New Commentary from Doug Wilson

The oft provocative author, Douglas Wilson, has a new commentary on the Pastoral Epistles which will release soon. While I don’t always agree with Wilson (with whom do I always agree?!) I appreciate his writing, wit and straightforwardness. I am looking forward to seeing this book. I don’t understand the widows in 1 Timothy 5 as an “office” (though many do), so I am intrigued to see how he fleshes out his comment here in the video.

 

Pillar of the Truth Book Blurb from Canon Press on Vimeo.

Review: Craig Smith’s New Commentary on 2 Timothy

Sitting on my desk in my “to be read” pile is the recent commentary on 2 Timothy by Craig Smith in the Readings series published by Sheffield Phoenix Press. I am keen to read this commentary because I had the privilege of meeting Craig several years ago and I know of his published thesis which argues for a different take on 2 Timothy. Regarding the letter as authentically Pauline (as I do) Craig argues that 2 Timothy is not a farewell letter but an exhortation to further ministry in which Paul expects to participate.

I was pleased to discover that although I have not yet gotten around to reading this book, Robert Wall has and has provided a review at Review of Biblical Literature. Wall praises Smith’s careful attention to the text and consistent methodology and argumentation. However, he critiques the lack of footnotes and what he finds as a lack of theological reflection on the contemporary meaning of this letter. I agree wholeheartedly with Wall that we must not hold apart exegesis and theological and ecclesial reflection, but, from what I know of Smith, he would also agree. Not having yet read the book myself, I will have to withhold judgment.

This is a helpful review, which has nudged me to get on with reading this book.

 

2 Timothy written in Philippi?

At his Patheos blog, Michael Bird recently cited a lengthy portion from Helmut Koester’s History and Literature of Early Christianity where Koester argues that 2 Timothy (which he takes as pseudonymous) was written from Philippi. After mentioning the various locations Paul refers to in the latter part of the letter, Koester states, “Any glance at a map will show that he thought of Paul as imprisoned in Philippi.” He is not mildly suggesting. See the full section at Bird’s blog.

This depends on the pseudonymity of the letter, of which I am not convinced, but it is intriguing to see this argument. It would be interesting to connect this with the work of Peter Walker who has made fresh arguments for placing the PE within the chronology.

Papers from ETS Group Published in Journal

img_3602We had a great session at the Pastoral Epistles study group at ETS last week with four strong papers. I was pleased to announce in our session that the latest issue of the Southeastern Theological Review has been released and is devoted to the Pastoral Epistles. Most of the articles came from papers previously presented in our study group. Editor, Ben Merkle, has done a wonderful job bringing these together. Here are the contents:

“Kinship, Christian Kinship, and the Letters to Timothy and Titus,” Charles J. Bumgardner

“Divergent, Insurgent or Allegiant? 1 Timothy 5:1-2 and the Nature of God’s Household,” Gregory A. Couser

“Paul’s Family of God: What Familial Language in the Pastorals Can and Cannot Tell Us about the Church,” Gregory J. Stiekes

“Πιστος ὁ λόγος: An Alternative Analysis,” L. Timothy Swinson

“Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus: A Literature Review (2009-2015),” Charles J. Bumgardner

“Interview with Ray Van Neste of Union University”

Several of the papers deal with the household and family language of the Pastorals, and I found them particularly helpful. Tim Swinson challenges the typical way of understanding Paul’s use of the phrase “πιστoς ὁ λόγος.” If you’ve been reading this site, you are already aware of Bumgardner’s bibliographic grasp, and his literature review here is quite helpful.

I had the privilege of doing an interview on how the Pastoral Epistles discussing how they have impacted my life, noting some ongoing work and pointing to various ways the church needs the Pastorals specifically today.

Southeastern posts the full journal free online, so I expect it will appear at their website soon.

Update: This issue is now available online. I have also linked the first reference to the journal above to this issue. The website provides a link to the full issue as well as to specific articles.

 

Pastoral Epistles ETS Study Group, Next Week

If you are coming to ETS next week in San Antonio, I hope you will join us for our study group on the Pastorals. We have a great line up of papers again this year as you can see from the schedule below. I have included the room, date, time, speakers and titles. Jermo Van Nes will not be able to join us, but he has sent me his paper and I will read it in his stead.

