A Critique of Johnny Bravo's

Response to Sam Shamoun's "Rebuttal to Johnny Bravo's Article:
Christian Scholars Refuting the Status of the NT as An Inspired Scripture"
Part 3

[A], [B], [C]

The following is my response to the claims set forth by Bravo the Terrorist, which can be found here and here.

The Terrorist tries to trivialize my response by accusing me of having the "I am right, and Metzger and the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible is wrong" mentality. Apart from Bravo's childish mentality, anyone reading my rebuttal can clearly see that I USED METZGER'S OWN BOOK TO PROVE MY CASE! The fact that Bravo failed to address any of my citations from Metzger is an indication that Bravo was clearly overwhelmed and couldn't respond.

Hence, instead of dealing with Metzger's citations Bravo chooses to cite source after source as if this somehow refutes my points. In so doing, Bravo has only demonstrated that he is a master of evasion and of logical fallacies. Bravo has committed the mistake of what is commonly referred to as "stacking the deck" and is guilty of the fallacy of appealing to authority. Bravo quotes only those references that agree with his presupposition, while failing to present the conservative responses that address the points raised by his liberal sources.

Presenting a long list of convenient opinions is not the same as giving proof. The western world has a long tradition of freedom of expression, including the freedom to publish wrong opinions, weak research, and unfounded conclusions. It is easy to find academic publications supporting nearly any opinion imaginable. Despite this being Bravo's favorite approach, nothing is actually established by quoting a hundred people, with or without academic degrees, who happen to hold the same opinion as I do, if I fail to carefully discuss also the arguments against my position and the data itself.

Throughout these series of rebuttals, I will present responses to the arguments used by liberals to support a late date for specific NT books. I first begin with quotations from scholars that address the arguments set forth against Pauline authorship of what is commonly referred to as the "Pastoral Epistles", i.e. 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus.

I start with the late NT scholar Raymond Brown's Introduction To The New Testament, Doubleday. The reason why I chose Brown first is because not only does Bravo quote his Introduction but Brown was also more liberal in his view of the Bible, i.e. his denial of the inerrancy and historical accuracy of the scriptures. This makes his criticism of the arguments for the late dating of the Pastorals much more relevant, seeing that it comes from one who held to very liberal views much like Bravo and his sources. All bold and capital emphasis mine:

Who Wrote Titus and 1 Timothy?

We have enough evidence now to conclude this issue; and since II Tim is partially a different problem, let us leave that till the next Chapter. Paul is the apparent writer, even to the extent of supplying details about his personal travels. Yet for reasons to be listed below, that has been challenged FOR THE LAST 200 YEARS. A suggested alternative is a close Pauline disciple carrying out the implicit designs of the master, in other words the same solution suggested for other deuteroPauline writings. (Such a solution may or may not accept the historicity of the biographical details that appear in the Pastorals.) Some would see them as written not by a disciple of Paul but by a sympathetic commentator on the Pauline heritage (including some information about Titus and Timothy that he wove into a fictional sequence) who wanted to strengthen local church organization against incipient gnosticism. More radically, others would see them as a nonPauline attempt to correct the apostle's heritage: At a time when the memory of Paul was being invoked dangerously by Marcion and by apocryphal Acts, the Pastorals would have been written to domesticate that memory and bring the apostle into the mainstream. Indeed, forgery has been suggested, as part of a design to deceive the readers. Part of the issue is whether the contents of the Pastorals can feasibly be assigned to Paul's lifetime (i.e., to a "second career" in the period 63-66 after that recounted in Acts). Those who describe the Pastorals as pseudepigraphical assign them to the 80s-90s, the early 2d century, or the last third of that century (Sam- Note the confusion amongst liberals regarding the alleged dating of the Pastorals.) Let us look at different factors (not all of the same worth) that have entered into scholars' decisions. In describing them, I shall point out that they are rarely unambiguous. If that produces a confusing result, the effect is realistic; for resolving with great assurance the issue of who wrote the Pastorals and when does not respect the evidence. Beyond the question of Pauline authorship, a somewhat detailed discussion of these factors is justified because many of them concern essential aspects of the continuity between Paul's life and the ongoing churches that were shaped by his mission.

(1) The Pastorals' use of particles, conjunctions, and adverbs differs notably from Paul's undisputed usage. Also roughly one quarter of the vocabulary of the Pastorals does not appear in the other Pauline letters, but that cumulative statistic DOES NOT DO JUSTICE TO THE FACT THAT THE VOCABULARY OF II TIM IS MUCH LESS FOREIGN TO THE PAULINE HERITAGE. By comparison with the undisputed Pauline letters, the collective vocabulary of the Pastorals is less Septuagintal and closer to that of the ethical directions of the popular Greek philosophers, and the style is less Hebraic and more colorless and monotonous (longer sentences, less varied use of particles, etc.). More specifically, for instance, epithets from Hellenistic piety are ascribed exuberantly to both God and Christ in a distinctive way: "our great God and Savior" (Titus 2:13); "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords" (I Tim 6:15.) The value of the vocabulary and style argument has been queried because of Paul's possible use of scribes to whom he might have given liberty that would affect statistical comparison (but see Chapter 29 above, n. 28). The subject matter in the Pastorals, especially that pertinent to church structure, is different from that of the other Pauline letters - A FACTOR THAT COULD EXPLAIN SOME VOCABULARY DIFFERENCE. Moreover Pauline vocabulary and style are strangely mixed with the nonPauline. Nevertheless, the statistics create a doubt about Pauline writing, especially when combined with other arguments.

(2) In general, a similar report would be generated by a comparison of the theology and ethics of the pastorals, with that of the undisputed Paulines. Familiar Pauline terms (law, faith, righteousness) appear but with a slightly different nuance. Overall the same differences can be found in the other Pauline letters but in not so concentrated a manner. In the Pastorals there is an unusual amount of polemic, often stereotypical.

(3) As explained in the Background section of the Chapters on Titus and I Tim, the data about Paul's ministry and whereabouts cannot be fitted into what we know of Paul's life before the Roman imprisonment of 61-63. If the material is historical and Paul actually wrote these letters, they demand our positing a "second career" in the mid-60s. Terminus a quo: Titus and I Tim could not have been written, therefore, before 64-66.

(4) Some who would place the Pastorals late in the 2nd century point to the fact that they are missing from Marcion's canon (ca. 150); yet Tertullian (Adversus Marcion 5.21) contends that Marcion knew and rejected them. They are also missing from the Beatty Papyrus II (P64; ca. 200); but that papyrus codex contains only Pauline letters addressed to communities (Chapter 15 above, n. 2) and makes no claim to be a complete collection. The Rylands Papyrus, P32, FROM ABOUT THE SAME PERIOD, CONTAINED TITUS. Some have claimed that the Pastorals were written to correct the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla (late 2nd century), which puts great stress on remaining a virgin and has a woman teaching men (n. 24 above); yet in the opposite direction we may be seeing in the Pastorals material that later appears full-blown in the Thecla Acts. Although this Acts shares in part the characters and places in II Tim, its description of Paul's journey does not correspond closely to the Pauline travels reflected in the Pastorals; and if the details of the Pastorals are not historical, the most one can say is that they and the Thecla Acts exhibit a similar tendency to expand the career of Paul. Toward the end of the 2nd century the Muratorian Fragment is already accepting the Pastorals as authoritative. Polycarp, Philippians 4:1, is close to I Tim 6:10 and 6:7 and to the widow motif of 5:3-6; and MOST judge that Polycarp's letter (AD 120-130) has been influenced by the Pastorals and not vice versa. Terminus ante quem: Thus the external evidence slightly favors the Pastorals having been written before AD 125.

(5) The false teaching that is criticized is often judged to be a Judaizing gnosticism that developed later than Paul's lifetime. Although this identification has been supported by prestigious scholars (M. Dibelius, H. Conzelmann), we have seen that the exact nature of what is being criticized in the Pastorals IS HARD TO DISCERN. THERE IS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE IN THE PASTORALS TO SUGGEST THAT ONE OF THE GREAT GNOSTIC SYSTEMS OF THE 2ND CENTURY WAS THE TARGET OF CRITICISM.

(6) Also in relation to dating, it is argued that the church structure envisioned in the Pastorals goes beyond Paul's lifetime. True, none of the undisputed Pauline letters mentions presbyters; but church structure IS NOT THE SUBJECT OF THOSE WRITINGS, AND SO THE SILENCE IS ACCIDENTAL. Moreover, there is an equivalence between those called presbyters and the bishop (overseers) or bishops; and Phil. 1:1 mentions the latter. (The claim that episkopoi of Phil and those of the Pastorals are different IS WITHOUT SUBSTANTIATION, since Phil supplies us no information on those figures.) Accordingly we cannot be certain when the presbyteral structure that was widespread in the last third of the 1st century (Acts 14:23; I Pet 5:1-4; James 5:14) became common. Although the oncoming death of Paul is mentioned only in II Tim (not Titus or I Tim), the concern with leaving behind an established church structure WOULD BE UNDERSTANDABLE as Paul's consciousness of mortally passing from the scene grew stronger. This concern would also be understandable soon after Paul's death as the newly orphaned churches sought reassurance.

