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 IX

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

Ign. Rom 2.2 || 2Ti 4.6

(2) πλέον δέ μοι μὴ παράσχησθε τοῦ σπονδισθῆναι θεῷ, ὡς ἔτι θυσιαστήριον ἕτοιμόν ἐστιν, ἵνα ἐν ἀγάπῃ χορὸς γενόμενοι ᾄσητε τῷ πατρὶ ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ, ὅτι τὸν ἐπίσκοπον Συρίας κατηξίωσεν ὁ θεὸς εὑρεθῆναι εἰς δύσιν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς μεταπεμψάμενος. καλὸν τὸ δῦναι ἀπὸ κόσμου πρὸς θεόν, ἵνα εἰς αὐτὸν ἀνατείλω. (Ign. Rom 2.2)
(2) Grant me nothing more than to be poured out as an offering to God while there is still an altar ready, so that in love you may form a chorus and sing to the Father in Jesus Christ, because God has judged the bishop from Syria worthy to be found in the West, having summoned him from the East. It is good to be setting from the world to God, in order that I may rise to him. (Ign. Rom 2.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (168, 169). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

6 Ἐγὼ γὰρ ἤδη σπένδομαι, καὶ ὁ καιρὸς τῆς ἀναλύσεώς μου ἐφέστηκεν. (2Ti 4.6, NA27)
6 For I am already poured out as a drink offering, and the season of my departure is imminent. (2Ti 4.6, my own translation)

The concept of “pouring out” (σπονδίζω / σπένδω) is clearly similar, but the same word is not used. BDAG clears this up with its note on the entry for σπονδίζω regarding their relationship, “derivative of σπονδή; =earlier Gk. σπένδω” (BDAG 939).

These instances of “poured out” language, while similar, refer to slightly different things. Ignatius is clearly referring to his impending martyr’s death. Paul, still alive, considers himself already poured out. He is at the end of his earthly pilgrimage referring to his ministry.

Perhaps the more clear NT parallel to Ignatius is Php 2.17:

17 Ἀλλὰ εἰ καὶ σπένδομαι ἐπὶ τῇ θυσίᾳ καὶ λειτουργίᾳ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν, χαίρω καὶ συγχαίρω πᾶσιν ὑμῖν· (Php 2.17, NA27)
17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. (Php 2.17, ESV)

Here Paul is referring to his future death, not to his work as an apostle. It aligns more clearly with the intent of Ignatius’ remark and should be considered the more likely NT parallel.

But is this sort of language common? BDAG cites a few other sources that speak of being “poured out like a drink offering”. One is in Philo, On Drunkenness, 152, which speaks of the mind being an offering (σπονδὴν) offered and consecrated (σπένδεσθαι) to God:

(152) And from this it results that the mind which is filled with unmixed sobriety is of itself a complete and entire libation, and is offered as such to and consecrated (σπένδεσθαι) to God. For what is the meaning of the expression, “I will pour out my soul before the Lord,” but “I will consecrate it entirely to him?” Having broken all the chains by which it was formerly bound, which all the empty anxieties of mortal life fastened around it, and having led it forth and emancipated it from them, he has stretched, and extended, and diffused it to such a degree that it reaches even the extreme boundaries of the universe, and is borne onwards to the beautiful and glorious sight of the uncreate God.
Philo, o. A., & Yonge, C. D. (1996, c1993). The works of Philo : Complete and unabridged (220). Peabody: Hendrickson.

In Philo, the offering is clearly not one’s death but instead one’s mental activity. Other instances in other literature (e.g. Josephus, Ant. 6.22) involve the normal use of the word, as making a drink offering. However, the sense of offering up one’s life as a sacrifice to one’s God is not completely foreign; a 2nd century AD reference is noted in BDAG’s entry for σπένδω:

In the Apollonaretal., Berl. Gr. Pap. 11 517 [II a.d.]: Her 55, 1920, 188–95 ln. 26, the putting to death of a prophet of Apollo who was true to his god appears as a σπονδή. (BDAG 937)

If Ignatius gets his equation of death and martyrdom as “being poured out as a drink offering” from anywhere, he likely gets it from Paul. But he likely gets it from Php 2.17 and perhaps some supplemental force from 2Ti 4.6; but he likely did not get it only from influence of 2Ti 4.6.

