Category: Pastoral Epistles|1 Timothy|1 Timothy 1 (Page 1 of 3)

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. https://doi.org/10.1515/znw-2022-0011

Abstract:

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.

Heringer, “Beginning with the End: 1 Timothy 1:3–6 and Formative Theological Education”

Researchers in the Pastorals may be interested in a new article on moral formation as an integral part of Christian higher education. This is, to my knowledge, the first article in the five-year-old Journal of Theological Interpretation specifically focusing on a passage from the Pastorals:

Seth Heringer. “Beginning with the End: 1 Timothy 1:3–6 and Formative Theological Education.” Journal of Theological Interpretation 15.2 (2021): 365–80. https://doi.org/10.5325/jtheointe.15.2.0365

Abstract: Institutions of Christian higher education are currently facing numerous and substantial challenges pressuring them to direct resources into training students in professional skills and away from religious and moral formation. Contrary to this prevailing movement, Joel Green has emphasized that Christian education should be orientated toward the church with the goal of forming students to love God with their whole being. This article will argue that Green’s position is rooted in 1 Tim 1:3–6, where Paul juxtaposes heterodox and orthodox instruction. Heterodox instruction seeks “myths” and “genealogies,” leading to worthless arguments and the destruction of relationships. Orthodox instruction teaches about God’s ordering of the world according to his plan as revealed in the gospel. The telos of orthodox instruction is love brought about by three penultimate ends: “a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” If these ends are to be sought by Christian institutions, then formative instruction is a biblically mandated, essential aim that must be sought through institution-wide efforts and measured like other educational outcomes.

Kidson, Persuading Shipwrecked Men

Lyn Kidson, lecturer in NT at Alphacrucis College in Sydney, Australia, recently saw her dissertation published with Mohr Siebeck:

Kidson, Lyn. Persuading Shipwrecked Men: Rhetorical Strategies in 1 Timothy. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/526. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020.

From the publisher’s website: “The plain-spoken rhetorical style of 1 Timothy belies a tension that simmers beneath the surface of the letter. This tension had already erupted in the removal of Hymenaeus and Alexander. Those who are addressed in the letter are warned that they may be heading toward the same catastrophic failure, shipwrecking their faith. This, according to Lyn M. Kidson, is the primary purpose of 1 Timothy. With particular focus on 1 Timothy 1, the author moves away from seeing the letter as a church manual; instead, she argues that its purpose is to command »certain men (and women)« not to teach the other educational program promoted by Hymenaeus and Alexander. This fresh approach to the interpretation of 1 Timothy 1 identifies the use of an ethical digression, which holds the seemingly divergent materials of the letter together.”

Cook, “μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται: In Defence of Tertullian’s Translation”

Recently, John Granger Cook published an article on the oft-debated terms μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται found in 1 Cor 6:9. Because the latter term, ἀρσενοκοῖται, is also found in 1 Tim 1:10, Cook’s work is of significance for students of the Pastorals.

John Granger Cook, “μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται: In Defence of Tertullian’s Translation.” New Testament Studies 65.3 (2019): 332–52

Here is the abstract: “The debate over the translation of μαλακοί and ἀρσενοκοῖται in 1 Cor 6.9 can and should be settled by a non-polemical and complete survey of the material now that comprehensive databases of ancient texts are available. The translation of ἀρσενοκοῖται by Tertullian, several Vetus Latina MSS and the Vulgate has the best evidential foundation. To establish the meaning of this term one has to turn to etymology and usage, a semantic domain of terms for sexual intercourse, and patristic and classical texts. Once the semantics of ἀρσενοκοίτης is better grounded, the ancient Latin translation of μαλακοί becomes the most probable.”

Cook’s article is the latest of numerous treatments which address the meaning of ἀρσενοκοῖται. Earlier bibliography includes the following:

