To Titus 3:1-15
zealous for fine works: Paul explains that Christians would be “zealous,” or eager, enthusiastic, to do what is right and proper in God’s eyes. Such “fine works” include doing good deeds for others, displaying the fruitage of God’s spirit and, above all, preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom.—Mt 24:14; Ga 5:22, 23; Tit 2:1-14; Jas 1:27; 1Pe 2:12.
compels you into service: A reference to the compulsory service that the Roman authorities could demand from a citizen. They could, for example, press men or animals into service or commandeer whatever was considered necessary to expedite official business. That is what happened to Simon of Cyrene, whom Roman soldiers “compelled into service” to carry Jesus’ torture stake.—Mt 27:32.
to be obedient to governments and authorities: That is, to earthly rulers. Some in positions of authority were known to be unjust, and their subjects, rebellious. Even so, Paul wanted Titus to remind the Christians in Crete to respect those in authority and obey them unless those rulers required that Christians disobey God.—Mt 22:21; Ac 5:29; Ro 13:1-7.
to be ready for every good work: The expression “good work” is broad in meaning and may include a variety of good deeds that benefit others. (See study note on Tit 2:14.) One kind of “good work” that Paul may here be referring to is the work that secular authorities might demand of all citizens. Christians could readily comply with such requirements as long as these did not conflict with God’s laws. (Mt 5:41 and study note; Ro 13:1, 7) Further, if a community suffered a natural disaster or other crisis, Christians needed to be ready to help not only their brothers but also their non-Christian neighbors. (Ga 6:10) Such works would show that in every way, true Christians make a positive contribution to society.—Mt 5:16; Tit 2:7, 8; 1Pe 2:12.
reasonableness: The Greek word rendered “reasonableness” is broad in meaning, conveying the idea of being yielding, courteous, or tolerant. This quality involves, not insisting on carrying out the letter of the law or demanding one’s rights, but being willing to adapt to existing circumstances. A reasonable person strives to be considerate and gentle. This quality of a Christian should become known to all men, that is, also to those outside the Christian congregation. One Bible translation renders the first part of the verse: “Have a reputation for being reasonable.” While all Christians strive to be reasonable, it is specifically required of the overseers in the congregation.—1Ti 3:3; Tit 3:2; Jas 3:17; see study note on 2Co 10:1.
reasonable: The Greek word Paul uses here is broad in meaning and can also convey the idea of being gentle, courteous, or tolerant. (See study note on Php 4:5.) Its literal meaning is “yielding.” In using this word, however, Paul is not saying that an overseer would yield to or tolerate wrong or that he would compromise divine standards. Rather, Paul is saying that in matters of personal preference, an overseer would be willing to yield to the views of others. He does not rigidly insist on his own rights or on doing things the way he has always done them. Instead, when it comes to personal views, he respects the preferences of others and he readily adapts to changing circumstances. An overseer is firm in upholding Bible laws and principles, but he seeks to apply those standards in a kind, balanced way. Reasonableness is an aspect of divine wisdom and a hallmark of Jesus Christ’s personality. (Jas 3:17; see study note on 2Co 10:1.) It is also a quality for which all Christians should be known.—Tit 3:1, 2.
mildness: An inward calmness and peaceableness that Christians exercise in their relationship with God and in their conduct toward fellow humans. (Ga 6:1; Eph 4:1-3; Col 3:12) Since mildness is an aspect of the fruitage of God’s spirit, it is not acquired by sheer willpower. A Christian cultivates mildness by drawing close to God, praying for his spirit, and cooperating with its influence. A mild person is not a coward or a weakling. The Greek word for “mildness” (pra·yʹtes) has the meaning of gentleness coupled with power, or strength under control. A related Greek word (pra·ysʹ) is rendered “mild-tempered” and “mild.” (Mt 21:5; 1Pe 3:4) Jesus described himself as mild-tempered (Mt 11:29); yet, he was by no means weak.—See Mt 5:5 and study note.
not to be quarrelsome: Lit., “not disposed to fight.” Paul wanted Christians to avoid being contentious in their dealings with others, including those in positions of secular authority. (Tit 3:1) Some lexicons define the Greek word used here as “peaceable.” The same expression appears in the list of qualifications for elders.—1Ti 3:3.
