Category: Pastoral Epistles|Titus|Titus 3

Van Nes, “Who are ‘Our People’ (οἱ ἡμέτεροι) in Titus 3,14?”

Jermo van Nes has produced a brief article for ETL which will be of interest to students of the Pastorals:

Jermo van Nes, “Who are ‘Our People’ (οἱ ἡμέτεροι) in Titus 3,14?” Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 95.4 (2019): 661–65.

Abstract: ” All but one contemporary commentator on Titus interprets οἱ ἡμέτεροι in 3,14 as referring to all Christ-believers. Endorsing yet modifying the minority view, the present study on the basis of exegetical considerations suggests that the phrase more likely refers to Artemas, Tychicus, Zenas, and Apollos mentioned in 3,12-13.”

History of Baptist Interpretation of Titus

After about a 5 year hiatus, the Journal of Baptist Studies has relaunched with a new website and an issue devoted entirely to the history of interpretation of the letter to Titus among Baptists. The Journal of Baptist studies is a peer-reviewed journal, published electronically and edited by Anthony Chute and Matthew Emerson. There is no charge for accessing the journal.

Here is the table of contents for the current issue (not including the book reviews):

Baptists, Pastors, and Titus 1: A History of Interpretation

By Ray Van Neste……………………………………………………………4


The Legality of Slavery in the Sight of God: Baptists and Their Use of Titus 2 to Defend Slavery

By Jeff Straub………………………………………………………………36


Reception History of Titus 3 in Baptist Life

By Anthony Chute………………………………………………………….64


Selected Baptist Bibliography on Titus

By Matthew Y. Emerson ……………………………………………………91


I think this issue will be of interest to scholars working on the Pastorals even if they are not Baptists. The essays trace the way one group of Christians have interpreted and applied this letter over the years. The focus is not simply on academic writing but how the texts were applied in the life of the church.

In my essay I was intrigued to find shifts in the way Baptist leaders interpreted references to plurality of pastors/elders, the use of alcohol, and the ‘believing” or “faithful” children in Titus 1:6.

I am interested in any thoughts readers have on these essays. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments.

Titus 3.10 and αιρετικον ανθρωπον

Roger Pearse (whose blog you really should be reading) has some questions on how αιρετικον ανθρωπον should be translated in Titus 3.10.

He lists a number of English translations (plus the Vulgate) and has some other discussion; but the meat of his question is:

The most natural English usage would appear to be ‘heretic’ or ‘heretical man’.  Why don’t we say so?  How would we translate this in a patristic text? The Vulgate does not hesitate to say “haereticum hominem” – “heretic man”.

A heretic is not necessarily a “divisive person”, after all.  The Greek word, surely, will relate more to the variety of belief in the philosophical schools (haereses) than to modern ecumenism, or indeed even to 4th and 5th century doctrinal debates?

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked through the text of Titus, but I consulted my notes on this word instance from a few years back; here’s what I wrote:

While the typical literal translation of αἱρετικός (hairetikos) seems to be factious, this word is somewhat difficult in that it is not a common word, and its meaning is not readily at hand for many readers. Thus I’ve translated as division-causing instead of the other seeming option, heretical. This is one who not only believes contrary to the sound teaching of Paul, but causes problems in the community by advancing his own heretical agenda (hence factious or division-causing).

Anyone else have ideas? If so, feel free to comment here or (better) head to Roger’s blog and interact there.

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)


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.


Good Friday Thoughts from the Pastorals

Here are a few selections that point to Christ as our Saviour. These seem appropriate to meditate and consider today. The translation is my own.

1Ti 2.1-7

1 First of all, then, I encourage supplications, prayers, petitions, and praises to be made on behalf of all men, 2 on behalf of kings and all in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, 4 who desires all people to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who sacrificed himself as a ransom on behalf of all, the witness at the proper time. 7 Into this I was appointed herald and apostle—I speak the truth, I do not lie—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Titus 2.11-15

11 For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men; 12 instructing us, after we renounce impiety and worldly desires, to live self-controlled, justly and godly in this present age; 13 looking forward to the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and deliverer of us, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself on behalf of us, to redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself a chosen people, zealous for good works. 15 These things speak and exhort and set forth with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Titus 3.1-7

1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be prepared for all good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all courtesy to all men. 3 For we too were foolish, disobedient, deluded, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our lives in malice and envy, loathsome, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and benevolence of God our Saviour appeared, 5 not out of works in righteousness which we did but according to His mercy He saved us through washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7 so that being justified in His grace we become heirs according to the hope of life eternal.

