The Pastoral Epistles in Ignatius, Part VI

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


Apologies for the pause in this series of posts. With the arrival of my new daughter, Ella Kathleen, my schedule has been rightly upended. I hope to re-start working through potential citations/allusions/references of the Pastorals in the Apostolic Fathers as I get used to the new demands at home. RWB


Ign. Poly. 6.2 || 2Ti 2.4



(2) ἀρέσκετε ᾧ στρατεύεσθε, ἀφʼ οὗ καὶ τὰ ὀψώνια κομίζεσθε. μήτις ὑμῶν δεσέρτωρ εὑρεθῇ. τὸ βάπτισμα ὑμῶν μενέτω ὡς ὅπλα, ἡ πίστις ὡς περικεφαλαία, ἡ ἀγάπη ὡς δόρυ, ἡ ὑπομονὴ ὡς πανοπλία· τὰ δεπόσιτα ὑμῶν τὰ ἔργα ὑμῶν, ἵνα τὰ ἄκκεπτα ὑμῶν ἄξια κομίσησθε. μακροθυμήσατε οὖν μετʼ ἀλλήλων ἐν πραΰτητι, ὡς ὁ θεὸς μεθʼ ὑμῶν. ὀναίμην ὑμῶν διὰ παντός. (Ign. Poly. 6.2)
(2) Please him whom you serve as soldiers, from whom you receive your wages. Let none of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism serve as a shield, faith as a helmet, love as a spear, endurance as armor. Let your deeds be your deposits, in order that you may eventually receive the savings that are due you. Be, therefore, patient and gentle with one another, as God is with you. May I always have joy in you. (Ign. Poly. 6.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (198, 199). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


4 οὐδεὶς στρατευόμενος ἐμπλέκεται ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματείαις, ἵνα τῷ στρατολογήσαντι ἀρέσῃ. (2Ti 2.4, NA27)
4 No soldier on active duty involves himself in civilian pursuits, so that he may please the one who enlisted him. (2Ti 2.4, my own translation)


This parallel is based on co-occurrence of similar lexical forms promoting similar concept. Note that the portions specified by the Oxford committee (in bold above) do not share στρατ- verbs. Ign. Poly. 6.2 uses στρατευω while the highlighted portion of 2Ti 2.4 uses the NT hapax στρατολογεω (though στρατευω occurs earlier in the verse). Both instances, however, share some form of the word αρεσκω.


While these two instances contain the only co-occurrence of words (something to do with soldering and also some sort of ‘pleasing’), the idea of Christian-as-soldier is not localized to 2Ti 2.4. Second Corinthians 10 speaks of the warfare Christians are to take part in. Ephesians 6 speaks of the armor that a Christian is to gird himself up with; the second part of Ign. Poly. 6.2 may have some allusion to this. The concept of Christian-as-soldier also occurs in First Clement (1Cl 37.1).


What is unique about the current references, however, is notion of soldiering to please the one who as called or enlisted the soldier. This could be Ignatius’ own innovation, or he could be reliant upon 2Ti 2.4. Given other affinities between Ignatius’ writings and the Pastorals, it seems to be within the realm of possibility that Ignatius is influenced by 2Ti 2.3-4 in this portion (as well as perhaps by Eph 6).


Next up: Ign. Eph. 17.1 || 2Ti 3.6