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Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary for Schools and Colleges Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary
- 1 Timothy
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
General Editor: J. J. S. PEROWNE, D.D.
Bishop of Worcester
the epistles to
timothy and titus
with introduction and notes
the rev. a. e. humphreys, m.a.,
rector of fakenham, norfolk;
late fellow and assistant tutor of trinity college, cambridge
edited for the syndics of the university press
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS
[ All Rights reserved .]
ST PAUL’S LAST JOURNEYS
to illustrate Introduction pp. 41 44
by the General Editor
The General Editor of The Cambridge Bible for Schools thinks it right to say that he does not hold himself responsible either for the interpretation of particular passages which the Editors of the several Books have adopted, or for any opinion on points of doctrine that they may have expressed. In the New Testament more especially questions arise of the deepest theological import, on which the ablest and most conscientious interpreters have differed and always will differ. His aim has been in all such cases to leave each Contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment, only taking care that mere controversy should as far as possible be avoided He has contented himself chiefly with a careful revision of the notes, with pointing out omissions, with suggesting occasionally a reconsideration of some question, or a fuller treatment of difficult passages, and the like.
Beyond this he has not attempted to interfere, feeling it better that each Commentary should have its own individual character, and being convinced that freshness and variety of treatment are more than a compensation for any lack of uniformity in the Series.
A. The Genuineness and Date of the Epistles
Chapter I . External Evidence
Chapter II . Internal Evidence. I. St Paul and Early Church Order
Chapter III . Internal Evidence. II. St Paul’s Latest Style and Characteristics
Chapter IV . Internal Evidence. III. The Last Journeys of St Paul
Chapter V . Internal Evidence. IV. St Paul and Early Gnosticism
Chapter VI . Summary and Conclusions
B. The Friends addressed in the Epistles
Chapter VII . Life of Timothy
Chapter VIII . Life of Titus
C. The Theme and Contents of the Epistles
Chapter IX . Analysis of the Epistles
II. Text and Notes
* * * The Text adopted in this Edition is that of Dr Scrivener’s Cambridge Paragraph Bible . A few variations from the ordinary Text, chiefly in the spelling of certain words, and in the use of italics, will be noticed. For the principles adopted by Dr Scrivener as regards the printing of the Text see his Introduction to the Paragraph Bible , published by the Cambridge University Press.
‘Heresy is the school of Pride.’
Jacula Prudentum .
‘I have resolved to set down the Form and Character of a true Pastor, that I may have a Mark to aim at: which also I will set as high as I can, since he shoots higher that threatens the Moon, than he that aims at a Tree.’
‘Bishops and Priests, blessèd are ye, if deep
(As yours above all offices is high)
Deep in your hearts the sense of duty lie;
Charged as ye are by Christ to feed and keep
From wolves your portion of His chosen sheep:
Labouring as ever in your Master’s sight,
Making your hardest task your best delight,
What perfect glory ye in Heaven shall reap!
But in the solemn Office which ye sought
And undertook premonished, if unsound
Your practice prove, faithless though but in thought,
Bishops and Priests, think what a gulf profound
Awaits you then, if they were rightly taught
Who framed the Ordinance by your lives disowned!’
A. THE GENUINENESS AND DATE OF THE EPISTLES
There was never any doubt in the Church, from the first century down to the present, but that St Paul was the author of these epistles. The rejection by Marcion, as has been well pointed out, increases the force of this testimony, as it shews that attention was expressly called to the subject. And Marcion’s Canon of Scripture was fixed not by the evidence of authenticity, but by his own approval of the contents, of any book.
The attack made in the present century upon the genuineness of the epistles relies upon arguments drawn from their internal characteristics. In estimating the weight to be attached to these arguments it is of importance to be first sufficiently impressed by the strength of the external evidence. Instead therefore of dismissing this side of the question in a sentence, it is well to place in view the different groups of testimonies down to the acknowledged position given to the epistles by the Church in Canon and Council.
( a ) The witness of the Apostolic Fathers
Epistle of Barnabas , c. a.d. 75. ‘Behold again it is Jesus, not a son of man, but the Son of God, and He was revealed in the flesh in a figure.’ Compare 1 Timothy 3:16 .
Clement of Rome , c. a.d. 95. ‘Lifting up pure and undefiled hands unto Him’ (1 ad Cor . c. 29). Compare 1 Timothy 2:8 . ‘King of the ages’ (c. 61). Compare 1 Timothy 1:17 .
Ignatius of Antioch , c. a.d. 112. ‘Be not seduced by strange doctrines nor antiquated fables which are profitless’ ( ad Magn . c. viii.). Compare Titus 1:13 , Titus 3:9 . ‘Please the Captain in whose army ye serve’ ( ad Polyc . c. vi.). Compare 2 Timothy 2:4 .
Polycarp of Smyrna , c. a.d. 112. ‘But the love of money is the beginning of all troubles. Knowing therefore that we brought nothing into the world, neither can we carry anything out, let us arm ourselves with the armour of righteousness’ ( ad Philipp . c. 4). Compare 1 Timothy 6:7 , 1 Timothy 6:10 .
Epistle to Diognetus , c. a.d. 117 (Westcott), c. a.d. 150 (Lightfoot). ‘One of the noblest and most impressive of early Christian apologies’ (Lightfoot), not improbably addressed to Diognetus, the tutor of Marcus Aurelius. ‘When the season came which God had ordained when henceforth He should manifest His goodness and power (O the exceeding great tenderness and love of God).’ Compare Titus 3:4 .
( b ) The witness of the Greek Apologists
Justin Martyr , c. a.d. 146, who, as a Christian philosopher in the public walk at Ephesus, held a discussion with the Jew Trypho proving from the Old Testament that Jesus was the Christ.
‘The kindness of God and His love toward man’ ( Dial. c. Tryph . c. 47). Compare Titus 3:4 .
Theophilus of Antioch, c. a.d. 168, its sixth bishop, who wrote to convince a learned heathen friend of the truth of Christianity.
‘Further, respecting the being in subjection to rulers and authorities and praying for them, the divine utterance commands us that we lead a tranquil and quiet life’ ( ad Autolyc . iii. 14). Compare Titus 3:1 ; 1 Timothy 2:2 .
( c ) The witness of the Early Heretics
Basilides , c. a.d. 110, a younger contemporary of Cerinthus, has perhaps in the phrase ‘in his own times’ a quotation from 1 Timothy 2:6 .
Marcion , c. a.d. 140, excluded the three epistles from his Canon, as witnessing against his Gnostic and Docetic views, and is therefore a witness to them.
Heracleon , c. a.d. 150, a familiar friend of Valentinus the Gnostic, claims the title of the first commentator on the New Testament; and the fragments of his commentary contain an allusion to 2 Timothy 3:13 .
Theodotus , c. a.d. 150, also a writer of the Valentinians, quotes 1 Timothy according to Epiphanius.
Tatian , c. a.d. 160, the head of the Encratites, combining the Valentinian doctrine of Æons with the asceticism of Marcion, affirmed according to Jerome that the Epistle to Titus was most certainly St Paul’s.
( d ) The Witness of the Ancient Versions
The Peshitto-Syriac Version, c. a.d. 130, of the 2nd century, completed shortly after the Apostolic age, and having special weight through the absence of all uncanonical books from this earliest version, contains all three epistles.
The Old Latin Version, c. a.d. 150, ‘perhaps coeval with the introduction of Christianity into Africa’ in one shape or other the most important early witness to the text and interpretation of the whole Bible also contains all three epistles.
Westcott ( Canon of New Testament , p. 243) thus sums up the testimony of these most ancient Versions, “They give the testimony of Churches, not of individuals. They furnish a proof of the authority of the books which they contain, wide spread, continuous, reaching to the utmost verge of our historic records. Their real weight is even greater than this; for when history first speaks of them, it speaks as of that which was recognised as a heritage from an earlier period, which cannot have been long after the date of the Apostles.”
( e ) The witness of the Churches
(1) The Gallican Church
a.d. 177. The Epistle of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia quotes 1 Tim., ‘Vehemently fell their rage upon … Attalus of Pergamos, a pillar, and ground of the whole district.’ Compare 1 Timothy 3:15 .
Irenaeus , Bishop of Lyons, c. a.d. 180, begins his preface with quoting 1 Timothy 1:4 , adding ‘as the Apostle saith,’ and quotes 1 Timothy 1:9 , 1 Timothy 1:6 :20; 2 Timothy 4:9-11 ; Titus 3:10 .
(2) The Alexandrian Church
Clement of Alexandria , c. a.d. 180, Head of the Catechetical school at Alexandria a.d. 190 200, quotes 1 Timothy 4:1 , 1 Timothy 4:6 :20; Titus 1:12 , referring to ‘the blessed Paul,’ ‘the Apostle,’ ‘the noble Paul’ as the author. He and Origen his successor undoubtedly include these epistles in their Canon of Scripture.
(3) The African Church
Tertullian of Carthage , c. a.d. 200, quotes e.g. 1 Timothy 6:20 ; 2 Timothy 1:14 ; Titus 3:10 , Titus 3:11 , and speaking of Marcion says, ‘I wonder since he received a letter written to an individual, the Epistle to Philemon, that he rejected two to Timothy and one to Titus written on the subject of Church order.’
The Canon of the African Church includes these epistles.
(4) The Roman Church
Hippolytus, Bishop at Portus , c. a.d. 220, has, in his undoubted writings, quotations from these epistles, as from all the acknowledged books except Philemon and 1 John. In the list of his works is one entitled ‘Verses about all the Scriptures.’ Lightfoot regards these as metrical descriptions of the Old and New Testament, and the Muratorian Fragment as a part of one of these. It is in any case ‘a summary of the opinion of the Western Church on the Canon,’ and it includes ‘one letter to Philemon, one to Titus, two to Timothy; letters of personal esteem and affection, but held in honour and regarded as Holy Scripture by the Catholic Church for their instruction in Church discipline.’
( f ) The witness of the Historian
The age of Diocletian brought persecution which raged with especial violence against the Scriptures. Among the results we find the testimony of the great Eusebius the Historian , c. a.d. 300, who describes the final steps in the history of the Canon, the forming of the books of the New Testament into distinct collections, ‘a quaternion of Gospels,’ ‘fourteen Epistles of St Paul,’ ‘seven Catholic epistles.’ In the Pauline group the Pastoral Epistles are included, and placed among the ‘Acknowledged’ Canonical writings.
( g ) The witness of the Councils
At this point it only remains to note that the Pastoral Epistles are included in the contents of the three great mss. of the Greek Bible, the Alexandrine (A), the Vatican (B), the Sinaitic ( א ), which belong to this period a.d. 300 400, the age of the great Councils; and that they form part of the Canon of the New Testament as authoritatively promulgated by the
Third Council of Carthage , a.d. 397. Included in the Scriptures of Athanasius, of Jerome, of Augustine, these Epistles kept their place unchallenged, while the Canon of the New Testament became ‘no longer a problem but a tradition.’
St Paul and Early Church Order
The Church has been, is, and always will be one ; as its Founder, God in Christ, the “same yesterday, to-day, and for ever;” the central organism for the blessing of the world. That blessing was given in all the ages past, is given now, and will be ever given in many forms, by many agencies, the working of natural laws, the rise and fall of nations, through all science and all history; but the central organism is spiritual, as any one would expect who recognises that “God is a Spirit,” and man, the apex of creation, also spiritual; the action that is, of the supreme Creator and Governor upon the spirits of men through the evolution of spiritual forces. From Adam to Noah, from Noah to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Malachi, from Malachi to John Baptist, from the Incarnation to the Resurrection, from the Resurrection to the descent of the Holy Spirit, from then till now, from now till the second Advent, these spiritual forces have been, are, and will be at work, gathering in strength and widening in sphere with the centuries.
I doubt not thro’ the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.
Tennyson, Locksley Hall .
We are here concerned with the Christian Church in its beginnings, the relation of the Pastoral Epistles to that first century of the new life of the Church which commenced with the Pentecostal outpouring upon it of the Holy Spirit from its Incarnate Ascended Head.
We may conveniently note four epochs at about equal distances of one generation each, a.d. 33; 66; 99; 133. Round these four dates gathers most of the evidence that remains to us respecting the organisation and ministry of the Christian Church in its earliest days; and it is only by passing in review, chronologically, the literature of these dates, that we can see how appropriately in order of development the Church organisation of the Pastoral Epistles finds its place a.d. 66, 67, instead of one or two generations later.
a.d. 33. We find Apostles chosen and appointed in readiness. The Gospels give great prominence to the choosing of the Twelve by our Lord, Matthew 10:1-5 , Mark 3:14-19 , Luke 6:12-16 , John 6:67-71 . “Our Lord chose them early in His public career. After their call as Apostles they appear to have been continuously with Him or in His service. The mother-church at Jerusalem grew up under their hands (Acts 3 7); and their superior power and dignity were universally acknowledged by the rulers and the people (Acts 5:12 ff.).” Alford, Dict. Bib . p. 84. The ministerial office is not created by the Church but is ready for the Church. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and in their fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers. And the Lord added to them daily such as were being saved” (Acts 2:41 ).
a.d. 35. The numbers increased very soon to five thousand, and with the roll daily increasing, some development of organisation was a necessity. The principle of the Diaconate was very soon established (Acts 6:3 ) with popular selection but Apostolic ordination, a.d. 35; and during the 30 years that follow this date we find Deacons, Presbyters (called also Overseers or Bishops) and Apostles engaged in the direction of the Church. The Presbyterate appears as existing. Elders of Israel were attached to both city and synagogue, being admitted by the laying on of hands. It may be that the Apostles “found this Jewish organisation ready to hand, and when its members accepted the message of the Gospel, they continued their work, enlarging it by the peculiarities of the Christian scheme.” Lefroy, Christian Ministry , p. 149. The earliest notice is of a.d. 45, when the relief for the poor brethren in Judæa was sent “to the elders” by the hand of Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11:30 ). The Apostles, it is thought, having declared their resolve to have no more dealings with finance, and the deacons having only the task of administering, the presbyters as next in authority to the Apostles would receive the gift, which the deacons would then disburse. Again in a.d. 50 the ‘Council’ had an important doctrinal question before it, salvation without Jewish ceremonies. The presbyters were on the Council and are therefore seen to be entrusted with the ministry of the word; and were not, as Dr Hatch maintains, “like the Jewish elders, only officers of administration and discipline.” Again in 1 Thessalonians, written almost certainly in a.d. 52, and therefore the earliest of the Christian writings we possess, St Paul exhorts “the church of the Thessalonians” “to know them that labour among you , and are over you in the Lord , and admonish you; and to esteem them exceeding highly in love for their work’s sake,” 1 Thessalonians 5:12 , 1 Thessalonians 5:13 .
a.d. 57. Five years later in 1 Corinthians, written from Ephesus, St Paul lays stress on the “ministerial, evidential, and administrative” functions of the different and already numerous grades of ministers; and on all being the gift of the ascended Saviour; “God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers ( ministerial ), then miracles, then gifts of healings ( evidential ), helps, governments ( administrative ), divers kinds of tongues ( evidential ),” 1 Corinthians 12:28 . And in the following year, a.d. 58, in addressing “the elders of the church” of Ephesus, whom he has sent for to Miletus, he says to them, “take heed unto yourselves and to all the flock in the which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops , to feed the Church of God which he purchased with his own blood.” And though Dr Hatch quotes the LXX. use (Acts 20:28 ) of the Greek word for ‘feed,’ as shewing that ‘rule’ is meant, yet our Lord’s use of the same word “feed, tend , feed,” in giving the Apostolic Commission to St Peter is entirely against this; and the duties of the presbyter-bishops defined by this word certainly include the various offices of a shepherd, the leading, feeding, tending ‘pasce mente, pasce ore, pasce opere, pasce animi oratione, verbi exhortatione, exempli exhibitione’ (Bernard in Alford, quoted by Lefroy).
a.d. 61. Four years subsequently, the imprisonment at Cæsarea having taken place meanwhile, St Paul writes from Rome and salutes the “bishops” and “deacons” at Philippi, meaning evidently presbyters by “bishops.” See Lightfoot, Phil . p. 94, “It is incredible that he should recognise only the first and third order and pass over the second, though the second was absolutely essential to the existence of a church and formed the staple of its ministry.”
a.d. 62. A briefer list of functions of ministry, but similar to that which he sent to the Corinthians from Ephesus, St Paul sends now to the Ephesians themselves from Rome in a.d. 62. “He gave some to be apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists ( itinerant ), and some pastors and teachers ( stationary ), for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ.” In the Corinthian passage the point emphasised is the Divine harmony in variety of the different classes of functions. In this the stress is rather laid on the provision for all possible occasions and localities, and we can see the wide view of the Church Catholic which has alike her “itinerant or missionary clergy and stationary or localized clergy.” This stationary and local duty, of being pastors and teachers, would be that especially of the presbyters (Lightfoot, Phil . exc. p. 192).
a.d. 63. And in the Epistle of St James another spiritual function is very definitely assigned to the presbyters, “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord,” James 5:14 .
a.d. 65. In the Epistle to the Hebrews the writer, probably in Syria, “in the critical interval between a.d. 64, the government of Gessius Florus, and a.d. 67, the commencement of the Jewish war,” speaks generally of a ministry of spiritual guidance and instruction, and of a sacred succession in it; “obey them that have rule over you and submit to them, for they watch in behalf of your souls ,” c. 13:17, and earlier, “remember them that had the rule over you, which spake unto you the word of God ,” 13:7.
