The apostle closes the chapter (as he began it) with a summary direction to Titus upon the whole, in which we have the matter and manner of ministers’ teaching, and a special instruction to Titus in reference to himself.
I. The matter of ministers’ teaching: These thing, namely, those before mentioned: not Jewish fables and traditions, but the truths and duties of the gospel, of avoiding sin, and living soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Observe, Ministers in their preaching must keep close to the word of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God, 1 Pet. 4:11; and not the figments and inventions of his own brain.
II. The manner; by doctrine, and exhortation, and reproof with all authority. 2 Tim. 3:16; All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness; that is, to teach sound doctrine, to convince of sin and refute error, to reform the life, and to carry forward in what is just and good; that the man of God (the Christian or minister) may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works that are to be practised by himself or to be taught to others. Here is what will furnish for all parts of his duty, and the right discharge of them. “These things speak, or teach; shun not to declare the whole counsel of God.” The great and necessary truths and duties of the gospel, especially, these speak and exhort, parakalei, press with much earnestness. Ministers must not be cold and lifeless in delivering heavenly doctrine and precepts, as if they were indifferent things or of little concern; but they must urge them with earnestness suitable to their nature and importance; they must call upon persons to mind and heed, and not be hearers only, deceiving themselves; but doers of the word, that they may be blessed therein. And rebuke; convince and reprove such as contradict or gainsay, or neglect and do not receive the truth as they should, or retain it in unrighteousness—those who hear it not with such a believing and obedient mind and heart as they ought, but, instead of this (it may be) live in contrary practices, showing themselves stubborn and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. Rebuke with all authority, as coming in the name of God, and armed with his threatenings and discipline, whoever make light of which will do it at their peril. Ministers are reprovers in the gate.
III. Here is a special instruction to Titus in reference to himself: “Let no man despise thee; that is, give no occasion to do so, nor suffer it without reproof, considering that he who despiseth despiseth not man, but God.” Or thus, “Speak and exhort these things, press them upon all, as they may respectively be concerned; with boldness and faithfulness reprove sin, and carefully look to thyself and thy own conduct, and then none will despise thee.” The most effectual way for ministers to secure themselves from contempt is to keep close to the doctrine of Christ, and imitate his example—to preach and live well, and do their duty with prudence and courage; this will best preserve both their reputation and their comfort.
Perhaps too an admonition might be here intended to the people—that Titus, though young, and but a substitute of the apostle, yet should not be condemned by them, but considered and respected as a faithful minister of Christ, and encouraged and supported in his work and office. “Know those that labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake, 1 Thess. 5:12, 13. Mind their teaching, respect their persons, support them in their function, and, what in you lies, further their endeavours for the honour of God and the salvation of souls.”