The Meaning of Titus 3:8 Explained

Titus 3:8

KJV: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

YLT: Stedfast is the word; and concerning these things I counsel thee to affirm fully, that they may be thoughtful, to be leading in good works -- who have believed God; these are the good and profitable things to men,

Darby: The word is faithful, and I desire that thou insist strenuously on these things, that they who have believed God may take care to pay diligent attention to good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

ASV: Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men:

What does Titus 3:8 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The "trustworthy statement" ( 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11) Paul referred to is probably what he had just written in Titus 3:4-7. The first "these things" in this verse are the things that he had just described in those verses. Titus was to speak about these great truths confidently (cf. Titus 2:15). The intended result was to be that those who have trusted God for salvation would practice good works (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:14-26). The second "these things" in the verse refers to these good works. This verse summarizes the point Paul made throughout this epistle. Good works, he added, are essentially excellent as well as profitable for everyone on the practical level.
"The best way a local church has to witness to the lost is through the sacrificial service of its members." [1]
Some successors of the Protestant Reformers (e.g, Theodore Beza in Geneva, and Williams Perkins in England) argued that a true believer in Jesus Christ will inevitably persevere in faith and in good works. This appears to have been an overreaction to the Roman Catholic accusation that justification by faith alone leads to antinomianism. If the professing Christian does not continue to persevere in faith and good works, these reformers contended, such a person was never really saved in the first place. [2] Paul"s strong exhortation for believers to maintain good works indicates that he believed it was possible for genuine Christians not to maintain good works.
"The purpose of the epistle to Titus was to instruct him about what he should do and teach in the Cretan churches. A special theme of the letter is the role of grace in promoting good works among God"s people ( Titus 2:11 to Titus 3:8)." [3]

Context Summary

Titus 3:8-15 - Maintaining Good Works
It is wise advice that we should try to shun controversy and disputations. Small benefit accrues from such methods of advancing the truth. After all, the Lord's test is the true one for all teachings which are in question-What is their fruit? "By their fruits ye shall know them." Let us, therefore, cultivate the grace and beauty, the righteousness and purity, of a holy life. Let us yield ourselves to Jesus to be wholly possessed and used by Him; and let our one aim be to get glory for Him and success for His Kingdom. Then our views of truth will become clear and sound, and the beauty of our lives will have the most convincing effect on gainsayers. It is better to live a holy life than be a successful disputant. The best proof of orthodoxy is a Christlike life.
Paul, having been liberated from his first imprisonment, was itinerating in Asia Minor and Macedonia, accompanied by several friends. He was intending to winter at Nicopolis in Epirus, and was about to send Artemas or Tychicus to relieve Titus in Crete, so that Titus might join him in the winter sojourn. These plans were probably canceled by his own sudden arrest at Nero's instigation [source]

Chapter Summary: Titus 3

1  Titus is further directed by Paul concerning the things that he should teach and not teach
10  He is to reject obstinate heretics
12  Paul appoints him time and place wherein he should come unto him

Greek Commentary for Titus 3:8

The saying [ο λογος]
In Titus 3:4-7. [source]
I will [βουλομαι]
See note on 1 Timothy 2:8. That thou affirm confidently (σε διαβεβαιουσται — se diabebaiousthai). Indirect command. For the verb see note on 1 Timothy 1:7. That they may be careful Sub-final use of ινα — hina with present active subjunctive of προντιζω — phrontizō old verb, only here in N.T. To maintain good works Present middle infinitive of προιστημι — proistēmi intransitive use, to stand before, to take the lead in, to care for. Paul is anxious that “believers” may take the lead in good works. [source]
That thou affirm confidently [σε διαβεβαιουσται]
Indirect command. For the verb see note on 1 Timothy 1:7. [source]
That they may be careful [ινα προντιζωσιν]
Sub-final use of ινα — hina with present active subjunctive of προντιζω — phrontizō old verb, only here in N.T. To maintain good works Present middle infinitive of προιστημι — proistēmi intransitive use, to stand before, to take the lead in, to care for. Paul is anxious that “believers” may take the lead in good works. [source]
To maintain good works [καλων εργων προστασται]
Present middle infinitive of προιστημι — proistēmi intransitive use, to stand before, to take the lead in, to care for. Paul is anxious that “believers” may take the lead in good works. [source]
Affirm constantly [διαβεβαιοῦσθαι]
PastoSee on 1 Timothy 1:7. Constantly, not continually, but uniformly and consistently. So Book of Common Prayer, “Collect for Saint John Baptist's Day,” “and after his example constantly speak the truth.” Rend. affirm steadfastly. [source]
Might be careful [φροντίζωσιν]
N.T.oQuite often in lxx. Frequent in Class. To think or consider; hence to take careful thought, ponder, be anxious about. [source]
To maintain [προΐ̀στασθαι]
Mostly in Pastorals, and usually in the sense of ruling, as Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 3:4, 1 Timothy 3:5. The sense here is to be forward in. [source]
Profitable [ὠφέλιμα]
Pastoolxx. Comp. 1 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy 3:16. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Titus 3:8

