Easton's Bible Dictionary
(FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY)
Paul in this epistle speaks of himself as having left Ephesus for Macedonia (
Timothy 1:3 ), and hence not Laodicea, as mentioned in the subscription; but
probably Philippi, or some other city in that region, was the place where this
epistle was written. During the interval between his first and second imprisonments
he probably visited the scenes of his former labours in Greece and Asia, and then
found his way into Macedonia, whence he wrote this letter to Timothy, whom he
had left behind in Ephesus.
It was probably written about A.D. 66 or 67.
The epistle consists mainly,
|(1) of counsels to Timothy regarding the worship and organization
of the Church, and the responsibilities resting on its several members; and
(2) of exhortation to faithfulness in maintaining the truth amid surrounding errors.
(SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY)
was probably written a year or so after the first, and from Rome, where Paul was
for a second time a prisoner, and was sent to Timothy by the hands of Tychicus.
In it he entreats Timothy to come to him before winter, and to bring Mark with
him (Compare Philippians
2:22 ). He was anticipating that "the time of his departure was at hand" (
Timothy 4:6 ), and he exhorts his "son Timothy" to all diligence and steadfastness,
and to patience under persecution ( 2
Timothy 1:6 - 15
), and to a faithful discharge of all the duties of his office ( 2
Timothy 4:1 - 5
), with all the solemnity of one who was about to appear before the Judge of quick
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are called the Pastoral
Epistles, because they are principally devoted to directions about the work of
the pastor of a church. The First Epistle was probably written from Macedonia,
A.D. 65, in the interval between St. Pauls first and second imprisonments at Rome.
The absence of any local reference but that in ( 1
Timothy 1:3 ) suggests Macedonia or some neighboring district. In some MSS.
and versions Laodicea is named in the inscription as the place from which it was
sent. The Second Epistle appears to have been written A.D. 67 or 68, and in all
probability at Rome.
The following are the characteristic features of these epistles:--
|(1) The ever-deepening sense in
St. Pauls heart of the divine mercy of which he was the object, as shown in the
insertion of the "mercy" in the salutations of both epistles, and in the "obtained
mercy" of ( 1
Timothy 1:13 )
(2) The greater abruptness of the Second Epistle. From first to last there is
no plan, no treatment of subjects carefully thought out. All speaks of strong
overflowing emotion memories of the past, anxieties about the future.
(3) The absence, as compared with St. Paul other epistles, of Old Testament references.
This may connect itself with the fact just noticed, that these epistles are not
argumentative, possibly also with the request for the "books and parchments" which
had been left behind. ( 2
Timothy 4:13 )
(4) The conspicuous position of the "faithful sayings" as taking the place occupied
in other epistles by the Old Testament Scriptures. The way in which these are
cited as authoritative, the variety of subjects which they cover, suggests the
thought that in them we have specimens of the prophecies of the apostolic Church
which had most impressed themselves on the mind of the apostle and of the disciples
generally. ( 1
Corinthians 14:1 ) ... shows how deep a reverence he was likely to feel for
spiritual utterances. In ( 1
Timothy 4:1 ) we have a distinct reference to them.
(5) The tendency of the apostles mind to dwell more on the universality of the
redemptive work of Christ, ( 1
Timothy 2:3 - 6
) and his strong desire that all the teaching of his disciples should be "sound."
(6) The importance attached by him to the practical details of administration.
The gathered experience of a long life had taught him that the life and well being
of the Church required these for its safeguards.
(7) The recurrence of doxologies, ( 1
Timothy 1:17 ; 6:15
Timothy 4:18 ) as from one living perpetually in the presence of God, to whom
the language of adoration was as his natural speech.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(FROM PASTORAL EPISTLES)
The First and Second Epistles to Timothy, and the Epistle to Titus form a distinct
group among the letters written by Paul, and are now known as the Pastoral Epistles
because they were addressed to two Christian ministers. When Timothy and Titus
received these epistles they were not acting, as they had previously done, as
missionaries or itinerant evangelists, but had been left by Paul in charge of
churches; the former having the oversight of the church in Ephesus, and the latter
having the care of the churches in the island of Crete. The Pastoral Epistles
were written to guide them in the discharge of the duties devolving upon them
as Christian pastors. Such is a general description of these epistles. In each
of them, however, there is a great deal more than is covered or implied by the
designation, "Pastoral"--much that is personal, and much also that is concerned
with Christian faith and doctrine and practice generally.