(7) According to Titus the principal structure to be inaugurated in Crete by Titus' appointment is that of presbyter/bishops; I Tim supposes the existence in Ephesus of presbyters/bishops (with some specialization of the presbyters) and deacons. The bipartite structure is not far from that of Didache 15:2 (ca. AD 100?) which urges that people appoint for themselves bishops and deacons to take the place of wandering apostles and prophets, and that of I Clement 42:4,5; 44:4-5; 54:2 (ca. 96), which refers to presbyter/bishops and deacons. It is distinct from the tripartite structure urged by Ignatius in most letters (ca. 110), namely one bishop, presbyters, and deacons. Therefore, if one were to posit a linear progression (which is surely too simple a picture), the Pastorals would be placed in time before the writings of Ignatius.

(8) As many have noted, in atmosphere and vocabulary the Pastorals are very close to Luke-Acts, to the point that some have thought the same person wrote them, or that one was written in partial dependence on the other. The reference in II Tim 3:11 to Paul's sufferings and what happened to him "at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra" echoes the journey of Paul recounted only in Acts 13:14-14:20. The idea of presbyters in every town (Titus 1:5) is found in Acts 14:23. Presbyters who were bishops/overseers (Titus, I Tim) are attested in Acts 20:17,28. Aged widows who refuse remarriage and spend night and day in prayer are attested in I Tim 5:5,9 and Luke 2:36-37. A farewell address of Paul in the light of his coming departure is found in both II Tim 3:10-4:8 and Acts 20:18-35; the II Tim farewell is addressed through Timothy to the church at Ephesus and the Acts farewell is directed to the presbyter/bishops of Ephesus. The most plausible dating of Luke-Acts is the 80s.

(9) I Tim implies the existence of a certain type of false teaching at Ephesus. If we accept that information as historical, we must take into account that the letter to the angel of the church at Ephesus in Rev 2:1-7 (probably written in the 90s) and Ignatius' Ephesians (ca. 110) do not describe a similar heresy. Was it stamped out by I Tim which was written to Ephesus earlier than those two letters, whence the praise in Rev 2:2 for having put false apostles to the test, and in Ephesians 8:1 for not having been deceived? Or did the heresy develop after those two letters, so that I Tim was written after them?

(10) More than the undisputed Pauline letters, the Pastorals contain a large amount of biographical material, especially recent missionary activities not otherwise attested: where Paul hopes to spend the winter, what happened to him at his first judicial hearing (in Judea or Rome), and the names and occasionally the whereabouts of some fifteen friends and enemies of Paul who are mentioned nowhere else in the NT. Did someone other than Paul invent such details and scatter them over three letters? Modifying his proposals in several writings, P.N. Harrison has suggested that genuine Pauline notes were incorporated into the Pastorals (Titus 3:12-15; part of II Tim, esp. chap. 4). Yet these notes do not make a truly sequential narrative; and today the thesis has relatively little following. Drawing on the example of pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Plato, Donelson (Pseudepigraphy) contends that personalia intended to impress the reader and to lend an appearance of genuineness are typical of pseudepigraphy. One should not forget, however, that many of these details play a role in the hortatory thrust of the Pastorals; they bring out aspects of the life o Paul that should be imitated. Also the personalia are not without significance for dating, especially if we include those in II Tim. Such details would require knowledge of other Pauline letters and Acts (see p. 678 below), and would those works have been easily available before AD 100?


(12) Those who do not believe in inspiration and those who do but without a literalist understanding of the divine communication do not find the notion of pseudepigraphy an obstacle in itself when it is understood in terms of disciples continuing the Pauline tradition and assuming the mantle of the apostle to speak loyally in his name to new problems facing a later generation. It is hard to see, however, how a proposal that the writer of the Pastorals was intentionally deceptive and consciously desired to counteract Paul's genuine heritage can be fitted into any notion of inspiration, even a sophisticated one.

In varying ways the factors just listed have contributed to a situation where about 80 to 90 percent of modern scholars would agree that the Pastorals were written after Paul's lifetime, and of those the majority would accept the period between 80 and 100 as the most plausible context for their composition. The majority would also interpret them as having some continuity with Paul's own ministry and thought, but not so close a continuity as manifested in Col and Eph and even II Thess. (Brown, pp. 662-668)


A SERIOUS minority, however, argues that II Tim can be fitted into Paul's career described in Acts. Specifically II Tim is deemed reconcilable with the assumption that after the two years of relatively easy detention in Rome (the last reference in Acts 28:30-31), Paul was subjected to harsher jailing that led to his death there ca. 64 or shortly afterwards. II Tim would have been written in a context just before that death without any "second career" leading to a second imprisonment ca. 65. How do the data of II Tim fit into that minority hypothesis? We are not told where Timothy was; but when he would come to Paul he was to be accompanied by Mark and to bring a cloak and books that the apostle left at Troas (4:11, 13). From the surface of evidence, therefore, one might assume that Timothy was at Troas; and that is not implausible on the basis of other NT evidence. Acts 20:5-13 reported that in 58, on his way to Jerusalem and eventual imprisonment in Caesarea and Rome, Paul met Timothy at Troas and spent seven days there. If I Tim were written from Rome ca. 64 in his continued imprisonment, Paul's career would not have brought him back to Troas after 58 to retrieve things he might have left there (perhaps because he had hoped to pick them up when he traveled from Jerusalem via Rome to Spain: Rom 15:24-25). Troas was a place that historically Paul had wanted to evangelize. When he left Ephesus in the summer of 57, he had begun successfully to preach at Troas, but was forced by his anxiety over Corinth to move on quickly to Macedonia (II Cor 2:12-13). Timothy may have picked up the task, whence Paul's addressing the letter to him there. II Tim 4:16 has Paul tell Timothy that in his first defense (at Rome?) no one took his part and all deserted him. It may be that his one and only Roman imprisonment had now tuned harsh (perhaps because that defense was not successful), and it was important that Paul tell Timothy what was happening at Rome in order to summon his closest confidant to one last meeting before Paul's approaching death (4:6-8). Paul's foreboding would have been verified in Rome 64 (or even later) when Nero began to execute Christians.

By way of overall judgment, THERE IS NO CONVINCING OBJECTION TO THIS MINORITY PROPOSAL, and so we must read II Tim WITHOUT ANY PRESUPPOSITIONS about how it is related to the other Pastorals ... (Ibid., pp. 673-674)

Brown's list of the differing proposals posited for a late dating of the Pastorals clearly exemplifies just how confusing and chaotic the liberal claims truly are. Brown's own criticisms should demonstrate that none of the liberal arguments convincingly refute Pauline authorship for the Pastorals.

With that just said, we now turn to the following lengthy defense of Pauline authorship from NT scholar Donald Guthrie's New Testament Introduction, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL., third edition (revised) in one volume December 1970. All bold emphasis mine:

So formidable have the objections appeared to many scholars that there is an aptitude to write off as special pleading or as undue submission to the demands of the Canon any attempt to answer them. Yet a not inconsiderable number of recent scholars have supported authenticity in spite of these objections. The case for Pauline authorship must of necessity be presented largely on the defensive since the onus of proof rests with the challengers. If each objection can be answered in a satisfactory way in agreement with the self-claims of the Epistles to be written by Paul, the authenticity may be regarded as established. Only if in the course of investigations facts come to light which appear conclusive for non-authenticity will the onus of proof pass to the defenders.

(i) the historical problem. It has been pointed out that the ‘fiction’ and ‘fragment’ theories of these Epistles have arisen because of difficulties many scholars find in accepting the second Roman imprisonment hypothesis. The main ground of this objection is the absence of any allusion to such renewed Pauline activity in the Acts of the Apostles. In other words it is an argument from silence and it implies that only what is included in the Acts record can be considered authentic. But there are many details in Paul's life which Acts does not record, as the list of Paul's sufferings in 2 Corinthians xi conclusively shows. But can it be maintained that the second imprisonment hypothesis is a legend which owes its origin only to the necessity of finding an historical situation for the Pastoral Epistles when they were once accepted into the Canon? Harrison claims that there is no early external evidence of this tradition of further Pauline activity and when the evidence does occur it is an inference with no solid basis. He disclaims Clement of Rome's allusion to the apostle preaching to the boundary of the West as evidence of a release because he interprets this boundary as Rome itself. It may not be conclusive that Clement is referring to Paul's mission to Spain, but the reality of the Spanish mission does not affect the release hypothesis. Paul may easily have changed his mind and returned to the East instead of going to the West as he had originally planned. The scanty patristic evidence of a Spanish visit has been alleged to be no more than deduction from the notices of Paul's intentions in Romans xv. 24, 28. But does this vitiate Paul's further activity in the East? Are we entitled to regard a theory which is demanded by the internal evidence of the Pastorals themselves as legend on the ground that there is no external attestation of such a release? There is no justification for such a conclusion unless there is positive evidence to show that Paul did not do any further missionary work, and this must leave the possibility that he did.

