The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part IV

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


Ep.Barn. 1.3, 4, 6 have some commonality with Titus 3.5ff and Titus 1.2.


Ep.Barn. 1.3-6 || Titus 3.5-7; 1.2



(3) διὸ καὶ μᾶλλον συγχαίρω ἐμαυτῷ ἐλπίζων σωθῆναι, ὅτι ἀληθῶς βλέπω ἐν ὑμῖν ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ τοῦ πλουσίου τῆς πηγῆς κυρίου πνεῦμα ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς. οὕτω με ἐξέπληξεν ἐπὶ ὑμῶν ἡ ἐπιποθήτη ὄψις ὑμῶν. (4) πεπεισμένος οὖν τοῦτο καὶ συνειδὼς ἐμαυτῷ, ὅτι ἐν ὑμῖν λαλήσας πολλὰ ἐπίσταμαι, ὅτι ἐμοὶ συνώδευσεν ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης κύριος, καὶ πάντως ἀναγκάζομαι κἀγὼ εἰς τοῦτο, ἀγαπᾶν ὑμᾶς ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν μου, ὅτι μεγάλη πίστις καὶ ἀγάπη ἐγκατοικεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αὐτοῦ. (5) λογισάμενος οὖν τοῦτο, ὅτι ἐὰν μελήσῃ μοι περὶ ὑμῶν τοῦ μέρος τι μεταδοῦναι ἀφʼ οὗ ἔλαβον, ὅτι ἔσται μοι τοιούτοις πνεύμασιν ὑπηρετήσαντι εἰς μισθόν, ἐσπούδασα κατὰ μικρὸν ὑμῖν πέμπειν, ἵνα μετὰ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν τελείαν ἔχητε τὴν γνῶσιν. (6) Τρία οὖν δόγματά ἐστιν κυρίου· ζωῆς ἐλπίς, ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος πίστεως ἡμῶν· καὶ δικαιοσύνη, κρίσεως ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος· ἀγάπη εὐφροσύνης καὶ ἀγαλλιάσεως, ἔργων ἐν <δικαιοσύνῃ> μαρτυρία. (Ep.Barn. 1.3-6)


(3) Therefore I, who also am hoping to be saved, congratulate myself all the more because among you I truly see that the Spirit has been poured out upon you from the riches of the Lord’s fountain. How overwhelmed I was, on your account, by the long-desired sight of you! (4) Being convinced, therefore, of this and conscious of the fact that I said many things in your midst, I know that the Lord traveled with me in the way of righteousness, and above all I too am compelled to do this: to love you more than my own soul, because great faith and love dwell in you, through the hope of his life. (5) Accordingly, since I have concluded that if I care enough about you to share something of what I have received, I will be rewarded for having ministered to such spirits, I have hastened to send you a brief note, so that along with your faith you might have perfect knowledge as well. (6) Well then, there are three basic doctrines of the Lord: the hope of life, which is the beginning and end of our faith; and righteousness, which is the beginning and end of judgment; and love shown in gladness and rejoicing, the testimony of righteous works. (Ep.Barn. 1.3-6)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (274, 275). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


5 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ
ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς
ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος
ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας
καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου,
6 οὗ ἐξέχεεν ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς πλουσίως
διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν,
7 ἵνα δικαιωθέντες τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι
κληρονόμοι γενηθῶμεν κατʼ ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου
.
(Titus 3.5-7, NA27)


5 not out of works in righteousness
which we did
but according to His mercy
He saved us through washing of rebirth
and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom He poured out on us richly
through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
7 so that being justified in His grace
we become heirs according to the hope of life eternal
. (Titus 3.5-7, my own translation)


2 ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου, ἣν ἐπηγγείλατο ὁ ἀψευδὴς θεὸς πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, (Titus 1.2, NA27)


2 into hope of life eternal, which the non-lying God promised before eternal ages, (Titus 1.2, my own translation)


The first commonality is found in the concept of the “pouring out” of the Holy Spirit in a “rich” manner. The verb translated “pour out” is ἐκχέω (Ep.Barn. ἐκκεχυμένον, Titus ἐξέχεεν). The similarity of “rich” in the texts is less exact, involving the use of the πλουσ* word group (Ep.Barn. τοῦ πλουσίου (noun), Titus πλουσίως (adverb)). Thus in Ep.Barn. the source of the spring is what is rich (“poured out from the riches of the Lord’s fountain”) and in Titus, the pouring itself is done in a rich manner (“whom He poured out on us richly”). Not exactly the same, but very close. In both instances, the Holy Spirit is being poured out, and it is being done so in a generous manner. While these occurrences are similar, I’d guess there may be more influence on Barnabas from Acts 2.17-21, specifically Acts 2.17:



