Meyer's NT Commentary



















I N publishing the fourth edition of my Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, I recall with painful feeling the man who began and conducted the work in which I count it a special honour to take part. When the third edition of my Commentary on the Epistle of James appeared in the year 1870, he was still busy with undiminished mental vigour in conducting his work nearer to that goal of completion, which he had kept before him from the first. At that time I did not anticipate that in a few years he would be called away from his work. Through his death Science has sustained a heavy loss, but she has this comfort, that if he himself has departed from her, the work to which he devoted the labour of a lifetime still remains, a brilliant example of the most thorough and unbiassed exegesis, of an exegesis which, holding itself free from all subjective caprice, “devotes itself soberly, faithfully, submissively, to the service of the Divine Word.” The works of Meyer testify that he himself adhered to the law which he set down for the expositors of the holy Word, viz. that “they must interpret its pure contents as historical facts in a manner simple, true, and clear, without bias and independent of dogmatic prejudice, neither adding nor taking away anything, and abstaining from all conjectures of their own” (Preface to the fifth edition of the Commentary on 1 Cor.).

Since he invited me to take part in the work, it has been my constant endeavour to imitate his example; and it shall always be so with me, so long as I am spared to go on with it. Of what use is it, either to theological science or to the Church, if the expounder of the holy Scriptures uses his acuteness in endeavouring to confirm from them his own preconceived opinions, instead of faithfully interpreting and presenting the thoughts actually contained in them?

The same endeavour has guided me in this new revision, as will be shown, I hope, by the revision itself. In addition to the scrutiny to which I have subjected my earlier work, I have also carefully considered and examined the writings on the Pastoral Epistles, published since 1866, when the third edition of this Commentary appeared. Above all, I have examined the third edition of van Oosterzee’s Commentary, the practical exposition by Plitt, and Hofmann’s Commentary. While fully acknowledging the acuteness displayed in Hofmann’s exposition, I have but seldom been able to agree with it; for the most part, I have felt myself bound to refute it. However convincing it may frequently appear at the first glance, as frequently it will not bear an unbiassed, scrutinizing consideration. While it certainly does not yield itself to exuberant fancies, it still follows a mode of exegesis, in which the chief purpose is to put forth new and striking explanations, and then to support them with all kinds of ingenious arguments.

Nevertheless I feel myself bound to express my thanks to it, because it has incited me to examine the thought of the holy text all the more carefully and thoroughly.

The disfavour with which the Pastoral Epistles used often to be regarded has gradually disappeared, and rightly; for the more deeply we enter into the spirit of their contents, the more they appear worthy of the apostle whose name they bear. Excellent service in presenting their fulness of thought has been done by Stirm, a deacon in Reutlingen, in his treatise published in the Jahrbuch für deutsche Theologie (vol. xviii. No. 1, 1872), and called “Hints for Pastoral Theology contained in the Pastoral Epistles.” The more they who are entrusted with the clerical office make use of the contents of these epistles as their guiding star, the richer in blessing will their labours be.

To that same end may the Lord of the Church bless this my new work!


WITTENFÖRDEN, November 1875.





He was the son of a Christian Jewess (γυναικὸς Ἰουδαίας πιστῆς, Acts 16:1) named Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5), and of a Greek. We cannot determine for certain his place of birth. The passage in Acts 20:4 does not prove that he was born in Derbe, since the position of καί forbids the connection of Τιμόθεος with Δερβαῖος.[1] From Acts 16:1, we might possibly take Lystra to be his birthplace. If this be right, we may from it explain why in Acts 20:4, ΤΙΜΌΘΕΟς, without more precise description, is named along with Caius of Derbe, since Lystra lies in the neighbourhood of Derbe.[2] From his mother and his grandmother, called Lois, he had enjoyed a pious education; and he had early been made acquainted with the holy scriptures of the Jews (2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:14-15). When Paul on his second missionary journey came into closer connection with him, he was already a Christian (μαθητής), and possessed a good reputation among the believers in Lystra and Iconium. Paul calls him his τέκνον (1 Timothy 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2; 1 Corinthians 4:17), from which it would appear that he had been converted by the preaching of the apostle, probably during the apostle’s first stay in Lystra (Acts 14:6-7); and, according to the reading: παρὰ τίνων, in the passage 2 Timothy 3:14, by means of his mother and grandmother. Paul, after circumcising him, because his father was known in the district to be a Gentile,[3] adopted him as his assistant in the apostleship. From that time forward, Timothy was one of those who served the apostle (ΕἿς ΤῶΝ ΔΙΑΚΟΝΟΎΝΤΩΝ ΑὐΤῷ, Acts 19:22), his ΣΥΝΕΡΓΌς. The service (ΔΙΑΚΟΝΊΑ) consisted in helping the apostle in the duties of his office, and was therefore not identical with the office of those called evangelists (this against Wiesinger). See on 2 Timothy 4:5.

Timothy accompanied the apostle through Asia Minor to Philippi; but when Paul and Silas left that city (Acts 16:40), he seems to have remained behind there for some time, along with some other companions of the apostle. At Berea they were again together. When Paul afterwards travelled to Athens, Timothy remained behind (with Silas) at Berea; but Paul sent a message for him to come soon (Acts 17:14-15).[4] From Athens, Paul sent him to Thessalonica, to inquire into the condition of the church there and to strengthen it (1 Thessalonians 3:1-5). After completing this task, Timothy joined Paul again in Corinth (Acts 18:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:6). The two epistles which Paul wrote from that place to the Thessalonians were written in Timothy’s name also (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1).[5] “When Paul on his third missionary journey remained for some considerable time in Ephesus, Timothy was with him; where he was in the interval is unknown. Before the tumult occasioned by Demetrius, Paul sent him from Ephesus to Macedonia (Acts 19:22). Immediately afterwards the apostle wrote what is called the First Epistle to the Corinthians, from which it would appear that Timothy had been commissioned to go to Corinth, but that the apostle expected him to arrive there after the epistle (1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:10-11). Matthies asserts without proof that Timothy did not carry out this journey.

When Paul wrote from Macedonia the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, Timothy was again with him;[6] for Paul composed that epistle also in Timothy’s name, a very natural act if Timothy had shortly before been in Corinth.

He next travelled with the apostle to Corinth; his presence there is proved by the greeting which Paul sent from him to the church in Rome (Romans 16:21).

When Paul after three months left Greece, Timothy, besides others of the apostle’s assistants, was in his company. He travelled with him ἄχρι τῆς Ἀσίας, i.e. as far as Philippi, from which the passage across to Asia Minor was usually made. From there Timothy and some others went before the apostle to Troas, where they remained till the apostle also arrived (Acts 20:3-6). At this point there is a considerable blank in Timothy’s history, since he is not mentioned again until the apostle’s imprisonment in Rome.[7] He was with the apostle at that time, because Paul put his name also to the Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Philippians. This fact is at the same time a proof that no other of his assistants in the apostleship stood in such close relations with him as Timothy.

When Paul wrote the last epistle, he intended to send him as soon as possible to Philippi, in order to obtain by him exact intelligence regarding the circumstances of the churches there (Php 2:19 ff.).

[1] Wieseler (Chronol. des apost. Zeitalters, p. 25) argues that Δερβαῖος should go with Τιμόθεος. He points out that in Acts 19:29, Γάϊος is called a Macedonian along with Aristarchus, and that Acts 20:4 would agree with this if καὶ Γάϊος were joined to θεσσαλονικέων. But in this construction καί before Σεκοῦνδος is superfluous. The Gaius here named is not to be held identical with the one mentioned in Acts 19:29; see Meyer on Acts 20:4.

[2] According to Otto, the ἦν does not denote Timothy’s abode, but only his temporary sojourn occasioned by the presence of Paul—an assertion, which the context flatly contradicts.

[3] From the expression: ὅτι Ἕλλην ὑπῆρχεν (Acts 16:3), Otto wishes to infer that the father was “properly a Hellene, but that not much of a Gentile nature was to be seen in him,” because ὑπάρχειν, in contrast to φαίνεσθαι, is = “to be fundamentally” (!).

[4] There is no tenable ground for Otto’s assertion that Silas remained at Berea, and that Timothy, after completing the apostle’s commission in Thessalonica, joined Silas again at Berea on the return journey, from which place the two travelled together to Corinth.

[5] Otto asserts that in Corinth Timothy made “his first attempts at the κήρυγμα τοῦ λόγου (2 Corinthians 1:19),” which is in manifest contradiction with 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5. Στηρίζειν and παρακαλεῖν περὶ τῆς πίστεως necessarily include the κηρύσσειν τὸν λόγον, and are not to be regarded merely as the fulfilment of a “messenger’s duty, demanding no particular experience nor ability.”

[6] Wieseler assumes that Timothy joined Paul again while still in Ephesus (l.c. pp. 57 f.), but his proofs are not decisive.

[7] In this it is presupposed that the two Epistles to the Colossians and to the Ephesians, and the Epistle to Philemon, were written in Rome, and not, as Meyer assumes, in Cæsarea.

From our two Epistles to Timothy we learn also the following facts regarding the circumstances of his life:—

According to 1 Timothy 1:3, Paul on a journey to Macedonia left him behind in Ephesus, that he might counteract the false doctrine which was spreading there more and more. Perhaps on this occasion—if not even earlier

Timothy was solemnly ordained to his office by the laying on of hands on the part of the apostle and the presbytery. At this ordination the fairest hopes of him were expressed in prophetic language (comp. 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6), and he made a good confession (1 Timothy 6:12).

Paul at that time, however, hoped soon to come to him again.

As to the period of Paul’s apostolic labours into which this falls, see § 3.

Later on, Paul was a prisoner in Rome. When he was expecting his death as near at hand, he wrote to Timothy to come to him soon, before the approach of winter, and to bring him Mark, together with certain belongings left behind in Troas (2 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:21).

Regarding this imprisonment of Paul, see § 3.

Timothy is only once mentioned elsewhere in the N. T., and that is in Hebrews 13:23. It is very improbable that the Timothy there mentioned is another person; and from the passage we learn that when the epistle was written, he was again freed from an imprisonment, and that its author, as soon as he came, wished, along with him, to visit those to whom the epistle was directed.

According to the tradition of the church, Timothy was the first bishop of Ephesus. Chrysostom, indeed, merely says: δῆλον, ὅτι ἐκκλησίαν λοιπὸν ἦν πεπιστεύμενος ὁ Τιμόθεος, ἢ καὶ ἔθνος ὁλόκληρον τὸ τῆς Ἀσίας (Homil. 15, on 1 Tim.); but Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. iii. 4), says directly: Τιμόθεος τῆς ἐν Ἐφέσῳ παροικίας ἱστορεῖται πρῶτος τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν εἰληφέναι. Comp. also Const. Apost. i. 7, ch. 46; Photii Bibl. 254.

From the First Epistle only this much is clear, that the apostle gave to him a right of superintending the church at Ephesus, similar to that which the apostles exercised over the churches. It was a position from which afterwards the specially episcopal office might spring, but it cannot be considered as identical with the latter.

2. Titus.

Regarding the circumstances of his life, we possess still less information than regarding those of Timothy. He was also one of Paul’s assistants, and is first mentioned as such in Galatians 2:1, where Paul tells us that he took Titus with him to Jerusalem on the journey undertaken fourteen years after his conversion or after his first stay in Jerusalem. Though Titus was of Gentile origin, Paul did not circumcise him, that there might be no yielding to his opponents.

When Paul wrote the First Epistle to the Corinthians, he sent Titus to Corinth, that a report might be brought to him of the state of matters there. Paul was disappointed in his hope of finding him again at Troas (2 Corinthians 2:13), but afterwards joined him in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 7:6). The news brought by Titus led him to compose the Second Epistle. With this he sent Titus a second time to Corinth, where he was at the same time to complete the collection for the poor of the church in Jerusalem, which he had already on a previous occasion begun (2 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 8:16; 2 Corinthians 8:23).

When Paul, from his imprisonment in Rome, wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy, Titus was not with him, but had gone to Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10). On this point we do not possess more exact information.

From the Epistle to Titus itself, we learn that he had assisted the apostle in his missionary labours in Crete, and had been left behind there in order to make the further arrangements necessary for forming a church (Titus 1:5). By the epistle he is summoned to come to Nicopolis, where Paul wished to spend the winter (Titus 3:12).

Paul calls him his γνήσιον τέκνον κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν, from which it appears that he had been converted to Christianity by Paul.

According to the tradition of the church, Titus was installed by Paul as the first bishop of Crete. Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. iii. 4): Τιμόθεός γε μὴν τῆς ἐν Ἐφέσῳ παροικίας ἱστορεῖται πρῶτος τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν εἰληχέναι· ὡς καὶ Τίτος τῶν ἐπὶ Κρήτης ἐκκλησιῶν; comp. Jerome, Catal. Script. Eccles.; Theodoret on 1 Timothy 3; Theophylact, Proem. ad Tit.; Const. Apost. vii. 46. He is said to have died and been buried in Crete in his ninety-fourth year.


First Epistle to Timothy.

The epistle begins with a reminder that the apostle had left Timothy behind in Ephesus in order to counteract the heresies of certain teachers. These heresies are described in detail, and the evangelic principle of life is placed in opposition to them (1 Timothy 1:3-10) by directing attention to the gospel as it had been entrusted to the apostle. This furnishes an opportunity for expressing his thanks for the grace shown to him in it (11–17), to which is added an exhortation to Timothy to act rightly in regard to it (18–20). Then follow particular directions, first as to public intercessions and the behaviour of the men and women in the meetings of the church (1 Timothy 2:1-15), and then as to the qualities necessary in a bishop and a deacon (1 Timothy 3:1-13). After briefly pointing out the essential truth of the gospel (14–16), the apostle goes on to speak further regarding the heretics, and confutes their arbitrary rules (1 Timothy 4:1-6). After this we have further exhortations to Timothy,—first as to his behaviour towards the heresy (7–11), then as to his official labours (12–16), and lastly in reference to his attitude towards the individual members of the church. Under this last head are given more detailed instructions about widows and presbyters (1 Timothy 5:1-25), to which are added some special remarks regarding slaves (1 Timothy 6:1-2).

After another attack on the heretics (3–10), there follow again exhortations to Timothy to be true to his calling, which are interrupted by an allusion to the rich (11–21).

Second Epistle to Timothy.

The epistle begins with the apostle’s assurance to Timothy that, full of desire to see him again, he remembered him always in prayer, and was convinced of his unfeigned faith (1 Timothy 1:3-5). This is followed by an exhortation to stir up the gift of the Spirit imparted to him, and not be ashamed of the gospel, but to be ready to suffer for it (6–8); his attention also is directed to the grace of God revealed in the gospel, and to the apostle’s example (9–12). Then follow further exhortations to Timothy to hold fast the doctrine he had received, and to preserve the good thing entrusted to him, the apostle also reminding him of the conduct of the Asiatics who had turned away from him, and of the fidelity of Onesiphorus (13–18).

The doctrine received from the apostle he is to deliver to other tried men, but he himself is to suffer as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and to remember the Risen One; just as he, the apostle, suffers for Christ’s sake, that the elect may become partakers of blessedness (1 Timothy 2:1-13). Then follow warnings against the heresy, which may exercise on many a corrupting influence, but cannot destroy the building founded by God (14–19). Instructions are also given how Timothy is to conduct himself towards this heresy, and towards those who give themselves up to it (20–26). With prophetic spirit the apostle points next to the moral ruin which threatens to appear in the future in the most varied forms. He pictures the conduct of the heretics, and exhorts Timothy on the contrary—in faithful imitation of his exemplar as before—to hold fast by that which he knows to be the truth (1 Timothy 3:1-16). In reference to the threatening general apostasy from the pure doctrine of the gospel, the apostle exhorts Timothy to perform faithfully the evangelic duties of his office, especially as he himself was already at the end of his apostolic career (1 Timothy 4:1-8). Then follow various special commissions, items of news, greetings, the repeated summons to come to him soon before the approach of winter, and finally the Christian benediction with which the epistle closes.

The Epistle to Titus.

After a somewhat elaborate preface, Paul reminds Titus that he had left him behind in Crete for the purpose of ordaining presbyters in the churches there. The qualities are named which the presbyter ought to possess, and Paul points out the upholding of the pure gospel as the most important requisite of all, that the presbyter may be able to withstand the continually growing influence of the heretics. The mention of the heretics in Crete gives the apostle an opportunity of quoting a saying of Epimenides, which describes the character of the Cretans, while at the same time he sketches the heretics, with their arbitrary commands and their hypocritical life, and vindicates against them the principle of life in the gospel (Titus 1:5-16). Then follow rules of conduct for the various members of the church, for old and young, men and women, together with an exhortation to Titus to show a good example in work and doctrine, and especially to call upon the slaves to be faithful to their masters. These exhortations are supported by pointing to the moral character of God’s grace (Titus 2:1-15).

Then follows the injunction that Titus is to urge the Christians to obedience towards the higher powers, and to a peaceful behaviour towards all men. The latter point is enforced by pointing to the undeserved grace of God which has been bestowed on Christians (Titus 3:1-7). To this are added warnings against heresy, and directions how Titus is to deal with a heretic (Titus 3:8-11). The epistle closes with an injunction to come to the apostle at Nicopolis, some commissions, greetings, and the benediction.

The First Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus are letters on business, both occasioned by the apostle’s desire to impart to his colleagues definite instructions for their work in Ephesus and in Crete respectively. The Epistle to Titus has at the same time the purpose of enjoining him, after the arrival of Artemas or Tychicus, to come to Paul at Nicopolis.

The Second Epistle to Timothy is a letter “purely personal” (Wiesinger), occasioned by the wish of the apostle to see him as soon as possible in Rome. It was written, too, for the purpose of encouraging him to faithfulness in his calling as a Christian, and particularly in his official labours. The apostle felt all the greater need for writing, that he perceived in his colleague a certain shrinking from suffering.

The instructions in the First Epistle to Timothy refer to the meetings of the church, to prayer and the behaviour of the women in the meetings, to the qualifications of bishops and deacons, to widows, to the relation of slaves to their masters, but at the same time also to Timothy’s conduct in general as well as in special cases.

In the Epistle to Titus the apostle instructs him regarding the ordination of bishops, the conduct of individual members of the church, both in particular according to their age, sex, and position, and also in their general relation to the higher powers and to non-Christians. In all three epistles, besides the more general exhortations to faithfulness in word and act, there is a conspicuous reference to heretics who threaten to disturb the church. The apostle exhorts his fellow-workers not only to hold themselves free from the influence of such men, but also to counteract the heresy by preaching the pure doctrine of the gospel, and to warn the church against the temptations of such heresy. He imparts also rules for proper conduct towards the heretics.