John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), 341–53; Robin Scroggs, The New Testament and Homosexuality (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983); David F. Wright, “Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of ἀρσενοκοίται (1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10),” Vigiliae Christianae 38.2 (1984): 125–53; William L. Petersen, “Can ἀρσενοκοίται Be Translated by ‘Homosexuals’? (I Cor. 6.9; I Tim. 1.10),” Vigiliae Christianae 40 (1986): 187–91; David F. Wright, “Translating ἀρσενοκοίται (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10),” Vigiliae Christianae 41 (1987): 396–98; Henry Mendell, “ΑΡΣΕΝΟΚΟΙΤΑΙ” (unpublished paper, California State University, Los Angeles), 1990?; James B. De Young, “The Source and NT Meaning of ἀρσενοκοίται, with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry,” The Master’s Seminary Journal 3 (1992): 191–215; Dale B. Martin, “Arsenokoitês and Malakos: Meanings and Consequences,” in Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture, ed. R. L. Brawley (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996), 117–36; Raymond F. Collins, Sexual Ethics and the New Testament: Behavior and Belief (New York: Crossroad, 2000), 89–90; James B. De Young, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and Other Ancient Literature and Law (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2000), 175–203; Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001), 312–36; John H. Elliott, “No Kingdom of God for Softies? Or, What Was Paul Really Saying? 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 in Context,” Biblical Theology Bulletin 34.1 (2004): 17–40; G. R. Jepsen, “Dale Martin’s ‘Arsenokoités and Malakos’ Tried and Found Wanting,” Currents in Theology and Mission 33.5 (2006): 397–405; Linda Belleville, “The Challenges of Translating αρσενοκοι̂ται and μαλακοί in 1 Corinthians 6.9: A Reassessment in Light of Koine Greek and First-Century Cultural Mores,” Bible Translator 62.1 (2011): 22–29; Roy E. Ciampa, “‘Flee Sexual Immorality’: Sex and the City of Corinth” in The Wisdom of the Cross: Exploring 1 Corinthians (ed. Brian S. Rosner; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2011), 100–133; Milton L. Torres, “A Evidência Linguística e Extralinguística para a Tradução de arsenokoitai.” Revista Hermenêutica (Cachoeira-BA) 12.2 (2012): 25–49; S. Donald Fortson III and Rollin G. Grams, Unchanging Witness: The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2016), 294–98; Simon Hedlund, “Who Are the ἀρσενοκοίται and Why Does Paul Condemn Them?,” Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 82 (2017): 116–53; George M. Hollenback, “An Overlooked Backdrop to the Coining of ἀρσενοκοίτης,” Early Christianity 8.2 (2017): 269–73.

2014 ETS Section Overview

We had a great meeting in the Pastoral Epistles study group at ETS this year, with good attendance and discussion.

The first paper was by David Pao of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School who is currently working on a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles for the Brill Exegetical Commentary series. His paper was titled, “Let No One Despise Your Youth: Church and the World in the Pastoral Epistles”. Examining the cultural background of honor and shame, Pao argued that in 1Timothy Paul’s stance is neither accommodation to the culture nor subversion; “instead he calls for a transformation that both transcends the accepted ideals that Christians could share with the dominant culture and challenges practices and social norms that Christians should abandon.” This was a careful study which helpfully pushes back against those who see in the Pastorals merely cultural accommodation or who think the only other option is complete cultural subversion. This paper is scheduled to appear in JETS soon. Look for it.
Greg Beale from Westminster Theological Seminary adapted a portion of his biblical theology for his paper, “The Origin of the Office of Elder and Its Relationship to the Inaugurated Eschatological Tribulation.” Beale gave a particularly rousing presentation. He argued that the office of elder is rooted in the foretold rise of false teaching in the last days. Elders are part of God’s provision to help the church endure. I appreciated the biblical theological connection and was glad to hear him clarify in the Q&A that the office also had roots in Jewish synagogue practice. Without that clarification, it sounded like he was saying the office arose without precedent.

Dillon Thornton, who has just finished writing his dissertation at the University of Otago, presented his paper titled, “Satan as Adversary and Ally in the Process of Ecclesial Discipline: The Use of the Prologue to Job in1 Cor 5:5 and 1 Tim 1:20.” Thornton argued that in the two passages in view Paul drew from the prologue of Job portraying Satan an enemy of God who can nevertheless play a role in the process of church discipline. I had never thought of a connection with Job in these texts and was skeptical at first. However, Thornton made a compelling case with helpful implications and applications. We will look for more from Thornton in days ahead.

Mark Overstreet from T4 Global, a frontier mission organization, presented a paper titled, “Διδακτικόν: Rethinking the Qualification of Elders after Years in the Bush: Theological Education Among Peoples Who Have No Access to the Written Scriptures.” This was a helpful concluding paper from a practical theology angle. Literacy is assumed in the way we think of education, but what does it look like to equip elders in existing churches in settings where no one has access to written Scriptures? While affirming the great blessing of literacy, Overstreet presented a method of oral instruction being used to equip and serve the church in such settings.

We are currently working on plans for next year’s session. If you would be interested in presenting a paper sometime contact us at pastoralepistles at gmail dot com. And join us for the conversation next year in Atlanta.

