1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Timothy, First Epistle to

19449921911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 26 — Timothy, First Epistle toJames Moffatt

TIMOTHY, FIRST EPISTLE TO. This book of the New Testament is really a pastoral letter upon church order, addressed by the apostle Paul to the Asiatic Christian communities in and round Ephesus (i. 3).[1] The object of the writing is stated in iii. 15 πῶς δεῖ ἐν οἴκῳ θεοῦ ἀναστρέφεσθαι. It is thrown into the literary form[2] of a letter from Paul to his lieutenant Timothy, but, as the closing salutation indicates (vi. 21, "grace be with you," ὑμῖν), the writer really has the Church in his mind all through. The Pauline standard of doctrine is set up (i. 3–20) as the norm of thought and practice. . This trust and tradition is to be maintained throughout the churches. It involves, the writer proceeds to argue, the proper conduct of public worship (ii. 1 seq., 8 seq.), and the proper qualification episcopi (iii. 2 seq.) and diaconi (iii. 8 seq.). The finale of this section (iii. 15–16) leads, by way of contrast, to a sharp prophetic warning against contemporary errorists (iv. 1 seq.), with advice upon the proper management of various classes of people within the Church (v. 1 seq.). Special attention is given to the ecclesiastical “widows” (3 seq.) and to presbyters (17 seq.). After a word on slaves and masters (vi. 1–2), the epistle recurs to the errorists (vi. 3 seq.), passing into a warning against wealth (6 seq.) and an impressive closing charge (11 seq.). The writing closes with the ἡ χάρις μεθ' ὑμῶν of verse 21. The context and contents of vi. 17–21a suggest that it is a later interpolation, such as writings on church discipline were particularly exposed to (Harnack). Their inorganic character naturally permitted later generations to bring them up to date, and accretions of this kind may be suspected in 1 Tim. iii. 1–13,v. 17–20 (22a), vi. 17–21, as well as in Tit. i. 7–9. Other verses, like iii. 11 and v. 23, have all the appearance of misplaced glosses, perhaps from the margin. When vi. 20–21 is thus taken as a later addition, it becomes possible[3] to see in the reference to ἀντιθέσεις τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως an allusion to Marcion’s well-known volume.

Attempts have been made by some critics, particularly Hesse (Die Entstehung der neutest. Hirtenbriefe, 1889: i. 1–10, 18–20, iv. 1–16, vi. 3–16, 20 seq.) and Knoke (Prakt. theol. Kommentar, 1887, 1889: a = i. 3 seq., 18–20, ii. 1–10, iv. 12, v. 1–3, 4c–6, 11–15, 19–23, 24 seq., written to Timothy from Corinth; b = i. 12–17, iii- 14–16, iv. 1–11, 13–16, ii. 12–15, v. 7 seq., vi. 17–19, i. 5–11, vi. 2c–16, 20 seq., written from Caesarea), to disentangle one or more original notes of Paul from the subsequent additions, but the comparative evenness of the style does not favour such analyses.[4] They have more relevance and point in 2 Tim. than in 1 Tim. P. Ewald, in his Probabilia betr. d. Text des 1 Tim. (1901), falls back upon the hypothesis of the papyri leaves or sheets having been displaced, and conjectures that i. 12–17 originally lay between i. 2 and i. 3, while iii. 14–iv. 10 has been misplaced from after vi. 2. But his keen criticism of Hesse and Knoke is more successful than his positive explanation of the textual phenomena, and a more thorough-going process of literary criticism is necessary in order to solve the problems of the epistle. Its irregular character, abrupt connexions and loose transitions[5] are due to the nature of the subject rather than to any material disarrangement of its paragraphs.

