New Coptic Fragments of 2 Timothy & Titus

In the most recent Journal of Biblical Literature, Brice C. Jones has published an article on three new Coptic papyrus fragments that witness text of the Pastoral Epistles.

Brice C. Jones, “Three New Coptic Papyrus Fragments of 2 Timothy and Titus (P.Mich. inv. 3535b)”. Journal of Biblical Literature, no 2 (2014): 389–397.

The article provides discussion and transcriptions of the fragments. Text on the fragments are:

  • Fragment 1: 2 Tim 2:14–18; 2:26–3:3
  • Fragment 2: 2 Tim 1:6–11; 1:18–2:6
  • Fragment 3: 2 Tim 4:18–20; Titus 1:7–9

Jones hesitates to provide dates any more specific than “sometime between the fourth and sixth centuries” (392).

I have yet to really read the article, but any time fragments of NT text are located, it is an important thing. Thanks to Brice C. Jones (see his blog) for his work in publishing these fragments.

New Dissertation on the Pastorals

I am currently reading Tim Swinson’s dissertation “GRAFH in the Letters to Timothy” recently passed at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I was eager to read it after hearing a number of good papers from Tim at ETS meetings along the way. I am only into the second chapter but already find this to be a well done, useful work. Swinson is more conversant with French, German, and Spanish sources than is common in American PhD’s. His writing is clear and forthright. His brief argument for Pauline authorship is well done and gathers a lot of helpful information.

I am eager to finish the reading. If you are working on the Pastorals concerning authorship or the references to scripture (1 Tim 5:18; 2 Tim 3:16), you would do well to check with the library at TEDS for this dissertation.

Bryan Chapell on Second Timothy 3.10-4.5

The Gospel Coalition’s recent national conference had the theme “Entrusted with the Gospel” and was focused on Second Timothy. Each plenary session focused on a different portion of the epistle.

Bryan Chapell’s session on 2Ti 3.10-4.5 was titled “Preach the Word!”. Audio and video is available.

Second Timothy 3.10-13

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

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 3.10-13

10 Σὺ δὲ παρηκολούθησάς
10 Now you have followed
    μου τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ,
    my teaching,
    τῇ ἀγωγῇ,
    τῇ προθέσει,
    τῇ πίστει,
    τῇ μακροθυμίᾳ,
    τῇ ἀγάπῃ,
    τῇ ὑπομονῇ,
    11 τοῖς διωγμοῖς,
    11 in the persecutions,
    τοῖς παθήμασιν,
    the sufferings,
    οἷά μοι ἐγένετο
    like those I suffered
        ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ,
        in Antioch,
        ἐν Ἰκονίῳ,
        in Iconium,
        ἐν Λύστροις,
        and in Lystra.

οἵους διωγμοὺς ὑπήνεγκα
What sufferings I endured,
        καὶ ἐκ πάντων με ἐρρύσατο ὁ κύριος.
        and out of them all the Lord rescued me!

12 καὶ πάντες δὲ οἱ θέλοντες εὐσεβῶς ζῆν
12 Now, even all who desire to live in a godly manner
    ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
    in Christ Jesus
will be persecuted.

13 πονηροὶ δὲ ἄνθρωποι καὶ γόητες προκόψουσιν
13 But evil men and swindlers will progress
    ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον
    into worse,
    πλανῶντες καὶ πλανώμενοι.
    deceiving and being deceived.


The unit is 2Ti 3.10-17. NA27 insert a subparagraph break after 2Ti 3.13, this seems a decent point to break the comments for this unit.

Verse 10

Σὺ δὲ παρηκολούθησάς] The connective δὲ indicates development from the previous major section; here we have contrast between sections as well. The previous section was about the false teachers and the impotence of their teaching; here we have a contrast with Paul’s teaching, which Timothy has followed. Note also the superfluous pronoun Σὺ, here fronted in the clause. This activates Timothy again, bringing him into focus in the discussion. The topic has shifted from those pursuing and purveying false doctrine to Timothy, who pursues and purveys Paul’s true doctrine.

virtue list vv. 10-11a] all datives, each with article; note v. 11a involves plurals.

Verse 11

οἷά μοι ἐγένετο] relative clause, here likely explaining the content of the virtue list above.

ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ, ἐν Ἰκονίῳ, ἐν Λύστροις] three prepositional phrases, these provide examples known to Timothy as reference points for the type of things included in the virtue list.

οἵους διωγμοὺς ὑπήνεγκα] another relative clause; while ambiguous my reading (agreeing with Marshall, ICC 785) sees this as a new clausal unit summarizing Paul’s situations and proclaiming glory to God. see this as a dependent clause with one succeeding dependent clause ending the structure began in v. 10.

καὶ] additive, simple connection between the two short clauses.

ἐκ πάντων] fronted prepositional phrase within the dependent clause, here giving extra attention to “out of all of them”, referring to the persecutions endured.

με ἐρρύσατο ὁ κύριος] The constituent order of this clause (after the fronted prepositional phrase) is Object-Verb-Subject which is simply not normal. The object is the personal pronoun με (“me”, referring to Paul, the one rescued by the Lord). The subject, at the end of the clause, is “the Lord”. Shifting the order of the pronoun makes the progress of the clause easier, “out of all of those persecutions, it was me that the Lord rescued.”

Verse 12

καὶ πάντες δὲ] Here δὲ is the discourse connective, again marking development. I’ve translated it “but”. καὶ is adverbial, modifying πάντες. Instead of the typical “also”, I’ve translated as “even”, which seems better for the context.

οἱ θέλοντες εὐσεβῶς ζῆν] The participle (with article) functions substantivally, so functions as the subject of the clause. However, the participle is also modified by infinitive verb,* the infinitive also being modified adverbially; “who desire to live in a godly manner” (or perhaps “reverently”).

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] prepositional phrase, also modifying the infinitive: “to live … in Christ Jesus”.

διωχθήσονται] primary verb of the clause; everything else (apart from the discourse connective δε) is essentially part of the subject.

Verse 13

πονηροὶ δὲ ἄνθρωποι καὶ γόητες προκόψουσιν] Again, δε used as the discourse connective, marking development. The subject is fronted; Paul has shifted topics. The verb is future tense.

ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον] prepositional phrase; noting the direction of the progress of the “evil men and swindlers”: they will get worse.

πλανῶντες καὶ πλανώμενοι] Two single-word participial clauses joined by καὶ. These are the same word; each in a different voice (the first active, the second passive). The effect is to show that the deception that continues to plunge these false teachers into the depths of darkness has a reciprocal effect: It damns those who teach; and those teachers continue to spew forth the false teaching. The are deceiving themselves and their hearers (cf. 1Ti 4.16; also $af(2Cl 15.1); $af(2Cl 19.1) but even more so $af(2Cl 10.5) and $af(IgnEph 16.2), which have the formulation in the negative).

* The phenomenon of an articular, substantive participle being modified by an infinitive verb occurs 18x in the NT: Mt 19.12; Mk 10.42; Lk 16.26; 20.35; Jn 1.33; Ac 22.29; Ro 2.21, 22; 15.12; 1Co 10.12; Php 2.13 (2x); 1Ti 6.9; 2Ti 3.12; 1Pe 3.10; 1Jn 2.6, 9; 2Jn 11. (references from a syntax search of the material in Logos Bible Software) The order is always the same.

Second Timothy 3.6-9

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

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 3.6-9

    6 Ἐκ τούτων
    6 For from these
γάρ εἰσιν
    οἱ ἐνδύνοντες
    those who sneak 
        εἰς τὰς οἰκίας
        into the houses
    καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες γυναικάρια
    and capture idle women
        σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις,
        overwhelmed with sins,
        ἀγόμενα ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις,
        led on by various desires,
        7 πάντοτε μανθάνοντα
        7 always learning
        καὶ μηδέποτε
        and never
            εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας
            into knowledge of the truth
        ἐλθεῖν δυνάμενα.
        [are they] able to come.

    8 ὃν τρόπον δὲ Ἰάννης καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς ἀντέστησαν Μωϋσεῖ,
    8 In the same way Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses,
οὕτως καὶ οὗτοι ἀνθίστανται τῇ ἀληθείᾳ,
similarly also these oppose the truth:
        κατεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν, 
        depraved in mind,
        περὶ τὴν πίστιν. 
        concerning the faith.