And St Peter, writing most probably from Rome after St Paul’s release and departure, and after Nero’s persecution (a.d. 64), urges the “presbyters” belonging to the different Christian communities in Asia Minor to “do the work of bishops” with disinterested zeal. “The elders therefore among you I exhort, who am a fellow elder, … tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the over sight not of constraint but willingly,” 1 Peter 5:1 , 1 Peter 5:2 .
We are thus brought on to the close of the second epoch or generation , and to the assumed date of the Pastoral Epistles. (See above, p. 14.)
a.d. 66. In 1 Timothy and Titus we find not so much “a distinct advance in organisation from the condition of the Church exhibited in St Paul’s other Epistles” (Wace, Speaker’s Comm ., p. 764) as a more detailed exposition of the duties and functions belonging to the apostolate , the presbyterate and the diaconate , all of which offices we have seen already recognised. Such advance as there seems to be lies in the silence observed as to the other offices named in other passages; and, so far, preparation is divinely made for their gradual extinction. But in the generation which followed the Pastoral Epistles, as we shall see from the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles , they were still vigorous.
The apostolate is the main theme of both 1 Tim. and Titus. We assume the charge given alike to Timothy and Titus to be that of Vicar-apostolic, St Paul’s representative (whether temporary or permanent), 1 Timothy 1:3 ; Titus 1:5 .
The scope of 1 Tim. is the maintenance of the deposit of the Catholic faith, “that he may charge some that they teach no strange doctrine,” the purpose of the commandment being “love out of a pure heart and of a good conscience and of faith unfeigned,” 1 Timothy 1:4-11 ; 1 Timothy 6:20 , 1 Timothy 6:21 .
Its sphere is the oversight of public life and worship prayer for all “that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life,” 1 Timothy 2:2 .
Its method is the supply of sufficient and sufficiently qualified ministers of two grades, bishops , whose training and work are described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 , and who are called “presbyters” in a further description, 5:17 19, and deacons , who are described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 .
Its efficiency rests on Timothy’s own example in conduct, study, use of spiritual gifts, bearing towards the old and the young, the poor and the rich, the widow and the slave, 1 Timothy 3:14-21 .
Similarly, we may place the instructions to Titus under the same heads, though they are briefer, and arranged independently.
The scope of the apostolate; the maintenance of the truth on which the life depends, and its “good works,” Titus 1:1-4 , Titus 1:10-16 .
Its sphere ; the oversight of public life and religion, 2:11 14, 3:1 8.
Its method ; the supply of ministers one grade only being named, that of “presbyters,” here also called “bishops” 1:5 9.
Its efficiency ; dependent on his own high example in doctrine, good works, and bearing towards the elder and younger, the heretical and orthodox, 2:1 10, 3:8 11.
a.d. 67. The personal outweighs the official in the fervent utterances of the Apostle’s last words in 2 Timothy: we trace something of the same scope in 1:12 14, “guard the good deposit”; something of the same sphere in 1:1, 2, “life in Christ,” with its double seal of holy devotion and devoted holiness, “the Lord knoweth them that are His,” and “depart from unrighteousness”; something of the same method in 2:2, 14, “commit thou the sound words to faithful men,” “put them in remembrance”; but we see the dying father most solicitous for the personal conduct of his “beloved child,” that he may “fulfil his ministry” and bear aloft the apostolic standard falling from his own hand, 1:3 11, 2:1, 3 13, 15 26, 3:10 17, 4:1 10. The efficiency of the apostolate is more anxiously than ever made to rest on Timothy’s own character and bearing, “Stir up the gift of God which is in thee,” “Suffer hardship with me,” “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God,” “Be instant in season, out of season,” “For I am already being offered.”
a.d. 69. Such evidence as is afforded by the Apocalypse of St John belongs most probably to the two or three years following St Paul’s death. (See summary of arguments for this date, Cambridge Companion to Bible , p. 84.) The Epistles addressed to the Seven Churches of Asia are sent to the “angel” of each Church. If we allow for the Oriental and Hebraic symbolism of the form in which this portion, like the other portions of the Apocalypse, is cast, it will seem in keeping with the main theme of the Pastoral Epistles that the stress of responsibility should be laid on one presiding minister. Let us assume that, historically, the basis of this symbolic vision is a headship of some sort exercised in each Church for the time being by an itinerant or stationary apostolic delegate; that in the spirit of the Pastoral Epistles some similar provision (of which they give specimens) had been and was being generally made, wherever Churches were sufficiently settled; then in this delegated apostolate we get sufficient idea of the conception present to the inspired seer; and we seem to see divine confirmation of the plan, still only forming historically, for the one apostolic headship in each district. The “seven churches” indicate the vision of the Church in its covenanted completeness; the “seven stars in Christ’s right hand” signify the complete apostolic authority, immediately and constantly derived from Him (Trench, Seven Churches in Asia , pp. 52, 53).
“The seven stars” are also “the seven angels,” according to the wealth of Oriental imagery, “by a heavenly title transferred in O.T. already to men, Ecclesiastes 5:6 , Haggai 1:13 , Malachi 2:7 ; Malachi 3:1 , designating not the personality but the office of those heavenly beings by whom it is properly borne” (Trench, p. 56.)
Bishop Lightfoot’s objection, that the time did not allow of change in organisation sufficient to establish a “bishop” proper, does not lie against the above explanation; and we might well urge that to the same extent the time does not allow of the change for the worse, apparently depicted in the condition of the Asiatic Churches. The truth seems to be that there is no great change of organisation or of life. It is another Apostle who is reviewing both, and is expressing himself with the vividness of a son of thunder, with the imagery of an oriental, and under the afflatus of prophetic symbolism.
Bp Lightfoot’s other objection, that “the Angel is made responsible for the Church to a degree wholly unsuited to any human officer,” seems also met by the thought of the O. T. identification of prophet with people.
To his own view that the stars, as opposed to the earthly fires of the candlesticks, are the heavenly representatives of the Churches, “the star shining steadily by its own inherent light,” Dr Lee ( Speaker’s Commentary , vol. iv. p. 512) reasonably objects that, “were this so, each ‘star’ or ‘angel’ must surely be faultless; and yet the angels of the Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia, alone of the seven, are spoken of without reproof.”
After the gradually increasing light thus thrown on the organisation and ministry of the Church up to our second epoch, the close of the first generation, it is tantalising to find ourselves at present in darkness as to the years between a.d. 70 and 90 with regard to direct contemporary evidence. For though both Bp Lightfoot and Dr Salmon agree in dating the Epistle of Barnabas (probably a namesake of the Apostle) in the reign of Vespasian, 75 a.d., yet it contains no reference to the Church’s ministry “prophets” in § 1 being Old Testament prophets, and “teacher” being used generally and not technically.
Our next series of writings can be dated approximately
a.d. 95. The Third Epistle of St John , which competes with his Gospel for the very latest place in the Canon of the New Testament, appears to indicate the same preeminence of one ecclesiastical officer in the rejection of St John’s letter of communion and the missionary brethren the bearers of it by Diotrephes, “I wrote unto the church, but Diotrephes, who affects primacy over them receiveth us not,” v. 9. We note further in both this and the Second Epistle St John gives himself the title of “The Presbyter” (3 John 1:0 ), as St Peter had called himself “Fellow presbyter,” 1 Peter 5:1 .
We now pass outside the N. T. Canon; and, at the same date, find in the First Epistle of Clement , written from Rome to Corinth, evidence of the same apostolic superintendence, and the same two grades of ministers, bishops or presbyters, and deacons.
He says of the Apostles, “they appointed the bishops and afterwards they provided a continuance that if these should fall asleep other approved men should succeed them.” He speaks of “those bishops who were appointed by the apostles or afterward by other men of repute , with the consent of the whole Church,” and continues, “it will be no light sin for us if we thrust out those who have offered the gifts of the bishop’s office unblamably and holily. Blessed are those presbyters who have gone before, seeing that their departure was fruitful and ripe; for they have no fear lest anyone should remove them from their appointed place” (c. 44). In the italicised words we see traces first of the apostolic delegacy of the Pastoral Epistles and of the “angels” of the Revelation, and then of the identity of bishops and presbyters.
Of about the same date, according to the best critics, is the Teaching of the Apostles , “a Church manual of primitive Christianity,” the text of which was recovered by Abp Bryennius in 1875 and published in 1883. The points bearing on the present topic are well summed up by Bp Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers , p. 215. “The itinerant prophetic order has not yet been displaced by the permanent localised ministry, but exists side by side with it as in the lifetime of S. Paul, Ephesians 4:11 , 1 Corinthians 12:28 . Secondly, episcopacy has apparently not yet become universal. The word ‘bishop’ is still used as synonymous with ‘presbyter,’ and the writer therefore couples ‘bishops’ with deacons (§ 15), as S. Paul does, 1 Timothy 3:1-8 , Philippians 1:1 , under similar circumstances.”
Similarly Dr Salmon ( Int. N. T ., pp. 613, 614), “In that part which treats of Church teachers, the foremost place is given to Apostles and Prophets. But the word ‘Apostle’ has not the limited meaning to which modern usage restricts it. The ‘Apostles’ are wandering missionaries or envoys of the Churches. Directions are given as to the respect to be paid to an Apostle, and the entertainment to be afforded him by a Church through which he might pass, but it is assumed that he does not contemplate making a permanent stay … The chief place in the instruction of the local Church is assigned to the ‘prophets,’ whose utterances were to be received with the respect due to their divine inspiration, and who were entitled to receive from their congregations such dues as the Jews had been wont to render to the high-priests. The possibility is contemplated that in the Church there might be no prophet. In that case the first-fruits are to be given to the poor. Mention is also made of teachers, by which I understand persons who gave public instruction in the Church, but who did not speak ‘in the spirit’ as the prophets did … The first mention is only of apostles and prophets; then directions are given for Sunday Eucharistic celebration, and then is added ‘elect, therefore , to yourselves bishops and deacons.’ These, we are told, are to be honoured with the prophets and teachers, as fulfilling like ministration. The inference then suggests itself that at the time this document was written the Eucharist was only consecrated by the president of the Church assembly, who held a permanent office, and who probably might also be a preacher; but that in the mind of the writer the inspired givers of public instruction held the higher place.”
The passages referred to in these extracts will be found in the following selection from the Book, cc. xi. xv. “But concerning the apostles and prophets, so do ye according to the ordinance of the Gospel. Let every apostle when he cometh to you be received as the Lord; but he shall not abide more than a single day, or, if there be need, a second likewise; but if he abide three days he is a false prophet.… And any prophet speaking in the Spirit ye shall not try nor discern; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven.… Every true prophet desiring to settle among you is worthy of his food. In like manner a true teacher is also worthy, like the workman of his food. Every firstfruit, then … thou shalt take and give as the firstfruit to the prophets, for they are your chief priests. But if ye have not a prophet, give them to the poor.… And on the Lord’s own day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure … Appoint for yourselves, therefore, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men who are meek, and not lovers of money, and true and approved; for unto you they also perform the service of the prophets and teachers. Therefore despise them not; for they are your honourable men along with the prophets and teachers.”
It should be added that the false teachers, prophets and apostles, against whom so many warnings are directed by St Paul and St Peter in the former generation, and by St John in the present, are painfully in evidence in this Book. “If the apostle ask money, he is a false prophet.… From his ways the false prophet and the prophet shall be recognised.… If he has no craft, according to your wisdom provide how he shall live as a Christian among you, but not in idleness. If he will not do this, he is trafficking upon Christ. Beware of such men.”
a.d. 99. This generation seems to be closed with the “ Shepherd ” of Hermas , if, according to the most recent view of Zahn and Salmon and others, a Hermas not otherwise known is assumed as the author, living about a.d. 90 100, and so acquainted with Clement, to whom a copy of his book is directed to be sent. The internal evidence, Bp Lightfoot ( Apost. Fathers , p. 294) agrees, will suggest this date, especially the notices of the Christian ministry and of the condition of the Church generally. The prophetical office is particularly prominent. It would seem indeed as if Hermas himself were a prophet, and, as Dr Salmon suggests, “felt some jealousy of the superior dignity of the presbyters. Thus in one vision (3, 1) the Church who appears to him in the form of a lady bids him sit down. ‘Nay,’ he modestly answers, ‘let the presbyters be seated first.’ ‘Sit down, as I bid you,’ the lady replies” ( Int. N. T . 593). The true and false prophet are strongly distinguished “the one that hath the Spirit which is from above is gentle and tranquil and humble-minded, and abstaineth from all wickedness and vain desire of this present world” the other, who “seemeth to have a spirit exalteth himself, and desireth to have a chief place, and straightway he is impudent and shameless and talkative and conversant in many luxuries and in many other deceits, and receiveth money for his prophesying, and if he receiveth not, he prophesieth not” ( Mand . xi.).
