(Vs. 10.) Pastors ought to have two voices one for gathering the sheep and the other for dealing with and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scriptures supply him with the means of doing both! Holding fast the faithful Word, he is able to call men to Christ and at the same time correct false teachers.
There are many "unruly" persons who are disobedient and incorrigible, who will not be subject to the apostles, to the Word, or to those who have the rule over them. They will not be brought into the church unity and teaching.
"Vain talkers," who speak empty, frivolous and unscriptural things which have no substance, only tend to disturb and divide.
"Deceivers" lead astray both themselves and others; by their good works and clever words they deceive the simple.
"Especially they of the circumcision." These are Jews who professed Christianity but tried to mix Moses and Christ, the law and the gospel, works and grace!
(Vs. 11.) Good pastors, elders and church leaders ought to be on guard against errors in doctrine or spirit, so as not to give silent approval or permission to them, which would allow error to make gradual progress and allow wicked men the opportunity of spreading their poison. Silence them with Scripture and if they persevere banish them from the assembly!
Teaching things contrary to the Scriptures and foreign to the gospel of Christ, they are able to corrupt not only individuals, but whole families. These teachers have no concern for the glory of God or the good of the church, but are interested in gaining popular applause and honour from men and in increasing their worldly substance.
(Vs. 12.) One of their own poets and spokesmen, Epimenides, said, "The Cretians are always liars." Lying seemed to be a governing vice, a national sin, characteristic of them. It was a sin to which they were especially addicted.
"Evil beasts." They were savage, cruel and mischievous people.
"Slow bellies" intemperate, gluttonous and drunkards. This is the testimony of one of their own leaders and the apostle warns Titus what he is up against in dealing with them.
(Vs. 13.) This statement about the Cretians (v. 12) is certainly true! Paul knew it to be a fact from his own experience among them while he was on the island. Therefore they were to be rebuked sharply, firstly, for these bad principles, secondly, for teaching things they ought not and, thirdly, for immoralities. Rebuking and severely reproving those in error is not an enjoyable task, but it must be done that they might be sound in the faith of Christ. (Vs. 14.) If the truth of God concerning creation, providence, redemption and resurrection ever gains admission to our hearts, if we are ever fully persuaded of ruin by the Fall, redemption by the blood and regeneration by the Spirit, then all of the "Jewish fables" of ritualism, legalism, ceremonialism and the commandments and traditions of men will be so tasteless and empty that they will not attract our minds. Men are delivered from error and kept from sinful practices by the truth of the Word (Ps. 119:9; John 17:17).
(Vs. 15.) The Jewish teachers insisted that Christians were still under the law in regard to certain kinds of food, together with certain washings and purifications as ordered by Moses (Col. 2:20-22). Paul states that no kind of food is unlawful in the sight of God. To those who love Christ and are made righteous by his merit and blood, all food and drink is received with thanksgiving, and they are not defiled by what enters the mouth (Matt. 15:11). To those who are "polluted and unbelieving", nothing is pure, for they sin in all that they do. They gain nothing by guarding against uncleanness in certain food and drink, because their pollution is inward, of the mind and heart and, therefore, even that which is pure is polluted by them. "Their mind" denotes the understanding and "conscience" relates to the heart (Isa. 1:5).
(Vs. 16.) These Judaizing church members professed that there is one God, and that this God is Father, Son and Spirit, as believed by the apostles. But this knowledge lay in theory and profession only. They did not have a spiritual, experimental knowledge of God in Christ, which alone brings salvation and eternal life (John 17:2; Matt. 11:27).
They boasted that they knew God, but their lives, words and works showed that they had no knowledge of him. They revealed by their mixing of works and grace that they did not know Christ in his redemptive character. They revealed by their covetousness, lies and disobedience that they did not know Christ in his sanctifying work. They revealed by their interest in ceremony and certain foods, and their efforts to establish a righteousness, that they did not know anything about Christ's righteousness (Rom. 10:1-4). There is no good in them, but they are altogether reprobate.