Sacred Texts  Christianity  Calvin  Index  Previous  Next 

Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 43: Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at


Titus 2:1-5

1. But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

1. Tu autem loquere quae decet sanam doctrinam

2. That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

2. senes ut sobrii sint pudici prudentes sani fide dilectione patientia

3. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

3. anus similiter in habitu sancto non criminatrices non vino multo servientes bene docentes

4. That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

4. ut prudentiam doceant adulescentulas ut viros suos ament filios diligant

5. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

5. prudentes castas domus curam habentes benignas subditas suis viris ut non blasphemetur verbum Dei

1. But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine He points out the remedy for driving away fables, namely, that Titus should devote himself to edification. He gives the appellation of sound doctrine to that which may instruct men to godliness; for all trifles vanish away, when that which is solid is taught. When he enjoins him to speak those things which agree with “sound doctrine,” it is as if he had said, that Titus must be continually employed in this preaching; for to mention these things once or twice would not be enough. And Paul does not speak of the discourse of a single day; but so long as Titus shall hold the office of pastor, he wishes him to be employed in teaching this doctrine.

“Sound doctrine” is so called from the effect produced by it; as, on the contrary, he says, that unskillful men dote about questions which do no good. Sound, therefore, means wholesome, that which actually feeds souls. Thus, by a single word, as by a solemn proclamation, he banishes from the Church all speculations which serve rather to promote ostentation than to aid godliness,  238 as he did in both of the Epistles to Timothy.

He makes “sound doctrine” to consist of two parts. The first is that which magnifies the grace of God in Christ, from which we may learn where we ought to seek our salvation; and the second is that by which the life is framed to the fear of God, and inoffensive conduct. Although the former, which includes faith, is far more excellent, and therefore ought to be more zealously inculcated; yet Paul, in writing to Timothy, was not careful about attending to order; for he had to deal with an intelligent man, to whom he would offer an insult, if he dictated to him word by word, as is usually done to apprentices or beginners. Under the person of Titus, indeed, he instructs the whole church of Crete; yet he attends to the rules of propriety, that he may not appear to distrust his prudence. Besides, the reason why he is longer in his exhortations is, that they who gave their whole attention to idle questions — needed especially to be exhorted to the practice of a good and holy life; for nothing is better fitted to restrain the wandering curiosity of men than to know in what duties  239 they ought to be employed.

2. That aged men be sober He begins with particular duties, that the discourse may be better adapted to the instruction of the people. And he does so, not only that he may accommodate himself to their capacity, but that he may press every one more closely; for a general doctrine produces a less powerful impression; but when by holding out a few cases, he has instructed every person about his duty, there is no one who may not easily conclude, that the Lord has sufficiently instructed him as to the work in which he ought to be employed. We must not therefore, look for a regular method here; for Paul’s design was only to state briefly what were the subjects concerning which godly teachers ought to speak, and not to undertake to treat largely of those subjects.

“Aged men” are mentioned by him in the first place. He wishes them to be “sober,” because excessive drinking is a vice too common among the old. Gravity, which he next mentions, is procured by well-regulated morals. Nothing is more shameful than for an old man to indulge in youthful wantonness, and, by his countenance, to strengthen the impudence of the young. In the life of old men, therefore, let there be displayed σεμνότης “a becoming gravity,” which shall constrain the young to modesty. This will be followed chiefly by temperance, which he immediately adds.

Sound in faith I do not know whether the word “sound” or “healthy” contains an indirect allusion to the various diseases of old men, with which he contrasts this health of the soul; at least, I think so, though I do not affirm it. With good reason does he include in these three parts — faith, love, patience — the sum of Christian perfection. By faith we worship God; for neither calling upon him, nor any exercises of godliness, can be separated from it. Love extends to all the commandments of the second table. Next follows patience as the seasoning of “faith” and “love;” for without “patience” faith would not long endure, and many occurrences are taking place every day — instances of unhandsome conduct or evil temper, which irritate us so much that we should not only be languid, but almost dead, to the duties of love towards our neighbor, if the same “patience” did not support us.

