Category: Pastoral Epistles|1 Timothy|1 Timothy 2 (Page 3 of 4)

Malherbe on sophrosyne

I recently read Abraham Malherbe’s essay, “The Virtus Feminarum in 1 Timothy 2:9-15” in Renewing Tradition and appreciated it.  He argues for a high degree of literary coherence in this passage and provides significant background for the passage in Greco-Roman philosophical writings.

Given my previous work on the coherence of the Pastorals I was particularly interested in his discussion of coherence.  Malherbe traces the train of thought briefly and concludes that “structurally, the text coheres” (50).  Then the bulk of the essay considers the various ethical ideas in this text arguing that the moral advice contained in it also coheres.  Malherbe also counters Roloff stating, “The two most extended Christological formulations in the Pastoral Epistles … are not mere appendages providing a theological sheen to rather prosaic moralizing” 52).

The bulk of the essay though is a discussion of sophrosyne and related terms in the context of Greco-Roman moral philosophy.  In this Malherbe interacts significantly with Helen North’s $amz(B000CJ3KKQ Sophrosyne: Self-Knowledge and Restraint in Greek Literature), which Malherbe calls a “magisterial study” (53)- no small praise from one of the preeminent scholars on Greco-Roman backgrounds!.  The parallels Malherbe cites here are very helpful and will be important for anyone work on the Pastorals (as these terms occur often in these letters beyond the text in the essay title). 

Malherbe does not in this essay get to the question of how this impacts one’s reading of 1 Timothy 2:9-15.  This essay he says is spade work preliminary to exegesis, which he will do in his forthcoming commentary on the Pastorals in the Hermeneia series.

Bill Mounce on 1Ti 2.15 (saved through childbirth)

Today’s “Mondays with Mounce” on Zondervan’s Koinonia blog discusses that ever-confusing verse, 1Ti 2.15. Here’s Mounce’s summary:

The position I take in my commentary [Mounce wrote the $amz(0849902452 WBC volume on the Pastorals) — RB] is that Paul is talking about how women work out their salvation, in the same sense that Paul says all of us should work out our salvation (σωτηριαν κατεργαζεσθε) with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). The women were not to listen to what the opponents were teaching, looking for other avenues of how their Christian commitment should show itself, which probably included staying out of marriage (1 Tim 4:3) and hence childbirth. But they were to stay in their marriages and see their God-given privilege of bearing children as something to be enjoyed and treasured.

But whatever your specific interpretation, Paul’s consistent use of σωζω argues for some understanding of spiritual salvation in this passage, and not some other meaning more accurately conveyed by ῥυομαι.

Philip Payne on 1Ti 2.11-12

Perhaps one of the most controversial (and therefore most written-upon) passages of First Timothy is 1Ti 2.12.

The blog Evangelical Textual Criticism today points to a recent article by Philip Payne, "1Ti 2.12 and the Use of ουδε to Combine Two Elements to Express a Single Idea". This is from New Testament Studies 54 (2008): 235-253.

Check out the article. I’ve not read it yet so don’t have much more to report. I do note, however, that the function of αλλα (something I’ve recently written about) apparently plays some sort of role in Payne’s discussion, though he looks to focus more on ουδε.

New Monograph on 1 Tim 2:1-7

Jesus as Mediator: Politics and Polemics in 1Timothy 2:1-7, Malcolm Gill

(Peter Lang, 2008), pb., 196 pp.

This is the published version of a PhD dissertation done at Dallas Theological Seminary. Gill’s main thesis is that 1Timothy 2:1-7 should be read as a polemic against the claim of Roman Emperor’s to be the “mediator” between the gods and humans. 

Much has been written in recent years about the impact of the imperial cult on the New Testament, and Gill seeks to apply this to 1Timothy.  In doing this he surveys the research previously done on the prominence of the imperial cult in Asia Minor (chapter 2) and investigates the possible backgrounds of the word mesites, translated as “mediator” in 1 Tim 2:5 (chapter 4).

I think one of the more useful parts of this book is his survey of research on the imperial cult in Asia Minor.  However, I found myself unconvinced by the overall thesis.  Gill argues for a Graeco-Roman background to the passage and its key vocabulary and against Jewish background.  His arguments seem forced at places.   I found myself more taken with the opposite argument put forward in a recent PhD dissertation done at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary by Chuck Hetzler titled, “Our Savior and King: Theology Proper in 1 Timothy.”  Though unaware of Gill’s work (since it has just appeared), Hetzler provides more compelling evidence for Old Testament context for the vocabulary used of God in 1 Timothy.  I hope Hetzler’s work will soon appear in published form so others can compare the arguments.

