The Church at Philippi
Philippi was a city of Macedonia, founded by and called after Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, in a fertile region, with contiguous gold and silver mines, on the banks of a small river and the highway between Asia and Europe, ten miles from the seacoast. It acquired immortal fame by the battle between Brutus and Mark Antony (b.c. 42), in which the Roman republic died and the empire was born. After that event it had the rank of a Roman military colony, with the high-sounding title, “Colonia Augusta Julia Philippensis.” Hence its mixed population, the Greeks, of course, prevailing, next the Roman colonists and magistrates, and last a limited number of Jews, who had a place of prayer on the riverside. It was visited by Paul, in company with Silas, Timothy, and Luke, on his second missionary tour, in the year 52, and became the seat of the first Christian congregation on the classical soil of Greece. Lydia, the purple dealer of Thyatira and a half proselyte to Judaism, a native slave-girl with a divining spirit, which was used by her masters as a means of gain among the superstitious heathen, and a Roman jailer, were the first converts, and fitly represent the three nationalities (Jew, Greek, and Roman) and the classes of society which were especially benefited by Christianity. “In the history of the gospel at Philippi, as in the history of the church at large, is reflected the great maxim of Christianity, the central truth of the apostle’s teaching, that here is ‘neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus.’” Here, also, are the first recorded instances of whole households (of Lydia and the jailer) being baptized and gathered into the church, of which the family is the chief nursery. The congregation was fully organized, with bishops (presbyters) and deacons at the head (Phi_1:1).
Here the apostle was severely persecuted and marvelously delivered. Here he had his most loyal and devoted converts, who were his “joy and crown.” For them he felt the strongest personal attachment; from them alone he would receive contributions for his support. In the autumn of the year 57, after five years’ absence, he paid a second visit to Philippi, having in the meantime kept up constant intercourse with the congregation through living messengers; and on his last journey to Jerusalem, in the spring of the following year, he stopped at Philippi to keep the paschal feast with his beloved brethren. They had liberally contributed out of their poverty to the relief of the churches in Judaea. When they heard of his arrival at Rome, they again sent him timely assistance through Epaphroditus, who also offered his personal services to the prisoner of the Lord, at the sacrifice of his health and almost his life. It was through this faithful fellow-worker that Paul sent his letter of thanks to the Philippians, hoping, after his release, to visit them in person once more.
The Epistle reflects, in familiar ease, his relations to this beloved flock, which rested on the love of Christ. It is not systematic, not polemic, nor apologetic, but personal and autobiographic, resembling in this respect the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, and to some extent, also, the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. It is the free outflow of tender love and gratitude, and full of joy and cheerfulness in the face of life and death. It is like his midnight hymn of praise in the dungeon of Philippi. “Rejoice in the Lord alway; again I will say, Rejoice” (Phi_4:4). This is the key-note of the letter. It proves that a healthy Christian faith, far from depressing and saddening the heart, makes truly happy and contented even in prison. It is an important contribution to our knowledge of the character of the apostle. In acknowledging the gift of the Philippians, he gracefully and delicately mingles manly independence and gratitude. He had no doctrinal error, nor practical vice to rebuke, as in Galatians and Corinthians.
The only discordant tone is the warning against “the dogs of the concision” (κατατομή, Phi_3:2), as he sarcastically calls the champions of circumcision (περιτομή), who everywhere sowed tares in his wheat fields, and at that very time tried to check his usefulness in Rome by substituting the righteousness of the law for the righteousness of faith. But he guards the readers with equal earnestness against the opposite extreme of antinomian license (Phi_3:2-21). In opposition to the spirit of personal and social rivalry and contention which manifested itself among the Philippians, Paul reminds them of the self-denying example of Christ, who was the highest of all, and yet became the lowliest of all by divesting himself of his divine majesty and humbling himself, even to the death on the cross, and who, in reward for his obedience, was exalted above every name (Phi_2:1-11).
This is the most important doctrinal passage of the letter, and contains (together with 2Co_8:9) the fruitful germ of the speculations on the nature and extent of the kenosis, which figures so prominently in the history of christology. It is a striking example of the apparently accidental occasion of some of the deepest utterances of the apostle. “With passages full of elegant negligence (Phi_1:29), like Plato’s dialogues and Cicero’s letters, it has passages of wonderful eloquence, and proceeds from outward relations and special circumstances to wide-reaching thoughts and grand conceptions.”
