Category: Articles/Essays (Page 1 of 4)

Baum, “Saving Wealthy Ephesian Women from a Self-Centered Way of Life (1 Tim 2:15)”

A essay on the crux of 1 Tim 2:15 in a festschrift honoring Rob van Houwelingen on the occasion of his retirement:

Armin Baum, “Saving Wealthy Ephesian Women from a Self-Centered Way of Life (1 Tim 2:15): Salvation by Childbearing in the Context of Ancient Arguments against Sexual Intercourse, Pregnancy, and Child-rearing,” in Troubling Texts in the New Testament: Essays in Honour of Rob van Houwelingen, Contributions to Exegesis and Theology (Leuven: Peeters, 2022), 257–83.

Abstract: “Many Bible readers regard the statement in 1 Timothy 2: 15 (“She will be saved through childbearing … “) as very unfair. Why did Paul (or one of his disciples) lose sight of gender equality? And is this passage not irreconcilable with passages such as Galatians 3:28, where Paul advocated the soteriological equality of the sexes, and with 1 Corinthians 7:8, where Paul encouraged unmarried women and widows to remain single? 1 Timothy 2: 15 confronts us with two exegetical challenges. First, its telegraphic style was probably quite comprehensible for Paul’s protege Timothy; but for us who are much less familiar with Paul’s thoughts, much more difficult to decipher. Secondly, while for Paul, Timothy and the women concerned the concrete situation in the church of Ephesus was crystal clear, for us who are not involved and look at it from a distance of 2000 years it is anything but easy to figure out what exactly Paul was talking about. But read against its literary and historical context, l Timothy 2:15 is not a misogynistic text but rather a statement against luxury-oriented selfishness which is in conflict with the law of love.”

Helpful in this essay is a taxonomy of views regarding τεκνογονία in 2:15 (p. 260):

Baum’s final interpretive translation reveals his take on the passage: “(The luxury-minded) women (in the church of Ephesus) will be saved (from their spiritually dangerous self-centered lifestyle) by bearing children (and thereby accepting the maternal role) and by holding fast to (the basic Christian virtues of) faith, love, holiness and (particularly) chastity” (p. 280).

Smit, “Gender Trouble in 1 Tim 2:8–15”

A new essay on 1 Timothy 2:8–15 in a festschrift honoring Rob van Houwelingen on the occasion of his retirement:

Peter-Ben Smit, “Gender Trouble in 1 Tim 2:8–15,” in Troubling Texts in the New Testament: Essays in Honour of Rob van Houwelingen, Contributions to Exegesis and Theology (Leuven: Peeters, 2022), 237–56.

Abstract: “This contribution takes as its point of departure the virtues as they are mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:8–15, in particular in verse 15. Analyzing how gender is constructed through the performance of virtues, and noting that certain virtues when performed by women contribute to their autonomy, the proposal is made that, however ‘conservatively’ the author of 1 Timothy may have intended his discourse on gender in these verses, the stress on female virtue may well foster greater autonomy for these women than would have been intended by the author. The question is asked whether this text does not cause its own kind of gender trouble and, in a way, give birth to women like Thecla.”

Church, “Separation from the Evil World”

An excursion into the theology of Darby which may be of interest to students of 2 Timothy:

Phillip Church, “Separation from the (Evil) World: 2 Timothy 2.19-21 and the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.” The Bible Translator 73.2 (2022).

Abstract: Separation from the (evil) world based on 2 Tim 2.19-21 is a defining characteristic of exclusive brethrenism, both in its most extreme form, the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, and in other exclusive brethren groups. I examine this text in its context and then critically assess John Nelson Darby’s reading of it, working from his translation and his comments elsewhere in his writings. Darby misread the text as separation from “evil people” rather than avoidance of wrongdoing, with disastrous consequences. I conclude with some reflections on how his reading of v. 19 arose and on the dangers associated with translation work undertaken by influential individuals working in isolation from other scholars.

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.

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.