The three epistles are closely related in contents, and also in the expression and the form in which the thoughts are developed. They have thus received a definite impress, which distinguishes them from the apostle’s other epistles. All Paul’s epistles contain expressions peculiar to him alone, and this is certainly the case with every one of these three. But there is also in them a not inconsiderable number of expressions peculiar to them all, or even to two of them, and often repeated in them, but occurring only seldom or not at all in the other epistles of the N. T. The nature of the Christian life is denoted specially by εὐσέβεια, 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:16, etc.; 2 Timothy 3:5; Titus 1:1 (εὐσεβέω, 1 Timothy 5:4; εὐσεβῶς, 2 Timothy 3:12; Titus 2:12). The following virtues are specially extolled as Christian:

σεμνότης, 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 2:7 (σεμνός, 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 3:11; Titus 2:2); σωφροσύνη, 1 Timothy 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:15 (σώφρων, 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; Titus 2:2; Titus 2:5; σωφρόνως, Titus 2:12; σωφρονέω, Titus 2:6; σωφρονίζειν, Titus 2:4; σωφρονισμός, 2 Timothy 1:7). The same or very similar words, which occur seldom or nowhere else, are used to denote the doctrine of the gospel; e.g. the word διδασκαλία, especially in connection with ὑγιαινοῦσα, 1 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1. The use of ὑγιαίνω and ὑγιής in general is peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles: λόγοι ὑγιαίνοντες, 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; λόγος ὑγιής, Titus 2:8. We may also note: ἡ κατʼ εὐσέβειαν διδασκαλία, 1 Timothy 6:3, and ἡ ἀλήθεια ἡ κατʼ εὐσέβειαν, Titus 1:1; ἡ καλὴ διδασκαλία, 1 Timothy 4:6 (καλός is also a word which occurs very often in all three epistles). Even in describing the heresy there is a great agreement in all three. Its substance is denoted in a more general way by μῦθοι, 1 Timothy 1:4; 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14; more specially by γενεαλογίαι, 1 Timothy 1:4; Titus 3:9. Frequently it is reproached with occasioning foolish investigations (μωραί ζητήσεις), as in 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9. In 1 Timothy 1:6 it is on this account called ματαιολογία, and in accordance with this the heretics are called in Titus 1:10 ματαιολόγοι. In 1 Timothy 6:4 the blame of λογομαχίαι is given to it, and in 2 Timothy 2:14 there is a warning against λογομαχεῖν. The same reproach is contained in αἱ βέβηλοι κενοφωνίαι, which is found in 1 Timothy 6:20, and 2 Timothy 2:16.

But also in other respects there is a striking agreement in these epistles. Among the points of agreement are the formula, πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8; the word ἀρνέομαι, 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Timothy 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:5; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:12; the formula of assurance, διαμαρτύρεσθαι ἐνώπιον (τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Ἰ. Χρ.), 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; the figurative expression, ἡ παγὶς τοῦ διαβόλου, 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26; the phrase, φυλάσσειν τὴν παραθήκην, 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:14; further, the words, κατʼ ἐπιταγήν, 1 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:3; ὑπομιμνήσκειν, 2 Timothy 2:14; Titus 3:1; διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν, 2 Timothy 1:6; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 1:13; ἡ ἐπιφάνεια (τοῦ κυρίου), used of the future return of Christ, 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13; δεσπότης (instead of κύριος, Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22), 1 Timothy 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:21; Titus 2:9; παραιτεῖσθαι, 1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 5:11; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:10; διαβεβαιοῦσθαι περί τινος, 1 Timothy 1:7; Titus 3:8, etc.

Wherever in the three epistles the same subject is spoken of, substantially the same expressions and turns of expression are used, though with some modifications. Thus the benedictions in the inscription agree: χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη (Titus 1:4 should, however, perhaps have the reading: χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη). In reference to the redemption by Christ we have in 1 Timothy 2:6 : ὁ δοὺς ἑαυτὸν ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων; and Titus 2:14 : ὃς ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν, ἵνα λυτρώσηται ἡμᾶς; in reference to his office Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:7 : εἰς ὃ (τὸ μαρτύριον) ἐτέθην ἐγὼ κήρυξ καὶ ἀπόστολοςδιδάσκαλος ἐθνῶν; and so also in 2 Timothy 1:11. The necessary qualities of the bishop are mentioned in the same way in 1 Timothy 3:2 ff. and Titus 1:6 : μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ, σώφρων, φιλόξενος, μὴ πάροινος, μὴ πλήκτης. The general exhortations to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11 and 2 Timothy 2:22 agree with each other almost to the very letter.

In the other Pauline epistles the fulness of the apostle’s thought struggles with the expression, and causes peculiar difficulties in exposition. The thoughts slide into one another, and are so intertwined in many forms that not seldom the new thought begins before a correct expression has been given to the thought that preceded. Of this confusion there is no example in the Pastoral Epistles. Even in such passages as come nearest to this confused style, such as the beginning of the First and Second Epistles to Timothy (Titus 2:11 ff; Titus 3:4 ff.), the connection of ideas is still, on the whole, simple. It is peculiar that, as De Wette has shown, the transition from the special to a general truth is often made suddenly—thus 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; 1 Timothy 4:8-10; 2 Timothy 1:9 ff; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; 2 Timothy 3:12; Titus 2:11-14; Titus 3:4-7; and that after such general thoughts a resting-point is often sought in an exhortation or instruction addressed to the receivers of the epistle, as in 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 3:5; Titus 2:15; Titus 3:8.


1. First Epistle to Timothy.

Regarding the time of the composition of this epistle, different views from an early period have been put forward, since the indications contained in the epistle itself leave a difficulty in assigning to it its proper place in the events of the apostle’s life. According to these indications, Paul had been for some time with Timothy in Ephesus, and had travelled from there to Macedonia, leaving Timothy behind in Ephesus to take his place. Probably the epistle was written by Paul from Macedonia, to remind Timothy of his charge, and to give him suitable instructions; for, although Paul hoped to return to Ephesus soon, still a delay was regarded as possible (chap. 1 Timothy 3:14-15).

According to Acts, Paul was twice in Ephesus. The first occasion was on his second missionary journey from Antioch, when he was returning from Corinth to Antioch (Acts 18:19). On this first occasion he stayed there only a short time, as he wished to be in Jerusalem in time for the near-approaching festival. The composition cannot be assigned to that occasion, since there was at that time no Christian church in Ephesus, and Paul was not travelling to Macedonia.

On his third missionary journey Paul was in Ephesus a second time. This time he stayed for two or three years, and then, after the riot caused by Demetrius, travelled to Macedonia and Greece (Acts 20:1-2). Theodoret, and after him many other expositors, assume that Paul wrote the epistle on this journey to Macedonia, or in Macedonia. But to this the following circumstances are opposed:—(1) According to Acts 19:22, Paul, before his own departure from Ephesus, had already sent Timothy to Macedonia; we are not told that Timothy, after being commissioned to go to Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17), returned to Ephesus again before the apostle’s departure, as the apostle certainly had expected (according to 1 Corinthians 16:11). (2) When Paul undertook that journey, he did not intend to return soon to Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:6-7), which decidedly was his intention at the time of the composition of the epistle (1 Timothy 3:14); and on his return journey from Greece he sailed from Troas past Ephesus for the express purpose of avoiding any stay there (Acts 20:16). (3) According to 2 Corinthians 1:1, Timothy was in Macedonia with Paul when he wrote the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and, according to Acts 20:4, he accompanied the apostle on his journey from Corinth to Philippi. Timothy therefore must also have left Ephesus after the apostle’s departure, although the apostle had charged him to remain there till his own return (1 Timothy 4:13), and this we can hardly suppose to have been the case. All these reasons prove that the apostle’s journey from Ephesus to Macedonia, mentioned in Acts 20:1, cannot be the same with that of which he speaks in 1 Timothy 1:3.

Some expositors (Bertholdt, Matthies), alluding to Acts 20:3-5, suppose that Timothy set out from Corinth before the apostle, and then went to Ephesus, where he received the epistle. The supposition is, however, contradicted by πορευόμενος εἰς Μακεδονίαν. This objection Bertholdt can get rid of only by the most arbitrary combinations, Matthies only by most unwarrantably explaining πορευόμενος to be equivalent to πορευόμενον. Besides, Luke’s historical narrative is against the whole hypothesis, unless, as Bertholdt actually does, we charge it with an inaccuracy which distorts the facts of the case.

If the composition of the epistle is to be inserted among the incidents in the apostle’s life known to us, the only hypothesis left is, that the apostle’s journey from Ephesus to Macedonia, which is mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:3, and during which Timothy was left behind by him in Ephesus, falls into the period of his sojourn for two or three years in Ephesus, but is not mentioned by Luke. This is the supposition of Wieseler (Chronologie des apostol. Zeitalters), who follows Mosheim and Schrader. It is not only admitted, on the whole, that the apostle may possibly have made a journey which Luke leaves unnoticed, but there are also several passages in the Epistles to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:17; 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 12:21; 2 Corinthians 13:1-2) which put it beyond doubt that Paul had been in Corinth not once but twice before their composition, but that the second time he had stayed there only a short time. For this journey, of which Luke tells us nothing, we can find no place in the apostle’s history, unless during his stay at Ephesus; see Wieseler, l.c. pp. 232 ff. It is natural, therefore, to identify this journey with the one to Macedonia mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:3, and to suppose that the epistle was written on this journey from Macedonia. There are still, however, several considerations against this view. One is that both the church organization presupposed in the epistle, and the requirement that the ἐπίσκοπος should not be νεόφυτος, indicate that the church had already been some time in existence. To this Wieseler, indeed, replies that the journey was undertaken shortly before the end of the apostle’s stay in Corinth, so that the church had then been long enough in existence to justify the presupposition and the requirement. But still there is against this hypothesis the consideration that it supposes the apostle to have been in Corinth himself, shortly before the composition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, so that he could not therefore have any sufficient occasion for writing to the church there. Besides, the passage in Acts 20:29-30 is against Wieseler’s view. According to the epistle, the heresy had already made its way into the church at Ephesus, but, according to that passage, Paul mentions the heresy as something to be expected in the future. Supposing even that the words ἐξ ὑμῶν αὐτῶν do not refer to the church, but only to the presbyters assembled at Miletus, still εἰς ὑμᾶς in Acts 20:29 must be taken to refer generally to the Christians in Ephesus. Surely Paul, in his address to the presbyters, would not have passed over the presence of heretics in Ephesus, if he knew the church to be so much threatened by the danger that he thought it necessary, even before this, to give Timothy solemn instructions regarding it, as he does in his epistle.

Further, the view implies that Paul had only for a short time been separated from Timothy, and that he must have sent him away immediately after his own return. But how does the whole character of the epistle agree with this? The instructions which Paul gives to Timothy indicate that the latter was to labour in the church for some time; and the greater the danger threatened it by the heresy, the more inconsistent it seems that Paul, after giving these instructions, should have taken Timothy away so soon from his labours in the church.

The views mentioned hitherto proceed from a presupposed interpretation of 1 Timothy 1:3, viz. that Paul commissioned Timothy to remain in Ephesus, and that the commission was given when Paul departed from Ephesus to Macedonia. This presupposition, however, has been declared erroneous by several expositors, who refer πορευόμενος εἰς Μακεδονίαν not to the apostle, but to Timothy. Paulus explains προσμεῖναι as = “abide by a thing,” joins πορευόμενος εἰς Μακεδ. to ἵνα παραγγείλῃς, and takes the latter imperatively, so that the sense is: “As I have exhorted thee to abide in Ephesus, and warn them against false doctrine, so do thou travel now to Macedonia, and exhort certain people there to abstain from false doctrine.” The opinion of Paulus is therefore that Paul wrote the epistle during his imprisonment at Cæsarea.

Schneckenburger and Böttger try to help the matter by conjecture, wishing both to read, instead of προσμεῖναι, the participle προσμείνας. The former then assumes that the epistle was composed at the time denoted in Acts 21:26; the latter, that it was written in Patara (Acts 21:1), or in Miletus (Acts 20:17). These obviously are arbitrary suppositions. If the journey to Macedonia, mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:3, is not to be understood as one made by the apostle, but as made by Timothy, then it is much more natural to suppose with Otto that this is the journey of Timothy which is mentioned in Acts 19:22, and that Paul wrote the epistle in Ephesus. This is the view which Otto has sought to establish in the first book of his work of research, Die geschichtlichen Verhältnisse der Pastoralbriefe. But this, too, is wrecked on the right explanation of 1 Timothy 1:3, which refers πορευόμενος εἰς Μακ. to the subject contained in παρεκάλεσα; see on this point the exposition of the passage.

The Epistle to Titus.

The following are the historical circumstances to which this epistle itself points. After Paul had laboured in Crete, he left Titus behind there. Then he wrote to the latter this epistle, instructing him, so soon as Artemas and Tychicus had been sent to him, to come with all haste to Nicopolis, where the apostle had resolved to pass the winter.

The epistle, indeed, contains nothing definite regarding the first beginning of Christianity in Crete, nothing regarding the duration and extent of the apostle’s labours there, nothing regarding the length of time which intervened between the apostle’s departure from Crete and the composition of the epistle; but it is probable that when Paul came to Crete he found Christianity already existing there, and that he himself remained there only a short time; for on the one hand there were already Christian churches there in the chief places, at least in several towns of the island, at the time of composing the epistle, while on the other hand they were still unorganized. It is probable that the epistle was written by Paul not long after his departure, for it is not to be supposed that Paul would leave his substitute in the apostleship long without written instructions. It is probable also that Paul gave Titus these instructions some time before the beginning of winter, for it would have been meaningless to give instructions, unless Paul intended Titus to labour in Crete for some considerable time.

If we set out with the presupposition that the composition of the epistle is to be placed in that period of the Apostle Paul’s life which is described in Acts, we may thus state more definitely the question regarding the apostle’s stay in Crete, and the composition of the epistle. Did both take place before, or after, or during the two or three years’ stay in Ephesus (Acts 19)? Each of these suppositions has its supporters among expositors and critics. Those who place the two events in the period before the stay at Ephesus, assume as a fixed date either the time during which Paul was first in Corinth (Acts 18:1-18) (Michaelis), or the time during which he was travelling from Corinth to Ephesus (Acts 18:18-19) (Hug, Hemsen), or, lastly, the time after he had passed through Galatia and Phrygia in the beginning of his third missionary journey, and before he went from there to Ephesus (Acts 18:23) (Credner, Neudecker). To all these views alike, however, there is this objection, that Apollos could not be the apostle’s assistant before the (second) arrival in Corinth (Acts 18:24 to Acts 19:1), whereas he is so named in this epistle. We would then have to suppose that another Apollos was meant here—which would be altogether arbitrary. There are, besides, special objections to these three views. Against the first, according to which Paul had made the journey from Corinth to Crete, and from there to Nicopolis in Epirus (1 Timothy 3:12), and had then returned to Corinth, it may be urged that the apostle’s second stay in Corinth, alluded to in 1 Corinthians 16:7, 2 Corinthians 2:1, etc., did not take place then, but later. Against the second, we might object not only that the journey from Corinth to Jerusalem was undertaken with some haste, so as to leave no room for labours in Crete, but also that it takes Nicopolis to be the town in Cilicia, without giving any reason why Paul should pass the winter there and not in Antioch. As to the third view, which is, that Paul for this third missionary journey had chosen Ephesus mainly as his goal (Acts 18:21), and that his labours, therefore, on the journey thither consisted only in confirming those who already believed (Acts 18:23 : ἐπιστηρίζων πάντας τοὺς μαθητάς), how are we to reconcile with it the facts that Paul, instead of going at once to Ephesus from Phrygia, went to Crete and Corinth, that he there resolved to pass the winter in Nicopolis (by which Credner in his Einl. in d. N. T. understands the town in Cilicia), and that then only did he go to Ephesus?

There is still less justification for the opinion of some expositors, that Paul travelled to Crete at the date defined by Acts 15:41, and wrote the epistle later during his two or three years’ stay in Ephesus. The former part of this is contradicted by the route (comp. Acts 15:41 and Acts 16:1) furnished by the apostle himself; the latter, by the circumstance that almost the whole of the apostle’s second, and a part of his third, missionary journey lay between the beginning of Titus’ independent labours in Crete and the despatch of the epistle to him.

The second supposition is, that both events are to be placed in the time after the apostle’s stay at Ephesus, i.e. in the period mentioned in Acts 20:1-3. Its representatives, as before, differ as to the details. Some suppose that Paul, on the journey from Ephesus to Greece, went from Macedonia (Acts 20:1-2) to Crete; others, that he undertook this journey during his three months’ stay in Greece (Acts 20:3). According to the former opinion, we should have to suppose that Titus, after completing his second mission to Corinth, returned again to the apostle in Macedonia; that Paul then made the journey with him to Crete, and from there returned to Macedonia alone; that he then wrote the epistle from Macedonia, and afterwards went to Corinth. In this way, therefore, Paul after composing the Second Epistle to the Corinthians would have twice journeyed past Greece, whereas it must have been of great importance to him, after the last news he had received from Corinth, not to put off his journey thither.

The latter opinion, supported particularly by Matthies, refutes itself, in so far as the three months which Paul spent in Hellas were winter months, in which travelling to and fro to Crete was hardly possible. Besides, it was when Paul returned from Crete that he formed his plan of passing the winter at Nicopolis. He then informed Titus of it, with the remark that he was to come to him in that place, after he had first waited for the arrival of Artemas or Tychicus. Wiesinger is right in saying: “Unless we exercise ingenuity, we must take the κέκρικα παραχειμάσαι (chap. 1 Timothy 3:12) to have been written before the approach of winter.”

The third supposition is, that Paul undertook the journey to Crete from Ephesus before his departure to Macedonia, and also wrote the Epistle to Titus from there. Wieseler defends it with great acuteness. It puts the case in this way. After Paul had stayed over two years in Ephesus, he made by way of Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3) a journey (the second, not mentioned in Acts) to Corinth. On this journey, which was but short, he was accompanied by Titus, who also went with him to Crete. On departing from Crete, he left Titus behind there, returned to Ephesus, and from Ephesus wrote the Epistle to Titus. Then he sent Timothy to Macedonia, instructing him to go to Corinth, and wrote afterwards our First Epistle to the Corinthians. He next sent Tychicus and Artemas to Crete, and bade Titus return to him. Titus was sent afterwards to Corinth. Paul went on the journey to Macedonia, hoping to meet Titus at Troas. They did not meet, however, at Troas, but in Macedonia, when Titus was a second time sent away to Corinth. After the apostle had written our Second Epistle to the Corinthians, he went through Macedonia to Nicopolis in Epirus, where he spent the first months of winter, going afterwards to Corinth.

However well all this seems to go together, there are still the following reasons against the hypothesis:—(1) If Paul made the second journey to Corinth at the time here mentioned, he can have employed only a short time in it. How, then, can we conceive that he used this short time for missionary labours in Crete? (2) Paul wrote to Titus that he was to remain in Crete till Tychicus and Artemas were sent to him, and that then he was to come to Nicopolis. This hypothesis would make out that he had changed his mind, for according to it he bade Titus come to him at Ephesus. Besides, we cannot think that, just after he had assigned to Titus an important task in Crete, he should take him so quickly away from it again. (3) It is improbable also that Paul should have chosen for his winter residence a town in which he had not been before, and where, therefore, he could not know how he would be received. His resolution seems rather to presuppose that he had laboured before in Nicopolis.[8] (4) In 1 Corinthians 16:6 Paul writes to the Corinthians: ΠΡῸς ὙΜᾶς ΔῈ ΤΥΧῸΝ ΠΑΡΑΜΕΝῶ, Ἢ ΚΑῚ ΠΑΡΑΧΕΙΜΆΣΩ. According to Wieseler, this ΠΡῸς ὙΜᾶς is not to be referred to the Corinthians alone, but generally to the Christians in Achaia, to whom (according to 1 Timothy 1:2) the epistle is addressed. As Nicopolis in Epirus, on the authority of Tacitus,[9] was counted as belonging to Achaia, Wieseler is of opinion that by spending the winter in Nicopolis the apostle kept the promise given in that passage. But although the epistle was not directed merely to the church in Corinth, it has a special reference to that church, so that its readers could surely understand the words only of an intended stay in Corinth, and not in a place so far distant from Corinth. Paul could not possibly be thinking then of Nicopolis, as is obvious from the fact that at that time, as Wieseler himself maintains, he had not been there; he did not preach the gospel in Nicopolis till later. Paul, however, in the epistle regarded his readers as Christians only, not as those who were afterwards to be converted to Christianity. Lastly, although Augustus extended the name of Achaia to Epirus, it does not follow that in common life Nicopolis was considered to be in Achaia. It should be added, too, that Paul, in Wieseler’s representation, had not at all fulfilled the promise given in Titus 3:13, for he supposes that the apostle remained in Nicopolis only two months of winter, and therefore went to Corinth in the middle of winter.