1. External Evidence
In regard to the genuineness of the epistles there is abundant external attestation.
Allusions to them are found in the writings of Clement and Polycarp. In the middle
of the 2nd century the epistles were recognized as Pauline in authorship, and
were freely quoted.
"Marcion indeed rejected them, and Tatian is supposed to have rejected those to
Timothy. But, as Jerome states in the preface to his Commentary on Titus, these
heretics rejected the epistles, not on critical grounds, but merely because they
disliked their teaching. He says they used no argument, but merely asserted, This
is Paul's, This is not Paul's. It is obvious that men holding such opinions as
Marcion and Tatian held, would not willingly ascribe authority to epistles which
condemned asceticism. So far, then, as the early church can guarantee to us the
authenticity of writings ascribed to Paul, the Pastoral Epistles are guaranteed"
(Marcus Dods, Introduction to the New Testament, 167).
The external evidence is all in favor of the reception of these epistles., which
were known not only to Clement and Polycarp, but also to Irenaeus, Tertullian,
the author of the Epistle to the churches of Vienne and Lyons, and Theophilus
of Antioch. The evidence of Polycarp, who died in 167 AD, is remarkably strong.
He says, "The love of money is the beginning of all trouble, knowing .... that
we brought nothing into the world, neither can carry anything out" (compare 1
Timothy 6:7 , 10). It would be difficult to overthrow testimony of this nature.
2. Genuineness Questioned
The decision of certain critics to reject the Pastoral Epistles as documents not
from the hand of Paul, "is not reached on the external evidence, which is perhaps
as early an attestation as can be reasonably expected. They are included in the
Muratorian Canon, and quoted by Irenaeus and later writers as Paul's" (A.S. Peake,
A Critical Introduction to the New Testament, 60). This admission is satisfactory.
In recent times, however, the authenticity of these epistles has been called in
question by Schmidt, Schleiermacher, Baur, Renan, and many others. Baur asserted
that they were written for the purpose of combating the Gnosticism of the 2nd
century, and of defending the church from it by means of ecclesiastical organization,
and that the date of their composition was about the year 150 AD.
II. ALLEGED DIFFICULTIES AGAINST PAULINE AUTHORSHIP
Various difficulties have been alleged against the reception of the Pastoral Epistles
as Pauline. The chief of these are:
|(1) the difficulty of finding any place for these letters
in the life of Paul, as that is recorded in the Acts and in the Pauline Epistles
written before the Pastorals;
(2) the fact that there are said to be in them indications of an ecclesiastical
organization, and of a development of doctrine, both orthodox and heretical, considerably
in advance of the Pauline age;
(3) that the language of the epistles is, to a large extent, different from that
in the accepted epistles;
(4) the "most decisive" of all the arguments against the Pauline authorship--so
writes Dr. A.C. McGiffert (A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age, 402)--is
that "the Christianity of the Pastoral Epistles is not the Christianity of Paul."
Where can a place be found for these epistles, in the life of Paul? The indications
of the date of their composition given in the epistles themselves are these.
1. Relative to Paul's Experiences
|(1) Data in 1 Timothy
In 1 Timothy 1:3 Paul had gone from Ephesus to Macedonia, and had left Timothy
in Ephesus in charge of the church there. In the Acts and in the previously written
Pauline epistles, it is impossible to find such events or such a state of matters
as will satisfy these requirements. Paul had previously been in Ephesus, on several
occasions. His 1st visit to that city is recorded in Acts 18:19 - 21. On that
occasion he went from Ephesus, not into Macedonia, but into Syria. His 2nd visit
was his 3 years' residence in Ephesus, as narrated in Acts 19; and when he left
the city, he had, previous to his own departure from it, already sent Timothy
into Macedonia (Acts 19:22)--a state of matters exactly the reverse of that described
in 1 Timothy 1:3. Timothy soon rejoined Paul, and so far was he from being left
in Ephesus then, that he was in Paul's company on the remainder of his journey
toward Jerusalem (Acts 20:4 ; 2 Corinthians 1:1).