Kotansky, “The Secret of the Hidden Cross: The Form, Meaning, and Background of the Hellenistic Hymn Quoted in 1 Tim. 3:16”

A new article on the intriguing 1 Timothy 3:16 is now available, intriguing in its own right:

Kotansky, Roy D. “The Secret of the Hidden Cross: The Form, Meaning, and Background of the Hellenistic Hymn Quoted in 1 Tim. 3:16.” Pages 165–200 in Gods, Spirits, and Worship in the Greco-Roman World and Early Christianity. Edited by Craig A. Evans and Adam Z. Wright. Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity 23. London: T&T Clark, 2022.

Those who have researched the passage will immediately recognize the language of the title as echoing an important essay by Robert Gundry published just over a half-century ago (see below), a purposeful evocation by Kotansky. The fascinating 1 Timothy 3:16 has attracted scholarly attention for quite some time (I’ve appended some treatments at the end of this post); Kotansky rightly speaks of “the long history of exegesis that these lines have endured” (179).

From the volume introduction: “Roy Kotansky investigates the background of the Hellenistic hymn that lies behind 1 Tim. 3:16. After drawing our attention to a number of relevant artifacts and suggesting a new way to understand a difficult phrase in the verse, Kotansky concludes that this hymn is composed in such a way that it creates a visual structure whose purpose is to disguise the message of the cross, yet allow its message to be understood when recited and sung aloud.”


Here are a number of focused studies on 1 Tim 3:16, listed chronologically:

Ward, William H. “An Examination of the Various Readings of 1 Tim. 3:16.” Bibliotheca sacra 27 (1865): 1–50.

Klöpper, A. “Zur Christologie der Pastoralbriefe (1. Tim. 3,16).” Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie 45 (1902): 339‒61.

Seeberg, D. A. Der Katechismus der Urchristenheit. Leipzig: A. Deichert, 1903. [Note “Dieselbe Glaubensformel und der Hymnus I Tim. 3, 16,” pp. 112–25.]

Wilson, O. R. B. “A Study of the Early Christian Credal Hymn of 1 Timothy 3:16.” PhD diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1954.

Braun, R. A. “Mysterium Pietatis seu in historiam interpretationis Eusebeias vocis Pastoralium Epistolarum, speciatim 1 Tim 3.16a inquisitio atque exegetica christologici hymni 1 Tim 3,16b explanatio.” Diss., Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Rome, 1956.

Schweizer, Eduard. “Two New Testament Creeds Compared: I Corinthians 15.3–5 and I Timothy 3.16.” Pages 166–77 in Current Issues in New Testament Interpretation: Essays in Honor of Otto A. Piper. Edited by William Klassen and Graydon F. Snyder. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1962.

Kremer, Jacob. “‘Aufgenommen in Herrlichkeit’ (1 Tim 3,16): Auferstehung und Erhöhung nach dem Zeugnis der paulinischen Schriften.” Bibel und Kirche 20 (1965): 33–37.

Lachenschmid, R. Geheimnis unseres Christseins. Das Christuslied aus 1 Tim 3,16.” Geist und Leben 39 (1966): 225–29.

Hanson, A. T. “An Academic Phrase: 1 Timothy 3.16a.” Pages 21–28 in Studies in the Pastoral Epistles. London: S.P.C.K., 1968. Reprint, Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015.

Stenger, Werner. “Der Christushymnus in 1 Tim 3,16: Aufbau—Christologie—Sitz im Leben.” Trierer theologische Zeitschrift 78 (1969): 33–48.

Deichgräber, Reinhard. Gotteshymnus und Christushymnus in der frühen Christenheit. Untersuchung zu Form, Sprache und Stil der frühchristlichen Hymnen. Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments5. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970.

Gundry, Robert H. “The Form, Meaning and Background of the Hymn Quoted in 1 Timothy 3:16.” Pages 203–22 in Apostolic History and the Gospel: Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce on his 60th Birthday. Edited by W. W. Gasque and R. P. Martin. Exeter: Paternoster, 1970.

Strange, J. F. “A Critical and Exegetical Study of 1 Timothy 3.16: An Essay in Traditiongeschichte.” PhD dissertation, Drew University, 1970.

O’Callaghan, José. “1 Tim 3,16; 4,1.3 en 7Q4?” Biblica 53 (1972): 362–67.

Fowler, Paul B. “Examination of I Timothy 3:16b: Its Form, Language, and Historical Background.” PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1973.