Next up: Ign. Magn. 8.1 || Titus 1.14, 3.9

The Pastoral Epistles in Ignatius, Part IV

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

Ign. Smyrn. 4.2 || 1Ti 1.12 (cf. 2Ti 2.1; 4.17)

(2) εἰ γὰρ τὸ δοκεῖν ταῦτα ἐπράχθη ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, κἀγὼ τὸ δοκεῖν δέδεμαι. τί δὲ καὶ ἑαυτὸν ἔκδοτον δέδωκα τῷ θανάτῳ, πρὸς πῦρ, πρὸς μάχαιραν, πρὸς θηρία; ἀλλʼ ὁ ἐγγὺς μαχαίρας, ἐγγὺς θεοῦ· μεταξὺ θηρίων, μεταξὺ θεοῦ· μόνον ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς τὸ συμπαθεῖν αὐτῷ. πάντα ὑπομένω, αὐτοῦ με ἐνδυναμοῦντος τοῦ τελείου ἀνθρώπου. (Ign. Smyrn. 4.2)
(2) For if these things were done by our Lord in appearance only, then I am in chains in appearance only. Why, moreover, have I surrendered myself to death, to fire, to sword, to beasts? But in any case, “near the sword” means “near to God” “with the beasts” means “with God.” Only let it be in the name of Jesus Christ, that I may suffer together with him! I endure everything because he himself, who is perfect man, empowers me.
 (Ign. Smyrn. 4.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (186, 187). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

12 Χάριν ἔχω τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντί με Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, ὅτι πιστόν με ἡγήσατο θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν (1Ti 1.12, NA27)
12 I am thankful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He considered me faithful, appointing me into His service. (1Ti 1.12, my own translation)

1 Σὺ οὖν, τέκνον μου, ἐνδυναμοῦ ἐν τῇ χάριτι τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, (2Ti 2.1, NA27)
1 And so you, my child, be empowered in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, (2Ti 2.1, my own translation)

17 ὁ δὲ κύριός μοι παρέστη καὶ ἐνεδυνάμωσέν με, ἵνα διʼ ἐμοῦ τὸ κήρυγμα πληροφορηθῇ καὶ ἀκούσωσιν πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, καὶ ἐρρύσθην ἐκ στόματος λέοντος. (2Ti 4.17, NA27)
17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the preaching might be fully presented and all the nations might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. (2Ti 4.17, my own translation)

The common idea here is that of Christ as the source of strength/power for the believer. The similarity is lexical with the point of contact being participle forms of the word ἐνδυναμόω. And, as the additional citations of 2Ti 2.1 (an imperative) and 4.17 (again a participle) show, the idea is one that is found in the Pastorals.

However, the idea of being strengthened by Christ is essentially Pauline. The more likely point of contact for Ignatius in this instance is Php 4.13:

13 πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με. (Php 4.13, NA27)
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Php 4.13, ESV)

Compared to:

πάντα ὑπομένω, αὐτοῦ με ἐνδυναμοῦντος τοῦ τελείου ἀνθρώπου. (Ign. Smyrn. 4.2, end)
I endure everything because he himself, who is perfect man, empowers me. (Ign. Smyrn. 4.2, end)

The larger contexts are roughly the same (Ignatius on his way to martyrdom, Paul in prison) and the sentiments are the same (whatever comes, it can be borne because Christ is the source of strength). The same sentiment is present in 1 & 2 Timothy; and Paul is even in prison again in 2 Timothy.

So Pauline influence here doesn’t seem to be a stretch, particularly since Paul is the primary source using ἐνδυναμόω. Paul uses the term 6 times: Ro 4.20; Eph 6.10; Php 4.13; 1Ti 1.12; 2Ti 2.1; 4.17. The only other NT instance is from Luke, in Ac 9.22 — where he uses the term to describe how Paul “increased all the more in strength”.

But I don’t think influence can be narrowed to First Timothy. The examples in Php 4.13 and also Eph 6.10 (“Be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might”, right before the passage on the armor of God) may have more influence. If one passage must be selected as inspiration for Ignatius, then Php 4.13 is likely it as it has the idea of enduring/doing all things (πάντα) because Christ empowers (ἐνδυναμόω).

