Author: Ray Van Neste (Page 1 of 11)

Ray Van Neste is a believer in Christ, husband, father, pastor, and professor. He serves as the Dean of the School of Theology & Missions and Professor of Biblical Studies at Union University, and teaches classes on New Testament, Greek, and pastoral ministry.

Review, The Ideal Bishop: Aquinas’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles

Michael G. Sirilla. The Ideal Bishop: Aquinas’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles (Washington, D. C., The Catholic University of America Press, 2017)

This book makes a valuable contribution to Pastoral Epistles scholarship even though its aim is really toward a theology of pastoral ministry. Sirilla says this work fills “a lacuna in the scholarly work on St. Thomas’s theology of the episcopacy” (4) because scholars have tended to overlook Aquinas’s exegetical work. This has impoverished previous work because “many of St. Thomas’s theological reflections on the grace of the bishop’s office are found exclusively in his commentaries on the PE” (5). Sirilla says this is the first study to “substantively examine the theology of the episcopacy” found in Aquinas’s lectures on the Pastorals (5). Read more

Worship in the PE, a New Essay

I was pleased to have the opportunity to write the chapter on the Pastoral Epistles in Biblical Worship: Theology for God’s Glory which is due out next week. I like mining a specific text, seeking what it has to say on a specific topic, and interestingly the Pastorals are not often quizzed for what they have to offer on worship. People note that preaching is upheld in these letters, but not much else. I ended up titling the chapter, “The Word, Prayer, and Practice: Worship in the Pastoral Epistles,” trying to point out key categories of worship mentioned in the PE.

My aim was to draw out what these letters offer concerning a theology of worship and then to suggest some applications to current church life. I’ll let you read the chapter, but I suggest we should give more attention to our own ethics as worship and even to dying as worship (2 Tim 4:6). Furthermore, while prayer is readily acknowledged as a key aspect of worship, it does not feature as prominently in corporate worship in many of our churches as it appears to in these letters. Lastly, though I do not develop this point as much, the comments on worship in the PE regularly are seen as aids to perseverance. If we want to persevere well, we need the sort of formative worship portrayed in the Pastorals (and elsewhere in the NT).

PE in Latest Issue of JSPL

Thanks to Mike Bird for pointing out that the latest issue of the Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters contains papers from a recent conference on the Pastoral Epistles in Belgium. I have copied the list of papers and contributors below. It is a fascinating list.

JERMO VAN NES
The Pastoral Epistles: Common Themes, Individual Compositions? An Introduction to the Quest for the Origin(s) of the Letters to Timothy and Titus Read more

Interview with Gerald Bray

Over at his blog, Psephizo, Ian Paul has a nice interview with Gerald Bray about his recent commentary on the Pastorals in the new International Theological Commentary series. I found the interview informative. Bray helpfully explains his understanding of and approach to theological interpretation and speaks to key lessons from the Pastoral Epistles for the church today.

Pastoral Epistles session at SBL 2019

I was quite pleased this year to see that the Disputed Paulines session at SBL would meet on Saturday this year since that meant I would be able to attend. I hope they continue in this slot.

Jens Herzer, “Epicurus, Plutarch, and Paul: The Philosophical Discourse on Public Life and the Transformation of Pauline Ethics in 1 Timothy” Read more

Pastorals Section at ETS 2019

We had a good meeting of the Pastoral Epistles Study Group at ETS last week. Stan Porter was unable to attend due to health issues, so we missed his paper. We were glad to hear, though, that he is on the mend.

David Yoon presented his paper, “The Register of Paul in 1 Timothy: Why the Pastorals May Differ in ‘Style’ than the Hauptbrief,” which summarized the linguistic category of “register” which covers what people generally refer to as “style” when they say that the style of the PE differ so much from the accepted Pauline epistles. In the end, Yoon argued there is not enough evidence to establish what an acceptable variance would be, and thus that difference in register is slim basis for any argument concerning authorship. Yoon’s analysis then agrees with the significant recent monograph by Jermo Van Nes, Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles: A Study of Linguistic Variation in the Corpus Paulinum (Linguistic Biblical Studies 16; Leiden: Brill, 2018). Read more

Abstracts for Ethics in Titus Conference

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in the “Ethics in Titus” conference held at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. The conference was hosted by the Research Center for Ethics in Antiquity and Christianity, which is ably led by Prof. Dr. Ruben Zimmermann. In leading this conference Prof. Zimmermann was joined by Dogara Manomi, who has just submitted his doctoral thesis on Titus under Prof. Zimmermann’s supervision. They both were excellent hosts for a stimulating conversation with papers, wonderful meals and even a tour of the city.

They have graciously allowed us to post here the abstracts from the papers of the conference. The papers are to be published in a forthcoming volume in the Context and Norms of New Testament Ethics series within WUNT (Mohr Siebeck).

Titus and the Shaping of Early Christian Identity

I have just read a helpful essay recently published by Jermo Van Nes, titled “Doing Good Deeds: Titus and the Shaping of Early Christian Identity.” The essay appears in the recent book, Drawing and Transcending Boundaries in the New Testament and Early Christianity, ed. Jacobus Kok, Martin Webber, Jermo van Nes (Lit Verlag, 2019). My review of Van Nes’s monograph was recently posted here, and this essay is further helpful work from him.

In this essay Van Nes examines vocabulary in the letter to Titus which denotes insider and outsider status arguing for more variety of groups than in Trebilco’s work. He helpfully points out that the sharp language used for distinguishing the church from outsiders does not sit well with the common idea that the letter presents an accomodationist ethic which intends to alleviate social tensions and make the church more at home in the Greco-Roman world. Rather, the letter marks a sharp division between Cretan believers and the false teachers and unbelievers. The aim of the letter, then, is “to further God’s mission by shaping the Cretan Christian community into a people who in word and deed expose Cretan society to genuine Christian witness” (43).

Marshall’s Commentary Free!

I still think the single best all-around commentary on the Pastoral Epistles in English is Howard Marshall’s volume in the ICC. So, I was excited to see that the free book of the month from Logos is this commentary!

This is an amazing opportunity. If you aren’t signed up to get the alerts for the free book of the month each month from Logos, I encourage you to look into it. It is a great way to expand your electronic library.

Bob Yarbrough: 5 Big Surprises in the PE

At the Eerdmans blog, there is a recent post where Bob Yarbrough, author of the recent Pillar Commentary on the Pastorals, answers the question, “As you worked through the biblical text, what surprised you?”

I resonate with Bob’s answers. The points aren’t particularly surprising to many (including Bob, I suppose) who have worked with the Pastorals for years, but they are contradictory to prevailing opinions about these valuable letters. This is a great little piece, and I encourage you to read it.

Thanks to Chuck Bumgardner for the heads up on this piece.

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