The Pastoral Epistles in First Clement, Part II

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

1Cl 2.7 || Titus 3.1; 2Ti 2.21; 3.17; 2Co 9.8

(7) ἀμεταμέλητοι ἦτε ἐπὶ πάσῃ ἀγαθοποιΐᾳ, ἕτοιμοι εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν. (1Cl 2.7)
(7) You never once regretted doing good, but were “ready for every good work.” (1Cl 2.7)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (30, 31). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

3.1 Ὑπομίμνῃσκε αὐτοὺς ἀρχαῖς ἐξουσίαις ὑποτάσσεσθαι, πειθαρχεῖν, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι, (Tt 3.1, NA27)
3.1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be prepared for all good work, (Tt 3.1, my own translation)
21 ἐὰν οὖν τις ἐκκαθάρῃ ἑαυτὸν ἀπὸ τούτων, ἔσται σκεῦος εἰς τιμήν, ἡγιασμένον, εὔχρηστον τῷ δεσπότῃ, εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἡτοιμασμένον. (2Ti 2.21, NA27)
21 If then anyone might cleanse himself from these, he will be a pot for honor, having been made holy, useful to the master, having been prepared for every good work. (2Ti 2.21, my own translation)
17 ἵνα ἄρτιος ᾖ ὁ τοῦ θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος. (2Ti 3.17, NA27)
17 so that the man of God might be capable, having been equipped for all good work. (2Ti 3.17, my own translation)
8 δυνατεῖ δὲ ὁ θεὸς πᾶσαν χάριν περισσεῦσαι εἰς ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἐν παντὶ πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν, (2Co 9.8, NA27)
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2Co 9.8, ESV)

The repeated concept is, obviously, that of “all good work” and the idea of being prepared/equipped for it. I hadn’t really noticed the repetition of the phase in Titus and 2Ti before; this does well to bring that repetition out.

The combination is [adj or participle] modified by [εἰς or πρὸς] + πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν. Here are the instances laid out a bit more clearly with the preposition in red and the balance of the prepositional phrase in blue:

1Cl 2.7: ἕτοιμοι εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν
Tt 3.1: πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι
2Ti 2.21: εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἡτοιμασμένον
2Ti 3.17: πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος
2Co 9.8: περισσεύητε εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν

As such, one word group stands out in 1Cl 2.7, Tt 3.1 and 2Ti 2.21: ἕτοιμος/ἑτοιμάζω. 2Ti 3.17 and 2Co 9.8, while sharing the prepositional phrase, do not share the modified portion.

Despite the different pronoun in Tt 3.1, it is the reading that 1Cl 2.7 is closest to. Lightfoot (Clement vol. II, p. 18) notes regarding 2Cl 2.7 “The latter clause ἕτοιμοι κ.τ.λ. is from Titus 3.1, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι“. In his edition, Lightfoot even puts the Greek in smallcaps, denoting that he sees it as a quotation or allusion. Holmes similarly in his English translation puts “ready for every good work” in quotes and provides a citation of Titus 3.1 as the source. Jerome Quinn, in his Anchor Bible volume on Titus, deals with the discrepancy in pronoun:

The PE do not otherwise use hetoimos, though the cognate verb occurs when 2Ti 2.21 takes up this phrase again. Construing hetoimos with pros, literally “ready for,” instead of eis, is rare in biblical Greek (1Pe 3.15; Tob 5.17) and is not found in the Apostolic Fathers. A variation between pros and eis may pertain to current Greek idiomatic style (Moule, Idiom, p. 68) and may thus be conceptually of no consequence. … The Apostolic Fathers employ hetoimos fewer than a dozen times, principally Ignatius, but 1Cl 2.7 may be quoting Titus (or the list that served as a source at this point) when he writes nostalgically to the troubled Corinthian church, “you were without misgiving in doing every kind of good, ready for every good work.” (Quinn 180)

I don’t notice any variants at the preposition in Tt 3.1 (Elliott has none listed). But searching for other substantive-modifying prepositional phrases that contained πας, I came across Tt 1.16 which should probably also be added to our list. (Quinn associates 1.16 with 3.1 as well, p. 180)