Langkammer, Hugolin. “Hymn chrystologiczny 1 Tym 3,16.“ Pages 137–49 in Verbum Crucis. Kardynałowi Bolesławowi Kominkowi w hołdzie. Wrocław: Wrocławska Księgarnia Archidiecezjalna, 1974.

Stenger, Werner. “Textkritik und Schiksal (1Tim 3,16).“ Biblische Zeitschrift 19.2 (1975): 240–47.

Langkammer, Hugolin. Hymny chrystologiczne Nowego Testamentu. Najstarszy obraz Chrystusa. Attende Lectioni 3. Katowice: Kuria Diecezjalna, 1976.

Stenger, Werner. Der Christushymnus 1 Tim. 3,16. Eine Strukturanalytische Untersuchung. Regensburger Studien zur Theologie 6. Frankfurt: Lang, 1977.

Szczurek, Tadeusz. “‘Ukazał się aniołom’ (1 Tm 3, 16) [‘was seen by angels’ (1 Tim 3, 16)].” Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny 30.4 (1977): 195–98.

Manns, Frédéric. “L’hymne judéo-chrétien de 1 Tim. 3,16.” Euntes Docete 32.3 (1979): 323–39. = “Judeo-Christian Context of 1 Tim 3:16.” Theology Digest 29 (1981): 119–22.

Metzger, Wolfgang. Der Christushymnus 1. Timotheus 3,16: Fragment einer Homologie der paulinischen Gemeinden. Arbeiten zur Theologie 62. Stuttgart: Calwer, 1979.

Hengel, Martin. “Hymn and Christology.” Pages 173–97 in Studia Biblica 1978, III. Papers on Paul and Other New Testament Authors. Sixth International Congress on Biblical Studies. Oxford 3–7 April 1978. Edited by Elizabeth A. Livingstone. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 3. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1980.

Hugger, P. “Mission als Christusmysterium: 1 Tim 3:16.” Pages 19‒27 in Zukunft aus empfangenem Erbe: 100 Jahre benediktinische Missionsarbeit. Edited by S. Hertlein and R. Rudmann. St. Ottilien: EOS, 1983.

Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. “Redactional Angels in 1 Tim 3:16.” Revue Biblique 91 (1984): 178–87.

Du Preez, J. “‘Angeloi’ in die lied van 1 Timoteus 3:16.” Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 28 (1987): 182–86.

Luke, K. “The Impact of Egyptian Ideas on the Formulation of NT Soteriology.” Bible Bhashyam 14 (1989): 185–94.

Rensburg, Fika J. van. “Die Timoteus-himne (1 Tim 3:16).” Pages 83–97 in Hymni Christiani. Edited by J. H. Barkhuizen. HTS supplementum series 1. Pretoria: Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Africa, 1989.

Fowl, Stephen E. The Story of Christ in the Ethics of Paul: An Analysis of the Function of the Hymnic Material in the Pauline Corpus. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 36. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990. Reprint, Bloomsbury Academic Collections, Biblical Studies: The Epistles. London: Bloomsbury, 2015. [note chap. 7, “1 Timothy 3:16b,” 155–174; chap 8, “The Function of 1 Timothy 3:16b,” 175–210]

McClain, C. K., Jr. “A Hermeneutical Inquiry into the Raz-Pesher Motif with Application to 1 Timothy 3:16.” PhD diss., Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, 1990.

Marcheselli-Casale, Cesare. “Gesù di Nazareth il Risorto-Asceso centro vitale della comunità ecclesiale protocristiana. Considerazioni intorno al valore pasquale di 1 Tm 3, 16.” Theologica (Annali della Pontificia Facoltà Teologica della Sardegna) 3 (1994): 235–76.

Karris, Robert J. A Symphony of New Testament Hymns: Commentary on Philippians 2:5–11, Colossians 1:15–20, Ephesians 2:14–16, 1 Timothy 3:16, Titus 3:4–7, 1 Peter 3:18–22, and 2 Timothy 2:11–13. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1996. [note chap. VI-2, “1 Timothy 3:16 — The Universality of Salvation in Christ Jesus,” 112–26]

Testa, Emmanuele. “L’inno sul sacramentum pietatis (1Tm 3, 16).” Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Liber Annuus 46 (1996): 87–100.

Kremer, Jacob. “Das einmütig geschätzte Mysterium der Frömmigkeit: Erwägungen zur Kurzformel chritlichen Glaubens in 1Tim 3,16b.“ Geist und Leben 70.2 (1997): 99–107.

Ham, C. “The Christ Hymn in 1 Timothy 3:16.” Stone-Campbell Journal 3 (2000): 209–28.

MacLeod, Donald J. “Christology in Six Lines: An Exposition of 1 Timothy 3:16.” Bibliotheca Sacra 159 (2002): 334–48.

Frary, Stephen W. “Who Was Manifested in the Flesh? A Consideration of Internal Evidence in Support of a Variant in 1 Tim 3:16a.” Filología Neotestamentaria 16 (2003): 3–18.

Nayak, I. The Mystery of Christian Life: The Christ-Hymn of 1 Tim 3,16. Rome: Urbaniana University Press, 2004.

Arichea, Daniel C., Jr. “Translating Hymnic Materials: Theology and Translation in 1 Timothy 3.16.” Bible Translator 58.4 (2007): 179–85.

Herzer, Jens. “‘Das Geheimnis der Frömmigkeit’ (1 Tim 3,16)—Sprache und Stil der Pastoralbriefe im Kontext hellenistisch-römischer Popularphilosophie—eine methodische Problemanzeige.” Theologische Quartalschrift 187.4 (2007): 309–29. = Pages 381–406 in Die Pastoralbriefe und das Vermächtnis des Paulus: Studien zu den Briefen an Timotheus und Titus. Edited by Jan Quenstedt. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 476. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022.

DiPaolo, Lawrence. Hymn Fragments Embedded in the New Testament: Hellenistic Jewish and Greco-Roman Parallels. Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 2008.

Martin, Brice. “1 Timothy 3:16—A New Perspective.” Evangelical Quarterly 85.2 (2013): 105–20.

Trebilco, Paul R. “1 Timothy 3.16 as a Proto-Rule of Faith.” Pages 170–90 in Ears That Hear: Explorations in Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Edited by Joel B. Green and Tim Meadowcroft. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013.

Walker, Kevin. “Ukazao se . . . Kome? Još jedan osvrt na 1 Tim 3,16b.” Kairos: Evanđeoski teološki časopis 8.2 (2014): 155–74. = “He Appeared to Whom? Another Look at 1 Tim 3:16b.” Kairos: Evangelical Journal of Theology 8.2 (2014): 123–42.

Gordley, Matthew E. New Testament Christological Hymns: Exploring Texts, Contexts, and Significance. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018. [1 Tim 3:16 covered on pp. 183–190]

Gonzaga, Waldecir, and Rafael Mendonça de Souza. “‘Grande é o Mistério da Piedade’: Eclesiologia e Christologia em 1 Timóteo 3,16.” Caminhos 19.2 (2021): 394–415.

Machado, Sidney Damasio. “‘Manifestado na carne’ (1Tm 3,16): Considerações sobre a transmissão damensagem cristã na Igreja primitive // ‘Manifested in the flesh’ (1Tm 3,16): Considerations on the Transmission of the Christian Message in the Early Church.” Revista Pistis Praxis 13.2 (2021): 758–85.

Stevens, “Paul as the Originator of Women Teachers within Religious Circles”

An essay focusing on Titus 2:3–5 has recently been published:

Chris S. Stevens, “Paul as the Originator of Women Teachers within Religious Circles.” Pages 149–64 in Gods, Spirits, and Worship in the Greco-Roman World and Early Christianity. Edited by Craig A. Evans and Adam Z. Wright. Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity 23. London: T&T Clark, 2022.

A preview is available on Academia. The first paragraph of the essay provides an overview: “Contemporary debates concerning the roles of males and females within the local church have diverted from the positive elements concerning corporate roles for all members within the Christian community. Taking a step back and addressing this important issue is important for contemporary theological debates, especially concerning the position of women within the local church. The focus of this chapter is to help situate female involvement within the Christian community with principal attention given to the largely ignored text of Tit. 2:3–5.”

