What Did Paul Really Care About in the Pastorals?

This summer I have submitted two chapters (1 Tim/Titus & 2 Tim) to a forthcoming NT Survey textbook (Kregel) which is to be titled, What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Their Writings.  While there are numerous NT Survey’s on the market this one aims to be brief and particularly targeted at undergraduate students.  Most surveys are written by seminary professors for that level.  This one is written entirely by people teaching undergraduates.  It is also very focused and brief.  The goal is to summarize the chief concerns of each book in a readable format. 


 


My point here, though, is to submit to readers what I did with the Pastorals.  I was to distill the letters into what I understood to be Paul’s chief concerns in the letters.


 


For 1 Timothy and Titus I argued that Paul’s chief concern was corporate and personal godliness.  I wrote:


Paul’s central concern both in 1 Timothy and Titus was the godliness of Timothy and Titus as individuals and of the congregations in which they ministered.  The concern for godliness governed everything Paul wrote in these letters.  Paul explicitly stated that his purpose in writing to Timothy was to urge godly behavior among believers.  In 1 Timothy 3:14-15 he stated, “I am writing you these instructions so that … you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household.”


I also listed church health and right teaching as key concerns in these two letters.


 


Fro 2 Timothy I suggest perseverance is the major burden of the letter with concern for passing on the pure gospel being a key, related issue.


 


What do you think?


Comments

  1. Rick says:

    Hi Ray.

    I’m very pleased to see that for 1Ti & Titus, your main point isn’t that the letters are "church manuals". The statements in that realm are only made in light of the larger thrust of the letters, to exhort Timothy and Titus to right living and right teaching.

    On 2Ti, I’m less sure as my primary focus has been on 1Ti for the past few years. But encouraging Timothy to persevere is certainly a large part of that letter. I am glad to see that it isn’t described solely as a "last will and testament", which one hears so often based on chapter 4.

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