9 ἀλλʼ οὐ προκόψουσιν
9 But they will not progress
    ἐπὶ πλεῖον·
    any further.

ἡ γὰρ ἄνοια αὐτῶν ἔκδηλος ἔσται πᾶσιν,
For their mindlessness will be quite obvious to all, 
    ὡς καὶ ἡ ἐκείνων ἐγένετο. 
    just as that of those also became.


The unit is 2Ti 3.1-9. NA27 insert a subparagraph break after 2Ti 3.5, this seems a decent point to break the comments on this unit. See Second Timothy 3.1-5 for comments on the first portion.

Verse 6

Ἐκ τούτων] fronted prepositional phrase, functioning as a Topical Frame (Runge) which brings participants into focus. Here the participants are referred to by the near demonstrative (τούτων), the referent being those described in 2Ti 3.1-5. Essentially, vv. 1-5 describe the group of participants, this fronted prepositional phrase then activates them so that they can be discussed in the following verses.

γάρ] discourse connective, shows that this clause offers support to the previous clause complex.

εἰσιν οἱ ἐνδύνοντες] “are the ones who sneak/creep”. The participle is substantive and is further defined with the following prepositional phrase. Note that Paul is now delimiting a sub-group from the larger group of false doctrine teachers/followers.

εἰς τὰς οἰκίας] prepositional phrase. Modifies the preceding participle. Clarifies the subject as “the ones who sneak into houses”, but this is only one portion of the descriptor.

καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες γυναικάρια] here καὶ is a phrase-level connective joining both participles (the article governing both participles): οἱ ἐνδύνοντες .. καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες; “those sneaking … and capturing”. On γυναικάρια, while formally a diminutive of γυνη (hence “little women”) it is likely a term of derision “foolish women” (see BDAG and M-M).

σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις] participial clause, this is the first of four participial clauses which describe the “foolish women” who are being led astray. These participial clauses form two groups, each with two clauses. This is the first “overwhelmed with sins”. The participle takes a dative.

ἀγόμενα ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις] participial clause, note the structural similarity with what precedes, a participle with a dative: “led on by various desires”. This as well describes the foolish women.

Verse 7

πάντοτε μανθάνοντα] participial clause; the first of the second set. Note that μανθάνοντα agrees with the following participle (δυνάμενα) in case, number and gender. Also note the contrast between πάντοτε (always) and μηδέποτε (never).

καὶ μηδέποτε] beginning of second participial clause, with καὶ functioning to join the two together.

εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας] prepositional phrase fronted within the participial clause, emphasizing “into knowledge of the truth”. Note that the adverb μηδέποτε is similarly emphasized. On “knowledge of the truth”, see also 1Ti 2.4 and 2Ti 2.25 (discussed here).

ἐλθεῖν δυνάμενα] balance of participial clause, “being able to come”. This seems to be a slam against the false teachers; while they are “always learning”, they are never able to actually get it right. It is vaguely similar to a similar statement in 1Ti 1.7, about those who desire to be teachers of the law but really are clueless about what they’re saying and teaching.

Verse 8

ὃν] The beginnings of a complex structure that runs through the end of verse 9, this relative pronoun indicates a condition of sorts (Runge calls it a “Conditional Frame”).

ὃν τρόπον δὲ Ἰάννης καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς ἀντέστησαν Μωϋσεῖ] At the same time, the entire relative clause is preposed (a “Left Dislocation”, Runge) to introduce information essential to the processing of the main clause. Here it is the balance of a comparison between the way that Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses (the fronted information) to no effect, so Paul’s opponents oppose the truth to no effect. The δὲ is a higher-level discourse connective, not technically a part of this subordinate clause, indicating a developmental connection to the previous discussion.

Ἰάννης καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς] Traditionally the two magicians who opposed Moses and Aaron (cf. Ex 7.11). (Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, p. 582; cf. p. 620-621, 954). Some collections of OT Pseudepigrapha contain something called “The Book of Jannes and Jambres” (cf. Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology, which has a good introduction and also has the relevant Greek witnesses, from P. Chester Beatty XVI and P. Vindobonensis G 29 456 verso; a translation is in Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha 2:427-442).