Next up: Ign. Eph. 2.1; Ign. Smyrn. 10.2 || 2Ti 1.16

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part III

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

Ep.Barn. 7.2 has one primary point in similarity with 2Ti 4.1, though it shares some commonality with 1Pe 4.5; Ac 10.42; Poly. Phil. 2.1; 2Cl 1.1.

Ep.Barn. 7.2 || 2Ti 4.1

(2) εἰ οὖν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, ὢν κύριος καὶ μέλλων κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, ἔπαθεν ἵνα ἡ πληγὴ αὐτοῦ ζωοποιήσῃ ἡμᾶς, πιστεύσωμεν ὅτι ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἠδύνατο παθεῖν εἰ μὴ διʼ ἡμᾶς. (Ep.Barn. 7.2)
(2) If, therefore, the Son of God, who is Lord and is destined to judge the living and the dead, suffered in order that his wounds might give us life, let us believe that the Son of God could not suffer except for our sake. (Ep.Barn. 7.2)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (290, 291). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

1 Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, καὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ· (2Ti 4.1, NA27)
1 I solemnly urge in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, the one who will judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His Kingdom: (2Ti 4.1, my own translation)

The primary point of similarity is, obviously, that Christ (the Son of God) will judge the living and the dead. The portion about judging is exactly the same in both texts: κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς. An infinitive, followed by a participle and adjective, joined by καὶ and agreeing in case, number and gender.

The secondary point of similarity—the bit about the impending state of the judgment—is wrapped up with the first. In both texts it uses the same verb (Ep.Barn. anarthrous participle μέλλων; NA27 subsantive participle τοῦ μέλλοντος) but the modification structures are different. Barnabas has a phrase with noun and participle, joined by καὶ, agreeing in case, number and gender. This is all part of a relative clause that further explains who the Son of God is and what he does:

εἰ οὖν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ,
If, therefore, the Son of God,
      κύριος καὶ μέλλων κρίνειν
      (is) Lord and (is) destined to judge
         ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς
         living ones and dead

2Ti 4.1, however, uses the same verb as a particple but in a different case with an article. It is in the genitive, which is in agreement with the phrase that precedes it, and it serves to further modify “Christ Jesus”.

Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον
I solemnly urge in the presence
      τοῦ θεοῦ
      of God
      Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
      Christ Jesus
         τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν
         who is about to judge
            ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς
            living ones and dead

One issue in 2Ti invovles determining what the participle+infinitive phrase modifies. Does Granville Sharp apply? I’d say that while Paul invokes the presence of both God and Christ Jesus, the singular number of the participle phrase would point back to just “Christ Jesus”. It points to Christ as judge. The article of the participle substantizes the phrase and functions like a relative pronoun, thus the participial clause functions like a relative clause, as I’ve translated. (I’m flying off the seat of my grammatical pants here, though, and am open to correction or other opinions). The Ep.Barn. passage has no such confusion, it more explicitly points to the “Son of God” as judge, after calling him Lord and judge.

Also note that Ep.Barn. and 2Ti here use relative structures (one a relative clause, the other a participial clause functioning relatively) in disclosing who judges and the impending nature of the judgement. All in all very similar, but as was noted above this same idea of Christ being the judge of the living and the dead is not localized to these two passages. Here are the others:

  • 1Pe 4.5: οἳ ἀποδώσουσιν λόγον τῷ ἑτοίμως ἔχοντι κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς.

  • Ac 10.42: καὶ παρήγγειλεν ἡμῖν κηρύξαι τῷ λαῷ καὶ διαμαρτύρασθαι ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ὡρισμένος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν.

  • Poly. Phil. 2.1: ὃς ἔρχεται κριτὴς ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν,

  • 2Cl 1.1: Ἀδελφοί, οὕτως δεῖ ἡμᾶς φρονεῖν περὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὡς περὶ θεοῦ, ὡς περὶ κριτοῦ ζώντων καὶ νεκρῶν.

As the same basic phrase and thought occurs among different authors (six instances, in total, from six different authors) I’d say that any dependence of Ep.Barn. on 2Ti is unlikely even though they use the same exact form of infinitive clause. That Christ “will judge the living and the dead” was a phrase likely found in some common liturgical source or emphasized due to its repetition in the NT documents. Still, the degree of similarity between Ep.Barn. and 2Ti is intriguing.

Next up: Ep.Barn. 1.3, 4, 6.

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!