But can we proceed from possibility to probability? To answer this question it is necessary to study the grounds on which the apostle was sent to Rome as a prisoner. According to Acts xxvi. 32 Agrippa concluded that Paul might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar, and there is no hint that the proconsul Festus disagreed with this judgment. On the contrary Acts xxv. 20 states clearly that Festus was at a loss to know how to deal with Paul's case through lack of understanding of the religious charges laid against him. In his report to the Emperor he could not have been too unfavourable to Paul and unless some further charge were later brought against him it is a fair assumption that the normal course of Roman justice would have resulted in his release. We have already noted (see pp. 528 ff.) that when he wrote Philippians Paul was at least mindful of the possibility of an early release and if this was sent from Rome it would be strong corroborating evidence of the release theory. Another consideration which must be given due weight is the strange abruptness of the end of Acts. Unless Acts was written before the end of the imprisonment which it mentions at its close it is difficult to believe that the author would have concluded his story without mentioning the martyrdom which crowned Paul's labours, if this martyrdom in fact came at the end of the imprisonment. The ending of Acts seems rather to favour than to oppose the theory that Paul's activity is not yet at an end.

If then the second Roman imprisonment theory be admitted as a possibility it remains to suggest the course of events in which Paul was involved. Unfortunately only the most tentative suggestions can be made, owing to the scantiness of the data. The Pastorals tell us that Paul again visited Asia (Troas, 2 Tim. iv. 13, and Miletus, 2 Tim. iv. 20) although it is not necessary to suppose that he visited Ephesus on the strength of 1 Timothy i. 3. But he urged Timothy to stay there when he was en route for Macedonia. At some time he paid a visit to Crete, where he left Titus, but his main activity appears to have been in Macedonia and Greece. From the Captivity Epistles we may surmise that he visited the Lycus valley, doubt on the same occasion as he urged Timothy to remain at Ephesus, and that he paid his promised visit to Philippi. If the external evidence which suggests that Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero is correct, he may have been rearrested in the western districts of Macedonia or Epirus (which is mentioned in Titus iii. 2) and taken to Rome.

(ii) The ecclesiastical problem. These Epistles contain references to elders, bishops, deacons and widows, and the qualifications which are required of those who hold office are set out in some detail. Most of these qualifications are of a rather obvious moral kind. But are the instructions concerning the appointments to these offices the kind that Paul was likely to give? This question may be answered in the affirmative on the following grounds. There is strong ground for concluding that Paul himself appointed elders in the statement of Acts xiv. 23 that Paul and Barnabas on their return from their first missionary journey appointed elders in every church (i.e. the South Galatian churches). To get over this difficulty B.S. Easton considered the Acts reference to be an anachronism, but this method of dealing with unacceptable evidence does not commend itself. The fact that Paul appointed elders at the very commencement of his missionary labours is strong evidence of his interest in orderly Church government. The comparative absence of reference to the elder-system elsewhere in his Epistles is admittedly rather perplexing, but the church at Philippi, with its bishops and deacons, supports the allusions to the elder-system in the Acts. The further statement that Paul sent for elders of the Ephesian church when he was passing through Miletus (Acts xx. 17) is indirect evidence that he had sanctioned their appointment if he had not himself appointed them. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, which as we have seen was probably sent to the churches of the Ephesus and the Lycus valley, Paul refers to the existence of ‘pastors and teachers’ in the Church, and these would approximate to the office of elder whose function was both pastoral and didactic.

It is not, therefore, true to say that Paul had no interest in Church organization, although he certainly did not insist on uniformity. If there is some ground for supposing that Paul was an ecclesiastical architect during the course of his missionary labours, it would be foolish to suppose that at the end of his life with the knowledge that he must soon hand over to younger men Paul had shown complete disinterestedness in the way in which his successors were to set about the task. With his vast experience of missionary statesmanship Paul of all men was best qualified to lay down stipulations for the appointment of officers and to give general instructions regarding Church order. He would have been the most shortsighted of men if he had not done so.

The criticism that the elder-system is too advanced for the time of Paul is based on two misconceptions. It assumes that the main function of elders was to transmit the tradition and to a certain extent this must have been true in the later stages of Church development. But this does not rule out the possibility that Paul himself would have seen the need for such authorized transmission. It was of the utmost importance that the teaching of the Church should be entrusted to capable people and for this reason the bishops are to be apt to teach. Only so could the continuity of the doctrine be maintained and it is impossible to believe that the apostle Paul under the guidance of the Spirit of God had no thought of the future. A further misunderstanding arises from the view that by the end of Paul's life he had no conception of a body of doctrine to be passed on. Since he had himself received the early apostolic tradition it is completely unrealistic to suppose that Paul with his creative mind could never have conceived of any form of fixation of doctrine. He must have recognized that no church could hope to survive without some kind of tradition-bearers. The Pastoral Epistles depict an apostle fully alive to this challenge.

But does the situation reflected in the Pastorals suggest a long established Church, which clearly could not have existed in the time of Paul? It mush be borne in mind that the Church of Ephesus would have been established about nine to ten years by the time Paul writes to Timothy and the advice not to appoint novices would not be entirely without meaning in such a church. In primitive communities the choice of officials is necessarily strictly limited in the opening stages of the work, but in a church of the size of Ephesus, where Paul had himself worked for three years, it must have been an injunction of practical significance that no novice be appointed to office. It is important notice that this particular request is confined to Ephesus; the position at Crete, which was undoubtedly a more recently established church, was quite different so Paul omits the mention of novices. This in itself is an indirect confirmation of the historical veracity of the account, which it is difficult to imagine came from the pen of a Paulinist after the end of the century. Presumably when Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in the Galatian churches on their first missionary journey they must have selected ‘novices’ in the sense of recent converts, for they had no other choice. The same must have applied to the original elders at Ephesus, but the continuation of the practice would not be advisable as Paul recognizes in writing to Timothy. We cannot agree therefore that the Church situation in the Pastorals demands a time long after the life of Paul.

The view that Timothy and Titus represent bishops of the type of Ignatius and his time cannot be sustained. They certainly possessed greater authority than the elders which they were to appoint and the general functions which they are called upon to perform were all exercised by the Ignatian-type bishops, but that does not establish them as belonging to a later age. All that is necessary to account for all the facts is to regard them as apostolic delegates. There is no evidence for the view that Timothy has been appointed the metropolitan of the Ephesian community, nor that Titus was appointed to a similar position in Crete. They are told to perform the kind of function which they had both exercised earlier in Macedonia and Achaia. They are to act essentially as representatives of the apostle to the Gentiles.

There are other reasons why this view must be rejected. The instructions regarding bishops in 1 Timothy and Titus would be strange indeed if monarchial bishops were in existence at the time the Epistles were written. There is no suggestion that one bishop only should be appointed in each church. In Titus i. 5 ff. the word ‘bishop’ is used interchangeably with ‘elder’ and since elders are to be appointed in every town there is no question here of monarchial government. Moreover, there is no provision for the continuation of the bishop's office as would be expected in a second-century production.

There can be only one conclusion to this examination of the ecclesiastical evidence. It does not take us beyond the time of Paul. But does the same apply to the heresies alluded to in the Epistles? To answer this question it will be necessary first to outline the data which are available from the letters themselves.

1. The main characteristic of the teaching was not so much its falseness as its irrelevance. Paul refers to myths and endless genealogies (1 Tim. i. 3-7), to striving about words and wrangling (1 Tim. vi. 3-5), to godless chatter and ‘antithesis’ (1 Tim. vi. 20). It seems that the main stock-in-trade of these teachers was empty platitudes which Paul did not even consider it worth while to refute.

2. The teaching had many Jewish characteristics as may be seen from 1 Timothy i. 7, Titus i. 10, 14, iii. 9. The Cretan myths are specifically described as Jewish and it is reasonable to suppose that those at Ephesus were of a similar type. There were also disputes about the law although it is not clear what form these took. The absorbing interest in genealogies gives some indication in view of contemporary Jewish speculations centred mainly around Pentateuchal genealogies.

3. There ascetic tendencies which Paul connects with ‘doctrines of demons’ (1 Tim. iv. 1-5). These tendencies took two forms, celibacy and abstinence from food. Since in this passage in 1 Timothy future tense is used it may be that these tendencies had not as yet arisen in these churches, but abstinence from food had certainly arisen already at Colossae. It is also possible that the opposite tendency towards licentiousness may be threatening since Paul urges Timothy not to participate in other people's sins but to keep himself pure (1 Tim. v. 22).

4. The only doctrinal error to which Paul definitely refers in these Epistles is the denial of the resurrection hope. Two men, Hymenaeus and Philetus, have swerved from the truth by maintaining that the resurrection is already past, which meant in effect that they denied the Christian doctrine of resurrection altogether (2 Tim. ii. 17 ff.). A man named Hymenaeus is coupled with an Alexandra in 1 Timothy i. 20 as having made shipwreck concerning the faith, but no details are given of the cause. It is at least possible that the same Hymenaeus is being referred to, but we cannot be certain.