The following passages suggest a ministry similar to that already depicted in this age. “The stones that are squared and white and that fit together in their joints, these are the apostles and bishops and teachers and deacons, who walked after the holiness of God and exercised their office of bishop and teacher and deacon in purity and sanctity for the elect of God” ( Vis . iii. 5). “ ‘But the stones, Sir,’ said I, ‘that came from the deep, and were fitted into the building, who are they?’ ‘The first,’ saith he, ‘even the ten that were placed in the foundations are the first generation; the twenty-five are the second generation of righteous men; the thirty-five are God’s prophets and His ministers; the forty are apostles and teachers of the preaching of the Son of God’ ” ( S . 9. xv.). Again he writes of “apostles and teachers who preached unto the whole world” ( S . 9. xxv.), of “deacons that exercised their office ill and plundered the livelihood of widows and orphans” ( S . 9, xxvi.), and of “bishops, hospitable persons, who at all times without ceasing sheltered the needy and the widows in their ministration, and conducted themselves in purity at all times” ( S . 9, xxvii.).
a.d. 117. The striking feature of the evidence from the Christian writings, arranged thus chronologically according to the most recent authority of sober criticisms, is the narrowing of the period during which the definite settled establishment of the local episcopate, and the definite disappearance of the prophetical office and apparently other itinerant ministries, must be held to have taken place; a period of fifteen or twenty-five years at most. For we come now to the evidence of the Epistles of Ignatius , a.d. 117 30, which have been examined of late years with great care. The following summary by Dr Plummer ( Pastoral Epistles , p. 113) gives the conclusions that may be safely drawn. “The investigations of Lightfoot, Zahn, and Harnack, have placed the genuineness of the short Greek form of the Epistles of Ignatius beyond reasonable dispute. Their exact date cannot as yet be determined. The evidence is strong that Ignatius was martyred in the reign of Trajan; and if that is accepted, the letters cannot be later than a.d. 117. But even if this evidence be rejected as not conclusive, and the letters be dated ten or twelve years later, their testimony will be of the utmost importance. They prove that long before a.d. 150 episcopacy was the recognised form of government throughout the Churches of Asia Minor and Syria; and as Ignatius speaks of ‘the bishops that are settled in the farthest parts of the earth,’ they prove that according to his belief episcopacy was the recognised form everywhere ( Ephes . iii.). This evidence is not a little strengthened by the fact that as all sound critics on both sides are now agreed, the Epistles of Ignatius were evidently not written in order to magnify the episcopal office or to preach up the episcopal system. The writer’s main object is to deprecate schism, and all that might tend to schism. And in his opinion the best way to avoid schism is to keep closely united to the bishop. Thus the magnifying of the episcopal office comes about incidentally; because Ignatius takes for granted that everywhere there is a bishop in each church who is the duly appointed ruler of it, loyalty to whom will be a security against all schismatical tendencies.… The office of prophets appears to have been extinct when Ignatius wrote; by prophets he always means the prophets of the Old Testament.”
Of the seven epistles, six contain the clearest and most definite statements as to bishop, presbyters, and deacons; all six are evidently his fervent dying charges to love and unity through these. That to the Romans seems so full of an equally fervent dying charge to the Church there not to hinder his martyrdom, that no room is left for any other topic. It must suffice to give one passage from each epistle.
“That ye may obey the bishop and the presbytery without distraction of mind, breaking one bread which is the medicine of immortality.” ( To the Ephesians , c. 20.)
“Be ye zealous to do all things in godly concord, the bishop presiding after the likeness of God, and the presbyters after the likeness of the Council of the Apostles, with the deacons also who are most dear unto me since they have been entrusted with the diaconate of Jesus Christ.” ( To the Magnesians , c. 6.)
“Apart from the deacons, the bishop, and the presbyters, there is not even the name of a church.… he that is without the sanctuary is not clean, that is, he that doeth aught without the bishop and presbytery and deacons.” ( To the Trallians , c. 3, 7.)
“I spake with a loud voice, with God’s own voice, Give ye heed to the bishop and the presbytery and deacons … Do nothing without the bishop … cherish union, shun divisions.” ( To the Philadelphians , c. 7.)
“Shun divisions as the beginning of evils. Do ye all follow your bishop as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles, and to the deacons pay respect as to God’s commandment. Let no man do aught of things pertaining to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be held a valid eucharist which is under the bishop, or one to whom he shall have committed it.” ( To the Smyrnæans , c. 8.)
“Give ye heed to the bishop that God also may give heed to you. I am devoted to those who are subject to the bishop, the presbyters, the deacons. May it be granted me to have my portion with them in the presence of God. Toil together one with another, struggle together, run together.” ( To St Polycarp , c. 6.)
What Ignatius was as Bishop to Antioch, Polycarp was to Smyrna at this time; and Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians gives similar witness: “Polycarp and the presbyters that are with him unto the Church of God which sojourneth at Philippi … submitting yourselves to the presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ,” Song of Solomon 1:5 .
This letter is especially interesting from its evident reminiscences of the Pastoral Epistles, as e.g., “But the love of money is the beginning of all troubles .… In like manner deacons should be blameless in the presence of his righteousness as deacons of God and of Christ and not of men; not calumniators, not double-tongued, not lovers of money, temperate in all things, compassionate, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who became a minister ( deacon ) of all … and the presbyters also must be compassionate … abstaining from all anger, respect of persons, unrighteous judgment being far from all love of money” (Song of Solomon 4:5 , Song of Solomon 4:6 .) We may add testimony of the Church of Smyrna in its letter to the Church at Philomelium relating the bishop’s martyrdom. “In the number of these elect was this man, the glorious martyr Polycarp, who was found an apostolic and prophetic teacher in our own time, a bishop of the holy Church which is in Smyrna.”
a.d. 133. This epoch closes with the name of Papias, the devout if somewhat credulous Bishop of Hierapolis at this same time, who, like Polycarp, was reputed a disciple of St John. Of the fragments preserved as his, none bear on the question of the ministry; but the passages from later authors which enshrine his sayings bear witness to his striking personality as bishop of Hierapolis; and the matter of the sayings, relating mainly to the care with which he treasured the deposit of the faith of the Gospel, shews us one whose aim was to fulfil the dying charge of St Paul to Timothy, “Guard that which is committed unto thee,” “Hold the pattern of sound words.”
To these great names, the best specimens possible of what the episcopate could be and should be as the now established successor of the apostolate, we may add a final evidence of the now settled ministry of the presbyterate , surviving all the itinerant offices and recognised as the proper body of preachers. It occurs in the document which is known as The Second Letter of Clement , but which is rather as Bishop Lightfoot judges “the earliest Christian homily extant,” by an unknown author of about a.d. 130. The writing is, as he adds, interesting for its high moral tone and unswerving faith. It is a bright example of the aim of the Church’s historic ministry to reach St Paul’s Pastoral standard, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season.”
“Let us therefore repent with our whole heart, lest any of us perish by the way. For if we have received commands, that we should make this also our business, to tear men away from idols and to instruct them, how much more is it wrong that a soul which knoweth God already should perish. Therefore let us assist one another, that we may also lead the weak upward as touching that which is good, to the end that we may all be saved: and let us convert and admonish one another. And let us not think to give heed and believe now only, while we are admonished by the presbyters; but likewise when we have departed home, let us remember the commandments of the Lord, and not suffer ourselves to be dragged off the other way by our worldly lusts; but coming hither more frequently, let us strive to go forward in the commands of the Lord, that we all having the same mind may be gathered together unto life” (c. 17).
Note. The translations given above are taken from Lightfoot and Harmer’s Apostolic Fathers .
St Paul’s Latest Style and Characteristics
I. There are peculiarities of language and of thought in the Pastoral Epistles compared with St Paul’s earlier letters.
II. These peculiarities are nothing more than marks of natural growth and development.
III. Along with the differences there are abundant samenesses both in style and intrinsic character with what we recognise as essentially Pauline.
I. It is quite true that there are special peculiarities in vocabulary and syntax and also in modes of thought and teaching in the Pastoral Epistles, when we compare them with the earlier groups of St Paul’s letters.
These peculiarities are well classified by Bp Lightfoot, Biblical Essays , p. 401, and adduced as a proof first that they belong to the same period with one another, and secondly that they cannot have been contemporaneous with the other epistles of St Paul. The following summary is taken mainly from his classification. Following Conybeare he designates the First and Second Epistles to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus by the letters a, b, c respectively, the number of occurrences, where more than one, being placed immediately above each letter.
1. The Vocabulary
( a ) A new set of terms to describe moral and religious states:
“profane” a 3 b , not used elsewhere by St Paul (but Hebrews 12:16 ).
“godliness” a 8 bc , the adverb bc , the verb a , 13 times in all, and not once elsewhere in St Paul’s epistles.
“pure” a 2 b 2 c 2 , in four out of the six cases used of the conscience; only once elsewhere in St Paul’s epistles.
“good” or “beautiful” a 16 b 3 c 5 , 24 times in the Pastoral Epistles and only 16 times elsewhere in St Paul.
“gravity” a 2 c , “grave” a 2 c . “Grave” occurs Philippians 4:8 and nowhere else in N.T.
( b ) A new set of terms relating to doctrine, many of them bringing out the contrast between true and false doctrine:
“teaching” a 8 b 3 c 4 , used most frequently objectively as “doctrine”; four times only elsewhere in St Paul of “the art of teaching.”
“questionings” a 2 bc , not elsewhere in St Paul.
“strifes of words” ab , not elsewhere in N.T.
“the deposit of the faith” ab 2 , not elsewhere in N.T.
“sound,” “healthy,” of doctrine, a 2 b 2 c 5 , not elsewhere in St Paul, or in this sense in N.T. Also the opposite
“to be unhealthy” a , nowhere else in N.T.
( c ) Certain formulæ and maxims:
“to witness before” ab 2 , the verb only once elsewhere in St Paul.
“Grace, mercy and peace” ab , the earlier “grace and peace” c ; see significance of this, notes, pp. 2, 74, 128.
“It is a faithful saying” a 3 bc ; peculiar to this group.
( d ) Modes of speaking of God the Father and Christ:
“the blessed God” a 2 , not elsewhere in St Paul.
“Saviour God” a 3 c 3 , not elsewhere in St Paul.
“appearing” in the sense of “presence” ab 3 c , only “the appearing of his presence,” 2 Thessalonians 2:8 .
( e ) Other expressions peculiar to this group of Pauline epistles:
“to deny” ab 2 c 2 .
“diabolus, false accuser” abc .
“to decline” (1 Timothy 4:7 ) a 2 bc .
“despot” for “master,” elsewhere in St Paul Kyrios .
2. The Syntax
( a ) It is stiffer and more jointed than in the earlier epistles; the clauses are marshalled together, with a tendency to parallelism.
e.g. 1 Timothy 2:1 , 1 Timothy 2:2 , 1 Timothy 2:4 :12, 1 Timothy 2:13 , 1 Timothy 2:15 , 1 Timothy 2:6 :9, 1 Timothy 2:11 , 1 Timothy 2:12 , 1 Timothy 2:13 , 1 Timothy 2:15 , 18.
2 Timothy 2:11 , 2 Timothy 2:12 , 3:2 Timothy 2:10-13 , 2 Timothy 2:4 :2, 2 Timothy 2:4 , 2 Timothy 2:5 , 2 Timothy 2:7 .
Titus 1:7 , Titus 1:8 , Titus 1:9 , Titus 1:2 :7, Titus 1:12 , 3:Titus 1:1-3 .
( b ) There is more sententiousness, abruptness and positiveness of form. Imperative clauses are frequent.
e.g. 1 Timothy 5:7 , 1 Timothy 5:8 , 1 Timothy 5:22-25 .
2 Timothy 3:1 , 2 Timothy 3:5 , 2 Timothy 3:12 , 2 Timothy 3:16 .
Titus 1:12-14 , Titus 3:8-11 .
3. The Tone of thought
( a ) There is an increased tendency to the directly moral side of duty. “Faith” and “grace” occupy a smaller, less prominent, space. Stress is laid upon good works; 1 Timothy 2:10 , 1 Timothy 2:5 :10, 25, 1 Timothy 2:6 :18; 2 Timothy 2:21 ; Titus 1:16 , Titus 1:3 :7, Titus 1:14 . In describing the Christian state, the principles of “godliness” and “soberness” stand forward; with long lists of virtues and the minutiæ of practical life.
( b ) At the same time the Apostle dwells more than formerly on orthodoxy of belief. There is more of the doctrine of Christianity as a creed and less as a life. The teaching generally is more definite and positive, with more of detail and less of principle.
4. The Subject-matter of teaching
The main topic of ecclesiastical organisation is new, though there are some references to it in the epistle nearest in point of date, the Ephesians.
II. It is equally true that these peculiarities are nothing more than marks of growth and development such as would be naturally expected at a date like a.d. 66 and 67; in the same way as other marks of growth and development distinguish the epistles of the first Roman captivity (Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, a.d. 61, 62), from the four principal epistles (1 Corinthians, Galatians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, a.d. 56, 57); and as these are again similarly distinguished from the earliest epistles (1 and 2 Thessalonians, a.d. 51, 52). It is natural to expect that each of these successive quinquennial periods of time should shew changes of thought and corresponding changes of style according as the experiences and surroundings of the Apostle and all his Churches changed for better or worse. No modern bishop or parish priest could help testifying to such fluctuation and development of feeling, and life, and action, and speech, in connexion with pastoral works extending over a period of 20 years and over a variety of districts.
How the main subject-matter of the teaching in the successive groups of epistles changes, while the underlying Gospel foundation truth remains the same, is admirably worked out by Bp Lightfoot in Biblical Essays , p. 227, sq. By the word development, in this connexion, he points out, is meant, not that St Paul added to his doctrines, but that he altered the lights in which he placed them, making one point more prominent at one time than another. The whole doctrine is there from the first implicitly involved in the fundamental conception of the person of Christ, but the particular aspects are brought into special prominence by the varying requirements of the Church at large or the altered conditions of the Apostle’s own life.
(1) The doctrine of the Second Advent is the subject of the earliest group, because the Resurrection, with Judgment on Sin and Reward for faithful service, was the central point in the teaching of the Twelve after Pentecost, and the necessary groundwork for the call to Repentance with which the ministry of St Paul in each new sphere commenced.
(2) The natural sequel to the teaching of Judgment to come and of the need of Repentance is found in the second group of epistles, where God’s remedy for sin is fully told. Christ is the Redeemer as well as the Judge. Justification, Atonement, Sacrifice the chief teaching on these all-important topics is found here. The legalism of the Jewish Convert and the license of the Greek were now St Paul’s greatest difficulties; he meets both by the Cross of Christ; “Christ died for us,” and “we must die with Christ.” This is the busiest, stormiest time of St Paul’s ministry, and the style and teaching reflect all his “bustling strained activity.”
(3) The calm of two periods of imprisonment, at Cæsarea and Rome, followed; and in those quiet days of rest and thought St Paul’s contemplation of the highest mysteries of the faith found expression in the teaching of the third group of epistles. From Christ upon the Cross he looks up and teaches his converts at Philippi, Colossæ, Ephesus, as they grow in grace, to look up to Christ upon the Throne. Christ is the King as well as the Redeemer; the Eternal Word, God manifest in the flesh, through Whom and in Whom each separate soul, and the whole Church, is sanctified and “raised to sit in heavenly places,” and united to the Eternal Father. There is no angelic intermediary; “our citizenship is in heaven,” “ye are complete in Him,” the “One Lord.”
(4) Returned from captivity, how naturally would St Paul seek to use the short interval of life and work which was all he could expect, so as to consolidate the Church in its inner doctrine and its outer organisation, before the withdrawal of the first teachers and founders. “Schisms and heresies were starting into life within the fold, and meanwhile the apostolate was dying out. Therefore a double necessity was laid upon ‘Paul the aged’ to meet this danger by strengthening and developing the Church’s system of government. If we look at the Pastoral Epistles we find no new doctrine inculcated. The two notes which are struck again and again are (1) ‘Hold fast the tradition, the deposit of the faith,’ and (2) ‘Preserve order in the Church.’ In short this group of Epistles constitutes St Paul’s last will and testament in which he gives his final instructions for the maintenance and continuity of the faith.”
Such being the character of the successive groups of the epistles, we can readily see how the tone of thought and the language employed will vary of necessity with the subject-matter of the period. The characteristic of the Pastoral Epistles, the inculcation of the steady-going quiet virtue that will last, the Sober Godliness that is chiefly known by its unobtrusive good works, is thus found to be the mark of genuineness, as the natural and necessary sequel to the earlier stages (1) of Repentance under the conviction of sin and judgment to come, (2) of the glad acceptance of a finished Atonement, and (3) of the realised joy of heavenly union and Sanctification in a living and loving Lord. The use of rhythmic phrase, and creed formula, and liturgic versicle, is what would be expected when the aim of the writing is to urge the keeping in the old paths. During 30 years of Christian life and worship the Church must have come to adopt some set forms of brief teaching and common prayer and praise. Again, it is a matter of present experience, how as years advance, men more and more express their faith and hope and joy in the old creeds and prayers and hymns of their early days. Why should not Paul the aged have been such an one also? The character of the syntax, so far as it is new and peculiar, seems to be sufficiently accounted for by the hortatory and dogmatic nature of the contents; while the vocabulary is not stranger than St Paul’s habit, and the new subject and period, would lead us to expect.