There may be, too, some accessory circumstances which are favourable to Wieseler’s view, and give it an air of probability; such circumstances as the following:—that Apollos was along with Paul in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:12; Titus 3:13); that Tychicus as an Asiatic (Acts 20:4) probably became acquainted with Paul in Ephesus, and that the mention of him in Titus 3:13 agrees with the composition of the epistle in Ephesus; that by the two brothers who accompanied Titus to Corinth we may understand Tychicus and Trophimus—make the theory probable, but cannot completely establish its correctness. Like Wieseler, Reuss (Gesch. d. heil. Schriften d. N. T., 2d ed. 1853, § 87, pp. 73 f.) connects the apostle’s journey to Crete with his second (see Meyer on 2 Cor., Introd. § 2, Rem.) journey to Corinth during the three years’ stay at Ephesus; but he differs from Wieseler in supposing that Paul journeyed first to Crete and then to Corinth, that from the latter place he wrote the epistle, that he then went farther to the north to Illyricum, where trace of him is lost, and returned to Ephesus towards the end of winter. To all this we must say that not only is it inconceivable that Paul should have interrupted his three years’ stay by various missionary journeys, occupying so much time, and to districts so remote, but also that Acts 20:31 contradicts such a theory. Otto, too, refutes the theory of the apostle’s journey to Crete, and the composition of the epistle during the three years’ stay at Ephesus. In his opinion, Paul made from Ephesus an excursion to Crete,—not mentioned in Acts by Luke,—and on that occasion visited Corinth ἐν παρόδῳ (1 Corinthians 16:7; 2 Corinthians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 12:14; 2 Corinthians 12:21; 2 Corinthians 13:1-2). Then in Ephesus, after he had written the lost epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9), he addressed a letter to Titus whom he had left in Crete.

The passages quoted put it beyond doubt that Paul from Ephesus made a visit to Corinth ἐν παρόδῳ before composing what is called his First Epistle to the Corinthians. Not only, however, is there no indication that Crete was at that time the goal of his journey, but it is also improbable. The theory makes the journey in any case a short one, and Paul could not well choose for its goal a country in which he could not beforehand determine the length of his stay, as he had not been there before. Otto recognises fully the objections arising from the contents of the epistle, which are against placing the date of composition in the three years’ stay; but he thinks to overcome them by supposing that the dates in it rest on a plan of the journey, afterwards altered by the apostle. It is certainly clear from 2 Corinthians 1:15-16; 2 Corinthians 1:23, that Paul, on account of circumstances in Corinth, did indeed alter the plan of the journey he had previously formed; but that he ever intended to go to Nicopolis in order to spend the winter there, is a fiction contradicted by what he says himself in the passages quoted. According to these, his original plan was to come from Ephesus direct to Corinth, to pass from there to Macedonia, and to return from Macedonia to Corinth again in order to set out for Judea. There is no trace in the apostle’s plans of a journey to Epirus and a winter residence in Nicopolis. The latter he could not even think of, for the reason quoted above.

[8] Otto objects to this, that Paul might very well spend a winter in a town in which he had not before preached; but that is not the point. The point is that Paul should have formed a resolution to remain for the winter in a town, even before he knew whether his preaching would be received there or not.

[9] Tacitus, Ann. ii.53: “Sed eum honorem Germanicus iniit apud urbem Achajae Nicopolim.” Pliny also, Nat. Hist. iv. 2, assigns Nicopolis to Acarnania, while Strabo, xvii. p. 840, describes, according to the arrangement of the Emperor Augustus, the province in these words: Ἑβδόμην δʼ Ἀχαίαν μέχρι Θετταλΐας καὶ Αἰτωλῶν καὶ Ἀκαρνάνων καί τινων ʼΗπειρωτίκων ἐθνῶν, ὅσα τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ προσώριστο.” (Wieseler, l.c. p. 353.) In opposition to Wieseler’s assertion, Otto (pp. 362–366) seeks to prove that Nicopolis itself was not counted in Achaia, but only the suburb of the town situated on the Acarnanian side.

2. Second Epistle to Timothy.

The historical circumstances alluded to in the epistle prove that it was written by the apostle in imprisonment in Rome; comp. 1 Timothy 1:8; 1 Timothy 1:12; 1 Timothy 1:16-17, etc.

This imprisonment has been held to be the same as that mentioned by Luke in the Acts, and a different date has therefore been assigned to the composition of the epistle. Wieseler, following Hemsen, Kling, and others, supposes that the epistle belongs to the time following the διετία, mentioned in Acts 28:30, and was therefore composed after the Epistle to the Philippians. He rests his supposition on two grounds—(1) That while in his Epistle to the Philippians the apostle was still able to cherish the hope of being soon set free, in this epistle he expresses definite anticipations of death. (2) That in Php 2:19-24 the apostle expresses his intention of sending Timothy to Philippi, and that at the time of composing this epistle Timothy was actually in those regions, viz. at Ephesus. Against this second ground. Otto rightly maintains that “Timothy would not have served the apostle as a child his father,” if after being expected to bring (Php 2:19) comfort to the imprisoned apostle by the news from Philippi, he did not return at once to Rome, but proceeded instead to Ephesus, and there remained till the apostle “by a solemn apostolic message compelled him to return.” Besides, Otto insists that, as Wieseler’s interpretation of 2 Timothy 4:16 is that “the apostle is telling Timothy of his first ἀπολογία,” the latter according to this was sent away before the first judicial hearing, i.e. before he could know how the case would end; whereas according to Php 2:23-24, “he makes the despatch of Timothy depend on his expectation of a favourable conclusion of the trial.”

On these grounds Otto rejects Wieseler’s hypothesis, but at the same time he himself—agreeing with Schrader, Matthies, and others—supposes that the epistle was written in the beginning of the διετία mentioned, and therefore before the composition of the Epistle to the Philippians. But, as Wieseler and Wiesinger rightly observe, “the whole position of the apostle as represented in the epistle” is against this view. According to the apostle’s utterances in the Epistle to the Philippians, he was uncertain about the fate hanging over him, but circumstances had so shaped themselves that the expectation of being freed from imprisonment decidedly prevailed with him, and hence he wrote: πέποιθα ἐν κυρίῳ, ὅτιταχέως ἐλεύσομαι. In this epistle there is no trace of any such expectation. The apostle rather sees his end close approaching, chap. 1 Timothy 4:6-8; and although in the first ἀπολογία he had been rescued, as he says, ἐκ στόματος λέοντος, and now expresses the hope that the Lord would rescue him ἀπὸ παντὸς ἔργου πονηροῦ, he is thinking not of a release from imprisonment, but of a rescue εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ τὴν ἐπουράνιον. Otto indeed maintains that the apostle’s expressions in chap. 1 Timothy 4:6-8 do not refer to the end of his life, but to the end appointed to him of his missionary labours in the apostleship, and that in the Second Epistle to Timothy there is no trace whatever of anticipations or expectations of death; but this assertion is based on an exposition which, however acute, is anything but tenable. See on this the commentary on the passages in question.

Besides, several of the special notices made by the apostle weigh against the composition of the epistle during the imprisonment mentioned by Luke. Of special weight are the remarks regarding Erastus and Trophimus. Of the former Paul says that he remained in Corinth; of the latter, that he was left behind in Miletus sick. This presupposes a journey made by the apostle to Rome by way of Corinth and Miletus. But on the voyage which Paul made from Caesarea to Rome as a prisoner, he did not touch at these places. Hence we cannot but suppose that the reference in both cases is to the apostle’s previous journey to Jerusalem; but against this there is the inconceivability of his still mentioning those circumstances after a lapse of several years. Besides, according to Acts 21:29, Trophimus was with the apostle in Jerusalem. Wieseler can only get over this by the following artificial combination: “The ship in which Paul as a prisoner embarked at Caesarea in order to be brought to Rome, went to Adramyttium in the neighbourhood of Troas. With it Paul went as far as Myra in Lycia. There he embarked in another ship which sailed direct for Italy. Trophimus accompanied the apostle to Myra; there he stayed behind on account of his illness, in order to go on with the ship from Adramyttium as far as Miletus, which was probably his place of residence, and where he wished to stay.” This arrangement, artificial to begin with, is contradicted by the apostle’s expression in chap. Acts 21:20. Besides, all this could not but have been long known to Timothy, who was with Paul in the interval, known all the more if, as Wieseler thinks, the apostle had intended to take Trophimus with him to Rome as a witness against his Jewish accusers. It is an unsatisfactory device to maintain that the emphasis is laid on Τρόφιμον δέ and on ἀσθενοῦντα, and that Paul by this remark wished to remind Timothy only of the feeble health of Trophimus, which might even prevent him from coming to Rome. The sentence has anything but the form of such a reminder.

Otto attacks the point in a different way, by questioning the presence of Trophimus in Jerusalem at the time when the apostle was put in prison. He asserts that ἦσαν προεωρακότες in Acts 21:29 must be referred to the apostle’s presence in Jerusalem four years previously, since according to Acts 20:4 Trophimus accompanied the apostle on his return from his third missionary journey only into Asia and no farther. Against this, however, it is to be noted that the apostle’s companions there named did really go farther, as is plain from Acts 21:12; for by the ἡμεῖς Luke cannot have meant himself alone, but himself and the companions who had accompanied the apostle on his journey to Macedonia. Ἄχρι τῖς Ἀσίας in Acts 20:4 simply means that these companions of the apostle remained with him till he had come to the place where the passage across to Asia was made. There they left him, crossing over to Troas without him; but later on, Paul again came to them here, and then they continued their journey in company. No hint is given by Luke that they remained at Miletus after the apostle’s departure. There is therefore no ground for assuming that Trophimus was not in Jerusalem when the apostle was put in prison. Rather the opposite. It is inconceivable that the Asiatic Jews should after so long a time have used a suspicion formed four years before as a ground of complaint against the apostle. We do not see why they should not have brought it forward when it was formed. Besides, according to Otto’s hypothesis, these same Asiatic Jews must be regarded as having been present in Jerusalem on both occasions.

In regard to the mention of Erastus, Wieseler is of opinion that he too was important to the apostle as a witness, and that the apostle had summoned him to Rome either through Timothy himself or through Onesiphorus, but that he stayed on nevertheless at Corinth, and that this is what Paul now communicates to Timothy. But there is nowhere the slightest trace of such a summons. Further, the order in which Acts 20:20 occurs, by no means makes it probable that it referred to judicial matters. Something was said of these in Acts 20:16-17, and these verses could not but have been connected with Acts 20:20 if the reference in them had been the same; they are, however, separated from it by the greetings in Acts 20:19. On the other hand, they are immediately attached to the apostle’s summons to Timothy to come to him πρὸ χειμῶνος. It is more than probable that Acts 20:20-21 stand in a similar relation to each other as do Acts 20:9-10. In the latter, Timothy knew that Demas, Crescens, and Titus were with Paul in Rome, and so Paul announces that they had left him; in the former, Timothy was in the belief that Erastus and Trophimus had accompanied Paul to Rome, and so Paul now announces that this was not the case. In this way everything stands in a simple, natural connection.

Otto’s explanation, too, is unsatisfactory. According to Acts 19:22, Paul during his stay in Ephesus sent Erastus along with Timothy to Macedonia. Otto now supposes that both were to make this journey by way of Corinth, and there await the apostle. But afterwards Paul changed the plan of his journey; he himself proceeding to Macedonia without touching at Corinth, and sending for Timothy to come thither, while Erastus remained at that time in Corinth, to which fact allusion is now made in Ἔραστος ἔμεινεν ἐν Κορίνθῳ. This, however, is inconceivable. If the case were as Otto thinks, Timothy himself could not but know very well that Erastus, with whom he had made the journey to Corinth, had been left behind in Corinth. And what purpose was the allusion to serve, since the stay of Erastus in Corinth some years before could in no way furnish a reason for his not being with Paul in Rome after the lapse of these years?

Further, if we suppose that the epistle was composed during the apostle’s imprisonment in Rome, which is known to us, the charge given to Timothy in chap. 1 Timothy 4:13 is very strange. According to Otto, Paul left behind the articles here mentioned when he set out from Troas, as is mentioned in Acts 20:13, because they were a hindrance to his journeying on foot, and he intended to return into those parts later. But according to Acts 20:22-25, the apostle at that time cherished no such intention; and if those articles were a hindrance to his journeying on foot, his companions might have taken them on board ship.

Finally, it is worth noting that in the epistle no mention whatever is made of Aristarchus, who had accompanied the apostle to Rome. Otto tries to explain this by saying that Paul had only to mention his actual fellow-labourers in the gospel, and that Aristarchus was not one of these, but simply looked after the apostle’s bodily maintenance. This, however, is one of Otto’s many assertions, which are only too deficient in actual as well as apparent foundation. The result of unbiassed investigation is that the imprisonment of the Apostle Paul in Rome, during which he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy, is not the imprisonment mentioned by Luke, during which he wrote the Epistle to the Philippians, to the Ephesians, and to Philemon.


Otto has attempted, not only to weaken the strength of the arguments against the composition of the epistle during that imprisonment, but also to give some as positive proofs that the epistle could have been written only at that time. One such argument is that, if the epistle is to belong to a second imprisonment of the apostle in Rome, the situation of the apostle during it must have been the same as during the first imprisonment. He argues that this is altogether incredible, since the apostle’s favourable situation during the former had its ground only in an ἄνεσις quite unusual and produced by peculiar circumstances, an ἄνεσις which was much more considerable than that granted to him in Caesarea. The latter consisted only in this, that it was permitted to him to be attended by his own followers—whether kinsmen or servants; it was not permitted to have personal intercourse with his helpers in the apostleship, as was granted to him in Rome. This assertion rests, however, on an unjustifiable interpretation of the passage in Acts 24:23, where Otto leaves the concluding words: ἢ προσέρχεσθαι αὐτῷ, altogether out of consideration. Certainly the apostle’s custodia militaris in Rome had a mild form; but there is no proof that it may not have been so during his second imprisonment, all the less that its occasion and special circumstances are wholly unknown to us. Otto further asserts that about 63 there prevailed at the imperial court, through the influence of Poppaea, a feeling favourable to the Jews, that this feeling caused the apostle’s confinement to be made more severe after lasting two years, and that this is even clearly indicated by Luke in the word ἀκωλύτως, Acts 28:31. But Otto himself makes this friendly disposition to the Jews active even in61: how then is it credible that not till 63 had it any influence in aggravating the apostle’s situation? The assertion is erroneous that Luke’s ἀκωλύτως indicates any such thing.

If it were the case that Nero was influenced by Poppaea’s favourable inclination to the Jews to cast the blame of the fire in 64 on the Christians, it does not follow from this that Paul was not set free in the spring of 63, though this favourable disposition of the court towards the Jews might explain his condemnation in 64 after a brief imprisonment.

Wieseler thinks that “the chief judicial process against Paul and his πρώτη ἀπολογία before the emperor and his council took place only after the two first years of his imprisonment in Rome;” against which Otto maintains that by the πρώτη ἀπολογία in 2 Timothy 4:16 we are to understand the process before Festus, mentioned in Acts 25:6-12. If Otto were right in this assertion, the Second Epistle to Timothy must have been written during the first imprisonment at Rome. But in order to confirm this assertion, Otto sees himself compelled not only to give an unwarrantable interpretation of the expressions in 2 Timothy 4:16-17 (see on this the exposition of the passage), but also to assume that Acts 24:1-21 mentions only the preliminary process—the nominis delatio, not the actio. For the proof of this, Otto appeals to the use of ἀπεκρίθη τε ὁ Παῦλος instead of ἀπελογήσατο in Acts 24:10. This, however, manifestly proves nothing, since Paul himself distinctly called his speech an ἀπολογία (Acts 24:10 : τὸ περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ ἀπολογοῦμαι). The whole process before Felix wears so decidedly, from beginning to end, the character of the actio, that it cannot in any sense be considered simply a nominis delatio. Otto, too, falls into contradiction with himself by saying elsewhere that the nominis delatio took place in Jerusalem when Festus went there after entering on his office.

In defence of his opinion that the epistle was written in the beginning of the first Roman imprisonment, Otto appeals further to the peculiarities which are already apparent in the first seven verses, and insists that these peculiarities can only be explained from the circumstances of that period of the apostle’s life. As peculiarities of this nature, Otto mentions: (1) The emphasis laid on holding fast by the promise and faith of the fathers, both on the part of the apostle and on that of Timothy; (2) The apostle’s allusion to the earliest circumstances of Timothy’s life and ministry; (3) Timothy’s irresolution in regard to ministering as a missionary; and (4) the repeated mention and discussion of imprisonment on the apostle’s part. Taking up these points in succession, we may note the following:—(1) Not only at the time indicated, but from the very beginning of his apostolic labours, the apostle “had to consider, regarding the gospel, whether it was compatible with the faith inherited from the fathers, or involved a departure therefrom.” It would be strange if the apostle had first been led to such consideration by the accusations of the Jews before Felix and Festus. (2) It is quite natural that the apostle should make less mention of the circumstances of Timothy’s previous life and ministry in the First Epistle than in the Second. The former is more official in character, the latter more personal. If that allusion to Timothy’s earliest circumstances is to be inexplicable after Timothy had already given proof of himself in the apostle’s imprisonment in Rome, then it must be quite as inexplicable that Paul, in the beginning of his imprisonment, says not a syllable to Timothy to remind him of the fidelity which he had shown to the apostle on his third missionary journey. (3) The Second Epistle does, indeed, presuppose that Timothy had slackened in his zeal to labour and suffer for the gospel; but this might have happened later quite as much as earlier. Besides, the decline of zeal was not to such an extent as Otto in exaggeration says, “that he had almost abandoned his office through anxiety and timidity.” (4) In the other epistles, written during his imprisonment, the apostle makes mention of it not less than in this. There is, however, no reason for saying that in this one he designedly explains the significance of his imprisonment in a way which suits only the beginning of the imprisonment in Rome.