2014 ETS Session: Ecclesiology in the Pastoral Epistles

If you are headed to San Diego next week for the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, I hope you will come to the session held by the Pastoral Epistles Study Group. We have been encouraged by good sessions in the past and are set up for a great session again this year. Here are the details:

11/20/2014
8:30 AM-11:40 AM
Town & Country — Royal Palm Salon Six

Pastoral Epistles

Ecclesiology in the Pastoral Epistles

Moderator
Ray Van Neste (Union University)

8:30 AM—9:10 AM
David W. Pao (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
Let No One Despise Your Youth: Church and the World in the Pastoral Epistles
(abstract)

9:20 AM—10:00 AM
Greg Beale (Westminster Theological Seminary)
The Origin of the Office of Elder and Its Relationship to the Inaugurated Eschatological Tribulation

10:10 AM—10:50 AM
Dillon Thornton (University of Otago)
Satan as Adversary and Ally in the Process of Ecclesial Discipline: The Use of the Prologue to Job in 1 Cor 5:5 and 1 Tim 1:20
(abstract)

11:00 AM—11:40 AM
Mark Overstreet (T4 Global)
Διδακτικόν: Rethinking the Qualification of Elders after Years in the Bush: Theological Education Among Peoples Who Have No Access to the Written Scriptures

 

“I have thanks” in First and Second Timothy

One of the catchword arguments that P.N. Harrison uses in his book $amz(143651214X The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles) has to do with how Paul usually expresses thanks. Here’s Harrison:

In expressing his thankfulness to God, Paul consistently uses the word ευχαριστεω (Ro 1.8; 1Co 1.4; 2Co 1.11; Eph 1.16; 5.20; Php 1.3; Col 1.3; 1Th 1.2; 2Th 1.3; 2.13; Phm 4); this author never writes that word, but uses instead the Latinism χαριν εχω (= gratiam habeo) 1Ti 1.12; 2Ti 1.3. (Harrison, 28-29)

I’ve always been intrigued by this. First, because Harrison assumes his conclusion in the first sentence where he mentions what "Paul consistently uses"; second because he’s right about the discrepancy (not Pauline authorship). The Pastorals don’t use ευχαριστεω in thanksgiving sections, other Paulines do.

Why bring this up? This morning I began digging back into my translation of Second Timothy, and I ran into 2Ti 1.3, where χαριν εχω is used. And I have a few thoughts on this now.

Some of Harrison’s cited instances (Eph 1.16; 5.20) use ευχαριστεω as a participle in a series of modifications, not as the primary verb. His 2Co 1.11 instance may implicitly refer to God as receiving the thanks, but is doesn’t explicitly state it. And note that 2Th 1.3; 2.13 use ευχαριστεω as an infinitive, modifying the verb οφειλομεν. Again, not an exact syntactic parallel for the phenomenon under discussion. Note also that Harrison missed 1Co 14.18, which should be added to his list.

Of course, I’d suppose that Harrison (and others) would see these as evidence that Ephesians and Second Thessalonians aren’t Pauline either. In any case, the are not direct examples of the phenomenon he is trumpeting, so they shouldn’t be listed as evidence for or against his lexical/syntactic argument here.

In the non-Pastorals usage at the head of thanksgiving sections, ευχαριστεω always takes "God" as its complement: "I give thanks to God". More specifically, it is ευχαριστεω τω θεω. In 1Ti 1.12, it is not "God" that Paul thanks with χαριν εχω, it is "the one who has empowered me, Christ Jesus our Lord". Still in the dative, but not quite apples-to-apples.

But that still leaves 2Ti 1.3, which has χαριν εχω τω θεω (compare to ευχαριστεω τω θεω in Ro 1.8; 1Co 1.4; 14.18; Php 1.3; Col 1.3; 1Th 1.2; Phm 4). This is actually Harrison’s stronger counterexample (though he doesn’t mention it).

My thoughts? Well, εχω (present active indicative first-person) + dative is not unknown in Paul (Ro 12.4; 15.17; 1Co 2.16; 7.25; 8.1; 9.4, 5, 6, 17; 11.16; 12.21; 2Co 3.4; 4.7; Gal 6.10; Eph 1.7; 2.18; 3.12; Col 1.14; 2.1; 2Th 3.9), so it is a structure that Paul could’ve used. I haven’t examined these instances so I don’t know exactly what contexts they occur in, if they take references to the deity as complements, etc.

