The Meaning of Titus 1:12 Explained

Titus 1:12

KJV: One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

YLT: A certain one of them, a prophet of their own, said -- 'Cretans! always liars, evil beasts, lazy bellies!'

Darby: One of themselves, a prophet of their own, has said, Cretans are always liars, evil wild beasts, lazy gluttons.

ASV: One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, idle gluttons.

What does Titus 1:12 Mean?

Context Summary

Titus 1:10-16 - Reprove Those Whose Works Deny God
The Judaizing teachers, who insisted that men must become Jews before they could be Christians, were always on Paul's heels, visiting his churches and diverting his converts from the simplicity of the faith. Their motive in many cases was very largely self-aggrandizement. Such men were to be resisted to the uttermost and sharply rebuked. Where the work of grace is really commenced in the heart, a sharp rebuke will often turn the soul back to God. The gardener must not hesitate to use a pruning-knife, if the well-being of the tree is at stake.
Note the marvelous power we possess of viewing things in the light or gloom cast upon them from our own temperament. We see life and the world in a glass colored from within. Oh, that we might possess that pure and untarnished nature that passes through the world like a beam of sunshine, irradiating all but contaminated by none! The true test of the knowledge of God is a holy life. These act and react. The better you know God, the more you will resemble Him; compare Psalms 111:1-10; Psalms 112:1-10. The more you are like God, the better you will know Him. [source]

Chapter Summary: Titus 1

1  Paul greets Titus, who was left to finish the work in Crete
6  How those chosen as ministers ought to be qualified
11  The mouths of evil teachers to be stopped;
12  and what manner of men they be

Greek Commentary for Titus 1:12

A prophet of their own [ιδιος αυτων προπητης]
“Their own prophet.” Self-styled “prophet” (or poet), and so accepted by the Cretans and by Cicero and Apuleius, that is Epimenides who was born in Crete at Cnossos. It is a hexameter line and Callimachus quoted the first part of it in a Hymn to Zeus. It is said that Epimenides suggested to the Athenians the erection of statues to “unknown gods” (Acts 17:23). [source]
Liars [πσευσται]
See note on 1 Timothy 1:10 for the word. The Cretans had a bad reputation on this line, partly due to their claim to having the tomb of Zeus. Evil beasts (κακα τηρια — kaka thēria). “Wicked wild beasts.” Lock asks if the Minotaur was partly responsible. Idle gluttons “Idle bellies.” Blunt and forceful. See note on Philemon 3:19 “whose god is the belly” Both words give the picture of the sensual gormandizer. [source]
Evil beasts [κακα τηρια]
“Wicked wild beasts.” Lock asks if the Minotaur was partly responsible. [source]
Idle gluttons [γαστερες αργαι]
“Idle bellies.” Blunt and forceful. See note on Philemon 3:19 “whose god is the belly” Both words give the picture of the sensual gormandizer. [source]
One of themselves [τις ἐξ αὐτῶν]
Ἁυτῶν refers to the gainsayers, Titus 1:9, Titus 1:10. Τις refers to Epimenides, contemporary with Solon, and born in Crete b.c. 659. A legend relates that, going by his father's order in search of a sheep, he lay down in a cave, where he fell asleep and slept for fifty years. He then appeared with long hair and a flowing beard, and with an astonishing knowledge of medicine and natural history. It was said that he had the power of sending his soul out of his body and recalling it at pleasure, and that he had familiar intercourse with the gods and possessed the power of prophecy. He was sent for to Athens at the request of the inhabitants, in order to pave the way for the legislation of Solon by purifications and propitiatory sacrifices, intended to allay the feuds and party discussions which prevailed in the city. In return for his services he refused the Athenians' offers of wealth and public honors, and asked only a branch of the sacred olive, and a decree of perpetual friendship between Athens and his native city. He is said to have lived to the age of 157 years, and divine honors were paid him by the Cretans after his death. He composed a Theogony, and poems concerning religious mysteries. He wrote also a poem on the Argonautic Expedition, and other works. Jerome mentions his treatise On Oracles and Responses, from which the quotation in this verse is supposed to have been taken. According to Diogenes Laertius (i. 10) Epimenides, in order to remove a pestilence from Athens, turned some sheep loose at the Areopagus, and wherever they lay down sacrificed to the proper God: whence, he says, there are still to be found, in different demes of the Athenians, anonymous altars. Comp. Acts 17:22, Acts 17:23. [source]
The Cretans, etc. []
The words Κρῆτες - ἀργαί form a hexameter line. [source]
Always [ἀεὶ]
Habitually. [source]
Liars [ψεῦσται]
In Pastorals here and 1 Timothy 1:10. Once in Paul, Romans 3:4. Mostly in John. The Cretan habit of lying passed into a verb, κρητίζειν tospeak like a Cretan = to lie: also into a noun, κρητισμός Cretan behavior = lying. Similarly, the licentiousness of Corinth appeared in the verb κορινθιάζεσθαι topractice whoredom, and in the noun κορινθιαστής awhoremonger. Comp. Ov. Artis Amat. i. 296.“non hoc, centum quae sustinet urbesQuamvis sit mendax, Creta negare potest.”“Crete, which a hundred cities doth maintain,Cannot deny this, though to lying given.”A familiar saying was τρία κάππα κάκιστα thethree worst K's, Κρῆτες, Καππάδοκαι, Κίλικες CretansCappadocians, Cilicians. [source]
Evil beasts [κακὰ θηρία]
Rude, cruel, and brutal. [source]
Slow-bellies [γαστέρες ἀργαί]
Better, idle -bellies. Rev. gives the correct idea, idle gluttons. They are so given to gluttony that they are mere bellies. Comp. Philemon 3:19. Γαστὴρ , elsewhere in N.T. always in connection with childbearing. So mostly in lxx, but in a few instances as here. See Job 20:23; Psalm 17:14; Job href="/desk/?q=job+20:14&sr=1">Job 20:14as the rendering of קֶרֶב, bowels. Ἁργός idleoP. However such words may have befitted the pagan seer, it is not pleasant to regard them as taken up and endorsed by the great Christian apostle, who thus is made to stigmatise as liars, beasts, and gluttons a whole people, among whom he had himself so successfully labored that several churches had been founded in a short time. They are strange words from a venerable Christian minister to a younger minister to whom he had intrusted the care of those very souls; and, in any case, are superfluous, as addressed to one who must have known the characteristics of the Cretans quite as well as the writer himself. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Titus 1:12