οὕτως] adverb, providing the hinge of the comparison between the content in the preposed relative clause and the main clause. Typically translated “so”, though I’ve translated “similarly” here due to the nature of the comparison.

καὶ οὗτοι] The καὶ is adverbial thus better as “also”. The phrase is unnecessary (“so also these”) as the person and number of the verb provide sufficient information; thus Paul is highlighting “these also”, tying them to opposition of the truth.

ἀνθίστανται τῇ ἀληθείᾳ] Note that the same verb is used in the fronted relative clause and the main clause; this solidifies the comparison.

ἄνθρωποι κατεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν] apposition; providing further description of “these also”. First is “people” from ἄνθρωποι which generically refers to people (sometimes translated as a non-gender-specific “men”), modified by a participial clause that describes the mindframe of these people.

ἀδόκιμοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν] more apposition; this as well provides further description of the opponents. Here they are “unqualified”; the prepositional phrase describes the specific area in which they are unqualified.

Verse 9

ἀλλʼ] In my reading, the first half of verse 9 is implicitly contrasted with verse 8, the marker of contrast is ἀλλʼ (see my paper on αλλα for more info). Runge labels the structure a Counterpoint (v. 8) Point (v. 9a) structure; αλλα is the hinge between the two. These depraved people, the ones who are unqualified in the faith, the ones who oppose the truth in the same way as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, they will not progress any further in their teaching and work.

οὐ προκόψουσιν] “They will not progress”. This is the main verb of the clause, modified with a negator.

ἐπὶ πλεῖον] prepositional phrase, modifying the main clause verb, noting the limits of the progress: “any further”. Their opposition will not progress; it will instead crumble, and the truth will overcome — much like Moses overcame Jannes and Jambres.

ἡ γὰρ ἄνοια αὐτῶν ἔκδηλος ἔσται πᾶσιν] explanatory; the γὰρ is a cue that this clause provides explanation/support for the previous argument. The opposition progresses no further; “because their mindlessness is quite obvious to all”.

ὡς καὶ ἡ ἐκείνων ἐγένετο] dependent clause with some pronouns that, upon initial inspection, seem hard to track. But they’re really not. First note that καὶ is adverbial, hence “also”. The article functions like a pronoun here, referring back to ἡ ἄνοια (“their mindlessness”). ἐκείνων is a demonstrative pronoun that typically relates to a referent somewhat removed from the current context; Runge (via Levinsohn) labels this a “Far Demonstrative”. Here the referent is Jannes and Jambres from the beginning of v. 8. While the literal translation is something like “just as that of those also became”, the idea is more like “just as [the mindlessness] of [Jannes and Jambres] also became [evident to all]”. This referent ties the whole of vv. 8-9 together and reinforces and explains the Point in v. 9, that the progress of the false teachers will falter; the vacuity of their teaching will cause them to stumble.

Second Timothy 3.1-5

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

Phrasing/Translation: 2Ti 3.1-5

1 Τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε,
1 But know this,
        ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις
        in the last days
    ἐνστήσονται καιροὶ χαλεποί·
    difficult times will present themselves.

2 ἔσονται γὰρ οἱ ἄνθρωποι
2 For people will be
    lovers of self,
    lovers of money,
    γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς,
    disobedient to parents,
    3 ἄστοργοι
    3 hard-hearted,
    unwilling to negotiate,
    without self control,
    not lovers of good,
    4 προδόται
    4 traitors,
    lovers of pleasure
        μᾶλλον ἢ φιλόθεοι,
        rather than lovers of God,
    5 ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας
    5 holding to a form of godliness
        τὴν δὲ δύναμιν αὐτῆς ἠρνημένοι·
        but they have denied its power. 
    καὶ τούτους ἀποτρέπου. 
    You must avoid these.


The unit is 2Ti 3.1-9, but that is a large unit to discuss. As NA27 insert a subparagraph break after 2Ti 3.5, this seems a decent point to break the comments on this unit.

Verse 1

Τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε] Disclosure formula. Well, it comes close to the formal definition (verb of wishing/desiring + verb of knowing in infinitive + optional οτι/ινα, see Syntax Searching and Epistolary Form Criticism: Disclosure Form for explanation and example); this is more of a command to the addressee. Either way, it is a break from the previous section and an obvious cue that a new section has begun (cf. Van Neste, 174). Runge labels it a Meta-Comment. The resolution of the pronoun τουτο (what is to be known?) is the content of the upcoming subordinate clause.