The objections against the genuineness raised by a few hyper-critical are not worthy of a serious refutation.
The Later History
The subsequent history of the church at Philippi is rather disappointing, like that of the other apostolic churches in the East. It appears again in the letters of Ignatius, who passed through the place on his way to his martyrdom in Rome, and was kindly entertained and escorted by the brethren, and in the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, who expressed his joy that “the sturdy root of their faith, famous from the earliest days, still survives and bears fruit unto our Lord Jesus Christ,” and alludes to the labors of “the blessed and glorious Paul” among them. Tertullian appeals to the Philippian church as still maintaining the apostle’s doctrine and reading his Epistle publicly. The name of its bishop is mentioned here and there in the records of councils, but that is all. During the middle ages the city was turned into a wretched village, and the bishopric into a mere shadow. At present there is not even a village on the site, but only a caravansary, a mile or more from the ruins, which consist of a theatre, broken marble columns, two lofty gateways, and a portion of the city wall. “Of the church which stood foremost among all the apostolic communities in faith and love, it may literally be said that not one stone stands upon another. Its whole career is a signal monument of the inscrutable counsels of God. Born into the world with the brightest promise, the church of Philippi has lived without a history and perished without a memorial.”
But in Paul’s Epistle that noble little band of Christians still lives and blesses the church in distant countries.
Theme: Theological: The self-humiliation (κένωσις) of Christ for our salvation (Phi_2:5-11). Practical: Christian cheerfulness.
Leading Thoughts: He who began a good work in you will perfect it (Phi_1:6). If only Christ is preached, I rejoice (Phi_1:13). To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phi_1:21). Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who emptied himself, etc. (Phi_2:5 sqq.). God worketh in you both to will and to work (Phi_2:13). Rejoice in the Lord alway; again I will say, Rejoice (Phi_3:1; Phi_4:1). I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ (Phi_3:8). I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phi_3:14). Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phi_4:8). The peace of God passeth all understanding (Phi_4:7).
98. The Epistle to Philemon
Of the many private letters of introduction and recommendation which Paul must have written during his long life, only one is left to us, very brief but very weighty. It is addressed to Philemon, a zealous Christian at Colossae, a convert of Paul and apparently a layman, who lent his house for the religious meetings of the brethren. The name recalls the touching mythological legend of the faithful old couple, Philemon and Baucis, who, in the same province of Phrygia, entertained gods unawares and were rewarded for their simple hospitality and conjugal love. The letter was written and transmitted at the same time as that to the Colossians. It may be regarded as a personal postscript to it.
It was a letter of recommendation of Onesimus (i.e., Profitable), a slave of Philemon, who had run away from his master on account of some offence (probably theft, a very common sin of slaves), fell in with Paul at Rome, of whom he may have heard in the weekly meetings at Colossae, or through Epaphras, his fellow-townsman, was converted by him to the Christian faith, and now desired to return, as a penitent, in company with Tychicus, the bearer of the Epistle to the Colossians (Col_4:9).
Paul and Slavery
The Epistle is purely personal, yet most significant. Paul omits his official title, and substitutes the touching designation, “a prisoner of Christ Jesus,” thereby going directly to the heart of his friend. The letter introduces us into a Christian household, consisting of father (Philemon), mother (Apphia), son (Archippus, who was at the same time a “fellow-soldier,” a Christian minister), and a slave (Onesimus). It shows the effect of Christianity upon society at a crucial point, where heathenism was utterly helpless. It touches on the institution of slavery, which lay like an incubus upon the whole heathen world and was interwoven with the whole structure of domestic and public life.
The effect of Christianity upon this gigantic social evil is that of a peaceful and gradual care from within, by teaching the common origin and equality of men, their common redemption and Christian brotherhood, by, emancipating them from slavery unto spiritual freedom, equality, and brotherhood in Christ, in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, but all are one moral person (Gal_3:28). This principle and the corresponding practice wrought first an amelioration, and ultimately the abolition of slavery. The process was very slow and retarded by the counteracting influence of the love of gain and power, and all the sinful passions of men; but it was sure and is now almost complete throughout the Christian world; while paganism and Mohammedanism regard slavery as a normal state of society, and hence do not even make an attempt to remove it. It was the only wise way for the apostles to follow in dealing with the subject. A proclamation of emancipation from them would have been a mere brutum fulmen, or, if effectual, would have resulted in a bloody revolution of society in which Christianity itself would have been buried.
