are followers of Christ Jesus (or Christians).” On the other hand, if faith here is taken as objective, referring to the content of what is believed, then the following restructuring is possible: “… because you and I believe the same teachings (doctrines).” Other ways to express To Titus my true child in a common faith are “Titus, we both believe in Jesus Christ, so you are like a son to me” or “Titus, because we both believe in Jesus Christ, you are like a son to me.”

One notes two differences in the blessing formula: “mercy” is missing, and Savior takes the place of “Lord” as a title for Christ Jesus. For Savior see 1 Tim 1:1, where the title is used for God.

In some languages it will be helpful to restructure verses 1–4 in the following way:

1 I, Paul, write this letter to you, Titus. I am a servant of God and a personal representative (or, apostle) of Jesus Christ. They [God and Jesus Christ] chose me and sent me to help God’s people believe more strongly, and to help them gain a better understanding of the true teaching about Christ that will help people to live as God wants them to. 2 This will cause them to confidently expect God to give them eternal life, which he promised before he created the world. We may trust God completely in this. 3 God our [inclusive] Savior made this message known at the right time and has commanded me to proclaim it.

4 Titus, because we both believe in Christ, you are like a son to me. I pray that God our [inclusive] Father and Christ Jesus our [inclusive] Savior will be kind to you and cause you to have peace.

Qualifications of Elders 1:5–9

In the traditional letter form one would expect a prayer of thanksgiving in this place. But instead Paul goes directly into the letter proper (1:5–3:11), at the beginning of which he reminds Titus of his task in Crete, to appoint elders with appropriate qualifications and who can teach true doctrine. What has led Paul to forego the usual niceties? Is it because of his familiarity with Titus? Or more likely, it is because of the urgency of the situation: there are problems in the church that have to be dealt with right away, and the usual niceties have to be sacrificed.

Section Heading: the TEV section heading “Titus’ Work in Crete” covers verses 5–16 and may also be expressed as “The things Titus must do in Crete,” “Unfinished work in Crete,” or one may use a section heading such as “Paul’s first instructions to Titus.” Another possibility for a section heading is that found in the outline (verses 5–10), namely, “Qualifications of elders,” which may be rendered as “Choosing church elders.” See also the same heading at 1 Tim 3:1–13.

Titus 1:5

Titus is here identified as being on the island of Crete when this letter was written (see the map, page 6). I left you implies that Paul and Titus were together in Crete some time before the writing of this letter; there is, however, no record of this event in the New Testament. The only record of Paul’s visit to the islands is during his long journey to Rome, when the ship he was in had to make an emergency landing in Crete because of a strong wind (see Acts 27:1–13).

The text clearly states the reason why Paul left Titus in Crete. Amend translates a verb that means “to set right,” “to correct,” “to put in order” (TEV); while what was defective is literally “the things that are left (undone),” hence “the things that still needed doing” (TEV), “what remained to be done” (NRSV). The context shows clearly that this has reference to the condition of the Cretan church; in fact it is even possible to equate “the things that still needed doing” with appoint elders in every town, in which case the organization (or polity) of the church is the primary concern (compare JB “for you to get everything organized there and appoint elders”; the NJB has changed the focus somewhat: “for you to organise everything that still had to be done and appoint elders”). It is, however, possible to take the statement in a more general sense to include many things (for example, sound doctrine, chapter 2), among which is church organization. This in fact is how REB has rendered the text: “you should deal with any outstanding matters, and in particular should appoint elders …”

The word for appoint means to assign someone to a particular office, hence to designate. For elders see 1 Tim 4:14 and 5:1. The term here definitely refers to an office within the church; the translation “older men” is excluded by the context. Every town is literally “according to town,” which can be translated “town by town.” Town translates the word that is usually translated “city.” A city in biblical times would be somewhat different from a modern city, since modern cities are usually defined in terms of area, population, and importance; and if these criteria are used for biblical places, very few would qualify as cities. In the present context, therefore, town is a much more appropriate term to use. In cultures where towns do not exist, but only villages of various sizes, one may express towns as “large villages” or “places with many houses.” It is also possible to say “a large village with a strong wall (or, fence) around it.”

Two other issues need to be addressed. First, does this mean that for each town in Crete there would be one or more designated elders? We cannot be sure, of course, of the number of towns in Crete at that time. But it is doubtful whether Christianity had spread so widely that there was an organized Christian congregation in every town. Nor is it likely that there were towns where there were more than one congregation, as CEV could imply (“to appoint leaders for the churches in each town”). More likely, then, Titus is being told to appoint elders for every church in Crete, that is, for every town where there is a church.

Secondly, there is the problem of the mechanics of appointing elders. Simply put, the question is, does Titus have the authority to appoint elders by himself, or are the congregations involved in some way? If Titus can appoint elders, what in fact is the position that he holds which gives him such authority? There are of course no clear answers to these questions, and every Christian group or denomination will give explanations that are in agreement with its own form of church government. Fortunately for translators, they do not have to come to any definite answers regarding these questions before they can translate the text in a clear and meaningful manner.

The word for directed occurs only here in the Pastoral Letters. There is a difference of opinion among interpreters as to what as I directed you is connected with. RSV illustrates one option, identifying the appointment of elders as the antecedent of directed. TEV represents a second option, where as I directed you points forward and refers to the qualifications of elders in verse 6. Both options are valid, and translators must make sure that the option they have chosen is clearly depicted in their translation.

Alternative translation models for the last part of this verse are:

… and appoint church leaders in every town as I instructed you.


… and appoint elders in every town where there is a group of believers. Remember what I told you, 6 they …

Titus 1:6

This verse begins with if any man (better “if anyone”). It makes no sense to translate the Greek literally here, since what comes out is somewhat ungrammatical, if not unclear, as RSV shows. In fact what the text seems to be saying is that Titus can appoint people to be elders if they have the qualifications as stated. Most translations therefore restructure the text along these lines.

The list of qualifications is quite similar to that which is contained in 1 Timothy, particularly in the section on bishops (1 Tim 3:1–6). The similarities between these two parts have led some scholars to conclude that “bishops” and “elders” are two designations of the same office or function; this contention gains added support by the appearance of the word “bishop” (Greek episkopos, singular) in Titus 1:7. There are some, however, who hold that both of these passages are dependent on an already established list of qualifications for church officials. At any rate, it is profitable to put these two passages in parallel columns in order to make the similarities clear and to ensure that these are translated in a consistent and accurate manner. (For this exercise we are using the RSV text.)


1 Timothy 3.

1:6, 7 blameless

3:2 above reproach

1:6 the husband of one wife

3:2 the husband of one wife

1:6 his children are believers

3:4 keep his children submissive

and not open to the charge

3:4 and respectful in every way

of being profligate or insubordinate

3:4 manage his own household well

1:7 not arrogant

3:3 gentle

1:7 not quick-tempered

3:3 not quarrelsome

1:7 not a drunkard

3:3 no drunkard

1:7 not violent

3:3 not violent

1:7 not greedy for gain

3:3 no lover of money

1:8 hospitable

3:2 hospitable

1:8 a lover of goodness


1:8 master of himself

3:2 temperate

1:8 upright


1:8 holy


1:8 self-controlled

3:2 sensible

1:9 hold firm to the sure word as taught

3:2 an apt teacher

1:9 able to give instruction in sound doctrine

3:2 an apt teacher

1:9 able to confute those who contradict sound doctrine



3:2 an apt teacher


3:2 dignified


3:6 must not be a recent convert

Items in the list that are clear parallels will not need to be discussed here, since the discussion in 1 Timothy will suffice. Where there are significant differences or where no parallels exist, these things of course will be pointed out.

For blameless see comment in 1 Tim 3:10. The similar term used in 1 Tim 3:2 (“above reproach”) stresses the kind of life that no one can criticize.

The word for believers is the same word translated “faithful” elsewhere, but in this context it has the same meaning as in 1 Tim 6:2, namely, Christians.

For open to the charge see “charge” and comments in 1 Tim 5:19. TEV’s “not have the reputation” is a good translation model. The word for profligate appears as “loose” in Luke 15:13 in its adverbial form to describe the way of life of the prodigal son; it has the same meaning here, namely, senseless and reckless and excessively riotous behavior with no concern at all for the consequences of such action (so JB “uncontrollable,” NIV “wild,” NJB “disorderly conduct,” NABR “licentiousness”). In most languages there will be specific vocabulary to describe children who act in this way. For insubordinate see “disobedient” and comments in 1 Tim 1:9. Some ways of translating this are “open to any charge of indiscipline” (REB), “disobedient” (NIV).

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

A church leader must be without fault (or, have a good reputation) and have only one wife. His children must be believers in Christ. They should not be known for wild behavior or for being disobedient.

Titus 1:7

As already noted, the sudden mention of bishop here, and in the singular, is rather strange. This has led some scholars to the conclusion that in the Pastoral Letters the offices of “bishop” and “elder” are one and the same. The singular form, together with the definite article, is explained as focusing on the function of the “elder” as bishop (literally “overseer”), that is, to have oversight of the church. For further discussion of bishop see 1 Tim 3:1.

Another suggested explanation for the mention of bishop here is that Paul has taken a traditional list of qualifications for bishops and has applied it to elders. But in the process of adapting the list, he had left in the term bishop in one place, perhaps inadvertently, but more probably because he intended it to be understood as defining the function of the “elder” and not as a term for a church official.

All of this demonstrates the difficulty of determining the meaning of these terms and of resolving the problem of the organization of the early church as represented in the Pastoral Letters. We are not told, for instance, how many elders there are, and whether all the elders are bishops, or whether among the elders one is designated bishop, and so on. These are matters that are very important in our attempt to have a better understanding of the polity of the early church, but we have to admit that there are very few definitive answers.

At any rate, we should not think that in the present passage Paul is starting all over again to enumerate the qualifications of the elders, nor are we to think that the ensuing qualifications apply only to bishops and not to elders.

Steward translates a term that is used of someone who is responsible for managing or administering something, as, for instance, a household or an estate (compare Luke 12:42; 16:1–8), but here a congregation or a church, which is God’s household. Another way to express this first sentence is “Church leaders are managers of (or, are in charge of) God’s work.”

For blameless see 1 Tim 3:10. The repetition here is not because of the mention of the bishop but because of the mention of steward. So one may translate “and so should be without fault (or, have a good reputation).”

What follows is a list of eleven qualities, five stated negatively in terms of vices to be avoided, and six stated positively in terms of virtues to be demonstrated.

Arrogant and quick-tempered are mentioned first, since they logically belong together. Arrogant can mean “stubborn,” “headstrong,” “self-willed,” “obstinate,” and is a fitting description of people who always want to have their own way regardless of the consequences, and are contemptuous or look down on others (see also 2 Tim 3:2). Quick-tempered, on the other hand, describes a person who gets angry easily. The word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.

Drunkard and violent are also related to each other. See 1 Tim 3:3 for further comments on these two terms.

The last vice, greedy for gain, stands alone. This comes from a term that describes a person who is shamelessly, or perhaps better, shamefully greedy, particularly in business dealings; hence REB “money-grubber,” “dishonest in business” (CEV), “involved in any shady finance” (TNT). See further on 1 Tim 3:8.

Titus 1:8

This verse enumerates the six virtues that elders must possess. As in the previous case, only those not mentioned in 1 Timothy will be discussed.

For hospitable see 1 Tim 3:2 and elsewhere,

Lover of goodness appears only here in the whole New Testament. It describes someone who not only loves good things but likes to do them as well (so JB “a friend of all that is good,” Phps “a genuine lover of what is good,” CEV “enjoy doing good things”).

Master of himself is the same word translated “temperate” in 1 Tim 3:2. The word is derived from a verb that means “to behave in a sensible manner”; hence “self-controlled” (TEV), “discreet” (Phps). A related meaning is being moderate and balanced in one’s behavior; hence “temperate” (REB), “self-restrained” (TNT).

Upright is literally “righteous,” here used to refer either to morally and ethically acceptable behavior, or to fairness in dealing with others (so Phps “fair-minded,” CEV “fair”). See further on 1 Tim 1:9, where RSV has “just” and TEV has “good people.” Since the ethical aspects are covered by the traits that come immediately before and after upright, it seems best to follow the second alternative, and therefore “fair,” “impartial,” or “unbiased” are all good models.

Holy is used here in an ethical sense, referring to an attitude of complete dedication to everything that is good and acceptable to God. See further on 1 Tim 2:8.

Self-controlled translates a word that is derived from the verb that means “to exercise self-control” or “to have self-discipline,” especially in relation to sinful desires.

Titus 1:9

Taught is the same word that is translated “teaching”; see 2 Tim 4:2. The expression as taught means in agreement with what was established as true teaching (so Phps “the true faith,” JB “unchanging message of the tradition,” NEB “true doctrine,” TEV “which agrees with the doctrine”). Another way of saying this is “the sure message that agrees with what people taught them (or, they were taught).”

After being sure of what to believe and knowing what to teach, the elder then performs a twofold task, one positive and the other negative. Positively he is expected to be able to give instruction in sound doctrine. The verb translated give instruction is the same word translated “preaching” in 1 Tim 4:13, for which see discussion there. Here it can mean “to encourage” others through sound doctrine, “to admonish,” to build up Christians by means of the proclamation of the true message.

For sound doctrine see 1 Tim 1:10.

For confute see 1 Tim 5:20, where the same word is translated “rebuke”; but in this context it probably means “to correct.”

The word contradict is literally “speak against” something or someone; in the present context the subject of their opposition is sound doctrine.

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

He must faithfully follow (or, hold to) the message in which he can place his trust, and which agrees with the doctrine that people taught him. He will help others through his good teaching and correct those who oppose the Christian doctrine.

The Situation of the Cretan Christians 1:10–16

One main reason for the necessity of appointing qualified elders is the presence of rebellious people, among whom are converts from Judaism, who are spreading false doctrines and upsetting members of the Christian community. Titus is urged to deal with these rebels, so that they may turn from their errors and accept the truth.

Section Heading: the suggested heading for this section is “The situation of the Cretan Christians,” which may also be restructured “The condition of the Christian community in Crete” or “The situation of the church in Crete.” One may also highlight the need for Titus to rebuke the Cretan Christians, with the title “Paul urges Titus to rebuke the Cretan Christians” or “The Cretan Christians need to be rebuked.”

Titus 1:10

Many refers to certain Christians in Crete; it is quite clear from the context that what is being referred to are not people outside the church but people within the church. For insubordinate see verse 6 of this chapter and “disobedient” in 1 Tim 1:9. The word can also mean “disobedient,” but in the present context the focus is on the unwillingness to be under the control of anyone or anything; hence “rebellious” (TEV), “undisciplined” (REB), “will not recognize authority” (Phps), “out of all control” (NEB).

