Category: Theology (Page 1 of 4)

Genade, “Life in the Pastoral Epistles”

Aldred A. Genade, “Life in the Pauline Letters (3): Life in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 109–27 in Biblical Theology of Life in the New Testament. Edited by Francois P. Viljoen and Albert J. Coetsee. Reformed Theology in Africa Series 6. Cape Town: AOSIS, 2021.

Aldred Genade has contributed a chapter on the Pastorals to a volume presenting a NT theology of life. The volume is open-source and is available in full here.

Genade’s other contributions to Pastorals literature include:

Aldred A. Genade. “The Letter to Titus in Recent Scholarship: A Critical Overview.” Currents in Biblical Research 9.1 (2010): 48–62. https://doi.org/10.1177/1476993X09360726

________. Persuading the Cretans: A Text-Generated Persuasion Analysis of the Letter to Titus. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2011.

________. “Titus 3:3 as selfvilifikasie: ‘n Retoriese opsie [Titus 3:3 as Self-vilification: A Rhetorical Option].” Verbum et Ecclesia 31 (2010), article 346. https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v31i1.346

Archer, “The Spirit in the Pastoral Epistles”

Kenneth Archer has added to the literature on the Holy Spirit in the Pastoral Epistles with a new article in the journal produced by the Society for Pentecostal Studies:

Archer, Kenneth J. “The Spirit in the Pastoral Epistles: Inspiring, Gifting, Sanctifying Presence.” Pneuma 43.3–4 (2021): 532–37. https://doi.org/10.1163/15700747-bja10061

Abstract: “The pneumatology of the Pastoral Epistles (PE) appears at first glance to be rather limited. The term pneuma occurs only seven times in the PE. In this essay, I will address the seven references in canonical order and then summarize the pneumatology of the PE. The PE reinforce the traditional systematic theological perspective of the role of the Spirit as active in revelation and the salvation process and as empowering persons for service. The Holy Spirit is the main person of the Trinity actively working in eschatological salvation for all by bringing forth the fruit of holiness and working powerfully through the sufferings of gifted persons.”

Simmons, “The Holy Spirit in the Pastorals”

Those interested in pneumatology in the Pastorals will be interested in a chapter in a recent volume:

Simmons, William A. The Holy Spirit in the New Testament: A Pentecostal Guide. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2021. [note chap. 13: “The Holy Spirit in the Pastoral Epistles: The Spirit of Power, Love and Self-Control,” pp. 161–72]

McKnight, “From Timely Exegesis to Contemporary Ecclesiology”

I list here an article which falls under the category of “hidden contributions to Pastorals scholarship”:

Scot McKnight, “From Timely Exegesis to Contemporary Ecclesiology: Relevant Hermeneutics and Provocative Embodiment of Faith in a Corona-Defined World – Generosity During a Pandemic.” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 77.4 (2021): a6426. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6426

The article engages the Pastorals in a discussion of generosity and humanitarian concern for the poor (pp. 2-3). McKnight is slated to produce a commentary on the Pastorals in the New Cambridge Bible Commentary.

Van den Heede, “La participation à la mort du Christ par le baptême”

A new article of potential interest to Pastorals scholars:

Philippe van den Heede, “La participation à la mort du Christ par le baptême (Rm 6,3–11: Une conception pré-paulinienne (Rm 6,8; 2 Tm 2,11).” Revue Biblique 128.1 (2021): 99–115.

Abstract: “Several scholars are of the opinion that the notion of participation in the death and resurrection of Christ through baptism does not appear before the letter to the Romans (Rom 6:3-11). It would therefore be an original theological creation of Paul. However, comparison of Rom 6:8 with 2 Tim 2:11, which is found in a traditional hymn, shows that this baptismal conception is pre-Paulinian (it is also found in Eph 5:14). Paul therefore inherited this tradition which he integrated and developed in his theological reflection.”

Newell, “Biblical Veganism: An Examination of 1 Timothy 4:1–8”

In a journal not known for its extended treatments of the biblical text, a new article on 1 Timothy has appeared:

Marcello Newall, “Biblical Veganism: An Examination of 1 Timothy 4:1–8.” Journal of Animal Ethics 11.1 (2021): 11–35.