No place therefore in Paul's life, previous to his arrest in Jerusalem, and his
first Roman imprisonment, can be found, which satisfies the requirements of the
situation described in 1 Timothy 1:3. "It is impossible, unless we assume a second
Roman imprisonment, to reconcile the various historical notices which the epistle
(2 Timothy) contains" (McGiffert, op. cit., 407).
In addition to this, the language used by the apostle at Miletus, when he addressed
the elders of the Ephesian church (Acts 20:30) about the men speaking perverse
things, who should arise among them, showed that these false teachers had not
made their appearance at that time. There is, for this reason alone, no place
for the Pastoral Epistles in Paul's life, previous to his arrest in Jerusalem.
But Paul's life did not end at the termination of his first Roman imprisonment;
and this one fact gives ample room to satisfy all the conditions, as these are
found in the three Pastorals.
Those who deny the Pauline authorship of these epistles also deny that he was
released from what, in this article, is termed his 1st Roman imprisonment. But
a denial of this latter statement is an assumption quite unwarranted and unproved.
It assumes that Paul was not set free, simply because there is no record of this
in the Acts. But the Acts is, on the very face of it, an incomplete or unfinished
record; that is, it brings the narrative to a certain point, and then breaks off,
evidently for the reason which Sir W.M. Ramsay demonstrates, that Luke meant to
write a sequel to that book--a purpose, however, which he was unable, owing to
some cause now unknown, to carry into execution. The purpose of the Acts, as Ramsay
shows (St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen, 23, 308), is to lead up to
the release of Paul, and to show that the Christian faith was not a forbidden
or illegal religion, but that the formal impeachment of the apostle before the
supreme court of the empire ended in his being set at liberty, and thus there
was established the fact that the faith of Jesus Christ was not, at that time,
contrary to Roman law. "The Pauline authorship .... can be maintained only on
the basis of a hypothetical reconstruction, either of an entire period subsequent
to the Roman imprisonment, or of the events within some period known to us" (McGiffert,
op. cit., 410). The one fact that Paul was set free after his 1st Roman imprisonment
gives the environment which fits exactly all the requirements of the Pastoral
Attention should be directed to the facts and to the conclusion stated in the
article PRAETORIUM (which see), Mommsen having shown that the words, "My bonds
became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard" (Philippians
1:13), mean that at the time when Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians, the
case against him had already come before the supreme court of appeal in Rome,
that it had been partly heard, and that the impression made by the prisoner upon
his judges was so favorable, that he expected soon to be set free.
The indications to be drawn from other expressions in three of the epistles of
the Roman captivity--Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon--are to the same effect.
Thus, writing to the Philippians, he says that he hopes to send Timothy to them,
so soon as he sees how matters go with him, and that he trusts in the Lord that
he himself will visit them shortly. And again, writing to his friend Philemon
in the city of Colosse, he asks him to prepare him a lodging, for he trusts that
through the prayers of the Colossians, he will be granted to them.
These anticipations of acquittal and of departure from Rome are remarkable, and
do not in any degree coincide with the idea that Paul was not set free but was
condemned and put to death at that time. "It is obvious that the importance of
the trial is intelligible only if Paul was acquitted. That he was acquitted follows
from the Pastoral Epistles with certainty for all who admit their genuineness;
while even they who deny their Pauline origin must allow that they imply an early
belief in historical details which are not consistent with Paul's journeys before
his trial, and must either be pure inventions or events that occurred on later
journeys. .... If he was acquitted, the issue of the trial was a formal decision
by the supreme court of the empire that it was permissible to preach Christianity;
the trial, therefore, was really a charter of religious liberty, and therein lies
its immense importance. It was indeed overturned by later decisions of the supreme
court; but its existence was a highly important fact for the Christians" (Ramsay,
op. cit., 308). "That he was acquitted is demanded both by the plan evident in
Acts and by other reasons well stated by others" (ibid., 360).