ὅτι] optional portion of disclosure formula. Marks a subordinate clause.

ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις] prepositional phrase, fronted within the subordinate clause. Thus it establishes a frame of reference for what it is that Paul wants Timothy to know. Runge labels it a Temporal Frame.

ἐνστήσονται καιροὶ χαλεποί] This is in regard to times that will be difficult to endure. Note the future middle verb.

Verses 2-5

ἔσονται γὰρ οἱ ἄνθρωποι] This clause begins a very large list of negative qualities (a “vice” list). The use of γὰρ shows that this is elaboration or explanation of the previous clause; this list offers support as to why the upcoming times (the last days) will be difficult.

[vice list runs through v. 5; only vv. 4b-5 will be discussed here; though note that alpha-privatives and words with the φιλ* cognate are abundant].

φιλήδονοι μᾶλλον ἢ φιλόθεοι] comparison between “lovers of pleasure” and “lovers of God”; again with the φιλ* cognate.

ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας] participial clause, with μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας (“a form of godliness”) as the object of the clause. By all appearances, these people are godly. But the reality is otherwise.

τὴν δὲ δύναμιν αὐτῆς ἠρνημένοι] participial clause. While some might say that δὲ here is contrastive; the context itself is contrastive, not δὲ. The δὲ indicates development from the previous clause that happens to be in a contrastive context. Those being described in this vice list have the form of godliness (they appear to be godly), but they deny the power of godliness.

καὶ τούτους ἀποτρέπου] summary statement. τούτους is anaphoric, it points backwards to the vice list, basically meaning “these people, the ones who embody these sorts of things”. The verb is a middle imperative, second person singular, thus functioning as a command from Paul to Timothy (author to recipient). The idea is “avoid these people!”. The καὶ is essentially additive, showing the barest of relationship between the preceding clause and this one (thus showing relationship with the list and those who deny the power of godliness).

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 VII

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

Ign. Eph. 17.1 || 2Ti 3.6

17.1 Διὰ τοῦτο μύρον ἔλαβεν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ ὁ κύριος, ἵνα πνέῃ τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἀφθαρσίαν. μὴ ἀλείφεσθε δυσωδίαν τῆς διδασκαλίας τοῦ ἄρχοντος τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, μὴ αἰχμαλωτίσῃ ὑμᾶς ἐκ τοῦ προκειμένου ζῆν. (Ign. Eph. 17.1)
17. The Lord accepted the ointment upon his head for this reason: that he might breathe incorruptibility upon the church. Do not be anointed with the stench of the teaching of the ruler of this age, lest he take you captive and rob you of the life set before you. (Ign. Eph. 17.1)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (146, 147). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

6 Ἐκ τούτων γάρ εἰσιν οἱ ἐνδύνοντες εἰς τὰς οἰκίας καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες γυναικάρια σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις, ἀγόμενα ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις, (2Ti 3.6, NA27)
6 For from these are the ones who sneak into the houses and capture idle women overwhelmed by their sin, led on by various desires, (2Ti 3.7, my own translation)

The similarity here appears to be primarily lexical, and that only based on one word, αἰχμαλωτίζω. The contexts, while similar, are not complete matches. Even BDAG categorizes these instances differently with Ign. Eph. 17.1 as a citation of sense 1b and 2Ti 3.6 as a citation of sense 2 (cf.  BDAG p. 31).

While each instance involves the capturing and destruction of someone, the capturer is different. In Ignatius the capturer is the “ruler of this age” while in 2Ti it is the self-serving non-believers (adequately described in vv. 2-5).

There doesn’t seem to be much to recommend this as an Ignatian reminiscing of Second Timothy.