16 θεὸν ὁμολογοῦσιν εἰδέναι, τοῖς δὲ ἔργοις ἀρνοῦνται, βδελυκτοὶ ὄντες καὶ ἀπειθεῖς καὶ πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἀδόκιμοι. (Tt 1.16, NA27)
16 They claim to know God, but they deny Him with their works; being detestable and disobedient and unfit for any good work. (Tt 1.16, my own translation)

This is very relevant to the current examination not only because it also uses πρὸς but because it occurs in a list, much like Tt 3.1 does. Comparing Tt 1.16 to Tt 3.1, it is evident that one list (1.16) is a negative list, the other (3.1) is a positive list.

16 They claim to know God,
    but they deny Him with their works;
    being detestable and disobedient
    and unfit for any good work. (Tt 1.16, my own translation)

3 Remind them
    to be subject to rulers and authorities,
    to obey,
    to be prepared for all good work, (Tt 3.1, my own translation)

The last two items on each list contrast each other directly. In 1.16, the target is unbelievers, those described in 1.10-14. They are unfit for any good work. In 3.1, the target is believers, those to whom the glorious salvation in 2.11-14 applies. And the context of 1Cl 2.7 is much the same; it is written with believers in mind.

Due to the contextual similarity, the lexical similarity, and the work of Lightfoot, Quinn and Holmes, I’m inclined to think that Clement here does reflect knowledge of Titus and perhaps even the balance of the Pastoral Epistles.

If that is true, and if First Clement does date to the 90’s* then Titus has been established enough by the 90s to be known by the author of First Clement. This argues against a second-century dating of at least Titus; since most concur that the Pastorals were composed around the same time (either together or over a space of 1-2 years) this puts all of the PE before the second century in the late first century at the latest. It will be interesting to see what can be made of other affinities between First Clement and the Pastoral Epistles.

* Lightfoot strongly argues for this. Holmes also notes “There is widespread agreement in dating this letter about a.d. 95–97, in the last year of the emperor Domitian or the first of his successor, Nerva.” (Holmes 23).

The Pastoral Epistles in the Epistle of Barnabas, Part IV

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

Ep.Barn. 1.3, 4, 6 have some commonality with Titus 3.5ff and Titus 1.2.

Ep.Barn. 1.3-6 || Titus 3.5-7; 1.2

(3) διὸ καὶ μᾶλλον συγχαίρω ἐμαυτῷ ἐλπίζων σωθῆναι, ὅτι ἀληθῶς βλέπω ἐν ὑμῖν ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ τοῦ πλουσίου τῆς πηγῆς κυρίου πνεῦμα ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς. οὕτω με ἐξέπληξεν ἐπὶ ὑμῶν ἡ ἐπιποθήτη ὄψις ὑμῶν. (4) πεπεισμένος οὖν τοῦτο καὶ συνειδὼς ἐμαυτῷ, ὅτι ἐν ὑμῖν λαλήσας πολλὰ ἐπίσταμαι, ὅτι ἐμοὶ συνώδευσεν ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης κύριος, καὶ πάντως ἀναγκάζομαι κἀγὼ εἰς τοῦτο, ἀγαπᾶν ὑμᾶς ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν μου, ὅτι μεγάλη πίστις καὶ ἀγάπη ἐγκατοικεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αὐτοῦ. (5) λογισάμενος οὖν τοῦτο, ὅτι ἐὰν μελήσῃ μοι περὶ ὑμῶν τοῦ μέρος τι μεταδοῦναι ἀφʼ οὗ ἔλαβον, ὅτι ἔσται μοι τοιούτοις πνεύμασιν ὑπηρετήσαντι εἰς μισθόν, ἐσπούδασα κατὰ μικρὸν ὑμῖν πέμπειν, ἵνα μετὰ τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν τελείαν ἔχητε τὴν γνῶσιν. (6) Τρία οὖν δόγματά ἐστιν κυρίου· ζωῆς ἐλπίς, ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος πίστεως ἡμῶν· καὶ δικαιοσύνη, κρίσεως ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος· ἀγάπη εὐφροσύνης καὶ ἀγαλλιάσεως, ἔργων ἐν <δικαιοσύνῃ> μαρτυρία. (Ep.Barn. 1.3-6)