Matthew 1:19 Not willing [ἐβουλήθη]
These two words, describing the working of Joseph's mind, and evidently intended to express different phases of thought, open the question of their distinctive meanings in the New Testament, where they frequently occur ( θέλω much oftener than βούλομαι ), and where the rendering, in so many eases by the same words, furnishes no clue to the distinction. The original words are often used synonymously in eases where no distinction is emphasized; but their use in other eases reveals a radical and recognized difference. An interchange is inadmissible when the greater force of the expression requires θέλειν . For instance, βαούλεσθαι , would be entirely inappropriate at Matthew 8:3, “I will, be thou cleansed;” or at Romans 7:15. The distinction, which is abundantly illustrated in Homer, is substantially maintained by the classical writers throughout, and in the New Testament. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Θέλειν is the stronger word, and expresses a purpose or determination or decree, the execution of which is, or is believed to be, in the power of him who wills. Βούλεσθαι expresses wish, inclination, or disposition, whether one desires to do a thing himself or wants some one else to do it. Θέλειν , therefore, denotes the active resolution, the will urging on to action. Βούλεσθαι is to have a mind, to desire, sometimes a little stronger, running into the sense of purpose. Θέλειν indicates the impulse of the will; βούλεσθαι , its tendency. Βούλεσθαι can always be rendered by θέλειν , but θέλειν cannot always be expressed by βούλεσθαι . -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Thus, Agamemnon says, “I would not ( οὐκ ἔθελον )-DIVIDER-
receive the ransom for the maid (i.e., Irefused to receive), because I greatly desire ( βούλομαι )-DIVIDER-
to have her at home” (Homer, “II.,” 1:112). So Demosthenes: “It is fitting that you should be willing ( ἐθέλειν ) to listen to those who wish ( βουλομένων ) to-DIVIDER-
advise” (“Olynth.,” 1:1). That is to say, It is in your power to determine whether or not you will listen to those who desire to advise you, but whose power to do so depends on your consent. Again: “If the gods will it ( θέλωσι ) and you wish it ( βούλησθε )”-DIVIDER-
(Demosth., “Olynth.,” 2:20). -DIVIDER-
In the New Testament, as observed above, though the words are often interchanged, the same distinction is recognized. Thus, Matthew 2:18, “Rachael would not ( ἤθελε ) be comforted;” obstinately and positively refused. Joseph, having the right and power under the (assumed) circumstances to make Mary a public example, resolved ( θέλων )-DIVIDER-
to spare her this exposure. Then the question arose - What should he do? On this he thought, and, having thought ( ἐνθυμηθέντος )his mind inclined (tendency), he was minded ( ἐβουλήθη )-DIVIDER-
to put her away secretly. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Some instances of the interchanged use of the two words are the following: Mark 15:15, “Pilate willing ”-DIVIDER-
( βουλόμενος ); compare Luke 23:20, “Pilate willing ”-DIVIDER-
( θέλων ). Acts 27:43, “The centurion willing ”-DIVIDER-
( βουλόμενος ) Matthew 27:17, “Whom will ye that I release” ( θέλετε ); so Matthew 27:21. John 18:39, “Will ye that I release” ( βούλεσθε ); Matthew 14:5, “When he would have put him to death” ( θέλων ). Mark 6:48, “He would have passed by them” ( ἤθελε ); Acts 19:30, “Paul would have entered” ( βουλόμενος ). Acts 18:27, “He was disposed to pass” ( βουλόμενος ). Titus 3:8, “I will that thou affirm” ( βούλομαι ) Mark 6:25, “I will that thou give me” ( θέλω ), etc., etc. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
In the New Testament θέλω occurs in the following senses:1.A decree or determination of the will. (a ) Of God (Matthew 12:7; Romans 9:16, Romans 9:18; Acts 18:21; 1 Corinthians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 12:18; 1 Corinthians 15:38). (b ) Of Christ (Matthew 8:3; John 17:24; John 5:21; John 21:22). (c ) Of men (Acts 25:9). Festus, having the power to gratify the Jews, and determining to do so, says to Paul, who has the right to decide, “Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem?” John 6:67, Others of the disciples had decided to leave Jesus. Christ said to the twelve, “Will ye also go away?” Is that your determination? John 7:17, If any man sets his will, is determined to do God's will. John 8:44, The lusts of your father your will is set to do. Acts 24:6.2. A wish or desire. Very many of the passages, however, which are cited under this head (as by Grimm) may fairly be interpreted as implying something stronger than a wish; notably Mark 14:36, of Christ in Gethsemane. Our Lord would hardly have used what thou wilt in so feeble a sense as that of a desire or wish on God's part. Mark 10:43, “Whosoever will be great,” expresses more than the desire for greatness. It is the purpose of the life. Matthew 27:15, It was given to the Jews to decide what prisoner should be released. Luke 1:62, The name of the infant John was referred to Zacharias' decision. John 17:24, Surely Christ does more than desire that those whom the Father has given him shall be with him. Luke 9:54, It is for Jesus to command fire upon the Samaritan villages if he so wills. (See, also, John 15:7; 1 Corinthians 4:21; Matthew 16:25; Matthew 19:17; John 21:22; Matthew 13:28; Matthew 17:12.) In the sense of wish or desire may fairly be cited 2 Corinthians 11:12; Matthew 12:38; Luke 8:20; Luke 23:8; John 12:21; Galatians 4:20; Matthew 7:12; Mark 10:35.3. A liking (Mark 12:38; Luke 20:46; Matthew 27:43). (See note there.) Βούλομαι occurs in the following senses:1.Inclination or disposition (Acts 18:27; Acts 19:30; Acts 25:22; Acts 28:18; 2" translation="">2 Corinthians 1:15).2.Stronger, with the idea of purpose (1 Timothy 6:9; James 1:18; James 3:4; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Hebrews 6:17).In most, if not all of these cases, we might expect θέλειν ; but in this use of βούλομαι there is an implied emphasis on the element of free choice or self-determination, which imparts to the desire or inclination a decretory force. This element is in the human will by gift and consent. In the divine will it is inherent. At this point the Homeric usage may be compared in its occasional employment of βούλομαι to express determination, but only with reference to the gods, in whom to wish is to will. Thus, “Whether Apollo will ( βου.λεται ) ward off the plague” (“II.,” 1:67). “Apollo willed ( βούλετο ) victory to the Trojans” (“Il.,” 7:21).To make a public example ( δειγματίσαι )The word is kindred to δείκνυμι , to exhibit, display, point out. Here, therefore, to expose Mary to public shame (Wyc., publish her; Tynd., defame her). The word occurs in Colossians 2:15, of the victorious Saviour displaying the vanquished powers of evil as a general displays his trophies or captives in a triumphal procession. “He made a show of them openly.” A compound of the same word ( παραδειγματίζω ) appears in Hebrews 6:6, “They crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. ” [source]