For as Weiss points out ( Manual of Introduction to N. T . p. 216), to make the four principal epistles the categorical standard of St Paul’s lexical phraseology, in so far as it was not directly influenced by his doctrine, and to measure all that claims to be of Pauline origin by them, is a manifest blunder. Each one of the epistles shews a fulness of hapax legomena , many different expressions for the same thing, and manifold points of contact with other New Testament writers; for the linguistic treasure from which they all drew was essentially the same. Hence, according to Weiss’s mode of reckoning phrases, it may be calculated that the first group of two epistles (seven chapters) contain 15 phrases not common to St Paul’s other epistles; the second group of four epistles (51 chapters) contain 118 such phrases; the third group of four epistles (15 chapters) contain 48 such phrases; the fourth or Pastoral group (13 chapters) contain 51 such phrases. Or to take another comparison, noted by Bp Westcott ( Hebrews , p. xlv.), Dr Thayer reckons the same number of peculiar words, 168, in the Pastoral Epistles and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, but the latter is longer in about the proportion of 21 to 15.
Finally, it is a pertinent question to ask as Schaff does ( History of the Church , Eng. Trans. p. 806), why a forger should have chosen so many new words when he might have confined himself much more closely to the vocabulary of the other epistles of St Paul?
III. It is, further, equally true that along with these peculiarities there are abundant samenesses, indications of identity in style and tone of thought and teaching with what we recognise as essentially Pauline.
( a ) If we take by way of example the Second Epistle to Timothy, we are struck, as Dean Howson points out ( Hulsean Lectures , p. 144) by the exordium, where St Paul thanks God for the unfeigned faith which is in Timothy and assures him of his unceasing remembrance of him in his prayers (2 Timothy 1:3 ). Almost all St Paul’s letters (except that to Titus and that to the Galatians, which is full of reproof,) begin with thanksgiving, and most of them add the assurance of continued prayer for his converts. That this characteristic of thanksgiving with prayer is not an epistolary trick but a devotional principle may be seen on a review of St Paul’s life as given in the Acts. Again in verse 4, “remembering thy tears,” we have an example of “the tenderness of friendship, the grief of separation, the cherished remembrance of the last parting,” which marked St Paul’s intercourse with his associates, that sympathy and affectionateness which both in the Acts and the Epistles displays itself again and again towards Churches and towards individuals, cf. Acts 20:18 , Acts 20:19 , Acts 20:31 , Acts 20:37 ; Philippians 2:27 , Philippians 2:28 ; 1 Timothy 5:23 ; 2 Timothy 4:20 . Turning now to the end of the Epistle we may single out the passage emphasized by Dr Gwynne ( Speaker’s Commentary, Intr. to Philippians , p. 588), viz. 4:6 8. “With Timothy at his side in the days of his first imprisonment he has written from Rome to the Philippians of his desire to ‘depart,’ his ‘fight,’ his willingness to be ‘poured out’ (1:23; ib . 30; 2:17); of himself as one ‘pressing on’ in a ‘race’ for a ‘prize’ (3:14). To Timothy, after the lapse of years, he writes as his second and final imprisonment in Rome draws towards its close, reminding him (as it seems) of that early anticipation of the end now imminent, and reverts to the same words infrequent and exclusively Pauline words; ‘I am now being poured out and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight , I have finished the race … there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness.’ ” Lastly, the closing verses of the Epistle furnish perhaps the most conspicuous example of St Paul’s frequent but not invariable habit of personal salutation, with which we are familiar, for instance, at the close of the Romans and Colossians ; and this in such a natural way both with old names and new names as to be entirely beyond the powers of a forger. See Appendix on St Paul’s latest circle of friends .
( b ) More generally, throughout the Pastoral Epistles, we may find the same revelation conveyed to the Church by St Paul as is contained in his other writings. One of the most recent sketches of this Pauline revelation is given by Rev. R. F. Horton, Revelation and the Bible , p. 292 sq. And we will place under each of the characteristic heads, as given by him, references to these Epistles. This will be the more valuable, as the sketch of Pauline characteristics is given by Mr Horton in a different connexion, and he himself doubts whether the Pastoral Epistles should not “be relegated to the pseudepigraphical class of literature.”
(1) A Christ-filled personality Christ an indwelling person .
1 Timothy 1:11-17 , especially 15, 16.
“Faithful is the saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief: howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ shew forth all his longsuffering, for an example of them which should hereafter believe on him unto eternal life.”
2 Timothy 1:12 .
“I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which he hath committed unto me against that day.”
2 Timothy 4:17 .
“The Lord stood by me and strengthened me, that through me the message might be fully proclaimed.”
The Ep. to Titus has nothing of this thought. But neither have the Thessalonian epistles, while the Philippian Epistle is full of it.
(2) A tentative theology , containing a doctrine of redemption .
1 Timothy 2:3-6 .
“God our Saviour who willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, one mediator also between God and man, himself man, Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all the testimony to be borne in its own times.”
Cf. 1 Timothy 3:16 . “Without controversy,” &c.
Titus 3:4-7 .
“But when the kindness of God our Saviour and his love toward man appeared, not by works done in righteousness which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Cf. Titus 2:11-14 . “The doctrine of God our Saviour,” &c.
2 Timothy 1:9 , 2 Timothy 1:10 .
“God, who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but hath now been manifested by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and incorruption to light through the Gospel.”
Cf. 2 Timothy 2:8 , 2 Timothy 2:11-13 . “Remember Jesus Christ,” &c.
(3) The constitution, methods, conduct of the early Churches . Every one admits this to be the especial theme of the Pastoral Epistles; and it will suffice to give the following references, which embrace of course a large portion of the whole.
1 Timothy 2:1 , 1 Timothy 2:2 , 1 Timothy 2:8 , 1 Timothy 2:9-12 , 3:1 Timothy 2:1-7 , 1 Timothy 2:8-13 ; Titus 1:5-9 , Titus 1:10-14 , 2:Titus 1:1-10 , Titus 1:3 :1, Titus 1:2 , Titus 1:8-11 , Titus 1:13 , Titus 1:14 ; 2 Timothy 1:15-18 , 2 Timothy 1:2 :2, 2 Timothy 1:14-18 , 3:2 Timothy 1:6-9 , 4:2 Timothy 1:9-15 .
(4) Ethical precepts , lofty and based on the principle “work from life, not for life;” but personal counsels of right conduct not final or infallible or universal.
2 Timothy 2:22 .
“Flee youthful lusts, and follow after righteousness, faith, love, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart … The Lord’s servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all.”
Titus 2:11 .
“The grace of God bringing salvation, instructing us to the intent that denying ungodliness we should live soberly, righteously and godly that he might redeem us to be a people zealous of good works .”
Titus 3:8 .
“Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I will that thou affirm confidently to the end that they which have believed God may be careful to maintain good works.”
1 Timothy 2:12 .
“I permit not a woman to teach.”
1 Timothy 5:23 .
“Be no longer a drinker of water.”
(5) A strong human personality .
1 Timothy 1:20 .
“Hymenæus and Alexander whom I delivered unto Satan that they be taught not to blaspheme.”
Titus 1:12 .
“One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, idle gluttons. This testimony is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply.”
2 Timothy 3:10 , 2 Timothy 3:11 .
“But thou didst follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, persecution, sufferings, what things befel me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra.”
2 Timothy 4:6-8 .
“I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:14-18 .
“Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil, the Lord will render to him according to his works,” &c.
(6) Inexactness as to (1) use of O.T., (2) expectation of the Second Advent.
1 Timothy 5:18 .
“For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.”
2 Timothy 3:8 .
“And like as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also withstand the truth.”
2 Timothy 1:12 .
“Able to guard that which he has committed unto me against that day.”
2 Timothy 3:1 .
“Know this that in the last days grievous times shall come.”
Our conclusion may be summed up in the words of Schaff and Farrar, as representing (in spite of Dr Hatch’s depreciation) the true weight of Biblical criticism in Germany and England under such names as Guericke, Thiersch, Huther, Wiesinger, Otto, Wieseler, Van Oosterzee, Lange, Herzog, von Hofmann, Beck, Alford, Wordsworth, Gloag, Fairbairn, Ellicott, Wace, Plumptre, Kölling, Plummer, Lightfoot. “Finally the peculiarities of style are counterbalanced by stronger resemblances and unmistakable evidences of Pauline authorship. ‘There are flashes of the deepest feeling, outbursts of the most intense expression. There is rhythmic movement and excellent majesty in the doxologies, and the ideal of a Christian pastor drawn not only with an unfaltering hand, but with a beauty, fulness and simplicity which a thousand years of subsequent experience have enabled no one to equal, much less to surpass.’ ”
The Last Journeys of St Paul
Was St Paul released from the captivity described in Acts 28:0 ? Did he travel after the end of that period?
The following reasons may be given for saying “yes” to each of these questions. See Dr Plummer, Pastoral Epistles , p. 14.
(1) “To assert that St Paul was released at the end of two years is to maintain a mere hypothesis: yet to assert that he was not released is equally to maintain a mere hypothesis.”
(2) The writer of the Pastoral Epistles certainly believed that the Apostle did a good deal after the close of the Acts. No place can be found for all that is told or inferred within the limits of time fixed by the Acts.
(3) Clement of Rome (Cor. v.) speaks of St Paul “having reached the furthest bound of the West.” In Clement’s mouth at Rome this could hardly mean anything but Spain. If St Paul visited Spain as he intended (Romans 15:24 , Romans 15:28 ), it was after the period of the Acts.
(4) The Muratorian Fragment (c. 220 a.d.) names “the departure of Paul from the city to Spain.”
(5) Eusebius, H. E . ii. xxii. 2, says that at the end of the two years of imprisonment, according to tradition, St Paul went forth again upon the ministry of preaching; and in a second visit to the city ended his life by martyrdom under Nero, and that during this imprisonment he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy.
(6) The objection that, if so, these last years would not have been unrecorded, is not valid. They are partly recorded in the Pastoral Epistles . Much of the rest of St Paul’s life is unrecorded (2 Corinthians 11:0 ). So it is also with the other Apostles. The Holy Spirit designed no full biographies, but select lessons from select lives. Ab uno disce omnes .
If we seek to piece together such scattered notices of the years between a.d. 63 and a.d. 67 or 68 as may give a probable account of this last portion of the Apostle’s life we are met by many possible combinations. It seems best therefore to present only one arrangement, not as more certain than others, but as fairly consistent and simple and sufficient. The “passages illustrated” which are set against the “order of events” themselves form the clue to the choice of routes.
Probable First Journey Eastward
Date Order of Events Passages Illustrated a.d.
autumn After the trial and release, St Paul, we may suppose, leaves Rome by the great Egnatian way, passes by Brundisium and Dyrrachium into Epirus and Macedonia, and visits Philippi according to his hope expressed from Rome; thence by the route through Troas direct to Colossæ , where again he had promised a visit; and so by Pergamos, Sardis and Hierapolis Laodicea to make a longer stay at Ephesus . In his farewell to its elders at Miletus, Acts 20:29 , he had led them to expect that to be his last visit; but as in the projected joint visit to Rome and Spain (Romans 15:28 ) and elsewhere ‘circumstances alter cases’; and his unexpected deliverance would lead him to revisit a place that had given him such foreboding anxiety as Ephesus did. The whole of 1 Tim. gives us the impression of a lengthened stay, during which the opposition of Hymenæus and Alexander and the services of Onesiphorus would alike find their natural place. I trust in the Lord that I myself also shall come shortly. Philippians 2:24 .
Withal prepare me also a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I shall be granted unto you.
Philemon 1:22 .
Grievous wolves shall enter in. Acts 20:29 .
Hymenæus and Alexander I delivered unto Satan. 1 Timothy 1:20 .
In how many things Onesiphorus ministered at Ephesus thou knowest very well. 2 Timothy 1:18 . a.d.
spring After this year’s stay he goes to Crete Titus,
where we may suppose he spends the winter at least. If a year’s work at Ephesus with his ‘son in the faith’ is the natural basis on which the fact of the two letters to Timothy stands up subsquently, a winter’s work with his other son in Crete gives the ground for the Epistle to Titus. During this year safely spent by the Apostle in the pastoral work at Ephesus and Crete the great fire at Ephesus and Crete the great fire broke out at Rome (19th July, 64). The Emperor Nero “enjoyed the dreadful sight from a turret of his palace, singing and dancing the mime of the ‘Burning of Troy’ during the progress of the national catastrophe … and the tyrant succeeded in diverting the odium of the fire from himself to the innocent Christians, and gave them up to the refined and barbarous punishments of that which is called the first Christian persecution.” Merivale, St Paul at Rome , pp. 145, 148. Probable Second Journey Westward
Date Order of Events Passages Illustrated a.d.
spring Free now to think of a still ‘larger hope’ long entertained, St Paul sets sail from Crete, when the winter is past, trusting himself once again to a ‘ship of Alexandria’ bound for Puteoli and so by Rome (where his stay would be of the briefest) for Carthago nova and Gades in furthest Spain. I will go on by you unto Spain. Romans 15:28 .
Having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached the furthest bound of the west. Clem. Rom. Cor . v.
The departure of Paul from Rome for Spain.
Muratorian Fragment . 65
summer Thence by Tarraco to Massilia and Gaul ( Galatia ) generally including Lugdunum . Crescens to Galatia.
2 Timothy 4:10 . 65
autumn From Massilia back to Rome. Probable Third Journey Eastward and Westward
Date Order of Events Passages Illustrated a.d.
spring From Rome we may believe St Paul to have gone by one of the first ships after navigation was open to Crete ; For this cause left I thee in Crete. Titus 1:5 . summer from Crete he goes by Miletus again to Ephesus ;
journeys again to Colossæ and back; This thou knowest that all that are in Asia turned away from me, of whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 2 Timothy 1:15 .
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm.
2 Timothy 4:14 . autumn leaves Timothy at Ephesus, and by Miletus , where he leaves Trophimus, goes to Troas , where he leaves his cloke and books.
Very possibly here at Carpus’ house he writes the First Epistle to Timothy.
At this time he is intending, after his circular tour through Macedonia and Achaia, to return to Ephesus. He passes through Philippi to Corinth .
Here (or on the way here) he writes the Epistle to Titus.
He has intercourse with Zenas and Apollos, who, on leaving for Crete, are commended to Titus. He changes his plans (whether through Nero being in the East or not) and determines to winter at Nicopolis . Crescens, Demas, Luke, Tychicus and Artemas are with him; and Erastus, who stays behind when the others go on to Nicopolis . Here, under the pressure of danger beforehand, Demas forsakes the Fellowship. Artemas is sent to take Titus’ place at Crete. After the arrival of Titus the plots against St Paul seem to have burst. They may have been hatched in Corinth, that dangerous centre of evil life and intercourse. He seems to have a presentiment that the end is near. He will not selfishly keep his comrades to share his fate. The word of God must not be bound. Titus must go to Dalmatia, one open door into the “wild north,” Crescens to Gaul, another open door into the “wild west.” Only Luke his ‘beloved physician’ and Tychicus his ‘beloved brother and faithful minister’ insist on staying to tend him. So, for the last time, once more a prisoner, by Apollonia and Brundisium along the Egnatian way St Paul reaches Rome . I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus on my going into Macedonia. 1 Timothy 1:3 .