From the survey we have made, it is clear that the composition of all three epistles does not fall into that period of Paul’s life described in Acts, and that there is nothing in the same period to account for their origin. In spite of these opposing difficulties, it might be held as not absolutely impossible that one or other of them was written some time during that period; but there are two considerations of special weight against this—(1) There is the same difficulty with all three in finding a place in the period specified for the epistle, and in each case combinations more or less improbable, and of a very ingenious nature, have to be used. (2) The very events and circumstances in the life of the apostle which are presupposed in these epistles must be regarded as omitted in Acts, which is not the case to the same extent with any other of the Pauline Epistles. And even apart from all this, there are other weighty reasons against assigning their composition to that period—reasons contained in the structure of the epistles themselves. As to their contents, there runs alike through the three Epistles, as before remarked, a polemic against certain heretics. These heretics are of quite another kind than those with whom Paul has to do in the Epistles to the Galatians and to the Romans. They are similar to those against whom he contended in the Epistle to the Colossians—heretics, of such a nature as could only have arisen at a later time, and whose appearance in the church is indicated as something future in Paul’s address to the Ephesian presbyters at Miletus. Christianity must have already become an aggressive power, before such a mixture of Christian with heathen

Jewish speculation could be formed as we find in these heretics.

Then as to the form of the epistles, i.e. the diction peculiar to them, it has manifestly another colouring than in the other Pauline Epistles, so much so that we cannot explain the difference from the fact “that these epistles were written to the apostle’s pupils and assistants, the others to churches and members of churches” (Otto). It is inconceivable that the First Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus should have been written almost at the same time with the First Epistle to the Corinthians, in the period between the composition of the Epistle to the Galatians and that of the Epistle to the Romans; and it is equally inconceivable that the Second Epistle to Timothy should have been written at a time so much later than those two with which it stands in every way so closely connected. The hypothesis brings together things different in kind, and sunders those that are like one another.


Otto’s attempt to prove the close relationship between the First Epistle to Timothy and the First Epistle to the Corinthians—both of which he refers to the same church and assigns to the same period—must be considered entirely unsuccessful. The contrasts of the epistles compel Otto himself to take some precautions in order to blunt the edge of certain objections to his assertion. His precautionary remarks are—(1) That the image of the condition of the Corinthian church, which was in his mind when writing the Epistle to Timothy, had become different when he wrote the First Epistle to the Corinthians; and (2) that the apostle “had to write in one fashion to the church, and in another fashion to his deputies.” There are, indeed, in the epistles some points of agreement, which, however, may be satisfactorily explained by their common authorship; in both, attention is directed to heretics, and both refer more specially to the inner circumstances of the church than the apostle’s other epistles. Otto has only succeeded in making it probable that the heretics in the two epistles were the same. He arbitrarily constructs for himself, out of the apostle’s theses in the Epistles to the Corinthians, an image of the antitheses of the heretics, and unjustifiably refers to the latter trains of thought which are quite unsuitable. Nevertheless, he has not succeeded in proving that the heresy spoken of in the Pastoral Epistles, the nature of which may be gathered from the expressions: μῦθοι, γενεαλογίαι, etc., was also the doctrine of the heretics in Corinth.

The result of an unbiassed investigation is—(1) That all three epistles belong to one and the same period of the apostle’s life, and (2) that this period does not fall into that portion of the apostle’s life with which we are more closely acquainted through Acts and the other Pauline Epistles. Their composition must accordingly belong to a later time in the apostle’s life; and this is possible only if Paul was released from the imprisonment at Rome mentioned by Luke, and was afterwards a second time imprisoned there.

The narrative in Acts cannot be used to disprove the historical truth of such a release and renewed imprisonment on the apostle’s part,[10] since, so far as it is concerned, the apostle’s martyrdom at the close of the imprisonment there described is as much an hypothesis as the release. It depends on the notices of the elder Fathers. In this respect, however, we must not overlook the fact that in general their communications regarding the apostle are only scanty. In their writings they are not so much concerned for historical truth as for exhortation and dogma; their writings serve the present, and cast only an occasional glance on the facts of the past. Hence we are not surprised that they give but little information regarding the events of Paul’s life, and that little only by allusions.

The first clear and distinct notice of Paul’s release from the imprisonment mentioned by Luke is found in Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. ii. 22): τότε μὲν (i.e. after the lapse of the two years, Acts 28:30) οὖν ἀπολογησάμενον αὖθις ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ κηρύγματος διακονίαν λόγος ἔχει στείλασθαι τὸν ἀπόστολον, δεύτερον δʼ ἐπιβάντα τῇ αὐτῇ πόλει τῷ κατʼ αὐτὸν (i.e. Nero) τελειωθῆναι μαρτυρίῳ· ἐν ᾧ δεσμοῖς ἐχόμενος τὴν πρὸς Τιμόθεον δεύτεραν ἐπιστολὴν συντάττει, ὁμοῦ σημαίνων τὴν τε πρότεραν αὐτῷ γενομένην ἀπολογίαν καὶ τὴν παραπόδας τελείωσιν. This testimony of Eusebius has, however, not been left unquestioned. It has been declared invalid, (1) because Eusebius himself does not appeal to reliable authorities, but only to tradition (λόγος); and (2) because his conviction of the accuracy of this tradition rests only on the Second Epistle to Timothy itself, and particularly on his explanation of 2 Timothy 4:16-17. But, on the other hand, it is to be observed that the formula λόγος ἔχει (for which there also occur the expressions: λόγος κατέχει, παρειλήφαμεν, ἱστορεῖται, ἔγνωμεν, ἐμανθάνομεν, ἡ παράδοσις περιέχει) does not, in the mouth of Eusebius, quite mean “as the story goes” (Otto), but is used by him when he wishes to quote tradition as such, without intending[11] to mark it as erroneous. Hence his testimony proves this, if nothing more, that in his time the opinion prevailed that Paul was released again from that imprisonment. Then it is to be noted that Eusebius does indeed explain the quoted passage incorrectly, by understanding the words: ἘῤῬΎΣΘΗΝ ἘΚ ΣΤΌΜΑΤΟς ΛΈΟΝΤΟς, of the release from the first imprisonment, but that this incorrect explanation arose from his conviction agreeing with the tradition, and not the tradition from the explanation, as Rudow thinks (in his prize treatise, De argumentis histor., quibus … epistolarum pastoral. origo Paulina impugnata est, Gottingen 1852): in illam sententiam adductus est interpretatione falsa … verborum ἐῤῥύσθην κ.τ.λ., quae quum ad Neronem referret, putavit, apostolum jam semel saevo … Neronis judicio evasisse.

Though it may seem strange that Eusebius quotes no definite testimony from an older writer in support of the correctness of the tradition, still this proves nothing against it, all the less that he mentions no testimony which contradicts it. For the truth of that tradition some earlier documents seem also to speak. In the first place, the passage in Clemens Romans , 1 Epist. ad Corinth. chap. v. The Codex Alex. is the only MS. of it preserved,[12] and its text, as amended by the conjectures of the editor Junius, runs thus: διὰ ζῆλον [] Παῦλος ὑπομονῆς βραβεῖον [ἔπεσχ]ενκῆρυξ [γενό]μενος ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ ΚΑῚ ἘΝ [Τῇ] ΔΎΣΕΙ, ΤῸΝ ΓΕΝΝΑῖΟΝ Τῆς ΠΊΣΤΕΩς ΑὐΤΟῦ ΚΛΈΟς ἜΛΑΒΕΝ· ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΎΝΗΝ ΔΙΔΆΞΑς ὍΛΟΝ ΤῸΝ ΚΌΣΜΟΝ Κ[ΑῚ ἘΠῚ] ΤῸ ΤΈΡΜΑ Τῆς ΔΎΣΕΩς ἘΛΘῺΝ ΚΑῚ ΜΑΡΤΥΡΉΣΑς ἘΠῚ ΤῶΝ ἩΓΟΥΜΈΝΩΝ, ΟὝΤΩς ἈΠΗΛΛΆΓΗ ΤΟῦ ΚΌΣΜΟΥ.[13] If the expression: τὸ τέρμα τῆς δύσεως, means the limits of the west, we can only understand it to be Spain, and in that case this passage favours the theory that the apostle was released from the first Roman imprisonment. The reasons urged against this by Meyer, in the fifth edition of his Epistle to the Romans, are not sufficient. Meyer makes appeal to the following facts:—(1) That Clement’s words in general bear a strong impress of oratorical hyperbole; but this is seen at most in the expression: ὅλον τὸν κόσμον, which, however, is sufficiently explained by the previous: ἘΝ Τῇ ἈΝΑΤΟΛῇ Κ. ἘΝ Τ. ΔΎΣΕΙ. (2) That Clement speaks from Paul’s point of view; but ἈΝΑΤΟΛΉ and ΔΎΣΙς are simple geographical designations, just like our expressions east and west. (3) That, if Spain were meant, the ΜΑΡΤΥΡΉΣΑς ἘΠῚ ΤῶΝ ἩΓΟΥΜ. would transport us to the scene of a trial in Spain; but that is not the case, since ΟἹ ἩΓΟΎΜΕΝΟΙ (note the defin. article) can only be understood as denoting the highest officials of the empire, and besides, in Clement’s time it was known generally that Paul had suffered martyrdom in Rome. (4) That Clement otherwise would indicate by the ΟὝΤΩς that Paul’s death took place in Spain; but ΟὝΤΩς does nothing but bring together the preceding facts.[14] The meaning is: in this way, viz. after he had taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the limits of the west and “borne testimony before those in power” …; οὕτως is used in the very same way here as shortly before in the passage about Peter: ΟὐΧ ἝΝΑ, ΟὐΔῈ ΔΎΟ, ἈΛΛᾺ ΠΛΕΊΟΝΑς ὙΠΉΝΕΓΚΕΝ ΠΌΝΟΥς, ΚΑῚ ΟὝΤΩ ΜΑΡΤΥΡΉΣΑς ἘΠΟΡΕΎΘΗ ΕἸς ΤῸΝ ὈΦΕΙΛΌΜΕΝΟΝ ΤΌΠΟΝ Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς.

That Clement did not mean Rome by this expression, is shown by the fact that he was himself in Rome, and would therefore hardly speak of that city as the ΤΈΡΜΑ Τ. ΔΎΣΕΩς, and also by the very emphatic position of those words. If Clement had not wished to point to some place beyond Rome, he would have been content with the expressions previously used, since they would have been perfectly sufficient to denote the apostle’s labours in the west, and therefore in Rome. Several expositors, however, deny the proposed interpretation of the word ΤΈΡΜΑ as equivalent to limits. The explanation given by Schrader and Hilgenfeld: “the boundary limits,” and that by Matthies: “the centre of the west,” are altogether arbitrary. Otto’s explanation seems to have more justification. Following Baur and Schenkel, Otto seeks to prove, on “philological grounds which they have not supplied,” that by τὸ τέρμα τῆς δύσεως we are to understand “the goal in the west appointed to the apostle.” He wishes, in the secondary use of the word, to maintain the original meaning, according to which ΤῸ ΤΈΡΜΑ denotes “the goal-point, the goal-pillar, in the hippodrome and the stadium.” He supplies with ΤῸ ΤΈΡΜΑ the genitive of the ΤΡΈΧΩΝ, who in this place is Paul, and takes the genitive Τῆς ΔΎΣΕΩς as the genitive of the stadium. But the very last quotations which Otto brings forward from the classics to support his assertion, show his error. In the passage, Eurip. Alc.646: ἐπὶ τέρμʼ ἥκων βίου, the pronoun is not to be supplied with ΤΈΡΜΑ, but with ΒΊΟΥ; it does not mean “come to his goal of life,” but “come to the goal of his life.” So also with the passage in Suppl. 369, where we have: ἐπὶ τέρμα ἐμῶν κακῶν ἱκόμενος, and not ἘΠῚ ΤΈΡΜΑ ἘΜῸΝ ΚΑΚῶΝ. Accordingly, in the present passage, if the third personal pronoun were to be supplied, it should be with ΔΎΣΕΩς and not with ΤΈΡΜΑ; but that would be meaningless. But, further, it is arbitrary here, where there is no hint of a figure taken from running a race, to supply with ΤῸ ΤΈΡΜΑ the notion of the apostolic ministry, separating Τῆς ΔΎΣΕΩς from its close connection with τὸ τέρμα, and taking it as equivalent to ἘΝ Τῇ ΔΎΣΕΙ; all the more that, when so understood, the words are a somewhat superfluous addition. Besides, it is improper to consider Τῆς ΔΎΣΕΩς as the stadium, and then to place the ΤΈΡΜΑ not at the end of it, but somewhere in the middle. If ΤΈΡΜΑ in the secondary application is to retain its original meaning, ΤῸ ΤΈΡΜΑ Τῆς ΔΎΣΕΩς is either to be explained: “the goal to which the ΔΎΣΙς extends,” or, more naturally: “the goal which is reached by passing through the ΔΎΣΙς.” This may be the ocean which bounds the ΔΎΣΙς, but quite as well the extreme land of the west. If the text is rightly restored by Junius, appeal may also be made to this passage for the apostle’s journey to Spain, but certainly not for successful labours there, which rather appears to be excluded by the use of the simple ἐλθών. Wieseler, however, has his doubts about the correctness of the restoration, as he believes that the original text was not ΚΑῚ ἘΠῚ ΤῸ ΤΈΡΜΑ Κ.Τ.Λ., but ΚΑῚ ὙΠῸ ΤῸ ΤΈΡΜΑ. This he translates: “after he had taught righteousness to the whole world, and had appeared before the highest power of the west, and had borne witness before the first,” etc. His explanation, however, is contrary to the meaning of the word, for τέρμα does sometimes occur—only in connection with ἜΧΕΙΝ—in the sense of “the highest power or decision,” but it never denotes “the supreme government.” Besides, this conjecture and its explanation would designate the supreme imperial government simply as that of the west, while its authority extended equally over the east. Least of all would Clement, who, according to Wieseler’s own expression, “is obviously tuning a panegyric on Paul,” have used any limited description for that supreme authority. If he had understood τὸ τέρμα in that sense, he would surely have added to the word not simply Τῆς ΔΎΣΕΩς, but—as was the actual fact

Τῆς ἈΝΑΤΟΛῆς ΚΑῚ Τῆς ΔΎΣΕΩς.[15] Still less can Rudow’s opinion (in the work quoted, p. 7) be justified, that we should not read ἐπί, but Ὡς, and explain it as equivalent to “paene ad finem imperii occidentalis;” for on the one hand this gives to ὡς an impossible signification, and on the other it attributes to Clement a very commonplace thought.[16]

[10] Otto came forward in 1860 as a decided opponent of this conjecture, and in the same year there appeared in its defence the work, Saint Paul; sa double captivité à Rome, étude historique, par L. Ruffet.

[11] It is clear that Eusebius by this formula does not mean to denote simply a vague report, for he not only directly recognises the accuracy of the λόγος under discussion, but also confirms it by his interpretation.

[12] Translator’s Note.—Another MS., fortunately unmutilated, was discovered in the library of the Holy Sepulchre, at Fanari in Constantinople, and was published in 1875 by Bryennius, metropolitan of Serrae. Later still, a Syriac MS., purchased for the University of Cambridge, has been found to contain a translation of Clement’s two epistles.—See Smith’s Dictionary of Christian Biography, vol. I. p. 557.

[13] The text, according to Dressel and others, runs somewhat differently. See on this point Meyer’s Comment, über den Brief an die Römer, 5th ed. p. 15. Meyer remarks: “Still the various readings of the different revisions of the … text make no material difference in regard to this question.”

[14] Hofmann (D. heil. Schr. Thl. V. p. 8) wrongly refers οὕτως only to διὰ ζῆλον; but the wide interval between οὕτως and διὰ ζῆλον is decisive against this.

[15] Wieseler’s other opinion is arbitrary, that in the words “μαρτυρήσας ἐπὶ τῶν ἡγουμένων” the ἡγούμενοι are the principes who composed the concilium which the emperor was wont to consult in his judgments.

[16] It is strange that Rudow, in his conjecture and its explanation, does not understand Spain by τέρμα τ. δυσ., but Rome (τὸ τέρμα τ. δυσ., non ad Hispaniam sed ad Romam referendum puto), which would make the meaning to be that Paul had come almost to Rome.

The second passage is found in the Muratorian Canon, composed about A.D. 170. It runs thus: Acta autem omnium apostolorum sub uno libro scribta sunt. Lucas obtime Theophile comprindit, quia sub praesentia ejus singula gerebantur, sicuti et semote passionem Petri evidenter declarat, sed profectionem Pauli ab urbe ad Spaniam proficiscentis. From these words, in themselves unintelligible, this much at least is clear, that Paul’s journey to Spain was the subject of tradition in the author’s time. Even if, as Wieseler thinks, the word “omittit” has been dropped after proficiscentis, the words do not say that the journey did not take place, or that it was doubtful and disputed, but only that Luke did not mention it.

Otto conjectures that in the author’s time some began, for ecclesiastical purposes, to maintain the journey into Spain to be an historical fact. This conjecture, as well as the other, that the original text of the Canon afterwards received many interpolatory additions, is a mere makeshift in order to confirm, against the testimony of the Canon, the hypothesis that Paul did not make the journey to Spain.[17]

[17] It will be sufficient here to quote some of the conjectures proposed. Otto thinks that for sicuti and sed, sic uti and sic et should be read. Laurent (Neutest. Studien, p. 109) makes the conjecture: sicuti et semota passione Petri evidenter declarat et profectione Pauli ab Urbe Spaniam proficiscentis. Many have tried to make the passage clear by retranslating it into Greek. Schott (Der erste Brief Petri, p. 353) translates it: καθὼς καὶ, παρεὶς μαρτυρίαν μὲν τὴν τοῦ Πέτρου φανερῶς ἀποσημαίνει, πορείαν δὲ τὴν τοῦ Παύλου ἀπὸ τῆς πόλεως εἰς τὴν Σπανίαν πορευομένου. Hofmann (D. h. Schr. pp. 9 f.): καθὼς καὶ παρεὶς τὸ τοῦ Πέτρου πάθος σαφῶς δηλοῖ, Παύλου δὲ τὴν πορείαν εἰς τὴν Σπανίαν πορευομένου. Comp. Meyer’s Römerbrief, 5th ed. pp. 17 f.

From this passage it follows that tradition preserved the report of a journey made to Spain by the apostle, but not of successful labours there.[18] This (confirmed by the formula in Eusebius: ΛΌΓΟς ἜΧΕΙ) agrees with the release of the apostle from the imprisonment in Rome, mentioned by Luke, since the journey could only have taken place if Paul were again at liberty.

As nothing can be shown to be decidedly inaccurate in this tradition so as to prove its impossibility, or even its improbability,[19] we are justified in using this result in determining the date at which our epistles were composed. If we can find no suitable date for any one of them in the apostle’s life, down to his first imprisonment in Rome; if, at the same time, the composition of all three necessarily belongs to one and the same period of the apostle’s life, and the contents of the epistles point to a later period,—then we are surely justified in assuming that they were written after the imprisonment recorded in Acts, the First Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus in the period between this first and a second imprisonment at Rome, and the Second Epistle to Timothy during the second. This view—if we take for granted the genuineness of the epistles—is the only one tenable after the investigation we have made, and hence also more recently it has been accepted by the defenders of their authenticity (even by Bleek, who, however, disputes the authenticity of the First Epistle to Timothy), with the exception of Matthies, Wieseler, and Otto.[20]

The answer to the question, What date is to be assigned to the second imprisonment? depends on the date fixed for the first; and for this the year of Festus’ entry on office furnishes a fixed point, since Paul arrived at Rome in the spring of the following year.