Romans 12:8 He that ruleth [ὁ προΐ́στάμενος]
Lit., he that is placed in front. The reference is to any position involving superintendence. No special ecclesiastical office is meant. Compare Titus 3:8, to maintain good works; the idea of presiding over running into that of carrying on or practicing. See note there. Compare also προστάτις succorer Romans 16:2, and see note. [source]
1 Timothy 5:10 For good works [ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς]
Lit. in good works; in the matter of. Comp. 1 Timothy 6:18; Titus 2:7; Titus 3:8, Titus 3:14. In the Gospels, ἔργον workappears with καλὸς and never with ἀγαθὸς . In Paul, always with ἀγαθὸς and never with καλὸς KingsIn the Pastorals, with both. The phrase includes good deeds of all kinds, and not merely special works of beneficence. Comp. Acts 9:36. [source]
1 Timothy 4:8 Profiteth little [πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶν ὠφέλιμος]
Lit. is profitable for a little. The phrase πρὸς ὀλίγον only here and James 5:14. In the latter passage it means for a little while. Comp. Hebrews 12:10, πρὸς ὀλίγας ἡμέρας for a few days. According to some, this is the meaning here; but against this is the antithesis πρὸς πάντα unto all things. The meaning is rather, the use of the athlete's training extends to only a few things. Ὡφέλιμος usefulor profitable, only in Pastorals. Comp. 2 Timothy 3:16; Titus 3:8. olxx. [source]
1 Timothy 3:9 In a pure conscience [ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει]
Comp. 2 Timothy 1:3, 2 Timothy 1:5, 19. Const. with holding. The emphasis of the passage is on these words. They express conscientious purity and sincerity in contrast with those who are described as branded in their own conscience, and thus causing their followers to fall away from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1, 1 Timothy 4:2). The passage illustrates the peculiar treatment of “faith” in these Epistles, in emphasizing its ethical aspect and its ethical environment. This is not contrary to Paul's teaching, nor does it go to the extent of substituting morals for faith as the condition of salvation and eternal life. See 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:1; Titus 3:5. Nonetheless, there is a strong and habitual emphasis on good works (see 1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:21; 2 Timothy 3:17; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:7, Titus 2:14; Titus 3:1, Titus 3:8, Titus 3:14), and faith is placed in a series of practical duties (see 1 Timothy 1:5, 1 Timothy 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22; 2 Timothy 3:10). “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience” is a significant association of faith with ethics. As Weiss puts it: “It is as if the pure conscience were the vessel in which the mystery of the faith is preserved.” The idea is sound and valuable. A merely intellectual attitude toward the mystery which, in every age, attaches to the faith, will result in doubt, questioning, and wordy strife (see 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9), sometimes in moral laxity, sometimes in despair. Loyalty and duty to God are compatible with more or less ignorance concerning the mystery. An intellect, however powerful and active, joined with an impure conscience, cannot solve but only aggravates the mystery; whereas a pure and loyal conscience, and a frank acceptance of imposed duty along with mystery, puts one in the best attitude for attaining whatever solution is possible. See John 7:17. [source]
1 Timothy 1:7 What they say - whereof they affirm [ἃ λέγουσιν - περὶ τίνων διαβεβαιοῦνται]