reasonable: See study notes on Php 4:5; 1Ti 3:3.
displaying all mildness toward all men: A mild person is calm under stress, and he is peaceful in his actions toward others, including unbelievers. Regarding the double use of “all” in this verse, one reference work states that this quality should “be shown not partially but fully” and “‘to everyone’ without exception.”—See study note on Ga 5:23.
we too were once senseless: In this context, the Greek word for “senseless” conveys the idea of being unwise or foolish rather than lacking intelligence. By using the word “we,” Paul indicates that he himself once lacked understanding, foolishly persecuting Christ’s followers. (1Ti 1:13) But Paul was treated mercifully, and he changed. (Ac 9:17) So he had good reason to ask Titus to remind the Cretan Christians about their own former ignorance of Jehovah’s righteous standards. If those Christians humbly acknowledged that they at one time had many negative traits, they would more likely seek to be mild and reasonable in dealing with those who were not yet believers.
God our Savior: In Paul’s first letter to Timothy and in his letter to Titus, the term “Savior” is used six times with reference to Jehovah God (here and at 1Ti 2:3; 4:10; Tit 1:3; 2:10; 3:4) compared to only twice in the rest of the Christian Greek Scriptures (Lu 1:47; Jude 25). In the Hebrew Scriptures, Jehovah is often described as the Savior of his people, Israel. (Ps 106:8, 10, 21; Isa 43:3, 11; 45:15, 21; Jer 14:8) Since Jesus is the one through whom Jehovah saves mankind from sin and death, Jesus too is referred to as “Savior.” (Ac 5:31; 2Ti 1:10) He is also called “the Chief Agent of . . . salvation.” (Heb 2:10) The name Jesus, given to God’s Son by angelic direction, means “Jehovah Is Salvation” because, said the angel, “he will save his people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21 and study note) So Jesus’ very name emphasizes that Jehovah is the Source of the salvation that is accomplished through Jesus. Therefore, both the Father and the Son are spoken of as being a Savior. (Tit 2:11-13; 3:4-6) Both the Hebrew and the Greek (in the Septuagint) terms for “savior” are also used of humans who were raised up as “saviors to rescue” God’s people from their enemies.—Ne 9:27; Jg 3:9, 15.
kindness: Or “human kindness.” The Greek word phi·lan·thro·piʹa literally means “affection (love) for mankind.” Such kindness could include the idea of having genuine interest in others and showing hospitality in caring for human needs and comforts. As shown here, people may display this godly quality even before they come to know Jehovah. A similar example is recorded at Ac 27:3, where the related word phi·lan·throʹpos is used to describe the way that the army officer Julius treated Paul. At Tit 3:4, the Greek word phi·lan·thro·piʹa is used to describe Jehovah’s feelings and is rendered “love for mankind.”
our Savior, God: See study note on 1Ti 1:1.
his love for mankind: Paul here describes the feelings that God, “our Savior,” has toward people, including those who do not yet serve him. (Joh 3:16) One lexicon defines the Greek word phi·lan·thro·piʹa (“love for mankind”) in this context as God’s “affectionate concern for and interest in humanity.” (Compare study note on Ac 28:2; see also Tit 2:11.) This Greek term was at times used in secular writings to refer to a judge who showed mercy toward someone who stood condemned.
he is a new creation: Each anointed Christian is a new creation—a spirit-begotten son of God with the prospect of sharing with Christ in the heavenly Kingdom. (Ga 4:6, 7) Though new material things have not been created since the end of the sixth creative day (Ge 2:2, 3), new spiritual things have been created.
