The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part III

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


Ep.Barn. 7.2 has one primary point in similarity with 2Ti 4.1, though it shares some commonality with 1Pe 4.5; Ac 10.42; Poly. Phil. 2.1; 2Cl 1.1.


Ep.Barn. 7.2 || 2Ti 4.1



(2) εἰ οὖν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, ὢν κύριος καὶ μέλλων κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, ἔπαθεν ἵνα ἡ πληγὴ αὐτοῦ ζωοποιήσῃ ἡμᾶς, πιστεύσωμεν ὅτι ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἠδύνατο παθεῖν εἰ μὴ διʼ ἡμᾶς. (Ep.Barn. 7.2)
(2) If, therefore, the Son of God, who is Lord and is destined to judge the living and the dead, suffered in order that his wounds might give us life, let us believe that the Son of God could not suffer except for our sake. (Ep.Barn. 7.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (290, 291). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


1 Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, καὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ· (2Ti 4.1, NA27)
1 I solemnly urge in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, the one who will judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His Kingdom: (2Ti 4.1, my own translation)


The primary point of similarity is, obviously, that Christ (the Son of God) will judge the living and the dead. The portion about judging is exactly the same in both texts: κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς. An infinitive, followed by a participle and adjective, joined by καὶ and agreeing in case, number and gender.


The secondary point of similarity—the bit about the impending state of the judgment—is wrapped up with the first. In both texts it uses the same verb (Ep.Barn. anarthrous participle μέλλων; NA27 subsantive participle τοῦ μέλλοντος) but the modification structures are different. Barnabas has a phrase with noun and participle, joined by καὶ, agreeing in case, number and gender. This is all part of a relative clause that further explains who the Son of God is and what he does:



εἰ οὖν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ,
If, therefore, the Son of God,
   ὢν
   who
      κύριος καὶ μέλλων κρίνειν
      (is) Lord and (is) destined to judge
         ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς
         living ones and dead


2Ti 4.1, however, uses the same verb as a particple but in a different case with an article. It is in the genitive, which is in agreement with the phrase that precedes it, and it serves to further modify “Christ Jesus”.



Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον
I solemnly urge in the presence
      τοῦ θεοῦ
      of God
   καὶ
   and
      Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
      Christ Jesus
         τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν
         who is about to judge
            ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς
            living ones and dead


One issue in 2Ti invovles determining what the participle+infinitive phrase modifies. Does Granville Sharp apply? I’d say that while Paul invokes the presence of both God and Christ Jesus, the singular number of the participle phrase would point back to just “Christ Jesus”. It points to Christ as judge. The article of the participle substantizes the phrase and functions like a relative pronoun, thus the participial clause functions like a relative clause, as I’ve translated. (I’m flying off the seat of my grammatical pants here, though, and am open to correction or other opinions). The Ep.Barn. passage has no such confusion, it more explicitly points to the “Son of God” as judge, after calling him Lord and judge.


Also note that Ep.Barn. and 2Ti here use relative structures (one a relative clause, the other a participial clause functioning relatively) in disclosing who judges and the impending nature of the judgement. All in all very similar, but as was noted above this same idea of Christ being the judge of the living and the dead is not localized to these two passages. Here are the others:



  • 1Pe 4.5: οἳ ἀποδώσουσιν λόγον τῷ ἑτοίμως ἔχοντι κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.

  • Ac 10.42: καὶ παρήγγειλεν ἡμῖν κηρύξαι τῷ λαῷ καὶ διαμαρτύρασθαι ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ὡρισμένος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν.

  • Poly. Phil. 2.1: ὃς ἔρχεται κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν,

  • 2Cl 1.1: Ἀδελφοί, οὕτως δεῖ ἡμᾶς φρονεῖν περὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὡς περὶ θεοῦ, ὡς περὶ κριτοῦ ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν.

As the same basic phrase and thought occurs among different authors (six instances, in total, from six different authors) I’d say that any dependence of Ep.Barn. on 2Ti is unlikely even though they use the same exact form of infinitive clause. That Christ “will judge the living and the dead” was a phrase likely found in some common liturgical source or emphasized due to its repetition in the NT documents. Still, the degree of similarity between Ep.Barn. and 2Ti is intriguing.


Next up: Ep.Barn. 1.3, 4, 6.

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