Titus 3:1 be subject to principalities and powers
L. Tom Perry
As Church members, we live under the banner of many different flags. How important it is that we understand our place and our position in the lands in which we live! We should be familiar with the history, heritage, and laws of the lands that govern us. In those countries that allow us the right to participate in the affairs of government, we should use our free agency and be actively engaged in supporting and defending the principles of truth, right, and freedom. ("A Meaningful Celebration," Ensign, Nov. 1987, 72)
James E. Talmage
It is the duty of the saints to submit themselves to the laws of their country. Nevertheless, they should use every proper method, as citizens or subjects of their several governments, to secure for themselves and for all men the boon of freedom in religious service. It is not required of them to suffer without protest imposition by lawless persecutors, or through the operation of unjust laws; but their protests should be offered in legal and proper order. (Kent P. Jackson, ed., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 7: 1 Nephi to Alma 29 [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 280.)
Titus 3:2 speak evil of no man
Respect one another; do not speak lightly of each other. Some, if they get a little pique against an individual, are disposed to cast him down to hell, as not worthy of a place upon earth. O fools! not to understand that those you condemn are the workmanship of God, as well as yourselves! God overlooks their weaknesses; and so far as they do good, they are as acceptable as we are. Thank God that you know better, and be full of mercy and kindness. I speak evil of no man; but I hate, with a most cordial hatred, the evil actions of some men. Their organization came from God, but their conduct does not. It is not the persons, but it is their wicked conduct that I despise and hate. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 8: 149.)
Titus 3:5 he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost
The washing of regeneration spoken of by Paul is baptism. It is an interesting term which emphasizes the washing away of our sins and the spiritual rebirth or regeneration allowed by being cleansed from sin. "In English or Greek, 'regeneration' is literally rebirth, the same act of baptism that Jesus challenged Nicodemus to accept (John 3:5). So saving grace came to the early Saints through their agency in accepting the ordinances." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 358 - 359.)
Heber C. Kimball
What is the regeneration? I should call it an improvement, or an advancement in the things of God. By some it is said to be the change and renovation of the soul by the Spirit and grace of God. Then, again, it is called the new birth. Titus [is] somewhat more explicit upon the subject. [Paul] says, "But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." And our Savior speaking to Nicodemus, says, "Verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." In another place Jesus says:-"Verily I say unto you, that ye which followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."-Matthew 19:28.
Many other passages might be quoted to show how the doctrine of regeneration was taught by Christ and his Apostles, but these will be sufficient for my purpose at the present. I know that we, the Elders of Israel, are walking with Jesus in the regeneration, and we are becoming regenerated in Christ Jesus, and the blessings of the kingdom are being multiplied unto us day by day, and we shall continue to be enriched for ever and for ever. What! in property? Yes, and in every thing that is good. If it were not so, how could you possess all things, which are certainly promised through progression and faithfulness. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 10: 77.)
Titus 3:9 avoid foolish questions... and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain
Dean L. Larsen
Jacob speaks of people who placed themselves in serious jeopardy in spiritual things because they were unwilling to accept simple, basic principles of truth. They entertained and intrigued themselves with "things that they could not understand" (Jacob 4:14). They were apparently afflicted with a pseudosophistication and a snobbishness that gave them a false sense of superiority over those who came among them with the Lord's words of plainness. They went beyond the mark of wisdom and prudence, and obviously failed to stay within the circle of fundamental gospel truths, which provide a basis for faith. They must have reveled in speculative and theoretical matters that obscured for them the fundamental spiritual truths. As they became infatuated by these "things that they could not understand," their comprehension of and faith in the redeeming role of a true Messiah was lost, and the purpose of life became confused. A study of Israel's history will confirm Jacob's allegations.
It seems to me that every generation faces its challenges with "looking beyond the mark." The Apostle Paul worried about those whom he had helped to develop a testimony of Jesus Christ. Paul advised Titus to "avoid foolish questions ... and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain" (Titus 3:9). ("Looking beyond the Mark," Ensign, Nov. 1987, 11)
Dallin H. Oaks
At some time or another, most Latter-day Saints have been involved in an argument over a gospel subject. But, as Professor Richard Lloyd Anderson has said, "Argument is a poor tool for discovering truth because it defends a narrow position but usually lacks breadth. Anyone can make a 'case' for or against anything."
Argument is never an appropriate way to resolve differences about the content or application of gospel principles. It is Satan who stirs up the hearts of people to contend over points of doctrine. (D&C 10:63.) Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught, "Divine doctrine of the Church is the prime target of attack by the spiritually contentious. . . . Dissecting doctrine in a controversial way in order to draw attention to oneself is not pleasing to the Lord." (The Lord's Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 148.)