born from water and spirit: Nicodemus was likely familiar with the baptisms performed by John the Baptist. (Mr 1:4-8; Lu 3:16; Joh 1:31-34) So when Jesus spoke about water, it is reasonable to assume that Nicodemus would have discerned that Jesus was referring to water used for baptism. Nicodemus would also have been familiar with the way the Hebrew Scriptures use the term “spirit of God,” that is, God’s active force. (Ge 41:38; Ex 31:3; Nu 11:17; Jg 3:10; 1Sa 10:6; Isa 63:11) Therefore, when Jesus used the word “spirit,” Nicodemus would have understood it to be holy spirit. Jesus’ own experience illustrates the point he made to Nicodemus. When Jesus was baptized in water, holy spirit descended upon him. So he was “born from water and spirit.” (Mt 3:16, 17; Lu 3:21, 22) At that time, God declared that Jesus was his Son, apparently indicating that he had brought forth Jesus as a spiritual son who had the prospect of returning to heaven. A follower of Jesus who is “born from water” is one who has turned away from his former course of life, repented of his sins, and been baptized in water. Those who are born from both “water and spirit” are begotten, or brought forth, by God to be sons of God with the promise of spirit life in the heavens and with the prospect of ruling in the Kingdom of God.—Lu 22:30; Ro 8:14-17, 23; Tit 3:5; Heb 6:4, 5.
the bath that brought us to life: Or “the bath of rebirth”; lit., “bath of regeneration.” For Paul and his fellow Christians, “the bath” that leads to a rebirth was not their baptism in water. Rather, this bath refers to the cleansing about which the apostle John wrote: “The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1Jo 1:7) Once God cleansed them by means of the ransom sacrifice, Paul and his fellow Christians could be “brought . . . to life” in a special sense. They could be “declared righteous as a result of faith.”—Ro 5:1.
making us new by holy spirit: In addition to providing the cleansing bath just mentioned, God had anointed Paul and his fellow Christians with his spirit and had adopted them as sons. They thus became “a new creation.” (See study note on 2Co 5:17.) As spirit-anointed sons of God, they lived an entirely new life, one blessed with the prospect of living forever in heaven.—Compare study note on Joh 3:5.
in the last days: In this quote from Joel’s prophecy, Peter under inspiration uses the phrase “in the last days” rather than the expression “after that,” which is used in the original Hebrew and in the Septuagint. (Joe 2:28 [3:1, LXX]) Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled when holy spirit was poured out at Pentecost. Therefore, Peter’s use of the term “the last days” indicates that this special time period had begun and that it would precede “the great and illustrious day of Jehovah.” This “day of Jehovah” would apparently bring “the last days” to their conclusion. (Ac 2:20) Peter was speaking to natural Jews and Jewish proselytes, so his inspired words must have had an initial fulfillment involving them. His statement apparently indicated that the Jews were living in “the last days” of the system of things that had its center of worship in Jerusalem. Earlier, Jesus himself foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. (Lu 19:41-44; 21:5, 6) That destruction took place in 70 C.E.
my spirit: The Greek word pneuʹma here refers to God’s holy spirit, or active force. At Joe 2:28, quoted here, the corresponding Hebrew word ruʹach is used. Both the Hebrew and the Greek words convey the basic idea of that which is invisible to human sight and gives evidence of force in motion.—See Glossary, “Spirit.”
Christ Jesus our Savior: In the preceding verse, God is called “our Savior.” Some therefore conclude that Jesus and God are one and the same. It is worth noting, though, that this verse mentions “God the Father” and “Christ Jesus our Savior” separately. Jesus is the one through whom God saves mankind from sin and death, so Jesus too can be referred to as “our Savior.” At Heb 2:10, Paul calls Jesus “the Chief Agent of . . . salvation.” And the Bible writer Jude calls Jehovah “the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord,” showing that God and Christ cooperate together to bring about salvation. (Jude 25) So Paul’s words offer no support for the idea that “Christ Jesus” and “God the Father” are one and the same.—See study note on 1Ti 1:1.
of the great God and of our Savior, Jesus Christ: Paul here discusses the “glorious manifestation” of both God and Jesus Christ. Usually, the term “manifestation” is used only in connection with Jesus. (2Th 2:8; 1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 1:10; 4:1, 8) Some scholars therefore argue that only one person is referred to here, so they render this phrase, “of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” They thus view this text as proof that the inspired Scriptures describe Jesus as “the great God.” However, many scholars and Bible translators acknowledge that this passage can properly be rendered as it is in the New World Translation, referring to two distinct persons.—Support for this rendering can be found in the Kingdom Interlinear, App. 2E, “Of the Great God and of [the] Savior of Us, Christ Jesus.”