It can hardly be maintained that these data point to a ‘coherent and powerful heresy’. If anything the allusions suggest just the reverse. Wrangling and chatter are not the usual marks of coherence, nor are idle speculations. The fact that only one matter of doctrinal importance is mentioned, and even that only by way of illustrating godless chatter, does not lead us to suppose that the apostle took these teachers very seriously. His main concern was that Timothy and Titus should not waste time over them. This explains why he does not consider it worth while to answer their contentions as he did the false teaching being propagated at Colossae. Another reason why Paul here denounces instead of refutes is that he is writing to those who were well enough versed in Christian doctrine to do the refuting themselves where necessary. In Colossians Paul is confronting the members of the church who may well have been perplexed over the specious arguments of the false teacher or teachers and who had no-one capable of giving the Christian answer. It is fallacious to compare Paul's reference to the heresy in Colossians with those in the Pastorals and then to deny the latter to Paul because he does not treat them in the same way.

Few scholars would now maintain with any certainty that the writer of the Pastorals is combating developed Gnosticism. Yet if the hypothesis of a second-century Paulinist writing in the name of Paul is maintained it follows that some connection with Gnosticism must be traced. It would not be too much to say that the alignment of the Pastorals with second-century Gnosticism might never have occurred had it not been for the need to postulate satisfactory motives for the author when the Pauline origin had once been denied.

(iii) The doctrinal problem. Since a good deal of weight is attached to the doctrinal differences between the Epistles and the other Epistles of Paul, this problem must be answered in detail. First, the omission of the great Pauline themes will be considered. This problem may be stated as follows: Could the apostle Paul write three letters such as these without bringing in his characteristic doctrine of the Fatherhood of God or the believer's mystical union with Christ. Many scholars believe that he could not. Easton, as we have previously noted, considered that the conception of God in the Pastorals is one of remoteness. The majestic ascriptions in 1 Timothy i. 17 and vi. 15, 16, where He is described as King of the ages, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Sovereign, invisible, immortal, contain a mixture of Jewish and Hellenistic terms which admittedly produce an impression of greatness which might suggest unapproachability. But it would not be a fair representation to claim that this sense of the greatness and majesty of God exhausts the writer's conception. If the title ‘Father’ occurs only in the opening greeting the writer's conviction of the fatherly goodness of God and of His own approach to man is many times reiterated. He is called Saviour, a title which elsewhere in Paul is only used of Christ, which points to his redeeming activity (1 Tim. i. 1, ii. 3, iv. 10; Tit. i. 3, ii. 10, iii. 4). He desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. ii. 4) and His grace has appeared for this purpose (Tit. ii. 11ff.). His goodness and lovingkindness is described in Tit. iii. 4; His providential provision in 1 Timothy vi. 17; His bestowal of gifts upon His servants in 2 Timothy i. 6, 7; His provision of an inspired revelation in 2 Timothy iii. 16; and His gracious commissioning of Paul to preach the gospel (1 Tim. i. 1, 2 Tim. i. 1, Tit. i. 3). These are not signs of remoteness and this objection must be overruled.

The claim that Paul's characteristic doctrine of mystical union with Christ, and particularly his often-repeated phrase ‘in Christ’, is absent from the Pastorals at least in the usual Pauline sense is not as real an objection as Eaton supposed. The phrase is used nine times in the Pastorals, although it is applied in instances to qualities, whereas Paul's usual method is to apply it to persons. But this distinction appears too fine to be substantiated, for qualities ‘in Christ’ are unintelligible apart from the persons possessing them being ‘in Christ’. Moreover, the phrase is used in the earlier Epistles in much the same way as in the Pastorals. Life in Christ Jesus (as in 2 Tim. i. 1, iii. 12) is paralleled in Romans vi. ii, 23, viii. 2.

The fewness of the references to the Holy Spirit cannot be construed as evidence of the writer's lack of interest, for otherwise the writer of the Epistle to the Colossians and 2 Thessalonians would be involved in the same charge (both Epistles mention the Spirit once only). All the allusions to the Spirit's activity in the Pastorals would be readily endorsed by Paul and this is a sufficient answer to the objection (cf. 1 Tim. iv. 1; 2 Tim. i. 14; Tit. iii. 5).

No great weight can be attached to the alleged use of Pauline words, such as ‘justified’ and ‘grace’, with changed meanings. In Titus iii. 7 there is certainly no exposition of doctrine as is found in the Epistle to the Romans, and yet there is nothing in this statement inconsistent with Paul's earlier exposition. The difficulty would seem to exist more in the mind of the objector than in the mind of Paul.

Of greater importance is the charge that the writer of the Pastorals lives in an age when doctrine has become formalized, when Paul's dynamic conception of ‘faith’ has become fixed into ‘the faith’, representing a body of received teaching. When this is linked with other terms such as ‘sound teaching’ and the ‘deposit’ it may seem that we have passed out of the apostolic age into an age when the conservation is all-important and when Christianity may be thought if as involving acceptance of an official body of doctrine. But Philippians i. 27, Colossians ii. 7 and Ephesians iv. 5 are sufficient evidence that Paul was not unused of speaking of ‘the faith’ in the same manner in which it is found in the Pastorals. That there is so much concern to maintain ‘soundness’ of doctrine in these Epistles whereas the term is not found elsewhere in Paul's writings cannot be regarded as unPauline. It is the kind of metaphor which would naturally spring to the mind of one who had been dwelling on the gangrenous effects of idle chatter of false teachers (2 Tim. ii. 17).

The incorporation of the five ‘faithful sayings’ and the Christian hymn in 1 Timothy iii. 16 requires some explanation. Can these citations be regarded as later forms developed for catechetical purposes? There can be little doubt that the need for formalized statements of doctrine became evident in the Church at a very early period. There are no intrinsic reasons for denying that such statements in a form easily remembered were in use in the apostolic age, but the real problem is whether Paul would have cited them. This is less problematic since it has been recognized that in all probability Paul cites statements of doctrine in his other Epistles (e.g. Rom. i. 2-4; Phil. ii. 5ff. and Col. i. 15 ff.). He appears to be citing a hymn in Ephesians v. 14 and there does not seem any fundamental objection to the view that he is doing so in 1 Timothy iii. 16.

(iv) The linguistic problem. Since this is the objection which for the most critics tips the balance against Pauline authorship of the Pastorals it is important to see the problem in its right perspective. It must be studied against a background not only of Paul's own usage but also of the literary atmosphere in which he was brought up and which throughout his life he breathed. The occurrence of so many Hapaxes (175) in these three epistles will certainly constitute a problem if Paul is allowed only a percentage increase in number of new words he may be expected to use in any new writing. The basis of the objection brought by Harrison is that the Pastorals show a considerably greater number of these Hapaxes per page than any of the other Pauline Epistles, which while showing some variation nevertheless keep within a closely related and gradually ascending series. But numerical calculations cannot with the limited data available from Paul's letters take into account differences of subject-matter, differences of circumstances and differences of addresses, all of which may be responsible for new words. Although there is less reliance than at one time on the mere computation of Hapaxes, yet the phenomena the Pastoral Hapaxes still exercises a subtle and powerful influence upon the many minds, leading them to reject the Pauline authorship.

The contention of Harrison that the author of the Pastorals speaks the language of the second century, based largely on his investigation of the occurrence of the Hapaxes during that period, cannot be maintained for the following reasons. (1) Nearly all the words in question were known in Greek literature by the middle of the first century. (2) Nearly half of them occur in the LXX, with which it may reasonably be supposed Paul was very acquainted. (3) Many of the Hapaxes occurring in the apostolic Fathers and apologists occur only in those writings and cannot fairly be claimed as evidence of current usage. (4) The appeal to the writers of the second century including secular writers, to suggest the literary provenance of the Pastoral Epistles is not valid unless it can be shown that the words could not have been used in the first century, but this cannot be established. The Hapaxes do not, in fact, offer any substantial grounds for maintaining that the author speaks the language of the second century any more than the first.

There are also a considerable number of words which the Pastorals share with the other New Testament books but which are not found elsewhere in Paul. Harrison applies the same methods and suggests that these too support his contention that the Pastorals' language is second century, because of the frequency of their occurrence in second-century writings. But the fact that they occur in other New Testament books show that they were current also in the first century, and the only real difficulty (if such it is) is to find a reason for Paul's failure to use them elsewhere in his writings. But the difficulty vanishes altogether when once the notion that confines Paul's vocabulary to that used in the ten other Epistles is abandoned. Certainly these non-Pauline words shared with other New Testament writers can contribute nothing to the theory that the Pastorals' language is second century on the ground that the majority of them occur in the ecclesiastical writings of the second century, since the same line of argument would show that all the Pauline Epistles belonged to the same period. The only conclusion to which these considerations can lead is that the language for the most part is of both the first and second centuries.

Other linguistic arguments brought by Harrison against the authenticity of the Pastorals: (1) the noticeable absence from the Pastorals of characteristic Pauline words and characteristic groups of words; and (2) the use of Pauline words with different meanings and the use of different words to express thoughts found in Paul. But the words that Harrison appeals to in section (1) are words frequently used in other parts of the New Testament and indeed in the second-century writers and are not expressions peculiar to the apostle Paul. A reasonable explanation of their absence from the Pastorals is that Paul had no occasion to use them. His subject-matter led him to other words. Little importance can be attached to objection (2) since Paul himself frequently used words with different meanings, in which case any change of expression can hardly be evidence of non-Pauline authorship.