It should also be observed that there is the direct and corroborative evidence
of Paul's release, afforded by such writers as Cyril of Jerusalem, Ephrem Syriac.,
Chrysostom and Theodoret, all of whom speak of Paul's going to Spain. Jerome (Vir.
Ill., 5) gives it as a matter of personal knowledge that Paul traveled as far
as Spain. But there is more important evidence still. In the Muratorian Canon,
1,37, there are the words, "profectionem Pauli ab urbe ad Spaniam proficiscentis"
("the journey of Paul as he journeyed from Rome to Spain"). Clement also in the
epistle from the church in Rome to the church in Corinth, which was written not
later than the year 96 AD, says in reference to Paul, "Having taught righteousness
to the whole world, and having gone to the extremity of the west (epi to terma
tes duseos elthon) and having borne witness before the rulers, so was he released
from the world and went to the holy place, being the greatest example of endurance."
The words, "having gone to the extremity of the west," should be specially noticed.
Clement was in Rome when he wrote this, and, accordingly, the natural import of
the words is that Paul went to the limit of the western half of then known world,
or in other words, to the western boundary of the lands bordering the Mediterranean,
that is, to Spain.
Now Paul never had been in Spain previous to his arrest in Jerusalem, but in Romans
15:24 , 28 he had twice expressed his intention to go there. These independent
testimonies, of Clement and of the Muratorian Canon, of the fact that after Paul's
arrest in Jerusalem he did carry into execution his purpose to visit Spain, are
entitled to great weight. They involve, of course, the fact that he was acquitted
after his 1st Roman imprisonment.
Having been set free, Paul could not do otherwise than send Timothy to Philippi,
and himself also go there, as he had already promised when he wrote to the Philippian
church (Philippians 2:19 , 24). As a matter of course he would also resume his
apostolic journeys for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel. There is now ample
room in his life for the Pastoral Epistles, and they give most interesting details
of his further labors. The historical and geographical requirements in 1 Timothy
are, in this way, easily satisfied. It was no great distance to Ephesus from Philippi
and Colosse, where he had promised that he would "come shortly."
(2) Data in 2 Timothy
The requirements in 2 Timothy are
|(a) that Paul had recently been at Troas, at Corinth, and
at Miletus, each of which he mentions (2 Timothy 4:13 , 20);
(b) that when he wrote the epistles he was in Rome (2 Timothy 1:17);
(c) that he was a prisoner for the cause of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8 ; 2:9),
and had once already appeared before the emperor's supreme court (2 Timothy 4:16
(d) that he had then escaped condemnation, but that he had reason to believe that
on the next hearing of his case the verdict would be given against him, and that
he expected it could not be long till execution took place (2 Timothy 4:6);
(e) that he hoped that Timothy would be able to come from Ephesus to see him at
Rome before the end (2 Timothy 4:9 , 21).
These requirements cannot be made to agree or coincide with the first Roman captivity,
but they do agree perfectly with the facts of the apostle's release and his subsequent
second imprisonment in that city.
(3) Data in Titus
The data given in the Epistle to Titus are
|(a) that Paul had been in Crete, and that Titus had been
with him there, and had been left behind in that island, when Paul sailed from
its shores, Titus being charged with the oversight of the churches there (Titus
(b) that Paul meant to spend the next winter at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12).
It is simply impossible to locate these events in the recorded life of Paul, as
that is found in the other epistles, and in the Acts. But they agree perfectly
with his liberation after his first Roman imprisonment. "As there is then no historical
evidence that Paul did not survive the year 64, and as these Pastoral Epistles
were recognized as Pauline in the immediately succeeding age, we may legitimately
accept them as evidence that Paul did survive the year 64--that he was acquitted,
resumed his missionary labors, was again arrested and brought to Rome, and from
this second imprisonment wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy--his last extant
writing" (Dods, Introduction to the New Testament, 172).