3. That aged women in like manner We very frequently see, that females advanced in age either continue to dress with the lightness of youthful years, or have something superstitious in their apparel, and seldom hit the golden mean. Paul wished to guard against both extremes, by enjoining them to follow a course that is agreeable both to outward propriety and to religion; or, if you choose to express it in simpler language, to give evidence, by their very dress, that they are holy and godly women.

He next corrects another two vices, to which they are often addicted, when he forbids them to be slanderers and slaves to much wine Talkativeness is a disease of women, and it is increased by old age. To this is added, that women never think that they are eloquent enough, if they are not given to prattling and to slander — if they do not attack the characters of all. The consequence is, that old women, by their slanderous talkativeness, as by a lighted torch, frequently set on fire may houses. Many are also given to drinking, so that, forgetting modesty and gravity, they indulge in an unbecoming wantonness.

4. That they may teach young women temperance That they may be more attentive to duty, he shows that it is not enough if their own life be decent, if they do not also train young women, by their instructions, to a decent and chaste life. He therefore adds, that by their example they should train to temperance and gravity those younger women whom the warmth of youth might otherwise lead into imprudence.

To love their husbands and their children I do not agree with those who think that this is a recapitulation of the advices which elderly women should give to those who are younger for a careful perusal of the context will enable any one easily to perceive that Paul goes on in explaining the duties of women, which apply equally to those who are older. Besides, the construction would be inappropriate, σωφρονίζωσι, σώφρονας εἶναι  240 Yet while he instructs elderly females what they ought to be, he at the same time holds out to the younger the example which they ought to follow. Thus he indiscriminately teaches both. In short, he wishes women to be restrained, by conjugal love and affection for their children, from giving themselves up to licentious attachments, he wishes them to rule their own house in a sober and orderly manner, forbids them to wander about in public places, bids them be chaste, and at the same time modest, so as to be subject to the dominion of their husbands; for those who excel in other virtues sometimes take occasion from them to act haughtily, so as to be disobedient to their husbands.

When he adds, that the word of God may not be evil spoken of, it is supposed that this relates strictly to women who were married to unbelieving husbands, who might judge of the gospel from the wicked conduct of their wives; and this appears to be confirmed by 1Pe 3:1. But what if he does not speak of husbands alone? And, indeed, it is probable that he demands such strictness of life as not to bring the gospel into the contempt of the public by their vices. As to the other parts of the verse, the reader will find them explained in the Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy.  241

Titus 2:6-10

6. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

6. Juvenes similiter hortare ut sobrii sint

7. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,

7. In omnibus to ipsum praebe exemplum bonorum operum in doctrina integritatem gravitatem

8. Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

8. Sermonem sanum inreprehensibilem ut is qui ex adverso est vereatur nihil habens malum dicere de nobis

9. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;

9. Servos dominis suis subditos esse in omnibus placentes non contradicentes

10. Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

10. Non fraudantes, sed in omnibus fidem bonam ostendentes ut doctrinam salutaris nostri Dei ornent in omnibus

6 Exhort likewise younger men He merely enjoins that young men be instructed to be temperate; for temperance, as Plato shows, cures the whole understanding of man. It is as if he had said, “Let them be well regulated and obedient to reason.”

7. In all things shewing thyself For doctrine will otherwise carry little authority, if its power and majesty do not shine in the life of the bishop,  242 as in a mirror. He wishes, therefore, that the teacher may be a pattern, which his scholars may copy.  243

A pattern of good works in doctrine, uprightness, gravity In the original Greek the style is here involved and obscure, and this creates ambiguity. First, he makes use of the words in doctrine, and then adds, in the accusative case, integrity, gravity, etc.  244 Without mentioning the interpretations given by others, I shall state that which appears to me to be the most probable. First, I connect these words, of good works in doctrine; for, after having enjoined Titus that, in teaching he shall inculcate the practice of good works, he wishes that good works, which correspond to this doctrine, may be visible in his life; and consequently the preposition in means that they shall be suitable, or shall correspond, to the doctrine. What follows is in no degree obscure; for; in order that he may exhibit a representation of his doctrine in morals, he bids him be “upright and grave.”

8. Sound speech, unblamable  245 “Sound speech” relates (in my opinion) to ordinary life and familiar conversation; for it would be absurd to interpret it as relating to public instruction, since he only wishes that Titus, both in his actions and in his words, shall lead a life that agrees with his preaching. He therefore enjoins that his words shall be pure and free from all corruption.