Acts 17:28 As certain even of your own poets [hōs kai tines tōn kath' humās poiētōn)]
“As also some of the poets among you.” Aratus of Soli in Cilicia (ab. b.c. 270) has these very words in his Ta Phainomena and Cleanthes, Stoic philosopher (300-220 b.c.) in his Hymn to Zeus has Ek sou gar genos esōmen In 1 Corinthians 15:32 Paul quotes from Menander and in Titus 1:12 from Epimenides. J. Rendel Harris claims that he finds allusions in Paul‘s Epistles to Pindar, Aristophanes, and other Greek writers. There is no reason in the world why Paul should not have acquaintance with Greek literature, though one need not strain a point to prove it. Paul, of course, knew that the words were written of Zeus (Jupiter), not of Jehovah, but he applies the idea in them to his point just made that all men are the offspring of God. [source]
1 Corinthians 15:32 I have fought with beasts [ἐθηριομάχησα]
Only here in the New Testament. Figuratively. Paul, as a Roman citizen, would not have been set to fight with beasts in the arena; and such an incident would not have been likely to be passed over by Luke in the Acts. Compare similar metaphors in 1 Corinthians 4:9, 2 Timothy 4:17; Titus 1:12; Psalm 22:12, Psalm 22:13, Psalm 22:20, Psalm 22:21. Some, however, think it is to be taken literally. They refer to the presence at Ephesus of the Asiarchs (Acts 19:31), who had charge of the public games, as indicating that the tumult took place at the season of the celebration of the games in honor of Diana; to the fact that the young men at Ephesus were famous for their bull-fights; and to the words at Ephesus as indicating a particular incident. On the assumption that he speaks figuratively, the natural reference is to his experience with the ferocious mob at Ephesus. There was a legend that Paul was thrown, first of all, to a lion; then to other beasts, but was left untouched by them all. In the Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans occur these words: “From Syria even unto Rome, I fight with beasts, both by land and sea, both night and day, being bound to ten leopards. I mean a band of soldiers, who, even when they receive benefits, show themselves all the worse” (5). Compare Epistle to Tralles, 10: “Why do I pray that I may fight with wild beasts?” So in the Epistle to Smyrna he says: “I would put you on your guard against these monsters in human shape ” ( θηρίων τῶν ἀνθρωπομόρφων ); and in the Antiochene “Acts of Martyrdom” it is said: “He (Ignatius) was seized by a beastly soldiery, to be led away to Rome as a prey for carnivorous beasts” (ii.). [source]
2 Thessalonians 1:9 Glory of his power [δόξης τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ]
For glory see on 1 Thessalonians 2:12. Ἱσχὺς powernot often in Paul. It is indwelling power put forth or embodied, either aggressively or as an obstacle to resistance: physical power organized or working under individual direction. An army and a fortress are both ἰσχυρὸς. The power inhering in the magistrate, which is put forth in laws or judicial decisions, is ἰσχὺς , and makes the edicts ἰσχυρὰ validand hard to resist. Δύναμις is the indwelling power which comes to manifestation in ἰσχὺς The precise phrase used here does not appear elsewhere in N.T. In lxx, Isaiah 2:10, Isaiah 2:19, Isaiah 2:21. The power ( δύναμις ) and glory of God are associated in Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 19:1. Comp. κράτος τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ strengthof his glory, Colossians 1:11. Additional Note on ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον eternaldestruction, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Ἁιών transliterated eon is a period of time of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning and an end, and complete in itself. Aristotle ( περὶ οὐρανοῦ , i. 9,15) says: “The period which includes the whole time of each one's life is called the eon of each one.” Hence it often means the life of a man, as in Homer, where one's life ( αἰών ) is said to leave him or to consume away (Il. v. 685; Od. v. 160). It is not, however, limited to human life; it signifies any period in the course of events, as the period or age before Christ; the period of the millennium; the mytho-logical period before the beginnings of history. The word has not “a stationary and mechanical value” (De Quincey). It does not mean a period of a fixed length for all cases. There are as many eons as entities, the respective durations of which are fixed by the normal conditions of the several entities. There is one eon of a human life, another of the life of a nation, another of a crow's life, another of an oak's life. The length of the eon depends on the subject to which it is attached. It is sometimes translated world; world representing a period or a series of periods of time. See Matthew 12:32; Matthew 13:40, Matthew 13:49; Luke 1:70; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 1 Corinthians 2:6; Ephesians 1:21. Similarly οἱ αἰῶνες theworlds, the universe, the aggregate of the ages or periods, and their contents which are included in the duration of the world. 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 9:26; Hebrews 11:3. -DIVIDER-