Abstract: “1 Timothy 4:1-8 is often used as a proof text against veganism; this is especially true among certain fundamentalist Christian groups and conspiracy theorists. This article argues that a closer look at its linguistic, historical, and theological context reveals that Paul is in reality seeking to uphold the goodness of creation, as described in the first chapters of Genesis, against the dualistic proto-Gnostic creation story that saw the material world as evil. In this sense, 1 Timothy 4:1-8 appears to be a point-by-point rebuttal of the proto-Gnostic view of creation, which is contrasted with the account in Genesis. In particular, the apostle is denouncing a harsh asceticism, and food restriction/deprivation, described as ‘bodily exercise,’ which by severely mortifying the body sought deliverance from the material world. The article goes on to analyze ancient forms of asceticism as well as dietary patterns in the ancient Mediterranean in order to show how contemporary veganism differs sharply from the kind of mortification that is being condemned. 1 Timothy 4:1-8 highlights how food, generally understood, and creation should be received with thanksgiving as they are both gifts from God, which were pronounced good. Furthermore, 1 Timothy underlines that true Christian holiness does not consist in the harsh mortification of the body but in an inner holiness based on love and faith in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. Ultimately, veganism, far from being anti-Christian, as God’s original ideal, can be seen as a sign of hope pointing to the coming of the Kingdom of God and the restoration of creation beyond all violence, suffering, and death.”

Learning of this article reminded me of another in the same journal, broader in scope, but having the Pastorals in its ambit: Carl Frayne, “On Imitating the Regimen of Immortality or Facing the Diet of Mortal Reality: A Brief History of Abstinence from Flesh-Eating in Christianity,” Journal of Animal Ethics 6.2 (2016): 188–212.

A significant amount of scholarly attention has been given to 1 Tim 4:1-5 in the last twenty years, not least because of the juxtaposition of rising environmental concerns and the passage’s emphasis on the goodness of creation. Italian scholarship has made significant contributions: see Roberto Amici, “Tutto ciò che Dio ha creato è buono” (1Tm 4,4). Il rapporto con le realtà terrene nelle Lettere pastorali, RivBSup 48 (Bologna: Dehoniane, 2007); Giuseppe de Virgilio, “Πᾶν κτίσμα θεοῦ καλόν (1Tm 4,4). La positività della creasione e la sua dimensione salvifica nelle Lettere Pastorali,” in Creation and Salvation in the Bible, ed. M. V. Fabbri and M. Tábet (Rome: EDUSC, 2009), 361–76. As well, note Boudewijn Dehandschutter, “The History-of-Religions Background of 1 Timothy 4:4: ‘Everything that God Has Created Is Good,’” in The Creation of Heaven and Earth: Re-interpretations of Genesis 1 in the Context of Judaism, Ancient Philosophy, Christianity, and Modern Physics, ed. Geurt Hendrik van Kooten, Themes in Biblical Narrative: Jewish and Christian Traditions 8 (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 211–21; Jeremy Mann, “A Consecrated Cosmos? First Timothy 4:1–5 in Exegetical and Theological Perspective,” Bulletin of Ecclesial Theology 4.2 (2017): 79–88; Dillon T. Thornton, “Consecrated Creation: First Timothy 4:1–5 as an Underused Remedy for the Cosmological Dualism Prevalent in the Church,” Bulletin of Ecclesial Theology 4.1 (2017): 15–25; Paul R. Trebilco, “The Goodness and Holiness of the Earth and the Whole Creation (1 Timothy 4.1‒5),” in Readings from the Perspective of Earth, ed. Norman C. Habel (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 204‒20.

Poirier, The Invention of the Inspired Text

The Invention of the Inspired Text

Of interest to students of the Pastorals, and particularly those who study the theology of the letters: I received notice of a new volume forthcoming in the LNTS series, which mounts a challenge to the traditional understanding of θεόπνευστος in 2 Tim 3:16 and elsewhere in the early centuries of Christianity, advocating a meaning of “life-giving.”

Poirier, John C. The Invention of the Inspired Text: Philological Windows on the Theopneustia of Scripture. Library of New Testament Studies 640. New York: T&T Clark, 2021.

Here is the publisher’s overview of the book: “John C. Poirier examines the ‘theopneustic’ nature of the Scripture, as a response to the view that ‘inspiration’ lies at the heart of most contemporary Christian theology. In contrast to the traditional rendering of the Greek word theopneustos as ‘God-inspired’ in 2 Tim 3:16, Poirier argues that a close look at first- and second-century uses of theopneustos reveals that the traditional inspirationist understanding of the term did not arise until the time of Origen in the early third century CE, and that in every pre-Origen use of theopneustos the word instead means ‘life-giving.’