But many writers who are prepared to concede the possibility of changes in Paul's vocabulary are reluctant to do so for Paul's style. The large number of particles, pronouns and prepositions which can be collected from the other Pauline Epistles but are absent from the Pastorals (Harrison collates 112) seems to indicate a different hand. But this evidence is not quite as impressive as it at first seems, as Colossians and 2 Thessalonians have very few of them (less than twenty) and there is considerable variation within the other Pauline Epistles. Harrison not only uses this evidence to support non-Pauline authorship but he compares a similar tendency to dispense with them in the apostolic Fathers from whose writings 21 are missing. But unfortunately for his argument, the Captivity Epistles of Paul lack no less than 59 of the same words, which should indicate on the basis of Harrison's method of deduction an even greater tendency to dispense with them within the other ten Pauline Epistles. Moreover, there are a number of Pauline particles, pronouns and prepositions which are found in the Pastorals and when they are taken into consideration it can be shown that these Epistles are not very different from some of the other Paulines. It may seriously be challenged whether this method of assessing style is a valid one. Harrison mentioned also the absence from the Pastorals of many of Paul's characteristic uses of the article and of the particle hos, but these again are not uniform throughout his Epistles and it is evident that Paul's style was subject to considerable variation, no doubt owing to his mood of the moment. (Guthrie, pp. 596-610)

Guthrie goes on to refute the alternate authorship theories (pp. 610-620). Yet since it is rather lengthy, I will not quote it here but recommend that the readers consult the book. I will however present Guthrie's concluding remarks:

In spite pf the acknowledged differences between the Pastorals and Paul's other Epistles, the traditional view that they are authentic writings of the apostle cannot be said to be impossible, and since there are greater problems attached to the alternative theories it is most reasonable to suppose that the early Church was right in accepting them as such.

Two other suggestions, which do not attribute authorship to Paul in the sense that the finished products as they have been preserved are not his work, are worthy of mention. One is that Timothy and Titus themselves edited Pauline material after his death and produced the Epistles in their present form. This is an attempt to attribute the form of the letters to a non-Pauline source in order to obviate the difficulties felt over full Pauline authorship. But it is difficult to believe that either Timothy or Titus would have framed the material in the form of letters addressed to themselves unless the material had already existed in this form. There would have been no motive for their doing so. It might perhaps be contended that the peculiarities are attributable to an amanuensis and in this case Timothy and Titus might be considered as good a guess as any. Another suggestion with perhaps greater probability is that Luke was the author since many similarities exist between the language of Luke and the linguistic peculiarities of the Pastorals. There is enough evidence not only that amanuenses were frequently given considerable liberty in writing up manuscripts but that Paul himself was in the habit of employing an amanuensis. The major problem is the degree of liberty which a man like Paul would have been prepared to grant. While these editing theories may eliminate some of the lesser objections to Pauline authorship, they do not remove objections on late dating. The idea of a publication by ‘a Pauline school’ appealed to some scholars, but is not without considerable difficulties. It assumes a dramatization of existing material for which no clear parallels exists in the first century of our era. The only form of such a theory which seems at all tenable is that which admits that at least some of the existing material had been addressed to Timothy and Titus and that the editing process was therefore confined to the language and perhaps some of the ideas. But such a theory would be unnecessary if the language and ideas are shown to be not incompatible with authorship by Paul himself. (pp. 620-622)

Here is Evangelical scholar John R.W. Stott's response to the liberal claims:

1.The case for Pauline authorship

This case has always rested on two grounds - internal (the claims which the letters make that they were written by the apostle) and external (the acceptance of the letters as genuine by the church from the earliest days until the last century).

a. Internal evidence

The internal evidence is plain, and is so comprehensive that the theory of pseudonymity would credit Paul's imitator with historical and literary genius. All three letters begin with the announcement of Paul's name as author, and go on to identify him as ‘an apostle of Jesus Christ’. Both letters to Timothy add that his apostleship is by God's ‘command’ or ‘will’. The letters then purport to be addressed to Timothy and Titus, whom Paul has stationed in Ephesus and Crete respectively, in order to silence false teachers (1 Tim. 1:3ff.) and appoint true teachers in their place (Tit. 1:5ff.). Paul also indicates his affectionate relationship with his delegates by calling each either his ‘dear son’ or his ‘true son’. This is the framework; are we really to believe that it was all fabricated?

1 Timothy and Titus, which we are concerned in this book, contain apostolic directions relating to the doctrinal, ethical and pastoral welfare of the churches. This is especially the case in 1 Timothy, in which Paul twice states his intention to visit Timothy personally (3:14; 4:13) - a statement which Professor Moule calls ‘a piece of gratuitous irony and in bad taste’ if it was made up by a pseudonymous writer. Interspersed with his instructions to Timothy the apostle makes a number of personal references to his ordination (1:18; 4:14), his youthfulness (4:11ff.) and his gastric problems (5:23), as also to his own former violent persecution of the church and marvellous conversion and commissioning by the sheer mercy of God (1:12ff.). He concludes his letter with a poignant appeal to Timothy to lead a life appropriate to a man of God (6:11ff.) and especially to guard the deposit of truth committed to him (6:20).

In the letter to Titus, which probably comes next chronologically, there are a fewer personal references. Yet Paul carefully adapts his instructions to Titus' particular circumstances in Crete (1:10ff.), and seeks to regulate the Christian behaviour of different groups in the church (2:1ff). He ends his letter with specific messages to or about four named individuals. He is proposing to send either Artemas or Tychicus to Titus to relieve him, so that he can join Paul in Nicopolis (3:12), and Titus is to help Zenas and Apollos on their way (3:13).

The second letter to Timothy is the most personal of the three; it claims to be the apostle's farewell message to Timothy shortly before his anticipated execution (1:13; 2:2; 3:14; 4:1ff., 6ff.). In addition, he recalls Timothy's tears, the faith and ministry of his mother and grandmother (1:4ff.), and his personal knowledge of the apostle's teaching, lifestyle and sufferings (3:10ff.). He begs Timothy twice to come to him, especially before the winter will make navigation impossible (4:9, 21). He then mentions no fewer than seventeen friends by name, adding either the news of them or requests or greetings to them.

Are we to suppose that all these specific and personal references were made up? Some scholars do not hesitate to say so. Here, for example, is L.R. Donelson: ‘In the interest of deception, he [sc. the pseudonymous author] fabricated all the personal notes.’ Others defend their authenticity, but have to resort to ingenious theories as to how they were first preserved and then incorporated into the letters. It is much more natural to hold that all the specifics about Paul, Timothy, Titus, Ephesus, Crete and other people, places and situations, are authentic parts of an authentic letter. Above all, as Bishop Handley Moule wrote about 2 Timothy: ‘The human heart is in it everywhere. And fabricators, certainly of that age, did not well understand the human heart.’

b. External evidence

Turning now to the external evidence for the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals, we find that their genuineness was almost universally accepted by the church from the beginning. The first probable allusions to them are to be found in letters from Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (c. AD 95), from Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians (c. AD 110), and from Polycarp to the Philippians (c. AD 117). Then towards the end of the second century there are a number of indisputable quotations from all three Pastorals in Irenaeus' work Against Heresies. The Muratorian Canon (c. 200 AD), which lists the books of the New Testament, ascribes all three letters to Paul. The only exception to this positive witness occurs in Marcion, who was excommunicated as a heretic in 144 AD in Rome, on account of his rejection of the Old Testament. So he had theological grounds for repudiating the Pastorals, not least their teaching about the goodness of creation (1 Tim. 4:1ff.).

This external witness to the authenticity of the three Pastoral Letters continued as an unbroken tradition until Friedrich Schleiermacher rejected 1 Timothy in 1807 and F.C. Baur rejected all three letters in 1835. The question now is whether the case against the Pauline authorship can overthrow the strong internal and external evidence for it.

2. The case against Pauline authorship

The arguments put forward against the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals may be summed up as historical, linguistic, theological and ethical. We need to consider each in turn.

a. History

As we have seen, the text of 1 Timothy and Titus claims to furnish readers with the information they need about historical circumstances of their composition.

Paul states that, when he went into Macedonia, he urged Timothy to stay in Ephesus in order to curb its rampant heresy, and that similarly he had left Titus in Crete in order to complete what had been left incomplete, especially in the appointment of suitable elders in every town. But when did these events take place, involving Macedonia, Ephesus and Crete? When too did Paul winter in Nicopolis (Tit. 3:12), leave his cloak and scrolls behind in Troas (2 Tim. 4:13), and abandon Trophimus in Miletus when he was ill (2 Tim. 4:20)? It is simply not possible (though valiant attempts have been made) to fit Pauline visits to these places into Luke's record in the Acts. And when are we to place his stay, imprisonment and trial in Rome (2 Tim. 1:16ff.; 4:16ff.)?