Gill’s book could have used another round of editing as well.  It had numerous surveys of options which did not always contribute to the point of the argument.  Also there were very many errors from spelling, to missing words, wrong words, etc.  This detracted from the work.

The PE in the New NLT Study Bible


I have just thumbed through the study notes on the Pastorals in the brand new $amz(0842355707 NLT Study Bible). The notes are written by Jon Laansma who teaches at Wheaton and did his PhD at the University of Aberdeen.

In the interest of full disclosure, two things could be thought to impinge on my judgment here. First, I know Jon and am working on a project with him. Second, I wrote the notes on the Pastorals for the $amz(1433502410 ESV Study Bible), which could be thought of as a competitor of this study Bible.

I was impressed with these study notes. They were thoughtful, clear and ample. Honestly, as I read, particularly the introductory material, I thought, “Wow! I hope my notes come across as well as these.” In brief compass Jon advocates Pauline authorship and situates the letters after the close of Acts (positions with which I agree). He describes 1 Timothy and Titus as similar to the mandatis principis and does not directly address the genre of 2 Timothy. He does a good job of briefly dispelling the idea that these letters are church manuals and points to their great concern for the gospel shaping life.

On 1 Timothy 2:11-15 there is an extended essay which describes three major positions without embracing any of the three.

These notes are well done. For me the only drawback is the use of the NLT for in depth study. I appreciate the NLT but for in depth study I encourage people to use a more literal translation. Jon’s notes, however, are good resource for briefly explaining these letters.

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.

Second Clement and First Timothy

So, I’ve been reading Second Clement lately. Today, while looking at 2Cl 3 in $amz(080103468X Holmes’ Apostolic Fathers), and I noticed an interesting—in light of 1Ti 2.4—variant. Convienently, we only have Second Clement extant in two Greek editions (and one Syriac). So I’m assuming that Holmes has been exhaustive in his variants (outside of orthographical issues) between Codex Alexandrinus (5th century) and Codex Heirosolymitanus (9th century).

Here’s Holmes’ text (with interesting section in bold):

Τοσοῦτον οὖν ἔλεος ποιήσαντος αὐτοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς—πρῶτον μέν, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες τοῖς νεκροῖς θεοῖς οὐ θύομεν καὶ οὐ προσκυνοῦμεν αὐτοῖς, ἀλλὰ ἔγνωμεν διʼ αὐτοῦ τὸν πατέρα τῆς ἀληθείας—τίς ἡ γνῶσις ἡ πρὸς αὐτόν, ἢ τὸ μὴ ἀρνεῖσθαι διʼ οὗ ἔγνωμεν αὐτόν; (2Cl 3.1, Holmes Greek)
Seeing, then, that he has shown us such mercy—first of all, that we who are living do not sacrifice to dead gods, nor do we worship them, but through him have come to know the Father of truth—what else is knowledge with respect to him if it is not refusing to deny him through whom we have come to know him? (2Cl 3.1, Holmes English)

Holmes follows Alexandrinus (which is usually, apart from orthography, a smart idea, according to none other than J.B. Lightfoot). But note Heirosolymitanus’ reading:

Τοσοῦτον οὖν ἔλεος ποιήσαντος αὐτοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς—πρῶτον μέν, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες τοῖς νεκροῖς θεοῖς οὐ θύομεν καὶ οὐ προσκυνοῦμεν αὐτοῖς, ἀλλὰ ἔγνωμεν διʼ αὐτοῦ τὸν πατέρα τῆς ἀληθείας—τίς ἡ γνῶσις της αληθειας, ἢ τὸ μὴ  αὐτόν διʼ οὗ ἔγνωμεν; (2Cl 3.1, Heirosolymitanus)

Haven’t thought much about the deletion/pronoun shift at the end of the verse, but note how “knowledge concerning him” in Alexandrinus is “knowledge concerning the truth” in Heirosolymitanus. That evokes 1Ti 2.4:

ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν. (1Ti 2.4, NA27)
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.(1 Ti 2:4, ESV)

Of course, there are some explanations for the Heirosolymitanus reading. της αληθειας echoes the earlier phrase, “father of the truth”; it could be a scribe’s errant duplication of that phrase. But that doesn’t necessarily account for the balance of changes, does it? The balance of the changes in this verse, I’d guess, force consideration of a deliberate change, not an errant one. That is, it seems to me the balance of the changes make the first change work. In that light, who knows which one is the better reading? In this case, we have the “majority rules” trump card — the Syriac witness supports Holmes’ reading.

 I scanned the rest of the variants to see if there might be some gnostic vibe to the differences in Greek editions, but didn’t see any. My guess is that Holmes (and Lake, and Lightfoot) is right.

But still interesting to think about nonetheless. It also goes to show why familiarity with period texts (in this case, Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament) helps so much when thinking about text-critical issues.

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