SESSION INFORMATION
11/16/2016

8:30 AM-11:40 AM
Hyatt — Bowie C

Moderator
Ray Van Neste, Union University

8:30 AM—9:10 AM
Ardel Caneday, University of Northwestern- St. Paul
“Save Yourself and the People Who Hear You: An Authentic Pauline Exhortation”

9:20 AM—10:00 AM
Jermo Van Nes, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit
“Motif-Semantic Differences in Paul? A Question to Advocates of the Pastorals’ Plural Authorship”

10:10 AM—10:50 AM
Andreas Köstenberger, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“An Investigation of the Mission Motif in the Letters to Timothy and Titus with Implications for Pauline Authorship”

11:00 AM—11:40 AM
Gordon Franz, Christian Information Ministries
“The Archaeological Background to the Epistle of Titus and the First-Century church on the Island of Crete”

“Jesus’s Testimony before Pilate in 1 Timothy 6:13” by Michel Gourgues

The latest issue of the Journal of Biblical Literature contains Michel Gourgues’s article, “Jesus’s Testimony before Pilate in 1 Timothy 6:13” (JBL 135:3 [2016]: 639-48)- the abstract can be viewed here. Gourgues notes the fact that outside of the Gospels and Acts, 1 Timothy is the only other place Pilate is mentioned. Arguing from the context and structure of the passage in 1 Timothy 6 and verbal parallels with the account of Jesus’s trial in John, Gourgues argues that 1 Timothy 6:13 draws from John’s gospel (or traditions behind John’s gospel). He sees this as confirming a later date for the composition of 1 Timothy.

I appreciated Gourgues’s attention to the context and structure of 1 Timothy 6. He mentions but dismisses (rightly, I think) those who explain this text as simply pre-formed material inserted into the letter. He notes that the pieces fit together reasonably so that if pre-formed material is used it has been shaped to fit the context.

I think most would agree with his point that the confession of Jesus in 6:13 parallels the confession called for from Timothy in 6:12. I agree and think that the historical appeal to the example of Jesus is meant to bolster Timothy in an analogous situation. Gourgues argues that this confession of Timothy’s was most likely a baptismal confession. This is reasonable, though I’m not sure it can be proven. The idea of this being a baptismal confession is then the basis for looking for traditional material which could provide the basis for the language in 6:13. Gourgues then notes several verbal parallels between 1 Timothy and John’s gospel. These are interesting and potentially significant parallels, but the article ends abruptly stating that these parallels “suggest” 1 Timothy 6:13 alludes to “the Johannine version of Jesus’s appearance before Pilate” (648). This then “suggests” a late date for 1 Timothy.

I find the conclusion of the article disappointing. There is some interesting information here, but he hurries to a conclusion where I thought it needed more reflection and reasoning. I am not convinced that enough evidence was marshalled to make a strong case for literary borrowing from John’s gospel. Furthermore, though he briefly acknowledges the possibility of drawing from traditions pre-dating the writing of John’s gospel, he does not adequately consider that this could undo his thesis.

So, this is an interesting article worth reading, though I am unconvinced of his thesis in the end. Hopefully Gourgues will show us elsewhere some more of his thinking on this data.

Free Commentary on Titus

Aldred Genade’s book, The Letter To Titus: The Qualified Pastor: How to Lead and Manage God’s Church the Right Wayis free on Kindle through tomorrow (July 18). Genade did his doctoral work on rhetorical strategies in the letter to Titus under the supervision of D. F. Tolmie at the University of the Free State, South Africa.

I have not yet read this new work by Genade, but wanted to pass on this opportunity to get a free copy.

Southeastern Theological Review on the Pastorals

Heads up: The forthcoming issue of the Southeastern Theological Review, edited by Ben Merkle, will be devoted to studies on the Pastoral Epistles. I have had the opportunity to read some of the essays and look forward to them being made available to a wider audience.

Southeastern Theological Review is a peer reviewed journal and posts full issues online for free. You can access the journal at their website or sign up to receive a free pdf of the journal when each issue is published.

The Impact of the Incoherence & Inauthenticity Argument

I just discovered that my article, “Authorship and Coherence in 1 Timothy,” was published in December in the Global Journal of Classic Theology. The article is a version of a paper originally delivered at the Pastoral Epistles study group at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting. It is a brief examination of some of theological convictions behind the turn in academia against 1 Timothy (and the Pastorals in general). Here is the abstract:

Abstract: This brief essay surveys the move away from confidence in the Pauline authorship towards increasing marginalization of all the Pastoral Epistles today. Critics of Schleiermacher in the 1800’s warned that his arguments against 1 Timothy would lead to further drift from orthodoxy. Though those critiques were derided at the time, the warnings have proven true. We need a renewed evaluation of what has been missed in evangelical scholarship by too easily leaving the Pastoral Epistles out of our conversations on Paul.

New Article on 1 Tim 5:9-16 by Dillon Thornton

I have previously mentioned the excellent paper by Dillon Thornton presented at our meeting of the Pastoral Epistles group at ETS last year. The paper, titled ” ‘Saying What They Should Not Say’: Reassessing the Gravity of the Problem of the Younger Widows (1 Tim 5:9-16)” has just been published in the most recent issue of JETS. You can see the paper here.