Unblamable may apply either to the words or the person of Titus. I prefer the latter view, that the other nouns in the accusative case (which the Greek syntax easily allows) may depend upon it in this sense — “that thou mayest shew thyself unblamable in gravity, in integrity, and in sound words.”

That the adversary may be ashamed. Although a Christian man ought to look at other objects, yet this must not be neglected, to shut the mouth of wicked men, as we are everywhere taught that we should give no occasion for slander. Everything that they can seize on as improper in our conduct is maliciously turned against Christ and his doctrine. The consequence is, that, through our fault, the sacred name of God is exposed to insult. Accordingly, the more we perceive that we are keenly observed by enemies, let us be the more attentive to guard against their calumnies, and thus let their malignity strengthen in us the desire of doing well.

9. Servants, that they be subject to their masters It has been already said that Paul merely glances at some things by way of example, and does not explain the whole of these subjects, as if he undertook, expressly, to handle them. Accordingly, when he enjoins servants to please their masters in all things, this desire of pleasing must be limited to those things which are proper; as is evident from other passages of a similar nature, in which an exception is expressly added, to the effect that nothing should be done but according to the will of God.

It may be observed that the Apostle dwells chiefly on this point, that they who are under the authority of others shall be obedient and submissive. With good reason he does this, for nothing is more contrary to the natural disposition of man than subjection, and there was danger lest they should take the gospel as a pretext for becoming more refractory, as reckoning it unreasonable that they should be subject to the authority of unbelievers. So much the greater care and diligence ought pastors to use for either subduing or checking this rebellious spirit.

10 Not thievish but shewing all good faith He censures two vices that are common among servants, petulant replies, and a propensity to steal.  246 The comedies are full of instances of excessively ready talk, by which servants cheat their masters. Nor was it without reason that an exchange of names took place in ancient times, by which “servant “and “thief “became convertible terms. Thus prudence requires that we make our instructions apply to the morals of each individual.

By faith he means fidelity to their masters; and therefore, to shew all faith is to act faithfully, without using fraud or doing injury, in transacting the affairs of their masters.

That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things This ought to be a very sharp spur of exhortation to us, when we learn that our becoming conduct adorns the doctrine of God, which, at the same time, is a mirror of his glory. And, indeed, we see that this usually happens; as, on the other hand, our wicked life brings disgrace upon it; for men commonly judge of us from our works. But this circumstance ought also to be observed, that God deigns to receive an “ornament” from shaves, whose condition was so low and mean that they were wont to be scarcely accounted men; for he does not mean “servants,” such as we have in the present day, but slaves,  247 who were bought with money, and held as property, like oxen or horses. And if the life of those men is an ornament to the Christian name, much more let those who are in honor take care that they do not stain it by their baseness.

Titus 2:11-15

11. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

11. Apparuit enim gratia Dei salutaris omnibus hominibus

12. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

12. erudiens nos ut abnegantes impietatem et saecularia desideria sobrie et iuste et pie vivamus in hoc saeculo

13. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

13. expectantes beatam spem et adventum gloriae magni Dei et salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi

14. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

14. qui dedit semet ipsum pro nobis ut nos redimeret ab omni iniquitate et mundaret sibi populum acceptabilem sectatorem bonorum operum

15. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

15. haec loquere et exhortare et argue cum omni imperio nemo to contemnat

11 For the grace of God  248 hath appeared He argues from the design of redemption, which he shews to be a desire to live a godly and upright life. Hence it follows, that the duty of a good teacher is rather to exhort to a holy life than to occupy the minds of men with useless questions. “He hath redeemed us,” says Zacharias in his song, —

“that we may serve him in holiness and righteousness
all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:74, 75.)

For the same reason Paul says, the grace of God hath appeared, teaching us; for he means that it ought to hold the place of instruction to us to regulate our life well. What is proclaimed concerning the mercy of God is seized by some as all occasion of licentiousness; while others are hindered by slothfulness from meditating on “newness of life.” But the manifestation of the grace of God unavoidably carries along with it exhortations to a holy life.

