WRITTEN FROM MACEDONIA, A. D. 56.
For this purpose, I left thee in Crete, that thou mightest set in order the things wanting, and appoint in every city elders, as I commanded thee. If any one be blameless, the husband of one wife, having believing children not accused of riotous living, nor unruly. For a bishop should be blameless as the steward of God; not self-willed, not prone to anger, not given to wine, not a striker, not one who makes gain by base methods; but hospitable, a lover of good men, prudent, just, pious, temperate; holding fast the true doctrine as he hath been taught, that he may be able by the teaching which is wholesome, both to exhort and to confute the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and foolish talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped; who subvert whole families, teaching things which they ought not for the sake of sordid gain. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, hath said, "The Cretians are always liars, evil wild beasts, lazy bellies." This testimony is true, for which cause rebuke them sharply, that they may be healthy in the faith,--not giving heed to Jewish fables and precepts of men who pervert the truth. All meats are pure to the pure; but to the polluted and unbelieving, nothing is pure; for both their understanding and conscience is polluted. They profess to know God, but by works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and concerning every good work, without discernment.
II. But do thou inculcate the things which become wholesome doctrine. That aged men be vigilant, grave, prudent, healthy by faith, love, patience. That aged women in like manner be in deportment as becometh sacred persons, not slanderers, not enslaved to much wine, good teachers. That they may persuade the young women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children. To be calm, chaste, careful of their families, good, subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be evil spoken of. The young men in like manner exhort to govern their passions. In all things make thyself a pattern of good works; in teaching show incorruptness, gravity, sincerity, wholesome speech which cannot be condemned, thathe who is on the opposite side may be ashamed, having nothing bad to say concerning you. Servants exhort to be subject to their own masters, and in all things to be careful to please, not answering again, not secretly stealing, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our saviour in all things. For the favour of God which bringeth salvation hath shone forth to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Expecting the blessed hope, namely, the appearing of the glory of the great God, and our saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to hmself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things inculcate, and exhort and confute with all authority; let no one despise thee.
III. Put them in mind to be subject to governments and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work. To speak evil of no one, to be no fighters, but equitable, showing all meekness to all men. For even we ourselves were formerly foolish, disobedient, erring, slavishly serving divers inordinate desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hated and hating one another. But when the goodness and philanthropy of God our saviour shone forth, he saved us, not on account of works of righteousness which he had done, but according to his own mercy through the bath of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Which he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our saviour. That being justified by his favour, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This doctrine is true: yet concerning these heirs, I command thee strongly to affirm that they who have believed in God should take care to promote good works. These are the things honourable and profitable to men. But foolish questions, and genealogies, and strifes, and fightings about the law, resist; for they are unprofitable and false. A factious man, after a first and second admonition, reject; knowing that such a person is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned. When I shall send Artemas to thee, or Tychicus, make haste to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have determined to winter there. Diligently help forward on their journey, Zenas the lawyer, and Apollos, that nothing may be wanting to them. And let ours also learn to practice honest trades, for necessary uses, that they may not be unfruitful. All who are with me salute thee. Salute them who love us in the faith. Favour be with all of you. Amen.