Free Commentary

The free book of the month this month from Logos is Aída Spencer’s New Covenant Commentary: 2 Timothy and Titus

Abraham Malherbe and the Pastoral Epistles (Guest Post)

This is a guest post from Chuck Bumgardner, who is currently working on a PhD in New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

At the time of his passing in 2012, Abraham Malherbe was working on a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles that was to replace Dibelius/Conzelmann in the Hermeneia series (as of last August when I checked, Fortress had not chosen a new author). His contribution to the literature would have been most welcome, given his scholarly acumen and his previous Pastorals research. I wanted to note here that most of his already-published engagement with the Pastorals, which was scattered rather widely, has been gathered into the first volume of a just-published collection of his essays:
Light from the Gentiles: Hellenistic Philosophy and Early Christianity. Collected Essays, 1959-2012, by Abraham J. Malherbe. Edited by Carl R. Holladay, John T. Fitzgerald, Gregory E. Sterling, and James W. Thompson. 2 volumes. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 150. Leiden: Brill, 2014. (ISBN 978-90-04-25339-1)
The following essays are in Light from the Gentiles. I’ve provided original publication data.

“‘Christ Jesus Came into the World to Save Sinners’: Soteriology in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 331-58 in Salvation in the New Testament: Perspectives on Soteriology. Edited by Jan G. van der Watt. Novum Testamentum Supplements 121. Leiden: Brill, 2005.

“Godliness, Self-Sufficiency, Greed, and the Enjoyment of Wealth. 1 Timothy 6:3-19: Part I.” Novum Testamentum 52 (2010): 376-405.

“Godliness, Self-Sufficiency, Greed, and the Enjoyment of Wealth. 1 Timothy 6:3-19: Part II.” Novum Testamentum 53 (2011): 73-96.

“How to Treat Old Women and Old Men: The Use of Philosophical Traditions and Scripture in 1 Timothy 5.” Pages 263-90 in Scripture and Traditions: Essays on Early Judaism and Christianity in Honor of Carl R. Holladay. Supplements to Novum Testamentum 129. Leiden: Brill, 2008.

“‘In Season and Out of Season’: 2 Timothy 4:2.” Journal of Biblical Literature 103 (1982): 23-41.

“Medical Imagery in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 19-35 in Texts and Testaments: Critical Essays on the Bible and Early Church Fathers. Edited by W. E. March. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1980.

“Overseers as Household Managers in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 72-88 in Text, Image, and Christians in the Graeco-Roman World: A Festschrift in Honor of David Lee Balch. Edited by Aliou Cissé Niang and Carolyn Osiek. Princeton Theological Monograph Series 176. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2012.

“Paraenesis in the Epistle to Titus.” Pages 297-317 in Early Christian Paraenesis in Context. Edited by James Starr and Troels Engberg-Pederson. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 125. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2004.

Paulus Senex.” Restoration Quarterly 36 (1994): 197-207.

“The Virtus Feminarum in 1 Timothy 2:9-15.” Pages 45-65 in Renewing Tradition: Studies in Texts and Contexts in Honor of James W. Thompson. Edited by Mark W. Hamilton, Thomas H. Olbricht, and Jeffrey Peterson. Princeton Theological Monograph Series 65. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2007.

History of Baptist Interpretation of Titus

After about a 5 year hiatus, the Journal of Baptist Studies has relaunched with a new website and an issue devoted entirely to the history of interpretation of the letter to Titus among Baptists. The Journal of Baptist studies is a peer-reviewed journal, published electronically and edited by Anthony Chute and Matthew Emerson. There is no charge for accessing the journal.

Here is the table of contents for the current issue (not including the book reviews):

Baptists, Pastors, and Titus 1: A History of Interpretation

By Ray Van Neste……………………………………………………………4

 

The Legality of Slavery in the Sight of God: Baptists and Their Use of Titus 2 to Defend Slavery

By Jeff Straub………………………………………………………………36

 

Reception History of Titus 3 in Baptist Life

By Anthony Chute………………………………………………………….64

 

Selected Baptist Bibliography on Titus

By Matthew Y. Emerson ……………………………………………………91

 

I think this issue will be of interest to scholars working on the Pastorals even if they are not Baptists. The essays trace the way one group of Christians have interpreted and applied this letter over the years. The focus is not simply on academic writing but how the texts were applied in the life of the church.

In my essay I was intrigued to find shifts in the way Baptist leaders interpreted references to plurality of pastors/elders, the use of alcohol, and the ‘believing” or “faithful” children in Titus 1:6.

I am interested in any thoughts readers have on these essays. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments.

Ken Myers on Titus and Cultural Engagement

In the recent issue of Touchstone Magazine Ken Myers’ article “Waiting for Epimenides” draws from the letter to Titus lessons for cultural engagement.  Myers’ article is a good example in a non-technical article of drawing proper applications.


This is a good article both in its handling of Titus and in its observations of the current church scene.  Here si one quote:



“St. Paul’s letter to Titus is a bracing rebuke to much of the vague talk about cultural engagement one hears in so many Christian settings. … It recognizes that cultural moods and styles can be enemies of faithfulness.” (11)


If you are not a subscriber to Touchstone, I would encourage you to try out the magazine.


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.

I’m Back!!

After some time away, I’m working in the Pastorals again.  Here’s a rather disjointed series of thoughts on what I’m doing.

The time away: last spring, I was named the Dean of the Sack School of Bible and Ministry at Kentucky Christian University, the school where I’ve taught for five years.  Administration has left me with almost no time to write, especially since our Youth and Family Ministries professor left without warning in June.