Bringing salvation to all men,  249 That it is common to all is expressly testified by him on account of the slaves of whom he had spoken. Yet he does not mean individual men, but rather describes individual classes, or various ranks of life. And this is not a little emphatic, that the grace of God hath let itself down even to the race of slaves; for, since God does not despise men of the lowest and most degraded condition, it would be highly unreasonable that we should be negligent and slothful to embrace his goodness.

12 Teaching us that, denying, ungodliness He now lays down the rule for regulating our life well, and how we ought to begin, namely, with renouncing our former life, of which he enumerates two parts, “ungodliness and worldly desires.” Under ungodliness, I include not only superstitions, in which they had gone astray, but irreligious contempt of God, such as reigns in men, till they have been enlightened in the knowledge of the truth. Although they have some profession of religion, yet they never fear and reverence God sincerely and honestly, but, on the contrary, have consciences that are useless, so that nothing is further from their thoughts than that they ought to serve God.  250

By worldly desires  251 he means all the affections of the flesh; because we look at nothing but the world, till the Lord has drawn us to himself. Meditation on the heavenly life begins with regeneration. Before we have been regenerated, our desires lean towards the world, and rest on the world.

That we may live temperately, and righteously, and piously As he formerly mentioned those three, when he wished to give a comprehensive summary of Christian life, so he now makes it to consist of those three, “piety, righteousness, and temperance.” “Piety” is religion towards God. “Righteousness” has place among men. He who is endowed with both of these lacks nothing for perfect virtue; and, indeed, in the law of God there is absolute perfection, to which nothing whatever can be added. But as the exercises of godliness may be regarded as appendages to the first table, so “temperance,” which Paul mentions in this passage, aims at nothing else than keeping the law, and, as I said before about patience,  252 is added to the former as a seasoning. Nor does the Apostle contradict himself, when at one time he describes patience, and at another time temperance, as the perfection of a holy life; for they are not distinct virtues, since σωφροσύνη (here translated temperance) includes patience under it.

He adds, in this world,  253 because the Lord has appointed the present life for the trial of our faith. Although the fruit of good actions is not yet visible, yet the hope should be sufficient for stimulating us to doing well; and this is what he immediately adds, —

13 Looking for that blessed hope From the hope of future immortality he draws an exhortation, and indeed, if that hope be deeply seated in our mind, it is impossible that it should not lead us to devote ourselves wholly to God. On the contrary, they who do not cease to live to the world and to the flesh never have actually tasted what is the worth of the promise of eternal life; for the Lord, by calling us to heaven, withdraws us from the earth.

Hope is here put for the thing hoped for, otherwise it would be an incorrect mode of expression. He gives this appellation to the blessed life which is laid up for us in heaven. At the same time he declares when we shall enjoy it, and what we ought to contemplate, when we desire or think of our salvation.

And the appearing of the glory of the great God and Savior I interpret the glory of God, to mean not only that by which he shall be glorious in himself, but also that by which he shall then diffuse himself on all sides, so as to make all his elect partakers of it. He calls God great, because his greatness — which men, blinded by the empty splendor of the world, now extenuate, and sometimes even annihilate, as far as lies in their power — shall be fully manifested on the last day. The luster of the world, while it appears great to our eyes, dazzles them so much that “the glory of God” is, as it were, hidden in darkness. But Christ, by his coming, shall chase away all the empty show of the world — shall no longer obscure the brightness, shall no longer lessen the magnificence, of his glory. True the Lord demonstrates his majesty every day by his works; but because men are prevented by their blindness from seeing it, it is said to be hidden in obscurity. Paul wishes that believers may now contemplate by faith that which shall be manifested on the last day, and therefore that God may be magnified, whom the world either despises, or; at least, does not esteem according to his excellence.

It is uncertain whether these words should be read together thus, “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great God and our Savior,” or separately, as of the Father and the Son, “the glory of the great God, and of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  254 The Arians, seizing on this latter sense, have endeavored to prove from it, that the Son is less than the Father, because here Paul calls the Father “the great God” by way of distinction from the Son. The orthodox teachers of the Church, for the purpose of shutting out this slander, eagerly contended that both are affirmed of Christ. But the Arians may be refuted in a few words and by solid argument; for Paul, having spoken of the revelation of the glory of “the great God,” immediately added “Christ,” in order to inform us, that that revelation of glory will be in his person; as if he had said that, when Christ shall appear, the greatness of the divine glory shall then be revealed to us.

