Beale, “The Background to ‘Fight the Good Fight’ in 1 Timothy 1:18, 6:12, and 2 Timothy 4:7”

G. K. Beale is hard at work on his forthcoming Pastorals commentary in the ZECNT series, co-authored with Christopher Beetham. In the meantime, he has published a new article on the Pastorals, grounded in an ETS presentation he gave in 2021:

G. K. Beale, “The Background to ‘Fight the Good Fight’ in 1 Timothy 1:18, 6:12, and 2 Timothy 4:7.” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 113.2 (2022): 202–30.


The combined wording in 1 Tim 1:18 of στρατεύω + στρατεία can be rendered in English “fight the fight,” “battle the battle,” or more generally “perform military service” or “serve in a military campaign.” The combination surprisingly occurs often throughout Greco-Roman literature to express a patriotic warfare idiom for good character revealed by persevering through warfare or military campaigns. This idiom is applied to Timothy to demonstrate his good Christian character and reputation over against the false teachers’ bad character. The idiom also occurs often in a legal context to affirm a person’s character and good reputation, which qualifies a person to be an officer of the court or endorses a person’s character before the court in a legal dispute, showing him to be worthy of an innocent verdict. In 1 Timothy this idiom is used in a legal context (accompanied repeatedly by the μάρτυς word group, as in the Hellenistic occurrences of the idiom) that demonstrates and acquits Timothy’s character and reputation before the false teachers. The redundant word combination of ἀγωνίζομαι + ἀγών (“struggle the struggle”) in 1 Tim 6:12 and 2 Tim 4:7 is recognized by commentators as a development of the phrase in 1 Tim 1:18. In the Greek world, this also is a well-worn idiom used in the same way as the στρατεύω + στρατεία expression, most likely highlighting the difficulty of the fight. This is why the expression ἀγωνίζομαι + ἀγών is synonymous with the expression in 1 Tim 1:18, even with the added adjective “good.” This is also why some English translations even translate the redundant expressions in 1 Tim 1:18, 1 Tim 6:12, and 2 Tim 4:7 as “fight the good fight,” clearly seeing στρατεύω + στρατεία and ἀγωνίζομαι + ἀγών as synonymous. This lexical study of Greco-Roman backgrounds endorses the conclusion that the two expressions are idioms and are synonymous.

The Pastorals in New Testament Abstracts 66.1

The following items listed in New Testament Abstracts 66.1 (2022) may be of interest to Pastorals scholars.

218. Annette Huizenga, “Idealized Motherhood: Examples of the Gendered Worldview of the Pastoral Letters.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 294–304.

219. Margaret Y. MacDonald, “Education and the Household in the Pastoral Epistles.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 283–93.

220. Jermo Van Nes, “Second-Century Vocabulary in the Pastoral Epistles? A Reassessment.” Filología Neotestamentaria 34 (2021): 41–67.

221. Marie M. Fortune, “Is Nothing Sacred? I Timothy and Clergy Sexual Abuse.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 317–27.

222. Marianne B. Kartzow, “The ‘Believing Woman’ and Her ekklēsia: Rethinking Intersectional Households and Manuscript Variations in the Widows’ Tale (1 Tim 5:3–16).” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 305–16.

(p. 146) Andreas J. Köstenberger, 1–2 Timothy and Titus. Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham, 2021.

Kay and Moxon, A Pentecostal Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles

The second volume in a new commentary series, Pentecostal New Testament Commentaries, is out, and it addresses the Pastorals:

William K. Kay and John R. L. Moxon. A Pentecostal Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. Pentecostal New Testament Commentaries. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2022.

As one might expect, the commentary gives “special attention to the typical interests and questions of Pentecostal and charismatic readers” (introduction). The Pastorals are accepted as authentically Pauline. “The view taken by this commentary is that the special character and concerns of these texts are already present in some measure for other NT writers and that they can be explained by (a) a clear second-generation, future-facing orientation, (b) one or more amanuenses or assistants, and (c) a decision to use new, more specifically Hellenistic religious language” (introduction).

The introduction notes that “in terms of the great questions facing us today about church planting, mission, leadership and ‘next generation’ church, these epistles could count as amongst the most significant and exciting of the New Testament.”

The authors specify several reasons to attend to the Pastorals, especially for those in the volume’s target audience:
(1) “The epistles tell us about some of the important ‘second phase’ activities that were needed in early mission work.”
(2) “The epistles help us to realize how the early church organized its ministry in practical terms.”
(3) “Third … is the issue of how one even enters a ministry. If 1 Corinthians were our sole guide, we might imagine this happened by a self-evident spiritual gift or anointing. It perhaps comes as a surprise therefore when in the PE, Paul speaks of ‘aspiring’ to a ministry role (1 Tim 3:1), of the ‘testing’ of candidates (1 Tim 3:10), and a fact often missed, that ministry always occurred in teams (cf. 1 Tim 4:14). The PE certainly know about gifts, prophecy, and discerning spirits (1 Tim 4:1, 14), yet procedures and structures clearly appear alongside them. Equally disarming, of course, is the idea of a disciplinary process (run by the congregation?) that could, we assume, lead to the removal of an elder (1 Tim 5:19), contrary to the oft-cited Ps 105:15.”
(4) “Another eye-catching emphasis in the PE is the theme of holiness…. Whilst imagined in some Pentecostal contexts to be the more or less inevitable consequence of receiving the Spirit, the emphasis in the PE lies on training, formation, safeguarding and accountability.”