2. Subject-Matter Post-Pauline
The second difficulty alleged against the acceptance of these epistles as Pauline
is that there are said to exist in them indications of an ecclesiastical organization
and of a doctrinal development, both orthodox and heretical, considerably later
than those of the Pauline age.
|(1) Difficulty Regarding Church Organization
The first statement, that the epistles imply an ecclesiastical organization in
advance of the time when Paul lived, is one which cannot be maintained in view
of the facts disclosed in the epistles themselves. For directions are given to
Timothy and to Titus in regard to the moral and other characteristics necessary
in those who are to be ordained as bishops, elders, and deacons. In the 2nd century
the outstanding feature of ecclesiastical organization was the development of
monarchical episcopacy, but the Pastoral Epistles show a presbyterial administration.
The office held by Timothy in Ephesus and by Titus in Crete was, as the epistles
themselves show, of a temporary character. The directions which Paul gives to
Timothy and Titus in regard to the ordaining of presbyters in every church are
in agreement with similar notices found elsewhere in the New Testament, and do
not coincide with the state of church organization as that existed in the 2nd
century, the period when, objectors to the genuineness of the epistles assert,
they were composed. "Everyone acquainted with ancient literature, particularly
the literature of the ancient church, knows that a forger or fabricator of those
times could not possibly have avoided anachronisms" (Zahn, Introduction to the
New Testament, II, 93). But the ecclesiastical arrangements in the Pastoral Epistles
coincide in all points with the state of matters as it is found in the church
in the time of the apostles, as that is described in the Acts and elsewhere in
the New Testament.
It seems an error to suppose, as has often been done, that these epistles contain
the germ of monarchical episcopacy; for the Christian church had already, from
the day of Pentecost, existed as a society with special officers for the functions
of extension, discipline and administration. The church in the Pastoral Epistles
is a visible society, as it always was. Its organization therefore had come to
be of the greatest importance, and especially so in the matter of maintaining
and handing down the true faith; the church accordingly is described as "the pillar
and stay of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15 margin), that is, the immovable depository
of the Divine revelation.
(2) The Doctrinal Difficulty
The other statement, that the epistles show a doctrinal development out of harmony
with the Pauline age is best viewed by an examination of what the epistles actually
In 1 Timothy 6:20, Paul speaks of profane and vain babblings and oppositions of
gnosis (the Revised Version (British and American) "knowledge," the King James
Version "science") falsely so called. In Titus 3:9, he tells Titus to avoid foolish
questions and genealogies and contentions and strivings about the law. These phrases
have been held to be allusions to the tenets of Marcion, and to those of some
of the Gnostic sects. There are also other expressions, such as fables and endless
genealogies (1 Timothy 1:3 , 4 ; 6:3), words to no profit but the subverting of
the hearer (2 Timothy 2:14), foolish and unlearned questions which do gender strifes
(2 Timothy 2:23), questions and strifes of words (1 Timothy 6:4 , 5), discussions
which lead to nothing but word-battles and profane babbling. Such are the expressions
which Paul uses. These, taken with what is even more clearly stated in the Epistle
to the Colossians, certainly point to an incipient Gnosticism. But had the writer
of the Pastoral Epistles been combating the Gnosticism of the 2nd century, it
would not have been phrases like these that he would have employed, but others
much more definite. Godet, quoted by Dods (Intro, 175), writes, "The danger here
is of substituting intellectualism in religion for piety of heart and life. Had
the writer been a Christian of the 2nd century, trying, under the name of Paul,
to stigmatize the Gnostic systems, he would certainly have used much stronger
expressions to describe their character and influence."