Empty talkers appears only here in the whole New Testament; it is derived from a verb that means “to engage in idle talk.” This may be a reference to their telling about legends, genealogies, and other false teachings similar to those mentioned in 1 Tim 1:3–7. One may also express this as “people who talk nonsense,” and in some languages there will be figurative expressions for such people; for example, “people who talk wind.” Deceivers also appears nowhere else in the New Testament; it is derived from a verb that means “to lead astray,” “to mislead,” “to deceive.” It is possible to take empty talkers and deceivers as a hendiadys with the sense “empty talkers who deceive others” (so TEV “deceive others with their nonsense,” JB “who talk nonsense and try to make others believe it,” CEV “fool others by talking nonsense”).

A very significant part (especially) of this rebellious group comes from the circumcision party, which is a term used of the Jews in general but in this case refers to Jews who have become Christians. TEV makes this information explicit, although the use of the word “converts” for Jewish Christians may be questionable, due to the fact that Christians do not form a new community but understand themselves to belong to the same covenant community to which Jews belong. Jews who become Christians do not leave the covenant community to enter another group; instead, they simply recognize the place of Jesus the Messiah within the covenant community. For this reason it is better to describe Jews who have become Christians as Jewish Christians. One probable reason why Paul refers to this group as the circumcision party is that some of them were teaching that Gentiles or non-Jews must be circumcised before they can become Christians. In other parts of the New Testament, there are references to Jewish Christians who insist on adherence to Jewish rules (including circumcision) as a requirement for non-Jews to become Christians. This may have been the same case in Crete as well. In cultures where talking explicitly about circumcision will simply confuse readers or may even be offensive, translator’s may say “especially the Jewish Christians.” However, if the rite of circumcision is well understood, one may translate “especially those Jewish Christians who teach that Gentiles must be circumcised before becoming Christians (or, before receiving baptism).”

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

For there are many people who do not respect authority, and who talk nonsense and try to make others believe it. This is especially true of some Jews who have become Christians.

Titus 1:11

Must is literally “it is necessary” (TEV). Be silenced translates an infinitive of the verb that literally means “to put something over the mouth” and is used figuratively to refer to preventing someone from talking. They must be silenced may be misleading, since this expression is often used to refer to killing someone, which of course is not Paul’s intention at all. “You must stop them from talking” would be a more satisfactory way of expressing the meaning (compare TEV “it is necessary to stop their talk,” CEV “you must make them be quiet”). One may also say “You must stop them from talking this nonsense.”

The reason for stopping these rebellious people from talking is that they are upsetting whole families with their teaching. For families see the same term translated “house” in 1 Tim 3:4. Upsetting comes from a verb that refers to the act of causing problems with regard to someone’s faith or beliefs; hence “to undermine someone’s faith.” See further on 2 Tim 2:18. Here the damage is done not only to the faith of certain individuals but to the faith of whole families, which indicates that many families are involved, and the problem has affected every member of each one of these families. The problems may have included disunity and conflict in families where not all the members become believers. But primarily the problems are related to their faith; that is, these problems tend to undermine their loyalty to the Christian faith and its message. In this light, upsetting whole families may thus be expressed as “they are causing all the members of some families to stray from the true message” or “… to falter in their faith.”

The way they have done this is by teaching what they have no right to teach. This last expression conveys the idea that something has happened that should not have happened, so TEV “teaching what they should not,” Phps “teaching what they have no business to teach,” NIV “teaching things they ought not to teach.” But they teach these things for base gain; for this last expression see Titus 1:7, where the Greek forms one word by joining these two, translated “greedy for gain.” The whole motivation for their actions is financial profit, as TEV makes clear (“and all for the shameful purpose of making money”).

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

You must make them stop talking such nonsense, because they teach things which they shouldn’t, and so cause all the members of some families to doubt the true doctrine. They do this simply for the shameful purpose of making money.

Titus 1:12–13

Paul supports his denunciation of these rebellious people by quoting from a Cretan poet. One of themselves does not mean one of the rebels but one of the Cretans, and he is described as a prophet. It may be that Paul considered him a prophet because of the correctness of what he wrote about the Cretans, or else that the Cretans themselves regarded him as a prophet. There may be a problem in translating prophet here, especially if the term used in the receptor language refers to one who speaks for God, and such a term may not be appropriate for a Cretan poet-philosopher. If this be the case, then prophet can be qualified; for example, “one whom they consider as a prophet”; or else it can be translated in a different way; for example, “a great teacher” or “a wise man.”

The philosopher quoted is Epimenides, who lived sometime in the sixth century b.c. According to writings at that time, the Cretans were considered liars because they claimed that Zeus had a tomb in Crete, and Zeus, of course, being the chief of the gods, could not have died!

The quotation itself is in poetic form, although it may not be possible to retain the form in translation. If it is desired to translate the quotation as poetry, a better approach would be to use indigenous poetic forms appropriate to the nature of the quotation and its content. See further on the translation of poetry under 1 Tim 3:16.

The three descriptions of Cretans in the quotation correspond to three descriptions of the false teachers in verses 10 and 11. Liars (for which see 1 Tim 1:10) corresponds to “deceivers”; evil beasts is used metaphorically to describe ferocity and wildness, and thus corresponds to “insubordinate” in verse 10. Finally, lazy gluttons refers back to the preoccupation of the false teachers in “making money” (for lazy see the same term rendered “idlers” in 1 Tim 5:13). CEV has a good translation model which some translators may wish to follow:

“The people of Crete

always tell lies.

They are greedy and lazy

like wild animals.”

It should be noted that TEV has combined and shortened verses 12 and 13 in order to make clear that the clause This testimony is true refers back to the truth of what Epimenides said. If translators wish to follow RSV’s model, however, one may begin verse 13 with “What the prophet said is true!”

Since Epimenides is correct, and Cretans are what he said they are, Titus is therefore commanded to Rebuke them sharply. It is not clear what them refers to; it could be all the Cretans, but more likely it is a reference to the false teachers. So one may express this as “And you should reprimand such people (or, these false teachers) sharply.” For Rebuke see 1 Tim 5:20. Sharply is derived from a verb that means “to act harshly toward someone.” The combination of this adverb with the imperative indicates the seriousness and severity with which Titus is supposed to deal with these heretical teachers. Translations try to capture this intensity in many ways; for example, “correct them rigorously” (at), “reprimand them sharply” (Phps), “be severe in correcting them” (NJB).

The purpose of rebuking them is so that they may be sound in the faith. For sound see 1 Tim 1:10. The faith (with the definite article) refers either to a body of teaching (doctrine) or the Christian faith as a religious movement. The whole clause can be restructured as “they may be correct in what they believe.”

Titus 1:14

Here we are given some information as to the nature of the heresy that these heretical teachers are teaching, and for which they need to be Rebuked, and it looks very much like the description we get in 1 Tim 1:4–7. For their faith to become sound, they must stop paying attention to these false teachings.

For giving heed see 1 Tim 1:4 (“occupying themselves”); 4:1. Here it means no longer paying attention to something (NRSV “not paying attention to”) or devoting oneself to something.

For myths see 1 Tim 1:4. The word translated Jewish appears only here in the whole New Testament. It is used here with myths to describe either its origin (that is, originating from Jews and from Jewish literature) or its nature (that is, composed according to Jewish methods). CEV’s translation “senseless Jewish stories” is a good model.

For commands see 1 Tim 6:14. For reject see 2 Tim 1:15 (“turned away”), where a person is rejected rather than the truth. For truth see 1 Tim 2:4 and 2 Tim 4:4. Here it probably refers to the gospel. The text does not specify who these people are who reject the truth. But the next verse gives an example of their teachings.

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

and to stop spending their time listening to made-up Jewish stories and to what people who have rejected the Christian doctrine command them to do.

Titus 1:15

Here we are given yet another clue as to the heresy that Titus is confronted with in Crete, and that has to do with confusing moral purity with ritual purity, and teaching that moral purity can be achieved through strict adherence to rules, particularly concerning food. In contrast to this, Paul stresses that ritual purity is dependent on moral purity and not the other way around. The situation being described here is once again similar to that of 1 Timothy; in fact the present passage has some similarities with 1 Tim 4:1–5.

For pure see 1 Tim 1:5. The first pure (in the pure) is used here in a moral sense, whereas the second pure (in all things are pure) is used in a ritual sense; in other words, all things are ritually pure to those who are morally pure. All things may be understood in a general way to include everything; it is possible, however, that what is in focus here is food (compare 1 Tim 4:3–4, where “all things” is also used in connection with food). Another translation model for To the pure all things are pure is “For those people who have a heart [mind] that has no sinful thoughts, all things are ritually pure.

Corrupt translates a participle that means “defiled” either morally or ritually; in the present context moral defilement is in focus. The verb at the end of the verse, are corrupted, is in the perfect tense, which means that the defilement happened sometime in the past, but its effects are still apparent up to the present, so much so that the person affected is in a state of moral filthiness. In many languages one may express the corrupt as “people with dirty (or, filthy) minds.”

For unbelieving see 1 Tim 5:8. Nothing is ritually pure to people who are not Christians and to people who live morally filthy lives, whether they are Christians or not. On the other hand, everything is ritually pure to those who are morally pure.

The last part of the verse describes further the corrupt situation of the heretical teachers and at the same time explains why to them nothing is ritually pure, and that is, because both their minds and their consciences have been defiled as well. For minds see 1 Tim 6:5. For consciences see 1 Tim 1:5. These two elements refer both to the thinking process and moral standards of these heretical teachers; since these have been defiled, that is, made impure and filthy by sin, their very lives are adversely affected as well. Another translation model is[[ “For what has been defiled (or, become completely dirty) for such a person is both the mind and the heart, which distinguishes between right and wrong.”

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

For those people who have a heart [mind] that has no sinful thoughts, everything is ritually pure. But for those people who have dirty minds and do not believe in Christ, both their minds and their hearts that distinguish between right and wrong (or, consciences) have become completely filthy.

Titus 1:16

As a consequence of all this, there is a contradiction between what they profess and what they do. For profess see “made … confession” in 1 Tim 6:12. Profess to know God means to openly express faith, allegiance, and loyalty to God. So one can say “They claim to know God” (TEV) or “They say that they believe and worship God.” In their profession of faith they are believers, as contrasted to the heathen around them. But in terms of their actions, they are as bad as unbelievers, if not worse.

For deeds and any good deed, see 1 Tim 2:10. For deny see “disowned” in 1 Tim 5:8. They deny him by their deeds may also be expressed as “but what they do shows that they really don’t know him.”

The word translated detestable occurs only here in the New Testament. It is derived from a verb that means to detest something because it is abominable; the word therefore means “abominable,” “abhorrent,” “repulsive,” “appalling,” or “disgusting.” The passive form of the verb may suggest that God is meant to be the agent, that is, it is God who detests these people, and in languages that will need to make the subject or agent of “detest” explicit, one may say “God detests such people.”

For disobedient see 2 Tim 3:2. In the present context it most likely refers to disobedience to God. For unfit see “counterfeit” and comments in 2 Tim 3:8.

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

They say that they know God, but the things they do show that they don’t really know him. God detests these people. They won’t obey him, and they are so worthless that they are incapable of doing good.

Instructions Regarding Various Groups in the Church 2:1–10

This section elaborates on the practical contents of the true teachings that Titus is exhorted to proclaim, as they are applied to various groups within the Christian community. Except for slaves (verses 9–10), the groups mentioned are defined by age and sex: older men (verse 2), older women (verse 3), younger women (verses 4–5), young men (verse 6), thus producing a chiastic structure (men, women, women, men).

This section has a great deal of similarity with other parts of the New Testament letters; these parts are often known as “household codes.” But the material here is different in that, except in the case of slaves and younger women, the matters discussed deal with concerns that have to do with the life of the congregation rather than specifically with behavior within the household.

Section Heading: TEV’s heading “Sound Doctrine” is supposed to cover the entire chapter but appears to deal with only verse 1. NIV is better with the heading “Doing What is Good.” However, translators may divide the chapter into two sections as suggested by the Handbook. The suggested heading for this section, “Instructions regarding various groups in the church,” can also be rendered as “How to deal with various groups in the church,” or simply “Various groups in the Cretan church.”

Chapter 2

Titus 2:1

As in previous cases (1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 3:14), the introductory part of the verse (But as for you) draws a contrast between the person being addressed and those mentioned in the immediately preceding section. Here the contrast is between Titus and the false teachers.

Teach is literally “speak” but in this context refers to a more formal setting where the speaking is part of a structured activity; hence teach. The same word occurs in its general meaning in 1 Tim 4:13.

Befits translates a word that means “fitting,” “right,” or “proper” in a specific context or situation. Here it is used to emphasize that whatever Titus teaches should be “consistent with sound doctrine” (NRSV, compare NIV “in accord with”); for sound doctrine see 1 Tim 1:10. Since this is the first verse of a new chapter, it will be helpful to show whom the pronoun you is referring to, and to translate, for example, “Titus, you must …” or “But as for you, Titus, you must …”

Titus 2:2

The instructions start with the older men. The word for older describes a man of advanced age. There is no information as to the age range included in this category; however, some writings during this period suggest that the minimum age being referred to is sixty years. It is of course very probable that the “elders” are chosen from these men, and that may be the reason why the virtues mentioned here are parallel to those mentioned in chapter 1. In any case, the focus here is on age rather than on the office that these people may be qualified to hold. In some languages there will be specific vocabulary for elderly and respected men such as these. Such terms should be used in this context.

For temperate see 1 Tim 3:2 and 3:11. For serious see 1 Tim 3:8 and 3:11. For sensible see 1 Tim 3:2. For sound see 1 Tim 1:10. However, in this context sound qualifies faith, love, and steadfastness rather than “doctrine.” Another way of expressing the final part of this verse, then, is as follows: “They must persist in believing in Christ, loving others, and in their ability to endure.” For faith, love, and steadfastness, see 1 Tim 6:11 and 2 Tim 3:10, where these three are listed with other virtues.

Titus 2:3

This verse does not contain a main verb but assumes the verb of the previous verse; so Bid (RSV), “instruct” (TEV).

The term for older women occurs only here in the whole New Testament; it is the counterpart to “older men” in the previous verse, which means that the accent is also on age.

For likewise see 1 Tim 2:9 (where it is rendered “also”) and 3:8. Here as there, it is used to connect the present verse with the previous one.

