Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics


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This Pastoral letter is very similar to the Timothy letters, having the same concerns and rhetorical style. Titus is apparently in Crete, and this gives the writer an opportunity to cite the Cretan paradox: ‘One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true’ (1: 12–13). The xenophobia is notable, even though the validation of the paradox remains the high point of the letter. The writer also does not like Jews: ‘Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth’ (1: 14). The saying ‘Unto the pure all things are pure’ (1: 15) has passed into the language. There is a well-formed expression of belief and practice: ‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works’ (2: 11–14). The concern with heretics echoes that of Timothy: ‘But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself’ (3: 9–11). Reading the Pastorals leaves a distinct impression that the churches were growing more parochial, narrower, more bureaucratic, and more inward-looking as the decades went by. We can glimpse the beginnings of structures which gave rise to the Catholic Church.

Chapter.  306 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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