Trophimus I left at Miletus sick. 2 Timothy 4:20 .
The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus bring when thou comest and the books. 2 Timothy 4:13 .
These things write I unto thee hoping to come unto thee shortly. 1 Timothy 3:14 .
Set forward Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently.
Titus 3:13 .
There I have determined to winter. Titus 3:12 .
When I shall send Artemas unto thee or Tychicus, give diligence to come unto me to Nicopolis.
Titus 3:12 .
Erastus abode at Corinth. 2 Timothy 4:20 .
Demas forsook me.
2 Timothy 4:10 .
Titus to Dalmatia.
2 Timothy 4:10 .
Crescens to Galatia.
2 Timothy 4:10 .
Only Luke is with me.
2 Timothy 4:10
2 Timothy 4:12 . a.d.
winter He is closely confined now in one of the common criminal dungeons, so that Onesiphorus has difficulty in finding him. I suffer hardships unto bonds as a malefactor.
2 Timothy 2:9 .
When he was in Rome, he sought me diligently and found me. 2 Timothy 1:17 . 67
spring After his ‘first defence,’ all unbefriended, he writes the Second Epistle to Timothy, and sends it by Tychicus, begging Timothy to come to him before the navigation closes and bring Mark with him, that he may not go through another winter so forlorn. At my first defence no one took my part.
2 Timothy 4:16 .
Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
2 Timothy 4:12 .
Do thy diligence to come before winter.
2 Timothy 4:21 .
Take Mark and bring him with thee.
2 Timothy 4:11 . 67
June 29 But the Lord had other plans, and the executioner’s sword set him free “before winter,” even at midsummer, for his last brief journey to Paradise. “Both alike (St Peter and St Paul) preached together as far as Italy and suffered martyrdom at the same time.” Dionysius, Bp of Corinth a.d. 170, in Euseb. ii. 25.
“The holy blessed apostles Peter and Paul were perfected on the 29th day of the month of June.” Acta Petri et Pauli , § 88; cf. also Chrysost. Opera , v. 994. Chapter V
St Paul and Early Gnosticism
The heresy referred to by St Paul in the Pastoral Epistles, if fairly viewed, is seen to be the same as that of the Colossian Epistle the earliest Judaic form of Gnosticism. Such differences as appear are sufficiently accounted for by the personal character of the letters and by the assumed lapse of some four or five years.
For the full statement of the arguments on which this conclusion rests, the reader is referred to Bp Lightfoot, Introduction to Colossians , p. 73 sq., and Biblical Essays , p. 411 sq.
The following summary gives in the main his view of the question. It is necessary (1) first to enquire what is the origin and meaning of Gnosticism. It is then (2) shewn that Essene Judaism was Gnostic; and (3) that the heresy of the Colossian Epistle was Judaic Gnosticism or Essene Judaism; and (4) the heresy of the Pastoral Epistles the same, advanced by one stage and more defined. And it is shewn (5) lastly that this heresy is very closely akin to the earliest Ophite Gnosticism, and leads naturally to the Cerinthian development of a.d. 90; and is therefore in its right place if dated a.d. 66, 67.
1. What is the origin and meaning of Gnosticism ? Gnosticism, a system of religious beliefs and practices, which claimed to be possessed of Gnosis , a superior wisdom or knowledge , originated in the theosophic speculations of the East about the time of the Christian era, and appears to have formed an alliance with Judaism even before there was any contact with Christianity.
It has three characteristic features.
(1) It makes a distinction between the vulgar many who must be content with faith, blind faith, and the select few who have knowledge. It introduces a separate intellectual caste , with a mysterious initiation, and an exclusive aristocratic spirit.
(2) Its field of speculation is natural and moral science; how to explain the work of creation, and how to account for the existence of evil; how to reconcile the creation of the world and the existence of evil with the conception of God as the absolute Being.
Since evil exists, and God could not create evil, so the argument ran, there must be some opposing principle independent of God and limiting His energy; and this was conceived to be the world of matter. Whether as a dead passive resistance, or a turbulent active power, evil thus resides in the material sensible world; and the result is a dualism , God perfectly good, matter the abode of evil. How then could God act upon matter, the Good communicate with the Evil? Only by some self-limitation, some evolution, some effluence of Deity. Thus the Divine Being germinates, as it were; and we obtain a series of successive emanations , the Divine element in each becoming feebler, until at length contact with matter is possible and creation ensues. These are the æons, spirits, or angels, of Gnosticism, more or less concrete and personal in different systems.
(3) Its rules of life and practice were moulded by these views; that a man might avoid this principle of evil and keep his higher nature unsoiled by matter. One rule was that of rigid asceticism , by which the material part of man should be subdued and mortified. The other was that of unrestrained license , the treating of matter as something alien, towards which there were no duties or obligations, and which could be used or left unused at will; so that the highest perfection consisted in the most complete contempt of mundane things.
2. Essene Judaism was Gnostic and was in Asia Minor . To the rigorous observance of the Mosaic law the Essene Jew added a rigid asceticism in respect to marriage, to drinks as well as meats, to oil for anointing, which went beyond Pharisaic obedience to external law and introduced the principle of abstinence from externals as evil in themselves. Among his speculative tenets were a tendency to sun-worship, a denial of the resurrection of the body, a prohibition of sacrifices, an esoteric doctrine of angels, speculations on God and Creation, the belief in magical charms and certain “sacred books.” He was an “exclusive,” holding it a grievous offence to communicate his “mysteries” to the uninitiated and guarding the precious deposit by solemn oaths, by a long period of noviciate, and by a distinction of several orders in the community. Thus the three distinctive characteristics of Gnosticism reappear in the Essenes; and Essenism might be rightly designated as Gnostic Judaism. That Essene Judaism, at least in essential affinity of type, was to be found in Asia Minor may be inferred from the probabilities of the case; the union of Judaism and Oriental mysticism would produce the same results among the settlers in Asia Minor as in the Essene colonies by the Dead Sea; and Phrygia and Asia would be congenial soil, where the cosmological speculation of Thales, the mystic theosophy of Heraclitus, the fanatical worship of the Phrygian Cybele and the Ephesian Artemis, all had their home. The history of St Paul’s visit to Ephesus (Acts 19:13 ), with the incidents of the strolling Jews’ exorcisms and the burning of their magical books by the Jewish converts, seems to indicate this connexion; since Josephus ascribes the practice of exorcism and of charms to the Essenes.
3. The Colossian heresy was Judaic and Gnostic . Its Judaism all will allow, from the references to circumcision, to the distinction of meats and drinks, to the observance of sabbaths and new moons (2:11, 16, 17, 21). It has also the three notes above marked of Gnosticism. (1) An intellectual oligarchy in religion is combated. St Paul contends for the universality of the Gospel, claiming to “warn every man and teach every man in every kind of wisdom, that he may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (1:28). He takes up the language of his opponents, “wisdom,” “intelligence,” “knowledge,” “perfect knowledge” (1:9, 2:2, 3, &c.), and translates it into a higher sphere. He dwells on the one universal comprehensive mystery, the knowledge of God in Christ; which contains “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden” in it (1:26, 27, 2:2, 4:3). (2) The speculative tenets , the cosmogony and theology, of Gnosticism are attacked. Against the doctrine of successive evolutions from the Divine nature, angelic mediators forming the successive links, St Paul sets the doctrine of the one Eternal Son, the Word incarnate (1:15 20, 2:9 15). Both in the natural and spiritual creation His initiative is absolute, His control is universal, His action is complete. He is the visible image of the invisible God. In Him resides the totality of the Divine powers and attributes, the pleroma or plenitude , according to the Gnostic term for this totality. Hence he is absolute Lord of all created things, whatever there may be, of “thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers.” Angelolatry is therefore condemned as a denial of His perfect mediation. He is the centre of life, the mainspring of all energy; all therefore must be “in the Lord,” and “unto the Lord” (2:18, 3:18, 20, 23). (3) The rigid asceticism , which was one of the two practical results to which Gnostic doctrine led, appears in the Epistle as Essene rather than Pharisaic, Gnostic rather than Jewish (2:16, 21). These severities of discipline were intended “to check indulgence of the flesh,” ignoring the cravings of the body and denying its wants. “Touch not, taste not, handle not.” St Paul’s treatment of this error does not, as in the case of the Galatian Judaism, point the contrast of law and grace; he deals with the moral aspects of these ascetic practices, as valueless for their purpose (2:23). He offers instead the elevation of the inner life in Christ, the transference of the affections into a higher sphere where the temptations of the flesh are powerless (3:1 5, 10).
The Colossian heresy is thus seen to be Gnostic as well as Judaic; and to have the very same characteristics as Essene Judaism. The two are in fact one and the same heresy, which according to the aspect in which it is viewed may be called either Judaic Gnosticism or Essene Judaism.
4. The heresy of the Pastoral Epistles is the same, advanced one stage further and more defined . Infancy has become early childhood. But we have no full exposition, as in Colossians , where St Paul is confronting false opinion itself. Here he is writing to a friend and instructing him to deal practically with the question. Reference and allusion are sufficient. We have only a single word here and there, a descriptive epithet or attribute. But in the light of the Colossian Epistle these notes become clear. The heresy in both cases has its root on the same ground, in Asia Minor, the fittest meeting point of Oriental mysticism, of Greek thought, of Judaism and of Christianity.
(1) There is the same esoteric spirit , the exclusive intellectualism of Gnosticism; but there is an advance. “Knowledge” has now become the watchword of the sect, a title vaunted as peculiarly their own: “the knowledge falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20 ). The contrast of the “different doctrine” is more marked, as the speculations of knowledge crowd out the “dispensation of God which is in faith” (1 Timothy 1:4 ). The Gospel is emphatically declared to be universal; “God our Saviour, who willeth that all men should be saved and come to the full knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4 ). And the true knowledge is faith; “God who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10 ). From this intellectualism were now arising very obtrusively and offensively the “vain talking” (1 Timothy 1:6 ), the “questionings and disputes of words” (1 Timothy 6:4 ), the “profane babblings” (2 Timothy 2:16 ), the “foolish and ignorant questionings” (2 Timothy 2:23 ) which St Paul so frequently and so severely rebukes.
(2) In the speculative theories , the doctrine of emanations, there is the same leading thought, taken further. The somewhat vague and shadowy “worship of angels” (Colossians 2:18 ), as emanations of intermediary superior essences, appears now in the more definite shape of “genealogies” (Titus 3:9 ), “endless genealogies” (1 Timothy 1:4 ); a phrase clearly referring to the successive generations of the æons from the pleroma . The same speculations embodied in the concrete form of stories by the Gnostic teachers are labelled as “fables” or “myths” as well as “tiresome pedigrees”; “profane and old wives’ fables” (1 Timothy 4:7 ); “Jewish fables” (Titus 1:14 ); “turning aside unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:4 ). The truth of the One only Mediator in opposition to these false mediators is emphasised, “one mediator between God and man, himself man, Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5 ); the Word incarnate, the one “mystery of godliness,” “He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, revealed to all His creatures, angels and men, as Lord, and enthroned as King in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16 ). The truth of the One God in opposition to the dualism of the Gnostic is enforced, “there is one God” (1 Timothy 2:5 ), “to the King Eternal, the only God, be honour” (1 Timothy 1:17 ).
These speculations on the unseen and marvellous found expression in magical rites, the common refuge of oriental superstition. Hence St Paul calls these heretics “wizards,” “enchanters” (2 Timothy 3:13 ), misled by “doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1 ).
(3) The resulting Gnostic rule of rigid asceticism still prevails in “commandments of men” (Titus 1:14 ). The denial of the resurrection of the body (2 Timothy 2:18 ) `the home and abode of evil. The “abstaining from meats” (1 Timothy 4:3 ) is based indeed on the Mosaic law, but doubtless went beyond the Mosaic distinction between meats clean and unclean. The “forbidding to marry,” a very general Gnostic tenet, was independent of and contrary to the spirit of Judaism. The result of such a perverted asceticism, abstinence from things lawful, was the prevalence of other vices, avarice, selfishness, deceit; “supposing that godliness is a way of gain” (1 Timothy 6:5 ).
But there are signs of a new departure; traces of the other Gnostic rule of unbridled license coming to be adopted; an indulgence in profligate habits and a pandering to the vices of others; “by their works they deny God, being abominable to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure” (Titus 1:16 , Titus 1:15 ), “silly women laden with sins led away by divers lusts” (2 Timothy 3:6 ). These are the first beginnings of that wild profligacy in later Gnosticism which is a constant theme of reproach with writers of the Church.
5. This heresy finally is very closely akin to the earliest Ophite Gnosticism, and leads naturally to the Cerinthian development of a.d. 90; and is therefore in its right place if dated a.d. 66 and 67.
The Ophites were among the earliest Gnostic sects. The heathen element is still predominant in their teaching. Great prominence is given to Phrygian mysteries and rites; and their proper home would appear to have been Phrygia. Their name Naassene , derived from the Hebrew word for serpent (Ophite being from the Greek ophis a serpent), shews that there was also an admixture of Judaic elements. They professed to derive their Gnosis from James the Lord’s brother. Hippolytus, Bishop at Portus, the harbour of Rome, a.d. 220, whose “Refutations of Heresies” was discovered about a.d. 1850, is our chief authority respecting the sect, and he places them first in the series of heresies, before Simon Magus and before Cerinthus. He implies that they were the first to call themselves Gnostics; names among their magical rites and mysteries those of Osiris, Samothrace, Eleusis and Cybele, later additions very probably to the mystical Judaic interpretations of the Old Testament; speaks of their teaching by myths, forbidding marriage, maintaining that the resurrection was spiritual, making genealogies a definite part of their system; and so forth. How largely the heresy of the epistles partook of this Ophite character is seen from the passages quoted above.
Cerinthus lived and taught in Proconsular Asia about a.d. 90 and was a contemporary of St John. According to Neander he “is best entitled to be considered as the intermediate link between the Judaizing and the Gnostic sects.” Judaism was still prominent in his teaching: but already the Gnostic element was aggressive (1) in his cosmogony, (2) in his Christology.
(1) The world he asserted was not made by the highest God but by an angel or power, far removed from and ignorant of this Supreme Being. Thus his theory was linked on to the angelology of later Judaism founded on the angelic appearances of the Old Testament. The Colossian epistle seems to represent the first stage of Gnostic teaching about this angelic demiurge as having an imperfect appreciation of the Supreme God (whence arose the imperfections of the natural world) but still a fit object of worship as mediator between God and man. The second stage was that of Cerinthus, representing the angel demiurge as ignorant of the good God. The third that of later Gnostics attributing to him direct antagonism.
(2) Again, as a Judaizer Cerinthus held that Jesus was only the son of Joseph and Mary born in the natural way. As a Gnostic he maintained that the Christ first descended in the form of a dove on the carpenter’s son at his baptism; that He revealed to him the unknown Father and worked miracles through him, and that at length He took His flight and left him, to return “to His own pleroma ,” so that Jesus alone suffered and rose.
The existence of vague and undeveloped germs of this latter doctrine appears in the emphasis with which, both in the Colossian and Pastoral Epistles, the eternal being and absolute sovereignty, and also the historic passion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ are asserted. In addition to the passages above quoted, compare “the whole pleroma abides permanently in Christ” (Colossians 1:19 , Colossians 2:9 ); “ye received the doctrine of the Christ, even Jesus the Lord” (Colossians 2:6 ); “reconciled through the blood of Christ’s cross,” “in the body of His flesh through death” (Colossians 1:20 , Colossians 1:22 ); “given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal” (2 Timothy 1:9 ); “remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead, &c.” (2 Timothy 2:8 ); “the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13 ).