The word always carries the notion of time, and not of eternity. It always means a period of time. Otherwise it would be impossible to account for the plural, or for such qualifying expressions as this age, or the age to come. It does not mean something endless or everlasting. To deduce that meaning from its relation to ἀεί is absurd; for, apart from the fact that the meaning of a word is not definitely fixed by its derivation, ἀεί does not signify endless duration. When the writer of the Pastoral Epistles quotes the saying that the Cretans are always ( ἀεί ) liars (Titus 1:12), he surely does not mean that the Cretans will go on lying to all eternity. See also Acts 7:51; 2 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Hebrews 3:10; 1 Peter 3:15. Ἁεί means habitually or continually within the limit of the subject's life. In our colloquial dialect everlastingly is used in the same way. “The boy is everlastingly tormenting me to buy him a drum.”-DIVIDER-
In the New Testament the history of the world is conceived as developed through a succession of eons. A series of such eons precedes the introduction of a new series inaugurated by the Christian dispensation, and the end of the world and the second coming of Christ are to mark the beginning of another series. See Ephesians 3:11. Paul contemplates eons before and after the Christian era. Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 2:7; Ephesians 3:9, Ephesians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 10:11; comp. Hebrews 9:26. He includes the series of eons in one great eon, ὁ αἰὼν τῶν αἰώνων theeon of the eons (Ephesians 3:21); and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews describes the throne of God as enduring unto the eon of the eons (Hebrews 1:8). The plural is also used, eons of the eons, signifying all the successive periods which make up the sum total of the ages collectively. Romans 16:27; Galatians 1:5; Philemon 4:20, etc. This plural phrase is applied by Paul to God only. -DIVIDER-
The adjective αἰώνιος in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting. They may acquire that sense by their connotation, as, on the other hand, ἀΐ̀διος , which means everlasting, has its meaning limited to a given point of time in Judges 1:6. Ἁιώνιος means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time. Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods. Thus the phrase εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα , habitually rendered forever, is often used of duration which is limited in the very nature of the case. See, for a few out of many instances, lxx, Exodus 21:6; Exodus 29:9; Exodus 32:13; Joshua 14:9; 1 Samuel 8:13; Leviticus 25:46; Deuteronomy 15:17; 1 Chronicles 28:4. See also Matthew 21:19; John 13:8; 1 Corinthians 8:13. The same is true of αἰώνιος . Out of 150 instances in lxx, four-fifths imply limited duration. For a few instances see Genesis 48:4; Numbers 10:8; Numbers 15:15; Proverbs 22:28; Jonah 2:6; Habakkuk 3:6; Isaiah 61:8. -DIVIDER-
Words which are habitually applied to things temporal or material can not carry in themselves the sense of endlessness. Even when applied to God, we are not forced to render αἰώνιος everlastingOf course the life of God is endless; but the question is whether, in describing God as αἰώνιος , it was intended to describe the duration of his being, or whether some different and larger idea was not contemplated. That God lives longer than men, and lives on everlastingly, and has lived everlastingly, are, no doubt, great and significant facts; yet they are not the dominant or the most impressive facts in God's relations to time. God's eternity does not stand merely or chiefly for a scale of length. It is not primarily a mathematical but a moral fact. The relations of God to time include and imply far more than the bare fact of endless continuance. They carry with them the fact that God transcends time; works on different principles and on a vaster scale than the wisdom of time provides; oversteps the conditions and the motives of time; marshals the successive eons from a point outside of time, on lines which run out into his own measureless cycles, and for sublime moral ends which the creature of threescore and ten years cannot grasp and does not even suspect. -DIVIDER-
There is a word for everlasting if that idea is demanded. That αἰώνιος occurs rarely in the New Testament and in lxx does not prove that its place was taken by αἰώνιος . It rather goes to show that less importance was attached to the bare idea of everlastingness than later theological thought has given it. Paul uses the word once, in Romans 1:20, where he speaks of “the everlasting power and divinity of God.” In Romans 16:26he speaks of the eternal God ( τοῦ αἰωνίου θεοῦ ); but that he does not mean the everlasting God is perfectly clear from the context. He has said that “the mystery” has been kept in silence in times eternal ( χρόνοις αἰωνίοις ), by which he does not mean everlasting times, but the successive eons which elapsed before Christ was proclaimed. God therefore is described as the God of the eons, the God who pervaded and controlled those periods before the incarnation. To the same effect is the title ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν αἰώνων theKing of the eons, applied to God in 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 15:3; comp. 2Timothy href="/desk/?q=2ti+1:9&sr=1">2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2), cannot mean before everlasting times. To say that God bestowed grace on men, or promised them eternal life before endless times, would be absurd. The meaning is of old, as Luke 1:70. The grace and the promise were given in time, but far back in the ages, before the times of reckoning the eons. -DIVIDER-