Paul accordingly sent back Onesimus to his rightful master, yet under a new character, no more a contemptible thief and runaway, but a regenerate man and a “beloved brother,” with the touching request that Philemon might receive him as kindly as he would the apostle himself, yea as his own heart (Phm_1:16, Phm_1:17). Such advice took the sting out of slavery; the form remained, the thing itself was gone. What a contrast! In the eyes of the heathen philosophers (even Aristotle) Onesimus, like every other slave, was but a live chattel; in the eyes of Paul a redeemed child of God and heir of eternal life, which is far better than freedom.
The New Testament is silent about the effect of the letter. We cannot doubt that Philemon forgave Onesimus and treated him with Christian kindness. In all probability he went beyond the letter of the request and complied with its spirit, which hints at emancipation. Tradition relates that Onesimus received his freedom and became bishop of Beraea in Macedonia; sometimes he is confounded with his namesake, a bishop of Ephesus in the second century, or made a missionary in Spain and a martyr in Rome, or at Puteoli.
Paul and Philemon
The Epistle is at the same time an invaluable contribution to our knowledge of Paul. It reveals him to us as a perfect Christian gentleman. It is a model of courtesy, delicacy, and tenderness of feeling. Shut up in a prison, the aged apostle had a heart full of love and sympathy for a poor runaway slave, made him a freeman in Christ Jesus, and recommended him as if he were his own self.
Paul and Pliny
Grotius and other commentators quote the famous letter of Pliny the Consul to his friend Sabinianus in behalf of a runaway slave. It is very creditable to Pliny, who was born in the year when Paul arrived as a prisoner in Rome, and shows that the natural feelings of kindness and generosity could not be extinguished even by that inhuman institution. Pliny was a Roman gentleman of high culture and noble instincts, although he ignorantly despised Christianity and persecuted its innocent professors while Proconsul in Asia. The letters present striking points of resemblance: in both, a fugitive slave, guilty, but reformed, and desirous to return to duty; in both, a polite, delicate, and earnest plea for pardon and restoration, dictated by sentiments of disinterested kindness. But they differ as Christian charity differs from natural philanthropy, as a Christian gentleman differs from a heathen gentleman. The one could appeal only to the amiable temper and pride of his friend, the other to the love of Christ and the sense of duty and gratitude; the one was concerned for the temporal comfort of his client, the other even more for his eternal welfare; the one could at best remand him to his former condition as a slave, the other raised him to the high dignity of a Christian brother, sitting with his master at the same communion table of a common Lord and Saviour. “For polished speech the Roman may bear the palm, but for nobleness of tone and warmth of heart he falls far short of the imprisoned apostle.”
The Epistle was poorly understood in the ancient church when slavery ruled supreme in the Roman empire. A strong prejudice prevailed against it in the fourth century, as if it were wholly unworthy of an apostle. Jerome, Chrysostom, and other commentators, who themselves had no clear idea of its ultimate social bearing, apologized to their readers that Paul, instead of teaching metaphysical dogmas and enforcing ecclesiastical discipline, should take so much interest in a poor runaway slave. But since the Reformation full justice has been done to it. Erasmus says: “Cicero never wrote with greater elegance.” Luther and Calvin speak of it in high terms, especially Luther, who fully appreciated its noble, Christ-like sentiments. Bengel: “mire ἀστεῖος.” Ewald: “Nowhere can the sensibility and warmth of a tender friendship blend more beautifully with the loftier feeling of a commanding spirit than in this letter, at once so brief, and yet so surpassingly full and significant.” Meyer: “A precious relic of a great character, and, viewed merely as a specimen of Attic elegance and urbanity, it takes rank among the epistolary masterpieces of antiquity.” Baur rejects it with trifling arguments as post-apostolic, but confesses that it “makes an agreeable impression by its attractive form,” and breathes “the noblest Christian spirit.” Holtzmann calls it “a model of tact, refinement, and amiability.” Reuss: “a model of tact and humanity, and an expression of a fine appreciation of Christian duty, and genial, amiable humor.” Renan, with his keen eye on the literary and aesthetic merits or defects, praises it as “a veritable little chef-d’oeuvre, of the art of letter-writing.” And Lightfoot, while estimating still higher its moral significance on the question of slavery, remarks of its literary excellency: “As an expression of simple dignity, of refined courtesy, of large sympathy, of warm personal affection, the Epistle to Philemon stands unrivalled. And its pre-eminence is the more remarkable because in style it is exceptionally loose. It owes nothing to the graces of rhetoric; its effect is due solely to the spirit of the writer.”
