The phrase pistos ho logos/πιστος ο λογος[i] begins five sentences in the three Pastoral Epistles (letters to Timothy and Titus). Twice the phrase is amended with and extended to “worthy of all acceptation.” The five verses are translated thusly – “faithful saying” (4) and “true saying” (1) – in the King James Bible:
- 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
- 1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
- 1 Timothy 4:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
- 2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
- Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Paul’s faithful sayings speak to the following issues.
1 Timothy 1:15 – Jesus came to save sinners. This is his clear, plain and stated reason for coming into the world. Let’s not forget that! Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
1 Timothy 3:1 – The office of bishop is a good work. The desire to the office of bishop is a good desire. What follows shows it must also be a pure desire. No matter how many may fail, or how many may falsely aspire to the bishop’s office, let’s not forget that the office itself is good and the desire is good also. 1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
1 Timothy 4:9 – Trust validates the labour exerted and reproach suffered. Godliness is always profitable, both now and in the future. If he is our Saviour, our labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Timothy 4:8-10 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. Let us not reproach reproach, “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written (Cf. Psalm 69:9), The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Romans 15:3). Therefore we take pleasure in reproaches (2 Corinthians 12:10).
2 Timothy 2:11 – Jesus is always faithful, in life and in death. He is our strength, our refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9). Because he lives, we shall live also (John 14:19). He ultimately is faithful above all. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. He is faithful. Let us be also.
Titus 3:8 – Believers should maintain good works. A good testimony arises from good grace. We are saved for, not by, good works. Titus 3:4-8 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour 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 renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.