Ζωὴ αἰώνιος eternallife, which occurs 42 times in N.T., but not in lxx, is not endless life, but life pertaining to a certain age or eon, or continuing during that eon. I repeat, life may be endless. The life in union with Christ is endless, but the fact is not expressed by αἰώνιος . Κόλασις αἰώνιος , rendered everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46), is the punishment peculiar to an eon other than that in which Christ is speaking. In some cases ζωὴ αἰώνιος does not refer specifically to the life beyond time, but rather to the eon or dispensation of Messiah which succeeds the legal dispensation. See Matthew 19:16; John 5:39. John says that ζωὴ αἰώνιος is the present possession of those who believe on the Son of God, John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:47, John 6:64. The Father's commandment is ζωὴ αἰώσιος , John 12:50; to know the only true God and Jesus Christ is ζωὴ αἰώνιος , John 17:3. -DIVIDER-
Bishop Westcott very justly says, commenting upon the terms used by John to describe life under different aspects: “In considering these phrases it is necessary to premise that in spiritual things we must guard against all conclusions which rest upon the notions of succession and duration. 'Eternal life' is that which St. Paul speaks of as ἡ ὄντως ζωὴ thelife which is life indeed, and ἡ ζωὴ τοῦ θεοῦ thelife of God. It is not an endless duration of being in time, but being of which time is not a measure. We have indeed no powers to grasp the idea except through forms and images of sense. These must be used, but we must not transfer them as realities to another order.”-DIVIDER-
Thus, while αἰώνιος carries the idea of time, though not of endlessness, there belongs to it also, more or less, a sense of quality. Its character is ethical rather than mathematical. The deepest significance of the life beyond time lies, not in endlessness, but in the moral quality of the eon into which the life passes. It is comparatively unimportant whether or not the rich fool, when his soul was required of him (Luke 12:20), entered upon a state that was endless. The principal, the tremendous fact, as Christ unmistakably puts it, was that, in the new eon, the motives, the aims, the conditions, the successes and awards of time counted for nothing. In time, his barns and their contents were everything; the soul was nothing. In the new life the soul was first and everything, and the barns and storehouses nothing. The bliss of the sanctified does not consist primarily in its endlessness, but in the nobler moral conditions of the new eon, - the years of the holy and eternal God. Duration is a secondary idea. When it enters it enters as an accompaniment and outgrowth of moral conditions. -DIVIDER-
In the present passage it is urged that ὄλεθρον destructionpoints to an unchangeable, irremediable, and endless condition. If this be true, if ὄλεθρος isextinction, then the passage teaches the annihilation of the wicked, in which case the adjective αἰώνιος is superfluous, since extinction is final, and excludes the idea of duration. But ὄλεθρος does not always mean destruction or extinction. Take the kindred verb ἀπόλλυμι todestroy, put an end to, or in the middle voice, to be lost, to perish. Peter says, “the world being deluged with water, perished ” ( ἀπολοῦνται 2 Peter 3:6); but the world did not become extinct, it was renewed. In Hebrews 1:11, Hebrews 1:12quoted from Isaiah href="/desk/?q=isa+51:6&sr=1">Isaiah 51:6, Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1. Similarly, “the Son of man came to save that which was lost ” ( ἀπολωλός ), Luke 19:10. Jesus charged his apostles to go to the lost ( ἀπολωλότα ) sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 10:6, comp. Matthew 15:24. “He that shall lose ( ἀπολέσῃ ) his life for my sake shall find it,” Matthew 16:25. Comp. Luke 15:6, Luke 15:9, Luke 15:32. -DIVIDER-
In this passage the word destruction is qualified. It is “destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power, “ at his second coming, in the new eon. In other words, it is the severance, at a given point of time, of those who obey not the gospel from the presence and the glory of Christ. Ἁιώνιος may therefore describe this severance as continuing during the millennial eon between Christ's coming and the final judgment; as being for the wicked prolonged throughout that eon and characteristic of it, or it may describe the severance as characterizing or enduring through a period or eon succeeding the final judgment, the extent of which period is not defined. In neither case is αἰώνιος to be interpreted as everlasting or endless.sa180 [source]