He poured this spirit out . . . through Jesus Christ: The Greek verb used here usually refers to pouring out a liquid; however, in the Christian Greek Scriptures, it is sometimes used figuratively regarding the pouring out of God’s active force on Christ’s followers. (See Glossary, “Anoint.”) The same term is used to describe the outpouring of holy spirit at Pentecost 33 C.E. (See study notes on Ac 2:17.) Ac 2:16-18 states that Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled on that occasion. (Joe 2:28) Ac 2:33 explains that Jesus “received the promised holy spirit” from his Father and poured it out on the disciples at Pentecost. Paul states here that Jehovah continued to use Jesus as the channel through whom He pours out His active force.
Jesus Christ our Savior: See study notes on Tit 1:4; 2:13.
being declared righteous: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the Greek verb di·kai·oʹo and the related nouns di·kaiʹo·ma and di·kaiʹo·sis, traditionally rendered “to justify” and “justification,” carry the basic idea of clearing of any charge, holding as guiltless, and therefore pronouncing and treating as righteous. For example, the apostle Paul wrote that the person who has died has been “acquitted [form of di·kai·oʹo] from his sin,” having paid the penalty, death. (Ro 6:7, 23) In addition to such usage, these Greek words are used in a special sense in the Scriptures. They refer to God’s viewing as guiltless an imperfect person who exercises faith.—Ac 13:38, 39; Ro 8:33.
being declared righteous: See study note on Ro 3:24.
reject foolish and ignorant debates: For the third time in this letter, Paul urges Timothy to help the Ephesian Christians to stop fighting over speculative and controversial subjects. (2Ti 2:14 and study note, 16) In his first letter to Timothy, Paul had addressed similar tendencies.—See study notes on 1Ti 1:4; 6:20.
genealogies: Paul may be referring to personal pedigrees, that is, the records of a family’s line of descent. He warns Christians that they should not be sidetracked into studying and discussing such matters. Some may have done so out of a sense of pride in their ancestry or to show off their knowledge. However, pursuing such a subject contributed nothing useful to Christian faith. Jewish Christians had no compelling reason to trace their personal ancestry, since God did not recognize any distinction between Jew and non-Jew in the Christian congregation. (Ga 3:28) However, it was important for Christians to be able to trace the descent of Christ through the line of David.—Mt 1:1-17; Lu 3:23-38.
is declared righteous: In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the verb di·kai·oʹo and the related nouns di·kaiʹo·ma and di·kaiʹo·sis, traditionally rendered “to justify” and “justification,” carry the basic idea of a person being cleared of any charge, held as guiltless, and therefore pronounced righteous and treated as such. (See study note on Ro 3:24.) Some in the Galatian congregations were being influenced by Judaizers, who were attempting to establish their own righteousness by works of the law of Moses. (Ga 5:4; see study note on Ga 1:6.) However, Paul stressed that only through faith in Jesus Christ would it be possible to gain a righteous standing with God. Jesus sacrificed his perfect life, providing the basis for God to declare righteous those exercising faith in Christ.—Ro 3:19-24; 10:3, 4; Ga 3:10-12, 24.
the Law is fine if one applies it properly: In Paul’s day, some were teaching that Christians should closely adhere to regulations in the Mosaic Law, as if those regulations were still the key to salvation. Paul knew that such teachers applied the Law improperly. Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, and they exercise faith in Christ’s ransom as the means of salvation. (Ga 2:15, 16) Still, the Mosaic Law is useful to Christians, provided they apply its principles “properly” (lit., “lawfully”). They benefit from studying the Law, since it is “a shadow of the good things to come” in connection with Christ Jesus. (Heb 10:1) The Law also demonstrates mankind’s need for the atonement sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Ga 3:19) Above all, it reveals Jehovah’s thinking on matters.—Ex 22:21; Le 19:15, 18; Ro 7:12.
foolish arguments: Like the false teachers in Ephesus, some in Crete were promoting pointless and divisive arguments. (See study note on 2Ti 2:23.) Whether the disputes involved the Mosaic Law, genealogies, or false stories, Paul here urges Titus to have nothing to do with such fights. The Greek word Paul uses suggests turning one’s back on or even moving away from such arguments. Titus’ example in doing so would teach others that it was a waste of time and effort to take part in foolish arguments.
