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Titus 1:12 A Cretan who speaks the truth

02-06-2023 - Posted by Hans

One of them, their own prophet, said: “Cretans are ever liars, evil wild beasts, idle bellies.” This testimony is true.

In verse 10, Paul spoke of many in Crete who did not submit to sound teaching. Paul recognizes in this the national character of Crete, which was generally not held in high esteem. There was even a verb (‘kretizo’) that literally meant ‘to act like a Cretan’ and referred to lying. The Cretans were also known for their rough behavior (“evil beasts”), laziness and gluttony. And even though not all Cretans should be tarred with the same brush, this reputation did not come out of the blue. Even their own prophet did not judge the national character of the Cretans very harshly. Paul mentions the famous Cretan Epimenides because his statement hit the nail on the head. On other occasions, too, the apostle sometimes refers to well-known poets in his day (see Acts 17:28 and 1Cor.15:33).

Note the irony with which Paul quotes Epimenides. For if a Cretan prophet testifies that Cretans are “ever liars”, then that testimony would necessarily be a lie itself. And to avoid that objection, Paul adds to his quote, “This testimony is true.” Do you see his eyes twinkle?