The instruction to these women consists of four parts, the first and the last being positive, and the second and third negative, thus forming a chiastic structure, A-B-B’-A’.

First, these older women are to be reverent in their behavior. Both of these words appear only here in the whole New Testament. Reverent translates a word that appropriately describes devotion and conviction in matters of religious belief and behavior; hence “devout,” “pious.” It has been suggested that this term can also be used to mean “to act like a temple priestess,” which would mean that the devotion of these women should parallel the devotion of those who serve as priestesses in the temple. Behavior, on the other hand, translates a word that refers generally to a person’s conduct and way of life. Another way to express this is “behave as women do who live lives devoted (or, dedicated) to God.”

What follows are two negative habits to be avoided. For slanderers see 1 Tim 3:11. An expression similar to slaves to drink appears in 1 Tim 3:8.

And finally, these older women are to teach what is good. This translates a compound word combining the word “good” or “beautiful” with “teacher,” hence “teacher of what is good.” This may refer to formal teaching but more likely refers to informal teaching, which includes teaching about proper living by both word and example. The term occurs only here in the whole New Testament.

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

You must also tell the older women to behave as women should who live lives devoted to God. They must not say harmful things about other people or be addicted to wine. They must also teach the way to live a good (or, proper) life.

Titus 2:4–5

These two verses deal with the young women. But, as contrasted with the other groups, the young women are not supposed to get their instruction from Titus but from the older women.

And so is literally “in order that” (compare TEV), indicating purpose or goal. This may relate to the last part of verse 3 (“to teach what is good”) but more likely refers to the whole of verse 3, which means that the purpose for training the older women to be good teachers is to enable them to be effective when they teach these younger women. With this in mind, one may translate “so that they are able to train the younger women …”

The word translated train is literally “to make of sound mind” and means to instruct or train someone to behave wisely and properly.

Young women translates the feminine form of the word “new” but which has the meaning of “young” when used of age. For further discussion see 1 Tim 5:2 and 5:11.

What follows are seven qualities, some of which are quite similar to those mentioned in the instructions to young widows in 1 Tim 5:14.

To love their husbands translates a word that is found only here in the New Testament. It is a compound word that combines the verb “to like” or “to love” with the “man” or “husband.” In a society of arranged marriages, where women did not have a say at all on the choice of their husbands, this quality is very important and needs to be emphasized.

Likewise, the word for to love their … children combines “to like” or “to love” with “child.” This reminder is quite significant in a society where children are given very little importance. These two qualities (loving husbands and loving children) are mentioned together, since it is assumed in this passage that the younger women are not only married but have children as well.

For sensible see 1 Tim 3:2. This is also one of the traits for older men in verse 2 of this chapter.

For chaste see 1 Tim 5:22, where the same word is translated “pure.” This word has a ritual or ceremonial origin but is used here in a moral sense to refer to being free from any moral defect in thought, word, and deed.

The term for domestic occurs only here in the New Testament. It is a compound word that can literally be rendered as “one who works at home,” hence a housekeeper (compare TEV “housewives,” CEV “a good homemaker”).

Kind is the feminine form of “good,” for which see 1 Tim 1:5. There is some question as to whether this is intended to be a separate quality (as in RSV) or to be taken as an adjective qualifying domestic, with the resulting translation “a good housekeeper” (compare TEV “good housewives”). Either one is possible, but an argument against this latter option is that it would not follow the pattern of the list, in which none of the other qualities have qualifiers. CEV follows the first interpretation but lists kind after sensible, omitting the equivalent of chaste. It is also possible to translate the beginning of verse 5 as “Each of the younger women must be self-controlled, free of moral defects, and kind, as well as being good homemakers who …”

Submissive derives from a verb that includes the elements of recognition of authority (“accept the authority of someone”), subordination, and obedience. This means that these younger women should willingly subject themselves to their husbands, whether they are believers or not. This idea of wives submitting to husbands is found in other parts of the New Testament (see, for example, 1 Peter 3:1; Col 3:18; and Eph 5:22). One should note, however, that the Ephesians passage is preceded by a call for all members of the household (including husbands, children, and slaves) to “be subject to one another” (Eph 5:21), which means that the husband also is commanded to submit to the wife.

The purpose of having all these qualities (and not simply the last trait mentioned, that is, being submissive to husbands) is so that the word of God may not be discredited, in other words, to enable non-Christians to appreciate the Christian message, or at least to give them no reason to despise it. For word of God see 1 Tim 4:5 and 2 Tim 2:9. Discredited comes from the verb that means “to blaspheme,” for which see 1 Tim 1:20 and especially 1 Tim 6:1, where a similar statement appears, using “defamed” for the same verb.

Alternative translation models for verse 5 are:

These younger women must be taught to be self-controlled, free of moral defects, and kind to others. They should also be taught to be good homemakers who are obedient to their husbands, so that no one can say evil things about God’s message.


They must teach these younger women to be self-controlled and free of moral defects, to be good housewives who submit themselves to their husbands, so that …


As far as the young men are concerned, Paul instructs Timothy to “urge” them to develop a quality that would be very applicable to them, namely, self-control. But at the same time he urges Titus to be a model of good behavior for these young men.

Titus 2:6–7

Urge is a verb that is often translated “exhort” or “encourage,” for which see 1 Tim 1:3 and 2:1.

Younger men is the comparative masculine form of the word translated “young women” in the verse 4.

To control themselves is the verb form of the word translated “sensible” in 2:2 and 2:5. The verb can literally be translated “to keep one’s head” and refers primarily to controlling the activities of one’s mind, resulting in sobriety and sensibleness. See further on 1 Tim 3:2.

In much the same way that Paul appealed to Timothy to be an example to the believers (1 Tim 4:12, 13), he urges Titus to play the same role particularly for the young men, and since he is one of them, the qualities he is encouraged to exhibit are also meant for the group as a whole.

In the Greek text in all respects (literally “in all things”) is at the beginning of verse 7 and may be interpreted as going with what precedes; hence “self-controlled in all things”; this is in fact the way the UBS Greek text is punctuated and is the option followed by some translations (for example NJB “be moderate in everything that they do”; REB “to be temperate in all things”). It can, however, be taken as going with what follows, as RSV and TEV have done. This Handbook recommends that translators take the phrase in all respects as agreeing with what follows. Other ways to express this are “And you yourself must always set an example of good conduct for others to follow” or “You should always do good deeds as an example for others to follow.”

Show translates a verb that means “to exhibit,” “to present.” Model translates the same word rendered “example” in 1 Tim 4:12, for which see discussion there. It may not be natural to literally translate the Greek here; it may be much more appropriate to say “you must be an example” (for example, TEV) or “Set them an example” (REB; compare NJB “you yourself set an example”).

Deeds may be taken to refer to specific acts, or to conduct or behavior in general (for example TEV “good behavior,” REB “good conduct,” Phps “good living”).

For teaching see 1 Tim 1:10. The focus here is on Titus’ activity as a teacher rather than on the content of his teaching.

The word for integrity appears only here in the New Testament; when used of content it ascribes to it the qualities of moral soundness, purity, and being devoid of any corruption. Here, however, it denotes the quality of Titus’ way of teaching and includes the elements of honesty, sincerity, and purity of motivation. In certain languages this will be expressed idiomatically as “with a true heart.”

Gravity translates the same word used in 1 Tim 2:2 and 1 Tim 3:4, where it is translated “respectful in every way.” Here the accent is perhaps on a particular way of teaching; hence “serious” (TEV), “dignified.” An alternative translation model for the final sentence is “When you teach, do it in a sincere and serious way.”

Titus 2:8

As RSV shows, this is still a part of the sentence that began with verse 7, and therefore it is a further description of Titus’ teaching. It is awkward, however, to use the verb show with sound speech unless it is recast in some way (for example, NIV “In your teaching show … soundness of speech”). Another way of dealing with this problem is to start a new sentence at verse 8 and employ an appropriate verb (for example, TEV “Use,” compare REB “offer”).

The word for sound occurs only here in the New Testament but comes from the same root as “sound” in 1 Tim 1:10. It can mean “accurate,” “right,” “useful.” Speech is literally “word” but is used here to refer either to the content of what is uttered or to actual words used. Sound speech therefore means “accurate teaching” or “right doctrine” when used of content, and “useful words” or “proper words” when used of actual words that are spoken. Other ways to express this are “When you teach, always teach correct doctrine” or “… always use words that will help and encourage others.”

Cannot be censured translates a word that appears only here in the New Testament and means “above criticism,” “beyond condemnation,” “beyond reproach.” The implied agents are of course other people, Christians and non-Christians alike, and this can be made explicit in the translation; for example, “which no one can criticize.”

The purpose of all this (verses 7–8a, and not simply 8a) is to put to shame “the opponent,” which is what the Greek text has (literally “the one who is opposed,” only here in the whole New Testament; compare Phps “your opponent”). Some have suggested that this term refers to a specific person, perhaps a pagan critic. It is of course possible, and in fact more likely, to take opponent here as a generic term for those who oppose Titus and the church (compare JB “any opponent”), in which case it is more appropriate in some languages to use the plural form (compare TEV “your enemies,” NIV “those who oppose you”).

May be put to shame translates a verb that occurs only here in the Pastoral Letters. It is literally “to turn around, revert”; in a good sense it means “to turn toward (someone in respect)”; in a bad sense, as here, it means “to be put to shame.” The expression may be taken as reflexive; hence “may be ashamed of themselves” (compare Phps “will feel ashamed”). The last part of the verse can be interpreted as the reason for their being ashamed: if Titus’ opponents find that they have no case against him and against the church, then they will look foolish indeed. It is also possible to take this last part as a result of their being ashamed: the opponents feel so ashamed that they cannot say anything bad at all against the Christians (compare CEV “your enemies will be too ashamed to say anything against you”).

Us refers to Titus and all Christians in general and should therefore be translated as inclusive.

Alternative translation models for this verse are:

When you teach, always teach correct doctrine so that no one can criticize you. If you do this, your enemies will not be able to say anything against us [inclusive] and so will be ashamed (or, lose face).


When you teach, always use words that will help and encourage others so that no one …


The fifth group Paul deals with are the slaves. At that time slaves were considered members of households, and instructions regarding them are a legitimate part of household codes. The slaves being addressed in these two verses are of course members of the Christian community; a few of them may have been working for Christian masters, but most of them were owned by non-Christians.

This passage shows similarities as well as differences when compared with the instructions to slaves in other parts of the New Testament; for example, 1 Tim 6:1–2; Eph 6:5–8; Col 3:22–25; 1 Peter 2:18–21. Two major differences between the Ephesians and Colossians passages and the present passage may be mentioned: (1) In the Ephesians and Colossians passages, the duties of masters to slaves are discussed, whereas the present passage is silent about this matter. (2) In the Ephesians and Colossians passages, the slaves are urged to work as if they are serving God, whereas here, only service to the slave’s owner is mentioned.

For a discussion of the attitude of the early church toward slavery, see A Handbook on The First Letter of Peter page 77.

Titus 2:9

Bid is not in the Greek text, which simply contains the infinitive form for “to be submissive.” However, a verb is needed in order to signal that these are still instructions to Titus and not direct admonitions to slaves. Translations therefore supply what they believe to be the appropriate verb; for example, “teach” (NIV), “tell” (NRSV), compare Phps “Slaves should be told.” TEV avoids the problem by using a third-person imperative form, “Slaves are to submit …”

For slaves see discussion on “slavery” in 1 Tim 6:1. Submissive also occurs in verse 5 of this chapter, for which see discussion there. The Greek here can be either passive (so NIV “be subject”) or more likely middle, hence reflexive (so TEV “to submit themselves”).

For masters see 1 Tim 6:1 and 6:2.

To give satisfaction is literally “to be pleasing” (compare TEV “to please”). As in verses 6–7, in every respect (literally “in everything”) can go either with the verb “to submit,” as the UBS Greek text has it (compare NABR “under the control of their masters in all respects,” also TNT, NJB “obedient to their masters in everything,” REB “respect their masters’ authority in everything), or with “to be pleasing” (in addition to TEV, also Phps “to give them satisfactory service in every way,” JB “always do what they want”). It is of course possible to relate “submit” to “please,” with submission being a specific way of pleasing (compare CEV “please their owners by obeying them in everything”).

Refractory translates a verb that means “to speak against someone,” “to talk in opposition to someone,” “to answer back.” It would be very difficult for slaves to keep their peace, especially when they feel they are being treated unjustly by cruel and harsh masters.

Titus 2:10

Pilfer translates a verb that refers to the misappropriation of funds for one’s own benefit; hence “to embezzle.” It is used twice in Acts 5, in connection with the story of Ananias and Sapphira. This was a common temptation for slaves, since many of them were entrusted with the task of buying, and often were in charge of large amounts of money. Since money seems to be involved, it will be helpful in many languages to say “steal money from …”

Instead of engaging in these two negative acts, that is, of stealing and of talking back to their masters, slaves must display qualities that prove that they can be trusted.

For show see 1 Tim 1:16 (where it is translated “display”).

Show entire and true fidelity translates a Greek expression that can literally be rendered “displaying all good faith,” with “faith” understood not as trust or confidence that slaves should have toward their masters, but as “trustworthiness” or “dependability” that they should exhibit to their masters, with “all” defining the constancy of this trustworthiness, and “good” defining its genuineness (compare NRSV “complete and perfect fidelity”). Another way to express this clause is “They must show their masters that they are completely honest and trustworthy.”

The purpose of the slaves’ behavior is made clear in the last part of this verse, namely, to insure that people regard the Christian message in a positive manner. In everything probably refers to the slaves’ behavior; hence “by everything they do” (at). Adorn is found in 1 Tim 2:9, where it is used to describe how women make themselves attractive, and that seems to be the meaning here as well. They can refer to other people, but in view of the meaning of adorn as “to make attractive,” it is much more logical to take the slaves themselves as the antecedent of they. But of course the beneficiaries of the slaves’ behavior are other people, including the masters. In other words, as the slaves make the message about God as Savior attractive, other people will also see how good and attractive this message is. Doctrine is literally “teaching” but in this context refers to an established body of teaching that is accepted as correct by the Christian community. For God our Savior see 1 Tim 1:1. The expression the doctrine of God is a genitive construction that can either be subjective (that is, “the doctrine from God”) or, more likely, objective (that is, “the doctrine about God”). An alternative translation model for this final sentence is “And because of their good behavior, everyone will show respect for the teaching about God our Savior.”

Alternative translation models for verses 9 and 10 are:

9 Tell slaves to obey their owners and cause them to be happy with everything they do. They must not talk back to their owners 10 or steal money from them. Instead they must show their owners that they are completely honest and trustworthy. And because of their good behavior, everyone will show great respect for the teaching about God our [inclusive] Savior.


