Recent Work on the Pastoral Epistles

I am aware of four books related to the Pastorals that have just come out, and thought it would be useful to mention them here.

First is the new volume on the PE in the Baylor Handbook series. The series as a whole has been very well done so I look forward to seeing this PE volume by Larry Perkins.

 

 

Second, is this new edition of Aquinas’s commentaries on the PE, Michael G Sirilla, The Ideal Bishop: Aquinas’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press. 2017).

I have only glanced at it so far. Here is the table of contents:

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Theology of the Episcopacy in the Writings
  3. St. Thomas’s Lectures on the Pastoral Epistles
  4. Lectures on 1 Timothy: Ut gubernet populum
  5. Lectures on 2 Timothy: Ut pro populo subdito patiatur
  6. Lectures on Titus: Ut malos coerceat
  7. Conclusion

 

This will be fascinating in terms of the history of interpretation.

Third, Baylor has also published a new monograph on the Pastorals, Civilized Piety: The Rhetoric of Pietas in the Pastoral Epistles and the Roman Empire by T. Christopher Hoklotubbe. Here is the table of contents for this book:

Introduction: The Politics of Piety in the Pastoral Epistles

  1. Piety in Caesar’s House
  2. Piety in God’s House
  3. Honoring Piety in the City
  4. Honoring Piety in the Ekklēsia
  5. The Mystery of Philosophical Piety
  6. The Mystery of Pastoral Piety

Conclusion: A Pious and Civilized Christian in the Roman Empire

 

Fourth, the Pastorals are dealt within this interesting new book, Paul as Pastor, edited by Brian S. Rosner, Andrew S. Malone, and Trevor J. Burke (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. 2018). The PE are dealt with by Bob Yarbrough in chapter 11 (which can be viewed at Amazon)

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. The Household Setting of Paul’s Pastoral Practice and its Biblical and Jewish Roots — Brian S. Rosner, Ridley College, Australia
    2. Paul as Pastor in Acts: Modelling and Teaching Perseverance in the Faith – Alan J. Thompson, Sydney Missionary and Bible College, Australia
    3. Paul as Pastor in Romans: Theological Foundations – Colin G. Kruse, Melbourne School of Theology, Australia
    4. Paul’s Pastoral Sensitivity in 1 Corinthians – Matthew R. Malcolm, Trinity Theological College, Australia
    5. Paul as Pastor in 2 Corinthians – Paul W. Barnett, Macquarie University, Australia
    6. Pastoring with a Big Stick: Paul as Pastor in Galatians – Michael F. Bird, Ridley College, Australia and John Anthony Dunne, St. Andrew’s University, UK
    7. Paul and Pastors in Ephesians: The Pastor as Teacher – Peter Orr, Moore Theological College, Australia
    8. Paul and Pastors in Philippians: When Staff teams Disagree – Sarah Harris, Carey Baptist College, New Zealand
    9. Paul as Pastor in Colossians? – Andrew S. Malone, Ridley College, Australia
    10. Mother, Father, Infant, Orphan, Brother: Paul’s Variegated Pastoral Strategy Towards His Thessalonian Church-Family – Trevor J. Burke, Cambridge Theological Federation, UK
    11. Paul as Working Pastor: Exposing an Open Ethical Secret – Robert W. Yarbrough, Covenant Theological Seminary, USA
    12. The Pastoral Offices in the Pastoral Epistles and the Church of England’s First Ordinal – Tim Patrick, Bible College SA, Australia
    13. Augustine of Hippo on Paul as Pastor – Andrew M. Bain, Queensland Theological College, Australia
    14. ‘He Followed Paul’ Whitefield’s Voice: Heroic, Apostolic, Prophetic – Rhys S. Bezzant, Ridley College, Australia

 

Lastly, I have also just received a copy of a recent article, “The Rhetorical Strategy of 1 Timothy,” by Tim O’Donnell published in Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 79:3 (July 2017): 455-475. I look forward to reading this soon.

 

These are encouraging signs for work on these important letters.

3rd edition of Women in the Church

In 2016 a third edition of Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 edited by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner was published. Although Baker published the first two editions, this version is published by Crossway. Scott Baldwin’s chapter on αὐθεντέω has been replaced with a chapter by Al Wolters on the same word. Dorothy Patterson’s chapter has been replaced by a roundtable discussion.

The chapter summaries below are taken from the introduction, with permission from Crossway.

The team of contributors, all leading experts in their respective fields, scrutinize in the following pages the various aspects of a responsible interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9–15: the historical background of first-century Ephesus; the meaning of the word αὐθεντεῖν; the Greek syntax of v. 12, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man”; the exegesis of 1 Timothy 2:9–15; the cultural context for applying the passage; matters of Bible translation; and vigorous, spirited interaction on the implications of the reading offered here for women’s roles in the life of the church today.

In chapter 1, S. M. Baugh discusses the first-century background. For more than a century, excavators have been digging in the city of Ephesus, and in the course of that time, archaeologists and ancient historians have unearthed, examined, and evaluated a very large amount of original source material, which makes a fairly intimate knowledge of the city and its inhabitants possible. Unfortunately, this material is not always easily accessible, and misunderstandings sometimes continue for people who look for accurate explanations of the Ephesian background to interpret texts such as 1 Timothy. Hence, while the earlier forms of this essay provided much technical information, this version has been revised to make the subject matter clearer to the nonspecialist. The overall goal is to draw an accurate, brief portrait of the institutions of Ephesus as they relate specifically to the interpretation of 1 Timothy 2 and illumine its message.

In chapter 2, Al Wolters examines the meaning of the verb αὐθεντέω, which occurs in 1 Timothy 2:12 and is commonly translated “have authority.” His main point is that the verb here does not have a pejorative meaning (as in “domineer”) or an ingressive meaning (as in “assume authority”), although in recent decades a number of scholars, versions, and lexica have ascribed these connotations to it. An exhaustive survey of all known occurrences of the verb in ancient and medieval Greek shows that actual usage does not support these lexicographical innovations. While the translation “assume authority” (or the like) is sometimes justified, this is the case only where an ingressive aorist is used, not in other tense forms of the verb, such as the present tense in this passage.

In chapter 3, I examine the essential syntax of what is probably the most contentious section of 1 Timothy 2:9–15: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (v. 12 ESV). In particular, based on syntactic parallels in both Scripture and ancient Greco-Roman literature, I argue that the two activities joined by the conjunction οὐδέ in 1 Timothy 2:12 (teaching and exercising authority over men) must be, in Paul’s consideration, either both positive or both negative. Paul’s positive view of διδάσκω (teaching) as an activity thus points to his positive view of αὐθεντέω ἀνδρός (exercising authority over a man) as an activity, over against interpreters who have assigned to αὐθεντέω ἀνδρός a negative meaning. In addition, I argue that the two activities of teaching and exercising authority, while related, ought not to be merged into a single idea that is more restrictive than either one is separately (e.g., “seizing authority to teach a man”), an interpretation that some scholars have strenuously advanced in recent years.

In chapter 4, Thomas Schreiner sets forth an interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9–15. While not every contributor would agree with everything argued for in this essay—especially the interpretations offered for 1 Timothy 2:14–15—the interpretation proposed draws upon the conclusions reached in other chapters of this book (especially Baugh, Wolters, and Köstenberger) and interacts extensively with existing scholarship.

In chapter 5, Robert Yarbrough deals with the hermeneutics of this passage and what the interpretation means for church practice. He denies that this passage asserts the abolition, prevention, or curtailment of women’s leadership in church or society, or women’s exclusion from all teaching and ministry in any capacity whatsoever. Rather, this chapter explores the meaning of the biblical precedent and precept of men’s primary leadership responsibility as pastoral teachers and overseers (cf. Paul’s “teach” and “exercise authority” in 1 Tim. 2:12) in God’s household, the church.

In chapter 6, Denny Burk investigates the claim, advanced by Linda Belleville, that a nonpejorative rendering of αὐθεντεῖν is an innovation of English Bibles produced in the twentieth century. He also examines the shift in translation of αὐθεντεῖν from “have authority” in the NIV 1984 and TNIV 2002 to the ingressive “assume authority” in the TNIV 2005 and NIV 2011. Is the NIV translators’ explanation for the new rendering compelling? Or is it potentially misleading in light of Philip Payne’s pejorative understanding of “assume authority,” which the findings of Al Wolters and Andreas Kӧstenberger in the present volume contravene?

Chapter 7 is devoted to the application of the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 to women’s and men’s roles in the church today. To this end, we gathered a virtual roundtable of several women and men with a proven track record of speaking out intelligently and knowledgeably on this issue. While diverse in background, these women and men concur in their essential interpretation of the passage as laid out in the present volume. At the same time, while the original meaning of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 is firm, the significance of Paul’s teaching in this passage is multifaceted. The various participants in the roundtable provide a series of perceptive observations on the text and its application as women and men strive to apply the teaching of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 to their lives today.

 

Taken from Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15 by by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, © 1995, 2005, 2016, pp. 21-23. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

David Pao’s New Article in JETS

In the previous post about the meeting of the Pastoral Epistles Study Group at ETS I mentioned that David Pao’s paper was scheduled for publication in JETS. My copy of the December 2014 (57:4) issue of JETS just arrived, and Pao’s article, “Let No One Despise Your Youth: Church and World in the Pastoral Epistles” is on pages 743-55. It is well worth reading.

2014 ETS Section Overview

We had a great meeting in the Pastoral Epistles study group at ETS this year, with good attendance and discussion.

The first paper was by David Pao of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School who is currently working on a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles for the Brill Exegetical Commentary series. His paper was titled, “Let No One Despise Your Youth: Church and the World in the Pastoral Epistles”. Examining the cultural background of honor and shame, Pao argued that in 1Timothy Paul’s stance is neither accommodation to the culture nor subversion; “instead he calls for a transformation that both transcends the accepted ideals that Christians could share with the dominant culture and challenges practices and social norms that Christians should abandon.” This was a careful study which helpfully pushes back against those who see in the Pastorals merely cultural accommodation or who think the only other option is complete cultural subversion. This paper is scheduled to appear in JETS soon. Look for it.
Greg Beale from Westminster Theological Seminary adapted a portion of his biblical theology for his paper, “The Origin of the Office of Elder and Its Relationship to the Inaugurated Eschatological Tribulation.” Beale gave a particularly rousing presentation. He argued that the office of elder is rooted in the foretold rise of false teaching in the last days. Elders are part of God’s provision to help the church endure. I appreciated the biblical theological connection and was glad to hear him clarify in the Q&A that the office also had roots in Jewish synagogue practice. Without that clarification, it sounded like he was saying the office arose without precedent.

Dillon Thornton, who has just finished writing his dissertation at the University of Otago, presented his paper titled, “Satan as Adversary and Ally in the Process of Ecclesial Discipline: The Use of the Prologue to Job in1 Cor 5:5 and 1 Tim 1:20.” Thornton argued that in the two passages in view Paul drew from the prologue of Job portraying Satan an enemy of God who can nevertheless play a role in the process of church discipline. I had never thought of a connection with Job in these texts and was skeptical at first. However, Thornton made a compelling case with helpful implications and applications. We will look for more from Thornton in days ahead.

Mark Overstreet from T4 Global, a frontier mission organization, presented a paper titled, “Διδακτικόν: Rethinking the Qualification of Elders after Years in the Bush: Theological Education Among Peoples Who Have No Access to the Written Scriptures.” This was a helpful concluding paper from a practical theology angle. Literacy is assumed in the way we think of education, but what does it look like to equip elders in existing churches in settings where no one has access to written Scriptures? While affirming the great blessing of literacy, Overstreet presented a method of oral instruction being used to equip and serve the church in such settings.

We are currently working on plans for next year’s session. If you would be interested in presenting a paper sometime contact us at pastoralepistles at gmail dot com. And join us for the conversation next year in Atlanta.

The Church as Learning Community

In J. I. Packer’s recent book, Finishing Our Course with Joy: Guidance from God for Engaging with Our Aging, he turns to the Pastorals frequently. In the following quote he gives a helpful, practical picture of the church in the PE

The Pastoral Letters in the New Testament all indicate, one way or another, that the church must expect to be constantly infected by misbelief as well as misbehavior. And congregations in every age must see themselves as learning communities in which gospel truth has to be taught, defended, and vindicated against corruptions of it and alternatives to it. Being alert to all aspects of the difference between true and false teaching, and of behavior that expresses the truth as distinct from obscuring it, is vital to the church’s health.

This definition is useful to all of us regardless of age (as his book is also useful in many ways, regardless of age).

Book Notice: Men & Women in the Household of God

 

Korinna Zamfir Men and Women in the Household of God: A Contextual Approach to Roles and Ministries in the Pastoral Epistles (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013)

Korinna Zamfir is Associate Professor at the faculty of Roman Catholic Theology of the Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj in Romania, and she has published several works on the Pastoral Epistles. This is a very thorough monograph which will demand attention from those doing future work in the Pastorals. By “contextual” Zamfir means the social and cultural context from which the text emerged, and by “roles and ministries’ she means the authorization of people to serve in various ways and the roles expected of various groups, particularly men and women. Zamfir draws from Abraham Malherbe regarding social and cultural context.

The book assumes non-Pauline authorship written in the third generation of Christianity and that the NT preserves perspectives from competing strands of Christianity. This is not uncommon in more critical work, though the assumption of competing strands of Christianity seems, to me, to be too readily accepted with slim basis. Zamfir also sees the Pastorals as documents which are attempting to move a community towards a more culturally conservative perspective. She stresses the directives of the letters do not represent what is really happening in these churches but what the author wants to happen- which is probably different from the current reality.

Although I do not share many of the basic assumptions with which Zamfir works, this book is worthy of careful attention. She develops the idea of the church as oikos, noting that although this has often been thought of as a private family the metaphor is also used of larger public groups like the polis. The key texts on gender roles also receive significant attention.

Jack Barentsen’s Emerging Leadership in the Pauline Mission

Just judging from the title, one may not realize that Jack Barentsen’s Emerging Leadership in the Pauline Mission: A Social Identity Perspective on Local Leadership Development in Corinth and Ephesus (Pickwick, 2011) deals extensively with the Pastoral Epistles. In fact in the nine chapters one deals exclusively with 1 Timothy and another with 2 Timothy.

Bartensen is concerned to trace cultural leadership patterns through the Corinthian correspondence, Ephesians and 1-2 Timothy since in a fairly close proximity (between Corinth and Ephesus) you have this many letters written to churches over the span of Paul’s ministry. This reading, of course, depends on Pauline authorship of each of these letters and Bartensen provides a good brief defense of Pauline authorship of the 1-2 Timothy.

I cannot here summarize all of the implications of PE study, but Bartensen’s reading of the situation in 1 Timothy makes good sense of the letter as an example of mandata principis. Paul’s more formal address to Timothy is expected to be overheard by the church particularly the wealthy home owners who would presumably host the church.

This is a helpful contribution to the Pastoral Epistles literature, and I didn’t want anyone to miss it since the Pastorals aren’t mentioned in the title.

The Gospel Coalition 2009 National Conference

The Gospel Coalition (which I am not affiliated with) recently held their 2009 National Conference. The theme was Entrusted With The Gospel: Living the Vision of 2 Timothy. They’ve recently posted audio of all plenary sessions, which are supposed to “expound the book of Second Timothy”.


This is interesting to me because I’m working through my own analysis and translation of Second Timothy (here, if you’re interested).


Below is the overview from the conference web site:



The theme of this Conference gets to the heart of the book of Second Timothy. As Paul is mentoring a young Timothy, he is communicating the great privilege of proclaiming the gospel to the world. In an age bereft of courageous leadership, declining biblical literacy, and rising cultural accommodation, a prophetic voice from the center is needed, a voice that faithfully speaks the ancient text to our contemporary context. This Conference seeks a renewal of faithful preaching that is rooted in the Scriptures and centered on the gospel.


The best of gospel-faithful ministry is not only taught, it is also caught. This was the practice of the Apostle Paul — the great missionary of the early church — who not only had much to say regarding what constitutes gospel-faithful ministry, but also had much to show of what it looked like in an individual life and in the life of the church. We see these two foci coming together harmoniously in Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth:


Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church (1 Corinthians 4:16-17; cf. 11:1; Philippians 3:17).


On 21-23 April 2009, The Gospel Coalition will hold its second National Conference on the theme, “Entrusted with the Gospel: Living the Vision of Second Timothy.” During these meetings we will seek to imitate Paul’s dual practice of show and tell.


The Plenary Sessions — led by John Piper, Phil Ryken, Mark Driscoll, K. Edward Copeland, Bryan Chapell, and Ligon Duncan — will expound the book of Second Timothy. It is through these expositions that we hope to model the sort of preaching through Scripture of which the church is in need, while teaching the glories of this gospel of the blessed God that has been entrusted to the care of the church. Tim Keller and Don Carson will each give addresses that seek to situate gospel-faithful ministry in the currents of the twenty-first century, and Ajith Fernando will discuss the global challenges and priorities of gospel-faithful mission for the next Christendom. There will also be several workshops devoted to the faithful appropriation of text (Scripture) to context (contemporary issues).


I’ve not listened to any of the audio, but you may find it helpful.

Conference Exposition of 2 Timothy

On a more popular level, I notice that the Gospel Coalition conference next Spring will focus on an exposition of 2 Timothy.  The conference theme is “Entrusted with the Gospel: Living the Vision of Second Timothy.”  You can follow the link to see the speakers and which text each one will have.  The sessions work progressively through the letter.


This sounds like a good conference and it is encouraging to see such a setting mining the riches of this wonderful letter.


HT: James Grant

Merkle on Elders and Overseers

On my way back from Nepal I finally read Ben Merkle’s book, $amz(0820462349 The Elder and Overseer: One Office in the Early Church) (Peter Lang, 2003). It is a revision of his doctoral dissertation. Merkle provides a good overview of the scholarly discussion and of the relevant background material. He makes a good case for the use of the term ‘elder’ referring to an office and not simply to age. I agree with his thesis—that elder and overseer refer to the same office—and thought he did a good job defending it. He also deals with the idea that Paul’s churches had no structure/authority but were loosely led by ‘charismatics.’ This view shows up not only in more critical schools of thought but can be found in evangelical settings as well. Merkle clearly shows that concern for official leadership is clear in Paul and Acts. There is no aversion to ‘office’ in Paul and there is more concern with authority than is sometimes acknowledged (for example see Robert Banks, “Church Order and Government” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters). Merkle rightly demonstrates that this view is rooted in an approach which prioritizes 1 Corinthians to the exclusion of Paul’s other letters.

I had been thinking for some time that a rebuttal of these ‘no structure, no authority’ views need to be written. Now I know Merkle has done it and done it well.