“Poirier thus conducts a detailed investigation of theopneustos as it appears in the fifth Sibylline Oracle, the Testament of Abraham, Vettius Valens, Pseudo-Plutarch (Placita Philosophorum), and Pseudo-Phocylides, all of whom understand the word to mean ‘life-giving.’ He also studies the use of the cognate term theopnous in Numenius, the Corpus Hermeticum, on an inscription at the Great Sphinx of Giza, and on an inscription at a nymphaeum at Laodicea on the Lycus. Poirier argues that a rendering of ‘life-giving’ also fits better within the context of 2 Tim 3:16, and that this meaning survived late enough to figure in a fifth-century work by Nonnus of Panopolis. He further traces the pre-Origen use of theopneustos among the Church Fathers. Poirier concludes by addressing the implication of rethinking the traditional understanding of Scripture, stressing that the lack of ‘God-inspired’ scripture ultimately does not affect the truth status of the gospel as preached by the apostles.”

The entire first chapter appears to focus on the seminal text, being titled “Is ‘All Scripture … Inspired’? The Meaning of Theopneustia in 2 Timothy 3:16.”

Worship in the PE, a New Essay

I was pleased to have the opportunity to write the chapter on the Pastoral Epistles in Biblical Worship: Theology for God’s Glory which is due out next week. I like mining a specific text, seeking what it has to say on a specific topic, and interestingly the Pastorals are not often quizzed for what they have to offer on worship. People note that preaching is upheld in these letters, but not much else. I ended up titling the chapter, “The Word, Prayer, and Practice: Worship in the Pastoral Epistles,” trying to point out key categories of worship mentioned in the PE.

My aim was to draw out what these letters offer concerning a theology of worship and then to suggest some applications to current church life. I’ll let you read the chapter, but I suggest we should give more attention to our own ethics as worship and even to dying as worship (2 Tim 4:6). Furthermore, while prayer is readily acknowledged as a key aspect of worship, it does not feature as prominently in corporate worship in many of our churches as it appears to in these letters. Lastly, though I do not develop this point as much, the comments on worship in the PE regularly are seen as aids to perseverance. If we want to persevere well, we need the sort of formative worship portrayed in the Pastorals (and elsewhere in the NT).

The Pastorals at the 2021 Tyndale Fellowship Conference

Two presentations on the Pastorals are slated for the New Testament Study Group at the 2021 Tyndale Fellowship Conference (to be held virtually), provided here with abstracts. They are scheduled for June 25.

Jermo van Nes, “The Letters to Timothy and Titus: Second-Century Writings?” Abstract: “Many contemporary New Testament scholars consider 1-2 Timothy and Titus, collectively known as the Pastoral Epistles (PE), to be pseudonymous writings. Some of them do so on the basis of the PE’s comparatively large number of hapaxes, which they believe is closer to the writings of the Apostolic Fathers and early Apologists dating from the second century AD. The aim of this presentation is to reconsider this influential thesis as once advocated by P.N. Harrison (1921). It will be argued that the (statistical) evidence presented by Harrison is flawed as he gives no proper definition of hapaxes and early Apologists, 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 presentation will (1) provide a proper definition of hapaxes, (2) count how many of these hapaxes recur in all Greek religious second-century writings listed 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 Pauline letters share significantly more hapaxes with these second-century writings.”

John Percival, “Rhetorical and Theological Strategy in the Narrative Substructure of 2 Timothy.” Abstract: “This paper demonstrates that an examination of the narrative substructure of 2 Timothy sheds light on its rhetorical and theological strategy. Narrative approaches to Pauline literature and theology have borne much fruit over the last 35 years, but the letters to Timothy and Titus have, as is often the case, been largely overlooked. Rather than looking at the Pastoral Epistles as a homogenous corpus, in this paper we will consider the distinctive contribution of 2 Timothy. Focus falls on four areas: God’s pre-temporal action, the time of ‘the Scriptures,’ the first appearing of Christ, and the second, eschatological appearing of Christ. By analysing the way these areas are presented, and how they fit together into a coherent, salvation-historical whole, we illuminate the rhetorical and theological strategy employed in 2 Timothy. Addressed to a church leader dealing with false teaching and opposition, the narrative of God’s plan of salvation offers unique resources affirming God’s eternal commitment to his people, culminating in them sharing Christ’s eschatological reign. Problems occur when narrative elements become dislocated, for example, by claiming the resurrection has already occurred.”

Berry, They Who Endure to the End: A Primer on Perseverance

A recent volume provides another “hidden contribution to Pastorals scholarship“:

Berry, Everett. They Who Endure to the End: A Primer on Perseverence. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2020.

The volume includes a biblical-theological treatment of perseverance, followed by an historical-theological discussion of the topic. In his chapter on “Perseverance in the Letters of Paul,” Berry provides a seven-page discussion of “Perseverance in the Pastoral Epistles” (pp. 75-81).

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