9 Tell slaves always to please their masters by obeying them. They must not talk back … 10 … And everyone will show great respect for the teaching about God our [inclusive] Savior when they see how well these slaves behave.

God’s Grace for the Salvation of All People 2:11–15

These verses give the theological basis for the previous section, that is, they give the reason why Titus should teach Christians to display exemplary behavior. This relation is marked by the word For at the beginning of verse 10. It is as if Paul was saying “The reason why you should teach Christians to behave this way is because …,” or simply “It is for this reason that …” At the same time this section also explains in some way the content of the last part of verse 10, namely, “the doctrine of God our Savior.”

This theological basis is about God’s grace that has been revealed for the purpose of bringing salvation for all humankind. Furthermore, this grace enables Christians to live lives that are acceptable to God as they wait for the return of Jesus Christ.

Section Heading: the suggested heading for this section, “God’s grace for the salvation of all people,” may also be rendered “God wants all people to be saved” or “God loves all people and wants to save them.”

Titus 2:11

For grace see 1 Tim 1:2. The grace of God here is God’s saving love and favor. Has appeared means that God has made this grace known. It may not be natural in some languages to talk about grace appearing; it may be more natural to say that God has made his grace known (so TEV, compare CEV “God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people”). The prepositional phrase for the salvation translates “salvation” in the dative case; this can be interpreted as stating purpose; hence “in order to bring salvation” (compare NRSV “bringing salvation”), “for the purpose of providing the opportunity to experience salvation.” All men (TEV “all people”) may be connected either with appeared (compare NIV “has appeared to all men”) or with salvation (so TEV “the salvation of all people”). While either is possible, the Greek word order favors the latter.

For salvation see comments on “save” in 1 Tim 1:15.

Alternative translation models for this verse are:

For God has shown how kind (or. merciful) he is by providing the means for saving all people.


For God has shown how kind he is by coming to save all people.

Titus 2:12

This verse is part of a long sentence that begins in verse 11 and ends in verse 14, a form that is retained by RSV. Many translations start a new sentence here in order to clearly indicate that the subject of this verse is “grace” mentioned in verse 11 (for example, TEV “That grace,” TNT “It”).

This verse relates “grace” to Christian behavior, that is, it is revealed for the purpose of showing Christians how to live properly in this world. “Grace” is here personified, since it is able to train; this may be a problem in some languages, in which case the verse can be restructured to show that it is indeed God who does the training, and “grace” is God’s instrument (for example, “By this grace God instructs us” or “Through his kindness God …”; compare REB “and by it we are disciplined …”).

Training translates a participial form of the verb that refers to the education and disciplining of a child; hence “to teach,” “to instruct,” “to discipline” (see further on “learn” in 1 Tim 1:20 and on “correcting” in 2 Tim 2:25). The object of training is us, which in this context is a general reference to Christians, including Titus, and therefore should be translated as inclusive. The instruction consists of negative and positive elements. Negatively we are to renounce (“give up,” see “disowned” in 1 Tim 5:8) irreligion and worldly passions.

Irreligion is the negative form of the word often used in these letters to mean “godliness” or “religion,” hence “godlessness,” “ungodliness.” See further on 2 Tim 2:16. Other ways of expressing this are “wicked ways” (CEV), “way of life which does not reverence God.”

Worldly translates a term that pertains to systems or standards of this world, with the implication that this world is bad or corrupt. For passions see “desires” and comments in 1 Tim 6:9. Worldly passions are desires that are according to worldly standards resulting in immoral behavior and therefore against the will of God.

Positively we are to live lives characterized by sobriety, uprightness, and godliness. For sober see “sensible” in 1 Tim 3:2; for upright see on Titus 1:8; for godly see 2 Tim 3:12. For in this world see on 1 Tim 6:17.

Alternative translation models for the first part of this verse are:

God’s kindness to us instructs us to renounce our [inclusive] wicked ways (or, sinful life) and worldly desires …


Through his kindness God teaches us [inclusive] to …


He [God] taught us …

Titus 2:13

The living of the Christian life is in the context of “waiting,” which is to say that the present is always related to the future. Awaiting is literally “looking for,” with the confidence that the search will be successful. “To wait” in this context therefore includes the expectation and confidence that what is being awaited will come in due time. What we wait for is, as NRSV puts it, “the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Several observations need to be made. “The blessed hope and the manifestation” is most probably a hendiadys, with “manifestation” being the content of the “hope.” “Manifestation” is related to the word translated “has appeared” in verse 11; hence the appearing. Hope once again is not simply wishing for something but expecting something with confidence (see further on 1 Tim 1:1). This hope is described as blessed (for which see 1 Tim 1:11 and 6:15), which TEV has correctly restructured as “the blessed day we hope for.” Therefore what we are waiting for with confidence is the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. It is possible to take glory as a noun describing appearing; hence “glorious appearing” (compare KJV); it is more likely, however, that glory is what is going to “appear.” It is probably best to take appearing as referring to the second coming of Jesus Christ, during which time his glory will be revealed. Glory here may mean “greatness,” “majesty,” or “power to save,” or else Christ’s very nature as someone who is equal to God and the same as God.

As the RSV footnote shows, our great God and Savior Jesus Christ can also be rendered as “the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” The question is, is this referring to Jesus Christ alone, or to both God and Jesus Christ? Either one is possible, although the translation in the RSV text seems to be closer to the Greek text for the following reasons: (1) Grammatically there is only one definite article in the phrase, before “God,” and it should be assumed before Savior as well. So literally the Greek text reads “of the God and Savior of us.” This argument becomes more telling if one takes into account the fact that “Savior” occurs five other times in Titus, and in all five cases with the definite article. (2) The expression “God and Savior” exists as a definite unit in both the mystery religions and in the Septuagint. (3) Finally, if we are correct in relating this passage to the second coming of Christ, it is rather unlikely that God the Father would be spoken of as also returning with the Son. In view of all this, God in this verse is better understood as a noun that, together with Savior, describes the nature of Jesus Christ.

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

We [inclusive] wait expectantly for the wonderful Day when our [inclusive] God and Savior Jesus Christ returns gloriously.

Titus 2:14

This verse gives a further elaboration of the role and function of Christ Jesus, focusing primarily on his first appearance in history.

As RSV shows, this verse is still part of the long sentence that began at verse 11. As in similar cases, this long sentence may need to be subdivided into shorter and more manageable sentences, depending of course on the receptor language and the intended audience for the translation.

The first part is a general statement that Christ gave himself for us, which is a reference to his vicarious suffering and death (compare REB “He it is who sacrificed himself for us”). A similar statement occurs in 1 Tim 2:6. Us here refers to all believers, including Titus, and should be translated as inclusive throughout this passage.

The purpose of Christ giving himself for us is to redeem us from all iniquity. The verb for to redeem appears only here, in Luke 24:21, and in 1 Peter 1:18. In nonbiblical writings it refers to the payment of a certain amount of money to secure the freedom of slaves or of prisoners of war. In the Old Testament it is used to describe God’s powerful act of setting the Israelites free from their slavery in Egypt. This meaning seems to have been the immediate background of the usage of this term in the New Testament, so that it refers to God’s (or, Christ’s) powerful way of setting people free from the power of sin. This meaning is also central in the present passage, where redeem can be accurately rendered as “set free” or “rescue” (TEV). In some languages the repetition of the pronoun us in the first part of the verse will be unnatural style. In such a case one may say “He gave (or, sacrificed) himself to rescue us from …”

Iniquity is literally “lawlessness,” that is, living in complete disregard of moral and ethical laws, and by implication living in wickedness.

Positively, Christ’s giving up of himself has for its purpose to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. Purify is a ritual term referring to the act of making something or someone free from ritual contamination, and therefore acceptable as an instrument for worship. An extended meaning of this word is to make someone morally clean, that is, free from all moral impurity or from any act that is not worthy of God’s people. A people is equivalent to us in the first part of this verse, and this may be made clear in the translation (for example TEV “to make us a pure people,” REB “to make us his own people”). Of his own translates a Greek word that means “special,” hence TEV “who belong to him alone.” Thus purified we are then enabled to become zealous for good deeds, that is, “eager to do good.”

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

He sacrificed himself to rescue us [inclusive] from every wicked thing (or, all evil ways) and free us from all impurity so that we may be his own people who are eager to do good.

Titus 2:15

This section ends with another direct appeal to Titus, exhorting him to use his teaching function with authority, and not to allow anyone to undermine him.

Declare is literally “speak,” for which see verse 1 of this chapter. These things refers to everything that is contained in this chapter. For exhort see 1 Tim 1:3 and verse 6 of this chapter. For reprove see “Rebuke” in 1 Tim 5:20. For authority see comments on 1 Tim 1:1, where the same word is translated “command.” The focus here is on Titus’ authority as a pastor and a church leader. For disregard see 1 Tim 4:12, where a different verb is used but with the same meaning, namely “despise,” “deprecate.” The last sentence in this verse can be translated positively; for example, CEV “Make sure you earn everyone’s respect.” However, it does seem that the negative has greater force and effect (see RSV and TEV).

The Attitude of Christians Toward the Authorities 3:1–8a


Once again the practical applications of the Christian faith are defined, this time in terms of the Christians’ attitude toward government in particular and toward all other people in general, especially those who do not belong to the Christian community.

Section Heading: the TEV section heading for 3:1–11, “Christian Conduct,” may also be expressed as “How Christians should behave toward others.” Or one may wish to use the suggested outline heading of this section, 3:1–8a, in which case one may translate “How Christians should act toward the government,” “The attitude of Christians toward the government,” “How Christians should act toward government leaders,” or “Christians and the government.”

Chapter 3

Titus 3:1

Paul starts off by defining the proper attitude of Christians toward those in authority.

Remind implies that what follows is not new information but is already known by those who are being addressed. Sometimes this is expressed by a statement like “Continue to bring these matters to their attention.” See further on 2 Tim 1:6 and 2:14.

Them refers to the Christians in Crete, including and especially all the classes of people mentioned in chapter 2; it is these people who are the object of Titus’ teaching as mentioned in 2:15, to which the present verse is logically connected. Since this is the first verse of a new chapter, it will be helpful in many languages to render Remind them as “Remind the Cretan Christians” or “You should counsel the believers to …”

For submissive see 2:5.

Rulers translates a word that in certain contexts refers to rulers and those who have authority, whether human or nonhuman. In the present context the word definitely refers to those who have authority or power in government, including the emperor and governors. So one may also translate as “people who have power to rule over others.”

Authorities translates the plural form of the word that means “authority,” or “power.” In this context it is not authority as a governing principle that is referred to but the people who hold such authority.

In the New Testament the two Greek terms for rulers and authorities appear together ten times, always in the order found in this verse. Taking into account the way these terms are used in other places, we can conclude safely that rulers and authorities do not refer to the leaders of the Christian movement but to political rulers and government officials. These two terms are almost synonymous in meaning in this context. In fact, the construction here can be treated as a hendiadys, with one term modifying the other; for example, “authorities who rule” or “powerful rulers.” Another possibility, of course, is for translators to find two words, one concentrating on the aspect of “ruling over others,” and the other “the right or authority to rule.” In some languages rulers will be the equivalent of “high chiefs,” and authorities will be “minor chiefs” or “government officials.”

Obedient translates a compound word composed of the word for “obey” and the word for “ruler,” hence KJV “obey magistrates.” Interpreted in this manner, it is parallel to submissive to rulers.… In some cases it will be possible to say “and not be disobedient” or “and not be rebellious” (so CEV).

Ready is “fully prepared.” Honest work is literally “good work,” for which see “good deeds” in 1 Tim 2:10. This may be related to what precedes, in which case it is an expression of obedience and submission to the government authorities; it is more likely, however, that this is related to what follows, in which case honest work here refers to any good deed that is done for the benefit of others. If this latter option is valid, then it is only submission and obedience that defines the Christian’s behavior toward government leaders, while the Christian’s conduct and attitude toward others includes good works and the four items mentioned in the next verse.

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

You must counsel the Christians there to obey those who have the power to rule (or, kings [high chiefs]) and government officials, and not be disobedient. They [the Christians] must always be ready to do good deeds.

Titus 3:2

Paul continues to define the Christian’s behavior and attitude toward people in general, including and especially non-Christians. This consists of four items, two negative and two positive.

Speak evil is literally “blaspheme,” for which see 1 Tim 1:13 and 20. In the New Testament the usual meaning of the verb is to speak evil against a spiritual being, as, for example, God, or the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it also means to insult and slander other people, which is the case in the present context. In many languages it will be expressed as “say bad (or, evil) things about.” No one coupled with everyone at the end of the verse stresses the fact that Christians should act in an appropriate manner toward all people.

The word for avoid quarreling is a combination of a negative prefix and a word that comes from the verb “to fight, to quarrel,” either by words or by actions. This negative focus can be retained (as, for example, NEB “not to pick quarrels”); however, it is also possible to translate the word positively (for example, TEV “peaceful,” NIV “peaceable”). See further on “not quarrelsome” in 1 Tim 3:3.

For gentle see 1 Tim 3:3. The word describes a person who is not only gentle but fair, patient, and considerate in dealing with others (so JB “courteous,” Phps “reasonable”).

For show see 1 Tim 1:16, where it is translated “display.”

For perfect courtesy see 1 Tim 6:11, where the word is translated “gentleness.” There is an overlap of meaning between this and the preceding term gentle, as the following translations show, arranged according to RSV equivalents of gentle—perfect courtesy:

“friendly—show a gentle attitude” (TEV)

“considerate—show true humility” (NIV)

“courteous—always polite” (JB)

“show forbearance—show a consistently gentle disposition” (NEB)

“reasonable—showing every consideration” (Phps)


As in the previous chapter, Paul once again gives a theological basis for the kind of behavior he is advocating in the first two verses of this chapter. For has exactly the same usage here as in 2:11. The Cretan Christians are to submit to government authorities and do good to every one, because they (the Christians) were at one time living the same wicked life but are now living a life acceptable to God, not because of any effort of their own, but solely by the grace of God. Since there is a natural break between verse 2 and verse 3, it is advisable to start a new paragraph at verse 3.

Titus 3:3

In the Greek, we is clearly emphatic. The pronoun may either be exclusive or inclusive. If the former, it refers primarily to Paul and can therefore be changed to a singular first person pronoun. If the latter, then it refers to Paul and Titus, and perhaps even to a wider audience, since the letter is expected to be read not only to Titus but to the assembled church as well. Since the inclusive pronoun is used both before and after this verse, it seems best to take the pronoun here in the inclusive sense as well.

