Quartz Hill School of Theology

1 Timothy

       The first and second letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus are called the "Pastoral Epistles" by New Testament scholars. They are given this name because they are concerned with "pastoral" matters like church order, discipline, and the preaching office.
       Like several of the other letters we have examined, most scholars believe that these letters all are pseudonymous: that is, that they were penned by a student of Paul at a much later date than the span of Paul's lifetime. Most scholars believe that these letters address issues which simply did not exist in the lifetime of Paul. For instance, in the day of Paul, it is assumed that the church was a loosely organized group of people who met together each day without a "pastor" or "official leader". That is, the church was a pure democracy where anyone who felt like speaking had the right to speak (see 1 Cor 12-14!). Churches met in houses and had no structure per se. After the lifetime of Paul, the church began to develop more structure as more people became members. It became impossible time-wise to allow everyone to speak. It also became necessary to standardize the doctrine that was taught. The best way to achieve this goal was to allow one person to speak. So the office of pastor was born out of necessity and not by design.
       This portrayal of the transitional history from charismatic church to structured movement means that the issues addressed in the Pastorals would not have existed in the day of Paul. That is why most scholars describe these three letters as pseudepigraphal (though there are a multitude of other reasons as well such as vocabulary, syntax, and theology). What has been suggested here about 1 Timothy in particular applies to all the Pastorals as well.
       As the Church grew, and structures developed, a need for guidance for the leaders of the church arose as well. That is the hole which the Pastorals strive to fill. 1 Timothy, then, was most likely written towards the close of the first century, when these offices and church officials were being born into the life of the church. The letter was sent to Ephesus first, and from there spread to other regions of the Mediterranean basin. A look at the outline will make clear the major concerns of the writer of the epistle:

1- Greetings (1:1-2)
2- Warning Against False Teachers (1:3-11)
3- Charge to Timothy (1:12-20)
4- Ordering Public Worship (2:1-15)
5- Instructions for Church Leaders (3:1-16)
6- Correct those: Teach the Truth (4:6-5:2)
8- Instructions for Church Members in Distress (5:3-6:2)
9- Warning Against False Teachers (6:3-10)
10- Charge and Close (6:11-21)

       The first thing that strikes one is the constant warning against false teaching. This was necessary at the close of the first century because foreign elements were beginning to make themselves known in the church at that time. Thus, pastors are, first of all, the guardians of correct doctrine. This view of the pastoral office is unique to the pastorals and is found nowhere else in the NT.

ASSIGNMENT: Read 2 Timothy and Titus, and Brown's Introduction, chapters 29 and 31.

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