It is this difficulty of reconciling the historical and geographical references in the Pastorals with Luke's narrative which has led some scholars to reject the notion that they have been invented and to revive instead the chronology developed by Eusebius in his famous fourth-century Ecclesiastical History. He wrote that Paul was released at the end of his two-year period of house arrest, where Luke takes leave of him, and that he resumed his missionary travels, penetrating even as far as Spain as he had hoped, before being re-arrested, re-imprisoned, re-tried and finally condemned and beheaded. Although this reconstruction is somewhat speculative, depending almost entirely on Eusebius, it provides a framework into which the historical allusions in the Pastorals can quite easily be fitted, without needing to accuse the author of blunder, fiction or romance.

b. Vocabulary

In 1921 P.N. Harrison's book The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles was published. It is very largely a linguistic study. He advances four main arguments against Pauline authorship.

First, 848 words of which occur in the Pastorals as many as 306 are not be found in the other ten letters attributed to Paul. Further, there is in the Pastorals a higher number (175) of hapaxes (hapax legomena, words occurring only once) than in any other Pauline letter. These linguistic peculiarities create ‘very serious doubts indeed’ about common authorship.

Secondly, only 542 words occur in both the Pastorals and the other ten Pauline letters. This extraordinarily small common usage strongly suggests that the Pastorals were written by another hand.

Thirdly, the number of genuinely Pauline words which are absent from the Pastorals is 1,635, of which 580 are peculiar to Paul. This omission of so much distinctively Pauline terminology ‘constitutes a very serious objection indeed’ to an acceptance of the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals.

Fourthly, if instead of comparing the vocabulary of the Pastorals with that of the other ten Pauline letters, it is compared with that of the apostolic fathers and the apologists of the first half of the second century AD, the opposite result is obtained. Of the 175 hapaxes in the Pastorals, as many as 94 recur in the early church fathers. Thus, ‘the author of Pastorals does speak the language of the apostolic fathers and the apologists, while diverging from that of the other New Testament writers’.

P.N. Harrison's main argument is linguistic, both in The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles (1921) and in his ‘companion volume and supplement’, Paulines and Pastorals, forty-three years later (1964). His painstaking statistical tables, when one recalls that he had no access to a computer, must be judged a tour de force. At the same time, he was a great deal too self-confident when he pronounced his conclusion ‘rigorously proved scientific fact’.

Harrison has had as many critics as converts. Dr. BRUCE METZGER TOOK HIM TO TASK IN 1958 FOR IGNORING THE WORK OF BRITISH, GERMAN AND SWEDISH SCHOLARS WHO HAD QUESTIONED THE VALIDITY OF ARGUMENTS WHICH ARE BASED PURELY ON STATISTICAL STUDY OF LITERARY VOCABULARLY, AND WHICH ARE APPLIED TO ‘RELATIVELY BRIEF TREATISES’. Similarly, Professor C.F.D. Moule has written that ‘there is no cogent reason for denying Pauline authorship to a letter merely because its vocabulary and style mark it as different from others which are firmly established as genuine’. For there are several possible reasons for changes in Paul's language and style. Donald Guthrie summed these up as ‘dissimilarity of subject matter’, ‘advancing age’, ‘change of environment’ and ‘difference in recipients’. Besides, as Harrison himself conceded, complete uniformity of vocabulary and style must not be expected in every author, ‘least of all in one with a mind so versatile, pliable, original, fresh, impressionable and creative as the apostle’. SO SAYING, HE SEEMS TO CONTRADICT HIS OWN THESIS. As E. K. Simpson justly observed, ‘great souls are not their own mimes’.

There are two other possible explanations of the linguistic peculiarities of the Pastorals. The first is Paul's use of a secretary in his correspondence, to which I will return later. The second is the surprising degree to which, especially 1 Timothy, Paul made use of ‘pre-formed’ material such as doxologies, credal confessions, and hymns, much of it introduced by tell-tale formula like ‘this is a trustworthy saying’ or ‘knowing this’. Dr Earle Ellis, who has drawn attention to this phenomena, calculates that pre-formed material accounts for about 43% of 1 Timothy, 46% of Titus and 16% of 2 Timothy.

c. Doctrine

Some scholars are quite rude in their evaluation of the theology (or lack of it) which they discern in the Pastorals. A. T. Hanson, for example, declares that ‘there is a complete absence of unifying theme’ in the Pastorals, even ‘an impression of relative incoherence’. And the reason for this, he continues, is that the author of the Pastorals ‘had no theology of his own. He is a purveyor of other men's theology’. But this uncomplimentary judgement has been challenged by other scholars, including Dr Frances Young, who finds little difficulty in assembling the theological teaching of these three letters.

Some critics complain that they cannot find in the Pastorals either the trinitarian doctrine of the earlier letters, or the gospel of salvation. But without question the Pastorals set forth the gracious, redeeming initiative of ‘God our Saviour’, who gave his Son to die as our ransom to redeem us from all evil, and to purity a special people for himself. He justifies us by his grace and renews us by his Spirit, in order that we may live a new life of good words. Dr Philip Towner has argued that salvation as a present reality is the ‘centre point’ of the message of the Pastorals; and that the present age, which is the age of salvation, illumined and inspired by the incarnation and the parousia, the Christ-events which inaugurate and terminate it.

Very different is the assessment of Professor Ernst Käsemann who writes that he cannot regard as Pauline letters in which the church has become ‘the central theme of theology’, ‘the gospel is domesticated’, and Paul's image has become ‘heavily daubed by church piety’. One can only respond that this is an extremely subjective judgement. Paul's earliest letters already evidenced his high doctrine of church and ministry, and Luke tells us it was his policy to ordain elders in every church from the first missionary journey onwards. His further instructions in the Pastorals about the selection and appointment of pastors, about the conduct of public worship in the local church, and about the maintenance of sound doctrine, are entirely compatible with this. It is simply not true that the church structures envisaged by Paul in the Pastorals are those of the second century, including the rise of the monarchial episcopate associated with Bishop Ignatius (c. 110). In the Pastorals there is no threefold order of bishops, presbyters and deacons, for bishops and presbyters are still the same person and office.

d. Ethics

It was Martin Dibelius who first applied the epithet ‘bourgeois’ to the Christian lifestyle envisaged in the Pastorals. And ‘of course if ‘bourgeois’’, Professor J. H. Houlden added, ‘then certainly petit bourgeois’. Robert Karris has also written about the ‘middle-class ethic’ of the Pastorals. What these scholars are referring to is the atmosphere of respectability, of conformity to prevailing social values, which they feel permeates the ethical instruction of the Pastorals. And it is quite true that the author is concerned about the church's public image, and about its eusebeia, which sometimes means personal godliness but at other times seems to be a synonym for ‘religion’.

On the other hand, there is great emphasis in the Pastorals, as in all Pauline letters, on the paramount Christian qualities of faith and love, and on the purity, the good works and the future hope to which they give rise. Commitment to Christ still has radical consequences; we are pilgrims travelling home to God, and summoned to live this life in the light of the next (e.g. 1 Tim. 4:8; 6:7f., 19).

Dr Towner, in his monograph The Goal of Our Instruction, subtitled The Structure of the Theology and Ethics of the Pastoral Epistles, registers a salutary protest against those who interpret the Pastorals as giving evidence of a ‘bourgeois Christianity’, ‘a Christianity which sought little more than to live comfortably in the world’, and a self-centred Christianity without mission. On the contrary, the ‘Christian existence’ for which Paul called is a combination of theology and ethics, which originates in the Christ-event and the behaviour introduced by the false teachers. Instead, it always lays down concrete duties for different groups, and is constantly motivated by the Christian mission.

Having considered the language, doctrine and ethics of the Pastoral Letters, we should be able to agree with Dr J. N. D. Kelly that ‘the anti-Pauline case has surely been greatly exaggerated’. The differences in vocabulary DO NOT NECESSARILY DEMAND A DIFFERENT AUTHOR; there are other possible explanations. In regard to theology too, ‘the critics seem to have OVERPLAYED THEIR HAND’. Not only are the discrepancies fewer they claim, but several of the more important are found on inspection to represent developments of ideas already present in their earlier correspondence.

There is still the possibility of pseudonymity, however, to which we now turn.

3. The case for and against a pseudonymous author

Everybody is agreed that in the Graeco-Roman world the practice of pseudonymity, that is, false attribution of literary works to a great teacher of the past, was widespread. What is not generally agreed is whether pseudonymous writing was always with a view to deception.

a. An attempted reconstruction

P.N. Harrison posited as the pseudonymous author of the Pastorals ‘a devout, sincere and earnest Paulinist’, who lived in Rome or Ephesus, and who wrote the Pastorals at the beginning of the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (AD 117). He knew and had studied every one of the ten Pauline letters, and in addition he had access to ‘several brief personal notes’ written by Paul to Timothy and Titus. ‘He believed honestly and wholeheartedly the Pauline gospel as he understood it.’ Faced with the doctrinal and ethical challenges of false teaching, he and ‘the best minds in the church longed for ‘a return of the apostolic fervour and sanctity’ and for a ‘rekindling of the heroic courage’ of Paul. They considered that the best way to promote this would be ‘a letter written in the spirit, bearing the name, and recalling the very familiar words, of the great apostle’. If this is correct, the Pastoral Letters are ‘neither "genuine" (meaning the firsthand work of St. Paul), nor "spurious" (meaning the work of a forger), but "pseudonymous" (meaning the work of one who made no secret of the fact that he was writing under an assumed name)’.