The preface to the volume also summarizes the essay: “Chris Stevens explores in what ways Paul promoted (or held back?) women in teaching roles. He examines Tit. 2:3–5, which he regards as understudied, and reviews some of the cults centered on female deities or cults, whose memberships were mostly female, such as that associated with Dionysus, as well as interesting figures such as Hypatia. He also reviews the limited roles of women in Second Temple Judaism. In light of this backdrop, Stevens concludes that far from holding women back, which was all too common in late antique societies, Paul was a ‘radical originator of women teaching within the religious community.’”

Van Nes, “Second-Century Vocabulary in the Pastoral Epistles? A Reassessment”

A recent article of interest to Pastorals researchers:

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

Abstract: “Many contemporary New Testament scholars consider 1–2 Timothy and Titus, collectively known as the Pastoral Epistles (PE), to be pseudonymous. Some of them do so on the basis of the PE’s comparatively large number of hapax legomena (hapaxes), which they believe is closer to writings of the second century AD. The aim of this study is to reconsider this influential thesis as advocated by P.N. Harrison over the course of the twentieth century. It will be argued that the (statistical) evidence presented by Harrison is flawed as he gives no proper definition of hapaxes, unevenly compares the PE collectively to individual writings, and does not use any criteria to show how his results are statistically significant. By way of alternative, this paper will (1) provide a proper definition of hapaxes, (2) count how many of these hapaxes recur in all Greek second-century writings classified as such in the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae database, and (3) by means of (simple) linear regression analysis determine whether or not 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and/or Titus in comparison to each of the other undisputed Pauline letters share significantly more hapaxes with these second-century writings.”

Maier, “The Entrepreneurial Widows of 1 Timothy”

A new essay on the widows of 1 Timothy has recently appeared:

Harry O. Maier, “The Entrepreneurial Widows of 1 Timothy.” Pages 59–73 in Patterns of Women’s Leadership in Early Christianity. Edited by Ilaria Ramelli and Joan Taylor. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.

An earlier version of this essay is available on Academia, and includes this abstract: “This essay argues that the exhortations and admonitions voiced in 1 Timothy, a highly rhetorical pseudonymous letter written in Paul’s name, that widows (i.e. unmarried) women attests to a concern with single women’s patronage of Christ assemblies, which the writing seeks to address by having them marry. The argument seeks to move beyond a common explanation that the epistle was occasioned by ascetical teachings in which women discovered in sexual continence freedom from traditional gender roles. It seeks to furnish a broader economic concern with widows through an historical exploration of the socio-economic status of women who were artisans in the imperial urban economy. It identifies the means by which women gained skill in trades, the roles they played in the ‘adaptive family’ in which tradespeople plied their trade often at economic levels of subsistence. New Testament texts point to artisan women, some of them probably widows, who played important roles of patronage and leadership in assemblies of Christ believers. By attending to levels of poverty in the urban empire, traditional views of the widows of 1 Timothy as wealthier women assigned to gender roles are seen in a new light through consideration of spouses accustomed to working alongside their husbands taking on businesses after they died. While the lives of these women are largely invisible, attention to benefactions of wealthy women to synagogues and associations gives insight into the lives of women acting independently in various kinds of social gatherings.”

Krauter, “Die Kirche—Pfeiler und Fundament der Wahrheit?”

A recent article on 1 Tim 3:15:

Stefan Krauter, “Die Kirche—Pfeiler und Fundament der Wahrheit? Zur Übersetzung und Auslegung von I Tim 3,15f.” Theologische Zeitschrift 77.1 (2021): 45–59.

The article is in German, but an English-language abstract is provided: “I Tim 3:14–16 is considered the theological centre of the Pastoral Epistles. The text combines the Pauline image of the church as a temple with the image of the church as house of God, which is characteristic of the Pastoral Epistles. In this way, the church is portrayed as a firm institution that passes on the truth unadulterated. The paper questions this interpretation in three steps: lt examines whether there is [a] temple metaphor in the background of l Tim 3:15. The idea that an institution carries the truth of faith is examined. An alternative translation and interpretation of the passage is proposed.”

The article is available here.

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