The Pastoral Epistles in First Clement, Part II

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

1Cl 2.7 || Titus 3.1; 2Ti 2.21; 3.17; 2Co 9.8

(7) ἀμεταμέλητοι ἦτε ἐπὶ πάσῃ ἀγαθοποιΐᾳ, ἕτοιμοι εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν. (1Cl 2.7)
(7) You never once regretted doing good, but were “ready for every good work.” (1Cl 2.7)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (30, 31). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

3.1 Ὑπομίμνῃσκε αὐτοὺς ἀρχαῖς ἐξουσίαις ὑποτάσσεσθαι, πειθαρχεῖν, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι, (Tt 3.1, NA27)
3.1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be prepared for all good work, (Tt 3.1, my own translation)
21 ἐὰν οὖν τις ἐκκαθάρῃ ἑαυτὸν ἀπὸ τούτων, ἔσται σκεῦος εἰς τιμήν, ἡγιασμένον, εὔχρηστον τῷ δεσπότῃ, εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἡτοιμασμένον. (2Ti 2.21, NA27)
21 If then anyone might cleanse himself from these, he will be a pot for honor, having been made holy, useful to the master, having been prepared for every good work. (2Ti 2.21, my own translation)
17 ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος. (2Ti 3.17, NA27)
17 so that the man of God might be capable, having been equipped for all good work. (2Ti 3.17, my own translation)
8 δυνατεῖ δὲ ὁ θεὸς πᾶσαν χάριν περισσεῦσαι εἰς ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἐν παντὶ πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν, (2Co 9.8, NA27)
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2Co 9.8, ESV)

The repeated concept is, obviously, that of “all good work” and the idea of being prepared/equipped for it. I hadn’t really noticed the repetition of the phase in Titus and 2Ti before; this does well to bring that repetition out.

The combination is [adj or participle] modified by [εἰς or πρὸς] + πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν. Here are the instances laid out a bit more clearly with the preposition in red and the balance of the prepositional phrase in blue:

1Cl 2.7: ἕτοιμοι εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν
Tt 3.1: πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι
2Ti 2.21: εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἡτοιμασμένον
2Ti 3.17: πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος
2Co 9.8: περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν

As such, one word group stands out in 1Cl 2.7, Tt 3.1 and 2Ti 2.21: ἕτοιμος/ἑτοιμάζω. 2Ti 3.17 and 2Co 9.8, while sharing the prepositional phrase, do not share the modified portion.

Despite the different pronoun in Tt 3.1, it is the reading that 1Cl 2.7 is closest to. Lightfoot (Clement vol. II, p. 18) notes regarding 2Cl 2.7 “The latter clause ἕτοιμοι κ.τ.λ. is from Titus 3.1, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι“. In his edition, Lightfoot even puts the Greek in smallcaps, denoting that he sees it as a quotation or allusion. Holmes similarly in his English translation puts “ready for every good work” in quotes and provides a citation of Titus 3.1 as the source. Jerome Quinn, in his Anchor Bible volume on Titus, deals with the discrepancy in pronoun:

The PE do not otherwise use hetoimos, though the cognate verb occurs when 2Ti 2.21 takes up this phrase again. Construing hetoimos with pros, literally “ready for,” instead of eis, is rare in biblical Greek (1Pe 3.15; Tob 5.17) and is not found in the Apostolic Fathers. A variation between pros and eis may pertain to current Greek idiomatic style (Moule, Idiom, p. 68) and may thus be conceptually of no consequence. … The Apostolic Fathers employ hetoimos fewer than a dozen times, principally Ignatius, but 1Cl 2.7 may be quoting Titus (or the list that served as a source at this point) when he writes nostalgically to the troubled Corinthian church, “you were without misgiving in doing every kind of good, ready for every good work.” (Quinn 180)

I don’t notice any variants at the preposition in Tt 3.1 (Elliott has none listed). But searching for other substantive-modifying prepositional phrases that contained πας, I came across Tt 1.16 which should probably also be added to our list. (Quinn associates 1.16 with 3.1 as well, p. 180)

16 θεὸν ὁμολογοῦσιν εἰδέναι, τοῖς δὲ ἔργοις ἀρνοῦνται, βδελυκτοὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀπειθεῖς καὶ πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἀδόκιμοι. (Tt 1.16, NA27)
16 They claim to know God, but they deny Him with their works; being detestable and disobedient and unfit for any good work. (Tt 1.16, my own translation)

This is very relevant to the current examination not only because it also uses πρὸς but because it occurs in a list, much like Tt 3.1 does. Comparing Tt 1.16 to Tt 3.1, it is evident that one list (1.16) is a negative list, the other (3.1) is a positive list.

16 They claim to know God,
    but they deny Him with their works;
    being detestable and disobedient
    and unfit for any good work. (Tt 1.16, my own translation)

3 Remind them
    to be subject to rulers and authorities,
    to obey,
    to be prepared for all good work, (Tt 3.1, my own translation)

The last two items on each list contrast each other directly. In 1.16, the target is unbelievers, those described in 1.10-14. They are unfit for any good work. In 3.1, the target is believers, those to whom the glorious salvation in 2.11-14 applies. And the context of 1Cl 2.7 is much the same; it is written with believers in mind.

Due to the contextual similarity, the lexical similarity, and the work of Lightfoot, Quinn and Holmes, I’m inclined to think that Clement here does reflect knowledge of Titus and perhaps even the balance of the Pastoral Epistles.

If that is true, and if First Clement does date to the 90’s* then Titus has been established enough by the 90s to be known by the author of First Clement. This argues against a second-century dating of at least Titus; since most concur that the Pastorals were composed around the same time (either together or over a space of 1-2 years) this puts all of the PE before the second century in the late first century at the latest. It will be interesting to see what can be made of other affinities between First Clement and the Pastoral Epistles.

* Lightfoot strongly argues for this. Holmes also notes “There is widespread agreement in dating this letter about a.d. 95–97, in the last year of the emperor Domitian or the first of his successor, Nerva.” (Holmes 23).


  1. Lloyd Pietersen says:

    Hi Rick,

    Many thanks for this detailed work. Your argument here is fascinating, but disputed. Like you, Towner is convinced that 1 Clement 2.7 reflects knowledge of Titus 3.1. Incidentally, he also thinks, unlike you, that 1 Clement 61.2 reflects 1 Tim 1.17 (and also that 1 Clement 60.4 reflects 1 Tim 2.7). However, Luke Timothy Johnson (citing the evidence in C. Spicq, Les Epitres pastorales, 162-3 and D.A. Hagner, The Use of the Old and New Testaments in Clement of Rome, 236-7) states that "the possible allusions in both Ignatius of Antioch and 1 Clement are too disputable to argue for the probable use of the Pastorals" (20, n. 16). I agree with Johnson and, like him, find the clearest evidence for the earliest use of the PE in Polycarp, Phil. 4.1.

  2. Rick says:

    Hi Lloyd.

    Thanks! I was aware of Hagner’s work but hadn’t stopped to locate it yet; If I proceed further down this line then that sounds like a good place to look. I’m pretty much coming to each of these potential allusions blind and working through them on the blog; I’ll probably take all of that work when I’m through the list and look to see how consistent I am with approach and conclusions.

    I’m continually amazed with Johnson’s work on 1&2 Tim; a friend is borrowing my Towner at present so I don’t have the luxury of examining his work on these references.

    But I appreciate your feedback! I was starting to wonder if anyone was actually reading these posts.

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