Were once signals the state or condition being discussed as something in the past and as no longer true in the present. What is clearly being referred to is the pre-Christian stage, that is, before these people came to trust in Christ and acknowledge him as Savior and Lord. This may be more true of Titus because of his Greek background; Jews did believe in God and adhered to strict ethical and moral standards.

Once refers to a previous time before they became Christians. Other ways to render once are “at an earlier time,” “previously,” “used to be,” or even “before we became Christians.”

What follows is another list of vices, but this time focusing on the general condition of people who have not yet heard or responded to the gospel message. This list bears some semblance with other lists of this nature in the New Testament (for example, Rom 1:29–31; 1 Cor 6:9–11).

There are six matters included in the list, the first three being single ones, and the last three containing two items each. Furthermore, the list seems to be organized in such a way that there is a logical progression starting with spiritual insensitivity and disobedience to God, then being deceived by spiritual forces, then being controlled by various self-serving desires, then a negative attitude toward others, and finally hatred as the controlling factor of one’s life.

For foolish see 1 Tim 6:9, where the word is translated “senseless.” The idea in focus here is spiritual stupidity, that is, the unwillingness to use one’s mental faculties in order to understand things related to God.

Unwillingness to understand results in failure to obey; for disobedient see 2 Tim 3:2, where the word is used to describe unwillingness to obey one’s parents. Here the focus is on not obeying God.

Led astray is literally “deceived,” for which see 2 Tim 3:13. Perhaps the deceivers here are spiritual forces, as, for instance, those mentioned in 1 Tim 4:1.

Slaves to translates a Greek participle of the verb “to serve,” “to be a slave of.” It is possible to combine this with the previous verb, as, for example, JB “misled and enslaved …” Most translations, however, take these separately.

For passions see 1 Tim 6:9, where the word is translated “desires.” Pleasures overlaps in meaning with the previous one, since it can refer also to desire for physical and sexual pleasure; in the present context, however, it is better to take it as referring to that which produces enjoyment and is therefore pleasurable, but in a negative sense; hence “dissipation” (NJB), “pleasures of every kind” (REB), “all sorts of desires and pleasures” (CEV).

Being enslaved by these passions and pleasures means being completely under their control, resulting in bondage and lack of freedom. This is of course in stark contrast to being enslaved by Christ, which produces not bondage but real freedom.

For passing our days see 1 Tim 2:2, where it is translated “lead … life.” The verb occurs only in these two places in the whole New Testament.

Malice translates a comprehensive term for evil or wickedness; it is therefore possible that malice is not an accurate translation of the Greek term. What is needed is a more generic term for evil; for example, “wickedness.”

For envy see 1 Tim 6:4. It describes a negative attitude that people have against someone whom they view as being in a more advantageous position than they are. This attitude is characterized by a feeling of resentment and an eager desire to possess whatever the other person has.

Hated by men is literally “hateful,” which can be understood as a generic quality. The next part of the expression, hating one another, can be interpreted as an explanation of the generic. A possible restructuring, then, is “we were full of hate; we hated others, and others hated us in return.”

The idea of “hate” may be expressed as “detest,” “despise,” “wish evil toward,” “treat as an enemy,” or in certain languages as “not like to look at,” or even figuratively, “have a heart that is not warm toward.”

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

For we ourselves, before we became Christians, were foolish, disobedient to God, and led astray by evil. We were as it were the slaves of all sorts of desires and pleasures. We were always evil and were jealous of other people. We were hateful people; everyone hated us and we hated them.


Verses 4–7 are one sentence in the Greek. In them Paul explains God’s answer to the depraved human condition as outlined in the previous verse. The starting point, and to a certain extent the foundation of this response, is the nature of God as good, loving, and kind. The salvation that he bestows is not dependent on anything that people have done but is dependent solely on his loving kindness.

One further note: the UBS Greek New Testament indents verses 4–7 in such a way that they can be identified as poetic material. It is possible, therefore, to translate these verses as poetry, something which CEV has done. For the purpose of doing this, the poem divides naturally into three stanzas. The first stanza consists of verses 4–5a, which describes the action of God. The second stanza is 5b, which describes the action of God’s Spirit. Finally, the third stanza consists of verses 6 and 7, which describes the action of Jesus Christ. For translating poetry see 1 Tim 3:16.

Titus 3:4

The conjunction but accents and signals the contrast between the state of people before and after they have received God’s mercy and experienced God’s salvation. When translating this passage as prose, it will be necessary to retain this signal. However, when translating it as poetry, it is permissible to eliminate this signal, since it will not be natural in poetry to begin with a conjunction. It is possible, however, to retain but as an introduction to the intended poetic section.

Goodness is a quality that expresses itself in action, hence, “kindness.” Loving kindness has a similar meaning in that it does not only refer to feeling or emotion but to positive acts of kindness toward others. The fact that these two are synonyms is clear from the various translation models, as for example goodness and loving kindness (RSV), “kindness and love” (TEV), “how good and kind” (CEV).

For God our Savior see 1 Tim 1:1.

For appeared see 2:11 and the related word in 2:13.

It may not be possible in some languages to talk about kindness or love appearing, in which case some restructuring will be necessary; for example, TEV “was revealed.” It will also be possible to say “when God our Savior showed his love and kindness to us,” or even “when God our salvation giver became kind to us.”

Titus 3:5

This verse continues the sentence that began in the previous verse; in fact, the main verb (he saved us) is included in this verse. It may be advisable and even necessary to include this main verb with the previous verse and start a new sentence here, as CEV has done.

While the previous verse gives the ground, basis, and setting of God’s saving act, this verse gives the reason for this saving act and how it is effected.

The first assertion is that salvation is wholly dependent on God’s mercy and not on human effort of any kind. For saved see 1 Tim 1:15.

For righteousness see 1 Tim 6:11. In the present context deeds done by us in righteousness can be saying “things that we do because we are good” or “good things that we ourselves have done” (so TEV “any good deeds that we ourselves have done”).

In virtue of translates a preposition that can be rendered “in accordance to,” “in the manner of,” “in accordance with.” This means that salvation is solely dependent on God’s mercy, that it is God’s nature as merciful that makes him save us, and that because of God’s mercy he gives us salvation and new life.

For mercy see 1 Tim 1:2. The main element of mercy is not “pity” but “compassion” and “love,” both of which are not deserved by the recipient.

The second half of this verse is rather difficult. A literal translation of the Greek text is as follows: “through (or, by) the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” We will first examine these words separately and then analyze the phrase in its entirety in order to determine what it means.

Washing translates a rare word used only here and in Eph 5:26; it refers to ceremonial washing that is most likely related to baptism. However, the focus here doesn’t seem to be the rite of baptism itself but its function as a means of purification or spiritual cleansing. So in many languages one must say “washes our hearts” or “purifies our hearts.”

Regeneration also translates a rare word, occurring only here and in Matt 19:28. In the Matthean reference it refers to the “renewal” of the world. In the present context the term is used to describe a complete change in one’s way of life; hence “rebirth.”

Likewise the word for renewal appears only twice in the New Testament, here and in Rom 12:2. The term is derived from a verb that means “to cause something or someone to become new,” with the implication that this is a good thing.

What does the expression mean? There are several possibilities.

1.    Rebirth and renewal are two separate things, with rebirth relating to washing, and renewal relating to the Holy Spirit. A literal translation of the text tends to suggest this (in addition to RSV, see NIV “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”; JB “He saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit”). In this understanding we have here two ways by which God saves us: through rebirth that is effected through washing, and through renewal that is effected by the Holy Spirit. Or perhaps rebirth and renewal are two separate stages in the believer’s life, with rebirth equivalent to conversion and being experienced at the time of baptism (which is what washing is), and renewal referring to a subsequent activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

2.    Washing is equivalent to rebirth and renewal. This produces a sentence like “He saved us through the washing, that is, the rebirth and renewal that is effected by the Holy Spirit.”

3.    Washing is a sign of rebirth and renewal. This produces a sentence like “He saved us by means of the washing that is a sign that we have experienced rebirth and renewal from the Holy Spirit.

4.    Washing as spiritual cleansing is the means by which the Holy Spirit works out rebirth and renewal. This takes the genitive “of the Holy Spirit” as marking the Holy Spirit as agent for both rebirth and renewal that in turn are taken as synonyms. The agent of washing may also be the Holy Spirit, and this information may be made explicit in the translation. However, this is not in focus in the text. This last option is what is preferred in this Handbook.

A possible translation is “God saved us through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us and making us spiritually clean.”

Alternative translation models for verses 4 and 5 are:

4 But when God our Savior showed his love and kindness to us, 5 he saved us. This was not because we ourselves had done any good thing, but because he [God] was merciful to us. He saved us through the power of the Holy Spirit (or, his Spirit), who gives us a new birth and new life by washing our lives and making them pure.


4 But God our Savior showed us how good and kind he is. 5 He saved us because he is merciful and not because of any good deeds we have done. Through the power of his Spirit he washed us and caused us to be born again and have new life.

Titus 3:6

The subject of this verse is the Holy Spirit, who is mentioned in the previous verse as the agent of renewal. RSV keeps the form of the Greek text and renders this verse as part of the sentence that began in verse 4, with which referring to the Holy Spirit, and he referring to God. It may be more appropriate to start a new sentence here, as many translations have done (for example, TEV, NRSV “This Spirit he poured …”).

The word for poured out literally means “to pour,” “to spill.” The figure of the Holy Spirit being poured out is used in the book of Acts see, for example, Acts 2:17–18, 33; 10:45), but it originates from the Greek translation of the book of Joel (2:28–30). This figure can of course be retained if it is appropriate in the receptor language. But if retaining the figure causes difficulties, then it can be dropped in favor of a more direct expression; for example, “gave,” “bestowed,” “sent.”

The bestowing of the Holy Spirit is described by the word richly or (TEV) “abundantly,” which is appropriate to the figure of liquid being poured out. This of course does not mean that we have received a large dose of the Holy Spirit, but that the Holy Spirit was given to us freely and generously, and that the Holy Spirit is always available to help us.

The means by which God poured out the Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ our Savior. This expression occurs only here in the whole New Testament. However, there are equivalent expressions identifying Jesus Christ as Savior, as for instance “our Savior Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 1:10); “Christ Jesus our Savior” (Titus 1:4); “great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). For the term Savior see 1 Tim 1:1. In some languages the phrase through Jesus Christ our Savior will be expressed as an instrumental; for example, “God used Jesus Christ our Savior to freely give us …” or “God used Jesus Christ, the one who frees us from sin, to freely give us …” In other languages one may express this in a similar way to CEV: “God sent Jesus Christ our Savior to give us …”

The ordering of the elements of this verse will vary from language to language. One possible order is represented by TEV, with the agent, God, in initial position, and the instrument, Jesus Christ, in final position. It is also possible to begin with the instrument and end with the recipients, us.

As in the rest of the letter, us should be translated as inclusive.

Alternative translation models for this verse are:

God freely gave the Holy spirit to us [inclusive] through Jesus Christ our Savior.


Through Jesus Christ our Savior, God, without reservation, caused his Spirit to live in us.


God sent Jesus Christ our Savior to let us freely have the Holy Spirit.

Titus 3:7–8

This is the last part of the sentence that began in verse 4, and it explains the purpose for the giving of the Holy Spirit; this is signaled by so that at the beginning of the verse.

Justified comes from a verb that is related to the word “righteousness.” Generally in the New Testament letters, “to justify” (and the noun form “righteousness”) as an activity of God refers to his righting a wrong, the goal of such “righting” being people. God’s justifying act therefore is his putting people in a right relationship with himself, that is, with God. Part of this justifying act is God’s forgiveness of people’s sins, and this is accomplished by means of Jesus’ death on the cross.

For grace see 1 Tim 1:2, 14. His can refer either to God or to Jesus Christ; either one is possible, and the translator will just have to make a choice. In many languages it will be helpful to begin a new sentence at the beginning of this verse; for example, “He did this so that through his [God’s] kindness he might put us [inclusive] right with himself” or “He did this so that through the kindness of Jesus he [God] might put us right with himself.”

For hope see 1 Tim 1:1. For eternal life see 1 Tim 1:16.

Heirs in hope of eternal life translates exactly the Greek text, which does not make the meaning clear. Ordinarily an heir is one who receives either money or property as a result of someone dying. The biblical understanding is quite different. To a Jew in New Testament times, the word “inheritance” was a reminder of God’s promise to give to Israel Canaan, the promised land, and also a reminder of what God has done in order to fulfill that promise. As a development of this, the word “inheritance” came to be used figuratively to refer to favors and blessings from God. To be an “heir” is to receive what God has promised.

With this background heirs in hope of eternal life can be restructured as “we might hope to receive eternal life, as God has promised us” or “… the eternal life that God has promised us.”

It should be noted that we might be justified by his grace is a participial phrase, which literally translated is “having been justified by his grace” (NRSV). A possible interpretation is then that the purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit is not our justification but our becoming recipients of eternal life. Justification can then be viewed as a given, as something that is already in effect, and which gives the reason for the hope of eternal life. The following restructuring of verses 6–7 properly expresses these relationships:

Through Jesus Christ our Savior, God poured out abundantly the Holy Spirit on us, so that we might hope to receive the eternal life that God has promised us. And we have this hope because, by God’s saving love, he has put us into a right relationship with himself.

The saying is sure refers back to the previous section, namely verses 4–7. This is the fifth of the so-called “faithful sayings” in the Pastoral Letters. The other occurrences are in 1 Tim 1:15; 1 Tim 3:1; 4:9; and 2 Tim 2:11. While this statement is part of verse 8, it is better treated as the conclusion of the previous paragraph, as most translations have it. In fact, it is advisable to begin a new section with 8b (compare JB) in order to make certain that 8a refers to what precedes rather than to what follows.

Alternative translation models for verses 6–8a are: 6 God used Jesus Christ our Savior to freely give us the Holy spirit, 7 so that we might hope to receive the eternal life that God has promised to give us. And we can be sure of this because God, through his saving love, has put us right with himself. 8a This is certainly a true message.


6 Through Jesus Christ our Savior God freely gave us his Spirit. 7 He did this so that through the loving kindness of Jesus he [God] might put us right with himself, and we will receive from him the eternal life that we are hoping for. 8a What I have been saying is all true.