The former doctrine, in its still undefined, undeveloped form, is met by the emphasis laid on the being and character of the one God throughout the Pastoral Epistles. “In the sight of God who quickeneth all things … who is the blessed and only Potentate, who only hath immortality” (1 Timothy 6:13 , 1 Timothy 6:15 ). Cf. 1:17, “the only God,” 2:3, “God our Saviour one God,” 3:15, 4:10, “the living God.” Cf. also the significant phrase three times repeated, “God our Saviour,” Titus 1:3 , Titus 2:10 , Titus 3:4 , in each case followed by “Jesus Christ our Saviour,” as though expressly to assert firstly the living love and power of the one Sovereign Father, and secondly the unity of Father and Son.
Thus we pass from St Paul to St John, who frames of this teaching a whole Epistle and Gospel, to meet the now fully spread and fully working poison of the Cerinthian Gnosticism. “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30 ). “This is the antichrist, even he that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22 ).
Summary and Conclusions
The external evidence in favour of St Paul’s authorship of the Epistles is, as we have seen in Chap. 1, very strong. They have been almost universally accepted as Pauline. They are used by the Apostolic Fathers, the Greek Apologists, the Early Heretics; have the witness of the Ancient Versions and the Ancient Churches; and are acknowledged alike by Historian, Canon, and Council. Down to the nineteenth century no one doubted their authenticity, even if any rejected them from dislike of their contents.
The internal evidence entitles us to assert strongly that the difficulties alleged by some modern critics in the way of this belief have no just foundation. One of the most widely-spread statements of these difficulties is that of the late Dr Hatch, Encyclopædia Britannica , ed. ix. vol. xviii. 381.
There are four main objections raised.
1. The first point alleged is that
The ecclesiastical organisation implied is too advanced, the teaching about it too definite for St Paul .
This objection arises from an exaggerated view of both the advance and the definiteness.
A fairer judgment is to be obtained from a review of all the literary evidence that remains to us at successive epochs, a.d. 33; 66; 99; 133; as given in Chap. 2.
From this, studied as a whole, we see that the duties of presidency and headship, with the power of delegation, are, in the period before a.d. 66, assumed throughout to be those of the first Apostles themselves; while in the periods which follow there is very definite and frequent reference to the delegated presidencies of ‘apostles’ or ‘angels’ or ‘prophets’; until, with Ignatius, the name of ‘bishop’ appears singly to denote this office. It is further seen that subordinate offices and ministries appear from the first ‘presbyters’ (also called ‘bishops’ during the first century) and ‘deacons’ along with others . But throughout the period there is frequent and definite reference to these two offices as standing on a more settled footing than others.
It is, we conclude, quite natural that, with regard to the apostolate , St Paul, as in some sense the chief secretary of the Apostolic College, should be found laying down principles of guidance for successors when “the time of their departure was at hand.”
It is quite natural that these instructions should embrace the method of dealing with the two more settled ministries of the presbyterate and diaconate , and should not deal with other offices.
The oral Gospel of the apostolic ministry is giving place to the written Gospel. As in the case of the selections made by the Evangelists, so now leading principles rather than exhaustive rules, specimens of method rather than complete codes, are what we should expect; and this is what we find.
The great Pauline principle for the apostolate is character ; the great Pauline method is a fit succession of “ fellow-workers unto the kingdom .”
2. A second objection urged is that
The style and philological peculiarities of the epistles are foreign to St Paul .
We have indeed had reason to allow, in Chap. 3, that there are peculiarities of both language and tone of thought in the Pastoral Epistles compared with St Paul’s earlier letters. But we have shewn that these peculiarities are nothing more than marks of natural growth and development. And, further, along with the differences there are abundant samenesses both in style and intrinsic character with what we recognise as essentially Pauline.
3. A third objection brought is
The difficulty of reconciling the historical references with what is known from other sources of the life of St Paul .
We admit that the epistles cannot be placed at any period in the life of the Apostle up to the close of the two years named in Acts 28:30 : and we maintain that they were written subsequently. For the reasons and according to the account given in Chap. 4 we conclude that St Paul was released from captivity, made further missionary journeys, during which the First Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus were written, and was then re-imprisoned at Rome, from whence the Second Epistle to Timothy was written. It has been well urged that “until the epistles are proved forgeries, they are themselves competent witnesses as to the facts of the Apostle’s history; and consistent even if differing theories respecting the position of the events named have been framed without difficulty. That these do differ is no argument for their impossibility; only that not enough data are to hand to fix between three or four possible combinations.” Dr Riddle, Encyclopædia Americana , 1889, pp. 146, 7. The same writer forcibly adds: “The historical difficulties themselves favour the genuineness. A forger [or, we may add, a pseudepigraphist of the century] skilful enough to deceive the church for 1800 years would have fitted his allusions to the Acts; and would not have invented ‘the cloak’ and other minor incidents.”
4. A fourth objection is founded upon
The allusions to a too-developed Heresy, and too elaborate a debasement of Christianity .
In reply it may be shewn, as in Chap. 5, that “the early and rapid growth of error is indicated in the undoubted Pauline Epistles.” In particular we see that Essene Judaism was Gnostic, and that this was the heresy of the Colossian Epistle in its early stage, and of the Pastoral Epistles in the next stage; being next of kin to the earliest Ophite Gnosticism and leading naturally to the Cerinthian development of a.d. 90.
It is therefore in its right place if dated a.d. 66, 67. “Nor can there be found any particular age or error in the church after the apostolic period to which the language of these epistles would apply with such force as to suggest a forgery to meet that error in that age.”
The conclusion, which we may draw with confidence, from both the external and internal evidence is that all three Epistles are the genuine work of St Paul and belong to the last years of his life a.d. 66, 67. “The three stand or fall together. Every attempt to prove one of them Pauline and the others forgeries has failed from its inherent inconsistency.” They stand . Dr Hatch is entirely in error in stating that “the majority of modern critics question or deny their authenticity.” On the contrary, no considerable portion of Biblical scholars do so; and with the great majority of modern critics, some of whose names are given p. 39, we unhesitatingly maintain the complete authenticity of St Paul’s crowning work.
B. the friends addressed in the epistles
Life of Timothy
a.d. 30. The birthplace of Timothy was most probably Lystra. We infer this from Acts 16:1 , where we read that St Paul on his second missionary journey “came also to Derbe and Lystra (by road from Antioch in Syria), and behold a certain disciple was there named Timothy, the son of a Jewess which believed, but his father was a Greek. The same was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.” The passage actually proves only that his home at the time was Lystra and that he had been sufficiently long there and at Iconium to be well known to the Christian Church. St Paul was well acquainted not only with his mother Eunice but with his grandmother Lois, who were distinguished among the Jewish converts; “when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice.” Lewin seems to refer this to their “devotional turn of mind” before conversion, and thinks that from the mention of the grandmother “an intimacy had subsisted between the two families from the earliest times.” But if this intimacy existed, the nearness of Tarsus to Lystra would be likely to have brought them together during St Paul’s stay at Tarsus after his conversion between a.d. 37 and 45, and so have led to their conversion before St Paul’s first recorded missionary visit to Lystra, a.d. 45. If this was so, Timothy as a young boy enjoyed the results of this in early Christian training; we cannot be sure how early. But we can be sure that the trials of the first missionary journey made a deep impression upon him. Thou hast fully known … my persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra (2 Timothy 3:11 ). We cannot go so far as to infer with Lewin from this “that he had evidently been a convert at the date of Paul’s first visit to Antioch in Pisidia, and in the place of Mark, who had withdrawn his services at Perga, had followed Paul successively to Iconium and Lystra.” It may have been, as Bp Ellicott suggests, that these sufferings drew the lad on to throw in his lot with the cause championed by so brave and noble a leader. Such sufferings in one town of the district after another would be “household words” in Eunice’s home, and young Timothy may well have dated his baptism and “laying on of hands” in Confirmation from that time (a.d. 45), if they had not taken place earlier. The phrases of St Paul’s letters to him certainly imply this connexion between them then, if not earlier; “my true child in faith” (1 Timothy 1:2 ), “my beloved child” (2 Timothy 1:1 ); since at the second missionary visit he appears as a “disciple,” “well reported of,” not only in Lystra itself but in the district. In what way he had thus become known in his own town and at Iconium we can only conjecture; perhaps by some commencement of that work he did so successfully afterwards, that of being the messenger of the Churches.
a.d. 51. We take up his life now (Acts 16:1 ), with St Paul at Lystra upon his second missionary journey. He is, we may believe, a young man now of 21 years, devout, enthusiastic, sympathetic, trustworthy, just the youthful colleague after St Paul’s own heart. As a Jew on his mother’s side and a Greek on his father’s he would feel for and with both portions of the communities to be visited. But to the Jews he would cause a difficulty from not having been circumcised, since the Jewish law required the rite in the case of mixed marriages where the mother was a Jewess. St Paul’s precept and practice with regard to compliance with the law of Moses was to become all things to all men if by any means he might gain some: but where the liberty of the Gentile converts to be free from the law was at stake, there to “give way by subjection, no not for an hour.” Accordingly, while he refused to circumcise Titus who was a Greek (Galatians 2:3 ), he now “took and circumcised Timothy because of the Jews that were in those parts; for all knew that his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:3 ). The next step was to ordain and set him apart as an evangelist, an office apparently general and itinerant, suited to a “messenger of the churches” who was to be a vicar apostolic. “Do the work of an evangelist , fulfil thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5 ). This was done by St Paul as Apostle , “the gift of God that is in thee by the putting on of my hands” (1 Timothy 1:18 ), but with, also, “the laying on of the hands of the presbytery ” (2 Timothy 1:6 ). The ordination included “prophecy,” that is, utterances or “charges,” from “ prophets ,” “the gift that is in thee which was given thee by prophecy” (2 Timothy 1:6 ). And we see in this scene a practical example of St Paul’s words written to the Ephesians ten years later; “He gave some to be apostles ; and some, prophets ; and some, evangelists ; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11 ). Thus equipped the young evangelist went forth with Paul and Silas on the journey to “confirm the churches” already visited, and on their way through the cities to deliver the decrees of the Council at Jerusalem respecting the ceremonial observances of the Mosaic Law. Their course took them doubtless first to Iconium and Antioch, and we can be sure that these were among the Churches that now began to make great progress with the removal of this barrier to Gentile admission. What other “cities and churches” are included in the description given Acts 16:4 , Acts 16:5 we can only conjecture. Prof. Ramsay in his Church in the Roman Empire , p. 75 sqq., has shewn good reason for doubting the interpretation generally given in maps of St Paul’s journeys to the account in verse 6, “they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden of the Holy Ghost to speak the word in Asia.” One main road from Antioch went turning slightly south along the valley of the Lycus by Colossæ, Laodicea and Hierapolis to Ephesus. But in the Ep. to Colossians (1:5) St Paul speaks of their having learned the Gospel not from himself but from Epaphras. Besides, Colossæ, Laodicea, and Hierapolis were all in the Asia of N. T., i.e. in Lydian Asia. The general account therefore given is that St Paul from Antioch “bent his steps northward,” “making for Galatia which lay to the north,” and so he would reach Pessinus, Ancyra and Tavium. Lewin has this view in his 4th edition, 1. p. 172, though Prof. Ramsay misrepresents him as still taking St Paul to Colossæ. He gives however in his map the Roman provinces of Asia and Galatia as filling the whole space of the country west of Derbe, except for Bithynia on the northern, and Pamphylia on the southern coast of Phrygia; and we have only to add ‘ Phrygia Galatica ’ as a further title of South-west Galatia, the district between Antioch and Iconium, to get the true corrected geography of Prof. Ramsay; whose interpretation is then to take Acts 16:6 as a recapitulation of vv . 4, 5; “at Antioch, St Paul was forbidden to preach in Asia;” then, “it seems to have occurred to St Paul to go on to the country immediately beyond, viz. West Bithynia; and the road by Dorylaion to Nikaia and Nikomedeia was a great route. But when they came opposite to Mysia, at Nakoleia, the ‘Spirit of Jesus’ suffered them not, they were compelled to turn westward and keeping along the southern frontier of Mysia they reached Troas.”
Here St Luke joins them (Acts 16:10 , “ we sought to go forth”), partly it may be from anxiety for St Paul’s health (cf. “Luke the beloved physician,” Colossians 4:14 ). The vision calling them into Europe explains the refusal of the Spirit to allow the delay in Asia; and they cross to Philippi. Timothy shares in the first triumphs there of the Cross, escaping the imprisonment that fell to his chiefs; and apparently leaving Luke behind (since the 3rd person is resumed instead of the 1st in Acts 16:40 ), the party travel along the great Egnatian road to Thessalonica (Acts 17:1 ); where after three weeks’ vain efforts for the conversion of the Jews they obtain signal success among the pagan population (“ye turned to God from idols,” 1 Thessalonians 1:9 ). Here St Paul was “at one and the same time the Christian advocate and the industrious artisan”; “neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought, but wrought with labour and travail night and day that we might not be chargeable to any of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:8 ). The stress laid here upon this working would seem to require us to suppose that Silas and Timothy too would have their share in the earning of the daily bread. At the same time the Philippian converts sent support, “ye Philippians know that in Thessalonica also ye sent once and again unto my necessities” (Philippians 4:15 ). The later work of Timothy shews how his “first love” went out in devoted labour both for Philippi and Thessalonica. After some months (see note Alf. Prolegg . 1 Thess . § 2) the Jewish enmity instigated the mob to an attack upon the Apostles at the house of Jason. Paul, Silas and Timothy were sent away by night by the brethren to Berœa (Acts 17:10 , Acts 17:14 ). There Timothy’s zeal and knowledge in the Old Testament Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15 ) would help to kindle the “noble” desire of the Berœan Jews, who “received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the scriptures daily, whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 ). From Berœa St Paul was hastily sent away to go to the sea . Timothy who had well won his spurs receives orders from St Paul at Athens to go from Berœa to Thessalonica and bring St Paul (a.d. 52, spring) the latest tidings of his flock (1 Thessalonians 3:1-6 ); and Silas is instructed, we may assume, as he is not mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 3:1-6 , to stay on at Berœa; though at first St Paul had wished them to follow him to Athens at once. After completing his errand to Thessalonica in the satisfactory way described, 1 Thessalonians 3:2 , Timothy would rejoin Silas at Berœa, and both, bringing supplies “from Macedonia,” rejoined St Paul, who by this time had reached Corinth, and, again in need, had been busily pursuing his trade as tentmaker in partnership with Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2 , Acts 18:3 , Acts 18:5 ; 1 Thessalonians 3:7 ; 2 Corinthians 11:8 , 2 Corinthians 11:9 ). During the year (autumn) both Epistles to the Thessalonians are despatched, both bearing the names of Silas and Timothy after St Paul’s. It is interesting to note this connexion of Timothy with the epistolary work of St Paul at the very commencement of the series of letters which, continued at intervals through the next fifteen years, closes with the touching outpour of personal affection and anxiety in a second letter to Timothy himself just before his end.
