The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Jan 26: Father Callan on Today’s First Alternate Reading (Titus 1:1-5) for the Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2011

Note: This is one of two reading oppositions for today. You can see commentary on the other possible first reading (2 Tim 1:1-8) here.  In the current post I’ve included Father Callan’s brief summaries of verse 1-4 and 5-16 to help provide the broader context of today’s reading. The latter summary will follow the commentary on verse 4. I’ve posted another commentary on Titus 1:1-5 here.

INSCRIPTION AND GREETING: A Summary of Titus 1:1-4. The introduction to this letter is somewhat longer than usual. St. Paul asserts his divine authority to preach the faith to God’s chosen ones, that they may sanctify themselves and thus become worthy of the promise of eternal life which was given long ago and has now been revealed through the Gospel. Paul is the preacher of this heavenly message according to the command of God, and he writes to Titus as a son in Christ, since they both share that common faith and the resultant peace and grace which God bestows in Christ Jesus.

1. Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of the elect of God and the acknowledging of the truth which is according to godliness.

Servant of God, a phrase found only here in St. Paul’s letters, and therefore a mark of the genuineness of the Epistle since no forger would be likely to use a strange expression in the very first line of his letter.

An apostle, i.e., a commissioned agent. The Apostle proclaims his authority and commission on account of the false teachers in Crete.

According to the faith. This points out the purpose of the Apostle’s commission, which was to preach the faith “of the elect of God,” i.e., the faith common to all Christians, which all mankind are called to share, so that all may come to a knowledge of the truth “of the Gospel,” which truth “is according to godliness,” i.e., it teaches us how to worship God as we should and live according to His will.

2. Unto the hope of life everlasting, which God, who lieth not, promised before the times of the world,

Unto the hope, etc. The purpose of the Apostle’s preaching and of the Gospel truth which he proclaims is to stimulate the hope of life eternal which the ever-truthful God “promised before the times of the world,” i.e., from all eternity (see 2 Tim 1:9). This last phrase is understood by some expositors to refer to the promise made in Old Testament times to the Patriarchs and Prophets, but the first explanation is thought to be more probable.

3. But hath in due times manifested his word in preaching, which is committed to me according to the commandment of God our Saviour:

The construction here is difficult, but the meaning is clear enough. The promise to give eternal life to the elect, which God had decreed from eternity, was made manifest in due time in the preaching of the Gospel message, which Paul had been commissioned to preach by God Himself.
God our Saviour. See on 1 Tim 1:1.

4. To Titus my beloved son, according to the common faith, grace and peace from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Saviour.

Titus. See Introduction to this Epistle, No. I.

The common faith, which was the bond of their spiritual relationship.

Christ Jesus our Saviour. In the preceding verse we had “God our Saviour,” which shows that our Lord is true God.

DUTIES DEVOLVING UPON TITUS: A Summary of Titus 1:5-16. St. Paul has left Titus in Crete to set things in order, and to this end one of the first things that should engage the attention of the young bishop will be the appointment of proper church officials, priests and bishops of high moral and spiritual character, whose doctrine is above question and whose manner of living is a
perfect reflection of that doctrine (ver, 5-9). This is at all times necessary, but especially so in conditions such as confront Titus in Crete, where there are abroad certain false teachers, the worst of them Jewish, who for the sake of money are circulating ideas and discussing questions that are unsettling the faith and demoralizing the lives of Christians. The Cretans are only too much disposed to vice and disorder, and hence Titus must sharply rebuke those false and misleading guides, and recall the faithful to soundness of doctrine
and Tightness of conduct. Those false teachers are defiled from within, and they deny by their lives the God whom they profess with their lips (ver. 10-16).

5. For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee:

For this cause, etc. St. Paul refers to a time when he and Titus visited the Island of Crete together, which must have been between the first and second Roman imprisonments. We cannot identify this visit with the passing glimpse of Crete which is related in Acts 27:7-13, when Paul as a prisoner was on his way to Rome from Caesarea; for at that time it seems the Apostle did not land at all.

The things that are wanting, i.e., the reforms that St. Paul was unable to complete before he was called away.

Priests. See on i Tim. iii. i.

As I also appointed thee, i.e., as St. Paul had instructed him to do when leaving him there.

2 Responses to “Jan 26: Father Callan on Today’s First Alternate Reading (Titus 1:1-5) for the Memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus”

  1. […] Father Callan on the Alternate First Reading (Titus 1:1-5). 12:10 AM EST. […]

  2. […] Alternate 1st Reading: Father Callan’s Commentary on Titus 1:1-5. […]

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