Category: Pastoral Epistles|1 Timothy|1 Timothy 6 (Page 2 of 2)

First Timothy and Intended Recipient

I’ve blogged about this a few times previously (here and here).

In working through the end of 1Ti 6, one comes across vv. 17-19. These are instructions to Timothy about those who are "rich in this present age":

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1Ti 6.17-19, ESV)

If Paul is generally writing to the Ephesian community, why is he instructing Timothy to instruct those "rich in this present age"? If the letter is intended to be read to the community at large, wouldn’t these people be present at the reading?

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.


 

The Pastoral Epistles in Ignatius, Part II

[This post is part of a series on The Pastoral Epistles in the Apostolic Fathers. RWB]


Ign. Poly 4.3 || 1Ti 6.2



(3) δούλους καὶ δούλας μὴ ὑπερηφάνει· ἀλλὰ μηδὲ αὐτοὶ φυσιούσθωσαν, ἀλλʼ εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πλέον δουλευέτωσαν, ἵνα κρείττονος ἐλευθερίας ἀπὸ θεοῦ τύχωσιν. μὴ ἐράτωσαν ἀπὸ τοῦ κοινοῦ ἐλευθεροῦσθαι, ἵνα μὴ δοῦλοι εὑρεθῶσιν ἐπιθυμίας. (Ign. Poly. 4.3)
(3) Do not treat slaves, whether male or female, contemptuously, but neither let them become conceited; instead, let them serve all the more faithfully to the glory of God, that they may obtain from God a better freedom. They should not have a strong desire to be set free at the church’s expense, lest they be found to be slaves of lust. (Ign. Poly. 4.3)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (196, 197). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


2 οἱ δὲ πιστοὺς ἔχοντες δεσπότας μὴ καταφρονείτωσαν, ὅτι ἀδελφοί εἰσιν, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον δουλευέτωσαν, ὅτι πιστοί εἰσιν καὶ ἀγαπητοὶ οἱ τῆς εὐεργεσίας ἀντιλαμβανόμενοι. Ταῦτα δίδασκε καὶ παρακάλει. (1Ti 6.2, NA27)
2 But those having believers as masters must not be disrespectful because they are brothers, rather they must serve more, because the ones who benefit from their good work are believers and beloved. Command and teach these things. (1Ti 6.2, my own translation)


In both passages, the attitude of believing slaves toward their masters is dealt with. Slaves must serve their masters respectfully (that is, not conceitedly) to bring glory to God.


Contact in this passage is primarily topical, though some lexical similarity is present:



  • Ign. Poly. ἀλλὰ μηδὲ αὐτοὶ φυσιούσθωσαν // neither let them become conceited ==> 1Ti μὴ καταφρονείτωσαν // must not be disrespectful

Here the contact is topical. The warning to the slave is essentially the same; Ignatius urges Polycarp that slaves should not become conceited. That is, slaves are to not consider their equality in Christ to adversely affect their relationship with their masters. They are still in a relationship of submission to their master, to subvert that would be to subvert the station they are in. Paul urges Timothy in much the same way; slaves who are believers (and therefore equal in Christ’s eyes with their believing masters) are not to suddenly disrespect their masters because they are brothers in Christ. In both cases the underlying sentiment is similar though the words used to describe the sentiment are different.



  • Ign. Poly. ἀλλʼ … πλέον δουλευέτωσαν // let them serve all the more faithfully ==> 1Ti ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον δουλευέτωσαν // rather they must serve more.

Here the contact is both syntactic and lexical. Both clauses use the conjunction ἀλλὰ to provide a logical contrast with what precedes. Instead of being disrespectful, Ignatius writes, slaves are to serve even more faithfully. Equality in Christ is no reason to serve less and to disrespect one’s master; it is instead a powerful argument to serve one’s master even better than before. In both Ign. Poly. and 1Ti, the verb is δουλεύω occurring in the present active imperative 3d plural δουλευέτωσαν. Both texts make the same contrast with roughly the same language.


However, one aspect that may argue against Ignatius’ alluding to First Timothy is the context of the passage. In Ign. Poly., the text is directed to the masters of the slaves. But First Timothy is directed to the slaves themselves.


One further interesting item in this context, however, is Ignatius’ displayed knowledge of the book of Ephesians in his next sentences. In Ign. Poly. 5.1, we find:



Flee from wicked practices; better yet, preach sermons about them. Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to be content with their husbands physically and spiritually. In the same way command my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ to love their wives, as the Lord loves the church.
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (197). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.


This language mirrors that of Eph 5.25, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church”. In some way, Ignatius had knowledge of Ephesians.* This knowledge is displayed in close proximity to our passage which has affinity with First Timothy.