1 Timothy 1:10 The sound doctrine [τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ διδασκαλίᾳ]
A phrase peculiar to the Pastorals. Ὑγιαίνειν tobe in good health, Luke 5:31; Luke 7:10; 3 John 1:2. oP. Quite frequent in lxx, and invariably in the literal sense. Often in salutations or dismissals. See 9:19; 2Samuel href="/desk/?q=2sa+14:8&sr=1">2 Samuel 14:8; Exodus 4:18. In the Pastorals, the verb, which occurs eight times, is six times associated with διδασκαλία teachingor λόγοι wordsand twice with ἐν τῇ πίστει or τῇ πίστει inthe faith. The sound teaching (comp. διδαχή teaching 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9) which is thus commended is Paul's, who teaches in Christ's name and by his authority (2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:2, 2 Timothy 2:8). In all the three letters it is called ἀλη.θεια or ἡ ἀλήθεια thetruth, the knowledge ( ἐπίγνωσις ) of which is bound up with salvation. See 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Timothy 3:7; Titus 1:1. As truth it is sound or healthful. It is the object of faith. To be sound in the faith is, practically, to follow ( παρακολουθεῖν ) sound teaching or the truth. The subjective characteristic of Christians is εὐσέβεια or θεοσέβεια godlinessor piety (1 Timothy 2:2, 1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:7, 1 Timothy 4:8; 1 Timothy 6:6, 1 Timothy 6:11); and the teaching and knowledge of the truth are represented as κατ ' εὐσέβειαν accordingto godliness (1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 1:1). Comp. εὐσεβεῖν toshow piety, 1 Timothy 5:4. εὐσεβῶς ζῇν to live godly, 2 Timothy 3:12; Titus 2:12; and βίον διάγειν ἐν πάσῃ εὐσεβείᾳ tolead a life in all godliness, 1 Timothy 2:2. The contents of this sound teaching which is according to godliness are not theoretical or dogmatic truth, but Christian ethics, with faith and love. See 1 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 3:10; Titus 2:2. Ἁλήθεια truthis used of moral things, rather than in the high religious sense of Paul. Comp., for instance, Romans 3:7; Romans 9:1; 1 Corinthians 5:8; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 11:10; Galatians 2:5; Ephesians 4:21, Ephesians 4:24; and 2 Timothy 2:25, 2 Timothy 2:26; 2 Timothy 3:7(comp. 2 Timothy 3:1-9); 2 Timothy 4:3, 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:12(comp. Titus 1:11, Titus 1:15); Titus 2:4(comp. Titus 2:1, Titus 2:3); Titus 3:1. Whoever grasps the truth has faith (2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:18; 2 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:3f.). That the ethical character of faith is emphasized, appears from the numerous expressions regarding the false teachers, as 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Timothy 5:12; 1 Timothy 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:21. There is a tendency to objectify faith, regarding it as something believed rather than as the act of believing. See 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 6:10, 1 Timothy 6:21; Titus 1:4. In comparing the ideal of righteousness (1 Timothy 1:9) with that of Paul, note that it is not denied that Christ is the source of true righteousness; but according to Paul, the man who is not under the law is the man who lives by faith in Christ. Paul emphasizes this. It is faith in Christ which sets one free from the law. Here, the man for whom the law is not made (1 Timothy 1:9) is the man who is ethically conformed to the norm of sound teaching. The two conceptions do not exclude each other: the sound teaching is according to the gospel (1 Timothy 1:11), but the point of emphasis is shifted.| [source]
1 Timothy 5:13 They learn to be idle [αργαι μαντανουσιν]
There is no ειναι — einai (to be) in the Greek. This very idiom without ειναι — einai after μαντανω — manthanō occurs in Plato and Dio Chrysostom, though unusual. Αργαι — Argai (idle) is old adjective See note on Matthew 20:3 and note on Titus 1:12. Going about (περιερχομεναι — perierchomenai). Present middle participle of περιερχομαι — perierchomai old compound verb. See note on Acts 19:13 of strollers. From house to house Literally “the houses,” “wandering around the houses.” Vivid picture of idle tattlers and gossipers. But tattlers also (αλλα και πλυαροι — alla kai phluaroi). Old word from πλυω — phluō (to boil up, to throw up bubbles, like blowing soap bubbles). Only here in N.T. Πλυαρεω — Phluareō in 3 John 1:10 only in N.T. And busybodies Old word (from περι εργον — periπεριεργαζομαι — ergon), busy about trifles to the neglect of important matters. In N.T. only here and Acts 19:19. See note on 2 Thessalonians 3:11 for τα μη δεοντα — periergazomai Things which they ought not (α μη δει — ta mē deonta). “The not necessary things,” and, as a result, often harmful. See note on Titus 1:11 ha mē dei (which things are not necessary). [source]