Hence we learn, first, that there is nothing that ought to render us more active or cheerful in doing good than the hope of the future resurrection; and, secondly, that believers ought always to have their eyes fixed on it, that they may not grow weary in the right course; for, if we do not wholly depend upon it, we shall continually be carried away to the vanities of the world. But, since the coming of the Lord to judgment might excite terror in us, Christ is held out to us as our “Savior,” who will also be our judge.

14 Who gave himself for us. This is another argument of exhortation, drawn from the design or effect of the death of Christ, who offered himself for us, that he might redeem us from the bondage of sin, and purchase us to himself as his heritage. His grace, therefore, necessarily brings along with it “newness of life,” (Ro 6:4,) because they who still are the slaves of sin make void the blessing of redemption; but now we are released from the bondage of sin, in order that we may serve the righteousness of God; and, therefore, he immediately added, —

A peculiar people, zealous of good works; by which he means that, so far as concerns us, the fruit of redemption is lost, if we are still entangled by the sinful desires of the world. And in order to express more fully, that we have been consecrated to good works by the death of Christ, he makes use of the word purify; for it would be truly base in us to be again polluted by the same filth from which the Son of God hath washed us by his blood.  255

15 Speak these things, and exhort, and reprove This conclusion is of the same meaning as if he enjoined Titus to dwell continually on that doctrine of edification, and never to grow weary, because it cannot be too much inculcated. He likewise bids him add the spurs of “exhortations and reproofs;” for men are not sufficiently admonished as to their duty, if they be not also vehemently urged to the performance of it. He who understands those things which the Apostle has formerly stated, and who has them always in his mouth, will have ground not only for teaching, but likewise for correcting.

With all authority I do not agree with Erasmus, who translates ἐπιταγή “diligence in commanding.” There is greater probability in the opinion of Chrysostom who interprets it to mean severity against more atrocious sins; through I do not think that even he has hit the Apostle’s meaning; which is, that Titus should claim authority and respect for himself in teaching these things. For men given to curious inquiries, and eager about trifles, dislike the commandments to lead a pious and holy life as being too common and vulgar. In order that Titus may meet this disdain, he is enjoined to add the weight of his authority to his doctrine. It is with the same view (in my opinion) that he immediately adds, —

Let no man despise thee Others think that Titus is instructed to gain the ear of men, and their respect for him, by the integrity of his life; and it is indeed true that holy and blameless conduct imparts authority to instruction. But Paul had another object in view; for here he addresses the people rather than Titus. Because many had ears so delicate, that they despised the simplicity of the gospel; because they had such an itch for novelty, that hardly any space was left for edification; he beats down the haughtiness of such men, and strictly charges them to desist from despising, in any way, sound and useful doctrine. This confirms the remark which I made at the outset, that this Epistle was written to the inhabitants of Crete rather than to any single individual.



“Let the doctrine which proceeds from thy mouth be sound. For he expressly uses this word, because it is the means of upholding us in true integrity, that the word of God, which is preached to us, be our spiritual pasture. This will not be perceived at first sight, but such is the fact. And why do we not perceive it? Because we are too sensual and earthly. For when we are in want of food for our body, we are immediately terrified, we become alarmed, we have not a moment of repose, for it touches us nearly. We are sensitive as to this fading life, but we are insensible to all that affects our souls; there is such brutal stupidity that we do not know our wants, though they press heavily upon us. Yet let it be observed that there is nothing but weakness in us, if we are not fed with the doctrine of God. And that is the reason why it is called ‘sound,’ for in this consists the health of our souls. As our bodies are kept in their proper condition by well-regulated nourishment, so our souls are supported by that doctrine which serves not only for nourishment but for medicine. For we are full of vices which are worse than diseases; and therefore our soul must be purged, and we must be healed of them. The method of doing this is, that we profit by the word of God. And so it is not without good reason that Paul gives to it this designation, that it is ‘sound,’ or that it is ‘wholesome.’” — Fr. Ser.


En quels devotes et bones oeuvres.” — “In what duties and good works.”