Waters, Women, Salvation, and Childbearing

Kenneth L. Waters, Sr., is Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean of Personnel, Contracts, and Undergraduate Studies in the School of Theology of Azusa Pacific University. Those who have sought to probe the depths of the extensive literature on 1 Timothy 2:15 have encountered the two related essays that Waters has produced on this crux interpretum:

“Saved Through Childbearing: Virtues as Children in 1 Timothy 2:11–15.” Journal of Biblical Literature 123.4 (2004): 703–35.
“Revisiting Virtues as Children: 1 Timothy 2:15 as Centerpiece for an Egalitarian Soteriology.” Lexington Theological Quarterly 42 (2007): 37–49.

Waters has now incorporated these two essays into a new, book-length treatment of the debated 1 Timothy 2:11–15:

Women, Salvation, and Childbearing: The Mystery of 1 Timothy 2:11–15. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2022.

The book also includes a four-page appendix: “Exploring Further: Teknogonía in Classical Literature” (111–14).

The Pastorals in WUNT

Recently, the Pastorals seem to be having an outsized presence in Mohr Siebeck’s Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament series. The following are recently published and forthcoming volumes in WUNT 1 and and WUNT 2 which each focus solely on one or more of the Pastorals. Authorship/editorship is widespread: Australia (Kidson), Germany (Herzer, Zimmermann), Nigeria (Manomi), Switzerland (Bulundwe), USA (Langford).

Lyn Kidson, Persuading Shipwrecked Men: Rhetorical Strategies in 1 Timothy (WUNT 2/526; 2020) (RBL review) (JETS) (ABR) (JSNT)
Dogara Ishaya Manomi, Virtue Ethics in the Letter to Titus: An Interdisciplinary Study (WUNT 2/560; 2021)
Jens Herzer, Die Pastoralbriefe und das Vermächtnis des Paulus: Studien zu den Briefen an Timotheus und Titus (WUNT 476; 2022)
Ruben Zimmermann and Dogara Ishaya Manomi, eds. “Ready for Every Good Work” (Titus 3:1): Implicit Ethics in the Letter to Titus (WUNT 484; 2022)
Andrew M. Langford, Diagnosing Deviance: Pathology and Polemic in the Pastoral Epistles (WUNT 2/ ; 2022 est.)
Kampotela Luc Bulundwe, 2 Timothée dans le corpus paulinien. Analyse mémorielle (WUNT 2/ ; 2022 or 2023)

To be sure, plenty of single essays on one or more of the Pastorals have appeared in edited WUNT collections. However, before the recent spate of volumes just noted, only the following WUNT volumes (to my knowledge) focused solely on one or more of the Pastorals (or, for Trebilco and Smith, were monographs with a very significant Pastorals component):

Ulrike Wagener, Die Ordnung des “Hauses Gottes.” Der Ort von Frauen in der Ekklesiologie und Ethik des Pastoralbriefe (WUNT 2/65; 1994)
Andrew Y. Lau, Manifest in Flesh: The Epiphany Christology of the Pastoral Epistles (WUNT 2/86; 1996)
Hanna Stettler, Die Christologie der Pastoralbriefe (WUNT 2/105; 1998)
Paul R. Trebilco, The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius (WUNT 166; 2004)
Bernhard Mutschler, Glaube in den Pastoralbriefen: Pistis als Mitte christlicher Existenz (WUNT 256; 2010)
Claire Smith, Pauline Communities as “Scholastic Communities”: A Study of the Vocabulary of “Teaching” in 1 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus (WUNT 2/335; 2012)

The first batch of volumes above has six WUNT volumes on the Pastorals being published in around four years (2020–2023). The earlier batch of volumes, another half-dozen, spans nearly two decades (1994–2012).

Zimmermann and Manomi, eds., “Ready for Every Good Work” (Titus 3:1)

Mohr Siebeck has now listed as forthcoming the volume containing the proceedings of the 2019 “Ethics in Titus” conference held in Mainz:

Ruben Zimmermann and Dogara Ishaya Manomi, eds. “Ready for Every Good Work” (Titus 3:1): Implicit Ethics in the Letter to Titus. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 484. Kontexte und Normen neutestamentlicher Ethik / Contexts and Norms of New Testament Ethics 13. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022.

