Here St. Paul gave Titus, as he had before done Timothy, the character of such persons as were to be admitted into the sacred function. The character is twofold, positive and negative; he shows them both what they should be, and what they should not be.
The positive characters of a bishop, yea, of every one that administers to God in holy things, are these: he must be
blameless, free from scandal, not blameworthy; a minister's life should be so bright and shining, that all persons who behold it may admire it, and guide their lives by the direction and example of it.
The husband of one wife, that is at once, the apostle's command doth not forbid successive marriages: for this he elsewhere allows: see the note on 1Ti_3:2. Nor does the command oblige him to marry at all, but it establishes the lawfulness of a bishop's marriage, if he sees reason for it, no doubt, by these words, the husband of one wife, St. Paul proposes a greater degree of chastity to church governors than to other persons.
Having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly; Titus must not only look at the person he is to ordain, but to the family and household of the person ordained, that they be well governed; because the honour of religion, and the reputation of the church suffers exceedingly, when any of the bishop's family, his children especially, are riotous and unruly; besides, the world will pronounce them unfit to govern the church of God, that cannot command their own families.
As the steward of God; the steward is an appointed and deputed officer, he acts by commission, and distributes his Lord's allowance according to his Lord's command, and is accountable for all he does; and as he is over the inferior servants, so must he be a pattern and precedent for them; a steward must be both wise and faithful.
A lover of hospitality, sober, temperate. Mark, Of hospitality, not of luxury and sensuality; as he commends hospitality, so he regulates it too, a lover of hospitality, yet sober and temperate; riotous housekeeping is not hospitality in St. Paul's account, but the liberal and free relieving of such as are in necessities and straits.
Holding fast the faithful word, as he hath been taught; he must be a person well instructed, well settled and confirmed in the faith, of ability to defend the faith, and to stop the mouth of gainsayers;--
just, holy, and a lover of good men, a person of strict holiness and piety towards God, of exact righteousness and justice towards men, and a sincere lover of all good men. These are positive characters required in a bishop.
The negatives follow, and they are five:
not self-willed, not so adhering to his own resolutions, that nothing can force him from them; he that is of an inflexible will, had need be of an infallible judgment;
not soon angry, and subject to passion; for he stands in God's place, and ought to resemble God in long-suffering and patience:
not given to wine, that is, too much wine, no inordinate lover of it; no sitter at wine, either in his own house or elsewhere:
no striker, either with the hand or with the tongue:
not given to filthy lucre, seeking to get wealth by sordid ways and means; the sin of covetousness is not so base in any man as in a minister; many are unjustly charged with it, but where it is really found it is a sordid sin.
How unfit is he to administer in holy things to God, who prefers the world before God! By making a god of the world, we make an idol of God.