P.N. Harrison was also convinced that the very personal passages in the three Pastoral Letters were not fiction, composed by the pseudonymous author, but genuine Pauline fragments which the author, not knowing their original contexts, incorporated into his work. Harrison thought he detected five of these and suggested how they could all be fitted into the Acts narrative.

b. Pseudonymity in the ancient world

Dr Bruce Metzger has distinguished between ‘a literary forgery’ and ‘a pseudepigraphon’. The former ‘is essentially a piece of work created or modified with the intention to deceive’. To which of these two categories would the Pastorals belong if they are pseudonymous? Scholars tend to insist that ‘forgery’ is an inappropriate word to use. Like P.N. Harrison they hold that the pseudonymous author of the Pastorals ‘was not consciously deceiving anybody; it is not indeed necessary to suppose that he did deceive anybody’. In this way Christian scholars defend the concept of pseudepigraphy on the ground that it was an accepted literary genre and a wholly innocent practice. Professor C. F. D. Moule writes of ‘what may be called well-intentioned pseudonymity. With no intention to deceive’, according to those who hold this view, ‘the pseudonymist writes in the name of the apostle, genuinely believing that he is conveying a message that would have been acceptable to the master ...’ But he goes on to write of the insoluble problem of reconciling this concept of ‘honest’ pseudonymity with the fabrications of the personal Pauline references in the Pastorals.

Dr Metzger too has serious qualms about pseudepigraphy. He asks three questions. Ethically, ‘is a pseudepigraphon compatible with honesty and candour, whether by ancient or modern moral standards?’ Psychologically, ‘how should one estimate an author who impersonates an ancient worthy ...?’ Theologically, ‘should a work that involves a fraud, whether pious or not, be regarded as incompatible with the character of a message from God?’

It is difficult to maintain the notion of pseudonymity as an accepted and innocent literary procedure.

c. Contemporary Christian responses

First, although it has become a commonplace ever since Baur for defenders of pseudonymity to maintain that it was an acceptable practice, and that there was no intention to deceive, they yet offer ‘no historical evidence for their assertions that New Testament pseudepigrapha were recognised as such and were regarded as innocent compositions...’ On the contrary, as Dr L R. Donelson concedes, ‘we are forced to admit that in Christian circles pseudonymity was considered a dishonourable device’. A pseudonymous work was either believed and therefore esteemed, or exposed and therefore condemned. There seems to be no evidence that some pseudonymous works were both exposed and esteemed. Several commentators quote the judgment of Serapion, the early third-century bishop of Antioch. Concluding that the Gospel of Peter was not genuine, he stated this principle: ‘We, brothers, receive both Peter and the other apostles of Christ. But pseudepigrapha in their name we reject ...’

Secondly, the claim that a pseudepigrapher did not intend to deceive, and indeed did not deceive, appears to be self-defeating. If nobody was deceived, what was the point of the subterfuge?

Thirdly, in spite of confident assurances about the innocence of pseudepigraphy, many of us find that our consciences are not so readily pacified. We remember that Scriptures lays constant emphasis on the sacredness of truth and the sinfulness of false witness. We are not comfortable with the notions of a deceit which does not deceive and a pseudepigraphon which is not a forgery. ‘The dictionary definition of "forgery" is fraudulent imitation’, writes Dr J. I. Packer, whatever people's aims and incentives may be. ‘Frauds are still fraudulent, even when perpetrated from noble motives’.

4. The case for an active amanuensis

A number of scholars refer to a work by Otto Roller whose short title is Das Formular (1933). It investigates Paul's letters in the light of letter-writing practices in antiquity, especially his use of an amanuensis. I rely on Professor Moule's summary. Roller's conclusion was that verbatim dictation would have been too laborious for most authors, and extremely inhibiting to ‘a torrential thinker like Paul’. It is more probable, therefore, first that the apostle would write part of each letter in his own hand (as at the end of Galatians), secondly that elsewhere he would tell his amanuensis what he wanted to say, letting him frame it in his own words, and thirdly that the apostle would read the end-product, amend it as necessary, and sign it personally. Professor Moule proposes this as a solution to the linguistic problem of the Pastorals, in that Paul would have allowed his secretary to fluctuate between free composition and a near-verbatim reproduction of Paul's own phraseology.

This general thesis has been considerably elaborated by Dr E. Randolph Richards in his work The Secretary in the Letters of Paul (1991). From a thorough study of letter-writing practices in Graeco-Roman antiquity, and especially of the letters of Cicero, he demonstrates that the writer ‘could grant to the secretary complete, much, little or no control over the content, style and / or form of the letter’. He then reduces this spectrum into a fourfold classification. The secretary might serve as ‘recorder’ (taking down the author's dictation verbatim), ‘editor’ (working from his instructions, or from an oral written draft supplied by him), ‘co-author’ (co-operating with him fully in content, style and vocabulary), or ‘composer’ (having the whole task delegated by him). The first procedure Dr. Richard calls ‘author-controlled’, the fourth ‘secretary-controlled’ and the middle two ‘secretary-assisted’.

For our purposes the first is eliminated, since verbatim dictation would leave no room for changes in vocabulary. So is the last, since a free composition would destroy Pauline authorship altogether, whereas we are asking whether the secretary hypothesis could explain the phenomenon of Pauline and non-Pauline words alongside one another. The reality is likely to be found in the middle two ‘secretary-assisted’ processes. The difference between them is only one of degree, yet the second (‘editor’) seems to me to take precedence over the third (‘co-author’) for a reason we must now consider.

It has often been observed that in most of Paul's letters he associates a colleague with him in its writing, e.g. Sosthenes, missionary associates ‘co-labourers’, it would be misleading to call them ‘co-authors’. For Paul was careful to affirm his own apostolic authority as the author, and to distinguish his colleagues from him (since they were not apostles) by referring to them as ‘our brother Sosthenes’ or ‘Timothy our brother’. The Thessalonian letters are significant in this respect. Although they both begin with ‘Paul, Silas and Timothy’, and although the first person plural ‘we’ is used much of the time, it is nevertheless plain that the leadership role and apostolic authority were Paul's. So he frequently lapses from ‘we’ to ‘I’. The end of the second letter puts the matter beyond doubt. ‘I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write.’ So the letter was essentially his letter, written with his apostolic authority. Paul, Silas ad Timothy were not joint authors, although there is no reason to deny that Paul may have involved them in the writing process, by the encouraging them to contribute their thoughts to it.

An amanuensis, however, was different. Not only did he undertake the actual mechanics of the writing, but Paul may have given him some liberty in clothing the apostle's thought with words. It is possible that this was the arrangement when Tertius wrote down the letter to the Romans. But the only specific New Testament reference to this practice is the apostle Peter's statement that he had written his first letter ‘with the help of Silas’, literally ‘through Silas’, whom he regarded, he adds, as ‘a faithful brother’.

However much or little an amanuensis would contribute to the letter, we may assume that the apostle read it when it was complete, amended what needed to be changed, and endorsed its final form by his personal signature, so that the letter was decidedly his and not somebody else's. Each author-amanuensis duo would develop differently, and presumably the more ‘faithful’ the brother was perceived to be, the more responsible his contribution would become. A. T. Hanson was a bit cynical to write about the Pastorals that ‘the more you attribute to the secretary, the less Pauline they are’. But the principle is clear: we expect that the amanuensis contributed enough to explain the variations in style and language, but not enough to take over from Paul either authorship or the authority of the letters.

So who was the amanuensis in the writing of the Pastorals?

P. N. Harrison asked himself in 1921 whether Paul's amanuensis on this occasion might have been Luke, since nobody else was with him. But he raised the possibility only to dismiss it. So Professor C. F. D. Moule, who had already in his book The Birth of the New Testament (1962) asked himself if there might have been some Lucan involvement in the writing of the Pastorals, developed in a 1964 lecture a theory of Luke's ‘free composition’ of the Pastorals. He suggested ‘that Luke wrote all three Pastorals epistles ... during Paul's lifetime, at Paul's behest, and, in part (but only in part) at Paul's dictation’. He then went on to list some very interesting parallels between Luke-Acts and the Pastorals - ‘significant words’ (e.g. soundness, godliness and honour), ‘significant phrases’ (e.g. love of money, true and false riches, Christi the judge of the living and the dead, and the athlete finishing the race), and ‘significant ideas’ (e.g. the ‘triple phrase of majesty’, angels being mentioned with God and Christ, and a retributive notion of justice). Perhaps then Luke could be called the ‘framer’ of the Pastorals. Pseudepigraphs were normally composed after the death of the person named, whereas Luke wrote (according to this theory) in Paul's lifetime and at his behest.