genealogies: See study note on 1Ti 1:4.
fights over the Law: Christians were not under the Mosaic Law. (Ro 6:14; Ga 3:24, 25) Still, some who were associated with the congregations were arguing that Christians should closely adhere to the many regulations of the Law. (Tit 1:10, 11) In effect, such ones actually rejected God’s means for salvation, namely, the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus.—Ro 10:4; Ga 5:1-4; see study notes on Ga 2:16; 1Ti 1:8.
for they are unprofitable and futile: Paul characterizes the causes of controversy he just mentioned as being unprofitable or, according to one lexicon, “not being of any advantage.” He also calls them futile or “empty, fruitless, . . . lacking truth.” Paul did not want the Cretan Christians to be distracted from serving God by engaging in divisive disputes that were nothing but a waste of time.
sect: The Greek word here rendered “sect,” haiʹre·sis (from which the English word “heresy” is derived), apparently had the original meaning “a choice.” That is how the word is used at Le 22:18 in the Septuagint, which speaks about Israelites offering gifts “according to all their choice.” As used in the Christian Greek Scriptures, this term refers to a group of people holding to distinctive views or doctrines. It is used to describe the two prominent branches of Judaism—the Pharisees and the Sadducees. (Ac 5:17; 15:5; 26:5) Non-Christians called Christianity “a sect” or “the sect of the Nazarenes,” possibly viewing it as a breakaway group from Judaism. (Ac 24:5, 14; 28:22) The Greek word haiʹre·sis was also applied to groups that developed within the Christian congregation. Jesus emphasized and prayed that unity would prevail among his followers (Joh 17:21), and the apostles sought to preserve the oneness of the Christian congregation (1Co 1:10; Jude 17-19). If the members of the congregation separated into groups or factions, this would disrupt the unity. Therefore, in describing such groups, the Greek word haiʹre·sis came to be used in the negative sense of a faction or a divisive group, a sect. Disunity in belief could give rise to fierce disputing, dissension, and even enmity. (Compare Ac 23:7-10.) So sects were to be avoided and were considered a manifestation of “the works of the flesh.”—Ga 5:19-21; 1Co 11:19; 2Pe 2:1.
sects among you: As mentioned in the preceding verse, Paul had heard reports that “divisions” existed in the Corinthian congregation. He indicated that the very existence of these factions among them would reveal individuals who were approved from God’s standpoint. Those who avoided such divisive groups and humbly did what they could to promote love and unity would stand out as faithful, showing themselves to be genuine Christians with pure motives. This is how sects or divisions served to identify those who had God’s approval.—For a discussion of the term “sect,” see study note on Ac 24:5.
admonition: Or “instruction; guidance; training.” Lit., “putting mind in.” The Greek word used here (nou·the·siʹa) is a compound word composed of the word for “mind” (nous) and the word for “to put” (tiʹthe·mi). In this context, the word indicates that Christian fathers are to help their children to understand God’s thoughts on matters. They are, in effect, to put the mind of Jehovah God in their children.
warn: Or “admonish.”—See study note on 1Th 5:12.
a man who promotes a sect: Or “a person causing division.”—See Glossary, “Sect,” and study notes on Ac 24:5; 1Co 11:19.
reject him: Or “have nothing to do with him.” The Greek verb Paul here uses could include the idea of excluding or sending someone away, for example, from a house. If a person in the congregation began promoting a sect, the elders would lovingly try to help him. But if after being admonished he persisted in his course, the elders were to “reject him,” apparently meaning that they should expel him from the congregation. (Ro 16:17; 1Co 5:12, 13; 1Ti 1:20; 2Jo 10) Otherwise, he would sow discord and divisions.—2Ti 2:16-18.
admonition: The Greek word Paul here uses can refer to instruction and guidance. (See study note on Eph 6:4.) In this context, it conveys the idea of “warning.”—Compare 1Th 5:14 and study note.
deviated from the way: This expression describes a man who has turned aside “from what is considered true or morally proper.” Some scholars understand that the original Greek verb meant “to turn inside out,” which could imply that one who deviated was trying to corrupt or pervert Scriptural truth. Such a man was to be rejected, put out of the congregation.
is self-condemned: This expression shows how serious it was to promote a sect in the congregation. A man who persisted in doing so “after a first and a second admonition” was not like those who struggled with doubts but were open to reason. (Tit 3:10; Jude 22, 23) His own stubborn, deliberate, and willful course of sowing division in the congregation condemned him and would lead to his destruction.—2Pe 2:1.