What do the individual words in Titus 1:12 mean?

Said one of them own of them a prophet Cretans [are] always liars evil beasts gluttons lazy
εἶπέν τις ἐξ αὐτῶν ἴδιος αὐτῶν προφήτης Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται κακὰ θηρία γαστέρες ἀργαί

εἶπέν  Said 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: λέγω  
Sense: to speak, say.
τις  one 
Parse: Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: τὶς  
Sense: a certain, a certain one.
ἴδιος  own 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἴδιος  
Sense: pertaining to one’s self, one’s own, belonging to one’s self.
αὐτῶν  of  them 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
προφήτης  a  prophet 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: προφήτης  
Sense: in Greek writings, an interpreter of oracles or of other hidden things.
Κρῆτες  Cretans 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: Κρής  
Sense: a Cretan, an inhabitant of the island of Crete.
ἀεὶ  [are]  always 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ἀεί  
Sense: perpetually, incessantly.
ψεῦσται  liars 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ψεύστης  
Sense: a liar.
κακὰ  evil 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: κακός  
Sense: of a bad nature.
θηρία  beasts 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: θηρίον  
Sense: an animal.
γαστέρες  gluttons 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: γαστήρ  
Sense: the belly.
ἀργαί  lazy 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: ἀργός  
Sense: free from labour, at leisure.