Next up: Ign. Trall. 7.2 || 2Ti 1.3

The Pastoral Epistles in First Clement, Part II

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

1Cl 2.7 || Titus 3.1; 2Ti 2.21; 3.17; 2Co 9.8

(7) ἀμεταμέλητοι ἦτε ἐπὶ πάσῃ ἀγαθοποιΐᾳ, ἕτοιμοι εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν. (1Cl 2.7)
(7) You never once regretted doing good, but were “ready for every good work.” (1Cl 2.7)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (30, 31). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

3.1 Ὑπομίμνῃσκε αὐτοὺς ἀρχαῖς ἐξουσίαις ὑποτάσσεσθαι, πειθαρχεῖν, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι, (Tt 3.1, NA27)
3.1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be prepared for all good work, (Tt 3.1, my own translation)
21 ἐὰν οὖν τις ἐκκαθάρῃ ἑαυτὸν ἀπὸ τούτων, ἔσται σκεῦος εἰς τιμήν, ἡγιασμένον, εὔχρηστον τῷ δεσπότῃ, εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἡτοιμασμένον. (2Ti 2.21, NA27)
21 If then anyone might cleanse himself from these, he will be a pot for honor, having been made holy, useful to the master, having been prepared for every good work. (2Ti 2.21, my own translation)
17 ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος. (2Ti 3.17, NA27)
17 so that the man of God might be capable, having been equipped for all good work. (2Ti 3.17, my own translation)
8 δυνατεῖ δὲ ὁ θεὸς πᾶσαν χάριν περισσεῦσαι εἰς ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἐν παντὶ πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν, (2Co 9.8, NA27)
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2Co 9.8, ESV)

The repeated concept is, obviously, that of “all good work” and the idea of being prepared/equipped for it. I hadn’t really noticed the repetition of the phase in Titus and 2Ti before; this does well to bring that repetition out.

The combination is [adj or participle] modified by [εἰς or πρὸς] + πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν. Here are the instances laid out a bit more clearly with the preposition in red and the balance of the prepositional phrase in blue:

1Cl 2.7: ἕτοιμοι εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν
Tt 3.1: πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι
2Ti 2.21: εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἡτοιμασμένον
2Ti 3.17: πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος
2Co 9.8: περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν

As such, one word group stands out in 1Cl 2.7, Tt 3.1 and 2Ti 2.21: ἕτοιμος/ἑτοιμάζω. 2Ti 3.17 and 2Co 9.8, while sharing the prepositional phrase, do not share the modified portion.

Despite the different pronoun in Tt 3.1, it is the reading that 1Cl 2.7 is closest to. Lightfoot (Clement vol. II, p. 18) notes regarding 2Cl 2.7 “The latter clause ἕτοιμοι κ.τ.λ. is from Titus 3.1, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι“. In his edition, Lightfoot even puts the Greek in smallcaps, denoting that he sees it as a quotation or allusion. Holmes similarly in his English translation puts “ready for every good work” in quotes and provides a citation of Titus 3.1 as the source. Jerome Quinn, in his Anchor Bible volume on Titus, deals with the discrepancy in pronoun:

The PE do not otherwise use hetoimos, though the cognate verb occurs when 2Ti 2.21 takes up this phrase again. Construing hetoimos with pros, literally “ready for,” instead of eis, is rare in biblical Greek (1Pe 3.15; Tob 5.17) and is not found in the Apostolic Fathers. A variation between pros and eis may pertain to current Greek idiomatic style (Moule, Idiom, p. 68) and may thus be conceptually of no consequence. … The Apostolic Fathers employ hetoimos fewer than a dozen times, principally Ignatius, but 1Cl 2.7 may be quoting Titus (or the list that served as a source at this point) when he writes nostalgically to the troubled Corinthian church, “you were without misgiving in doing every kind of good, ready for every good work.” (Quinn 180)

I don’t notice any variants at the preposition in Tt 3.1 (Elliott has none listed). But searching for other substantive-modifying prepositional phrases that contained πας, I came across Tt 1.16 which should probably also be added to our list. (Quinn associates 1.16 with 3.1 as well, p. 180)

16 θεὸν ὁμολογοῦσιν εἰδέναι, τοῖς δὲ ἔργοις ἀρνοῦνται, βδελυκτοὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀπειθεῖς καὶ πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἀδόκιμοι. (Tt 1.16, NA27)
16 They claim to know God, but they deny Him with their works; being detestable and disobedient and unfit for any good work. (Tt 1.16, my own translation)

This is very relevant to the current examination not only because it also uses πρὸς but because it occurs in a list, much like Tt 3.1 does. Comparing Tt 1.16 to Tt 3.1, it is evident that one list (1.16) is a negative list, the other (3.1) is a positive list.

