Lyn Kidson has produced another contribution to the discussion of widows in 1 Timothy 5. (See also her “Fasting, Bodily Care, and the Widows of 1 Timothy 5:3–15,” Early Christianity 11.2 (2020): 191–205 [DOI: 10.1628/ec-2020-0016])
Lyn Kidson, “Real Widows, Young Widows, and the Limits of Benefaction in 1 Timothy 5:3–16.” Australian Biblical Review 70 (2022): 83–100.
Abstract: John Barclay, in his 2020 article, “Household Networks and Early Christian Economics,” outlines the puzzles that “abound” in 1 Timothy 5:3–16. Among his list of puzzles, he asks, “Is it inconsistent to say that a χήρα can be registered only if she has brought up children (5.10), but to deny her support in 5:4–8 if she has children to look after? Who are the younger χῆραι that the Pastor is evidently so anxious about (5:11–15) …?” Barclay’s article has gone a long way to resolving these puzzles. The “younger χῆραι” he identifies as “virgins.” This was an anomaly in the social world of the early Christians, which forced them to adapt terms for the woman beyond puberty but was without a man. This was a χήρα. While in agreement with Barclay, this article probes a little more deeply into the problem of the younger χήρα and her dowry. It makes the proposal that if the younger χήρα is a virgin, then the issue in 1 Timothy 5 is not her ongoing support, which seems manageable for the “real widow,” but the support for the virgin who wishes to marry after she has been assigned as a qualifying χήρα.
A essay on the crux of 1 Tim 2:15 in a festschrift honoring Rob van Houwelingen on the occasion of his retirement:
Armin Baum, “Saving Wealthy Ephesian Women from a Self-Centered Way of Life (1 Tim 2:15): Salvation by Childbearing in the Context of Ancient Arguments against Sexual Intercourse, Pregnancy, and Child-rearing,” in Troubling Texts in the New Testament: Essays in Honour of Rob van Houwelingen, Contributions to Exegesis and Theology (Leuven: Peeters, 2022), 257–83.
Abstract: “Many Bible readers regard the statement in 1 Timothy 2: 15 (“She will be saved through childbearing … “) as very unfair. Why did Paul (or one of his disciples) lose sight of gender equality? And is this passage not irreconcilable with passages such as Galatians 3:28, where Paul advocated the soteriological equality of the sexes, and with 1 Corinthians 7:8, where Paul encouraged unmarried women and widows to remain single? 1 Timothy 2: 15 confronts us with two exegetical challenges. First, its telegraphic style was probably quite comprehensible for Paul’s protege Timothy; but for us who are much less familiar with Paul’s thoughts, it.is much more difficult to decipher. Secondly, while for Paul, Timothy and the women concerned the concrete situation in the church of Ephesus was crystal clear, for us who are not involved and look at it from a distance of 2000 years it is anything but easy to figure out what exactly Paul was talking about. But read against its literary and historical context, l Timothy 2:15 is not a misogynistic text but rather a statement against luxury-oriented selfishness which is in conflict with the law of love.”
Helpful in this essay is a taxonomy of views regarding τεκνογονία in 2:15 (p. 260):
Baum’s final interpretive translation reveals his take on the passage: “(The luxury-minded) women (in the church of Ephesus)will be saved (from their spiritually dangerous self-centered lifestyle) by bearing children (and thereby accepting the maternal role)and by holding fast to (the basic Christian virtues of) faith, love,holiness and (particularly) chastity” (p. 280).
A new essay on 1 Timothy 2:8–15 in a festschrift honoring Rob van Houwelingen on the occasion of his retirement:
Peter-Ben Smit, “Gender Trouble in 1 Tim 2:8–15,” in Troubling Texts in the New Testament: Essays in Honour of Rob van Houwelingen, Contributions to Exegesis and Theology (Leuven: Peeters, 2022), 237–56.
Abstract: “This contribution takes as its point of departure the virtues as they are mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:8–15, in particular in verse 15. Analyzing how gender is constructed through the performance of virtues, and noting that certain virtues when performed by women contribute to their autonomy, the proposal is made that, however ‘conservatively’ the author of 1 Timothy may have intended his discourse on gender in these verses, the stress on female virtue may well foster greater autonomy for these women than would have been intended by the author. The question is asked whether this text does not cause its own kind of gender trouble and, in a way, give birth to women like Thecla.”
An excursion into the theology of Darby which may be of interest to students of 2 Timothy:
Phillip Church, “Separation from the (Evil) World: 2 Timothy 2.19-21 and the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.” The Bible Translator 73.2 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1177/20516770221097930
Abstract: Separation from the (evil) world based on 2 Tim 2.19-21 is a defining characteristic of exclusive brethrenism, both in its most extreme form, the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, and in other exclusive brethren groups. I examine this text in its context and then critically assess John Nelson Darby’s reading of it, working from his translation and his comments elsewhere in his writings. Darby misread the text as separation from “evil people” rather than avoidance of wrongdoing, with disastrous consequences. I conclude with some reflections on how his reading of v. 19 arose and on the dangers associated with translation work undertaken by influential individuals working in isolation from other scholars.
A new article of interest for Pastorals researchers:
Gregory Goswell, “The Bookends of the Pauline Corpus.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 65.1 (2022): 111–26.