6 God sent Jesus Christ our [inclusive] Savior … 7 He [God] did this so that through his [God’s] loving kindness he might put us right with himself.…

Instructions for Proper Christian Conduct in Society 3:8b–11


After assuring Titus of the trustworthiness of the teaching that he has just presented, Paul continues and encourages Titus to teach these things for the good of the believers. At the same time Paul exhorts him to avoid the stupid arguments that the false teachers love to indulge in. And, finally, Titus is told how to deal with those who create division within the church.

Section Heading: the suggested heading for this section may also be rendered “How Christians should act in society,” “The proper conduct of Christians among people,” or simply “The proper conduct of Christians,” or even “Instructions for how Christians should live (or, walk) their lives.”

Titus 3:8b

For desire see 1 Tim 2:8. A literal translation of the Greek (for example, RSV) sounds a bit awkward; TEV’s “I want you to” sounds much better. The word for insist occurs only here and in 1 Tim 1:7, where it is translated as “make assertions,” and for which see discussion there. The verb means to state something with confidence, firmness, and certainty, hence to affirm, to emphasize (compare TEV “give special emphasis”). These things includes the saying just referred to, but perhaps it also refers to the first seven verses of this chapter, as shown by the emphasis on good deeds that is also the concern in verse 1. These things may also be rendered as “the matters I have just spoken about.”

The purpose for insisting on these matters is to motivate Christians for good deeds. Have believed literally translates the perfect participle, which indicates an action that occurred in the past but with its effect continuing to the present. Those who have believed in God obviously refers to Christians; Paul may have used this expression here deliberately in order to emphasize the place of faith in the salvation process, especially since it is not at all mentioned in verses 4–7.

May be careful translates the subjunctive form of a verb that occurs only here in the whole New Testament, and that focuses on putting serious consideration and careful thought on something (so TEV “be concerned,” JB “may keep their minds constantly occupied,” Phps “may concentrate upon,” or one may use an idiomatic expression such as “set their minds [hearts/livers] to”).

To apply themselves translates a verb that is often translated “to rule” or “manage” (see, for example, 1 Tim 3:4, 5, 12). Here the sense is “to make something one’s primary concern,” “to completely devote oneself to something,” “to engage in something with intense devotion” (so TEV “giving their time,” JB “occupied in”). In the present context, that something to which they should devote themselves to is good deeds (for which see 1 Tim 2:10), which, as previously mentioned, is also the theme of verse 1. These good deeds are spoken of as both excellent (for which see 1 Tim 1:8) and profitable (for which see 1 Tim 4:8, where the word is translated “value”) to men, which in this context may be equivalent to “all men” in verse 2; hence TEV “everyone” (also NRSV).

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

I want you to firmly insist that the Christians there follow these teachings that I have just talked about. This will enable them to be concerned with using their time to do good deeds that will be good and useful for everyone.

Titus 3:9

But marks a contrast and clearly signals to Titus that, as he goes on with his ministry, there are certain things that he should not be doing, and one of these is following the example of the false teachers, especially in their interest in divisive theological issues that are of no value to the church.

Avoid translates a verb that refers to restraining oneself from participating in some activity. One may also say “Don’t have anything to do with.” For further discussion see 2 Tim 2:16.

What follows is a list consisting of four items, all of which are mentioned in the two letters to Timothy. For stupid controversies see 2 Tim 2:23. For genealogies see 1 Tim 1:4. For dissensions see 1 Tim 6:4. For quarrels see 1 Tim 6:4. There it is “disputes about words”; here it is quarrels over the law, which in this context probably refers to the Jewish Law or the Law of Moses. This would be expected, since many of the heretical teachers are Jewish converts to Christianity (see Titus 1:10). The law may also be expressed as “the law which Moses gave.”

All of these activities are to be avoided because they are unprofitable and futile. Unprofitable is the negative form of the word “profitable” in the previous verse. Futile comes from a verb that means “to be useless,” “to be worthless,” or “senseless” because of lack of content; hence “nonsense.” The point being stressed is that all this theological nonsense is the exact opposite of good deeds in so far as worth and usefulness are concerned.

Titus 3:10

After mentioning the teachings and actions of the heretical teachers, Paul now turns his attention to the teachers themselves, although in a subtle manner, referring to them by the expression a man who is factious. The word for factious appears only here in the whole New Testament; it is the word from which the modern word “heretic” is derived. The term is derived from the word that means “division” and therefore is used to describe the act of being divisive or causing divisions and splits within a certain group. KJV has used the word “heretic” in this verse, which seems to be less than accurate, since “heresy” as it is now understood puts focus on wrong or false doctrines that are professed by people, whereas the focus here is on the negative behavior of these people that for whatever reason gives rise to divisions and splits. It has been appropriately remarked by one commentator that, in the present-day church, people who are so intent on getting rid of heretics (in the sense that they hold different theological views) are in fact the ones who are causing the greatest divisions within the body of Christ! (Another way of putting it is that it is the people who want to get rid of heretics [in the modern sense] who in fact are the heretics [in the biblical sense]).

Admonishing comes from a verb that refers to advising someone regarding the serious consequences of some action; hence “to warn,” “to admonish,” “to caution.” Once or twice may mean “at least two times” (so TEV “Give at least two warnings”) or “no more than twice” (TNT; so also NRSV “after a first and second admonition,” REB “he should be allowed a second warning”). In languages that must give the content of the verb “admonish” or “warn,” one may translate “You must warn at least two times those who cause divisions in the church to stop doing that” or “You must say to those who cause people in the church to divide into groups, ‘Stop doing this!’ If you have to say this on two occasions and they won’t stop, don’t have …”

For the expression have nothing more to do with him, see 1 Tim 4:7, where a similar expression occurs; also 2 Tim 2:23. The expression may simply mean not to have any more dealings with the person so as to make them feel that they are no longer part of the Christian community, or less likely, to formally exclude the person from the church (hence excommunication). See further comments on 1 Tim 1:20.

Titus 3:11

Treating the factious person in this harsh way is justified by that person’s bad qualities, of which Titus is very much aware. Knowing refers to Titus’ knowledge about such a person. An equivalent expression is “I am sure you know” or “You must certainly know.”

Perverted translates the perfect passive form of a verb that occurs only here in the New Testament and is used to describe the act of departing from what is accepted as correct behavior. Some take this perversion to be in the area of thinking rather than of action (for example, TNT “perverted mind,” REB “distorted mind,” CEV “their minds are twisted”). This means that the focus here is not on doing what is wrong but on not believing what is right. This means that perverted here has the same meaning as “reject the truth” in 1:14. There is, however, no unanimity regarding this, and therefore it may be best to understand the term in a more general way, to include both perversion of mind and the resulting corrupt behavior.

For sinful see “persist in sin” in 1 Tim 5:20. This is actually a third person singular verb, present tense, in the Greek, indicating the habitual and continuous nature of the act of sinning.

The word for self-condemned occurs only here in the whole New Testament and refers to being condemned by, or as a result of, one’s own actions. This means that, in the case of the false teachers, there is no need for a formal trial, since their own actions are more than enough to prove that they are guilty of sinning against God and therefore deserve to be treated as outsiders.

How do these three items relate to each other? The Greek can be rendered literally as “having been perverted, such a one also sins by being self-condemned.” This seems to indicate that the initial act is perversion; this results in habitual sinfulness, and it is these sinful acts that prove that a person is guilty before God and therefore deserves to receive the punishment of being rejected by the church.

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

I am sure that you know that such a person has a twisted mind. His sins then show how guilty he is before God.

Final Instructions and Benediction 3:12–15

The letter concludes with some final instructions and greetings. The overarching theme of proper Christian conduct is once again emphasized (verse 14). Finally the letter ends with a one-line blessing.

Section Heading: for the TEV section heading “Final Instructions,” see 1 Tim 6:20–21 for further translation models. One may also say “Last instructions and benediction” or “Conclusion and benediction,” or even “Paul gives final instructions to Timothy and asks God to be kind to the Cretan Christians.”

Titus 3:12

Either Artemas or Tychicus presumably will take Titus’ place in Crete, and when either one arrives, Titus is instructed to join Paul at Nicopolis, since Paul plans to spend the winter there. There marks Paul as not being in Nicopolis when he was writing this letter; but wherever he was, it is certain that he was not in prison, since he was free to travel. There is nothing known about Artemas, since he is mentioned only here; Tychicus, however, is mentioned in 2 Tim 4:12 (see also Acts 20:4; Col 4:7; Eph 6:21), and it is safe to assume that these refer to the same person. As to Nicopolis (literally “city of victory”), there are at least seven cities at that time bearing this name, but it is likely that what is meant here is the city by that name that is located in Greece, northwest of Corinth and Athens, on the shore of the Adriatic Sea. This city, we are told, was founded by the emperor Augustus to mark his victory over Mark Antony in 31 b.c. CEV divides the first part of the verse into two sentences as follows: “I plan to send Artemas or Tychicus to you. After he arrives, please try your best to meet me at Nicopolis.” This will be a helpful model for many translators.

For do your best see 2 Tim 2:15.

Decided translates a verb that usually means “to judge,” but in this context it refers to the act of evaluating a situation and coming to a definite decision. The decision here is to stay in Nicopolis during the winter.

Winter is one of the four seasons in the nontropical parts of the world, the other three being spring, summer, and autumn. Of these four seasons, winter is the coldest. In the area where Paul lived, winter was also known for stormy weather, when the wind made it difficult to travel safely by ship. In languages where there is no word for winter, an equivalent expression may be used, as for example, “the cold season,” “when it gets cold,” or “the cold months.”

Titus 3:13

For Do your best see previous verse.

There is nothing else known about Zenas, since he is only mentioned here. He is identified as a lawyer, but it is not known whether he specialized in Roman, or Greek, or Jewish law. At any rate, since lawyer only functions to identify Zenas, it is not necessary to include any further explanations about it. Apollos is also mentioned in the book of Acts (18:24; 19:1) and in the Corinthian correspondence (1 Cor 1:12; 3:4; 16:12); it is possible that these references are talking about the same person, but of course it is difficult to be certain.

Speed … on their way can mean “to accompany,” “to escort”; but “to aid in travel” seems to be the meaning here. This same verb occurs in other parts of the New Testament in similar contexts (see, for example, Acts 15:3; 21:5; Rom 15:24; 1 Cor 16:6, 11; 2 Cor 1:16; 3 John 1:6), which seems to indicate that aiding Christian travelers was a usual practice at that time. Such aid was necessary since travel was quite difficult, and Christian travelers would feel much more at home with fellow Christians. In the present case, presumably Zenas and Apollos would have stayed in Crete for some time, and the instructions are for the time when they are ready to leave and go on with their journey. Their destination is not mentioned in the letter.

See (TEV “see to it”) is literally “in order that,” the sense being that Timothy should give all aid and assistance to the two travelers to guarantee that they have everything they need to continue on in their journey. Lack nothing is literally “nothing is lacking,” which refers to the things they need for their journey, including provisions. The idea may be expressed positively; for example, “they have everything they need” (TEV) or “everything they need for the journey.”

The very fact that Paul knows that Zenas and Apollos are in Crete has led some interpreters to infer that these two men must have been with Paul (wherever he was), and that when Paul had found out they were going through Crete, he requested them to take along his letter to Titus. Ingenious and attractive as this theory may be, it is at best speculative; it may or may not be true, but then, what difference does it make in the proper translation of this passage?

An alternative translation model for this verse is:

When Zenas the lawyer and Apollos get ready to leave, help them in every way you can, so that they will have everything they need for the journey.

Titus 3:14

And (Greek “and also”) marks the relation of this verse with what immediately precedes, namely, providing for the needs of the two travelers, Zenas and Apollos. Paul takes this opportunity to once again inculcate into the minds of the Cretan Christians the overarching theme of the letter, which is to do good. The meaning seems to be that, as Titus is urged to help the two travelers, so the Cretan Christians must also learn to help others.

Our people refers to the Cretan Christians; the our should be translated as inclusive, with the exception of languages where the dual form exists, in which case it should be used here to give the meaning “your people and mine.” In some languages it will be helpful to translate our people as “Cretan Christians” or “the believers in Crete.” Learn is in the present tense, which indicates a continuing process; moreover, what is meant here is perhaps not formal instruction but learning from actual practice and experience; hence “have the habit of,” “be in the habit of,” “practice regularly.”

For to apply themselves to good deeds, see verse 8 of this chapter. As already noted, engaging in good deeds is a theme that frequently occurs in the letter (see, for example, 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1). Regarding the RSV footnote, namely “enter honorable occupations,” see 3:8b. (Phps in fact reflects this position: “learn to earn what they need by honest work”; this justifies him to translate the last clause as “and so be self-supporting.”) It does seem, though, that since the expression “doing good deeds” is used in a generic way in previous occurrences in the letter, it would be logical to expect the same generic meaning here, in which case the RSV footnote would not be necessary. It should be noted that this note is omitted in NRSV.

One purpose of these good deeds is “to meet urgent needs” (NRSV). The word for urgent can also mean “necessary,” which means that these needs are “real” (TEV), “genuine” (TNT). These may refer to the needs of the Cretan Christians themselves (compare NJB “for their practical needs,” Phps “what they need,” NIV “daily necessities”), or more likely needs in general (compare NEB “the necessities of life,” also REB).

A further purpose of doing good deeds is so that they may not be unfruitful (“unproductive” [NRSV]). This continues to refer to the Cretan Christians. “Unproductive” may be another way of expressing the Greek figure, which is literally “without fruit,” an appropriate figure for a useless life, and in many languages it will be translated that way. Both RSV and TEV do not clearly mark this as purpose; in fact it can interpreted as a negative restatement of the first part of the verse; this is made clear by putting the two parts together: let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds … and not to be unfruitful. Or TEV “Our people must learn to spend their time doing good … they should not live useless lives.” Other translations reflecting this position include NIV “and not live unproductive lives,” JB “and not to be entirely unproductive,” NJB “and not to be unproductive,” also REB. This may be a valid rendering of the text. However, since in the Greek this clause starts with “so that” (NRSV), it is probably better to regard this as a purpose of doing good deeds.

Alternative translation models for this verse are:

The Cretan Christians must be in the habit of doing good deeds in order to provide for the real needs of people. This will help them [the Christians] to have productive lives.


The believers in Crete should lead productive lives (or, lives that bear fruit). So they must be in the habit of doing good deeds in order to provide for the daily necessities of others.

Titus 3:15

As is usual in New Testament letters (with a few exception, including 1 Timothy), there are final words of greetings and a benediction.

All who are with me refers to Christians who are with Paul at the time he was writing the letter. In some languages the plural All may be more appropriately translated as singular, that is, “everyone.” For send greetings and Greet see 2 Tim 4:19, 21.