Based on the lexical and syntactic similarity of the contrasting phrase and the somewhat radical idea that slaves should serve their masters more as a result of being brothers in order to properly honor and glorify God, I think it possible that Ignatius displays knowledge of this passage in First Timothy.


Next up: Ign. Rom. 9.2 || 1Ti 1.13





* Understandably knowledge of Ephesians does not prove knowledge of any of the Pastoral Epistles. But there are several possible points of contact between Ignatius’ writings and Paul’s epistles (9+ pages of links in the Oxford Committee’s work). Logic dictates that they can’t all be chance, coincidence, or based on some Q-like earlier common source material.

First Timothy 5.3-6.2: Honoring Means What?

This whole passage has been in the back of my mind for some time. In it are the following three premises:



  • Honor widows who are truly widows ($esv(1Ti 5.3-16))
  • Double honor for elders who “lead well” ($esv(1Ti 5.17-25)); those in error are to be corrected
  • Slaves are to honor their masters ($esv(1Ti 6.1-2))

Sure, that’s all fine and dandy — until you ask the question, “What does it mean to honor?” In the case of widows and elders, the text makes it fairly clear this means taking care of them materially. Widows are to be provided for, and elders who rule well are to be doubly provided for (5.18, with its OT quotes, makes this fairly plain).


And slaves are to “honor” their masters. But surely this doesn’t mean that slaves are to provide materially for their masters, does it? What really does 6.1-2 say?



1 All who are under a yoke as slaves, let them consider their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and our teaching might not be maligned. 2 But those having believers as masters must not be disrespectful because they are brothers, rather they must serve more, because the ones who benefit from their good work are believers and beloved. (my own translation)


This all comes down to “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” which, as some of my co-workers will tell you, pervades my very being. I suppose my basic problem is that the same terminology is used for “honor” throughout the passage whether it is discussing widows, elders or slaves/masters. But in context it doesn’t mean exactly the same thing in each instance, even though all three exist in close succession and in an overall similar context. But can it mean such different things in such close succession? Why wouldn’t the third instance of “honor” carry similar meaning to the first two?


Is the difference because the “honor” explained in detail in the first two (widows/elders), and left unmodified/specified in the last? That is, the method of honor itself is not fully explicated, though the effects of having the honor are?


(gotta go, but that sums up my basic thoughts as I’ve mulled over this text for the past months) 


Update (2007-03-08): Of course, if slaves submit to their masters and do what they are told, then the master will benefit materially (assuming the master is acting in his own interest and has some sensibility … perhaps too much to assume?). The end of 6.2 alludes to this, ” …  the ones who benefit [masters] from [the slaves’] good work are believers and beloved”. And by “serving more” if their master is Christian, then the master benefits more. So maybe there is some sort of connection with material gain here?

Updates and News

As you’ve likely noticed, there have been several changes here at PastoralEpistles.com.

The biggest change is that there is now more than one blogger. In addition to Rick Brannan (yours truly), Perry L. Stepp, Lloyd Pietersen and Ray Van Neste have agreed to begin posting to PastoralEpistles.com.

Perry is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Kentucky Christian University. He’s recently had a book published by the Sheffield Phoenix Press, Leadership Succession in the World of the Pauline Circle. He’s also presented papers at SBL in the Disputed Paulines group. It’s great to have him aboard.

There will likely be at least one more blogger added to the team; more information on that in a future post.

Lloyd is a Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies  at the University of Bristol. Here’s some further information on Dr. Pietersen from his web site:

Dr Lloyd Pietersen obtained his PhD from the University of Sheffield. His thesis has been published as The Polemic of the Pastorals: A Sociological Examination of the Development of Pauline Christianity (JSNTSup 264; London/New York: T & T Clark International, 2004). He is currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol and is co-chair of the Social World of the New Testament Seminar at the British New Testament Conference.

Ray is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies and Director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies at Union University. He is also author of Cohesion and Structure in the Pastoral Epistles (JSNTSup 280; Lonon/New York: T&T Clark International, 2004). And he has his own personal blog too.

What is this site all about, then?

Well, it’s about the Pastoral Epistles. Folks who blog here have a more-than-average interest in the Pastorals. We’ll blog about stuff like:

  • Quick reviews of books, articles, chapters, etc. that we read that have to do with the Pastorals. The same book or article may be discussed by multiple authors on the site.
  • Extended reviews.
  • Reviews of or interaction with conference presentations or papers.
  • Interaction with other web sites, blog posts, etc. that mention things that primarily or tangentially refer to the Pastoral Epistles.
  • Thoughts, musings and whatnot. We’ll feel free to use the blog as a scratch pad of sorts as we think through topics or exegetical points having to do with the Pastoral Epistles.
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If you’re familiar with the older PastoralEpistles.com site, it is still available at https://www.pastoralepistles.com/oldsite. Content may or may not migrate over to the new site.

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