(3) Therefore I, who also am hoping to be saved, congratulate myself all the more because among you I truly see that the Spirit has been poured out upon you from the riches of the Lord’s fountain. How overwhelmed I was, on your account, by the long-desired sight of you! (4) Being convinced, therefore, of this and conscious of the fact that I said many things in your midst, I know that the Lord traveled with me in the way of righteousness, and above all I too am compelled to do this: to love you more than my own soul, because great faith and love dwell in you, through the hope of his life. (5) Accordingly, since I have concluded that if I care enough about you to share something of what I have received, I will be rewarded for having ministered to such spirits, I have hastened to send you a brief note, so that along with your faith you might have perfect knowledge as well. (6) Well then, there are three basic doctrines of the Lord: the hope of life, which is the beginning and end of our faith; and righteousness, which is the beginning and end of judgment; and love shown in gladness and rejoicing, the testimony of righteous works. (Ep.Barn. 1.3-6)
Holmes, M. W. (1999). The Apostolic Fathers : Greek texts and English translations (Updated ed.) (274, 275). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

5 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ
ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς
ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος
ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας
καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου,
6 οὗ ἐξέχεεν ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς πλουσίως
διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν,
7 ἵνα δικαιωθέντες τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι
κληρονόμοι γενηθῶμεν κατʼ ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου
(Titus 3.5-7, NA27)

5 not out of works in righteousness
which we did
but according to His mercy
He saved us through washing of rebirth
and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
6 whom He poured out on us richly
through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
7 so that being justified in His grace
we become heirs according to the hope of life eternal
. (Titus 3.5-7, my own translation)

2 ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου, ἣν ἐπηγγείλατο ὁ ἀψευδὴς θεὸς πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων, (Titus 1.2, NA27)

2 into hope of life eternal, which the non-lying God promised before eternal ages, (Titus 1.2, my own translation)

The first commonality is found in the concept of the “pouring out” of the Holy Spirit in a “rich” manner. The verb translated “pour out” is ἐκχέω (Ep.Barn. ἐκκεχυμένον, Titus ἐξέχεεν). The similarity of “rich” in the texts is less exact, involving the use of the πλουσ* word group (Ep.Barn. τοῦ πλουσίου (noun), Titus πλουσίως (adverb)). Thus in Ep.Barn. the source of the spring is what is rich (“poured out from the riches of the Lord’s fountain”) and in Titus, the pouring itself is done in a rich manner (“whom He poured out on us richly”). Not exactly the same, but very close. In both instances, the Holy Spirit is being poured out, and it is being done so in a generous manner. While these occurrences are similar, I’d guess there may be more influence on Barnabas from Acts 2.17-21, specifically Acts 2.17:

καὶ ἔσται ἐν ταῖς ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις, λέγει ὁ θεός,
ἐκχεῶ ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματός μου ἐπὶ πᾶσαν σάρκα,
καὶ προφητεύσουσιν οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ὑμῶν
καὶ οἱ νεανίσκοι ὑμῶν ὁράσεις ὄψονται
καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ὑμῶν ἐνυπνίοις ἐνυπνιασθήσονται·
(Ac 2.17, NA27)

17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; (Ac 2.17, ESV)

This of course refers back to Joel 2.28-32 (LXX 3.1-5):

Καὶ ἔσται μετὰ ταῦτα
καὶ ἐκχεῶ ἀπὸ τοῦ πνεύματός μου ἐπὶ πᾶσαν σάρκα,
καὶ προφητεύσουσιν οἱ υἱοὶ ὑμῶν καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ὑμῶν,
καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ὑμῶν ἐνύπνια ἐνυπνιασθήσονται,
καὶ οἱ νεανίσκοι ὑμῶν ὁράσεις ὄψονται,
(Joel 3.1 LXX [Eng 2.28])

The concept of the Spirit being generously poured out likely runs all the way back to Joel. The occurrence of the same thought in Titus may actually be some sort of pre-formed text — an instance of an early hymn, creed or topical saying of the church. NA27 imply much the same by their treating it as poety. In any event, the idea of the Spirit being poured out is found in multiple places in the NT,* based on prophecy from Joel, and it should not surprise us to find the same concept in the writings of the early church (here, in Ep.Barn.).

