The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part II

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


A few NT references are listed as potential allusion sources for Ep.Barn. 5.6.


Ep.Barn. 5.6 || 1Ti 3.16, 2Ti 1.10*



(6) οἱ προφῆται, ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ ἔχοντες τὴν χάριν, εἰς αὐτὸν ἐπροφήτευσαν. αὐτὸς δὲ ἵνα καταργήσῃ τὸν θάνατον καὶ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν δείξῃ, ὅτι ἐν σαρκὶ ἔδει αὐτὸν φανερωθῆναι, ὑπέμεινεν,
(6) The prophets, receiving grace from him, prophesied about him. But he himself submitted, in order that he might destroy death and demonstrate the reality of the resurrection of the dead, because it was necessary that he be manifested in the flesh.
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (284, 285). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


16 καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον· ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις, ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ, ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ. (1Ti 3.16, NA27)
16 And most certainly, great is the mystery of godliness: Who was revealed in flesh, Vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed amongst the peoples, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. (1Ti 3.16, my own translation)


10 φανερωθεῖσαν δὲ νῦν διὰ τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, καταργήσαντος μὲν τὸν θάνατον φωτίσαντος δὲ ζωὴν καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (2Ti 1.10, NA27)
10 and now has been revealed through the appearance of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who indeed abolished death and brought to light life and immortality through the gospel (2Ti 1.10, my own translation)


There are a few spots where affinities between Barnabas and the PE texts can be seen.


First, between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 1Ti 3.16, the primary affinity has to do with the idea of Christ being manifested (φανερόω) in the flesh (ἐν σαρκὶ). The ideas are remarkably the same and the language seems almost liturgical. Indeed, that’s the vibe one gets from 1Ti 3.16, which has long been considered to have some sort of early Christian hymn or creed as its source. The Oxford committee that gathered these references notes the same thing: “But as it itself (1Ti 3.16) is probably quoting a current liturgical form, literary dependence cannot be pressed either way” (13). Note also that Ep.Barn. uses the phrase “manifested in the flesh” several times (Ep.Barn. 6.7, 9, 14; 12.10; 14.5). The idea has to come from somewhere, whether it be common liturgical formula (probably) or this portion of First Timothy.


Second, between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10, there are a few points of contact. The first is similar to that of 1Ti 3.16, that Christ has appeared. 2Ti 1.10 uses φανερόω not in reference to Christ (directly, as both Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 1Ti 3.16 do) but as a participle clause that further explains “purpose and grace” from v. 9. We were saved according to God’s “purpose and grace” and not our own works. 2Ti 1.9-10 has two clauses that further explain this purpose and grace. The first is v.9, explaining that his purpose and grace have “been granted to us in Christ Jesus from times eternal”. The second is the first part of v. 10, which here has some affinity with Ep.Barn. 5.6. God’s “purpose and grace” has been “revealed” (φανερόω) through the appearance (ἐπιφανείας) of our Saviour Jesus Christ. This is similar to 1Ti 3.16, though the specific note of manifestation/appearance in the flesh (ἐν σαρκὶ) is not made in 2Ti 1.10.


The second point of contact between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10 has to do with the destruction of death. The word translated destruction (Ep.Barn) or abolish (2Ti) is καταργέω. In both cases the destruction is of death (τὸν θάνατον). Both texts portray Jesus Christ as the one who destroyed death.


A third point of contact is not specifically lexical but rather topical. Both texts note the effect of the destruction of death using different words but both essentially supporting the same concept. In Ep.Barn., the consequence of the destruction of death is that Christ demonstrates “the reality of the resurrection of the dead”. In 2Ti, Christ brings “to light life and immortality through the gospel”. In both cases, the effect has to do with life — immortality. Because Christ destroyed death, the dead in Christ also are not bound by death, they will rise. Christ’s death obliterates the darkness and shines light on the life we will have into the ages. Different words, same basic concept: With the destruction of death those who are dead are no longer bound by death. There is now life.


These three points in common between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10 are striking. I don’t know that dependence can be proven, but the ideas behind both texts share several commonalities that stimulate thought.


Next up: Ep.Barn. 7.2.





* Note that the Oxford committee also lists 1Pe 1.20-21 as a possible allusion/parallel source along with 2Ti 1.10:



20 προεγνωσμένου μὲν πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου φανερωθέντος δὲ ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων διʼ ὑμᾶς 21 τοὺς διʼ αὐτοῦ πιστοὺς εἰς θεὸν τὸν ἐγείραντα αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ δόξαν αὐτῷ δόντα, ὥστε τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν καὶ ἐλπίδα εἶναι εἰς θεόν. (1Pe 1.20-21, NA27)
20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1Pe 1.20-21, ESV)

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part I

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


The discussion of the Epistle of Barnabas in The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers lists seven potential references to the Pastoral Epistles. The editors rate each of the Pastoral Epistles with a ‘D’, and each of the readings have a ‘d’ mark as well. This means the editors see some affinity between the two books in these seven instances, but no clear case for dependence can be made.