My email to Mohr Siebeck confirmed that the volume is scheduled for formal release on 30 September 2022. The contributors to the volume are a veritable “who’s who” in Pastorals scholarship:

Ruben Zimmermann/Dogara Ishaya Manomi: The »Implicit Ethics« in Titus. Introductory Remarks and Summary of the Contributions

I. Linguistic and Rhetorical Aspects of the Implicit Ethics: A Text-immanent Approach
Luke Timothy Johnson: The Pedagogy of Grace. The Experiential Basis of Morality in Titus
Annette Bourland Huizenga: Moral Education in Titus. Antitheses for Ethical Living
Dogara Ishaya Manomi: The Language of Virtue. Discovering Implicit Virtue-Ethical Linguistic Elements in Titus
Rick Brannan: The Language of Ethical Instruction in the Letter to Titus. A View Informed by Discourse Grammar and Speech Act Theory
Jermo van Nes: Moral Language and Ethical Argument in Titus. A Reassessment of the Pseudonymity Hypothesis
Philip H. Towner: The Ethical Agenda of Titus. The Time and Space of Ethics

II. Historical and Contextual Dimensions of the Implicit Ethics: A Socio-historial Approach
Jens Herzer: Ethics, Ethos, and Truth. Reassessing the Question of the Individuality of the Pastoral Epistles
Michael Theobald: Internal Ethos or Ethos before the Public Forum? Titus and His Construct of the Opponents
Ray Van Neste: »Our People«. Ethics and the Identity of the People of God in the Letter to Titus
Harry O. Maier: Ethics and Empire in Titus. Texts, Co-texts, and Contexts

III. The Relevance of the Implicit Ethics: A Hermeneutical Approach
Korinna Zamfir: Women’s Vocation and Ministry according to Titus. Ethical Issues and Their Contemporary Relevance
Claire S. Smith: Ethics of Teaching and Learning in Christianity Today. Insights from the Book of Titus
Hans-Ulrich Weidemann: Written to Be with Paul. Reading Galatians with Titus
Marianne Bjelland Kartzow: »Speak evil of no one!« (Titus 3:2).

Butticaz, “De la parenté d’auteur(s) à la ‘mémoire générationelle’ (P. Nora): L’œuvre de Luc et les lettres pastorales en relation”

A new article by Simon Butticaz may be of interest to students of the Pastorals. This article follows his presentation of the same title at the 2021 SNTS annual meeting in Leuven.

Simon Butticaz, “De la parenté d’auteur(s) à la ‘mémoire générationelle’ (P. Nora): L’œuvre de Luc et les lettres pastorales en relation.” New Testament Studies 68.3 (2022): 274–93.

Abstract: On the basis of Pierre Nora’s theory of generations, this article re-examines the relationship between Luke’s work and the so-called ‘Pastoral Letters’. From this perspective, informed by the sociology of memory, the article analyses the affinities between these two traditions not as the traces of a community of author(s), but rather as the expressions of a memorial consciousness under construction: that of a foundational past identified with the generation of the apostles.

Quesnel, “Identifier les parties pauliniennes de la 2ème lettre à Timothee”

A new article on 2 Timothy has been published in Revue Biblique:

Michel Quesnel, “Identifier les parties pauliniennes de la 2ème lettre à Timothee,” Revue Biblique 129.2 (2022): 199–212.

The article is in French, but an English-language abstract is provided: “While the 1st letter to Timothy and the letter to Titus are pseudepigrapha, the 2nd epistle to Timothy is not entirely so. A precise analysis of the vocabulary used and the relationship of the authors to time enables us to distinguish parts of which Paul is certainly the author (2 Tm 1:1–2:13 and 4:6–22) from an addition composed by an editor at the end of the 1st century, giving instructions regarding behaviour to leaders of local churches (2 Tm 2:14–3:9). With less certainty we must probably also attribute to Paul 2 Tm 3:10–4:5.”

Annual Bibliographies on the Pastorals

For some few years now, we have been producing annual bibliographies for researchers in the Letters to Timothy and Titus. These bibliographies are meant to help students of these letters keep up with the secondary literature, and give some idea of research trends. We compile this list each year by contacting academic publishers and Pastorals scholars who have published previously on the letters. Our thanks to all who contributed!

Our annual bibliography of recent publications on the Letters to Timothy and Titus covers contributions from all of 2021 and early 2022. Over 170 items long and international in scope, the list contains monographs, journal articles, and commentaries, as well as lists of conference presentations and dissertations on the letters. It is available for viewing and downloading here.

Our annual bibliography of forthcoming publications on the Letters to Timothy and Titus is wide-ranging and academically oriented, containing over 60 forthcoming works on the Pastoral Epistles, including essays, monographs, and commentaries. In some cases, authors have provided a brief synopsis of their work. This bibliography is available for viewing and downloading here.

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