Ινα σωφρονίζωσι τὰς νέαςThese words point at the chief purpose of the instructions — namely, that they should teach them to be σώφρονες acting as monitresses and regulators of their morals. Those instructions (as appears from what follows) were to turn on the domestic duties suitable to young married women, and each in the order of importance. The first is, as it were, their cardinal virtue; for it was well said by Socrates, (Ap. Stob. p. 488,) εὐσέβεια γυναικεία, ὁ πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα ἔρως (‘female piety is love to her husband.’) In like manner, modesty is, by Pericles, in his Funeral Oration (Thucyd. 2:45) called ‘the virtue of the female sex.’” — Bloomfield.


See p. 135.


En la vie du pasteur.” — “In the life of the pastor.”


“As if he had said, that the man who has the office and duty of proclaiming the word of God ought to preach throughout his whole life, since God has chosen him to that condition; when it shall be seen how he governs, when it is found that it is an approbation of the doctrine which he teaches, and that he profits and edifies not only by the mouth, showing what ought to be done, but likewise by his example, when it shall be known that he speaks in sincerity, and not in hypocrisy, that he may be edified by it. And would to God that this were duly observed; for the truth of God would be received with greater reverence than it is. But however that may be, we shall not be held excused, since God wishes to make use of us so as to regulate others, and to direct our life in such a manner that, when they shall follow as with one accord, we may strive to honor God, and give no occasion to despise the sacred word, since God has made us instruments, and wishes that his doctrine should be received from us, as if he spoke in his own person.” — Fr. Ser.


“At ἐν τὣ διδασκαλίᾳ ἀδιαφθορίαν repeat παρεχόμενος in the sense ἐνδεικνύμενος.” Bloomfield.


Irreprehensible, ou qu’on ne puisse condemner.” — “Unblamable, or that cannot be condemned.”


“Here we see how strictly Paul observed those of whom he was speaking. For the slaves who were in that age were addicted to pillage; and besides, they were contradictory, as if they had not dreaded the strokes with which they were chastised. We find that they sometimes grew hardened, because their masters did not use them gently, but treated them as brute beasts, struck them, teased them, put them to the torture, and frequently beat them, when they were absolutely naked, so that the blood flowed on all sides. Being thus hardened to evil, we must not be astonished if they had such corruption as to take revenge on their masters when they had any opportunity. But now Paul does not fail to exhort them to please their masters, that is, in everything that was good and right — an exception which he makes in other passages” — Fr. Ser.


Des esclaves ou serfs.” — “Slaves or serfs.”


“We have seen that we ought to preach daily that grace which was declared at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful mystery, that God was manifested in the flesh, and that, at the same time, he hath shewn to us his heavenly glory, that we may be united to it. In this manner all pastors ought to be employed; for when they shall unceasingly illustrate that wisdom which God hath declared to us in the person of his Son, it is certain that the time will not be lost. And this is what Paul says in another passage, (Eph 3:18,) that it is the height, and depth, and length, and breadth, and thickness of all knowledge. When we shall have extended our views to explore as far as possible — when we shall descend into the depth to search out all that is concealed from us — when we shall go beyond the length and breadth of the sea, we shall have a wisdom (he says) as high and as deep, as long and as broad as this: when we shall know the infinite love of God which God hath showed to us in the person of his only begotten Son.” — Fr. Ser.


“We now see why Paul speaks of all men, and thus we may judge of the folly of some who pretend to expound the Holy Scriptures, and do not understand their style, when they say, ‘And God wishes that every person should be saved; the grace of God hath appeared for the salvation of every person; it follows, then, that there is free-will, that there is no election, that none have been predestinated to salvation.’ If those men spoke it ought to be with a little more caution. Paul did not mean in this passage, or in 1Ti 2:6, anything else than that the great are called by God, though they are unworthy of it; that men of low condition, though they are despised, are nevertheless adopted by God, who stretches out his hand to receive them. At that time, because kings and magistrates were mortal enemies of the gospel, it might be thought that God had rejected them, and that they cannot obtain salvation. But Paul says that the door must not be shut against them, and that, eventually, God may choose some of this company, though their case appear to be desperate. Thus, in this passage, after speaking of the poor slaves who were not reckoned to belong to the rank of men, he says that God did not fail, on that account, to show himself compassionate towards them, and that he wishes that the gospel should be preached to those to whom men do not deign to utter a word. Here is a poor man, who shall be rejected by us, we shall hardly say, God bless him! and God addresses him in an especial manner, and declares that he is his Father, and does not merely say a passing word, but stops him to say, ‘Thou art of my flock, let my word be thy pasture, let it be the spiritual food of thy soul.’ Thus we see that this word is highly significant, when it is said that the grace of God hath appeared fully to all men.” — Fr. Ser.


