| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 48 - Page 84 of 181 Index | Zoom | |
The First Epistle to TIMOTHY
1: 1 - 4.
pp. 41 - 46
It is evident that the three Pastoral Epistles of Paul form a group and were evidently
written within a short interval of time between his two Roman imprisonments. Thus they
were written after the end of the Acts and their contents cannot be fitted into the Acts
Authorship. It was universally held by the early church that Paul was the author and
this was never questioned until about 100 years ago. Ignatius, Irenaeus, Polycarp,
Athenagoras, Justin Martyr and the early Muratorian fragment give their testimony to the
Pauline authorship. The reader is referred to the introduction to II Timothy for further
facts. We shall only touch upon the assertions of the critics here.
Their main reasons for denying the authorship of Paul are:
(1) There is no exposition of the great basic doctrines (such as justification by faith)
which are characteristic of Paul's epistles. But the Apostle was addressing leaders in the
truth, Timothy and Titus, who did not need this for they had been well grounded by
Paul's oral teaching for some 15-20 years.
(2) The church set-up (e.g. as regarding bishops) was not that of the first century but
the second, during the lifetime of Ignatius. But this is not true. We find there were
bishops (note the plural) and deacons at Philippi (Phil. 1: 1) and Paul had ordained elders
in every church he founded (Acts 14: 23). When a new assembly came into being there
was obviously the need for someone to take charge and care for the spiritual welfare of
the group. We find nothing of the exaggerated elevation of one bishop ruling over
assemblies such as took place at the time of Ignatius and was finally exhibited in the
Roman Catholic set-up.
(3) The Pastorals exhibit the developed Gnosticism of the second century. This again
is not true. In the Pastorals we find an incipient Gnosticism, a transitional stage from
Judaism to developed Gnosticism. And even if this were not so, we should remember
that Paul had the gift of prophecy and could foresee how events were going to shape (cp.
Acts 20: 29-31).
(4) Linguistic difficulties. In the Pastoral epistles there are a number of words not
used elsewhere in the N.T. But this can be accounted for by the different circumstances
of writing. Some have laid great importance on word statistics, but the comment of
Dr. R. P. Martins is to the point here:
"One of the great gains of recent Pauline studies is the growing distrust of the value of
word statistics in determining apostolic authorship, and our admission that we cannot say
with dogmatism just what he could or could not have written" (Philippians p.107).
It is absurd to try to guess just what Paul's vocabulary was or to try to restrict it to
one's own ideas. In any case would a forger introduce non-Pauline words at about
seventeen words per page of the Greek Text if he wanted the epistle to be accepted as