The joint labours of the three missionaries resulted at Corinth as elsewhere in violent opposition from the Jews, and they hired a meeting-room from Justus close to the synagogue. For 18 months they were undisturbed, and disciples multiplied, among whom we probably know of some ten names, Justus, Crispus, Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus, Erastus, Caius, Chloe, Quartus, Tertius. The delightful work of baptizing these converts fell to Timothy and Silas, we suppose, since the Apostle debarred himself from taking part (1 Corinthians 1:14 ). But we are expressly told of their preaching also, and of its significant directness: “The Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timothy,” 2 Corinthians 1:19 . In this great centre of Greek life not only would the full preaching power of all be put forth, but St Paul exercised also the apostolic gift of miracles, as we learn from 2 Corinthians 12:12 , “truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and wonders and mighty works.” In June, a.d. 53, Gallio came to Corinth as governor of Achaia, an able and amiable Roman, before whom St Paul was in vain indicted. It may well have been that the Nazarite vow, often taken for 30 days by pious Jews in time of difficulty, was taken by St Paul in connexion with this deliverance. And if so “the many days” that St Paul “stayed on” (Acts 18:18 ) would be about a month, and the “cutting off the hair” at the expiration of the vow took place at Cenchreæ, the port of Corinth, just before starting for Ephesus. This Jewish observance is interesting, as we note the same liberty of practice in things indifferent claimed by St Paul for himself that was shewn in Timothy’s circumcision. We have no knowledge whether Timothy accompanied St Paul on his journey by Ephesus to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, and so on to Antioch (a.d. 53, Sept. 16). But there seems no reason against it; and we may think of him making his first acquaintance with the great “city of God” under St Paul’s inspiring guidance; Silas may probably have remained there, but Timothy would go on with St Paul to Antioch.
a.d. 54. After a winter’s stay there, the third missionary journey was commenced by going “through the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order,” and Timothy would revisit with St Paul the old home on their way. Following one of Prof. Ramsay’s interpretations of Acts 18:23 we suppose “the Galatian country” to refer to the Lycaono-Galatic country of Lystra and Derbe, and “Phrygia” to the Phrygo-Galatic district of Iconium and Antioch. “Phrygia” can hardly refer to “Phrygia Magna,” which Paul would traverse after leaving the Galatic territory, since he had not been previously along the western road, and would have no disciples to “establish.” It would indeed “confirm” those loving, devout disciples Eunice and Lois to hear of the great things God had wrought already by their young evangelist. The visit to Galatia shewed however the baneful influence of the Judaisers, and the fickle converts were ready with resentment instead of their first impulsive love, because the Apostle “told them the truth” respecting “their false teachers” and “the law” (Galatians 4:16 ).
Reaching Ephesus, not by the valley of the Lycus but by the shorter hill road by the plain of Metropolis and the Cayster valley, they make a long stay of three years, during which great success attends their labours. “The word of God prevailed and grew mightily” (Acts 19:20 ). But there were many difficulties and persecutions in the midst of the public and house-to-house ministration, as touchingly described by St Paul in his address to the elders of Ephesus, a.d. 58 (Acts 20:18-21 ). And still stronger language is used in 1 Corinthians 4:9 , 1 Corinthians 15:32 , an epistle written towards the close of the sojourn at Ephesus in the spring of a.d. 57. St Paul had previously, in preparation for revisiting the Churches of Macedonia and Achaia, sent Timothy forward with Erastus (Acts 19:22 ), especially perhaps to get ready the contribution for the poor saints at Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1 , 1 Corinthians 16:2 ). The immoralities and schisms among the Corinthians, of which news reached Ephesus after Timothy had left, determine St Paul to send a letter on at once to reach them sooner than his envoy would; and Timothy is accordingly “commended to their regard in terms which imply a fear of insult from the anti-Pauline party, and they are bidden to send him forth in peace that he might return to Paul” (1 Corinthians 4:17 , 1 Corinthians 16:10 ). Later in the year Timothy rejoins the Apostle in Macedonia, very likely at Philippi, as his name appears with St Paul’s in the salutation of the 2nd letter to Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:1 ). It would seem most natural to place the Epistle to the Galatians during this interval of Timothy’s absence. One who had been so closely linked with St Paul in the two visits to Galatia and belonged to the neighbourhood would surely not be merged in the general phrase “all the brethren which are with me” (Galatians 1:2 ). According to Bp Lightfoot (Int. Gal ., 2nd ed. p. 58) the special truths common to the Galatian and Roman Epistles must have appeared in any letter written between them; but on p. 44 he well depicts the strong similarity in tone and feeling that does exist between 2 Corinthians and Galatians; and he would admit a general identity of doctrine , since he would assign to all the four letters of the second group the subject “Christ the Redeemer,” or “Christ on the Cross.” The special application of the subject varied with the special errors of the two Churches. A parallel case is that of Ignatius, who writes “Farewell” to seven Churches, but makes his special topic in six of the letters the need of unity under the bishop, but in the seventh, to the Romans, the appeal that nothing may be done to hinder his martyrdom.
Timothy now for the third time visits Corinth a second time with St Paul about November, probably of a.d. 57, when the Apostle had “gone through those parts,” i.e. Macedonia, “and given them much exhortation” (Acts 20:2 ). There they “abode three months,” and there would be abundant work in the complete arrangement of the troubles and disorders and the reestablishment of filial love and piety. If in the midst of the Galatian trouble the 2nd Corinthians could be written, so now in the very heart of Corinthian cares and duties the Galatian topic is taken up and enlarged into a very manual and Gospel of the Faith in the shape of the Epistle to the Romans. Timothy is again joined in the salutations, the first of those who send greetings, “Timothy my fellow worker saluteth you” (Romans 16:21 ), and shared doubtless to the full that interest in the capital of the world which led St Paul so ardently to cherish the desire, “I must also see Rome.” But at present the path lay otherwise, and, by Passover time, March 27, a.d. 58, they were at Philippi, en route for Jerusalem, and were joined by St Luke, whose journal fixes the details of the voyage very minutely. The company at first included “Sopater of Berœa; Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians; Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Trophimus and Tychicus” (Acts 20:4 ). How far they all travelled with St Paul we cannot tell; we only know from the first person being used in the narrative that St Luke was one who remained, and from Acts 21:29 that Trophimus was another. We can hardly bring ourselves to believe that Timothy was left behind, and, as Plumptre points out ( Dict. Bib . p. 1506), “the language of St Paul’s address to the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20:17-35 ) renders it unlikely that he was then left there with authority.” We can the rather suppose that he would accompany St Paul to Jerusalem.
a.d. 59 61. Thus he would be at hand to supply all possible succour and service throughout the two years’ imprisonment at Cæsarea. He may, for example, have visited Philippi more than once as St Paul’s representative. As he is not named in Acts 27:0 we may perhaps conclude that he did not accompany the Apostle to Rome, but his company and comfort must have been welcomed before long, since three out of the four epistles of the third group bear witness to his active, trusty cooperation.
a.d. 62. If with Bp Lightfoot we assign the Philippian epistle to the earlier part of this imprisonment we may think of Timothy arriving at Rome in the spring of a.d. 62; and after a brief stay with his old chief, preparing to pay another visit to Philippi, “having been chosen for this purpose as one whose solicitude for the Philippians had become a second nature” (Philippians 2:20 ). It is calculated that the journey would not take longer than a month, and Timothy would have returned long before the penning of the Epistles to Colossians and Philemon was taken in hand, a.d. 63, spring. Timothy is joined in the salutation in both of these, but not in that to the Ephesians written at the same time. The reason may be the encyclical or “essay” character of the “Ephesians” intended for all the Churches of Asia, as it also contains no salutations to any individuals. The subject-matter both of Colossians and Ephesians was one in which Timothy must have taken much interest. Not only were the earliest elements of Gnosticism largely “Ophite” and Phrygian, and therefore derived from the neighbourhood of his own home, but he must himself have already in his work at Ephesus met the germs of the Gnostic heresy and as a young man have felt his need of guidance and teaching, how to teach against it “the truth as it is in Jesus,” “the life in Christ,” which the Apostle here lays down.
a.d. 63, 64. On St Paul’s release in the summer of a.d. 63 Timothy would, we may believe, accompany him in his first journey eastward, described p. 41.
a.d. 65, 66. Staying at Ephesus, when St Paul went on to Crete and Spain, he may have suffered accusation or imprisonment either there or in the course of journeys appointed him by St Paul to Corinth and elsewhere during his absence. Nero was in Greece at the time, and though the storm of persecutions away from Rome was not yet general, some zealous official might easily have thought to please the emperor by seizing Timothy. But from the passage in Hebrews 13:23 , “Know ye that our brother Timothy has been discharged,” the trouble seems to have been short-lived and he was free to join St Paul again in his third journey eastward, or to be joined by him at Ephesus. See Int. p. 43.
a.d. 66. There, at any rate in the autumn of a.d. 66, we find him left in charge (1 Timothy 1:3 ), and there most probably he stayed, receiving first in the autumn the “First Epistle to Timothy” and again in the spring the “Second Epistle,” and busy with all the “care of the churches” which the contents of these letters disclose.
a.d. 67. Before he could start to join his aged “father” after the receipt of the letter, we may believe the end came to St Paul, June, a.d. 67, and he was left alone to play the man. With Plumptre ( Dict. Bib . iii. 1507), we may suppose that “the special charge committed to him in the Pastoral Epistles might not unnaturally give fixity to a life which had previously been wandering,” and he would become the resident apostolic or prophetic head of the single Church of Ephesus rather than the superintendent of many Churches, having very probably been first used by God to establish earlier than elsewhere in the Churches of Asia this rule of a settled head, whether “prophet” or “apostle” or “presbyter” or “bishop,” which was gradually to become universal. If this were so we shall recognise, under the oriental symbolic picture-language of St John, in the “angel of Ephesus,” Timothy “the evangelist,” “the brother,” “the beloved son” of St Paul; and in the Revelation, written a.d. 69, we catch the last inspired view of him in the “Epistle to the Church of Ephesus.” If we allow for the oriental character of the visions, and the vividness of style of the son of thunder in his character as “prophet,” reproducing Old Testament vehemence of language, we may assent to Plumptre’s identification; “both the praise and blame are such as harmonise with the impressions as to the character of Timotheus derived from the Acts and the Epistles. The refusal to acknowledge the self-styled apostles, the abhorrence of the deeds of the Nicolaitans, the unwearied labour, all this belongs to the ‘man of God’ of the Pastoral Epistles. And the fault is no less characteristic. The strong language of St Paul’s entreaty would lead us to expect that the temptation of such a man would be to fall away from the glow of his ‘first love,’ the zeal of his first faith. The promise of the Lord of the Churches is in substance the same as that implied in the language of the Apostle” (2 Timothy 2:4-6 ). We have this view confirmed by Eusebius, H. E . iii. 14, who represents Timothy as continuing to act as Bishop of Ephesus.
He is further said (Niceph. H. E . iii. 11) to have died a martyr’s death under Domitian or Nerva, the day associated with his martyrdom being Jan. 24. “During the great annual feast of the Catagogii of Artemis, which consisted of processions bearing idols, with women lewdly dancing before them and ending in bloodshed, Timothy moved by righteous zeal rushed into the portico of the temple and exhorted the frenzied revellers to decency; but this so enraged them that they fell upon him with sticks and stones and killed him.” (See Baring-Gould’s Lives of the Saints , 1. 360.)
Life of Titus
a.d. 29 or 30. There seems good reason for assuming some such date as a.d. 30 for the birth year of Titus. (1) In a.d. 66, to which year we assign the Epistle to Titus, he was evidently still a young man. The language used is very similar to that used in the case of Timothy, and the age may be taken as nearly the same, “Let no man despise thee (2:15). The younger men likewise exhort to be soberminded, in all things shewing thyself an ensample of good works” (2:6, 7); compared with “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity,” 1 Timothy 4:12 . And again (2) in a.d. 50, the date generally assigned to the Council at Jerusalem, he was old enough to be selected as a member of the deputation from the Church at Antioch, which accompanied Paul and Barnabas to obtain a judgment respecting Jewish ceremonial. This we learn from Galatians 2:1 , “I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me,” Titus being therefore included under the phrase “certain other of them” in the account given Acts 15:2 , “the brethren appointed that Paul and Barnabas and certain other of them should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.” (For the full arguments identifying these visits as one and the same, see Bp Lightfoot, Galatians , Exodus 2:0 , pp. 122 sqq.) Titus could hardly have been thus appointed under the age of 20 years or so. If we now look for notices of his life still earlier than a.d. 50 we find only one, but that very significant; in Titus 1:4 St Paul addresses him as “Titus my true child after a common faith.” He owed therefore his conversion to St Paul; and when we couple the time that must be supposed, such a reasonable time before a.d. 50 as to make it suitable for him to be a “select” representative, together with the place in which he first appears, Antioch in Syria, and with his nationality , “being a Greek,” we are led to that remarkable year, a.d. 43 44, which witnessed St Paul’s first great year of ministry, when Barnabas found a new and notable work being done at Antioch by the men of Cyprus and Cyrene “preaching the Lord Jesus to the Greeks ” (as the right reading in Acts 11:20 ). So great indeed was the movement that Barnabas “went forth to Tarsus to seek for Saul;” and “even for a whole year they were gathered together with the church and taught much people, and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” We can readily imagine the stir and movement of such a time; and in its way it would be very similar to the mission season at Lystra, a year later, when Timothy, a lad of fifteen, felt the fervent love and power of the Apostle.
a.d. 44. We may well think then of the lad Titus, at the same age of 14 or 15, when all the man begins to stir within the boy, catching fire from the same flame of heavenly zeal at Antioch in that great year, a.d. 44, when so many of his elders of the same Greek race “believed and turned to the Lord.” Lewin graphically describes the scenes with which the heralds of Christianity found themselves surrounded at Antioch, “destined soon to be the metropolis of Gentile Christendom.” “The market-place was teeming with swarthy Syrians and quickwitted Greeks, and with the children of Abraham, ever distinguished by their marked physiognomy. Here and there were observed troops of legionary soldiers, the conquerors of the world. The languages that greeted the ear were as diverse as the costumes that met the eye. Syriac and Hebrew, Greek and Latin, were heard in succession. Greek however predominated and formed the ordinary vehicle of communication between such discordant materials.… The very place in which they prosecuted their ministry at Antioch has been recorded by John of Antioch, commonly called Malala, or the Orator, who lived at the close of the sixth century. In general, tradition is of little value; but in this instance a native of Antioch who quotes Domminus, an antiquary of a much earlier age, is entitled to some respect. According to Malala, Paul and Barnabas preached in Singon Street, near the Pantheon, in the south-western part of the city called Epiphania. No spot could have been fixed upon more suitable for their purpose, as it was in one of the most populous districts, and in the immediate neighbourhood of the Forum.” Life of St Paul , 1. 96. If our conclusion is right, we can realise more than has been generally done, of Titus’s earlier years; and we see how his brisk, businesslike character would form itself, and how the very surroundings of his earliest Christian life in “faith that cometh by hearing,” in baptism and laying on of hands and Christian service in Singon Street, Epiphania, would prepare him for the part he had to play afterwards in busy-stirring Corinth, and the care he was and “good works.”
a.d. 50. We now take up his life at the time when he is deputed to attend Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, when the great question of Jewish ceremonial was to be settled. Titus as the representative, firm but modest, of his race was to be there to plead in person for the “liberty in Christ Jesus” which already St Paul had asserted by refusing to have him circumcised. Or at least he was there, a silent witness, to whom St Paul might point, of the Holy Spirit’s blessing without the old Jewish rite, a bright God-fearing “true son after a common faith.” We cannot doubt that, under God, young Titus played no unfit part in obtaining the judgment given “not to trouble them which from among the Gentiles turn to God” (Acts 15:19 ).
a.d. 51 53. We hear nothing of Titus during the Second Missionary Journey of St Paul, which followed, and during, which Timothy is taken up at Lystra. And from the express mention of Silas alone as leaving Antioch with the Apostle we may perhaps conclude that the work of Titus lay at home at Antioch for the present. This is the more likely when we note that St Luke, who joined the party at Troas, seems to have been unacquainted with Titus; at least there is no mention of him at all in the Acts. For though the true reading in Acts 18:7 gives Titus Justus as the name of the man in whose house St Paul preached at Corinth after leaving the synagogue, yet the description added that he was a proselyte, “one that worshipped God,” points to some entirely different person. At the close of this ever-memorable campaign, in which the Holy War had been carried for the first time into Europe, St Paul returns from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 18:22 ).
