Titus 1:12—Doesn’t Paul involve himself in a paradox or contradiction here?
Problem: Paul quoted a Cretan who said that “Cretans are always liars” (1:12). But if this was said by a Cretan and Cretans always lie, then he too was lying. But if this Cretan was lying when he said Cretans always lie, then Cretans do not always lie and there is a lie in the Scripture. If, on the other hand, this Cretan was telling the truth about Cretans, then Cretans do not always lie, at least not the one who said this. In either event, by incorporating this statement in Scripture, the apostle seems to have included a falsehood.
Solution: Paul seemed to be aware of this dilemma and quickly added, “This testimony is true” (v. 13). In other words, the Cretans generally lie, but at least on this one occasion a Cretan uttered the truth when he characterized the Cretans as liars. In this way the paradox is broken, and no falsehood is thereby included in Scripture.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.