16 They claim to know God,
    but they deny Him with their works;
    being detestable and disobedient
    and unfit for any good work. (Tt 1.16, my own translation)

3 Remind them
    to be subject to rulers and authorities,
    to obey,
    to be prepared for all good work, (Tt 3.1, my own translation)

The last two items on each list contrast each other directly. In 1.16, the target is unbelievers, those described in 1.10-14. They are unfit for any good work. In 3.1, the target is believers, those to whom the glorious salvation in 2.11-14 applies. And the context of 1Cl 2.7 is much the same; it is written with believers in mind.

Due to the contextual similarity, the lexical similarity, and the work of Lightfoot, Quinn and Holmes, I’m inclined to think that Clement here does reflect knowledge of Titus and perhaps even the balance of the Pastoral Epistles.

If that is true, and if First Clement does date to the 90’s* then Titus has been established enough by the 90s to be known by the author of First Clement. This argues against a second-century dating of at least Titus; since most concur that the Pastorals were composed around the same time (either together or over a space of 1-2 years) this puts all of the PE before the second century in the late first century at the latest. It will be interesting to see what can be made of other affinities between First Clement and the Pastoral Epistles.

* Lightfoot strongly argues for this. Holmes also notes “There is widespread agreement in dating this letter about a.d. 95–97, in the last year of the emperor Domitian or the first of his successor, Nerva.” (Holmes 23).

Bourgeois Christianity?

This is my first post and I am honoured to be involved in this blog with Rick and Perry.  I echo the comments made by Perry in his first post.  I would like to offer some thoughts that I hope will generate some discussion.  As a first post I will restrict my comments to very general ones.  I am sure the discussion will lead us to more specific deliberations.

The (previous) scholarly consensus on the Pastoral Epistles (PE) is that they are late documents reflecting Pauline communities which had become institutionalised and had come to terms with the delay of the Parousia by settling down into a form of accommodation with the wider society.  My work disputes a number of aspects of this consensus and remains in dialogue with the Hermeneia commentary on the PE by Martin Dibelius and Hans Conzelmann in which Dibelius famously argued that the PE promote the ideal of good christian citizenship (christliche Bürgerlichkeit) – a form of bourgeois christianity.

In my book, The Polemic of the Pastorals, I argued that the letters do not reflect communities in which Paul’s vision of the church as a charismatic community has faded through the process of institutionalisation.  My current work focuses on the communities’ wider relationship with society.  I am intrigued by the rhetorical function of 2 Tim 3:12.  This verse receives scant attention in the Hermeneia commentary.  Although sympathetic to the current emphasis on treating each letter separately and not taking the PE as a literary corpus, I personally remain convinced by the results of older scholarship that for reasons of style, vocabulary, etc. they should, with due sensitivity, be treated together.  If so, the presence of a text like 2 Tim 3:12 in this corpus means that it is problematic to read 1 Tim 2:1-2 as a straightforward indication that the communities have accommodated themselves to society.  For example, 16th century Anabaptists, who were persecuted by both Protestants and Catholics, regularly quoted 2 Tim 3:12 (it is one of the most cited texts in Martyrs Mirror, the Anabaptist martyrology first published in 1660), yet they also freely made use of 1 Tim 2:1-2.  For example, Article XXVII of the Mennonite Confession of Faith (dated around 1600) begins: “we confess: [t]hat the office of magistracy is an ordinance and institution of God who Himself willed and ordained that such a power should be over every country in order that thereby countries and cities might, through good policy and laws, for the punishment of the evil and the protection of the pious, be governed and maintained in quiet and peace, in a good civil life …” (my emphasis).  In this case persecuted Christians could echo the prayer expressed in 1 Tim 2:1-2 precisely because they were persecuted and marginalised in society.  It seems to me that the PE can be read as instructions to communities who recognise only too well that the subversive claims of the gospel (e.g. God, not Caesar, as saviour) could lead to persecution at any time.  If we take seriously Ephesus as the destination of 1 and 2 Timothy then is it illegitimate to view some of the vocabulary of at least these two letters in the PE as in conscious dialogue with the imperial cult?

I look forward to your comments!