The latter expression is an advance on the former, as appears not only from the verbs themselves, but from the different pronominal expressions. They know not what they say, nor what kind of things they are of which they speak so confidently. The compound διαβεβαιοῦσωαι toaffirm, PastoComp. Titus 3:8. The false teachers announce their errors with assurance. [source]
1 Timothy 1:16 Believe [πιστευ.ειν]
This verb, so frequent in Paul, occurs six times in the pastorals. In two instances, 1 Timothy 1:11; Titus 1:3, it is passive, in the sense of to be intrusted with. Here in the Pauline sense of believing on Christ. In 1 Timothy 3:16, passive, of Christ believed on in the world. In 2 Timothy 1:12, of God the Father, in whom the writer confides to keep the trust committed to him. In Titus 3:8, of belief in God. With ἐπὶ uponand the dative, Romans 9:33; Romans 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6(all citations), and Romans 4:18; Luke 24:25. [source]
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying [πιστὸς ὁ λόγος]
Better, faithful is the saying. A favorite phrase in these Epistles. oP. See 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8. [source]
1 Timothy 1:7 Though they understand [νοουντες]
Concessive participle of νοεω — noeō old verb (Ephesians 3:4, Ephesians 3:20). Neither what (μητε α — mēte ha). Relative α — ha (which things). Nor whereof Here the interrogative τινων — tinōn used in sense of relative ων — hōn It may be regarded as the use of an indirect question for variety (Parry). They confidently affirm (διαβεβαιουνται — diabebaiountai). Present middle indicative of the common Koiné{[28928]}š compound, in N.T. only here and Titus 3:8. [source]
1 Timothy 1:7 Nor whereof [μητε περι τινων]
Here the interrogative τινων — tinōn used in sense of relative ων — hōn It may be regarded as the use of an indirect question for variety (Parry). They confidently affirm (διαβεβαιουνται — diabebaiountai). Present middle indicative of the common Koiné{[28928]}š compound, in N.T. only here and Titus 3:8. [source]
1 Timothy 1:7 They confidently affirm [διαβεβαιουνται]
Present middle indicative of the common Koiné{[28928]}š compound, in N.T. only here and Titus 3:8. [source]
1 Timothy 4:8 Profitable [ωπελιμος]
Another old word (from ωπελεω — ōpheleō to help, to profit), in N.T. only here, Titus 3:8; 2 Timothy 3:16. For a little (προς ολιγον — pros oligon). “For little.” Probably extent in contrast to προς παντα — pros panta (for all things), though in James 4:14 it is time “for a little while.” Which now is “The now life.” Of that which is to come (της μελλουσης — tēs mellousēs). “Of the coming (future) life.” [source]
1 Timothy 1:15 Faithful is the saying [πιστος ο λογος]
Five times in the Pastorals (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:9; Titus 3:8; 2 Timothy 2:11). It will pay to note carefully πιστισ πιστευω πιστος — pistisπιστος — pisteuōλογος — pistos Same use of οτι — pistos (trustworthy) applied to αποδοχης — logos in Titus 1:9; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6. Here and probably in 2 Timothy 2:11 a definite saying seems to be referred to, possibly a quotation (αχιος — hoti) of a current saying quite like the Johannine type of teaching. This very phrase (Christ coming into the world) occurs in John 9:37; John 11:27; John 16:28; John 18:37. Paul, of course, had no access to the Johannine writings, but such “sayings” were current among the disciples. There is no formal quotation, but “the whole phrase implies a knowledge of Synoptic and Johannine language” (Lock) as in Luke 5:32; John 12:47. [source]
Titus 3:14 Let learn [μαντανετωσαν]
Present active imperative, keep on learning how. To maintain See Titus 3:8. For necessary uses (εις αναγκαιας χρειας — eis anagkaias chreias). “For necessary wants.” No idlers wanted. See 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10. -DIVIDER-
Unfruitful (ακαρποι — akarpoi). See note on 1 Corinthians 14:14; Ephesians 5:11. [source]