If, with Anger, Wieseler, Hofmann, we suppose that Festus entered on office in the year 60, then Paul was released from the first imprisonment in 63, and the second imprisonment took place either after or before the burning of Rome and the consequent persecution of the Christians (in the summer of 64). The first supposition seems to be opposed by the fact that in the Pastoral Epistles there is not the slightest allusion to this persecution, while the second gives, from the spring of 63 to the summer of 64, too short time for the events to which the Pastoral Epistles bear witness. It is true that the objection to the first supposition may be weakened by dating the apostle’s martyrdom as late as possible, say in 67 or 68. For this we have the support of the old tradition; but on the one hand the tradition is very uncertain,[21] and on the other we would have the apostle labouring for so many years after his first imprisonment, that it would be inexplicable why not a scrap of information has been preserved regarding it. The objection to the second supposition is of less importance, for, even if the time allowed be short, it is not too short. The events would be placed in the following order:

In the spring of 63, Paul leaves Rome; he lands at Crete, where he spends a short time only, and, leaving Titus behind, proceeds to Ephesus, where he meets Timothy. Soon after he crosses to Macedonia, and from there writes the Epistle to Timothy; then somewhat later, after resolving to pass the winter in Nicopolis in Epirus, he writes the Epistle to Titus. Towards the end of winter he returns to Ephesus by way of Troas, and then proceeds, without halting there, by Miletus, where he leaves Trophimus behind sick, and by Corinth, where Erastus does not join him as he wished, to Spain; and from there (perhaps as a prisoner) to Rome. In this way he might still arrive at Rome some time before the burning, and undergo his first trial, after which he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy.[22] Shortly before the burning, or in the persecution occasioned by it, the apostle suffered martyrdom, and by the sword, according to the testimony of tradition. Wiesinger grants, indeed, that in this view the favourable treatment of the imprisoned apostle is more natural than by supposing that he was imprisoned after the burning; but still he thinks that he cannot agree to it. His chief grounds against it are—(1) that the Second Epistle to Timothy is brought too close to the first; (2) that the apostle, according to 1 Timothy 3:14 ff., did not stay so short a time in Ephesus; (3) that it is inconceivable how the Asiatics (2 Timothy 1:15-18) should be still in Rome during the time of the apostle’s imprisonment, and how Timothy had already been informed of their conduct. But, on the other hand, it is to be observed (1) that there is no hint of the Second Epistle being written a long time after the First, the agreement between them rather testifying against this; (2) that from 1 Timothy 3:14 ff. no conclusion can be drawn of a long stay made by the apostle in Ephesus; (3) that the verb ἀπεστράφησαν in 2 Timothy 1:15 does not imply the presence of the Asiatics in Rome. Ruffet agrees in the representation here given, but remarks: Huther fait mourir Paul en 64, pendant la grande persécution. Il est difficile, dans ce cas, d’expliquer le procès de Paul. He gives 66 as the year of the apostle’s death. Against him it must be maintained that there is no ground for assuming that the process was carried out formally, and that it is arbitrary to assign 66 as the year of the apostle’s death.

[18] When this is observed, it may be explained also how Innocent I. (A.D. 416) could write: manifestum in omnem Italiam, Gallias, Hispanias, Africam atque Siciliam … nullum instituisse ecclesias, nisi eas, quas venerabilis ap. Petrus aut ejus successores constituerint sacerdotes.

[19] The words of Origen in Euseb. iii. 1 Timothy 1 : τὶ δεῖ περὶ Παύλου λέγειν ἀπὸ Ἱερουσαλὴμ μέχρι τοῦ Ἰλλυρικοῦ πεπληρωκότος τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ὕστερον ἐν τῇ Ῥώμῃ ἐπὶ Νέρωνος μεμαρτυρηκότος, do not exclude the journey to Spain (against Meyer), but any apostolic labours there. On the whole, however, too much should not be inferred from these brief summaries, for otherwise it might be concluded from these words that Paul had preached only from Jerusalem to Illyria, and not in Rome.—It is of still less importance that there is no mention of any release of the apostle in the Hist. apostolica of pseudo-Abdias.

[20] Kolbe, too (in a review of Hofmann’s commentary, Zeitschr. f. die luth. Theol. u. K. 1875, No. 3), will acknowledge no second imprisonment of the apostle, which he holds to be an unnecessary hypothesis, “not necessary after Wieseler in so natural a manner (!) had assigned to the Pastoral Epistles their proper place in the apostle’s life.”

[21] In Jerome (Catal. c. 15) it runs: Decimo quarto Neronis anno eodem die quo Petrus Romae pro Christo capite truncatus sepultusque est in via Ostiensi.

[22] Against this reckoning, Otto raises two points in particular—(1) the shortness of the period indicated, and (2) the apostle’s summons in 2 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 4:21. As to the first point, Otto grants that about five months might be sufficient for the journeys from Rome to Nicopolis, but thinks that the time from March to the middle of July 64 is too short for the journey to Spain and Rome, since the apostle “must have preached in Spain, been taken prisoner, undergone a process before the provincial court, and again made appeal to Caesar.” But these presuppositions are not to be considered as at all necessary, since the actual course of events may have been quite different. As to the second point, Otto maintains that Timothy could get from Ephesus to Rome in one month, and that if the same time is to be given for forwarding the Epistle, Paul could not write in the beginning of July, but only in the middle or end of August, that Timothy was to make haste to come to him before winter! But even this assertion has only an apparent justification, since it rests on the unproved presupposition that Paul forwarded the letter by the shortest route, and supposed that Timothy would and could choose the shortest route for his journey. Besides, it is to be observed that ταχέως and πρὸ χειμῶνος are not immediately connected with one another.


Meyer (Apgesch. 3d ed. 1861, Introd. sect. 4) has sought on two grounds to prove, against Wieseler, that the retirement of Felix from office did not take place in the year 60, but in 61. His first ground is, that it follows from Josephus, Vita, § 3, that in the year 63 Josephus went to Rome in order to obtain the release of some priests who had been imprisoned by Felix, and sent thither. Now, if Felix retired from office in 60, Josephus would have put off his journey too long. But, on the other hand, before undertaking this journey, Josephus had to await the result of the complaint (Antiq. xx. 8. 10) made to the emperor against Felix by the Jews; and when Felix was acquitted, it could only appear to Josephus to be unfavourable to his purpose. He would hardly, therefore, undertake his journey immediately after he had received news of it. Meyer’s second ground is, that from Josephus, Antiq. xx. 8. 11, it is clear that Poppaea was already Nero’s wife at the time when Festus entered on office, and she became so in May 62. But the passage in question does not at all prove that. What Josephus says is this. About the time when a great impostor was destroyed with his followers by the troops which Festus, on entering office, sent against him, Agrippa built in Jerusalem the great house from which he could see into the temple. The Jews built a wall to prevent his looking into the temple, and, after vainly negotiating on the matter with Festus, they brought the case before Nero by means of ambassadors. Nero gave them a favourable answer, τῇ γυναικὶ Ποππηΐᾳ ὑπὲρ τῶν Ἰουδαίων δεηθείσῃ χαριζόμενος. Josephus does not say how much time was taken up in building the house, in erecting the wall, in negotiating with Festus, in sending the ambassadors, in awaiting Nero’s answer; but it is more than probable that some years must have passed while these things were going on. Besides, it is at least questionable whether the use of γυνή implies that Poppaea was then Nero’s wife.

If Meyer’s reckoning were still to be correct, the apostle’s release would have taken place shortly before the fire. The fact that there is no allusion to Nero’s persecution in the epistles would have to be explained in this way, that the apostle was already made acquainted with it when he was with Timothy in Ephesus.

Dr. H. Lehmann (Chronologische Bestimmung der in der Apgesch. Kap. 13–28, erzählten Begebenheiten, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1858, No. 2, pp. 312–319) gives the date of Festus’ entry on office quite differently from Wieseler and Meyer. According to Lehmann’s investigation, the year 58 is both the earliest and the latest possible date for the recall of Felix. He believes that Felix was not recalled after the year 58, because Felix was acquitted from the charge raised against him by the Jews through the intercession of his brother Pallas, who, according to the express statement of Josephus, was then in high favour with Nero. But Pallas was in favour with Nero only till 59; his influence was very closely connected with that of Nero’s mother, Agrippina, so that her downfall and murder in 59 would necessarily deprive Pallas of Nero’s favour, just as some years later (in 62) he was poisoned by Nero, who coveted his treasures.

Lehmann is of opinion also that Felix was not recalled before 58, because the revolt of the Egyptians (Acts 21:38) cannot have taken place before 56.

According to this, Paul would therefore he at liberty again in the spring of 61, which certainly would be a result very favourable to dating the composition of the Pastoral Epistles before Nero’s persecution.

As to the place of composition, Paul wrote the First Epistle to Timothy after his departure from Ephesus, probably in Macedonia, or at least in the neighbourhood of that country, while Timothy was in Ephesus, In accordance with this, the subscription in Auct. Synops. runs: ἀπὸ μακεδονίας, while in the Coptic and Erpenian versions Athens is set down quite arbitrarily as the place of composition. In several MSS., on the other hand, we find the subscription which has passed into the Received Text: ἀπὸ Λαοδικείας, ἥτις ἐστὶ μητρόπολις Φρυγίας τῆς Πακατιανῆς; in Cod. A simply ἀπὸ Λαοδικείας. This place is assigned to it also in the Peschito, the Aethiopic version, in Oecumenius, Theophylact, etc. The addition τῆς Πακατιανῆς points to a division which arose in the fourth century. The opinion that the epistle was written in Laodicea is probably grounded on the fact that this epistle was regarded as identical with the ἐπιστολὴ ἐκ Λαοδικείας mentioned in Colossians 4:16. Theophylact says: τίς δὲ ἦν ἡ ἐκ Λαοδικείας; ἡ πρὸς Τιμόθεον πρώτη, αὕτη γὰρ ἐκ Λαοδικείας ἐγράφη.

The place in which the Epistle to Titus was written can only be so far determined, that it was on the apostle’s journey from Crete to Nicopolis. The subscription in the Received Text runs: πρὸς Τίτον τῆς Κρητῶν ἐκκλησίας πρῶτον ἐπίσκοπον χειροτονηθέντα ἐγράφη ἀπὸ Νικοπόλεως τῆς Μακεδονίας. This has, however, arisen out of a misconception of chap. 1 Timothy 3:12, where the word ἐκεῖ proves that Paul, at the time of composing the epistle, was not yet in Nicopolis.

If the epistle was written on the apostle’s journey, between the first and second imprisonment at Rome, we cannot, with Guericke, assume that it was composed in Ephesus; for if Paul had already in Ephesus the intention of passing the winter at Nicopolis, he could not, after leaving Ephesus and arriving in Macedonia, write to Timothy that he thought of coming again to him soon, 1 Timothy 3:14. The Epistle to Titus can therefore have been written only after the First Epistle to Timothy. While composing the latter, he was, indeed, thinking of a speedy return to Ephesus, but he considered it possible then that his return might be delayed (1 Timothy 3:15). This actually took place when he resolved to pass the winter at Nicopolis, after which resolution he wrote to Titus.

As to the Second Epistle to Timothy, there can be no doubt that it was written in Rome, as many subscriptions say. Only Böttger (Beiträge, etc., part 2) supposes that Paul wrote it in his imprisonment at Caesarea—which, however, rests on the utterly incorrect presupposition that Paul was only five days a prisoner in Rome.


All three epistles contain warnings against heretics. These are described as follows:—

First Epistle to Timothy.

They have left the path of faith and of a good conscience (1 Timothy 1:5 : ὧν (i.e. καθαρᾶς καρδίας καὶ συνειδήσεως ἀγαθῆς καὶ πίστεως ἀνυποκρίτου) ἀστοχήσαντες; 1 Timothy 1:19 : ἥν (i.e. ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν) τινες ἀπωσάμενοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν; 1 Timothy 6:21 : περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἠστόχησαν). They are estranged from the truth (1 Timothy 6:5 : ἀποστερημένοι τῆν ἀληθείας), and do not abide by the sound doctrine of the gospel (1 Timothy 6:3). Morally corrupt (1 Timothy 6:5 : διεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν), they have an evil conscience (1 Timothy 4:3 : κεκαυτηριασμένοι τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν). Beclouded with self-conceit (1 Timothy 6:4 : τετύφωται), they boast of a special knowledge (1 Timothy 6:20 : τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως), which they seek to spread by teaching (1 Timothy 1:3 : ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν). Their doctrine is a meaningless, empty, profane babble (1 Timothy 1:6 : ματαιολογία; 1 Timothy 6:20 : βέβηλοι κενοφονίαι), a doctrine of the devil (1 Timothy 4:2 : διδασκαλίαι δαιμονίων). Its contents are made up of profane and silly myths (1 Timothy 1:4, 1 Timothy 4:7 : βέβηλοι καὶ γραώδεις μῦθοι) and genealogies (1 Timothy 1:4 : γενεαλογίαι ἀπέραντοι), which only furnish points of controversy and arouse contests of words (1 Timothy 1:4, 1 Timothy 6:4), in which they take a special delight (1 Timothy 6:4 : νοσῶν περὶ ζητήσεις καὶ λογομαχίας). Without knowing the meaning of the law, they wish to be teachers of it (1 Timothy 1:7 : θέλοντες εἶναι νομοδιδάσκαλοι), and add to it arbitrary commands forbidding marriage and the enjoyment of many kinds of food (1 Timothy 4:3 : κωλύοντες γαμεῖν, ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων); by their ascetic life they seek to gain the reputation of piety in order to make worldly gain by it (1 Timothy 6:5 : νομίζοντες, πορισμὸν εἶναι τὴν εὐσέβειαν).

The Epistle to Titus.

The heretics (Titus 1:9 : οἱ ἀντιλέγοντες) belong especially to Judaism (Titus 1:10 : μάλιστα οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς). While boasting of their special knowledge of God, they lead a godless life (Titus 1:16), condemned by their own conscience (Titus 3:11 : αὐτοκατάκριτος). What they bring forward are Jewish myths (Titus 1:14 : προσέχοντες Ἰουδαικοῖς μύθοις), genealogies, points of controversy about the law (Titus 3:9), and mere commands of men (Titus 1:14 : ἐντολαὶ ἀνθρώπων ἀποστρεφομένων ἀλήθειαν). They are idle babblers (Titus 1:10 : ματαιόλογοι), who with their shameful doctrine (Titus 1:11 : διδάσκοντες ἃ μὴ δεῖ) seduce hearts (Titus 1:10 : φρεναπάται), cause divisions in the church (Titus 3:10 : αἱρετικοὶ ἄνθρωποι), and draw whole families into destruction (Titus 1:11 : ὅλους οἴκους ἀνατρέπουσι); and all this—for the sake of shameful gain (Titus 1:11 : αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν).

Second Epistle to Timothy.

Here, just as in the First Epistle, the heretics are denoted as people who have fallen away from the faith, who are striving against the truth (2 Timothy 2:18 : περὶ τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἠστόχησαν; 2 Timothy 3:8 : ἀνθίστανται τῇ ἀληθείᾳἀδόκιμοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν; 2 Timothy 2:25 : οἱ ἀντιδιατιθέμενοι), who are morally corrupt (2 Timothy 3:8 : ἄνθρωποι κατεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν; 2 Timothy 3:13 : πονηροὶ ἄνθρωποι), who are in the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:25), so that there already exist among them that godlessness and hypocrisy which, the Spirit declares, will characterize mankind in the last days. They seek to extend their doctrine, which is nothing but an unholy babble of empty myths, and contains nothing but points of controversy; and this they do by sneaking into houses, and by knowing especially how to befool women (2 Timothy 3:6), just like the Egyptian sorcerers who were opposed to the truth (2 Timothy 3:8).

Contrary to the truth, they teach that the resurrection has already taken place (2 Timothy 2:18 : λέγοντες τὴν ἀνάστασιν ἤδη γεγονέναι).

Have the Pastoral Epistles to do with one or with several different classes of heretics? Credner (Einleitung in d. N. T.) assumes four different classes. He takes the heretics of the Epistle to Titus to be non-Christians, and those of the two Epistles to Timothy to be apostatized Christians, while he divides the former—in consequence of the μάλιστα, chap. 2 Timothy 1:10—into Jews, more precisely Essenes, and into Gentiles who are not further described, the latter into heretics of the present and heretics of the future (2 Timothy 4:1 ff.; 2 Timothy 3:2 ff.).

These distinctions are, however, not justifiable, for the expression οἱ ἐκ περιτομῆς does not necessarily denote Jews who are not Christians (comp. Acts 11:2; Galatians 2:12). Further, μάλιστα does not establish a difference in regard to the heretics, but only indicates that some were added who were not ἐκ περιτομῆς. Lastly, in 1 Timothy 4:1 ff. and 2 Timothy 3:2 ff. the future is certainly spoken of; but there is no hint in either of the passages that a heresy would appear different from the present one.

Thiersch (Versuch zur Herstellung, etc., pp. 236 f. and. 273 f.) divides the heretics into three groups—(1) Judaists, i.e. Judaizing teachers of the law to whom there still clung the spirit of Pharisaism; (2) some spiritualistic Gnostics who had suffered shipwreck in the faith; (3) impostors. He supposes that the first are mentioned in the Epistle to Titus and in some passages of the First Epistle to Timothy, the second in the First and Second Epistles to Timothy, the last in 2 Timothy 3. But apostasy from the faith is charged not only against those mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:19, but also against those in 1 Timothy 1:3 ff., and in the Second Epistle to Timothy the same characteristics are attributed to the heretics as in the Epistle to Titus; comp. 2 Timothy 2:23 and Titus 3:9. As to the impostors, they are not at all distinguished from the other heretics as a special class.

Wiesinger confesses, indeed, that the errors placed before us in the three epistles are substantially the same; but he thinks that on the one hand “more general errors” are to be distinguished from those of individuals, and on the other hand phenomena of the present from those which are designated as future. Hofmann’s view is allied to this. He thinks also that those against whom Paul had a special polemic (Titus 1:9-10; Titus 3:9; 1 Timothy 1:3 ff., etc.) are distinct from those to whom Hymenaeus and Philetus belonged (2 Timothy 2:17), and from those mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:6 ff.; and further, that those characterized in 1 Timothy 4:1-4 are to be regarded as people of the future, and not of the present. Against this, however, it is to be maintained that such a distinction of different classes is not marked in any way by the apostle, and that the men of the future mentioned by him are characterized in substantially the same way as the men of the present against whom he directs his polemic. Mangold (Die Irrlehrer der Pastoralbriefe) rightly maintains that the polemic of the Pastoral Epistles is not directed against different forms of heresy, but against one and the same heresy; but he agrees with Credner in thinking that the heretics mentioned in the Epistle to Titus stood quite outside of the Christian church, since it is not said of them that they had fallen away from the faith. But against this it is to be observed that the polemic in the N. T. is everywhere directed only against those who, as members of the church, sought to disturb the true faith, and not against non-Christians who assailed the Christian faith from without.[23] It is arbitrary also to distinguish the ΑἹΡΕΤΙΚΟΊ mentioned in chap. 1 Timothy 3:10 as corrupted Christians from those named in chap. 1 Timothy 1:10 as non-Christians.