Abstract: Romans at the head of the Pauline corpus and the Pastoral Epistles at or near the end act as bookends and provide a missional frame around the epistolary collection. Though the order of the letters appears to be due to the mechanical principle of decreasing length (Romans is the longest letter) and the (somewhat) arbitrary division made between letters to churches and to individuals, the position of Romans and the Pastoral Epistles at either end of the collection of Paul’s letters makes sense, given the general and comprehensive character of Romans and the probable setting of the Pastoral Epistles late in Paul’s missionary career as he contemplates his removal from the scene. Influenced by Romans, the reader of the letters that follow is alerted to when and how Paul sets his doctrinal and ethical instructions in a missional frame. Similarly, the Pastoral Epistles suggest a missional reading of the earlier letters. The letter to the Philippians is used as a test case for the influence that Romans and the Pastorals bring to bear on the reading of the intervening letters.
Another article engaging 1 Timothy 3:16 is now available:
David R. Edwards, “‘Taken Up in Glory’: Early Christian Traditions of the Ascension in Light of 1 Timothy 3:16.” Journal of Early Christian History 12.2 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1080/2222582X.2022.2109052
This article is the publication of an earlier conference presentation: “‘Taken Up in Glory’: Early Christian Traditions of the Ascension of Jesus in Light of 1 Tim. 3:16.” Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the SBL, San Antonio, 21 November 2021.
Abstract: I revive a chronological approach to the hymn in 1 Timothy 3:16, a reading which has frequently been dismissed on the basis of the alleged misplacement of the ascension after the Gentile missionary movement. Behind the rejection of a chronological reading has been the normativity of the narrative of Luke- Acts—or at least a conventional reading of it. This study argues that the peculiar chronology of the hymn arose from attempts to harmonise the multiple ascension reports in Luke 24 and Acts 1 along with the tradition reported by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. Lying behind the hymn is an interpretation of Luke- Acts as implying multiple and ongoing post-resurrection appearances and ascensions which culminate in a final ascension after the appearance to Paul, which occurs in the narrative of Luke-Acts just after the Christian proclamation expands to Gentiles through the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch.
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 SBL 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
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.
The following items listed in New Testament Abstracts 66.1 (2022) may be of interest to Pastorals scholars.
218. Annette Huizenga, “Idealized Motherhood: Examples of the Gendered Worldview of the Pastoral Letters.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 294–304. https://doi.org/10.1177/00209643211027765
219. Margaret Y. MacDonald, “Education and the Household in the Pastoral Epistles.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 283–93. https://doi.org/10.1177/00209643211027768
220. Jermo Van Nes, “Second-Century Vocabulary in the Pastoral Epistles? A Reassessment.” Filología Neotestamentaria 34 (2021): 41–67.
221. Marie M. Fortune, “Is Nothing Sacred? I Timothy and Clergy Sexual Abuse.” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 317–27. https://doi.org/10.1177/00209643211027764.
222. Marianne B. Kartzow, “The ‘Believing Woman’ and Her ekklēsia: Rethinking Intersectional Households and Manuscript Variations in the Widows’ Tale (1 Tim 5:3–16).” Interpretation 75.4 (2021): 305–16. https://doi.org/10.1177/00209643211027767
(p. 146) Andreas J. Köstenberger, 1–2 Timothy and Titus. Evangelical Biblical Theology Commentary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham, 2021.
The second volume in a new commentary series, Pentecostal New Testament Commentaries, is out, and it addresses the Pastorals:
William K. Kay and John R. L. Moxon. A Pentecostal Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. Pentecostal New Testament Commentaries. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2022.
As one might expect, the commentary gives “special attention to the typical interests and questions of Pentecostal and charismatic readers” (introduction). The Pastorals are accepted as authentically Pauline. “The view taken by this commentary is that the special character and concerns of these texts are already present in some measure for other NT writers and that they can be explained by (a) a clear second-generation, future-facing orientation, (b) one or more amanuenses or assistants, and (c) a decision to use new, more specifically Hellenistic religious language” (introduction).
The introduction notes that “in terms of the great questions facing us today about church planting, mission, leadership and ‘next generation’ church, these epistles could count as amongst the most significant and exciting of the New Testament.”
The authors specify several reasons to attend to the Pastorals, especially for those in the volume’s target audience: (1) “The epistles tell us about some of the important ‘second phase’ activities that were needed in early mission work.” (2) “The epistles help us to realize how the early church organized its ministry in practical terms.” (3) “Third … is the issue of how one even enters a ministry. If 1 Corinthians were our sole guide, we might imagine this happened by a self-evident spiritual gift or anointing. It perhaps comes as a surprise therefore when in the PE, Paul speaks of ‘aspiring’ to a ministry role (1 Tim 3:1), of the ‘testing’ of candidates (1 Tim 3:10), and a fact often missed, that ministry always occurred in teams (cf. 1 Tim 4:14). The PE certainly know about gifts, prophecy, and discerning spirits (1 Tim 4:1, 14), yet procedures and structures clearly appear alongside them. Equally disarming, of course, is the idea of a disciplinary process (run by the congregation?) that could, we assume, lead to the removal of an elder (1 Tim 5:19), contrary to the oft-cited Ps 105:15.” (4) “Another eye-catching emphasis in the PE is the theme of holiness…. Whilst imagined in some Pentecostal contexts to be the more or less inevitable consequence of receiving the Spirit, the emphasis in the PE lies on training, formation, safeguarding and accountability.”