It should be observed that the false teachers described in 2 Timothy 3:6 - 9 ,
13, as well as in other places in these epistles, were persons who taught that
the Mosaic Law was binding upon all Christians. They laid stress upon rabbinic
myths, upon investigations and disputations about genealogies and specific legal
requirements of the Old Testament. What they taught was a form of piously sounding
doctrine assuming to be Christian, but which was really rabbinism.
"For a pseudo-Paul in the post-apostolic age--when Christians of Jewish birth
had become more and more exceptions in the Gentile Christian church--to have invented
a description of and vigorously to have opposed the heterodidaskaloi, who did
not exist in his own age, and who were without parallel in the earlier epistles
of Paul, would have been to expose himself to ridicule without apparent purpose
or meaning" (Zahn, Introduction, II, 117). "A comparison of the statements in
these epistles about various kinds of false doctrine, and of those portions of
the same that deal with the organization and officers of the church, with conditions
actually existing in the church, especially the church of Asia Minor, at the beginning
and during the course of the 2nd century, proves, just as clearly as does the
external evidence, that they must have been written at latest before the year
100. But they could not have been written during the first two decades after Paul's
death, because of the character of the references to persons, facts and conditions
in Paul's lifetime and his own personal history, and because of the impossibility
on this assumption of discovering a plausible motive for their forgery. Consequently
the claim that they are post-Pauline, and contain matter which is un-Pauline,
is to be treated with the greatest suspicion" (Zahn, op. cit., II, 118).
3. Difficulty Relative to Language
The third difficulty alleged against the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles
is connected with the language employed, which is said to be, to a large extent,
different from that in the accepted epistles. The facts in regard to this matter
are that in 1 Timothy there are 82 words not found elsewhere in the New Testament;
in 2 Timothy there are 53 such words, and in Titus there are 33. But, while the
total of such words in the three epistles is 168, this number, large though it
appears, may be compared with the words used only once in the other Epistles of
Paul. In Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians and Philemon, the words of this description
are 627 in number. So nothing can be built upon the fact of the 168 peculiar words
in the Pastoral Epistles, that can safely be alleged as proof against their Pauline
authorship. The special subjects treated in these epistles required adequate language,
a requirement and a claim which would not be refused in the case of any ordinary
The objections to the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals, based upon the dissimilarity
of diction in them and in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, cease to exist
when theory is no longer persisted in, that the nucleus of the Pastoral Epistles
was composed during the Roman imprisonment, which, according to this theory ended,
not in the apostle's release, but in his execution. The fact that he was writing
to intimate and beloved friends, both on personal matters and on the subject of
church organization, and on that of incipient Gnosticism, which was troubling
the churches of Asia Minor, made it essential that he should, to a large extent,
use a different vocabulary.
4. Is There "Another Gospel" in the Pastorals?
The "most decisive" of all the arguments against the Pauline authorship is that
"the Christianity of the Pastoral Epistles is not the Christianity of Paul" (McGiffert,
A History of Christianity, 402). "For the most part," Dr. McGiffert writes, "there
is no trace whatever of the great fundamental truth of Paul's gospel--death unto
the flesh and life in the Spirit." Now this is not so, for the passages which
Dr. McGiffert himself gives in a footnote (2 Timothy 1:9 - 11 ; 2:11 ; Titus 3:4
- 7), as well as other references, do most certainly refer to this very aspect
of the gospel. For example, the passage in 2 Timothy 2 contains these words, "If
we died with him (Christ), we shall also live with him." What is this but the
great truth of the union of the Christian believer with Christ? The believer is
one with Christ in His death, one with Him now as He lives and reigns. The objection,
therefore, which is "most decisive of all," is one which is not true in point
of fact. Dr. McGiffert also charges the author of the Pastoral Epistles as being
"one who understood by resurrection nothing else than the resurrection of the
fleshly body" (p. 430). The body of our Lord was raised from the dead, but how
very unjust this accusation is, is evident from such a passage as 1 Timothy 3:16,
|"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness;
He who was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen of angels,
Preached among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory."