Ep. Barn 5.9 || 1Ti 1.15f.



(9) ὅτε δὲ τοὺς ἰδίους ἀποστόλους τοὺς μέλλοντας κηρύσσειν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον αὐτοῦ ἐξελέξατο, ὄντας ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν ἁμαρτίαν ἀνομωτέρους ἵνα δείξῃ ὅτι οὐκ ἦλθεν καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς, τότε ἐφανέρωσεν ἑαυτὸν εἶναι υἱὸν θεοῦ. (Ep. Barn. 5.9)
(9) And when he chose his own apostles who were destined to preach his gospel (who were sinful beyond all measure in order that he might demonstrate that “he did not come to call the righteous, but sinners”), then he revealed himself to be God’s Son.
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (284). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


15 πιστὸς ὁ λόγος καὶ πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος, ὅτι Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ἦλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἁμαρτωλοὺς σῶσαι, ὧν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ. 16 ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἠλεήθην, ἵνα ἐν ἐμοὶ πρώτῳ ἐνδείξηται Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς τὴν ἅπασαν μακροθυμίαν πρὸς ὑποτύπωσιν τῶν μελλόντων πιστεύειν ἐπʼ αὐτῷ εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (1Ti 1.15-16, NA27)
Aland, B., Aland, K., Black, M., Martini, C. M., Metzger, B. M., & Wikgren, A. (1993, c1979). Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed.) (543). Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies.
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1Ti 1.15-16, ESV)


There is affinity between the two, but the likelier influence is that of Mt 9.13: “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Holmes provides a footnote linking to this verse in his edition as justification for the quote marks in his text. And the Oxford committee also lists Mt 9.13 as a parallel (along with the synoptic parallels to this passage). But that’s only part of the story.


Unique in relation to 1Ti 1.15-16 is the idea that Paul was a vile sinner, and his calling to apostle served as an object lesson of the extent to which God’s grace can reach. Key to this is the use of the same word group (Barn: δείξῃ, NA27: ἐνδείξηται) for the verb that has Christ (either explicitly or via verb person/number reference) as subject.


Also interesting, at least to me, is the language used to describe the apostles (Ep.Barn.) and Paul (1Ti). It is not complementary. Ep.Barn. calls them “sinful beyond all measure”; Paul calls himself the foremost of sinners. The picture in both of these passages is clear. The most sinful have been redeemed. The degree of change was massive — from the worst sinner to an apostle of Christ. And the reason is the same: That Christ might demonstrate his power to save by using the worst sinners as his primary ambassadors.


Next up: Ep. Barn. 5.6

The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers

Awhile back I was able to locate a facsimile copy of an older work, The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, on archive.org. This is a cool old book.


The basic idea of the book was to examine possible NT quotations and allusions within the corpus of the Apostolic Fathers and discuss whether or not the AF material had any dependence on the NT. Here’s how the preface to the book states it:



The first duty of the Committee was to agree upon a plan. It was decided to arrange the books of the New Testament in four classes, distinguished by the letters A, B, C, and D, according to the degree of probability of their use by the several authors. Class A includes those books about which there can be no reasonable doubt, either because they are expressly mentioned, or because there are other certain indications of their use. Class B comprises those books the use of which, in the judgement of the editors, reaches a high degree of probability. With class C we come to a lower degree of probability; and in class D are placed those books which may possibly be referred to, but in regard to which the evidence appeared too uncertain to allow any reliance to be placed upon it. Under each author the books of the New Testament are arranged in accordance with these four classes, except that the Gospels are reserved for a section by themselves after the other writings. … Under each class (A, B, C, D) the books follow one another in the present canonical order; and the passages cited under each head are arranged in the order of probability, according to the editors’ judgment, and marked a, b, c, d — symbols to which an explanation will apply similar to that which has been given in connexion with the capital letters. (iv).


So, basically, they go through potential quotations/allusions and provide some rating as to the liklihood of dependence. So a book gets a rating (A, B, C, D) and the readings get ratings (a, b, c, d).


I’ve been wanting to work though the quotations/allusions to the Pastoral Epistles in this book for awhile. I have a little time tonight, so it seems like a good time to start. I’ll have at least one post per book of the Apostolic Fathers. I’ll work through them in the order they appear in The New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers.