Second Timothy 1.1-5

[This is part of a running series on translating Second Timothy. See the introductory post for more information — RB]

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 1.1-5

1 Παῦλος
1 Paul
    ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
    an apostle of Christ Jesus
        διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ
        through the will of God
        κατʼ ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς
        according to the promise of life
            τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
            which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Τιμοθέῳ ἀγαπητῷ τέκνῳ,
2 To Timothy, my beloved son.

χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη
Grace, mercy, peace 
    ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.
    from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 Χάριν ἔχω τῷ θεῷ,
3 I offer thanks to God,
    ᾧ λατρεύω ἀπὸ προγόνων ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει,
    whom I serve (as did my forebears) with a clear conscience,
    ὡς ἀδιάλειπτον ἔχω τὴν περὶ σοῦ μνείαν
    as I have constant memories of you
    ἐν ταῖς δεήσεσίν μου νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας,
        in my prayers night and day,
        4 ἐπιποθῶν σε ἰδεῖν,
        4 longing to see you,
            μεμνημένος σου τῶν δακρύων,
            remembering your tears,
            ἵνα χαρᾶς πληρωθῶ,
            so that I might be filled with joy,
        5 ὑπόμνησιν λαβὼν τῆς ἐν σοὶ ἀνυποκρίτου πίστεως,
        5 having recollections of your sincere faith,
            ἥτις ἐνῴκησεν
            which dwelt
                πρῶτον ἐν τῇ μάμμῃ σου Λωΐδι καὶ τῇ μητρί σου Εὐνίκῃ,
                first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice,
                πέπεισμαι δὲ
                and now I have been convinced
                    ὅτι καὶ ἐν σοί.
                    that it also [dwells] in you.

About the Phrasing/Translation section

The phrasing/translation section is intended to give a feel of the structure and flow of the section without necessarily completely and consistently documenting relationships between each portion. Indentations typically indicate clauses that are in some way subordinate to or dependent on the clause that precedes (or, in some cases, follows); but the indentation also represents prepositional phrases. Many of these are judgment calls and could be interpreted at least one more way. For example, the conglomeration of infinitive and participial clauses in verses 3-5 could be represented a few different ways — and it is, just check Mounce, Marshall and Knight; then look at, and after that check out the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament (LDGNT).

The translation portion is largely dependent on a previous translation I did in 2003 or 2004, though I will be making some changes to the translation along the way. Even the translation that ends up here is not final. I’ll be revisiting it (particularly the rendering of connectives) later if/when I begin to write about the discourse structure of the letter (my ultimate goal).

The sections themselves will be (largely) taken from Ray Van Neste’s work, Cohesion and Structure in the Pastoral Epistles, with some extra secret sauce from Runge’s LDGNT and

Of course, one reason for putting this work on this blog is for feedback. Depending on the busy-ness of my schedule I may or may not respond directly, but I will read and consider it. So please do feel free to comment.

"I have thanks" in First and Second Timothy

One of the catchword arguments that P.N. Harrison uses in his book $amz(143651214X The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles) has to do with how Paul usually expresses thanks. Here’s Harrison:

In expressing his thankfulness to God, Paul consistently uses the word ευχαριστεω (Ro 1.8; 1Co 1.4; 2Co 1.11; Eph 1.16; 5.20; Php 1.3; Col 1.3; 1Th 1.2; 2Th 1.3; 2.13; Phm 4); this author never writes that word, but uses instead the Latinism χαριν εχω (= gratiam habeo) 1Ti 1.12; 2Ti 1.3. (Harrison, 28-29)

I’ve always been intrigued by this. First, because Harrison assumes his conclusion in the first sentence where he mentions what "Paul consistently uses"; second because he’s right about the discrepancy (not Pauline authorship). The Pastorals don’t use ευχαριστεω in thanksgiving sections, other Paulines do.

Why bring this up? This morning I began digging back into my translation of Second Timothy, and I ran into 2Ti 1.3, where χαριν εχω is used. And I have a few thoughts on this now.

Some of Harrison’s cited instances (Eph 1.16; 5.20) use ευχαριστεω as a participle in a series of modifications, not as the primary verb. His 2Co 1.11 instance may implicitly refer to God as receiving the thanks, but is doesn’t explicitly state it. And note that 2Th 1.3; 2.13 use ευχαριστεω as an infinitive, modifying the verb οφειλομεν. Again, not an exact syntactic parallel for the phenomenon under discussion. Note also that Harrison missed 1Co 14.18, which should be added to his list.

Of course, I’d suppose that Harrison (and others) would see these as evidence that Ephesians and Second Thessalonians aren’t Pauline either. In any case, the are not direct examples of the phenomenon he is trumpeting, so they shouldn’t be listed as evidence for or against his lexical/syntactic argument here.

In the non-Pastorals usage at the head of thanksgiving sections, ευχαριστεω always takes "God" as its complement: "I give thanks to God". More specifically, it is ευχαριστεω τω θεω. In 1Ti 1.12, it is not "God" that Paul thanks with χαριν εχω, it is "the one who has empowered me, Christ Jesus our Lord". Still in the dative, but not quite apples-to-apples.

But that still leaves 2Ti 1.3, which has χαριν εχω τω θεω (compare to ευχαριστεω τω θεω in Ro 1.8; 1Co 1.4; 14.18; Php 1.3; Col 1.3; 1Th 1.2; Phm 4). This is actually Harrison’s stronger counterexample (though he doesn’t mention it).

My thoughts? Well, εχω (present active indicative first-person) + dative is not unknown in Paul (Ro 12.4; 15.17; 1Co 2.16; 7.25; 8.1; 9.4, 5, 6, 17; 11.16; 12.21; 2Co 3.4; 4.7; Gal 6.10; Eph 1.7; 2.18; 3.12; Col 1.14; 2.1; 2Th 3.9), so it is a structure that Paul could’ve used. I haven’t examined these instances so I don’t know exactly what contexts they occur in, if they take references to the deity as complements, etc.

But one interesting item that comes up is Luke 12.50 (yes, Luke). I’ve always been enamored with the theory that Luke was Paul’s amanuensis for the Pastorals, and that his role may have even been closer to co-author. Luke 12.50 is as follows:

NA27: βάπτισμα δὲ ἔχω βαπτισθῆναι καὶ πῶς συνέχομαι ἕως ὅτου τελεσθῇ
ESV: I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

This is mildly interesting to me because the same thing could be said a different way. In fact, it is said a different way in Mark 10.38:

NA27: ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε. δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι;
ESV: Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

In other words, in Luke’s rewrite of this idea (sure, I think Luke used Mark as source (cf. Lu 1.1-2), but I also think Q is a load of hooey) he uses "I have a baptism" instead of "I am baptized". He uses an εχω construction instead of the plain verb.

I realize it’s a reach built on next to nothing, but hey, this is a blog post so why not? Could Luke have done the same thing with Paul’s words? Paul says ευχαριστεω τω θεω; Luke writes χαριν εχω τω θεω. Same idea, same stuff being communicated, just a different way of doing it. As Witherington posits, it’s the voice of Paul but the hand of Luke.

I’ve always seen the amanuensis argument (whether it is Luke or not) as a strong one in favor of Pauline authorship/responsibility because we know that Paul uses an amanuensis in other letters. Many of the "style" arguments that seem so valid in challenging Paul’s authorship can probably be seen (I’d say better seen) as pointing to different amanuensis situations, not to mention different roles of the amanuensis, influence of listed (and perhaps unlisted) co-authors, genre and the target of the letter.

Anyway, this is too long and I’ve gotta go. Perhaps more on this later (but perhaps not).

The manuscript . . .

The manuscript for my commentary, Reading Paul’s Letters to Individuals: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Letters to Philemon, Titus, and Timothy, is officially in the mail to Smyth and Helwys.

S&H expects the commentary to be available in October, just in time for SBL. Maybe I’ll need to go to Boston after all.

This is the commentary that Glenn Hinson was supposed to write, then Marty Soards. Both ended up not filling the contract. Then Hulitt Gloer wrote a manuscript, but was not able to finish it for health reasons.

So in January–you may recall–the editor of the series, Charles Talbert (who was my doctorfather at Baylor) asked if I could finish Gloer’s manuscript.  And I’ve spent the last few months doing so.

I’d originally hoped to have 300 – 325 double spaced pages, and ended up with 425: OUCH! Did I type all that stuff?

What’s innovative or fresh about the commentary? Two things, off the top of my head:

First, it is a scholarly commentary, interacting extensively with primary sources (Philo and Josephus, especially) and cutting-edge secondary sources (e.g., Bruce Winter’s work on the new Roman woman), BUT the exposition is aimed at preachers and teachers. This would be the first commentary I would recommend for people who want to preach these letters.

Second, this is the first commentary on the Pastorals to take into account the role that succession plays in these letters.

The Pastoral Epistles in Ignatius, Part VIII

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

Ign. Trall. 7.2 || 2Ti 1.3

(2) ὁ ἐντὸς θυσιαστηρίου ὢν καθαρός ἐστιν, ὁ δὲ ἐκτὸς θυσιαστηρίου ὢν οὐ καθαρός ἐστιν· τοῦτʼ ἔστιν, ὁ χωρὶς ἐπισκόπου καὶ πρεσβυτερίου καὶ διακόνων πράσσων τι, οὗτος οὐ καθαρός ἐστιν τῇ συνειδήσει. (Ign. Trall. 7.2)
(2) The one who is within the sanctuary is clean, but the one who is outside the sanctuary is not clean. That is, whoever does anything without bishop and presbytery and deacons does not have a clean conscience. (Ign. Trall. 7.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (162, 163). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

3 Χάριν ἔχω τῷ θεῷ, ᾧ λατρεύω ἀπὸ προγόνων ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει, ὡς ἀδιάλειπτον ἔχω τὴν περὶ σοῦ μνείαν ἐν ταῖς δεήσεσίν μου νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας, (2Ti 1.3, NA27)
3 I thank God, whom I serve (as did my forbears) in pure conscience, as I have unceasingly remembered you in my prayers night and day, (2Ti 1.3, my own translation)

The concept of a “clean” or “pure” conscience is the link between these two passages. This concept is formed by lexical co-occurrence of the words καθαρός (pure, clean) and συνείδησις (conscience). If the simple presence of these two words in relationship with each other is enough to posit a link, then 1Ti 3.9 (speaking of deacons) should be included as well: “holding to the mystery of faith in clear conscience“.

But any link between Ign. Trall. 7.2 and 2Ti 1.3 is stretched. Ignatius uses “the bishop and presbytery and deacons” as a check against conscience; if one goes against that triad, then one cannot have a “clean conscience” in what he does. This isn’t what 2Ti 1.3 is about. In Second Timothy, the idea is that Paul serves God just like his progenitors (i.e. Jews) did, with a clean or pure conscience. He isn’t falling back on them for authority, he is identifying with his ancestors so his comments in verse 5 — about Timothy’s faithful mother and grandmother — is more effective.

While the line “clear conscience” is definitely used in both Ignatius and 2Ti (and 1Ti, as seen above) there is no reason to think the concept originated with Paul and influenced Ignatius.

Next up: Ign. Rom. 2.2 || 2Ti 4.6

The Pastoral Epistles in Ignatius, Part V

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

Ign. Eph. 2.1; Ign. Smyrn. 10.2 || 2Ti 1.16

(1) Περὶ δὲ τοῦ συνδούλου μου Βούρρου, τοῦ κατὰ θεὸν διακόνου ὑμῶν ἐν πᾶσιν εὐλογημένου, εὔχομαι παραμεῖναι αὐτὸν εἰς τιμὴν ὑμῶν καὶ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου· καὶ Κρόκος δέ, ὁ θεοῦ ἄξιος καὶ ὑμῶν, ὃν ἐξεμπλάριον τῆς ἀφʼ ὑμῶν ἀγάπης ἀπέλαβον, κατὰ πάντα με ἀνέπαυσεν· ὡς καὶ αὐτὸν ὁ πατὴρ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀναψύξαι, ἅμα Ὀνησίμῳ καὶ Βούρρῳ καὶ Εὔπλῳ και Φρόντωνι, διʼ ὧν πάντας ὑμᾶς κατὰ ἀγάπην εἶδον. (Ign. Eph. 2.1)
(1) Now concerning my fellow servant Burrhus, who is by God’s will your deacon, blessed in every respect, I pray that he might remain with me both for your honor and the bishop’s. And Crocus also, who is worthy of God and of you, whom I received as a living example of your love, has refreshed me in every way; may the Father of Jesus Christ likewise refresh him, together with Onesimus, Burrhus, Euplus, and Fronto, in whom I saw all of you with respect to love. (Ign. Eph. 2.1)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (138, 139). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

(2) ἀντίψυχον ὑμῶν τὸ πνεῦμά μου, καὶ τὰ δεσμά μου, ἃ οὐχ ὑπερηφανήσατε οὐδὲ ἐπῃσχύνθητε. οὐδὲ ὑμᾶς ἐπαισχυνθήσεται ἡ τελεία ἐλπίς, Ἰησοῦς Χριστός. (Ign. Smyrn. 10.2)
(2) May my spirit be a ransom on your behalf, and my bonds as well, which you did not despise, nor were you ashamed of them. Nor will the perfect hope, Jesus Christ, be ashamed of you. (Ign. Smyrn. 10.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (190, 191). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

16 δῴη ἔλεος ὁ κύριος τῷ Ὀνησιφόρου οἴκῳ, ὅτι πολλάκις με ἀνέψυξεν καὶ τὴν ἅλυσίν μου οὐκ ἐπαισχύνθη, (2Ti 1.16, NA27)
16 The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, because many times he refreshed me and he was not afraid of my chains,  (2Ti 1.16, my own translation)

About these passages, the Oxford committe only notes: “These two passages seem to be reminiscences of the same context in 2 Timothy.” (p. 72). The apparent similarity has to do with the occurrence of two concepts, that of being “refreshed” (ἀναψύχω) and that of being “ashamed/afraid” (ἐπαισχύνομαι).

In this case, the similarity is lexical; relying on co-occurrence of words. But the ties are thin; two otherwise unrelated passages in two separate letters pointing back to one passage in 2 Timothy? Each case must be argued separately unless there is a reason to combine them. No reason for combination is evident.

The first lexical similarity, then, is that of ἀναψύχω. 2Ti 1.16 is the only NT occurrence of the word (though BDAG reports a variant uses the word in Ro 15.32). Similarly, Ignatius is the only source of the word in the Apostolic Fathers, though he uses it twice (also in Ign. Trall. 12.2). But use of a seemingly rare word cannot establish dependence; the word is also used at least seven times in the LXX (Ex 23.12; Jdg 15.19; 1Sa 16.23; 2Sa 16.14; Ps 38.14; 2Ma 4.46; 13.11) and also occurs in Josephus.

But the similarity isn’t only lexical, it is also contextual. In Ign. Eph. 2.1, Ignatius is acknowledging that while in custody he has been “refreshed” by Crocus. The situation is very similar to that of 2Ti 1.16, where Onesiphorus “refreshed” Paul during his time in prison. Thus the similarity here has to do with use of a relatively rare word (ἀναψύχω) in a relatively similar context (“refreshing” the author of a letter while in prison/custody). The tie seems tentative but plausible, though one wishes for more prison letters from alternate sources to see if similar language is used to describe visits of friends.

The second lexical similarity is that of ἐπαισχύνομαι. This word, however, is not an NT hapax. It occurs 3x in 2Ti 1 and a handful of times elsewhere in the New Testament. It also appears in the Shepherd of Hermas. But again, there is other reason to consider these passages as similar outside of sharing an instance of a word. In 2Ti 1.16, Onesiphorus is “not ashamed” of Paul’s “chains”. In Ign. Smyrn. 10.2, the Smyrnaeans are commended for not being ashamed of Ignatius’ “bonds”. So, not only is the verb the same, there is similarity in the object of the verb and in the negation of the verb: not being ashamed of the [letter-writer’s] status as prisoner.

Again, it would be helpful to be able to examine other contemporary letters with similar settings; where the letter-writer is in custody or prison, and understand how the letter-writer refers to those who visit him. Are these standard ways of saying these things, or are Paul’s sentiments relatively unique and thus Ignatius’ similar sentiments an echo of Paul?

My conclusion? Ignatius shows probable influence from 2Ti 1.16 in these two passages, but a larger study of contemporary prison letters (which I’m not planning on doing) may provide light on whether or not these are standard forms or uniquely Pauline.

Next up: Ign. Poly. 6.2 || 2Ti 2.4

Also notable in Ign. Smyrn. 10.2 is similarity with Mk 8.38 (and || Lk 9.26). Compare these passages (here only in English):

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mk 8.38)

May my spirit be a ransom on your behalf, and my bonds as well, which you did not despise, nor were you ashamed of them. Nor will the perfect hope, Jesus Christ, be ashamed of you. (Ign. Smyrn. 10.2) 

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part II

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

A few NT references are listed as potential allusion sources for Ep.Barn. 5.6.

Ep.Barn. 5.6 || 1Ti 3.16, 2Ti 1.10*

(6) οἱ προφῆται, ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ ἔχοντες τὴν χάριν, εἰς αὐτὸν ἐπροφήτευσαν. αὐτὸς δὲ ἵνα καταργήσῃ τὸν θάνατον καὶ τὴν ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀνάστασιν δείξῃ, ὅτι ἐν σαρκὶ ἔδει αὐτὸν φανερωθῆναι, ὑπέμεινεν,
(6) The prophets, receiving grace from him, prophesied about him. But he himself submitted, in order that he might destroy death and demonstrate the reality of the resurrection of the dead, because it was necessary that he be manifested in the flesh.
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (284, 285). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

16 καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον· ὃς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις, ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ, ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ. (1Ti 3.16, NA27)
16 And most certainly, great is the mystery of godliness: Who was revealed in flesh, Vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed amongst the peoples, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. (1Ti 3.16, my own translation)

10 φανερωθεῖσαν δὲ νῦν διὰ τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, καταργήσαντος μὲν τὸν θάνατον φωτίσαντος δὲ ζωὴν καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (2Ti 1.10, NA27)
10 and now has been revealed through the appearance of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who indeed abolished death and brought to light life and immortality through the gospel (2Ti 1.10, my own translation)

There are a few spots where affinities between Barnabas and the PE texts can be seen.

First, between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 1Ti 3.16, the primary affinity has to do with the idea of Christ being manifested (φανερόω) in the flesh (ἐν σαρκὶ). The ideas are remarkably the same and the language seems almost liturgical. Indeed, that’s the vibe one gets from 1Ti 3.16, which has long been considered to have some sort of early Christian hymn or creed as its source. The Oxford committee that gathered these references notes the same thing: “But as it itself (1Ti 3.16) is probably quoting a current liturgical form, literary dependence cannot be pressed either way” (13). Note also that Ep.Barn. uses the phrase “manifested in the flesh” several times (Ep.Barn. 6.7, 9, 14; 12.10; 14.5). The idea has to come from somewhere, whether it be common liturgical formula (probably) or this portion of First Timothy.

Second, between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10, there are a few points of contact. The first is similar to that of 1Ti 3.16, that Christ has appeared. 2Ti 1.10 uses φανερόω not in reference to Christ (directly, as both Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 1Ti 3.16 do) but as a participle clause that further explains “purpose and grace” from v. 9. We were saved according to God’s “purpose and grace” and not our own works. 2Ti 1.9-10 has two clauses that further explain this purpose and grace. The first is v.9, explaining that his purpose and grace have “been granted to us in Christ Jesus from times eternal”. The second is the first part of v. 10, which here has some affinity with Ep.Barn. 5.6. God’s “purpose and grace” has been “revealed” (φανερόω) through the appearance (ἐπιφανείας) of our Saviour Jesus Christ. This is similar to 1Ti 3.16, though the specific note of manifestation/appearance in the flesh (ἐν σαρκὶ) is not made in 2Ti 1.10.

The second point of contact between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10 has to do with the destruction of death. The word translated destruction (Ep.Barn) or abolish (2Ti) is καταργέω. In both cases the destruction is of death (τὸν θάνατον). Both texts portray Jesus Christ as the one who destroyed death.

A third point of contact is not specifically lexical but rather topical. Both texts note the effect of the destruction of death using different words but both essentially supporting the same concept. In Ep.Barn., the consequence of the destruction of death is that Christ demonstrates “the reality of the resurrection of the dead”. In 2Ti, Christ brings “to light life and immortality through the gospel”. In both cases, the effect has to do with life — immortality. Because Christ destroyed death, the dead in Christ also are not bound by death, they will rise. Christ’s death obliterates the darkness and shines light on the life we will have into the ages. Different words, same basic concept: With the destruction of death those who are dead are no longer bound by death. There is now life.

These three points in common between Ep.Barn. 5.6 and 2Ti 1.10 are striking. I don’t know that dependence can be proven, but the ideas behind both texts share several commonalities that stimulate thought.

Next up: Ep.Barn. 7.2.

* Note that the Oxford committee also lists 1Pe 1.20-21 as a possible allusion/parallel source along with 2Ti 1.10:

20 προεγνωσμένου μὲν πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου φανερωθέντος δὲ ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων διʼ ὑμᾶς 21 τοὺς διʼ αὐτοῦ πιστοὺς εἰς θεὸν τὸν ἐγείραντα αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ δόξαν αὐτῷ δόντα, ὥστε τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν καὶ ἐλπίδα εἶναι εἰς θεόν. (1Pe 1.20-21, NA27)
20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1Pe 1.20-21, ESV)

Who were the Pastoral Epistles written to?

Of course we have the testimony of the epistles themselves along with the traditional titles proclaiming Timothy and Titus as recipients.

Some have taken issue with this on the basis of testimony within the epistles, particularly First Timothy.

After all, if Timothy had been with Paul for years (cf. Ac 16.1-5) and was beloved of Paul to the degree that Paul called him his “true child in the faith” (cf. 1Ti 1.2; 2Ti 2.2) why did Paul spend so much time on seemingly basic things? You know, like qualifications for overseers and deacons? Wouldn’t Timothy have known that stuff cold based on his previous experience?

And why the extended superscription with Paul justifying his apostleship with one of the longest such statements he uses (1Ti 1.1; 2Ti 1.1) for such purposes: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope”.

Paul didn’t really need to justify his apostleship for Timothy (you know, co-sender of a bunch of Paul’s epistles?), did he?

Same stuff goes for Titus.

I have my own ideas, of course, and they’re relatively mainstream. But I’m curious as to what others might think about these things.

Who was intended to receive (or intended to hear, if you think there is a distinction) the letters to Timothy? And the letter to Titus? And what was their purpose?

Feel free to use the comments. If you blog about it on your own blog, drop me a note [pe | pastoralepistles | com] and I’ll add a link here. Thanks!

Updates and News

As you’ve likely noticed, there have been several changes here at

The biggest change is that there is now more than one blogger. In addition to Rick Brannan (yours truly), Perry L. Stepp, Lloyd Pietersen and Ray Van Neste have agreed to begin posting to

Perry is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Kentucky Christian University. He’s recently had a book published by the Sheffield Phoenix Press, Leadership Succession in the World of the Pauline Circle. He’s also presented papers at SBL in the Disputed Paulines group. It’s great to have him aboard.

There will likely be at least one more blogger added to the team; more information on that in a future post.

Lloyd is a Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies  at the University of Bristol. Here’s some further information on Dr. Pietersen from his web site:

Dr Lloyd Pietersen obtained his PhD from the University of Sheffield. His thesis has been published as The Polemic of the Pastorals: A Sociological Examination of the Development of Pauline Christianity (JSNTSup 264; London/New York: T & T Clark International, 2004). He is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol and is co-chair of the Social World of the New Testament Seminar at the British New Testament Conference.

Ray is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies and Director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies at Union University. He is also author of Cohesion and Structure in the Pastoral Epistles (JSNTSup 280; Lonon/New York: T&T Clark International, 2004). And he has his own personal blog too.

What is this site all about, then?

Well, it’s about the Pastoral Epistles. Folks who blog here have a more-than-average interest in the Pastorals. We’ll blog about stuff like:

  • Quick reviews of books, articles, chapters, etc. that we read that have to do with the Pastorals. The same book or article may be discussed by multiple authors on the site.
  • Extended reviews.
  • Reviews of or interaction with conference presentations or papers.
  • Interaction with other web sites, blog posts, etc. that mention things that primarily or tangentially refer to the Pastoral Epistles.
  • Thoughts, musings and whatnot. We’ll feel free to use the blog as a scratch pad of sorts as we think through topics or exegetical points having to do with the Pastoral Epistles.
  • Whatever else seems interesting to us, as long as we can relate it back to the Pastorals.

If you’re familiar with the older site, it is still available at Content may or may not migrate over to the new site.

Anyway, thanks for your support of the site. Please bear with us while we get the place set up. And please do update your RSS / Feed reader links. The new link is You can use this in any feedreader/aggregator or online tool such as BlogLines.

Tell your friends!