Charges of this nature are unsupported by evidence, and are of the kind on which
Dr. A.S. Peake (A Critical Introduction to the New Testament, 71) bases his rejection
of the Pauline authorship--except for a Pauline nucleus--that he "feels clear."
More than an ipse dixit of this sort is needed.
The theory that the Pastoral Epistles are based upon genuine letters or notes
of Paul to Timothy and Titus is thus advocated by Peake, McGiffert, Moffatt and
many others. It bears very hard upon 1 Timothy. "In 1 Timothy not a single verse
can be indicated, which clearly bears the stamp of Pauline origin" (Peake, op.
cit., 70). "We may fairly conclude then in agreement with many modern scholars
that we have here, in the Pastoral Epistles, authentic letters of Paul to Timothy
and Titus, worked over and enlarged by another hand" (McGiffert, op. cit., 405).
In regard to 1 Timothy he writes, "It is very likely that there are scattered
fragments of the original epistle in 1 Timothy, as for instance in 1:23. But it
is difficult to find anything which we can be confident was written by Paul" (p.
Dr. McGiffert also alleges that in the Pastoral Epistles, the word "faith" "is
not employed in its profound Pauline sense, but is used to signify one of the
cardinal virtues, along with love, peace, purity, righteousness, sanctification,
patience and meekness." One of the Pauline epistles, with which he contrasts the
Pastorals, is the Epistle to the Galatians; and the groundlessness of this charge
is evident from Galatians 5:22, where "faith" is included in the list there given
of the fruit of the Spirit, along with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
goodness, meekness and self-control.
If the Pastoral Epistles are the work of Paul, then, Dr. McGiffert concludes,
Paul had given up that form of the gospel which he had held and taught throughout
his life, and descended from the lofty religious plane upon which he had always
moved, to the level of mere piety and morality (op. cit., 404). But this charge
is not just or reasonable, in view of the fact that the apostle is instructing
Timothy and Titus how to combat the views and practices of immoral teachers. Or
again, in such a passage as 1 Timothy 1:12 - 17 the King James Version, the author
of the epistle has not descended from the lofty plane of faith to that of mere
piety and morality, when he writes, "The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant
with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 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."
If such be the "most decisive" objection against the Pauline authorship, the other
difficulties, as already seen, need not cause alarm, for they resolve themselves
into the equally groundless charges that the historical requirements of the epistles
cannot be fitted into any part of Paul's life, and that the doctrine and ecclesiastical
organization do not suit the Apostolic age. These objections have been already
The real difficulty, writes Dr. Peake (A Critical Introduction, 68), is that "the
old energy of thought and expression is gone, and the greater smoothness and continuity
in the grammar is a poor compensation for the lack of grip and of continuity in
the thought." Dr. Peake well and truly says that this statement does not admit
of detailed proof. Lack of grip and lack of continuity of thought are not the
characteristics of such passages as 1 Timothy 1:9 - 17, a passage which will bear
comparison with anything in the acknowledged Pauline Epistles; and there are many
other similar passages, e.g. Titus 2:11 - 3:7.
What must be said of the dullness of the intelligence of Christian men and of
the Christian church as a whole, if they could thus let themselves be imposed
upon by epistles which purported to be Paul's, but which were not written by him
at all, but were the enlargement of a Pauline nucleus? Can it be believed that
the church of the 2nd century, the church of the martyrs, was in such a state
of mental decrepitude as to receive epistles which were spurious, so far as the
greater portion of their contents is concerned? And can it be believed that this
idea, so recently originated and so destitute of proof, is andequate explanation
of epistles which have been received as Pauline from the earliest times?
When placed side by side with sub-apostolic writings like the Didache, Clement
of Rome, Polycarp, and Ignatius, "it is difficult to resist the idea which returns
upon one with almost every sentence that .... the Pastorals are astonishingly
superior" (Moffatt, The Historical New Testament, 556). Godet, quoted by R.D.