But one interesting item that comes up is Luke 12.50 (yes, Luke). I’ve always been enamored with the theory that Luke was Paul’s amanuensis for the Pastorals, and that his role may have even been closer to co-author. Luke 12.50 is as follows:

NA27: βάπτισμα δὲ ἔχω βαπτισθῆναι καὶ πῶς συνέχομαι ἕως ὅτου τελεσθῇ
ESV: I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

This is mildly interesting to me because the same thing could be said a different way. In fact, it is said a different way in Mark 10.38:

NA27: ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε. δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι;
ESV: Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

In other words, in Luke’s rewrite of this idea (sure, I think Luke used Mark as source (cf. Lu 1.1-2), but I also think Q is a load of hooey) he uses "I have a baptism" instead of "I am baptized". He uses an εχω construction instead of the plain verb.

I realize it’s a reach built on next to nothing, but hey, this is a blog post so why not? Could Luke have done the same thing with Paul’s words? Paul says ευχαριστεω τω θεω; Luke writes χαριν εχω τω θεω. Same idea, same stuff being communicated, just a different way of doing it. As Witherington posits, it’s the voice of Paul but the hand of Luke.

I’ve always seen the amanuensis argument (whether it is Luke or not) as a strong one in favor of Pauline authorship/responsibility because we know that Paul uses an amanuensis in other letters. Many of the "style" arguments that seem so valid in challenging Paul’s authorship can probably be seen (I’d say better seen) as pointing to different amanuensis situations, not to mention different roles of the amanuensis, influence of listed (and perhaps unlisted) co-authors, genre and the target of the letter.

Anyway, this is too long and I’ve gotta go. Perhaps more on this later (but perhaps not).

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.

Eternal Life and the Pastoral Epistles

In studying $esv(1Ti 6.12), I was looking further into the phrase “eternal life” (here ‘τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς‘). I’m sure this is noted in commentaries (which I haven’t checked yet) but has anyone else noticed that there may be inclusios using ‘eternal life’ in both First Timothy and Titus?


First Timothy:



1.16 ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἠλεήθην, ἵνα ἐν ἐμοὶ πρώτῳ ἐνδείξηται Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς τὴν ἅπασαν μακροθυμίαν πρὸς ὑποτύπωσιν τῶν μελλόντων πιστεύειν ἐπʼ αὐτῷ εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (1Ti 1.16, NA27)
1.16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1Ti 1.16, ESV)


6.12 ἀγωνίζου τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς πίστεως, ἐπιλαβοῦ τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς, εἰς ἣν ἐκλήθης καὶ ὡμολόγησας τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν ἐνώπιον πολλῶν μαρτύρων. (1Ti 6.12, NA27)
6.12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1Ti 6.12, ESV)


Titus:



1.2 ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου, ἣν ἐπηγγείλατο ὁ ἀψευδὴς θεὸς πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, (Tt 1.2, NA27)
1.2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began (Tt 1.2, ESV)


3.7 ἵνα δικαιωθέντες τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι κληρονόμοι γενηθῶμεν κατʼ ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου.
3.7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


The phrase is not super-frequent in the Pastorals. And, at least in First Timothy, I’ve noticed a few other things that seem to tie the benediction at the end of chapter 1 and the end of chapter 6 together, perhaps as an inclusio for the whole thing (which would speak toward the unity and cohesion of the whole letter). The most obvious is the shared metaphor “wage the good warfare” (1Ti 1.18) and “fight the good fight” (1Ti 6.11), but there may be others.


I know inclusios should have more going for them than shared words, but has anyone else noticed this going on? I’ll have to check some commentaries later and see if they say anything.


Bonus Question: For you word order / discourse grammar folks out there, is there any significance to the change in word order for the phrase “eternal life” between 1Ti 1.16 (πιστεύειν ἐπʼ αὐτῷ εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον) and 6.12 (ἐπιλαβοῦ τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς)? The 1Ti 6.12 instance seems to be the only time in the NT that αιωνιος occurs first in the phrase.


 

More on 0259 and 0262; or, Parchments with First Timothy Content

I blogged about this back in May and fully meant to follow up then, but life as a new father has been busy. Here are some background posts:



Those posts only have excerpts of the study I did on the variants in those passages and what the parchments might say about them. My fuller notes are in this PDF file: Treu Papyri.pdf (536.29 KB). I should’ve posted it two months ago, but oh well.


Of course, I’m interested in any feedback anyone might have. Thanks!

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