Those who love us in the faith can be taken as an idiom referring specifically to Christians in Crete; hence “our dear Christian friends”; this is the position reflected in TEV. If there is a desire to translate this not as an idiom but as a real description of the Christians in Crete, it will be necessary to determine whether us is exclusive or inclusive. If the latter, Paul is including Titus; if the former, Paul is using the plural first person pronoun to refer to himself. A further matter is how to translate in the faith (literally “in faith,” without the article). Several options are possible: (1) Interpret faith as “right belief”; hence “who love us and believe in the same way we do” or “… believe what we do.” (2) Interpret faith as trust in Christ; hence “… trust Christ as we do.” (3) Interpret faith as the Christian faith; hence “fellow Christians who love us,” “our dear friends in the church.” (4) Take faith as faithfulness; hence “those who love us faithfully,” “the Christians who truly love us.” The inclination in this Handbook is to treat this expression as an idiom, retaining the form; but if there is to be a choice between the various other alternatives as outlined above, it should be either the first or the third options.

For Grace be with you all, see 1 Tim 6:21 and 2 Tim 4:22, where the second person pronoun is used as well. The source of this grace is most probably Jesus Christ, since this is the usual practice at the end of letters in the New Testament.

Alternative translation models for this verse are:

Everyone here with me sends greetings to you, Titus. Tell our dear Christian friends there that we greet them (or, think kindly of them).

May Christ be merciful to you all.


Everyone here with me sends greetings to you. Please give our greetings to all those who love us and believe in the same way we do.

I pray that Christ will be kind to all of you.


… Please give greetings to all our fellow Christians who love us.…

Selected Bibliography

Bible Texts and Versions Cited


The Greek New Testament. 4th edition, 1983. B. Aland, K. Aland, J. Karavidopoulos, C. M. Martini, and B. M. Metzger, editors. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft and United Bible Societies. (Cited as UBS Greek New Testament.)

Novum Testamentum Graece. 27th edition, 1993. B. Aland, K. Aland, J. Karavidopoulos, C. M. Martini, and B. M. Metzger, editors. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.


The Bible: A New Translation. 1926. James Moffatt, translator. London: Hodder & Stoughton. (Cited as Mft.)

La Bible en française courant. 1986. Paris: Alliance Biblique Universelle. (Cited as French common language version, or FRCL.)

The Complete Bible: An American Translation. 1923, 1927, 1948. The Old Testament translated by J. M. Powis Smith and others; the Apocrypha and the New Testament translated by Edgar J. Goodspeed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Cited as at.)

Dios Habla Hoy: La Biblia con Deuterocanónicos. Versión Popular. 1966, 1970, 1979. New York: Sociedades Biblicas Unidas. (Cited as Spanish common language version, or SPCL.)

The Good News Bible: The Bible in Today’s English Version. 1976, 1979, 1992. New York: American Bible Society. (Cited as TEV.)

The Holy Bible (Authorized, or King James Version). 1611. (Cited as KJV.)

Holy Bible: Contemporary English Version. 1995. New York: American Bible Society. (Cited as CEV.)

The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1978. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. (Cited as NIV.)

Holy Bible: The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. (Cited as NKJV.)

The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989. New York: Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. (Cited as NRSV.)

The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version. 1952, 1971, 1973. New York: Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. (Cited as RSV.)

The Jerusalem Bible. 1966. London: Darton, Longman & Todd. (Cited as JB.)

The New American Bible. 1970. New York: P. J. Kenedy & Sons. (Cited as NAB.)

The New American Bible: Revised New Testament. 1988. Northport, New York: Costello; and Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. (Cited as NABR.)

New American Standard Bible. 1960, 1977. La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation. (Cited as NASB.)

The New English Bible. Second edition, 1970. London: Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press. (Cited as NEB.)

The New Jerusalem Bible. 1985. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. (Cited as NJB.)

The New Testament: A New Translation. Volume 2: The Letters and the Revelation. 1968. Translated by William Barclay. London and New York: Collins. (Cited as Brc.)

The New Testament in Modern English. 1972. Translated by J. B. Phillips. New York: Macmillan. (Cited as Phps.)

The Revised English Bible. 1989. London: Oxford University Press; and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Cited as REB.)

The Translator’s New Testament. 1973. London: British and Foreign Bible Society. (Cited as TNT.)

General Bibliography


Arndt, William F., and F. WiLBur Gingrich. Second edition, 1979. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. Revised and augmented by F. WiLBur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Louw, Jahannes P., and Eugene A. Nida. 1988. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. 2 volumes. New York: United Bible Societies.

An invaluable tool for determining the meaning of words and their relationship with other words that have related meanings.


Barrett, C. K. 1963. The Pastoral Epistles in the New English Bible. New York: The New Clarendon Press.

Although brief and lacking in detail, it is helpful in identifying the boundaries of discourse units. No knowledge of Greek required.

Hultgren, Arland J. 1984. I-II Timothy, Titus (Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament). Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House.

Offers a good introduction to the Pastoral Epistles. Commentary is organized according to a broad outline of each letter; this is helpful in identifying discourse units but makes it difficult to find needed information on specific detail. No knowledge of Greek required.

Lock, Walter. 1924. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (International Critical Commentary). Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.

Quite useful in the examination of Greek terms. A lot of detail; however, some details are not relevant for translation. Knowledge of Greek required.

Scott, Ernest Findlay. 1936. The Pastoral Epistles (The Moffatt New Testament Commentary). London: Hodder and Stoughton.

Useful in identifying discourse units. Not enough detail; however, the information that is contained is useful for the translator. No knowledge of Greek required.


This Glossary contains terms that are technical from an exegetical or a linguistic viewpoint. Other terms not defined here may be found in a Bible dictionary.

active. See voice.

actor. See agent.

adjective is a word that limits, describes, or qualifies a noun. In English, “red,” “tall,” “beautiful,” and “important” are adjectives.

adverb is a word that limits, describes, or qualifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. In English, “quickly,” “soon,” “primarily,” and “very” are adverbs.

adverbial refers to adverbs.

agent is one who accomplishes the action in a sentence or clause, regardless of whether the grammatical construction is active or passive. In “John struck Bill” (active) and “Bill was struck by John” (passive), the agent in either case is “John.”

ambiguous (ambiguity) describes a word or phrase that in a specific context may have two or more different meanings. For example, “Bill did not leave because John came” can mean either (1) “the coming of John prevented Bill from leaving” or (2) “the coming of John was not the cause of Bill’s leaving.” It is often the case that what is ambiguous in written form is not ambiguous when actually spoken, since features of intonation and slight pauses usually make clear which of two or more meanings is intended. Furthermore, even in written discourse, the entire context normally serves to indicate which meaning is intended by the writer.

antecedent describes a person or thing that precedes or exists prior to something or someone else. In grammar an antecedent is the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers.

aorist refers to a set of forms in Greek verbs that denote an action completed without the implication of continuance or duration. Usually, but not always, the action is considered as completed in past time.

article is a grammatical class of words, often obligatory, which indicate whether the following word is definite or indefinite. In English the definite article is “the,” and the indefinite article is “a” or “an.”

borrowing is the process of using a foreign word in another language. For example, “matador” is a Spanish word that has been borrowed by English speakers for “bullfighter.”

case is the syntactical relation of a noun, pronoun, or adjective to other words in a sentence.

catechetical pertains to teaching by question and answer, often in a formal manner.

causative relates to events and indicates that someone or something caused something to happen, rather than that the person or thing did it directly. In “John ran the horse,” the verb “ran” is a causative, since it was not John who ran, but rather it was John who caused the horse to run.

chiasmus (chiastic) is a reversal of words or phrases in the second part of an otherwise parallel construction. For example:

A. I

B. was shapen

C. in iniquity

C′ in sin

B′ did my mother conceive

A′ me.

clause is a grammatical construction, normally consisting of a subject and a predicate. An independent clause may stand alone. The main clause is that clause in a sentence that can stand alone as a complete sentence, but which has one or more dependent or subordinate clauses related to it. A subordinate clause is dependent on the main clause, but it does not form a complete sentence.

collective refers to a number of things (or persons) considered as a whole. In English, a collective noun is considered to be singular or plural, more or less on the basis of traditional usage; for example, “The crowd is (the people are) becoming angry.”

command. See imperative.

comparative refers to the form of an adjective or adverb that indicates that the object or event described possesses a certain quality to a greater or lesser degree than does another object or event. “Richer” and “smaller” are adjectives in the comparative degree, while “sooner” and “more quickly” are adverbs in the comparative degree.

components are the parts or elements that go together to form the whole of an object. For example, the components of bread are flour, salt, shortening, yeast, and water. The components of the meaning (semantic components) of a term are the elements of meaning that it contains. For example, some of the components of “boy” are “human,” “male,” and “immature.”

compound refers to forms of words or phrases consisting of two or more parts.

condition is that which shows the circumstance under which something may be true. In English a conditional phrase or clause is usually introduced by “if.” condition-result describes two parts of an expression, the one showing condition and the other the result. The parts are usually introduced by conjunctions such as “if” and “then,” as in “If it will rain, then I will stay home.”

conjunctions are words that serve as connectors between words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. “And,” “but,” “if,” and “because” are typical conjunctions in English.

connective is a word or phrase that connects other words, phrases, clauses, etc. See conjunctions.

construction. See structure.

context is that which precedes or follows any part of a discourse. For example, the context of a word or phrase in Scripture would be the other words and phrases associated with it in the sentence, paragraph, section, and even the entire book in which it occurs. The context of a term often affects its meaning, so that a word does not mean exactly the same thing in one context that it does in another context.

culture (cultural) is the sum total of the beliefs, patterns of behavior, and sets of interpersonal relations of any group of people. A culture is passed on from one generation to another but undergoes development or gradual change.

dative in Greek and certain other languages is the case that indicates the indirect or more remote object of the action or influence expressed by a verb, or the instrument used to perform the action of the verb, or the location where the action occurs. Dative is generally indicated in English by prepositions such as “to,” “for,” “with,” “at,” etc.

definite article. See article.

dependent clause is a grammatical construction consisting normally of a subject and predicate, which is dependent upon or embedded within some other construction. For example, “if he comes” is a dependent clause in the sentence “If he comes, we’ll have to leave.” See clause.

descriptive is said of a word or phrase that characterizes or describes another term.

direct speech is the reproduction of the actual words of one person quoted and included in the speech or the discourse of another person; for example, “He declared ‘I will have nothing to do with this man.’ ”

discourse is the connected and continuous communication of thought by means of language, whether spoken or written. The way in which the elements of a discourse are arranged is called discourse structure.

distributive refers not to the group as a whole, but to the members of the group. For example, the noun “hair” in English includes all of the hairs as a group on a person’s head; but in the statement “The hairs on your head are all numbered,” all the individual hairs are referred to in a distributive manner.

doxology is a hymn or other expression of praise to God, typically in a heightened or poetic literary form.

dual is a grammatical form that refers to two things, or sometimes to pairs of things, in contrast with singular (one item only) or plural (more than two items). For example, in languages that have dual pronouns, there may be pronouns for “we-two,” “you-two,” or “they-two.”

dynamic equivalence is a type of translation in which the message of the original text is so conveyed in the receptor language that the response of the receptors is (or, can be) essentially like that of the original receptors, or that the receptors can in large measure comprehend the response of the original receptors, if, as in certain languages, the differences between the two cultures are extremely great. In recent years the term functional equivalence has been applied to what is essentially the same kind of translation.

emotive refers to one or more of the emotions (anger, joy, fear, gratitude, etc.). The emotive impact of a discourse is its effect on the emotions of the person(s) to whom it is addressed.

emphasis (emphatic) is the special importance given to an element in a discourse, sometimes indicated by the choice of words or by position in the sentence. For example, in “Never will I eat pork again,” “Never” is given emphasis by placing it at the beginning of the sentence.

eschatological refers to the end of the world and the events connected with it. In this connection, the “world” is understood in various ways by various persons.

euphemism is a mild or indirect term used in the place of another term that is felt to be impolite, distasteful, or vulgar; for example, “to pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”

event is a semantic category of meanings referring to actions, processes, etc., in which objects can participate. In English, most events are grammatically classified as verbs (“run,” “grow” “think,” etc.), but many nouns may also refer to events, as for example, “baptism,” “song,” “game,” and “prayer.”

exaggeration is a figure of speech that states more than the speaker or writer intends to be understood. For example, “Everyone is doing it” may simply mean “Many people are doing it.”

exclusive first person plural excludes the person(s) addressed. That is, a speaker may use “we” to refer to himself and his companions, while specifically excluding the person(s) to whom he is speaking. See inclusive.

exclusive and inclusive language are terms that apply to certain uses in languages such as English, where a term that includes only a portion of a group is used to refer to the entire group. For example, “brothers” is appropriate as an exclusive term if indeed the intended meaning of the text does exclude sisters; however, when “brothers” designates, for example, fellow believers among whom both male and female are included, it is far better to use an inclusive expression such as “fellow Christians” or “believers.” Of course, in languages where the term for “brother” already includes both male and female, there will be no such problem.

exegesis (exegetical) is the process of determining the meaning of a text (or the result of this process), normally in terms of “who said what to whom under what circumstances and with what intent.” A correct exegesis is indispensable before a passage can be translated correctly.

explicit refers to information that is expressed in the words of a discourse. This is in contrast to implicit information. See implicit.

feminine is one of the genders in the Greek language. See gender.

figure, figure of speech, or figurative expression involves the use of words in other than their literal or ordinary sense, in order to bring out some aspect of meaning by means of comparison or association. For example, “raindrops dancing on the street,” or “his speech was like thunder.” Metaphors and similes are figures of speech.

finite verb is any verb form that distinguishes person, number, tense, mode, or aspect. It is usually referred to in contrast to an infinitive verb form, which indicates the action or state without specifying such things as agent or time. See infinitive.

first person. See person.

focus is the center of attention in a discourse or in any part of a discourse.

full stop is a punctuation mark indicating the end of a sentence; this mark is also called a “period.”

functional equivalence. See dynamic equivalence.

future tense. See tense.

gender is any of three grammatical subclasses of Greek nouns and pronouns (called masculine, feminine, and neuter), which determine agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms. In most languages the classification of nouns is not related to the identity of male or female sex.

general. See generic.

generic has reference to a general class or kind of objects, events, or abstracts; it is the opposite of specific. For example, the term “animal” is generic in relation to “dog,” which is a specific kind of animal. However, “dog” is generic in relation to the more specific term “poodle.”

genitive case is a grammatical set of forms occurring in many languages, used primarily to indicate that a noun is the modifier of another noun. The genitive often indicates possession, but it may also indicate measure, origin, characteristic, as in “people of God,” “pound of flour,” “child’s toy,” or “Garden of Eden.”

goal is the object that receives or undergoes the action of a verb. Grammatically, the goal may be the subject of a passive construction (“John was hit,” in which “John” is the goal of “hit”), or of certain intransitives (“the door shut”), or it may be the direct object of a transitive verb (as “John” in “the ball hit John”).

grammatical refers to grammar, which includes the selection and arrangement of words in phrases, clauses, and sentences.