Writing again: my doktorvater, Charles Talbert, has invited me to finish the commentary on the Pastorals and Philemon in the Smyth and Helwys Reading the New Testament series.  This particular volume, which will be published under the title Reading Paul’s Letters to Individuals, has a checkered past.  Several NT scholars have had the contract at one time or another.  I’ll be completing work that Hulit Gloer was not able to finish due to health reasons.

My deadline: 4 July, which is growing nearer every day.

How it’s going: I made the mistake, when I first started writing, of trying to tackle Philemon first.  But I don’t know Philemon as well as I know the PE, so I’ve gotten a bit bogged down.  So I’ve started writing on the PE again.

Little projects that make up the big project:

  • In April, I’ll be presenting a paper at the Stone Campbell Journal conference, at Cincinnati Christian University.  The paper will deal with 1 Timothy 2.
  • The commentary will build on the reading of the PE from my monograph, Leadership Succession, and on the papers that I’ve read at SBL in Philadelphia (a narrative reading of the PE, using Aristotle’s Poetics as my primary lens) and Washington.
  • In the commentary, I will treat the letters in the order Titus – 1 Timothy – 2 Timothy – Philemon.

More on P.Tebt. 703

I blogged about this now nearly a month ago; in the end of the post I wrote:



I’d thought I would have to instead find the 1933 Tebtunis volume in a library somewhere, but this is so much better. I had to blog it quick; first so I could find the reference easily when I really want it later on; and secondly so y’all could be aware of it.


In the meantime, a friend went up to the library at Trinity Western, and he retrieved the information on P.Tebt 703 from the printed edition for me. I thought it would be 10 pages at most, consisting mainly of transcription and translation.


I was wrong.


The information on P.Tebt 703 runs for 36 pages. There are seven pages of background and discussion, followed by a six-part table of contents (!) before the transcription begins. Following the transcription is the standard translation/notes section that runs for 20 pages!


While there are some similarities in content between P.Tebt 703 and First Timothy and Titus, I think the jury is still out on them sharing genre. But if you’re looking to study this, the information in the Tebtunis Papyri, Vol 3 Part 1, for P.Tebt 703, is well worth looking up and studying.

First Timothy and P.Tebt. 703

If you read many recent commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles (particularly Witherington, though Johnson and probably Towner and Marshall), and if you have read the section on First Timothy in Carson’s New Testament Introduction and also in Frank Theilman’s New Testament Theology, you’ve heard of P.Tebt. 703.


P.Tebt. 703 is one of the Tebtunis Papyri. It is a letter dated “after 208 BC”. It is described as:



Copy of an official memorandum probably from the dioiketes to probably the oikonomos, giving instructions concerning agriculture, transport, royal revenues and monopolies, official correspondence, and behavior of royal officials.


Many folks look to P.Tebt. 703 as an example of a superior writing instructions to his lieutenant concerning administration of an area/group and see similarities with what Paul is writing to Timothy in First Timothy (and, similarly what Paul writes to Titus in the epistle to Titus).


I’ve been looking for a full translation of P.Tebt. 703 for a few days (well, thinking about looking) and this morning I finally remembered that I could hit APIS (Advanced Papyrological Information System) and probably find it pretty quickly. It’s better than I’d thought. The APIS entry has images, verso and recto, of all the extant leaves of the letter along with summary description and translation.


I’d thought I would have to instead find the 1933 Tebtunis volume in a library somewhere, but this is so much better. I had to blog it quick; first so I could find the reference easily when I really want it later on; and secondly so y’all could be aware of it.

Classen on Titus

At SBL I finally managed to find a reasonably priced copy of Carl Joachim Classen’s Rhetorical Criticism of the New Testament (Brill, 2000).  This book is a collection of papers and articles previously given and published.  His first two essays are useful on the question of the legitimacy of using categories of classical rhetoric in analyzing Paul’s letters.  Classen is a classicist rather than a biblical scholar so he brings a valuable perspective to the question.


 


The third essay is the one that directly concerns the Pastoral Epistles and is entitled, “A Rhetorical Reading of the Epistle to Titus.”  Though I differ from Classen on the structure of the letter, I benefitted from reading his analysis while working on my own.  He does conclude that the letter is carefully written (in contrast to many) and that the author did not follow the directions of any of the classical handbooks on rhetoric.  Any examination of the structure of Titus ought to interact with Classen.


 


(You can see my differences with Classen either by comparing his work with my monograph or a brief article, “Structure and Cohesion in Titus,” published in The Bible Translator 53:1 (Jan 2002):118-33.)


Previous Journals on the Pastorals

In the Fall 2003 the Midwestern Journal of Theology (inaugural issue) and the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology devoted their articles to the Pastoral Epistles.  Sadly the Midwestern Journal’s table of contents is no longer available online.  The issue contained an article by Howard Marshall surveying recent work on the Pastoral Epistles.  The one article from that issue available online is Terry Wilder’s “A Brief Defense of the Pastoral Epistles’ Authenticity.”


 


The full table of contents from the SBJT issue can be viewed online.  Here are the titles devoted to the Pastorals along with links for those available online:


The Pastoral Epistles
Vol. 7, No. 3, Fall 2003


 


Editorial: Stephen J. Wellum
Guard the Gospel of Truth


 


Andreas J. Köstenberger
Hermeneutical and Exegetical Challenges in Interpreting the Pastoral Epistles


 


Ray Van Neste
The Message of Titus: An Overview


 


Benjamin L. Merkle
Hierarchy in the Church? Instruction from the Pastoral Epistles concerning Elders and Overseers


 


Philip H. Towner
The Function of the Public Reading of Scripture in 1 Timothy 4:13 and in the Biblical Tradition


 


 


Perhaps this will be of interest even if for some articles you have to track down hard copies.