καὶ ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις, λέγει ὁ θεός,
ἐκχεῶ ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματός μου ἐπὶ πᾶσαν σάρκα,
καὶ προφητεύσουσιν οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ὑμῶν
καὶ οἱ νεανίσκοι ὑμῶν ὁράσεις ὄψονται
καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ὑμῶν ἐνυπνίοις ἐνυπνιασθήσονται·
(Ac 2.17, NA27)


17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; (Ac 2.17, ESV)


This of course refers back to Joel 2.28-32 (LXX 3.1-5):



Καὶ ἔσται μετὰ ταῦτα
καὶ ἐκχεῶ ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματός μου ἐπὶ πᾶσαν σάρκα,
καὶ προφητεύσουσιν οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ὑμῶν,
καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ὑμῶν ἐνύπνια ἐνυπνιασθήσονται,
καὶ οἱ νεανίσκοι ὑμῶν ὁράσεις ὄψονται,
(Joel 3.1 LXX [Eng 2.28])


The concept of the Spirit being generously poured out likely runs all the way back to Joel. The occurrence of the same thought in Titus may actually be some sort of pre-formed text — an instance of an early hymn, creed or topical saying of the church. NA27 imply much the same by their treating it as poety. In any event, the idea of the Spirit being poured out is found in multiple places in the NT,* based on prophecy from Joel, and it should not surprise us to find the same concept in the writings of the early church (here, in Ep.Barn.).


The second commonality involves the “hope of life”. While the lexical similarity is present, and while “hope of life” is not a commonly found theme** this has some problems in my view because in Ep.Barn. it is only “hope of life” (or “hope of his life”, the life of Christ) and not the “hope of eternal life” of Titus. Ep.Barn. has ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αὐτοῦ (1.4) and ζωῆς ἐλπίς (1.6). Titus has ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου (3.7) and ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου (1.2). The stronger lexical correlation is between Ep.Barn. 1.4 and Titus 1.2 based on exactness of word form. And Ep.Barn. is not simply talking about the hope of life, it is focusing on the hope of his life. The pronoun “his” has “Lord” as its antecedent. Ep.Barn. 1.3 notes that the author is “hoping to be saved”, finding this point in common with those to whom he is writing. Indeed, he considers them to be saved as they have had the Spirit poured out on them richly. In 1.4, the “hope of his life” is the agent by which “great faith and love” dwell in them. Because of this, the author desires “to love you more than my own soul”. In other words, because these are brothers in the Lord, who have had the Spirit poured out on them, he loves them. But does Ep.Barn.‘s “hope of life” in 1.4 reference eternal life? Again, it is hope in the Lord’s life. There is hope of salvation because of the life of the Lord. What about Ep.Barn. 1.6 and “hope of life” there? This appears to be a topic statement; the author is setting out his path for the rest of the epistle. Whether or not “hope of life” in 1.6 refers to eternal life or not will be seen as he expounds upon this concept in the rest of the letter. Either way, the lexical similarity is not exact. Even if a hope of eternal life is meant (and I think it probably is) the direct influence of the Epistle of Titus is not very probable in my opinion. There may be loose reaches back to an overall concept, but it would be a great stretch to posit dependence of Ep.Barn. on these verses in Titus.


Next up: Ep.Barn. 14.5f





* Interesting to think about this in light of Lukan influence on the Pastorals. If Luke is Paul’s amanuensis, the inclusion of the concept of the Spirit being poured out is less surprising and perhaps even better explained.


** In the NT, the phrase “hope of life” is only found in Titus 1.2 and 3.7. The word “hope” (ἐλπίς) is qualified in other ways, though:



  • Ac 16.19: hope of gain
  • Ac 27.20: hope of being saved
  • Ac 28.20: hope of Israel
  • Ro 5.2: hope of the glory of God
  • 1Co 9.10: hope of sharing (in the crop)
  • 2Co 1.7; 1Th 2.19; 1Ti 1.1: hope of us (“our hope”)
  • Ga 5.5: hope of righteousness
  • Eph 1.18: the hope to which he has called you (note also use of “riches” in this context, see full verse)
  • Eph 4.4: the one hope that belongs to your call
  • Php 1.20: the hope of me (“my hope”)
  • Col 1.23: the hope of the gospel
  • Col 1.27: the hope of glory
  • 1Th 1.3: hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
  • 1Th 5.8: hope of salvation