[23] Otto decides quite differently by roundly calling the heretics Jews, and remarking: “I have found no passage in the two epistles, not even in all the Pauline Epistles, which compelled me to suppose that the heretics were members of the church.” But should not this assertion be at once refuted by the fact that Paul, when speaking of non-Christians, always denotes them as such, Gentiles as Gentiles, Jews as Jews; whereas of the heretics, against whom he contends, he nowhere says that they stand outside of the Christian church? And would not both his polemic and his warnings have quite another character if the heretics did not belong externally to the church?—Otto grants that many members of the church had been led astray by those non-Christian heretics; but would not those betrayed have sought to spread their opinions among their fellow-members, and thus become false teachers themselves? Besides, Otto can support his opinion only by an artificial interpretation of the single passages in question, as is the case among others with 1 Timothy 1:3 (see the exposition of the passage) and with 2 Corinthians 11:13; 2 Corinthians 11:23. 1 Corinthians 3:15 alone causes him some scruples; but he overcomes them by referring the pronoun αὐτός to ὁ θεμέλιος, altogether omitting to observe that Paul in this passage is not thinking of heretics at all.—Whether the τίνες in Acts 15:1 were also Jews—and not Christians—Otto does not say; if he were consistent in his opinions, he would be bound to maintain the former.

The second question is, Of what nature was the heretical tendency against which the Pastoral Epistles contend? The views on this point differ widely from one another. The heretics have been held to be—(1) Gnostics, either “forerunners of the Gnostics of the second century” (so most expositors), or “Cerinthians” (Mayerhoff in his work, der Brief an die Colosser, 1838; Neander in the first edition of his apostol. Zeitalters), or Gnostics of the second century, in particular Marcionites (Baur); (2) Cabbalists (Grotius, Baumgarten); (3) Pharisaic Judaists (Chrysostom, Jerome, partly also Thiersch); (4) Essenes (Michaelis, Heinrichs, Wegscheider, Mangold, partly also Credner), or Therapeutae (Ritschl); and lastly, (5) Jewish Christians. These last either had a preference for allegorical interpretations of the Jewish genealogies (pedigrees), which in itself was innocent and not delusive, but which might easily lead to apostasy from the faith (Wiesinger, who, however, remarks that in some are found the germs of the later gnosis), or they were busying themselves with investigations regarding the legal and historical contents of the Thora, to which they ascribed a special importance for the religious life (Hofmann). The second and third views have already received a sufficient refutation. The words: θέλοντες εἶναι νομοδιδάσκαλοι (1 Timothy 1:7), are the only argument in favour of the opinion that these opponents resembled those against whom Paul contended in the Epistle to the Galatians and in the first part of the Epistle to the Romans. From 1 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:14, it is clear that their zeal for the law did not all agree with the pharisaically-inclined Jewish-Christians, as they did not maintain the necessity for circumcision.

Cabbalists they cannot be called, although there existed earlier among the orthodox Jews many elements from which was developed the cabbalistic system afterwards imprinted on the books of Jezira and Sohar; these were secret doctrines, and it cannot be proved that these heretics had the same views. For that matter, there are even some points here, such as forbidding to marry, the spiritualistic doctrine of the resurrection, which are foreign to Cabbala. There is only one kindred point in the phenomena of the two: they both consisted in combination of revealed religion, with speculation originally heathen.

The view that the heretics were Essenes has found in Mangold a defender both thoroughgoing and acute; but he has been able to prove the identity of the two only by a somewhat bold assertion. Proceeding from the opinion “that Essenism was only an attempt to carry out practically the Alexandrine-Jewish philosophy in the definite arrangements of a sect,” he deduces from this the unjustifiable canon: “If, therefore, any trait in the picture of the heretics should find a direct parallel, though only in such a passage of Philo as gives quite general characteristics of the Jewish-Alexandrine philosophy, we ought not to hesitate in explaining this trait to be Essenic, provided only it does not stand in contradiction with the definite information given by Philo and Josephus regarding this sect.”

Mangold tries to trace back to Essenism not only the γενεαλογίαι, but also the other traits in the picture of the heretics, especially the μῦθοι, the ζητήσεις, the γνῶσις ψευδώνυμος, the asceticism, the doctrine of the resurrection, the view of the person and work of Christ, not indeed expressed, but indicated, the greed, the hypocrisy, the comparison with the Egyptian sorcerers, etc. But if he had not the aid of the canon quoted, and of an interpretation sometimes very forced, the result would simply be this, that in the heretics of the epistles there existed some traits which belonged also to Essenism. On the other hand, the heretics had many peculiarities not found among the Essenes, and the Essenes again had distinct characteristics of which there is no mention here (comp. Uhlhorn’s criticism of Mangold’s book in the Gött. gel. Anz. 1857, No. 179).

The fact that Mangold could only justify his assertion that the heretics were Essenes by identifying the general Jewish-Alexandrine speculation with Philonism and Essenism, is a sufficient proof that his assertion has no firm and sure ground.

Against Ritschl’s view that the heretics were Therapeutae, Uhlhorn’s remarks (in the criticism quoted) are sufficient: “They have no hesitation in assuming a quite close connection with the Jewish-Alexandrine philosophy, nor would they make any difficulty of importing into it the principles of Philo. But then new difficulties appear. If it is already hazardous to imagine Essenes in Ephesus and Crete, it might become much harder to suppose that there were Therapeutae in those regions. Their whole nature is so thoroughly Egyptian, that we can hardly venture on the hypothesis of the sect being transplanted and extended into Asia Minor and Crete. Yet that would be the smallest difficulty. The main point is that the picture of the heretics applies to the Therapeutae much less than to the Essenes; not only because the most striking characteristics of the Therapeutae are wanting, but also because there are features which do not suit the Therapeutae at all. Thus, e.g., the busy activity mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:6 stands in glaring contrast with their habits of contemplation.”

The view which is by far the most prevalent is, that the heresy was Gnosticism, either “a rough elementary form of gnosis,” or one of the cultivated systems. Baur, as is well known, declares himself for the latter with great decision. His judgment (Die sog. Pastoralbriefe des Ap. Paulus, 1835, p. 10) runs thus: “We have before us in the heretics of the Pastoral Epistles the Gnostics of the second century, especially the Marcionites.” For the Marcionitism Baur appeals—(1) to the Antinomianism denoted in 1 Timothy 1:6-11; (2) to the ascetic ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων, 1 Timothy 4:3, which was founded on a certain opposition and dislike to God’s creation—as to something unclean, and therefore on a decidedly dualistic view of the universe (such as Marcion in particular held); (3) to the doctrine of the resurrection, mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:18; (4) to the express mention of the Marcionite antithesis, 1 Timothy 6:20.

Of these reasons we must at once strike out the first and the last, as resting on an arbitrary and quite unjustifiable interpretation. As to the second, the opposition made to the asceticism of the heretics in Titus 1:15 and 1 Timothy 4:3-4, by no means points to a decided form of dualism; and with regard to the third ground, it is to be observed that the doctrine of the resurrection had no more connection with Gnosticism than with other speculative systems.

For the Gnosticism of the heretics, Baur produces the following grounds:—(1) The myths and genealogies by which the Valentinian series of aeons and the whole fantastic history of the pleroma were denoted. This, he says, is apparent from the adjective γραώδης, which was chosen because the Sophia-Achamoth was denoted as an old mother. (2) The emphasis laid in the epistles on the universality of the divine grace, by which is expressed the opposition to the Gnostic distinction between pneumatic and other men. But even these grounds furnish no proof that the heresy belonged to the second century, for series of emanations and particularism were not phenomena of cultivated Gnosticism alone. The interpretation of the word γραώδης, however, certainly needs no serious refutation. Baur further declares that even the author of the epistles was infected with the Marcionitism, as appears especially from the opposition in which the ἄνθρωπος of 1 Timothy 2:5 stands to ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί in 1 Timothy 3:16, also from the passage in 1 Timothy 3:16, where two sets of clauses are opposed, the one more Gnostic, the other more anti-Gnostic; lastly, from the use of doxologies that have a Gnostic sound. But apart altogether from single pieces of arbitrary conjecture, of which Baur is guilty in his proof, how curious in itself the opinion is, that the assailant of Marcionitism should himself have been half a Marcionite, without having any suspicion of his self-contradiction! In his work, Paulus, der Apostel Jesu Christi, 1845, Baur brought forward yet another new and peculiar proof of his assertion that the Gnosticism of the heretics belonged to the second century. He finds it in the express statement of Hegesippus (Eusebius, H. E. iii. 32), that the ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις did not appear openly till there were none of the apostolic circle left. From this Baur draws two inferences—(1) that Gnosticism belonged only to the post-apostolic age; and (2) that the author of the Pastoral Epistles borrowed the expression ἡ ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις from Hegesippus. But against the first inference it is to be noted that in this passage it is not only not denied, but it is even expressly stated that there had existed earlier such as “corrupt the sound rule of wholesome preaching,” and that it is simply remarked that the ἑτεροδιδάσκαλοι ventured only after the death of the apostles to preach their heresy quite openly and freely. Against the second inference we must maintain that the passage in Eusebius (as Thiersch in his Versuch zur Herstellung, etc., pp. 301 ff., and following him Wiesinger and Mangold, have proved) is not a simple quotation from Hegesippus, but that the thought only was expressed by Hegesippus, while its elaboration and form are due to Eusebius; and that “although the Ebionite Hegesippus would hardly have used the Pastoral Epistles for expressing his own views, yet there is no reason why these expressions in Eusebius should not be traced back to the Pastoral Epistles as their source” (comp. Mangold, pp. 108–112).[24] Thus the theory that the heretics in question were Marcionites, or other Gnostics of the second century, has no real foundation; for which reason, as Mangold says, “all exegetes and writers on Introduction who have studied the question are unanimous against Baur’s view” (Mangold, p. 14).

Quite as little support has been given also to the theory that the heretics were Cerinthians; and rightly so, since it cannot be proved that they held the doctrine of Cerinthus regarding the Demiurge, or his Docetism or the Chiliasm ascribed to him by Caius and Dionysius.

The answer to the question whether Paul’s opponents were Gnostics (so far, of course, only followers of a gnosis still undeveloped) or not, depends to a large extent, if not wholly, on the meaning to be given to γενεαλογίαι. Irenaeus and Tertullian, whom many later expositors have followed, understood by it, “Gnostic series of emanations.” In more recent times an attempt has been made to maintain that we are to understand by it actual genealogies. Dähne (Stud. u. Krit. 1833, No. 4), supported by Mangold and Otto, makes it more definite, and says that by it are meant the genealogies of the Pentateuch, along with its historical sections, the former of which Philo interprets in his τρόποι τῆς ψυχῆς. But there is not the slightest indication in the Pastoral Epistles that the heretics here mentioned made any such interpretation themselves. Wiesinger has let this more definite statement drop, and explains the γενεαλογίαι to be simply Jewish genealogies. Hofmann, on the contrary, going back again to Philo, considers them to be not genealogies proper, but “the whole historical contents of the Thora.”[25] Both these expositors do not wish to regard Paul’s opponents here as heretics in the proper sense. Wiesinger, as he developes this point, contradicts himself. For, when he grants that they cultivated an arbitrary asceticism,—that they strove after a higher holiness as well as a higher knowledge than the gospel presents, and that they sought to attain this by an allegorical interpretation of the genealogies,[26]—he is manifestly describing them as heretics in the proper sense of the term. Hofmann does not indeed fall into this contradiction, but with his view it remains wholly unexplained how they could give to the study of the historical contents of the Thora a special importance for the religious life, if they still did not seek to get from it knowledge transcending the gospel. The following points are against both these explanations:—(1) The sentence of condemnation pronounced in the epistles is so sharp, that it points to something quite different from mere unprofitable speculation. Although Paul, as these argue, calls their reasonings ματαιολογία and κενοφωνία, he describes this empty babble of theirs not merely as a useless, foolish, old woman’s chatter, but also as something unholy, i.e. profane (βέβηλος, comp. Hebrews 12:16), and the reasoners as those who, fallen away from the faith, contradict the truth, and are morally corrupt in thought. (2) Paul defines the γενεαλογίαι more precisely by the adjective ἀπέραντοι, which gives, not, as it has been wrongly explained, the nature of the investigations regarding the γενεαλογίαι (as those “which spin on ad infinitum,” Wiesinger; or “the end of which is never reached,” Hofmann), but the nature of the γενεαλογίαι themselves. Since neither the Jewish genealogies nor the facts given in the Thora are unlimited, we can hardly understand the γενεαλογίαι to be anything else than “Gnostic series of emanations,” which have no necessary termination in themselves, and can therefore be regarded as unlimited.

Beside the expression γενεαλογίαι ἀπέραντοι, there are other features in the apostle’s polemic pointing to the Gnostic tendencies of his adversaries here, who boasted of a special knowledge, called by Paul γνῶσις ψευδώνυμος; still their Gnosticism is quite distinct from Gnosticism proper, i.e. from the Gnosticism which spread so widely in the church in the second century. The soil of the latter was Gentile Christianity; the soil of the former was Judaism, or Jewish Christianity mingled with Gentile speculation. An appeal to the Mosaic law was quite out of place in Gnosticism proper, but these heretics wished to be νομοδιδάσκαλοι. The asceticism of the Gnostics was based on dualism; the ascetic precepts of these heretics proceeded from the distinction—contained also in the law of Moses—between clean and unclean; and although they inconsistently spiritualized the contrast between spirit and matter, there is nothing to show that they adopted dualism proper, though we may take it for granted that they were so inclined. Gnosticism distinguishes between the Demiurge and the highest God—a distinction not known to these heretics. Finally, while Gnosticism is substantially Docetic in its view of the Redeemer’s person, it is nowhere said that these heretics were Docetic; it rather appears on the whole as if the idea of redemption had not with them the central importance which it had in Gnosticism.

All these details prove that, although the heresy in question was in many respects akin to Gnosticism, its nature was still distinct. Peculiar to both is the mingling of revealed religion with Gentile speculation; but in the one case—in Gnosticism

Christianity itself was invaded and penetrated by heathen philosophy; while here, on the other hand, Judaism first underwent that process. This Judaism, modified by speculation and united with Christianity, assumed, indeed, new elements, and suffered thereby many alterations. Still there was no substantial change of form, the Christian element in this form of Jewish Christianity being always overpowered by the Jewish. From it there arose such phenomena as are presented in the Ebionite, the Clementine, the Elkesaitic, and other heresies which are distinguished from systems strictly Gnostic, by preserving as much as possible a monotheistic character. To this speculative Jewish Christianity belongs also the heresy mentioned and combated in the Pastoral Epistles. It does not follow, however, that it was one single system definitely developed; the apostle rather keeps in view the general tendency which embraced manifold distinctions, so that all the individual features dwelt on by him were not necessarily characteristic of all these heretics. The general judgment refers to all. All who have yielded to this tendency stand opposed both to the doctrine of the gospel as well as to Christian morality; but all did not give direct utterance to the principle that the resurrection had already taken place, or that marriage was to be avoided, and we are not bound to regard them all as impostors, or as men who put on the appearance of piety only from motives of greed. One point might be more prominent in one, another in another; they are all, however, governed by one spirit, which could only exercise a disturbing influence on true Christianity.

This tendency is substantially the same as that combated in the Epistle to the Colossians. The distinction is simply this, that at the time of composing the Pastoral Epistles the same heresy was found in a stage of higher development. The doctrine of angels had already assumed the form of an emanation theory; the contrast between spirit and matter had been made wider, and the self-seeking motives in its followers had become more distinct.[27]

[24] If Hegesippus did use the expression ἡ ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις, it is in any case more probable that he should have borrowed it from the First Epistle to Timothy, than that the author of the epistle should have taken it from Hegesippus.

[25] This explanation Hofmann justifies by referring to Philo’s division of the historical contents of the Thora into two parts: τὸ περὶ τῆς τοῦ κόσμου γενέσεως and τὸ γενεαλογικόν. But though Philo uses the name τὸ γενεαλογικόν for the part after the history of the creation, because it begins with a genealogy, it does not follow, as a matter of fact, that the single historical events are designated by the word γενεαλογίαι.

[26] Wiesinger has not observed that allegorical interpretation is not to be regarded as the source of any special knowledge, but that knowledge obtained in other ways makes use of allegorical interpretation for its own confirmation.

[27] To the view expressed here, Zöckler (in Vilmar’s Past.-theol. Blätter, 1865, p. 67) has given his adherence.


Eusebius reckons the Pastoral Epistles among the homologumena, as there existed not the smallest doubt of their genuineness in the catholic church. They not only stand as Pauline Epistles in the Muratorian Canon and the Peschito, but they are also repeatedly quoted as such by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clemens Alex. Though they are not specially quoted by earlier ecclesiastical writers, yet many expressions and sentences occur showing that they were not less known than the other Pauline Epistles, such expressions appearing as quotations, or at least as reminiscences.[28] Clemens Rom. not only makes use of the expression εὐσέβεια, so often used in the Pastoral Epistles to denote Christian piety, but also in Ep. I. ad Corinth. chap. 2, we have a phrase almost agreeing with Titus 3:1 : ἕτοιμοι εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθόν, and in chap. 1 Timothy 2:9 there is an echo of the words in 1 Timothy 2:8 which can hardly be denied: προσελθῶμεν αὐτῷ ἐν ὁσίοτητι ψυχῆς, ἅγνας καὶ ἀμιάντους χεῖρας αἴροντες πρὸς αὐτόν.

In the Epistles of Ignatius, the passage in the Ep. ad Magnes. chap.8: μὴ πλανᾶσθε ταῖς ἑτεροδοξίαις, μηδὲ μυθεύμασι τοῖς παλαιοῖς, ἀνωφελέσιν οὖσιν, reminds one of 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9.

Still more striking is the agreement between some passages of the Epistle of Polycarp and corresponding passages in the Pastoral Epistles. Thus in particular chap. 1 Timothy 4 : ἀρχὴ πάντων χαλεπῶν φιλαργυρία· εἰδότες οὖν, ὅτι οὐδὲν εἰσηνέγκαμεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον, ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ ἐξενεγκεῖν τι ἔχομεν, ὁπλισώμεθα τοῖς ὅπλοις τῆς δικαιοσύνης, with 1 Timothy 6:7; 1 Timothy 6:10,—an agreement which even de Wette can only explain by supposing Polycarp to have been acquainted with this epistle.

In Justin Martyr the expressions θεοσέβεια and εὐσέβεια frequently occur. In his Dialog. c. Tryph. chap. 47, we have: ἡ χρηστότης καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία τοῦ Θεοῦ, as in Titus 3:4.[29] In the Ep. ad Diogn. chap. 4, there is the expression: αὐτῶν θεοσεβείας μυστήριον μὴ προσδοκήσῃς κ.τ.λ., which, compared with 1 Timothy 3:16, is not to be overlooked.

Hegesippus (Euseb. H. E. iii. 32), in agreement with 1 Timothy 6:20, calls the heresies γνῶσις ψευδώνυμος, provided that Eusebius is quoting him verbally, and not simply giving the substance of his thought; see p. 48.