Tychicus: A Christian minister from the province of Asia, whose service Paul greatly valued. (Ac 20:2-4) Paul entrusted Tychicus with delivering letters to the Colossians, to Philemon of the Colossian congregation, and to the Ephesians. Tychicus was more than a courier. His assignment included relating to the congregations “all the news about” Paul himself, likely including details about Paul’s imprisonment, his condition, and his needs. Paul knew that this “beloved brother and faithful minister” would do so in a way that would comfort the hearts of his hearers and would reinforce the vital teachings in Paul’s inspired message. (Col 4:8, 9; see also Eph 6:21, 22.) After Paul was released from prison, he contemplated sending Tychicus to Crete. (Tit 3:12) And when Paul was imprisoned in Rome for the second time, he sent Tychicus to Ephesus.—2Ti 4:12.
Artemas: Paul’s companion Artemas is mentioned only here in the Christian Greek Scriptures. Paul considered sending either him or Tychicus to Titus in Crete, perhaps as a replacement so that Titus might join Paul in Nicopolis. (See Media Gallery, “Paul’s Journeys After c. 61 C.E.”) It is not known when and where Paul met Artemas, but Paul obviously trusted him and thought that he would be suitable for this assignment.
Tychicus: See study note on Col 4:7.
risking his life: Or “exposing his soul to danger.” Apparently, there was a measure of risk to Epaphroditus in fulfilling his assignment to go to Rome and bring a gift to Paul in prison. One possibility may be that the unsanitary conditions of travel and overnight accommodations in the first century could have caused Epaphroditus to “fall sick nearly to the point of death.” (Php 2:26, 27) At any rate, Paul says that Epaphroditus “nearly died on account of the work of Christ.” Paul had good reason for commending Epaphroditus and for encouraging the Philippian congregation to give him “the customary welcome in the Lord” and to “keep holding men of that sort dear.”—Php 2:29; see study notes on Php 2:25, 26 and Glossary, “Soul.”
Do your utmost to arrive before winter: Paul wants Timothy to travel to Rome before winter, likely because the harsh winter months could make such a journey too hazardous. In the ancient Mediterranean world, travel by sea was restricted during late autumn, winter, and early spring. Storms were more frequent and dangerous. (Ac 27:9-44; see also Media Gallery, “Acts of Apostles—Paul’s Trip to Rome and His First Imprisonment There.”) Furthermore, increased cloud cover—along with rain, snow, and fog—reduced visibility and made navigation difficult. Mariners had no compass to guide them, so they had to rely heavily on landmarks or on the positions of the sun, moon, and stars. Moreover, if Timothy were to arrive before winter and bring with him the cloak Paul had left in Troas, the apostle would have something to keep him warm during his imprisonment in the frigid winter months.—2Ti 4:13; see also Media Gallery, “Bring the Cloak.”
Tabitha: The Aramaic name Tabitha means “Gazelle” and apparently corresponds to a Hebrew word (tsevi·yahʹ) meaning “female gazelle.” (Ca 4:5; 7:3) The Greek name Dorcas also means “Gazelle.” In a seaport such as Joppa, with its mixed population of Jews and Gentiles, it may be that Tabitha was known by both names, according to the language being spoken. Or Luke may have translated the name for the benefit of Gentile readers.
Apollos: A Jewish Christian who had apparently been raised in the city of Alexandria, the capital of the Roman province of Egypt. Alexandria was a center of higher learning, renowned for its great library. It was the largest city in the Roman Empire after Rome and had a large Jewish population. It was one of the most important centers of culture and learning for both Jews and Greeks. The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures known as the Septuagint was produced there. This background may help explain why Apollos is described as being well-versed [lit., “powerful”] in the Scriptures, that is, the inspired Hebrew Scriptures.