Titus 3:9 avoid foolish questions, and genealogies
"These passages, taken out of context, could cause misunderstanding. Paul was not condemning genealogy work itself. The importance of genealogy had been well established from the time of Adam down to Paul's day. The respected Bible scholar Dr. Adam Clarke tells us that 'the Jews had scrupulously preserved their genealogical tables till the advent of Christ; and the evangelists had recourse to them, and appealed to them in reference to our Lord's descent from the house of David; Matthew taking this genealogy in the descending, Luke in the ascending, line. And whatever difficulties we may now find in these genealogies, they were certainly clear to the Jews; nor did the most determined enemies of the Gospel attempt to raise one objection to it from the appeal which the evangelists had made to their own public and accredited tables.'
"Paul himself was aware of the necessity for ordinances for the dead (see 1 Cor. 15:29) and understood the accompanying necessity of genealogical work in this activity. Why, then, would Paul make those remarks about genealogy to Timothy and Titus?
"Paul was living in a time of conflict and confusion. False teachers abounded, preaching false doctrines and fables. Two specific problems existed relating to genealogies:
(1) Some apostate teachers recited their genealogies to give credence to their claims as coming with authority. Many Jews had become arrogant because of their illustrious ancestors. Some even flaunted their lineage when opposing the Savior himself: 'We be Abraham's seed' (John 8:33), they said, as if to indicate that they were thereby natural inheritors of the truth.
(2) Some of the apostate Jewish teachers were guilty of manufacturing their own genealogies-creating them in hopes of giving the added weight of authority to their teachings.
"Such practices understandably caused a great deal of contention among the Jews, as well as between Jews and Gentiles. No wonder Paul condemned them as 'fables and endless genealogies,' 'contentions, and strivings about the law,' and 'unprofitable and vain.'
"Bible commentators agree upon this interpretation. The statement to Timothy, says one authority, 'seems to refer to legends and fictitious genealogies of [Old Testament] personages.' Adam Clarke wrote that these fables were 'idle fancies; things of no moment; doctrines and opinions unauthenticated; silly legends, of which no people ever possessed a greater stock than the Jews.'
"Regarding 'endless genealogies,' the commentator states that Paul meant 'those genealogies which were uncertain-that never could be made out, either in the ascending or descending line. ... We are told that Herod destroyed the public registers; he, being an Idumean, was jealous of the noble origin of the Jews; and, that none might be able to reproach him with his descent, he ordered the genealogical tables, which were kept among the archives in the temple, to be burnt. ... From this time the Jews could refer to their genealogies only from memory, or from those imperfect tables which had been preserved in private hands; and to make out any regular line from these must have been endless and uncertain. It is probably to this that the apostle refers; I mean the endless and useless labour which the attempts to make out these genealogies must produce, the authentic tables being destroyed.'
"It is clear from these commentaries that the Apostle Paul had no intention of condemning genealogy or the need for maintaining genealogical records. Rather, he was referring to genealogies that caused endless dispute, some of which were fraudulent and not to be accepted." (George H. Fudge, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Mar. 1986, 49)
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject
Gordon B. Hinckley
Every individual in the Church is free to think as he pleases, but when an individual speaks openly and actively and takes measures to enlist others in opposition to the Church and its programs and doctrines, then we feel there is cause for action. (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 96.)
Harold B. Lee
The common judges of Israel, our bishops, branch presidents, stake and district presidents, must not stand by and fail to apply disciplinary measures within their jurisdiction as set forth plainly in the laws of the Lord. The procedures are set forth in plain and simple instructions that cannot be misunderstood. Never must we allow supposed mercy to the unrepentant sinner to rob the justice by which true repentance from sinful practices is predicated.
...The gospel is to save man, not to condemn them, but to save, it is sometimes necessary to confront and to discipline as the Lord has directed us. When individuals are on the wrong path, our task is to redirect them lovingly, and not to watch idly from our vantage point on the straight and narrow path. (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 116-118)
Titus 3 Footnote
"The King James footnote to Titus says that Paul wrote this letter from Nicopolis, but that is a late manuscript addition with no historical value, apparently added because of the mention of Nicopolis in the letter. However, the letter itself mentions the probable messengers carrying it: 'Zenas the lawyer,' a fascinating reference to one otherwise unknown, and Apollos, the talented and dynamic fellow laborer so prominent at the end of Acts 18 and throughout 1 Corinthians. He was still faithful and working under Paul's direction." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 345 - 346.)