99. The Pastoral Epistles
Comp. § 33.
The three Pastoral Epistles, two to Timothy and one to Titus, form a group by themselves, and represent the last stage of the apostle’s life and labors, with his parting counsels to his beloved disciples and fellow-workers. They show us the transition of the apostolic church from primitive simplicity to a more definite system of doctrine and form of government. This is just what we might expect from the probable time of their composition after the first Roman captivity of Paul, and before the composition of the Apocalypse.
They are addressed not to congregations, but to individuals, and hence more personal and confidential in their character. This fact helps us to understand many peculiarities. Timothy, the son of a heathen father and a Jewish mother, and Titus, a converted Greek, were among the dearest of Paul’s pupils. They were, at the same time, his delegates and commissioners on special occasions, and appear under this official character in the Epistles, which, for this reason, bear the name “Pastoral.”
The Epistles contain Paul’s pastoral theology and his theory of church government. They give directions for founding, training, and governing churches, and for the proper treatment of individual members, old and young, widows and virgins, backsliders and heretics. They are rich in practical wisdom and full of encouragement, as every pastor knows.
The Second Epistle to Timothy is more personal in its contents than the other two, and has the additional importance of concluding the autobiography of Paul. It is his last will and testament to all future ministers and soldiers of Christ.
The Pauline Authorship
There never was a serious doubt as to the Pauline authorship of these Epistles till the nineteenth century, except among a few Gnostics in the second century. They were always reckoned among the Homologumena, as distinct from the seven Antilegomena, or disputed books of the New Testament. As far as external evidence is concerned, they stand on as firm a foundation as any other Epistle. They are quoted as canonical by Eusebius, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Irenaeus. Reminiscences from them, in some cases with verbal agreement, are found in several of the Apostolic Fathers. They are included in the ancient MSS. and Versions, and in the list of the Muratorian canon. Marcion (about 140), it is true, excluded them from his canon of ten Pauline Epistles, but he excluded also the Gospels (except a mutilated Luke), the Catholic Epistles, and the Apocalypse.
But there are certain internal difficulties which have induced a number of modern critics to assign them all, or at least First Timothy, to a post-Pauline or pseudo-Pauline writer, who either changed and adapted Pauline originals to a later state of the church, or fabricated the whole in the interest of Catholic orthodoxy. In either case, the writer is credited with the best intentions and must not be judged according to the modern standard of literary honesty and literary property. Doctrinally, the Pastoral Epistles are made the connecting link between genuine Paulinism and the Johannean Logos — philosophy; ecclesiastically, the link between primitive Presbyterianism and Catholic Episcopacy; in both respects, a necessary element in the formation process of the orthodox Catholic church of the second century.
The objections against the Pauline authorship deserve serious consideration, and are as follows: (1) The impossibility of locating these Epistles in the recorded life of Paul; (2) the Gnostic heresy opposed; (3) the ecclesiastical organization implied; (4) the peculiarities of style and temper. If they are not genuine, Second Timothy must be the oldest, as it is least liable to these objections, and First Timothy and Titus are supposed to represent a later development.
The Time of Composition
The chronology of the Pastoral Epistles is uncertain, and has been made an objection to their genuineness. It is closely connected with the hypothesis of a second Roman captivity, which we have discussed in another place.
The Second Epistle to Timothy, whether genuine or not, hails from a Roman prison, and appears to be the last of Paul’s Epistles; for he was then hourly expecting the close of his fight of faith, and the crown of righteousness from his Lord and Master (2Ti_4:7, 2Ti_4:8). Those who deny the second imprisonment, and yet accept Second Timothy as Pauline, make it the last of the first imprisonment.
