Pastoral Epistles

It is now almost universally accepted that St. Paul did not write the Pastoral Epistles to [passage=1TIM; 2TIM; TIT]Timothy and Titus[/passage/]. There are four strands of evidence:

Conservative theologians posit that Paul was tried in approximately 64 and then released; he wrote his three Pastoral Epistles (Titus first) and was then re-imprisoned in chains in a dungeon and martyred in 65.

What we know from outside of The Pastorals about Titus and Timothy. Titus was a Cretan Gentile whose non-circumcision was a matter of controversy (Galatians 2:1-3); he was at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) and worked with Paul during his second and third journeys. Timothy was the son of a Christian Jewish mother and Greek father from Lystra, Galatia (Acts 16:1), now Turkey. Paul chose him as a companion for his second journey (Acts 16) and circumcised him to avoid offending Jews. Paul clearly loved Timothy (1 Corinthians 4:17); six of Paul's Epistles bear Timothy's name in the greeting: 1 Corinthians; Philippians; Colossians; 1 Thessalonians; Philemon. Timothy accompanied Paul on his second and third journeys (Acts 16-19) and was probably with him in Rome.

It is important to separate the theological from the historical aspects of the discussion. The Pastoral Epistles are part of the Biblical Canon and are therefore accepted as an integral part of the Bible. Their accurate dating, however, is critical to our understanding of the emerging church: if the conservatives are correct, Bishops and Deacons were an established phenomenon as early as 64; but if the liberals are right, the hierarchy evolved much more slowly.

KC iii/07

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