Author: perry (Page 4 of 4)


I was able to catch a couple of Pastoral Epistles related papers at ETS and to meet some readers of this blog.  Particularly good, I thought, was Tim Swinson’s paper ” ‘Faithful Sayings’ or One Faithful Word? Another View of πιστος ο λογος in the Pastoral Epistles.”  Swinson argued that this phrase in the Pastorals should be translated “The word [i.e. the gospel message] is faithful,” and I found the argument quite convincing.  I want to look into the issue further.  I won’t mention more of is argument here since I assume it is part of his dissertation which is in progress, but if the paper is made available (the audio is available, I assume specific sessions will eventually be available), I commend it to you.  I also eagerly anticipate the completion of the dissertation.

New book by James Aageson

James W. Aageson, Paul, the Pastoral Epistles, and the Early Church (Hendrickson, 2008)


Although the publication date on this book is January 2008, I have just received my copy.  I have looked over it briefly, and it appears to be a very interesting, thorough book.  One might question whether or not it could be a good book since the bibliography fails to mention Lloyd, Perry or myself. J Nonetheless, this will likely be a significant volume in the study of the Pastorals.


Aageson contends that the Pastorals were written after Paul but before Ignatius of Antioch wrote his letters (shortly after AD 100).  The book seeks to trace how certain theological themes are handled in the Pastorals in comparison to Paul and the early church.  I differ from Aageson in many respects, but I think this book will be important and useful.  I look forward to reading it.

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.

Interpreting the Bible: A Handbook of Terms and Methods

Interpreting the Bible: A Handbook of Terms and Methods, Randolph Tate

(Hendrickson, 2007)


This is an interesting and useful book from a bit more of a critical perspective.  My reason for commenting on it here is Tate’s evaluation of the Pastoral Epistles in his entry for “Epistolary Literature”.  In this entry Tate refers to the “Undisputed Pauline Letters”, the “Disputed (Deutero-)Pauline Letters” and the “Pseudo-Pauline Letters.”  These are fairly standard categories.  What is unusual is that for Tate the Pastorals are the “Disputed” letters and Ephesians and 2 Thessalonians are the “Pseudo-Pauline”!  Every other source I have ever read which uses these three categories places the Pastorals in the lowest category, the least Pauline.  Ephesians and other letters are typically labeled “Deutero-Pauline.”  The reversal of categories is so complete that I wonder if it was a mistake.  If not, does Tate see the Pastorals as more Pauline than Ephesians?  That would be interesting.  His treatment of the Pastorals does not seem to suggest a higher view of the letters however (indeed he does not seem to be aware of some research that has seriously challenged older criticisms of the Pastorals).


Any thoughts form others?

The IVP Intro to the Bible on the PE

The recent IVP Introduction to the Bible is a nicely done book with a great line up of contributors.  The book provides a nice overview of both testaments including intertestamental history.  The chapters take up issues of history, structure, and meaning.  Such a project is always laudable.


However, the section on the Pastorals is disappointing.  The coverage is of course brief in such a volume- about 3 full pages.  In such space it is difficult to do much, but my disappointment has to do with the overall picture given of the letters.  The book states that the PE “generally focus on the personal lives and activity of those leaders [Timothy & Titus] (or ‘pastors’- hence the title ‘pastoral’ letters).”  While this opinion of the letters is commonly repeated it simply does not hold.  Of course the letters are addressed to Timothy and Titus, but they are taken up far more with the behavior of others in the church. The letters address far more the ‘public’ activity of Timothy than their ‘personal’ lives.

What Did Paul Really Care About in the Pastorals?

This summer I have submitted two chapters (1 Tim/Titus & 2 Tim) to a forthcoming NT Survey textbook (Kregel) which is to be titled, What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Their Writings.  While there are numerous NT Survey’s on the market this one aims to be brief and particularly targeted at undergraduate students.  Most surveys are written by seminary professors for that level.  This one is written entirely by people teaching undergraduates.  It is also very focused and brief.  The goal is to summarize the chief concerns of each book in a readable format. 


My point here, though, is to submit to readers what I did with the Pastorals.  I was to distill the letters into what I understood to be Paul’s chief concerns in the letters.


For 1 Timothy and Titus I argued that Paul’s chief concern was corporate and personal godliness.  I wrote:

Paul’s central concern both in 1 Timothy and Titus was the godliness of Timothy and Titus as individuals and of the congregations in which they ministered.  The concern for godliness governed everything Paul wrote in these letters.  Paul explicitly stated that his purpose in writing to Timothy was to urge godly behavior among believers.  In 1 Timothy 3:14-15 he stated, “I am writing you these instructions so that … you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household.”

I also listed church health and right teaching as key concerns in these two letters.


Fro 2 Timothy I suggest perseverance is the major burden of the letter with concern for passing on the pure gospel being a key, related issue.


What do you think?

Commentary and Reference Survey

John Glynn’s 10th edition of his Commentary and Reference Survey (Kregel) has just been released.  This is the most thorough of such books around- though recommendations from Don Carson still carry the most weight with me! 

Glynn’s book is a great resource.  He has added two chapters on software in this edition.


His section on the Pastorals is well done.  As before, he has a list of forthcoming commentaries which is always interesting.  In addition to his listing of “Technical, Semitechnical” and “Exposition” types of commentaries he has a list of books dealing with 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and a list of “Special Studies.”  I was gratified to note that Lloyd’s book and mine were included in the list, though neither were marked as best buys. J  I am not sure exactly how he determined which books to list in this section since there seem to be some obvious gaps, Towner’s monograph for example.  Perhaps the idea is that with Towner’s two commentaries there is no need to list his monograph.


This is a very useful- and impressive- book.

Fee’s Pauline Christology

I just received the Ryan Center’s copy of Gordon Fee’s Pauline Chrtistology.  I have deeply appreciated Fee’s work on the Spirit in Paul, God’s Empowering Presence, and have therefore eagerly anticipated this new book.  He follows the same basic format as the earlier book though he could not be as comprehensive for obvious reasons.

60 pages are devoted to the Christology of the Pastoral Epistles (with each letter treated individually).  I have not had the chance yet to work through it, but Fee had already described to me his argument that Paul does not call Jesus God in Titus 2:11-14.  It is a significant argument though I have not been able to settle yet on my evaluation of it.

This will be a significant book on many levels.

Van Neste First Post

Having now survived the end of term, I am finally going to provide some posts.  I am very pleased to be participating in this project.  I hope to post some reviews of books related to the Pastoral Epistles, some interaction with some recent articles, links to recent reviews of monographs on the Pastoral Epistles.

Kudos to Rick for putting this together!

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