Other scholars have taken up and developed Professor Moule's suggestion that Luke was Paul's amanuensis in drafting the Pastorals. Particular mention should be made of Dr Stephen Wilson's book Luke and the Pastoral Epistles (1979). He builds on Professor Moule's theory, although he thinks that the Luke who wrote the Acts and later the Pastorals was not Paul's companion of the same name. He draws attention to similarities of language and style between Luke-Acts and the Pastorals, and to a number of theological parallels (though with differences of emphasis), e.g. eschatology, salvation, Christian citizenship, church and ministry, Christology, law and Scripture. His over-confident conclusion is that ‘certainly, given a choice between Paul and Luke as the author of the Pastorals, Luke is a far more likely candidate’. His tentative hypothesis is that Luke wrote the Pastorals a few years after Acts, making use of Paul's ‘travel notes’ which he found. In this way the Pastorals were volume 3 of a trilogy, following the publication of Luke's Gospel and Acts. This alternative would be ‘common authorship’ with Luke writing under Paul's direction, as Professor Moule had proposed.


Our investigation leads us to a fourfold conclusion.

(1) The case for the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals STILL STANDS.

Both the internal claims and the external witness are STRONG, SUBSTANTIAL AND STUBBORN. THE BURDEN OF PROOF RESTS ON THOSE WHO DENY THEM.

(2) The case against the Pauline authorship IS FAR FROM WATERTIGHT. The arguments adduced – historical, linguistic, theological and ethical – CAN ALL BE ANSWERED. They are NOT SUFFICIENT to overthrow the case for Pauline authorship.

(3) The case for pseudonymous authorship IS UNSATISFYING. The belief that well-intentioned, even transparently innocent, pseudepigraphy was acceptable LACKS EVIDENCE. It also raises serious moral questions about the practice of deliberate deceit.

(4) The case for Paul's constructive use of an amanuensis (whether Luke or Tychicus or somebody else) is reasonable, and may well account for some variations in style and vocabulary. At the same time, the amanuensis must not be allowed to oust the author, nor the author be robbed of his leadership role and apostolic authority.

The most likely scenario is that Paul the apostle wrote three Pastorals, towards the end of his life, addressing the contemporary issue, and communicating through a trusted amanuensis. (Stott, The Message of 1 Timothy & Titus, The Bible Speaks Today [InterVarsty Press, Leicester England, Downers Grove IL, USA, 1996], pp. 21-34; bold and capital emphasis mine)

I conclude with the comments from the Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, Volume 2: New Testament, edited by Kenneth L. Barker & John R. Kohlenberger III, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids MI, 1994. Apart from the headings, all bold emphasis mine:

1. Authorship

All three Pastoral Letters begin with Paul's name. Many scholars have questioned, however, whether the apostle Paul really wrote these letters. We must investigate this subject at some length. Four arguments have been commonly raised against the Pauline authorship of these three letters.

a. Historical

According to some, the events in the Pastoral Letters do not fit into the account in Acts. For example, nowhere in Acts do we read about Paul preaching in Crete (Tit 1:5). Nor does his leaving Timothy at Ephesus fit into the Acts account. On these points all scholars agree.

But was Paul put to death at the end of his Roman imprisonment described in the closing verses of Acts? Most likely not. Rather, he was released from this imprisonment and made further journeys, during which he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus 2. It was during a later imprisonment that he wrote 2 Timothy.

There is considerable evidence for this position. Many of the church fathers testify to the accuracy of this history. The most definitive statement comes from Eusebius, who writes (AD. 325):

Paul is said, after having defended himself, to have to set forth again upon the ministry of preaching, and to have entered the city [Rome] a second time, and to have ended his life by martyrdom. Whilst then a prisoner, he wrote the Second Letter to Timothy, in which he both mentions his first defence, and his impending death.

b. Ecclesiastical

In the Pastoral Letters we read about overseers, elders and deacons. It is claimed by some scholars that this shows a more advanced church organization than existed during the lifetime of Paul.

But a careful reading of Tit 1:5-9 shows that "elders" (GK 4565) and "overseers" (GK 2176) are terms used interchangeably. In Php 1:1 (a letter that most accept as a genuine letter of Paul), the apostle addresses the "overseers and deacons" in the church at Philippi (see comments on Php 1:1). Furthermore, the situation a generation later was quite different (see the letters of Ignatius, c. A.D. 115). Here each local church had one overseer, several presbyters, and several deacons. The evidence is clear that the Pastoral Letters reflect the type of church organization known to Paul rather than the second type. Thus, a second-century date for the Pastorals seems unrealistic.

c. Doctrinal

A third argument against Pauline authorship is the claim that the doctrinal emphases of the Pastorals are different from those in Paul's letters, especially the recurring use of the expression "sound doctrine" (2Ti 4:3; Tit 1:9; 2:1).

However, the later Jewish-Christian Gnostic heresy seems to have been present in an early form during Paul's lifetime, and Paul apparently combats it in the Pastorals. It is generally acknowledged today that Gnostic ideas had penetrated Judaism before the advent of Christianity. This fact makes it conceivable that Paul would use different words and concepts in answering those concerns. Paul also opposed Gnostic ideas in his letter to the Colossians (see introduction to Colossians).

d. Linguistic

The most serious argument against the genuineness of the Pastoral Letters is their difference in style and vocabulary from Paul's writings. This is the main point stressed today by negative scholars. One scholar, for example, found 175 words used nowhere else in the NT and 130 words not used by Paul elsewhere but shared by other NT writers. These statistics have carried great weight with many twentieth-century scholars.

But such numbers assume that we know everything about Paul's language and do not take into account differences of subject matter, of circumstances, and of addresses - all of which may lead to new words. An accurate statistical study of words requires far more than the limited number we have in the other letters of Paul for comparison.

In recent years several scholars have been suggesting that Luke was the amanuensis (secretary) who actually composed the Pastoral Letters under Paul's dictation. The careful student can discover a considerable number of significant words that occur in both Luke-Acts and the Pastorals but nowhere else in the NT. Amanuenses were sometime given liberty in writing manuscripts, and we know that Paul was in the habit of using them for the actual writing of his letters (cf. Ro 16:22). (pp. 889-890)

That Paul used Luke as his secretary is plausible in light of 2 Timothy 4:11:

"Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry."

Even though there are plenty of sources from which I could have quoted, these citations should sufficiently put to rest Bravo's rabbit trail and attempt of obfuscation.

Interestingly, Bravo chided me for disagreeing with Bruce Metzger, yet conveniently ignores what Metzger himself wrote regarding the early Church's use of the Pastoral Epistles. Note the following comments from Metzger carefully, something which Bravo obviously failed to do:

As for Barnabas' knowledge of other New Testament books, some have found what may be echoes of passages from 1 and 2 Timothy. His reference to Jesus as calling sinners, including the apostles, who were ‘lawless beyond all sin’ (v. 9), reminds one of the saying of 1 Timothy i. 15, ‘Christ came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the chief’. Again, the statement that according to the Old Testament [prophets it was ordained that the Lord was to ‘be manifest in the flesh’ (v. 60 may echo the first line of what is often taken as an early creedal statement preserved in 1 Tim. iii. 16, ‘He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, etc.’ It is just as possible that Barnabas also knew 2 Timothy, for his mention of ‘grace’, ‘manifested’, and the ‘destruction of death’ (v. 6) recalls similar combination of words in 2 Tim. i. 9-10. The same epistle seems to be echoed in the reference to the Son of God as the Lord and ‘Judge of the living and the dead’ (2 Tim. iv. 1; Barn. vii. 2) , unless in both cases a common formula of Christian faith is cited independently. (Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament, Its Origin, Development and Significance, p. 58; bold emphasis mine)

Among other New Testament writings to which Polycarp alludes, we find that he is acquainted with Romans, I Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 2 Thessalonians, I TIMOTHY, AND 2 TIMOTHY. The absence of reminiscences from 2 Corinthians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, Titus, and Philemon can perhaps be considered fortuitous. (p. 61; bold and capital emphasis mine)

Other relevant citations from Metzger include:

As for the Pauline Epistles, here and there throughout his (Theophilus of Antioch) treatise we find a dozen or more reminiscences from Romans 1, and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, AND THE THREE PASTORALS. The question arises whether Theophilus regarded any of them as Scripture. Harnack, in an article devoted to this question, argued that he did not, first because Theophilus never cites them as Scripture, and secondly, because there is no evidence elsewhere in Syria during the third century that shows that these Epistles were regarded as Scripture. On the other hand, however, Theophilus does refer to a combination of Tit. iii. 1, 1 Tim. ii. 2, and Rom. xiii. 7-8 AS ‘THE DIVINE WORD’ (ho theois logos, iii. 4). This seems to show, as Grant comments, that he regarded them as inspired, and at least on the way to becoming Scripture. (p. 118; bold and capital emphasis mine)

Although the citations can be multiplied, these early allusions from men such as Polycarp (who was a disciple of John) provides further evidence that the claim that the Pastorals are a second century work is certainly false and finds no support in the hard data at all.

This concludes this part. Continue with the next section.

Sam Shamoun

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