Shaw (The Pauline Epistles, 441), writes, "When one has had enough of the pious
amplifications of Clement of Rome, of the ridiculous inanities of Barnabas, of
the general oddities of Ignatius, of the well-meant commonplaces of Polycarp,
of the intolerable verbiage of Hermas, and of the nameless platitudes of the Didache,
and, after this promenade in the first decade of the 2nd century, reverts to our
Pastoral Epistles, one will measure the distance that separates the least striking
products of the apostolic literature from what has been preserved to us as most
eminent in the ancient patristic literature."
In the case of some modern critics, the interpolation hypothesis "is their first
and last appeal, the easy solution of any difficulty that presents itself to their
imaginations. Each writer feels free to give the kaleidoscope a fresh turn, and
then records with blissful confidence what are called the latest results. ....
The whole method postulates that a writer must always preserve the same dull monotone
or always confine himself to the same transcendental heights. .... He must see
and say everything at once; having had his vision and his dream, he must henceforth
be like a star and dwell apart. .... To be stereotyped is his only salvation.
.... On such principles there is not a writer of note, and there never has been
a man in public life, or a student in the stream of a progressive science, large
parts of whose sayings and doings could not be proved to be by some one else"
(Shaw, The Pauline Epistles, 483).
III. DATE AND ORDER
1. Date of the Epistles
In regard to the date of these epistles, external and internal evidence alike
go to show that they belong to practically the same period. The dates of their
composition are separated from each other by not more than three or four years;
and the dates of each and all of them must be close to the Neronic persecution
(64 AD). If Paul was executed 67 AD (see Ramsay, Paul, 396), there is only a short
interval of time between his release in 61 or 62, and his death in 67, that is
a period of some 5 or 6 years, during which his later travels took place, and
when the Pastoral Epistles were written. "Between the three letters there is an
affinity of language, a similarity of thought, and a likeness of errors combated,
which prevents our referring any of them to a period much earlier than the others"
(Zahn, Introduction, II, 37).
2. Their Order
The order in which they were written must have been 1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy.
It is universally acknowledged that 2 Timothy is the very last of Paul's extant
epistles, and the internal evidence of the other two seems to point out 1 Timothy
as earlier than Titus.
To sum up, the evidence of the early reception of the Pastoral Epistles as Pauline
is very strong. "The confident denial of the genuineness of these letters--which
has been made now for several generations more positively than in the case of
any other Pauline epistles--has no support from tradition. .... Traces of their
circulation in the church before Marcion's time are clearer than those which can
be found for Romans and 2 Corinthians" (Zahn, op. cit., II, 85). The internal
evidence shows that all three are from the hand of one and the same writer, a
writer who makes many personal allusions of a nature which it would be impossible
for a forger to invent. It is generally allowed that the personal passages in
2 Timothy 1:15 - 18; 4:9 - 22 are genuine. But if this is so, then it is not possible
to cut and carve the epistles into fragments of this kind. Objections dating only
a century back are all too feeble to overturn the consistent marks of Pauline
authorship found in all three epistles, corroborated as this is by their reception
in the church, dating from the very earliest period. The Pastoral Epistles may
be used with the utmost confidence, as having genuinely come from the hand of
R. D. Shaw, The Pauline Epistles; A. S. Peake, A Critical Introduction to the
New Testament; A. C. McGiffert, A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age;
Theodor Zahn, An Introduction to the New Testament; Marcus Dods,.Introduction
to the New Testament; Weiss, Einleitung in das New Testament (English translation);
C. J. Ellicott, A Critical and Grammatical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles;
Patrick Fairbairn, The Pastoral Epistles; John Ed. Huther, Critical and Exegetical
Handbook of the Epistles of Paul to Timothy and Titus; George Salmon, A Historical
Introduction to the Study of the Books of the New Testament; James Moffatt, The
Historical New Testament; Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament;
Adolf Julicher, An Introduction to the New Testament; Caspar Rene Gregory, Canon
and Text of the New Testament.
The "lives" of Paul may also be consulted, as they contain much that refers to
these epistles, i.e. those by Conybeare and Howson, Lewin, Farrar and others.
See also Ramsay's Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen.
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