Titus 3:14 To maintain [προστασται]
See Titus 3:8. For necessary uses (εις αναγκαιας χρειας — eis anagkaias chreias). “For necessary wants.” No idlers wanted. See 1 Thessalonians 4:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10. -DIVIDER-
Unfruitful (ακαρποι — akarpoi). See note on 1 Corinthians 14:14; Ephesians 5:11. [source]

What do the individual words in Titus 3:8 mean?

Trustworthy [is] the saying and concerning these things I want you to affirm strongly so that may take care good works to be devoted to those believing God These things are excellent profitable - to men
Πιστὸς λόγος καὶ περὶ τούτων βούλομαί σε διαβεβαιοῦσθαι ἵνα φροντίζωσιν καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι οἱ πεπιστευκότες Θεῷ ταῦτά ἐστιν καλὰ ὠφέλιμα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις

Πιστὸς  Trustworthy  [is] 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: πιστός  
Sense: trusty, faithful.
λόγος  saying 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: λόγος  
Sense: of speech.
περὶ  concerning 
Parse: Preposition
Root: περί 
Sense: about, concerning, on account of, because of, around, near.
τούτων  these  things 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
βούλομαί  I  want 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 1st Person Singular
Root: βούλομαι  
Sense: to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded.
διαβεβαιοῦσθαι  to  affirm  strongly 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Middle or Passive
Root: διαβεβαιόομαι  
Sense: to affirm strongly, assert confidently.
ἵνα  so  that 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἵνα  
Sense: that, in order that, so that.
φροντίζωσιν  may  take  care 
Parse: Verb, Present Subjunctive Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: φροντίζω  
Sense: to think, to be careful.
καλῶν  good 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: καλός  
Sense: beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable.
ἔργων  works 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: ἔργον  
Sense: business, employment, that which any one is occupied.
προΐστασθαι  to  be  devoted  to 
Parse: Verb, Present Infinitive Middle
Root: προί̈στημι  
Sense: to set or place before.
οἱ  those 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
πεπιστευκότες  believing 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: πιστεύω  
Sense: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.
Θεῷ  God 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
ταῦτά  These  things 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
καλὰ  excellent 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: καλός  
Sense: beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable.
ὠφέλιμα  profitable 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Plural
Root: ὠφέλιμος  
Sense: profitable.
τοῖς  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀνθρώποις  to  men 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Plural
Root: ἄνθρωπος  
Sense: a human being, whether male or female.