a.d. 54. We may perhaps conclude that on the Third Missionary Journey St Paul took with him from Antioch both Timothy and Titus. It would certainly seem from the reference to Titus in Galatians 2:0 that he was known to the Galatian Church; and this occasion of St Paul’s visit there when “he went through the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, stablishing all the disciples” (Acts 18:23 ), would seem the most likely time for such an acquaintance to be formed. This supposition will bring Titus naturally to Ephesus with St Paul, and give him a share in the great work of those three years. So we find him on the spot, a ready and trusty messenger, when St Paul, on receipt of the bad news from Corinth respecting the schisms and its immoralities, is looking round for one to whom he may entrust the letter written at once to that Church the “First Epistle to the Corinthians.” Timothy had been commissioned previously to pay them a visit of enquiry and encouragement; now St Paul is glad to have so strong and firm and discreet a character as Titus in whose hands to place the unwelcome task of rebuke. For the full proof of this assumption that Titus was the bearer of 1 Cor., see Bp Lightfoot, Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology , 11. pp. 201, 202, recently reprinted in Biblical Essays , p. 273 sq.; and. cf. 2 Corinthians 12:18 , “I exhorted Titus, and I sent the brother with him.” Yet the Apostle is very anxious about the result, especially when Titus fails to meet him on his journey to Macedonia, as appointed at Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12 ). Further on in his journey, perhaps at Philippi or Thessalonica, Titus meets St Paul with the good news of his success; and in the references to this in 2 Corinthians we are shewn both the close tie of affection subsisting between St Paul and Titus and the zeal, the sympathy, and the strong feeling of Titus himself. “God comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort wherewith he was comforted in you, while he told us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me,” “his spirit hath been refreshed by you all,” “his inward affection is more abundantly toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him,” 2 Corinthians 7:6 , 2 Corinthians 7:7 , 2 Corinthians 7:13 , 2 Corinthians 7:15 . It had required no little judgment and tact to induce the vain and fitful Corinthians to take in good part the strong though necessary rebukes of the Apostle. It was proof of equally good business instincts and qualifications that the other Corinthian matter in which St Paul was much interested was also placed in the hands of Titus and carried through satisfactorily, the collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem. The practical godliness of such action as proving something deeper than the external froth of mere spiritual excitements, the practical proof of union between Jew and Gentile, afforded both at Corinth in the face of schisms, and at Jerusalem in the face of slanders against St Paul, all this may account for the stress laid by the Apostle on what might otherwise seem a mere detail or an unworthy serving of tables. And it is an undesigned coincidence, indeed, but an additional internal evidence of the genuineness of the Epistle to Titus, that we find a similar stress laid upon the carefulness of believers “to maintain good works,” a precept exemplified later by the provision Titus is himself to make for Zenas and Apollos, and the addition of the charge that “our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful” (Titus 3:8 , Titus 3:13 , Titus 3:14 ). While Titus is with St Paul then at this time, he is, in his heart and mind, the living example of the union of two apparently opposite principles. On the one hand St Paul is writing to the Galatians and vehemently contending that “works” are nothing, “faith” is everything, “having begun in the Spirit they are fools to be now perfected in the flesh” (Galatians 3:3 ); and we can imagine him turning to Titus and telling him that he will remind them of his case, just to the point, where he had absolutely refused to have him circumcised (Galatians 2:3 ). And on the other hand, almost in the same week, when Timothy’s arrival turns his mind full again on Corinth, he is writing his second letter to the Corinthians and equally vigorously contending that “faith” works by “love,” that their faith and repentance must be shewn by their works; and we can almost see him turn to Titus and exhort him “that as he had made a beginning before, so he would also complete in them this grace also and the fellowship in the ministering to the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:7 , 2 Corinthians 8:4 ). So Titus is sent back again from Macedonia to Corinth, with two trusty companions, Tychicus and Trophimus, in charge of the second Corinthian letter, and with the earnestly pressed commission for the completion of the alms. We gather that the work is a delicate and difficult one, not only from the character, otherwise learnt, of Titus himself, to whom it is committed, but from the care of St Paul in commending him lest he should say either too much or too little too much, and so make him out a “mechanical delegate” too little, and so leave him “an unauthorised volunteer.” “Thanks be to God, which putteth the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For indeed he accepted our exhortation; but being himself very earnest he went forth unto you of his own accord” (2 Corinthians 8:16 , 2 Corinthians 8:17 ). St Paul follows slowly to Corinth.
a.d. 58. At Corinth he finds the work well done; he can sit down and write to the Romans the quiet reasoned essay of a mind calm and at leisure, gathering up all the tossing, vehement arguments of Galatian and Corinthian letters into a flawless manual of evangelical truth. And at the close he alludes with evident satisfaction to the successful issue of the effort for ministering unto the saints, as the completion of work which will enable him to fulfil his great wish of reaching Rome and Spain (Romans 15:28 ). With this last glimpse of the great aid given by Titus to his chief, in this the very crisis of St Paul’s doctrinal energy, we lose sight of him for eight long years. He is not mentioned by St Paul in the salutations to the Roman Church, nor by St Luke in his list of the companions who were with St Paul on the journey from Corinth to Asia, and so to Cæsarea and Jerusalem; and we can only conclude that he may have been sent, or sent for, to his old home, Antioch, which perhaps St Paul was glad should be thus kept in touch still with the spread of the Gospel, in case he could no longer “report himself” there as of old.
a.d. 64, 65. When the Roman imprisonment came to an end, as we conclude, in a.d. 63, and St Paul was set free for active work, the notices scattered through the Epistles alone guide us as to the probable movements of the Apostle and his assistants. A sketch of one connected method of piecing these together consistently is given pp. 41 44. In accord with that we may here suppose Titus, either from Antioch or from such other centre of work as may have been appointed for him, joining St Paul at Ephesus, and going with him to Crete, to spend the winter (autumn, a.d. 64, to spring, a.d. 65). They would land at Heracleum (now Megalo Kastron), the port of Gnossus, the capital of Crete on its northern coast; and would, after their stay there, cross the island to Gortyna, a little inland from “Fair Havens,” on the southern coast; and so go “throughout the cities” with the good news of the gospel (Titus 1:5 ). From the character of the Cretans as immoral, and turbulent, and uncivilised, given in the Epistle, we see reason enough for the selection of the companion and helper whose decided discreet character would find ample scope and exercise. The original preaching of the Gospel may have come from those Cretans who were amongst the recipients of the gift of tongues on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11 ). But the lack of organisation and the low standard of morality shown in the Epistle make it clear that St Paul in going there would not be “building on another man’s foundation.” And the impulse to visit the island may have been given by the brief view of it obtained in the stormy voyage of Acts 27:0 .
a.d. 66. It would seem more natural and consistent with the tone of the Epistle to suppose, as the sketch does, that a second visit was paid by St Paul which indeed he seems to have made a rule of his missionary work and that after this second visit (a.d. 66, spring) the letter was written reviewing the progress made and consolidating the directions given verbally to Titus on leaving. This would bring us to the autumn of a.d. 66, after an interval spent at Ephesus. On the circular tour then planned he reaches Corinth, and from that place writes the Epistle to Titus (autumn), commending Zenas and Apollos to him, and telling him of his plan newly formed to winter at Nicopolis, and of his wish to see him there as soon as Artemas and Tychicus can take his place for a while. The Epistle emphasises work which no doubt Titus had been already doing well and manfully, in the selection of fit presbyters, the determined check to Judaising teachers, the inculcation of a high standard of Christian life and work, the reconciling the Christian slaves to their position and duty, the control of unruly movements, whether social, political, or theological. Though St Paul sent for Titus to Nicopolis, and apparently, when plots thickened, and plans altered, sent him on a mission to Dalmatia, his last errand for his faithful squire, yet we may conclude from the letter that while it is in one sense a charge to the Church at large through Titus, it also assumes that Titus will make some definite stay in Crete to carry forward the work appointed. With this the specific and constant tradition of the island is in accord, making him indeed to be permanent bishop there, and assigning the modern capital Candia as his burial-place (see Cave’s Apostolici , p. 42, quoted by Dr Howson, Dict. Bib . s.v.).
The following summary of the traditions preserved by Zenas and Peter, De Natalibus , gives an interesting, though as is evident, entirely untrustworthy account of the early life, conversion, and death of Titus (see Baring-Gould’s Lives of the Saints , 1. p. 55). It is interesting as an instance of the growth of literary myth from the one seed-word, Crete.
Titus it is said was born of Gentile parents, being descended from the ancient royal family of Crete. St Paul, after his first imprisonment, returning from Rome into the East, made some stay in the island of Crete, the governor of which, Rustitius, was married to the sister of Titus. Titus, living in the island of Crete, was learned in Greek literature, having been studious in youth. But the dreams of the poets and philosophers did not satisfy the inward craving of his soul after truth. One day when twenty years old he heard a voice say to him, “Titus, depart hence and save thy soul, for the learning of the Greeks will not profit thee unto salvation.” Wondering in himself what this could mean he was bidden by the same voice to take up a Hebrew volume that he had long disregarded and open it. And the book was the prophet Isaiah, and the place of the Scriptures that his eye rested on was this, “Keep silence before me, O islands, and let the people renew their strength,” and what follows, Isaiah 41:0 . And he applied to himself the words, “thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” These were words very different from those of the poets of Greece, and gave an idea of God quite other from that formed by Homer, in whose writings he had found delight; so Titus left his Greek studies and his native island, and sought Jerusalem, the chief city of that people of whom the prophet spake such great things. And when he was there, he saw Jesus, and heard Him teach. Perhaps he was one of those Greeks whom St Andrew brought to Christ. He believed, and was of the number of the first disciples. He remained at Jerusalem after the Ascension, and the descent of the Holy Ghost. After he joined St Paul he accompanied him in most of his journeys. St Paul consecrated him to be Bishop of Crete and left him there. When death approached he saw angels coming from heaven in a glorious train to fetch his soul, and his face was lit up with joy at their approach and shone with supernatural splendour. He committed his people to God in long and earnest prayer, and then yielded up his spirit in peace to Christ his Saviour.
The body of Titus was kept with great veneration in the cathedral of Gortyna; but that city having been ruined by the Saracens, in a.d. 823, the metropolitan see was transferred to Candia, 17 miles from the ancient Gortyna; there the head of Titus was preserved till it was carried off by the Venetians, and it is now among the sacred treasures of St Mark’s at Venice.
C. THE THEME AND CONTENTS OF THE EPISTLES
Analysis of the Epistles
The Apostolate; its scope, its sphere, its method, its efficiency; this has been shewn to be the main theme of the Pastoral Epistles. See above, Int. p. 18.
It is not unfolded in any set and formal way, because the Epistles are letters, first and foremost, to old friends and pupils. See Life of Timothy, p. 57, and Life of Titus, p. 68. But they are at the same time more than this, being guided by the Holy Spirit to form the transition from the oral gospels of the apostleship, and to be the Church’s inspired abiding Manual of the Pastoral Care. See Int., pp. 14 19, 33.
In the same way, the treatment of heresy and error is not by formal refutation of the false doctrine, but by practical hints and instructions to friends, who were to induct sound fresh teachers into office. See above, Int., pp. 18, 19.
It only remains to give an analysis of the contents, as one point leads to another in the mind of “Paul the aged,” anxious above all things that the young knights, who have worthily won their spurs with him, may “after the time of his departure” play the man in the “good fight of faith.”
Ch. 1. Apostolic faithfulness.
1, 2 . The greeting, with a specially touching addition of the word “mercy.”
3 11 . Timothy is exhorted to faithful ministry by a reminder of the glad tidings of the true Gospel.
12 20 . He is further encouraged by a reminder of St Paul’s own calling and commission and of the fall of some false teachers.
Ch. 2. Apostolic regulation of Public Worship.
1 7 . Directions are given for Common Prayer and Intercession because of the universality of the Gospel;
8 15 . and for the parts to be taken in Public Worship by men and by women respectively.
Ch. 3. Apostolic selection of the Assistant Ministry.
1 7 . A sketch is drawn of the duties and characters of Bishops or Presbyters;
8 13 . and of the duties and characters of Deacons, both men and women.
14 16 . The importance of these directions is based on the character of the Church and its Head, the Incarnate Redeemer.
Ch. 4. Apostolic government in regard to Doctrine.
1 6 . The central truth is to be guarded, which false teachers violate by their false asceticism, the dogma of the Incarnate Redeemer.
6 16 . Timothy’s own strong hold of right doctrine and of right discipline is dwelt upon as essential for right government.
Ch. 5. Apostolic government in regard to Discipline.
1, 2 . Advice is given as to Timothy’s demeanour generally towards his flock;
3 16 . as to his duties in regard to Widows;
17 25 . his duties in regard to Presbyters;
6:1, 2 . and his duties in regard to Slaves.
Ch. 6. Last words on Apostolic Doctrine and Duty.
3 10 . A further warning is given against false teachers, and their covetousness;
11 16 . and a further exhortation to a true life, in view of the Lord’s appearing.
17 19 . A last direction follows on the duties of the rich;
20, 21 . and a last appeal, on the keeping of the Deposit of the Catholic Faith.
Ch. 1. Apostolic gifts and responsibilities.
1, 2. The greeting, with the same tender touch of ‘mercy.’
3 7 . The affectionate ‘Father in God’ grounds a warm appeal to Timothy on his inheritance of personal faith and ministerial gifts.
8 12 . He makes the appeal itself to be a brave champion both of the saving Work of Christ and of the suffering Witness of St Paul.
13, 14 . The double ground of appeal is shewn to be also the double line of responsive action.
15 18 . The appeal is enforced by a contrast of cases, a sad warning and a bright example.
Ch. 2. Apostolic zeal and purity.
1 7 . The anxious ‘Overseer’ resumes his appeal for personal and ministerial zeal, illustrating it by Parables from life the soldier, the athlete and the farmer.
8 13 . He gives a yet higher illustration from God’s own plan of salvation the Cross before the Crown.
14 26 . He defines the especial sphere both of the personal and of the ministerial zeal to be. (1) pure doctrine, (2) a pure life.
Ch. 3. Apostolic life and doctrine.
1 5 . The prophetic ‘Teacher’ further urges his appeal to Timothy for pure life, in view of the worse days and lives to come;
6 9 . for pure doctrine, in view of the worse doctrines to come;
10 17 . for pure life and doctrine, in view of both St Paul’s own past and the evil future.
Ch. 4. Apostolic succession and fellowship.
1 8 . The old ‘Evangelist’ puts forward the last appeal, the same warning, the old example, to inspire Timothy to take up his work and fulfil the same ministry.
9 18 . He tells of the scattering of friends, with entreaty for Timothy’s presence, but with full assurance of the Lord’s present help.
19 22 . He says the last words of salutation, entreaty, benediction.
Ch. 1. The Apostolate; its scope and method.
1 4 . The greeting; specially emphasizing the base and scope of the Apostolic office.
5 9 . The commission of Titus is dwelt upon, in regard to the selection of duly qualified Bishops or Presbyters.
10 16 . The scope of his office is shewn, in the repression through this method of the rival unruly teachers with a view to the life of practical godliness.
Ch. 2. The Apostolate; its efficiency and its sphere.
1 10 . The efficient discharge of his office is shewn to require from Titus the maintenance of a high standard of holy living, in his own person and in his control of others.
11 15 . His sphere of duty is to claim all life public, social and private for God and religion.
Ch. 3. The Apostolate; its ministry of goodwill and good works.
1 7 . The duty is dwelt upon of promoting a life of goodwill and peace from the sense of God’s love and through the Spirit’s power.
8 14 . When all is said and done, the practical holiness of good works is to abide.
15 . Last words of salutation.