The second commonality involves the “hope of life”. While the lexical similarity is present, and while “hope of life” is not a commonly found theme** this has some problems in my view because in Ep.Barn. it is only “hope of life” (or “hope of his life”, the life of Christ) and not the “hope of eternal life” of Titus. Ep.Barn. has ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αὐτοῦ (1.4) and ζωῆς ἐλπίς (1.6). Titus has ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου (3.7) and ἐλπίδι ζωῆς αἰωνίου (1.2). The stronger lexical correlation is between Ep.Barn. 1.4 and Titus 1.2 based on exactness of word form. And Ep.Barn. is not simply talking about the hope of life, it is focusing on the hope of his life. The pronoun “his” has “Lord” as its antecedent. Ep.Barn. 1.3 notes that the author is “hoping to be saved”, finding this point in common with those to whom he is writing. Indeed, he considers them to be saved as they have had the Spirit poured out on them richly. In 1.4, the “hope of his life” is the agent by which “great faith and love” dwell in them. Because of this, the author desires “to love you more than my own soul”. In other words, because these are brothers in the Lord, who have had the Spirit poured out on them, he loves them. But does Ep.Barn.‘s “hope of life” in 1.4 reference eternal life? Again, it is hope in the Lord’s life. There is hope of salvation because of the life of the Lord. What about Ep.Barn. 1.6 and “hope of life” there? This appears to be a topic statement; the author is setting out his path for the rest of the epistle. Whether or not “hope of life” in 1.6 refers to eternal life or not will be seen as he expounds upon this concept in the rest of the letter. Either way, the lexical similarity is not exact. Even if a hope of eternal life is meant (and I think it probably is) the direct influence of the Epistle of Titus is not very probable in my opinion. There may be loose reaches back to an overall concept, but it would be a great stretch to posit dependence of Ep.Barn. on these verses in Titus.

Next up: Ep.Barn. 14.5f

* Interesting to think about this in light of Lukan influence on the Pastorals. If Luke is Paul’s amanuensis, the inclusion of the concept of the Spirit being poured out is less surprising and perhaps even better explained.

** In the NT, the phrase “hope of life” is only found in Titus 1.2 and 3.7. The word “hope” (ἐλπίς) is qualified in other ways, though:

  • Ac 16.19: hope of gain
  • Ac 27.20: hope of being saved
  • Ac 28.20: hope of Israel
  • Ro 5.2: hope of the glory of God
  • 1Co 9.10: hope of sharing (in the crop)
  • 2Co 1.7; 1Th 2.19; 1Ti 1.1: hope of us (“our hope”)
  • Ga 5.5: hope of righteousness
  • Eph 1.18: the hope to which he has called you (note also use of “riches” in this context, see full verse)
  • Eph 4.4: the one hope that belongs to your call
  • Php 1.20: the hope of me (“my hope”)
  • Col 1.23: the hope of the gospel
  • Col 1.27: the hope of glory
  • 1Th 1.3: hope in our Lord Jesus Christ
  • 1Th 5.8: hope of salvation

Towner on the context of Titus

[an aside: I sometimes wonder if, when mentioning a scholar or work on the PE, we shouldn’t immediately tag the author with a short, 3-5 word description of his/her view of authorship]

In his new commentary (NICNT), Philip Towner (authorship: Pauline via a free amanuensis) introduces what is (at least to me) a new argument regarding the context of Titus.  He points to local Cretan mythology regarding Zeus as a deified / ascended Cretan king (thus born on the island, NOT on Olympus), etc., and how Cretan portrayals of Zeus are of a long-haired young man, with all the impulsiveness and lusts of youth.

These myths, Towner argues, provide the backdrop for reading Titus.  And the first interpretive key to the letter is 1.2b, hO APSEDHS QEOS.  From there, Towner reads the letter as polemically engaging the Cretan views of Zeus AND empire and emperor (“appearing,” descriptions of God’s character, etc.)

Has anyone other than Towner read Titus on this basis?  Has anyone critiqued this reading, beyond a brusque and reactionary “the PE are pseudonymous, Towner thinks they’re Pauline”?


Updates and News

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

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

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.
  • Whatever else seems interesting to us, as long as we can relate it back to the Pastorals.

If you’re familiar with the older site, it is still available at Content may or may not migrate over to the new site.

Anyway, thanks for your support of the site. Please bear with us while we get the place set up. And please do update your RSS / Feed reader links. The new link is You can use this in any feedreader/aggregator or online tool such as BlogLines.

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