Theophilus of Antioch says, ad Autolyc. iii. 14, clearly alluding to 1 Timothy 2:1-2 : ἔτι μὲν καὶ περὶ τοῦ ὑποτάσσεσθαι ἀρχαῖς καὶ ἐξουσίαις, καὶ εὔχεσθαι ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν, κελεύει ὑμῖν θεῖος λόγος, ὅπως ἤρεμον καὶ ἡσύχιον βίον διάγωμεν.[30] In Athenagoras, also, there are several allusions to passages in our epistles; thus, Leg. pro Christ. pp. 37, 39, etc.

It might indeed be thought strange, that when the older ecclesiastical writers are dealing with the same subjects as occur in the Pastoral Epistles, or subjects akin to them, there is not some more definite allusion to these epistles; but this is quite natural, when we take into account their relative independence.

According to the testimonies quoted, it is a point beyond dispute that the Pastoral Epistles from an early time were regarded in the catholic church as genuine Pauline Epistles. It is different, indeed, with the Gnostic heretics.[31] In Marcion’s Canon all three are wanting, and Tatian acknowledged only the Epistle to Titus as genuine. We cannot infer, from the absence of the epistles in his Canon, that Marcion did not know them. Jerome, in his introduction to the Commentary on the Epistle to Titus,[32] reproaches him as well as other heretics with rejecting the epistles wilfully. It is well known what liberties Marcion ventured to take with many N. T. writings recognised by himself as genuine; and it is quite in keeping with his usual method, that he should without further ado omit from the Canon epistles containing so decided a polemic against Gnostic tendencies. The striking fact, however, that Tatian acknowledges the Epistle to Titus as genuine, may arise from his being more easily reconciled to it than to the Epistles to Timothy, because in it the heretics are more distinctly called Jewish heretics than in the latter; comp. 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 1:14, 1 Timothy 3:9. But however that may be, the opposition of these heretics, when the genuineness of the epistles is recognised by the Fathers, can furnish no reason for doubt, all the less that Tertullian even expresses his wonder how Marcion could have left them out of his Canon.

After Tatian, their genuineness remained uncontested till the beginning of this century; only the more recent criticism has attempted to make it doubtful. At first the assault was directed against the First Epistle to Timothy. After J. E. C. Schmidt, in his Introduction, had expressed some doubts, its authenticity was disputed in the most decided manner by Schleiermacher in his letter to Gass, 1807. Schleiermacher acknowledged the authenticity of the two other epistles, and tried to explain the origin of the First by saying that the others had been used and imitated. He was at once opposed by Planck, Wegscheider, Beckhaus, who stoutly defended the epistle attacked by him; but the controversy was by no means settled by them. Criticism went farther on the way once opened, directing its weapons against the presupposition from which Schleiermacher set out in his polemic. From the inner relationship of all three epistles, it was impossible to deny that many grounds which Schleiermacher urged against the authenticity of the one epistle were not less strong against that of the others. Eichhorn therefore attacked the authenticity of all three, and was followed by de Wette (in his Einleitung ins N. T. 1826), but with some uncertainty. For although de Wette declared them to be historically inconceivable, and combined Schleiermacher’s view, that the First Epistle to Timothy arose from a compilation of the other two, with Eichhorn’s theory, that not one of the three was Pauline, he still confessed that the critical doubts were not sufficient to overturn the opinion cherished for centuries regarding these epistles, which did indeed contain much Pauline matter, and that the doubts therefore only affected their historical interpretation.

De Wette’s theory, so wavering in itself, was besides only of a negative character. Eichhorn, on the other hand, had already tried to reach some positive result, by expressing the opinion that the epistles were written by a pupil of Paul in order to give a summary of his verbal instructions regarding the organization of churches. In this he was supported by Schott (Isagoge, 1830), who, in a very arbitrary fashion, ascribed the authorship to Luke.

Again, there was no lack of defenders of the epistles assailed. Hug, Bertholdt, Veilmoser, Guericke, Böhl, Curtius, Kling, and others[33] took up the defence, partly in writings of a general character, partly in special treatises. Heydenreich and Mack also made a point of refuting the charges in their commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles.

Eichhorn’s positive result had remained very uncertain, a mere suggestion without any tenable grounds. So long as no firmer and better supported theory was brought forward, the defence also had no sure basis. Baur was right (Die sog. Pastoralbriefe des Ap. P. aufs neue kritisch untersucht, 1835) in saying that “there was no sufficient basis for a critical judgment so long as it was known only that the epistles could not be Pauline; that some positive data must also be established by which they could be transferred from the time of the apostle to some other.” The theory which Baur had formed of the relations of Christian antiquity, together with the peculiar character of the Pastoral Epistles, led him to believe that they had been written while Marcionite errors were current, and written by an author who, without being able to get rid of Gnostic views himself, had in the interests of the Pauline party put his polemic against Gnostic doctrines in the mouth of the Apostle Paul. In this way Baur thought he had found a firm positive foundation for criticism, and thereby brought it to a conclusion. But his opinion did not stand uncontested. Baumgarten, Böttger, and Matthies, in particular, appeared against it, and it is only the later Tübingen school that has given adherence to it. Even de Wette, in his commentary, 1844 (though he was more decided than ever in disputing the authenticity), declared himself against it, though in a somewhat uncertain fashion. His words are: “Since the references to Marcion are not at all certain, and the testimonies to the existence of the Pastoral Epistles cannot be got over, we must apparently assume an earlier date for their composition, say at the end of the first century.”

Credner, in his Einleitung ins N. T. 1836, advanced a peculiar hypothesis, viz., that, of the three epistles, only the one to Titus is genuinely Pauline, with the exception of the first four verses; that the Second Epistle to Timothy is made up of two Pauline Epistles, the one written during the first, the other during the second imprisonment at Rome, and is interwoven with some pieces of the forger’s own; lastly, that the First Epistle to Timothy is a pure invention. As a matter of course this ingenious hypothesis found no adherents, and, later, Credner himself (das N. T. nach Zweck, Ursprung, Inhalt für denkende Leser der Bibel, 1841–1843, chap. ii. pp. 98 f.) withdrew it, and declared all three letters to be not genuine.

Soon after the appearance of this commentary, Wiesinger, in his commentary, 1850, declared himself for the genuineness of all three epistles, and made a thoroughgoing defence of them. Later, however, Schleiermacher’s hypothesis found a supporter in Rudow (in the work already quoted, 1850).

Reuss, in the second edition of his Gesch. der heil. Schriften, 1853, is not quite certain of the genuineness of the Epistle to Titus and of the First Epistle to Timothy, but is quite confident that the Second Epistle to Timothy is genuine. On the other hand, Meyer, after declaring in the first edition of his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, 1836, the genuineness of the Second Epistle to Timothy to be beyond doubt, in the second edition of the same commentary, 1854, acknowledges that the three epistles stand or fall with each other; and that if they were written by Paul, it could only have been after the first imprisonment in Rome, the one mentioned by Luke. At the same time, he disputes the reality of a release and a second imprisonment, and therefore cannot admit the genuineness of all three epistles. His remarks amount to this, that the more precarious the proof of the second imprisonment, the greater justification there is for the doubts of the genuineness, doubts arising from the epistles themselves.

About the same time, Guericke, in his Neutest. Isagogik, 1854, re-stated his conviction of the genuineness of all three epistles. Mangold (in his work, Die Irrlehrer der Pastoralbriefe, 1856) admits, on the contrary, that neither the heresy mentioned in the epistles, nor the precepts contained in them regarding church matters, militate against their origin in the time of Paul. At the same time, he remarks that their authenticity is dependent on the solution of a whole series of other questions, and that the weight of these compels him to take the side of the exegetes who do not acknowledge their Pauline origin.

Bleek (Einleitung ins N. T. 1866) defends the genuineness of the Epistle to Titus and of the Second Epistle to Timothy. Regarding the First Epistle to Timothy, he thinks that it presents difficulties so considerable that we may suppose it to have been written in Paul’s name by an author somewhat later, but within the orthodox church. Hausrath (Der Apostel Paulus, 1872) considers the epistles to be not genuine, but conjectures that the Second Epistle to Timothy is based “on a short letter addressed to Timothy by the apostle from his imprisonment in Rome.” Plitt thinks them Pauline in contents, but supposes that “they have been worked up afterwards by the addition of one or two utterances from oral tradition, which has given a somewhat different colour to them.” As the latest decided defenders of the genuineness besides Otto (1860), we may name specially, L. Ruffet (1860), van Oosterzee (1861, ’74), and Hofmann (1874).

[28] Comp. especially Otto’s thorough investigation in the excursus, “The External Testimonies to the Authenticity of the Pastoral Epistles,” appended to his work, Ueber die geschichtl. Verhältnisse der Pastoralbriefe.

[29] The appeal to Euseb. H. E. iii. 26, who quotes words from a work of Justin’s, is out of place, since the expression: τὸ μέγα τῆς θεοσεβείας μυστήριον, occurring there, does not belong to the quoted passage.

[30] We should also note Theoph. Ant. ad Aut. i. 1 Timothy 2 : ὅπως ᾖ καὶ τοῦτο εἰς δεῖγμα, τοῦ μέλλειν λαμβάνειν τοὺς ἀνθρώπους μετάνοιαν καὶ ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν διʼ ὕδατος καὶ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας πάντας τοὺς προσιόντας τῇ ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἀναγεννωμένους; comp. with Titus 3:5.

[31] Nevertheless, in the fragments of some Gnostics, preserved to us by the Fathers, there are some passages which point back to the Pastoral Epistles. Thus in Herakleon (Clem. Al. Strom. Book iv. p. 502) the phrase: ἀρνήσασθαι ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται, is to be compared with 2 Timothy 2:13; and in the extracts from Valentinian sources which are contained in the work: Ἐκ τῶν Θεοδότου καὶ τῆς ἀνατολικῆς καλουμένης διδασκαλίας κατὰ τοὺς Οὐαλεντίνου χρόνους ἐπιτομαί, usually appended to the writings of Clem. Al., we have the expression φῶς ἀπρόσιτον, with which comp. 1 Timothy 6:16. See on this, Otto, l.c.

Licet non sint digni fide, qui fidem primam irritam fecerunt, Marcionem loquor et Basilidem et omnes haereticos, qui V. laniant Test., tamen eos aliqua ex parte ferremus, si saltem in Novo continerent manus suas.… Ut enim de ceteris epistolis taceam, de quibus quidquid contrarium suo dogmati viderant eraserunt, nonnullas integras repudiandas crediderunt, ad Timotheum videlicet utramque, ad Hebraeos et ad Titum.… Sed Tatianus, qui et ipse nonnullas Pauli epistolas repudiavit, hanc vel maxime, h. e. ad Titum, Apostoli pronuntiandam credidit; parvipendens Marcionis et aliorum qui cum eo in hac parte consentiunt, assertionem.

[33] Neander, also, in his Gesch. der Pflanzung … der Kirche, 1832; confessing, however, that he had not the same confident conviction of the genuineness of the First Epistle to Timothy as of the direct Pauline origin of all the other Pauline Epistles.

The reasons which chiefly awaken doubt regarding the genuineness of the epistles are the following three:—(1) the difficulty of conceiving historically that Paul composed them; (2) allusions and discussions which point to a later time than that of the apostles; and (3) their peculiarity in development of thought and mode of expression, departing in many respects from the epistles which are recognised to be genuine.

As to the first reason, the difficulty exists only when we presuppose that the apostle was not released from the Roman imprisonment mentioned in Acts, and that therefore the First Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus must have been composed before, the Second Epistle to Timothy during that imprisonment, if they are to be considered genuine at all. But this presupposition, as already shown, has no sufficient grounds, and with it disappears one reason for disputing the authenticity of the epistles.

In regard to the second reason, there are especially three points to be considered—(1) the heretics against whom all the three epistles contend; (2) the church-organization presupposed in the First Epistle to Timothy and in the Epistle to Titus; and (3) the institution of widows, mentioned in the First Epistle to Timothy.

1. In regard to the heretics, comp. § 4. Only by taking a false view of their nature can these be adduced as testifying against the authenticity of the epistles. In what the author says of them, there is nothing which compels us to assign them to the post-apostolic age.

2. The church-organization.

Those who dispute the genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles, especially Baur and de Wette, reproach their author with hierarchical tendencies, and maintain that the establishment and improvement of the hierarchy, as intended by the hints given in these epistles, could not have been to Paul’s advantage. While de Wette contents himself with this general remark, Baur goes more into detail. In the earlier work on the Pastoral Epistles, he remarks that in the genuine Pauline Epistles there is no trace of distinct officers for superintending churches (comp. on the contrary, Romans 12:8 : ὁ προϊστάμενος; 1 Corinthians 12:28 : κυβερνήσεις), whereas, according to these epistles, the churches were already so organized that ἐπίσκοποι, πρεσβύτεροι, and διάκονοι, have a significant prominence. In this he assumes that the plural πρεσβύτεροι denotes collectively the presidents who, each with the name of ἐπίσκοπος, superintended the individual churches. In the later work on Paul, Baur asserts that the Gnostics, as the first heretics proper, gave the first impulse to the establishment of the episcopal system. Granted that such was the case, that very fact would be a reason for dating the composition of the epistles earlier than the time of Gnosticism, since there is no trace in them of a regular episcopal system. Even if Baur’s view regarding the relation of the expressions πρεσβύτεροι and ἐπίσκοπος were correct, the meaning of ἐπίσκοπος here would be substantially different from that which it had later in the true episcopal system.

In our epistles we still find the simplest form of church-organization. The institution of the deacons had already arisen in the beginning of the apostolic age, and although tradition does not record at what time the presbytery began or how it was introduced, it must, apart from all the evidence in Acts, have arisen very early, as we cannot conceive a church without some superintendence. But all the instructions given in our epistles regarding the presbyters and deacons have clearly no other purpose than to say that only such men should be taken as are worthy of the confidence of the church, and are likely to have a blessed influence.

Where in this is there anything hierarchical? How different the Epistles of Ignatius are on this point! Had the Pastoral Epistles arisen at a later time, whether at the end of the first or in the middle of the second century, the ecclesiastical offices would have been spoken of in quite another way. Wiesinger is right in insisting on the identity between bishop and presbyter which prevails in the epistles, on the entire want of any special distinctions given to individuals, and also on the absence of the diaconate in the Epistle to Titus. “On the whole,” says Wiesinger, “there is clearly revealed the primitive character of the apostolic church-organization” (comp. also Zöckler, l.c. p. 68). Wiesinger is also right when he points to ὀρέγεσθαι ἐπισκοπῆς, to the νεόφυτος, and to the διδακτικός as signs that the epistles were composed in the later period of Paul’s labours. It may be thought strange, however, that while such indications are not contained in the epistles recognised to be genuine, they are given here; but it must, on the other hand, be observed that it must have been the apostle’s chief concern in the later period of his life, all the more that he saw the church threatened by heretics, to instruct the men who had to take his place in setting up and maintaining the arrangements for the life of the church.[34] There is no ground whatever for asserting that Paul had not the least interest in ecclesiastical institutions, and that this want had its deep ground in the spirit and character of the Pauline Christianity. Besides, all this is in most striking contrast with the information given us in Acts regarding the nature of the apostle’s labours.[35]

[34] The charge, that the system is insisted on too strongly, is in any case exaggerated. In the Second Epistle to Timothy nothing is said of it at all, and in the two others it is discussed only in a few single passages, and in such simple fashion that nothing more is said than is absolutely necessary. In particular, the divine origin of the episcopal office is nowhere named, much less emphasized. Even Clement of Rome insists on the significance of the office quite differently from what is done here.

[35] Only this much is correct, that Paul in his apostolic labours could not begin with regulations for the church, and could not expect salvation from church-organization. But later, when there had developed a manifold life in the churches, he kept organization more in mind—a fact which does not conflict with his peculiar spirit. Luther’s conduct in this respect forms an interesting parallel.

3. The institution of widows.

Schleiermacher quoted what is said in 1 Timothy 5:9 ff. regarding the χήρα, as a proof of the later origin of this epistle. At the same time, he did not, like many other expositors, understand 1 Timothy 5:9 to refer to their being placed on the list of those whom the church supported, but to their admission as deaconesses; and he thinks that such a regulation, ordaining that deaconesses shall promise perpetual widowhood, that they shall not marry a second time, and that their children shall be grown up, is not conceivable in the apostolic age (Ueber den 1 Br. an Tim. pp. 215–218). While Schleiermacher thus takes χήρα to be a name for the deaconesses, Baur gives a different explanation of the word as used in 1 Timothy 5:9. He thinks that this expression denoted, in the ecclesiastical language of the second century, those women who devoted themselves to an ascetic mode of life, and who in this capacity formed an ecclesiastical grade very closely connected with the grade of ἐπίσκοποι, πρεσβύτεροι, and διάκονοι, on which account the name of deaconesses was given to them. It seems, says Baur further, that they were not real widows, but bore that name. As a proof of this, Baur quotes in particular the passage of Ignatius, Ep. ad Smyrn. chap. 13, where he greets τοὺς οἴκους τῶν ἀδελφῶν σὺν γυναιξὶ καὶ τέκνοις, καὶ τὰς παρθένους, τὰς λεγομένας χήρας. But that passage only proves that in the second century there were virgins who, of course for ascetic reasons, remained in that condition, lead a retired life, and, as solitaries, were named χῆραι.[36] It cannot, however, be in the least inferred from this that the ΧῆΡΑΙ named in the First Epistle of Timothy were such ΠΑΡΘΈΝΟΙ; on the contrary, everything here said of the ΧΉΡΑΙ shows that actual widows are meant. It is true that in 1 Timothy 5:9 only those widows are spoken of who can be called church-widows; but Baur’s assertion, that at the time of the composition of the epistle, according to 1 Timothy 5:11, virgins also were received into the number, is an erroneous opinion, which can only be supported by a wrong interpretation of the verse. On the whole, however, it is very questionable whether we should think of deaconesses at all in the passage. This view was disputed formerly by Mosheim and recently by de Wette. Mosheim supposes that the χῆραι, as ecclesiastical personages, are to be kept distinct from the deaconesses, and that Tertullian, de vel. virg. chap. ix., speaks of those who are also called πρεσβύτιδες, presbyterae, presbyterissae. (The other proof-passages to which Mosheim appeals are: Palladii vita Chrysostomi, p. 47; Hermae, Pastor, Vision II. p. 791, ed. Fabricii.

Lucianus, de morte Peregrini, Works, vol. iii. p. 335, ed. Reitzian.; particularly also the eleventh canon of the Council of Laodicea, which in the translation of Dionysius Exiguus runs thus: mulieres, quae apud Graecos presbyterae appellantur, apud nos autem viduae seniores, univirae et matriculariae nominantur, in ecclesia tanquam ordinatas constitui non debere.) The distinction, according to Mosheim, lay in this, that the deaconesses acted as attendants, observed what went on among the women, and did not venture to sit down among the clergy; while the spiritual widows occupied an honourable place in the congregation, had a kind of superintendence over other women, and were employed in instructing and educating the orphans who were maintained by the love of the churches. If Mosheim’s view is correct (see on this the exposition of 1 Timothy 5:9 ff.), we can see no reason why such a grade of widows should not have arisen in the apostolic age. Even de Wette thinks it probable that, from the very first, pious widows had an ecclesiastical position, and his only objection is that in this place it is presupposed to be a position defined by law and resting on a formal election. But καταλεγέσθω in 1 Timothy 5:9 by no means presupposes an election in the proper sense. The demand that the widow should be ἙΝῸς ἈΝΔΡῸς ΓΥΝΉ has caused much difficulty; this difficulty, however, vanishes when the expression is rightly explained (see the exposition).