“It presents us with the strongest motives to obedience. ‘The grace of God teacheth us to deny ungodliness.’ What chains bind faster and closer than love? Here is love to our nature in his incarnation, love to us, though enemies, in his death and passion: encouragements to obedience by the proffers of pardon for former rebellions. By the disobedience of man God introduces his redeeming grace, and engages his creature to more ingenuous and excellent returns than his innocent state could oblige him to. In his created state he had goodness to move him, he hath the same goodness now to oblige him as a creature, and a greater love and mercy to oblige him as a repaired creature; and the terror of justice is taken off, which might envenom his heart as a criminal. In his revolted state he had misery to discourage him; in his redeemed state he hath love to attract him. Without such a way, black despair had seized upon the creature exposed to a remediless misery, and God would have had no returns of love from the best of his earthly works; but if any sparks of ingenuity be left, they will be excited by the efficacy of this argument.” — Charnock.


“On the expression τὰς κοσμικὰς ἐπιθυμίας, the best comment is 1Jo 2:16 Σωφρόνως denotes virtue as regards ourselves; δικαίως, as regards our fellow-creatures; and εὐσεβῶς, as respects God. Similar divisions are found in passages of the classical writers cited by the commentators.” — Bloomfield.


See p. 311.


En ce present monde.” — “In this present world.”


“Of these words the most natural sense, and that required by the ‘proprietas linguae,’ is, beyond all doubt, the one assigned by almost all the ancients from Clem. Alex. downwards, and by the early modern expositors, as Erasmus, Grotius, and Beza, and also by some eminent expositors and theologians of later times, as Bishops Pearson and Bull, Wolff, Matthaei, and Bishop Middleton, namely, ‘Looking for (or rather, looking forward to; comp. Job 2:9, and see Grotius) the blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.’ The cause of the ambiguity in our common version is ably pointed out, and the above version established on the surest grounds, by Bishop Middleton and Professor Scholefield. But, besides the argument founded on the ‘propriety of language,’ that of Beza, who urges that ἐπιφάνεια is nowhere used of God, but Christ, is unanswerable. So in an able critique on Dr. Channing’s works, in the British Critic, the Reviewer justly maintains that ‘Christ must be the God here spoken of, because it is his “glorious appearing” which all Christians here are said to expect, but of God the Father we are expressly told that him “no man hath seen, nor can see.”’ Other convincing arguments for the construction here laid down may be seen in Dr. Routh’s Reliquiae Sacrae, vol. 2, p. 26. The reader is also particularly referred to Clem. Alex. Colhort. ad Gentes, sub init., where verses 11-14 are cited by that Father, and the view of Σωτὢρος here maintained is adopted. The whole of the context there is deserving of great attention, as containing such plain and repeated attestations to the divinity of Jesus Christ as can rarely be found. The passage itself may be seen in Bishop Bull’s Def Fid. Nic., p. 87.” — Bloomfield.


“Christ expiated sin, not encouraged it; he died to make your peace, but he died to make you holy; ‘to purify a people to himself,’ (Titus 2:14.) The ends of Christ’s death cannot be separated. He is no atoner, where he is not a refiner. It is as certain as any word the mouth of God hath spoken, that ‘there is no peace to the wicked,’ (Isa 48:22.) A guilty conscience, and an impure, will keep up the amity with Satan and enmity with God. He that allows himself in any sin deprives himself of the benefit of reconciliation. This reconciliation must be mutual; as God lays down his wrath against us, so we must throw down our arms against him. As there was a double enmity, one rooted in nature, another declared by wicked works; or rather, one enmity in its root, and another in its exercise, (Col 1:21,) so there must be an alteration of state, and an alteration of acts.” — Charnock.

Next: Chapter 3