Greek is the language in which the New Testament was written. It belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and was the language spoken in Achaia, which is Greece in modern times. By the time of Christ Greek was used by many of the people living in the eastern part of the Roman empire, so that early Christians could speak and write to one another in Greek, even though they were born in different countries. By that time the entire Hebrew Old Testament had been translated into Greek, a version referred to as the septuagint.

Hebrew is the language in which the Old Testament was written. It belongs to the Semitic family of languages. By the time of Christ many Jewish people no longer used Hebrew as their common language.

hendiadys is a figure in which a single complex idea is expressed by two words or structures, usually connected by a conjunction. For example, “weary and worn” may mean “very tired.”

idiom (or idiomatic expression) is a combination of terms whose meanings cannot be understood by adding up the meanings of the parts. “To hang one’s head,” “to have a green thumb,” and “behind the eightball” are American English idioms. Idioms almost always lose their meaning or convey a wrong meaning when translated literally from one language to another.

immediate context is that context which immediately precedes or follows a discourse or segment of discourse, with no intervening context. For example, John 3:17 is a passage in the immediate context of John 3:16.

imperative refers to forms of a verb that indicate commands or requests. In “Go and do likewise,” the verbs “Go” and “do” are imperatives. In many languages imperatives are confined to the grammatical second person; but some languages have corresponding forms for the first and third persons. These are usually expressed in English by the use of “must” or “let”; for example, “We must not swim here!” or “They must work harder!” or “Let them eat cake!”

implicit (implied) refers to information that is not formally represented in a discourse, since it is assumed that it is already known to the receptor, or evident from the meaning of the words in question. For example, the phrase “the other son” carries with it the implicit information that there is a son in addition to the one mentioned. This is in contrast to explicit information, which is expressly stated in a discourse. See explicit.

inclusive first person plural includes both the speaker and the one(s) to whom that person is speaking. See exclusive.

inclusive language. See exclusive and inclusive language.

indicative refers to forms of a verb in which an act or condition is stated as an actual fact rather than as a potentiality, a hope, or an unrealized condition. The verb “won” in “The king won the battle” is in the indicative form.

infinitive is a verb form that indicates an action or state without specifying such factors as agent or time; for example, “to mark,” “to sing,” or “to go.” It is in contrast to finite verb form, which often distinguishes person, number, tense, mode, or aspect; for example “marked,” “sung,” or “will go.” See finite verb.

instrument (instrumental) is the object used in accomplishing an action. In the sentence “John opened the door with a key,” the “key” is the instrument. See also agent.

intensifier (intensive) is a word that has the effect of making stronger the action expressed in another word. For example, “very” in “very active,” or “highly” in “highly competitive.”

interpretation of a text is the exegesis of it. See exegesis.

irony is a sarcastic or humorous manner of discourse in which what is said is intended to express its opposite; for example, “That was a smart thing to do!” when intended to convey the meaning “That was a stupid thing to do!”

literal means the ordinary or primary meaning of a term or expression, in contrast with a figurative meaning. A literal translation is one that represents the exact words and word order of the source language; such a translation is frequently unnatural or awkward in the receptor language.

liturgical refers to liturgy, that is, public worship; more particularly to the prayers, responses, and so forth, that are often expressed in traditional or archaic language forms.

locative refers to a grammatical form or term that indicates a place in or at which an event occurs or an object or person is located.

main clause. See clause.

manuscripts are books, documents, or letters written or copied by hand. Thousands of manuscript copies of various Old and New Testament books still exist, but none of the original manuscripts. manuscript evidence is also called textual evidence. See text, textual.

markers (marking) are features of words or of a discourse that signal some special meaning or some particular structure. For example, words for speaking may mark the onset of direct discourse, a phrase such as “once upon a time” may mark the beginning of a fairy story, and certain features of parallelism are the dominant markers of poetry. The word “body” may require a marker to clarify whether a person, a group, or a corpse is meant.

masculine is one of the genders in the Greek language. See gender.

metaphor is likening one object, event, or state to another by speaking of it as if it were the other; for example, “flowers dancing in the breeze” compares the movement of flowers with dancing. Metaphors are the most commonly used figures of speech and are often so subtle that a speaker or writer is not conscious of the fact that he or she is using figurative language. See simile.

modify is to affect the meaning of another part of the sentence, as when an adjective modifies a noun or an adverb modifies a verb.

neuter is one of the genders in the Greek language. See gender.

nominal refers to nouns or noun-like words. See noun.

noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea, and often serves to specify a subject or topic of discussion.

object of a verb is the goal of an event or action specified by the verb. In “John hit the ball,” the object of “hit” is “ball.”

objective genitive is a grammatical form commonly used in Greek and which occurs when a noun showing action is directed to another noun that is affected by the action; the affected noun is in the genitive form. For example, “fear of God” does not mean that God possesses the fear, but that the fear is directed to God as the object of fear.

overlapping is the way in which part of the meanings of two words cover the same general area of meaning, although the remainder of the meanings covered by the two words is not the same. For example, “love” and “like” overlap in referring to affection.

paragraph is a distinct segment of discourse dealing with a particular idea, and usually marked with an indentation on a new line.

parallel, parallelism, generally refers to some similarity in the content or form of two parts of a construction; for example, “The man was blind, and he could not see.” The structures that correspond to each other in the two statements are said to be parallel. Parallel passages are two separate biblical references that resemble each other in one or more ways.

parenthetical statement is a statement that interrupts a discourse by departing from its main theme. It is frequently set off by marks of parenthesis ().

participial indicates that the phrase, clause, construction, or other expression described is governed by a participle.

participle is a verbal adjective, that is, a word that retains some of the characteristics of a verb while functioning as an adjective. In “singing children” and “painted house,” “singing” and “painted” are participles.

particular is the opposite of general. See generic.

passive. See voice.

past tense. See tense.

perfect tense is a set of verb forms that indicate an action completed before the time of speaking or writing. For example, in “John has finished his task,” “has finished” is in the perfect tense. The perfect tense in Greek also indicates that the action, or else the result of the action, continues into the present, as in “Christ has arisen.” See also tense.

person, as a grammatical term, refers to the speaker, the person spoken to, or the person or thing spoken about. First person is the person(s) speaking (such as “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or “ours”). Second person is the person(s) or thing(s) spoken to (such as “thou,” “thee,” “thy,” “thine,” “ye,” “you,” “your,” or “yours”). Third person is the person(s) or thing(s) spoken about (such as “he,” “she,” “it,” “his,” “her,” “them,” or “their”). The examples here given are all pronouns, but in many languages the verb forms have affixes that indicate first, second, or third person and also indicate whether they are singular or plural.

personification is a reference to an inanimate object or an abstract idea in terms that give it a personal or a human nature; as in “Wisdom is calling out,” referring to wisdom as if it were a person.

phrase is a grammatical construction of two or more words, but less than a complete clause or a sentence. A phrase is usually given a name according to its function in a sentence, such as “noun phrase,” “verb phrase,” or “prepositional phrase.”

play on words in a discourse is the use of the similarity in the sounds of two words to produce a special effect.

plural refers to the form of a word that indicates more than one. See singular.

predicate is the part of a clause that contrasts with or supplements the subject. The subject is the topic of the clause, and the predicate is what is said about the subject. For example, in “The small boy ran swiftly,” the subject is “The small boy,” and the predicate is “ran swiftly.” See subject.

prefix is a part of a word that cannot stand alone and that is positioned at the beginning of the word to which it belongs; for example, “im-possible,” or “re-structure.”

preposition is a word (usually a particle) whose function is to indicate the relation of a noun or pronoun to another noun, pronoun, verb, or adjective. Some English prepositions are “for,” “from,” “in,” “to,” and “with.”

prepositional refers to prepositions. A prepositional phrase or expression is one governed by a preposition. “For his benefit” and “to a certain city” are prepositional phrases.

present tense. See tense.

pronouns are words that are used in place of nouns, such as “he,” “him,” “his,” “she,” “we,” “them,” “who,” “which,” “this,” or “these.”

prose is the ordinary form of spoken or written language, without the special forms and structure of meter and rhythm that are characteristic of poetry.

qualifier is a term that limits the meaning of another term.

qualify is to limit the meaning of a term by means of another term. For example, in “old man,” the term “old” qualifies the term “man.”

read, reading. See text, textual.

receptor is the person(s) receiving a message. The receptor language is the language into which a translation is made. For example, in a translation from Hebrew into German, Hebrew is the source language and German is the receptor language.

redundant refers to anything that is entirely predictable from the context. For example, in “John, he did it,” the pronoun “he” is redundant. A feature may be redundant and yet may be important to retain in certain languages, perhaps for stylistic or for grammatical reasons.

reflexive has to do with verbs where the agent and goal are the same person. Sometimes the goal is explicit (as in “He dresses himself”); at other times it is implicit (as in “He dresses”).

relative clause is a dependent clause that describes the object to which it refers. In “the man whom you saw,” the clause “whom you saw” is relative because it relates to and describes “man.”

relative pronoun is a pronoun that refers to a noun in another clause, and that serves to mark the subordination of its own clause to that noun; for example, in “This is the man who came to dinner,” “who” is the relative pronoun referring to “the man” in the previous clause. The subordinated clause is also called a relative clause.

render means translate or express in a language different from the original. A rendering is the manner in which a specific passage is translated from one language to another.

restructure. See structure.

rhetorical refers to forms of speech that are employed to highlight or make more attractive some aspect of a discourse. A rhetorical question, for example, is not a request for information but is a way of making an emphatic statement.

root is the minimal base of a derived or inflected word. For example, “friend” is the root of “friendliness.”

second person. See person.

semantic refers to meaning. Semantics is the study of the meaning of language forms.

Semitic refers to a family of languages that includes Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic. Greek belongs to quite another language family, with a distinct cultural background. In view of the Jewish ancestry and training of the writers of the New Testament, it is not surprising that many Semitic idioms and thought patterns (called Semitisms or Hebraisms) appear in the Greek writings of the New Testament.

sentence is a grammatical construction composed of one or more clauses and capable of standing alone.

Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek, begun some two hundred years before Christ. It is often abbreviated as lxx.

simile (pronounced SIM-i-lee) is a figure of speech that describes one event or object by comparing it to another, using “like,” “as,” or some other word to mark or signal the comparison. For example, “She runs like a deer,” “He is as straight as an arrow.” Similes are less subtle than metaphors in that metaphors do not mark the comparison with words such as “like” or “as.” See metaphor.

singular refers to the form of a word that indicates one thing or person, in contrast to plural, which indicates more than one. See plural.

specific refers to the opposite of general, generic. See generic.

structure is the systematic arrangement of the elements of language, including the ways in which words combine into phrases, phrases into clauses, clauses into sentences, and sentences into larger units of discourse. Because this process may be compared to the building of a house or bridge, such words as structure and construction are used in reference to it. To separate and rearrange the various components of a sentence or other unit of discourse in the translation process is to restructure it.

style is a particular or a characteristic manner in discourse. Each language has certain distinctive stylistic features that cannot be reproduced literally in another language. Within any language, certain groups of speakers may have their characteristic discourse styles, and among individual speakers and writers, each has his or her own style.

subject is one of the major divisions of a clause, the other being the predicate. In “The small boy walked to school,” “The small boy” is the subject. Typically the subject is a noun phrase. It should not be confused with the semantic agent.

subjunctive refers to certain forms of verbs that are used to express an act or state as being contingent or possible (sometimes as wish or desire), rather than as actual fact. For example, in “If I were young, I would enjoy my health,” “were” and “would” are subjunctive forms.

symbol is a form, whether linguistic or nonlinguistic, which is arbitrarily and conventionally associated with a particular meaning. For example, the word “cross” is a linguistic symbol, referring to a particular object. Similarly, within the Christian tradition, the cross as an object is a symbol for the death of Jesus.

synonyms are words that are different in form but similar in meaning, such as “boy” and “lad.” Expressions that have essentially the same meaning are said to be synonymous. No two words are completely synonymous.

taboo refers to something set apart as sacred by religious custom and is therefore forbidden to all but certain persons or uses (positive taboo), or something that is regarded as evil and therefore forbidden to all by tradition or social usage (negative taboo).

tense is usually a form of a verb that indicates time relative to a discourse or some event in a discourse. The most common forms of tense are past, present, and future.

text, textual, refers to the various Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew manuscripts of the Scriptures. Textual evidence is the cumulative evidence for a particular form of the text. See also manuscripts.

theme is the subject of a discourse.

third person. See person.

translation is the reproduction in a receptor language of a message in the source language. This is best done when it is the closest natural equivalent, first, in terms of meaning, and second, in terms of style.

translational refers to translation. A translator may seem to be following an inferior textual reading (see textual) when he is simply adjusting the rendering to the requirements of the receptor language, that is, for a translational reason.

transliterate, transliteration, is to represent in the receptor language the approximate sounds or letters of words occurring in the source language, rather than translating their meaning; for example, “Amen” from the Hebrew, or the title “Christ” from the Greek.

verbs are a grammatical class of words that express existence, action, or occurrence, such as “be,” “become,” “run,” or “think.”

verbal has two meanings. (1) It may refer to expressions consisting of words, sometimes in distinction to forms of communication that do not employ words (“sign language,” for example). (2) It may refer to word forms that are derived from verbs. For example, “coming” and “engaged” may be called verbals, and participles are called verbal adjectives.

versions are translations. The ancient, or early, versions are translations of the Bible, or of portions of the Bible, made in early times; for example, the Greek Septuagint, the ancient Syriac, or the Ethiopic versions.

voice in grammar is the relation of the action expressed by a verb to the participants in the action. In English and many other languages, the active voice indicates that the subject performs the action (“John hit the man”), while the passive voice indicates that the subject is being acted upon (“The man was hit”). The Greek language has a middle voice, in which the subject may be regarded as doing something to or for himself (or itself).

Published: February 25, 2015, 08:13 | Comments Off on A HANDBOOK ON PAUL’S LETTER TO TITUS BY ArchBishop Uwe AE. Rosenkranz
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