As to First Timothy and Titus, it is evident from their contents that they were written while Paul was free, and after he had made some journeys, which are not recorded in the Acts. Here lies the difficulty. Two ways are open:
1. The two Epistles were written in 56 and 57. Paul may, during his three years’ sojourn in Ephesus, a.d. 54-57 (see Act_19:8-10; Act_20:31), easily have made a second journey to Macedonia, leaving Ephesus in charge of Timothy (1Ti_1:3); and also crossed over to the island of Crete, where he left Titus behind to take care of the churches (Tit_1:5). Considering the incompleteness of the record of Acts, and the probable allusions in 2Co_2:1; 2Co_12:13, 2Co_12:14, 2Co_12:21; 2Co_13:1, to a second visit to Corinth, not mentioned in the Acts, these two journeys are within the reach of possibility. But such an early date leaves the other difficulties unexplained.
2. The tradition of the second Roman captivity, which can be raised at least to a high degree of probability, removes the difficulty by giving us room for new journeys and labors of Paid between his release in the spring of 63 and the Neronian persecution in July, 64 (according to Tacitus), or three or four years later (according to Eusebius and Jerome), as well as for the development of the Gnostic heresy and the ecclesiastical organization of the church which is implied in these Epistles. Hence, most writers who hold to the genuineness place First Timothy and Titus between the first and second Roman captivities.
Paul certainly intended to make a journey from Rome to Spain (Rom_15:24), and also one to the East (Phm_1:22; Phi_1:25, Phi_1:26; Phi_2:24), and he had ample time to carry out his intention even before the Neronian persecution, if we insist upon confining this to the date of Tacitus.
Those who press the chronological difficulty should not forget that a forger could have very easily fitted the Epistles into the narrative of the Acts, and was not likely to invent a series of journeys, circumstances, and incidents, such as the bringing of the cloak, the books, and the parchments which Paul, in the hurry of travel, had left at Troas (2Ti_4:13).
The Gnostic Heresy
The Pastoral Epistles, like Colossians, oppose the Gnostic heresy (γνῶσις ψευδώνυμος, 1Ti_6:20) which arose in Asia Minor during his first Roman captivity, and appears more fully developed in Cerinthus, the contemporary of John. This was acknowledged by the early Fathers, Irenaeus and Tertullian, who used these very Epistles as Pauline testimonies against the Gnosticism of their day.
The question arises, which of the many types of this many-sided error is opposed? Evidently the Judaizing type, which resembled that at Colossae, but was more advanced and malignant, and hence is more sternly denounced. The heretics were of “the circumcision” (Tit_1:10); they are called “teachers of the law” (νομοδιδάσκαλοι, 1Ti_1:7, the very reverse of antinomians), “given to Jewish fables” (Ἰουδαΐκοί μῦθοι, Tit_1:14), and “disputes connected with the law” (μάχαι νομικαί, Tit_3:9), and fond of foolish and ignorant questionings (2Ti_2:23). They were, moreover, extravagant ascetics, like the Essenes, forbidding to marry and abstaining from meat (1Ti_4:3, 1Ti_4:8; Tit_1:14, Tit_1:15). They denied the resurrection and overthrew the faith of some (2Ti_2:18).
Baur turned these heretics into anti-Jewish and antinomian Gnostics of the school of Marcion (about 140), and then, by consequence, put the Epistles down to the middle of the second century. He finds in the “genealogies” (1Ti_1:4; Tit_3:9) the emanations, of the Gnostic aeons, and in the “antitheses” (1Ti_6:20), or anti-evangelical assertions of the heretical teachers, an allusion to Marcion’s “antitheses” (antilogies), by which he set forth the supposed contradictions between the Old and New Testaments. But this is a radical misinterpretation, and the more recent opponents of the genuineness are forced to admit the Judaizing character of those errorists; they identify them with Cerinthus, the Ophites, and Saturninus, who preceded Marcion by several decades.
As to the origin of the Gnostic heresy, which the Tübingen school would put down to the age of Hadrian, we have already seen that, like its counterpart, the Ebionite heresy, it dates from the apostolic age, according to the united testimony of the later Pauline Epistles, the Epistles of Peter, John, and Jude, the Apocalypse, and the patristic tradition.
