The Pastoral Epistles in Ignatius, Part IV

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


Ign. Smyrn. 4.2 || 1Ti 1.12 (cf. 2Ti 2.1; 4.17)



(2) εἰ γὰρ τὸ δοκεῖν ταῦτα ἐπράχθη ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, κἀγὼ τὸ δοκεῖν δέδεμαι. τί δὲ καὶ ἑαυτὸν ἔκδοτον δέδωκα τῷ θανάτῳ, πρὸς πῦρ, πρὸς μάχαιραν, πρὸς θηρία; ἀλλʼ ὁ ἐγγὺς μαχαίρας, ἐγγὺς θεοῦ· μεταξὺ θηρίων, μεταξὺ θεοῦ· μόνον ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς τὸ συμπαθεῖν αὐτῷ. πάντα ὑπομένω, αὐτοῦ με ἐνδυναμοῦντος τοῦ τελείου ἀνθρώπου. (Ign. Smyrn. 4.2)
(2) For if these things were done by our Lord in appearance only, then I am in chains in appearance only. Why, moreover, have I surrendered myself to death, to fire, to sword, to beasts? But in any case, “near the sword” means “near to God” “with the beasts” means “with God.” Only let it be in the name of Jesus Christ, that I may suffer together with him! I endure everything because he himself, who is perfect man, empowers me.
 (Ign. Smyrn. 4.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (186, 187). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


12 Χάριν ἔχω τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντί με Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, ὅτι πιστόν με ἡγήσατο θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν (1Ti 1.12, NA27)
12 I am thankful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He considered me faithful, appointing me into His service. (1Ti 1.12, my own translation)


1 Σὺ οὖν, τέκνον μου, ἐνδυναμοῦ ἐν τῇ χάριτι τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, (2Ti 2.1, NA27)
1 And so you, my child, be empowered in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, (2Ti 2.1, my own translation)


17 ὁ δὲ κύριός μοι παρέστη καὶ ἐνεδυνάμωσέν με, ἵνα διʼ ἐμοῦ τὸ κήρυγμα πληροφορηθῇ καὶ ἀκούσωσιν πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, καὶ ἐρρύσθην ἐκ στόματος λέοντος. (2Ti 4.17, NA27)
17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the preaching might be fully presented and all the nations might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. (2Ti 4.17, my own translation)


The common idea here is that of Christ as the source of strength/power for the believer. The similarity is lexical with the point of contact being participle forms of the word ἐνδυναμόω. And, as the additional citations of 2Ti 2.1 (an imperative) and 4.17 (again a participle) show, the idea is one that is found in the Pastorals.


However, the idea of being strengthened by Christ is essentially Pauline. The more likely point of contact for Ignatius in this instance is Php 4.13:



13 πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με. (Php 4.13, NA27)
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Php 4.13, ESV)


Compared to:



πάντα ὑπομένω, αὐτοῦ με ἐνδυναμοῦντος τοῦ τελείου ἀνθρώπου. (Ign. Smyrn. 4.2, end)
I endure everything because he himself, who is perfect man, empowers me. (Ign. Smyrn. 4.2, end)


The larger contexts are roughly the same (Ignatius on his way to martyrdom, Paul in prison) and the sentiments are the same (whatever comes, it can be borne because Christ is the source of strength). The same sentiment is present in 1 & 2 Timothy; and Paul is even in prison again in 2 Timothy.


So Pauline influence here doesn’t seem to be a stretch, particularly since Paul is the primary source using ἐνδυναμόω. Paul uses the term 6 times: Ro 4.20; Eph 6.10; Php 4.13; 1Ti 1.12; 2Ti 2.1; 4.17. The only other NT instance is from Luke, in Ac 9.22 — where he uses the term to describe how Paul “increased all the more in strength”.


But I don’t think influence can be narrowed to First Timothy. The examples in Php 4.13 and also Eph 6.10 (“Be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might”, right before the passage on the armor of God) may have more influence. If one passage must be selected as inspiration for Ignatius, then Php 4.13 is likely it as it has the idea of enduring/doing all things (πάντα) because Christ empowers (ἐνδυναμόω).


Next up: Ign. Eph. 2.1; Ign. Smyrn. 10.2 || 2Ti 1.16