Now concerning Apollos our brother: It appears that Apollos must have been in or near Ephesus, where Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. Apollos had been preaching in Corinth earlier (Ac 18:24–19:1a), and the Corinthians held Apollos in great esteem. Though Paul urged him to visit the Corinthian congregation, Apollos did not intend to go to Corinth at that time. He may have feared stirring up further division in the congregation (1Co 1:10-12), or he may still have had work to do where he was. At any rate, Paul’s brief statement about “Apollos our brother” shows that these two active missionaries had not allowed the factions in the congregation in Corinth to cause a breach in their own unity, as some Bible commentators have suggested.—1Co 3:4-9, 21-23; 4:6, 7.
supply . . . for their trip: The Greek term here rendered “supply . . . for their trip” is broad in meaning. It could even include accompanying travelers partway or for an entire trip. (Compare Ac 20:38; 21:5; Ro 15:24; 1Co 16:6.) According to one reference work, the assistance Paul asks Titus to provide for Zenas and Apollos may have included “food, money, traveling companions, means of travel, and persons with whom to stay on the journey.” Another reference work explains: “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.” Paul here encourages Titus to give such support carefully, which, according to the original Greek word, can convey the idea of thoughtfully, diligently, and eagerly.—Compare study notes on Php 2:30; 2Ti 4:21.
Zenas, who is versed in the Law: Lit., “Zenas the lawyer.” The Greek word used here (no·mi·kosʹ) can refer to a civil lawyer, but Paul is likely describing Zenas as an expert in the Mosaic Law. If so, Zenas was possibly a Jew, perhaps even a scribe. However, Zenas is a Greek name, so he may have been a Gentile who had converted to Judaism before becoming a Christian. Or he may have been a Jew who had a Greek name; many Jews in Paul’s day had Greek or Roman names. (Ac 1:23; 9:36 and study note; 12:25) In any case, Paul’s instructions to Titus indicate that Zenas had earned a fine reputation as a Christian.
Apollos: This is the last time that this faithful man is mentioned in the Christian Greek Scriptures. He first appears in the book of Acts. This “eloquent man” was preaching in Ephesus, but he needed further instruction. Afterward, he went to Achaia and “greatly helped” the disciples there. (Ac 18:24-28; see study note on Ac 18:24.) He became so highly regarded that some immature Corinthians were divided over whether they belonged to Apollos or to Paul. (1Co 1:12; 3:5, 6) However, such mistaken views did not corrupt Apollos; nor did they affect Paul’s opinion of this zealous missionary. (See study note on 1Co 16:12.) In this verse, Paul directs that Titus “carefully supply” Apollos with what he needs for a trip, possibly an assignment to visit congregations as a traveling overseer.
all of you: Although Paul wrote this letter to Titus, this expression suggests that the apostle intended it to be read to the congregation. Hearing it would encourage all to cooperate with Titus when he gave correction (Tit 1:5, 10), appointed elders (Tit 1:6-9), gave reproof (Tit 1:13; 2:15), provided frequent reminders (Tit 3:1, 8), and sought material assistance for those in need (Tit 3:13, 14).
Highlighted on the map is the Roman city of Nicopolis in the Epirus region of what is today northwestern Greece. Several ancient cities were named Nicopolis, which means “City of Conquest [Victory].” However, this is probably the Nicopolis that the Bible mentions in connection with Paul’s travels sometime after his first imprisonment in Rome. (Tit 3:12; see map “Paul’s Journeys After c. 61 C.E.”) Octavian (later known as Caesar Augustus) founded Nicopolis after 31 B.C.E. Many people from other areas were resettled here, and this new city became a trading center. Paul may have thought that this city would provide ample opportunity for witnessing during the winter that he was planning to spend there. Some think that while Paul was living in Nicopolis, he was arrested and sent back to Rome for his second and final imprisonment. (See study note on Ac 28:30.) The photos show different scenes from the site of ancient Nicopolis.
1. Roman aqueduct; construction may have started during Caesar Nero’s reign (54-68 C.E.)
2. View toward one of the harbors of Nicopolis with the Odeum (small theater) in the foreground, probably built during the first half of the second century C.E.