The Pastoral Epistles seem to presuppose a more fully developed ecclesiastical organization than the other Pauline Epistles, and to belong to an age of transition from apostolic simplicity, or Christo-democracy — if we may use such a term — to the episcopal hierarchy of the second century. The church, in proportion as it lost, after the destruction of Jerusalem, its faith in the speedy advent of Christ, began to settle down in this world, and to make preparations for a permanent home by a fixed creed and a compact organization, which gave it unity and strength against heathen persecution and heretical corruption. This organization, at once simple and elastic, was episcopacy, with its subordinate offices of the presbyterate and deaconate, and charitable institutions for widows and orphans. Such an organization we have, it is said, in the Pastoral Epistles, which were written in the name of Paul, to give the weight of his authority to the incipient hierarchy.
But, on closer inspection, there is a very marked difference between the ecclesiastical constitution of the Pastoral Epistles and that of the second century. There is not a word said about the divine origin of episcopacy; not a trace of a congregational episcopate, such as we find in the Ignatian epistles, still less of a diocesan episcopate of the time of Irenaeus and Tertullian. Bishops and presbyters are still identical as they are in the Act_20:17, Act_20:28, and in the undoubtedly genuine Epistle to the Phi_1:1. Even Timothy and Titus appear simply as delegates of the apostle for a specific mission. The qualifications and functions required of the bishop are aptness to teach and a blameless character; and their authority is made to depend upon their moral character rather than their office. They are supposed to be married, and to set a good example in governing their own household. The ordination which Timothy received (1Ti_4:14; 1Ti_5:22) need not differ from the ordination of deacons and elders mentioned in Act_6:6; Act_8:17; comp. Act_14:23; Act_19:6). “Few features,” says Dr. Plumptre, himself an Episcopalian, “are more striking in these Epistles than the absence of any high hierarchical system.” The Apocalypse, which these very critics so confidently assign to the year 68, shows a nearer approach to episcopal unity in the “angels” of the seven churches. But even from the “angels,” of the Apocalypse there was a long way to the Ignatian and pseudo-Clementine bishops, who are set up as living oracles and hierarchical idols.
The language of the Pastoral Epistles shows an unusual number of un-Pauline words and phrases, especially rare compounds, some of them nowhere found in the whole New Testament, or even in Greek literature.
But, in the first place, the number of words peculiar to each one of the three epistles is much greater than the number of peculiar words common to all three; consequently, if the argument proves anything, it leads to the conclusion of three different authors, which the assailants will not admit, in view of the general unity of the Epistles. In the next place, every one of Paul’s Epistles has a number of peculiar words, even the little Epistle of Philemon. The most characteristic words were required by the nature of the new topics handled and the heresy combated, such as “knowledge falsely so called” (ψευδώνυμος γνῶσις, 1Ti_6:20) “healthful doctrine” (ὑγιαίνουσα διδασκαλία, 1Ti_1:10); “Jewish myths” (Tit_1:14); “genealogies” (Tit_3:9); “profane babblings” (2Ti_2:16). Paul’s mind was uncommonly fertile and capable of adapting itself to varying, conditions, and had to create in some measure the Christian idiom. The Tübingen critics profess the highest admiration for his genius, and yet would contract his vocabulary to a very small compass. Finally, the peculiarities of style are counterbalanced by stronger resemblances and unmistakable evidences of Pauline authorship. “There are flashes of the deepest feeling, outbursts of the most intense expression. There is rhythmic movement and excellent majesty in the doxologies, and the ideal of a Christian pastor drawn not only with an unfaltering hand, but with a beauty, fulness, and simplicity which a thousand years of subsequent experience have enabled no one to equal, much less to surpass.”
On the other hand, we may well ask the opponents to give a good reason why a forger should have chosen so many new words when he might have so easily confined himself to the vocabulary of the other Epistles of Paul; why he should have added “mercy” to the salutation instead of the usual form; why he should have called Paul “the chief of sinners” (1Ti_1:15), and affected a tone of humility rather than a tone of high apostolic authority?
The Epistles have been charged with want of logical connection, with abruptness, monotony, and repetitiousness, unworthy of such an original thinker and writer as Paul. But this feature is only the easy, familiar, we may say careless, style which forms the charm as well as the defect of personal correspondence. Moreover, every great author varies more or less at different periods of life, and under different conditions and moods.
