STUDY 17 - THE PASTORAL EPISTLES:
1 TIMOTHY, TITUS & 2 TIMOTHY
For this study see: M.C.Tenney, pp.333-343; R.H.Gundry, pp.409-420.
Further reading: D.A.Carson, et al., An Introduction to the New
The Pauline authorship of the Pastorals is often challenged.
M.C.Tenney defends traditional authorship by noting the apostle's
"A definite change took place after the imprisonment of Paul. The
man himself was different, for although he was unready to quit the
ardent pursuit of his calling as Philippians showed (Phil.3:12), time
was against him. In Philemon he described himself as 'Paul the
aged' (Phlm.9), and in Philippians he indicated that death might not be
far distant (Phil.1:20-21). He was relying increasingly on the
aid of his younger associates, who were still free and better able than
he to carry on the work of preaching. The Pastoral Epistles, 1
Timothy, Titus and 2 Timothy, belong at this stage of his career". 
Paul might have been acquitted after his appeal in the
Emperor's court (A.D. 60 or 61) to assume his missionary activities,
including revisitation of the Asian churches. The epistles could be a
practical response to what Paul saw on tour.
The churches in Asia
The epistle indicates changes in the churches. There was some
defection (1:3-4). Some had intellectual ambitions and desired to
be teachers of the law (1:7). Others, like Hymenaeus and
Alexander, had 'shipwrecked their faith' (1:19-20). The church
was more organised with elders (Gk. presbuteros, elder; episkopos,
overseer) and deacons (Gk. diakonos, helper, deacon) (see 3:1-8). 
There were registers for widows needing support and a number of new
ministries may be intimated (see 5:9-10).
According to M.C.Tenney:
"The services had certain regular features: prayer with uplifted hands
(2:8), modesty and unobtrusiveness on the part of the women (2:11),
reading, preaching, and teaching (4:13), the laying on of hands to
confer a spiritual gift (4:14). As the second and third
generations of believers arose, the theology of the church was
increasingly taken for granted and became decreasingly vital.
Wrangling and argument developed over points of difference; heresy
became a growingly [sic] imminent danger. 
Against this background Timothy, as the pastor of the church at
Ephesus, is given advice and instruction by the apostle Paul. He
is reminded of the responsibility of his calling (see 1:8; 4:6, 12,16;
5:12; 6:11,20). Finally he is given an exhortation in the form of
four imperatives - flee, follow, fight, and keep (6:12, 14).
Timothy can be the basis for a series of interesting Bible studies. 
An outline of the epistle
M.C.Tenney's outline heading is mindful of the fact that Timothy is
1 Timothy: Advice to a
The official commission (1:18-4:5)
The personal admonitions (4:6-6:19)
Concluding salutation (6:20-21).
Like Timothy, Titus was one of Paul's co-workers. 
The situation on Crete The situation in the Cretian church was
discouraging. Tenney indicates:
"The church was unorganised, and its members were quite careless in
behaviour. If the injunctions of ch.2 are any indication or what
the churches needed, the men were lax and careless, the older women
were gossips and winebibbers, and the young women were idle and
flirtatious. Perhaps the preaching of the gospel of grace had
given the Cretans the impression that salvation by faith was unrelated
to an industrious and ethical life. Six times (1:16; 2:7,14; 3:1,8,14)
in this short epistle Christians are urged to do good works.
Although Paul says that salvation cannot be earned by good works (3:5),
he affirms with equal vigour that believers must be careful to maintain
good works". 
The general contents of Titus compare with 1 Timothy, but has a
stronger credal emphasis. Note these elements from the textbook,
which summarise the doctrinal teaching of the church at this early
stage of its history: 
"The personality of God (2:11; 3:6); his love and grace (2:11; 3:4);
his title of Saviour (2:10; 3:4); the Saviourhood of Christ (2:13;
3:6); the Holy Spirit (3:5); the implication of the triune being of God
(3:5-6); the essential deity of Christ (2:13); the vicarious atonement
of Christ (2:14); the universality of salvation (2:11); salvation by
grace, and the incoming of the Holy Spirit (3:5); justification by
faith (3:7); sanctification of his own people (2:14); separation from
evil (2:12); inheritance of eternal life (3:7); the return of Christ
An outline of the epistle
M.C.Tenney analyses the epistle against a background of a difficult
Titus: Sound Doctrine
The administration of sound doctrine (1:5-16)
The preaching of sound doctrine (2:1-15)
Counselling by sound doctrine (3:1-11)
Concluding salutations (3:12-15).
This letter is Paul's last message to his helpers and friends
before his martyrdom.
Content of the epistle
"The content of this last epistle is an intermingling of personal
sentiment and administrative policy, of reminiscence and instruction,
of sadness and confidence. Its main purpose was to strengthen
Timothy for the arduous task that Paul himself was about to
relinquish. He laid down the pastoral pattern by first reminding
Timothy of his own personal experience... With this calling in mind he
urged Timothy to undertake his problems as a soldier of war (2:3)... In
personal life and in public relations with the church he should always
be the Lord's servant, not contentious, but ready to help all people to
understand the truth of God". 
The final charge to the young pastor, which includes a prophecy of the
last days, needs to be applied by all those called to the Christian
An outline of the epistle
M.C.Tenney heads Paul's last letter fittingly:
2 Timothy: The Farewell
The pastoral pattern (1:3-3:17)
The final charge (4:1-8)
Concluding greetings (4:9-22).
EVALUATION OF THE PASTORAL EPISTLES
The Pastorals are a valuable source for understanding the life
of the church in a period of transition. Heresy is seen as a real
threat to vital Christianity. Against this, doctrine is becoming
more formulated. as indicated by the reference to 'sound doctrine' (1
Tim.1:10; 6:3; 2 Tim.1:13; 4:3; Tit.1:9; 2:1,8) and the 'faithful
sayings' (1 Tim.1:15; 3:1; 4:8-10; 2 Tim.2:11,12 ; Tit.3:8).
Ethical teaching features strongly. Further, continued missionary
activity and growth is indicated. Note the qualifications for
elders and deacons (1 Tim.3:1-7; Tit.1:6-9). Paul's dedication is
inspiring (2 Tim.4:6-8).
1. M.C.Tenney, p.333.
2. In the NT the Greek terms for 'elders' and 'overseers' are
always in the plural, and are synonyms. Study the Greek terms:
episkopos and diakonos (Phil.1:1).
3. M.C.Tenney, p.335.
4. M.C.Tenney, pp.335f.
5. For a study of Titus see: M.C.Tenney, p.338.
6. M.C.Tenney, p.337.
7. M.C.Tenney, p.339.