[36] It is incorrect to interpret, as do Böttger and Wiesinger, παρθένους of real widows, and to take the addition τὰς λεγομένας χήρας as a more precise explanation of the expression παρθένους. In that case Ignatius could not but have said: τὰς χήρας, τὰς λεγομένας παρθένους.

Besides the points mentioned, many others are quoted in proof by the opponents of the authenticity; all these, however, fall to the ground when the passages are explained. There is no doubt that the attacks often proceed from nothing but a groundless view of the relations of the apostolic age, and not seldom rest on the wrong presupposition that usages and views met with in authors of the second century were formed only in their time, and were not rather propagated from the preceding age. We can only discuss one more point here, and that is the assumed νεότης of Timothy. It has been thought strange that in both Epistles to Timothy he should be spoken of as still a young man; that, as de Wette says, the author “places him on a low footing, reminding him, as a beginner whose faith is weak and doctrine hesitating, of his pious education, of the instruction received from Paul, of the use of the Holy Scriptures, questioning his ability to understand a parable, and exhorting him, as a coward, to brave devotion to the cause of the gospel.” We need hardly remark how much exaggeration there is in this description. But as to Timothy’s youth, de Wette assumes that at the time of the apostle’s Roman imprisonment he had already been about ten years in the ministry of the gospel, and was then at least thirty-five years of age. This reckoning, however, is very uncertain. The manner in which he is spoken of in Acts 16:1 ff., on his first acquaintance with the apostle, would rather suggest that he was then a good deal younger than twenty-five. It is to be observed that Paul, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, also feels himself compelled to remark regarding Timothy: μή τις αὐτὸν ἐξουθενήσῃ, which remark was certainly caused by his youth; see Meyer on the passage.

Besides, we must take into consideration both the difference between his age and that of the apostle, and also the relation of his age to the position which the apostle had assigned to him shortly before the composition of the epistle, and which gave him the superintendence over the church with the oldest in it, etc.[37] Further, we do not see what should have moved a forger to represent Timothy as younger than he could have been according to historical facts.

It is not right to say that the pressing exhortations imparted to him in the epistles place him on too low a footing, since Paul had had many sad experiences in the last period of his life, and he is far from refusing to put any confidence in his pupil.

[37] Bleek takes objection to μηδείς σου τῆς νεότητος καταφρονείτω, because “though Timothy was not yet at the time exactly old, he had been Paul’s trusted helper for many years, and had received the most weighty commissions.” It is, however, to be observed, that Paul in the epistle is giving him a position in the church such as he had never before occupied.

As to the third reason, we have already remarked that the Pastoral Epistles have much that is peculiar in expression and in development of thought. The only question is, whether the peculiarity is great enough to be an argument against their apostolic origin. The number of ἅπαξ λεγόμενα occurring in them is obviously not decisive, since every one of Paul’s epistles contains less or more of such expressions peculiar to itself; thus the Epistle to the Galatians has over fifty; the Epistles to the Ephesians and the Colossians have together over 140.

The use of some of these expressions in later authors (e.g. ἄνθρωπος τοῦ Θεοῦ in Ignatius, Ep. ad Rom. chap. 6; διδασκαλίας δαιμονίων in Tertullian, De praescr. haer. chap. 7) is clearly no proof that they belong only to post-apostolic times. It would be otherwise if such expressions could be shown to have arisen from some view or custom which was formed only in a later age; but that is not the case. The statements that the expression μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνὴρ presupposes an unapostolic view of marriage, that the plural βασιλεῖς points to a period when, in consequence of the custom of adoption, introduced since Hadrian, there were co-emperors besides the emperor proper, and other similar statements, made by Baur, are arbitrary and without proof. On the other hand, the peculiar circumstances of these epistles made peculiar expressions necessary. Apart from the reference to the circumstances of the church here discussed, and to the position of the receivers of the epistles as assisting the apostle in his ministry, there is especially the heretical tendency, which could not but exercise a distinct influence on the expression. This would happen not merely in passages directly polemical, but also in the sections containing more general exhortations connected by the author in any way with the heretical errors. Wiesinger is right in remarking: “Considering all the circumstances, that the epistles are aimed at new phenomena, that they are addressed to fellow-teachers, that they are kindred in contents, and were composed at the same time, the peculiar vocabulary is conceivable, and, in comparison with Paul’s other epistles, presents no special difficulty.”

The epistles are peculiar, not only in individual expressions, but also in the entire manner of their thought and composition, and from this some have tried to prove that they are not genuine. But even this phenomenon is sufficiently explained by the peculiar circumstances, in so far as they are in some sort business letters, for the express purpose of conveying to their receivers short and simple directions on certain points. In this way the lack of the dialectic, which elsewhere is so characteristic of Paul, is not surprising. Nothing is proved against their authenticity, when de Wette notes the peculiarity that “there is an inclination to turn away from the proper subject of the epistle to general truths, and then commonly a return is made, or a conclusion and resting-point found, in some exhortation or direction to the readers.” Such rapid transitions to general sentences are found often enough in Paul; comp. Romans 13:10; Romans 14:9; Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:20; 1 Corinthians 7:10, etc. Apart from the form of presenting the subject, the mental attitude indicated in the epistles is said to testify against the Pauline authorship. De Wette directs attention to the following points as un-Pauline:—the prevailing moral view of life, the frequent injunction and commendation of good works, of the domestic virtues among others, the advocacy of moral desert which almost (?) contradicts the Pauline doctrine of grace, the defence of the law in which a moral use of it is granted. But, on the one hand, emphasis is laid most strongly on the ethical character of Christianity in all Paul’s epistles; and, on the other, there is nothing in these epistles to advocate moral desert to the prejudice of divine grace. De Wette acknowledges the univeralism in 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 4:10, Titus 2:11, to be Pauline, but he thinks that it has a different polemical bearing from that usual with Paul. The natural reason for this is, that Paul has not to do with Judaizing opposition here, as in his other Epistles.

De Wette’s chief complaint is, that the injunctions given to Titus and Timothy are too general and brief. But why could the apostle not have contented himself with giving the chief points of view from which they were to deal with the various cases? Besides, if they are really so brief, how comes it that the church has always found in them a rich treasure of pointed and pregnant instruction? Nor has the church erred in this respect, as may be seen from Stirm’s excellent treatise among others: “Die pastoraltheologischen Winke der Pastoralbriefe,” in the Jahrb. für deutsche Theologie, 1872, No. 1.

It would certainly awaken justifiable scruples, if it could be proved that other Pauline epistles had been used in composing these three. The passages on which this charge is founded are as follow:

From the First Epistle to Timothy, 1 Timothy 1:12-14 compared with 1 Corinthians 15:9-10; 1 Corinthians 2:11-12, with 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. From the Second Epistle to Timothy, 1 Timothy 1:3-5 compared with Romans 1:8 ff; Romans 2:5 with 1 Corinthians 9:24; 1 Corinthians 2:6 with 1 Corinthians 9:7 ff; 1 Corinthians 2:8 with Romans 1:3; Romans 2:11 with Romans 6:8; Romans 2:20 with Romans 9:21; Romans 3:2 ff. with Romans 1:29 ff; Romans 4:6 with Php 2:17. From the Epistle to Titus, 1 Timothy 1:1-4 compared with Romans 1:1 ff. Certainly the partial agreement is too great to be considered purely accidental. But it is as natural to suppose that the same author, when led to deal with the same thoughts, employed a similar form of expression, as that a forger made use of some passages in the genuine epistles of Paul in order to give his work a Pauline colouring.

As a whole, therefore, the diction and thought peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles cannot be regarded as testifying against their genuineness. But as each of the epistles may bear special traces of non-Pauline origin, we must further consider the criticisms made against them singly.

The First Epistle to Timothy.

According to Schleiermacher, it arose out of a compilation of the two other epistles. As proof of this, Schleiermacher mentions several facts, viz., that many expressions standing in a right connection in them, are here used unsuitably; that resemblances and agreements are found which amount to an appearance of plagiarism; and that this appearance is made an undeniable truth by misunderstandings and by difficulties, only to be explained by the hypothesis of their being imported from the one epistle into the other. The expressions to which Schleiermacher thus directs attention are as follow:—1 Timothy 1:1 : σωτήρ and κατʼ ἐπιταγήν (Titus 1:3); 1 Timothy 1:2 : γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει (Titus 1:4); 1 Timothy 1:4 : μῦθοι (Titus 1:14); προσέχειν, γενεαλογίαι (Titus 3:9); ζητήσεις (idem); 1 Timothy 1:6 : ἀστοχήσαντες (2 Timothy 2:18); 1 Timothy 1:7 : διαβεβαιοῦσθαι (Titus 3:8); 1 Timothy 1:10 : ὑγιαίυουσα διδασκαλία; 1 Timothy 1:16 : ὑποτύπωσις; 1 Timothy 2:7 compared with 2 Timothy 1:11; 2 Timothy 3:2 : νηφάλιον (Titus 2:2); 1 Timothy 2:3 : ἄμαχον (Titus 3:2); 1 Timothy 2:4 : σεμνότης (Titus 2:7); 1 Timothy 2:9 : ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει (2 Timothy 1:3); 1 Timothy 2:11 : μὴ διαβόλους (Titus 2:3); 1 Timothy 4:6 : παρηκολούθηκας (2 Timothy 3:10); 1 Timothy 4:7 : βεθήλους (2 Timothy 2:16); 1 Timothy 4:9 : πιστὸς ὁ λόγος (2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8). But when considered impartially, these expressions are by no means unsuitably used in the First Epistle to Timothy; it cannot therefore be proved that they are borrowed, and borrowed unskilfully. The agreement of the Pastoral Epistles in their mode of expression is sufficiently explained by the fact that they were written with no long interval between them. Comp. with this the general agreement between the Epistles to the Colossians and to the Ephesians.

Besides this, however, Schleiermacher charges the epistle not only with want of internal connection, launching out often from one subject to another, but also with containing many thoughts foreign to Paul (1 Timothy 1:8, 1 Timothy 2:14-15, 1 Timothy 2:5, etc.). But on the former point it is to be noted that the epistle is not a work on doctrine, but a business letter, in which subjects of various kinds are treated according to circumstances; and on the latter point, that the thoughts mentioned are not at all in contradiction with Paul’s views.

De Wette, too, has no grounds for asserting that the execution does not correspond with the aims proposed in the epistle. The passage in 1 Timothy 1:3, for example, does not justify any one in expecting an elaborate polemic against the heretics; it is sufficient for the purpose to give some of their characteristics. As a rule, Paul enters on a thorough polemic only against those opponents who disputed his gospel from presuppositions recognised by himself; this, however, was not the case with these heretics.

The charges, that the directions for managing the church are too general and insignificant, and that the exhortations given to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:18 f., 1 Timothy 4:7 ff., 1 Timothy 4:12 ff., 1 Timothy 5:23, 1 Timothy 6:11 ff.) are not suitable to his character and position, are not to the point; and the same may be said of the assertion, that a business letter addressed to Timothy ought to discuss the apostle’s special relations with the church at Ephesus, which was so dear to him. As to other points, de Wette holds that Schleiermacher goes too far in his unfavourable judgment, and does not agree with the theory of a compilation. Still he, too, places this epistle after the other two, and considers it the last written, though he assigns all three to the same author. All this makes it inconceivable how the forger did not express in one epistle what he wished to write in the apostle’s name.

Mangold agrees with de Wette in regarding the First Epistle to Timothy as the last written. The chief ground for this view is the advanced stage of heresy shown in the epistle. When the Epistle to Titus was written, the heretics, according to this theory, still stood outside the church as purely Jewish Essenes, and had had some trifling success only in Crete. When the Second Epistle to Timothy was composed, they had found a more favourable soil in Ephesus; by fusing their dogmas with Christian ideas they had won over notable members of the church, so that there was a danger of this heresy eating into it like a cancer. The author was not deceived in this respect, but saw “the introduction of Essene dogmas into Christianity completed,” and the heretical transformation of the fundamental ideas of Christianity into Essenism carried out to its ultimate consequences; hence he wrote another Third Epistle. In the earlier epistle, however, “he had chosen the situation in Paul’s imprisonment just before his death,” and thus “he had now to select some earlier period in the apostle’s life for writing anew.” The hypothesis is clever enough, but on the one hand there is no ground for presupposing that the heresy is more advanced in the First Epistle than in the Second, and on the other hand the forger would have acted most foolishly in placing the later stage of the heresy in an earlier period. Altogether, apart from the necessary explanation which these hypotheses give of some points, they leave many other points quite untouched. Mangold, in agreement with de Wette, gives one more proof for this theory of later composition—viz. that the Hymenaeus, mentioned in the Second Epistle as a member of the church, had already been excommunicated in the First. But, granting the identity of the persons, why could Paul not bring forward later as a heretic a man who had been excommunicated for his heresy? Besides, in the manner in which the man is mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:17, there is no indication that Timothy had known anything of him before. Bleek (Einleitung in das N. T.) has anew sought to prove the correctness of Schleiermacher’s view, that the First Epistle to Timothy is the only one not genuine. The chief ground on which he relies is the entire want of allusion to personal relations in the church; but this want is sufficiently explained by the motive of the epistle. Bleek thinks it strange that in the instructions regarding the bishopric no mention is made of any particular person in Ephesus fitted for the office; but we must remember that those instructions were given to Timothy not for the Ephesian Church alone. Stress is laid on the absence of any greetings from Paul to the church or to individual members of it, and from the Macedonian Christians to Timothy; but greetings were not at all necessary, and there are other epistles in which they are altogether wanting or very subordinate. All the other reasons advanced by Bleek, he himself declares to be secondary. When impartially considered, they are seen to have no weight—especially for one who, like Bleek, acknowledges that the epistle contains nothing un-Pauline.

The Epistle to Titus.

The criticisms made on this epistle by de Wette are, that it neither agrees with the state of things mentioned in it, nor corresponds with its purpose and the relation of the writer to the reader. As to the first point, it rests chiefly on the erroneous theory, that the epistle was written soon after the gospel was first preached in Crete. If Christianity had already spread to Crete and in the island before the apostle arrived there, there would be nothing strange in mentioning the multitude of heretics, nor in the blame given to the Cretans in spite of their readiness to receive Christianity, nor in the instructions which presuppose that Christianity had been some time in existence there. With regard to the second and third charge, we must note, on the one hand, that de Wette arbitrarily defines the purpose of the epistle to be, “to give to Titus instructions about the choice of presbyters, and about contending with heretics,” which certainly makes the greatest part of the epistle appear to be a digression from its purpose; and, on the, other hand, that the weight and importance of the general instructions and exhortations for the development of the Christian life have received too little recognition.

Reuss (Gesch. d. heiligen Schriften des N. T., 2nd ed. 1853) shows greater caution than de Wette in his opinion: “The somewhat solemn tone may excite surprise, not less so that Paul apparently found it necessary in a special letter to say things to Titus which were self-evident. This surprise may, however, give way before the consideration that Paul did not consider it necessary to deliver to his substitute a kind of official instruction and authorization as his certificate in the churches. More simply and surely it may give way, when it is remembered that the apostle wrote for special reasons and that an important matter could never appear to him to be too strongly enjoined.”

As to other points, even de Wette acknowledges that the epistle, “though not written with the Pauline power, liveliness, and fulness of thought, has still the apostle’s clearness, good connection, and vocabulary.”

The Second Epistle to Timothy.

In this epistle, apart from the historical inconceivability which it seems to him to share with the other two, de Wette takes exception to the following points, viz.: that, as already remarked, Timothy is not treated in a proper fashion, and that many exhortations (especially 2 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 2:14-15, 2 Timothy 3:14 to 2 Timothy 4:2), as well as the prophetic outbursts (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 2 Timothy 4:3) and the polemic attacks (2 Timothy 2:16-21; 2 Timothy 2:23, 2 Timothy 3:6-9; 2 Timothy 3:13), do not accord with the purpose of inviting him to come to Rome.

But as to the first accusation, the apostle’s exhortations do not by any means presuppose such a feebleness of faith and faintness of heart in Timothy, as de Wette in too harsh a fashion represents; besides, a forger would hardly have sketched a picture of Timothy in contradiction with the reality. The second accusation is based solely on de Wette’s inability to distinguish between the occasion and purpose of an epistle. De Wette further finds fault with the epistle, that here and there it is written with no good grammatical and logical connection, and without proper tact (for which he appeals to 2 Timothy 3:11, 2 Timothy 4:8!); but these are subjective judgments which decide nothing.

Schleiermacher declared the process of thought both in this epistle and in that to Titus to be faultless; and Reuss pronounces the following judgment on them: “Among all the Pauline Epistles assailed by criticism, no one (except the one to Philemon) bears so clearly the stamp of genuineness as this epistle, unless it be considered without any perception of the state of things presented in it. The personal references are almost more numerous than anywhere else, always natural, for the most part new, in part extremely insignificant; the tone is at once paternal, loving, and confidential, as to a colleague; the doctrine brief and hastily repeated, not as to one ignorant and weak, but as from one dying who writes for his own peace.

The reference to the apostolic office is the chief point from beginning to end, and there is no trace of hierarchical ambition or any other later tendencies.” Bleek is decided in maintaining the authenticity both of the Epistle to Titus and of this epistle.

The following are the results of an investigation which takes the actual circumstances into careful consideration:—1. The external testimonies are decidedly in favour of the authenticity of the epistles. 2. The difficulty of bringing them into any period of the apostle’s life disappears when we assume a second imprisonment at Rome. 3. The internal peculiarity of the epistles, both in regard to the matter discussed in them and in regard to the process of thought and mode of expression, presents much that is strange, but nothing to testify against the authenticity. 4. “There is no sufficient resting-place for the critical judgment of rejection, so long as we only know that the epistles cannot be Pauline; everything depends on proving positively that they arose at a later date.” Such is Baur’s opinion. But this positive proof entirely breaks down. Baur’s attempt has no evidence to support it; de Wette makes an uncertain conjecture; and Mangold, who sees Essenism in the heresy, himself admits that this is no reason for assigning the epistles to the post-apostolic age. If there are difficulties in vindicating the Pauline authorship, it is still more difficult to prove in whole or in part how a forger could manufacture three such epistles as these are, in form and contents, and foist them on the Apostle Paul.

Since, therefore, there is no sufficient proof of the post-apostolic origin of the epistles, we may further (as Wiesinger also has completely shown) maintain their right to a place in the Canon as Pauline writings, all the more that the Pauline spirit is not contradicted in them, and that, in comparison with the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, they show a decided superiority in their whole tenor.[38]

[38] Guericke: “The Pastoral Epistles are certainly not written in so fresh and lively a manner, nor do they enter as thoroughly into details, as do Paul’s earlier epistles. They show us the great apostle as a grey-haired man, bent with age, with persecution, with anxiety (?). His hate is especially sharpened against the enemies of the kingdom of God; but he is at the same time filled with a sadness all the more deep, as he beholds the kingdom of Antichrist develop now and threaten the future. Thus the fragile (?) covering reveals all the more nobly the spirit of faith and love which dwelt within him.”

Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's NT Commentary

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