It would be a more serious objection if the theology of these Epistles could be made to appear in conflict with that of his acknowledged works. But this is not the case. It is said that greater stress is laid on sound doctrine and good works. But in Galatians, Paul condemns most solemnly every departure from the genuine gospel (Gal_1:8, Gal_1:9), and in all his Epistles he enjoins holiness as the indispensable evidence of faith; while salvation is just as clearly traced to divine grace alone, in the Pastoral Epistles (1Ti_1:9; Tit_3:5), as in Romans.
In conclusion, while we cannot be blind to certain difficulties, and may not be able, from want of knowledge of the precise situation of the writer, satisfactorily to explain them, we must insist that the prevailing evidence is in favor of the genuineness of these Epistles. They agree with Paul’s doctrinal system; they are illuminated with flashes of his genius; they bear the marks of his intense personality; they contain rare gems of inspired truth, and most wholesome admonition and advice, which makes them to-day far more valuable than any number of works on pastoral theology and church government. There are not a few passages in them which, for doctrine or practice, are equal to the best he ever wrote, and are deeply lodged in the experience and affection of Christendom (Such passages as 1Ti_1:15, 1Ti_1:17; 1Ti_2:1, 1Ti_2:4-6, 1Ti_2:8; 1Ti_3:2, 1Ti_3:16; 1Ti_4:1, 1Ti_4:4,1Ti_4:7, 1Ti_4:10, 1Ti_4:15; 1Ti_5:8, 1Ti_5:17, 1Ti_5:18, 1Ti_5:22; 1Ti_6:6, 1Ti_6:9-12; 2Ti_1:6; 2Ti_2:11, 2Ti_2:12, 2Ti_2:19, 2Ti_2:22; 2Ti_3:12, 2Ti_3:16, 2Ti_3:17; 2Ti_4:2, 2Ti_4:6-8; Tit_1:7, Tit_1:15; Tit_2:11; Tit_3:5, Tit_3:6.).
And what could be a more fitting, as well as more sublime and beautiful, finale of such a hero of faith than the last words of his last Epistle, written in the very face of martyrdom: “I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day: and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved his appearing.”
Schleiermacher led the way, in 1807, with his attack on 1 Timothy, urging very keenly historical, philological, and other objections, but assuming 2 Timothy and Titus to be the genuine originals from which the first was compiled. DeWette followed in his Introduction. Baur left both behind and rejected all, in his epoch-making treatise, Die sogenannten Pastoralbriefe, 1835. He was followed by Schwegler (1846), Hilgenfeld (1875), Mangold, Schenkel, Hausrath, Pfleiderer (both in his Paulinismus and in his Commentary in the Protestanten-Bibel, 1874), Holtzmann; also by Ewald, Renan (L’Église chrétienne, pp. 85 sqq.), and Sam. Davidson (Introd., revised ed., II. 21 sqq.). The most elaborate book against the genuineness is Holtzmann’s Die Pastoralbriefe kritisch und exeg. behandelt, Leipzig, 1880 (504 pp.); comp. his Einleitung (1886).
Reuss (Les épitres Pauliniennes, 1878, II. 243 sq., 307 sq., and Gesch. des N. T, 1887, p. 257 sqq.) rejects 1 Timothy and Titus, but admits 2 Timothy, assigning it to the first Roman captivity. He thinks that 2 Timothy would never have been doubted except for its suspicious companionship. Some of the opponents, as Pfleiderer and Renan, feel forced to admit some scraps of genuine Pauline Epistles or notes, and thus they break the force of the opposition. The three Epistles must stand or fall together, either as wholly Pauline, or as wholly pseudo-Pauline.
The genuineness has been ably vindicated by Guericke, Thiersch, Huther, Wiesinger, Otto, Wieseler, Van Oosterzee, Lange, Herzog, von Hofmann, Beck, Alford, Gloag, Fairbairn (Past. Ep., 1874), Farrar (St. Paul, II. 607 sqq.), Wace (in the Speaker’s Com. New Test., III., 1881, 749 sqq.), Plumptre (in Schaff’s Com. on the New Test., III., 1882, pp. 550 sqq.), Kölling (Der erste Br. a. Tim. 1882), Salmon (1885), and Weiss (1886).