The phenomena of style have to be viewed in a broad light. Allowance must be made for the difference of vocabulary produced lay change of subject. The evidence of ἅπαξ εὑρημένα is always to be received with caution and strict scrutiny; no hard and fast rule must be set up to judge the language of a man like Paul. Yet such considerations do not operate against the literary judgment that the pastorals did not come from Paul’s pen. The words and phrases which are common to the pastorals and the rest of the Pauline epistles are neither so characteristic nor so numerous as those peculiar-to the former, and the data of style may be summed up in the verdict that they point to a writer who, naturally reproducing Paul’s standpoint as far as possible, and acquainted with his epistles, yet betrays the characteristics of his later milieu in expressions as well as in ideas.[6] Thus, of 174 words which occur in the pastorals alone (of all the New Testament writings), 97 are foreign to the Septuagint and 116 to the rest of the Pauline letters. This proportion of ἅπαξ εὑρημένα is extremely large, when the size of the pastorals is taken into account, and its significance is heightened by the further fact that several of Paul’s characteristic expressions tend to be replaced by others (e.g. περιπατεῖν and στοιχεῖν by ἀναστρέφειν, &c., κύριος by δεσπότης, παρουσία by ἐπιφάνεια, while a large number of Pauline words are entirely absent (e.g. ἄδικος, ἐλευθερία, καυχᾶσθαι, μείζων, μικρός, μωρία, παράδοσις, πείθειν, περισσεύειν, σῶμα, &c). Nor is this by any means all. “Difference in vocabulary may be partially explained (though only partially in this case) by difference of subject-matter and of date; but the use of particles is one of the most unfailing of literary tests. The change in the use of particles and the comparative rarity of the definite article form, together with the startling divergence in vocabulary, the chief ground -of our perplexity” (Church Quarterly Review, 1903, pp. 428 seq.). Pauline particles like ἄρα, διό, διότι, ἔπειτα, ἔτι, ἴδε and ἴδου disappear; the Pauline σύν is replaced by μετά, while prepositions like ἄντι, ἄχρι, ἔμπροσθεν and παρά (accus.) drop out entirely. A number of Latinisms, unexampled in the rest of Paul’s epistles, occur within the pastorals; whole families of new words, especially composite words (often compounded with -privative, θεο-, οἰκο-, καλο-,[7] σωφρο-, φιλο-), emerge with others, e.g. εὐσέβεια, πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, &c. ; and the very greeting is un-Pauline (1 Tim. i. 2 ; 2 Tim. i. 2). The peculiarities of syntax corroborate the impression made by such features of the vocabulary. There is less flow than in the rest of the Pauline letters; “the syntax is stiffer and more regular . . . the clauses are marshalled together, and there is a tendency to parallelism” (Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, p. 402). An increase of sententious imperative clauses is also to be noted. Doubtless, some of these features might be set down to Paul’s amanuensis.[8] But not all of them, more especially when the characteristic conceptions and ideas of the pastorals are taken into account. Nor can it be argued that the characteristics of the pastorals are those of private letters ; they are not private, nor even semi-private as they stand; besides, the only private note from Paul’s hand (Philemon) bears no traces of the special diction exhibited in the epistles to Timothy and Titus.

Furthermore, throughout the pastorals, and especially in 1 Tim., there are traces of a wider acquaintance with Greek literature[9] than can be detected in the letters of Paul. Affinities to Plutarch (cf. J. Albani in Zeitschrift für wiss. Theologie, 1902, 40–58) and to 4 as well as to 2 Maccabees are not improbable.

1 Tim. also gives clearest expression to the author’s ecclesiastical and doctrinal views. The objective sense of πίστις has begun to overpower the subjective. Christianity is becoming more and more a “form of sound words,” a crystallized creed, whose teaching is the vital point. The deep conceptions of Paul, viz. the fatherly love of God, the faith-mysticism of the Christian’s relation to Christ, and the inward witness of the Spirit, fall into the background, while unusual prominence is assigned to the more tangible and practical tests of Christianity.

Of all the pastorals, 1 Tim. is furthest from Paul.[10] The author writes more out of his own mind, evidently with little or no special material to fall back upon. The epistle is not a compilation from the two others (as Schleiermacher thought), but it seems to denote a slightly later stage.[11] Many critics therefore (e.g. De Wette, Mangold, Reuss, Bruckner, Pfleiderer, von Soden, McGiffert, S. Davidson, Bourquin, Clemen and Jülicher) conclude that the pastorals were written in this order (2 Tim., Titus, 1 Tim.). When the epistles were arranged for the canon, it was natural to put 2 Tim. later than the other two, since its setting seemed to imply the close of Paul’s career. Its literary priority is confirmed by several resemblances between it and Philippians, the last of Paul’s epistles (e.g. ἀνάλυσις iv. 6 = ἀναλύειν Phil. i. 23, and σπένδεσθαι iv. 6 = Phil. ii. 17).

Literature.—The following special monographs on 1 Tim. are noteworthy: Melanchthon’s Enarratio epist. I. Pauli ad Timotheum et duorum capiium secunda (1561), Heshusius, Commentarius in priorem epist. Pauli ad Timotheum (1582), Gerhard, Annotationes ad I. Pauli ad Tim. epistolam (1643) and M. G. E. Leo, Pauli epistola I. ad Tim. cum perpetuo commentario (Leipzig, 1837; full and exact). More modern essays are published by Kölling, Der I. Brief Paulus an Tim. aufs neue untersucht und ausgelegt (1882 seq.) and, from a conservative standpoint, by Liddon (1897). Two other essays appeared in the early part of last century, by Beckhaus, Specimen observationum de verbis ἅπαξ λεγόμ. et rarioribus dicendi formulis in prima ad Tim. epistola Paulina obviis (1810) and A. Curtius, De tempore quo prior epist. Tim. exarata sit (1828). In the difficult passage (v. 18), both quotations seem to be ranked as from ἡ γραφή, in which case the second (cf. Luke x. 7) goes back to either Luke's gospel or its source at this particular point. The hypothesis that a saying of Jesus is loosely added here to an Old Testament citation is very forced, and the inference is that by the time the author wrote, Luke’s gospel was reckoned as γραφή. This would be explicable if Luke could be assumed to have been the author, in whole or part, of the pastorals.  (J. Mt.) 

  1. The same motive occurs in the preface to Irenaeus's treatise, Adv. haer.
  2. The opposite view, which insists upon the definite character of the pastorals, is ably stated by A. Kuegg in Aus Schrift und Geschichte (1898), pp. 59–108. Otto and Kölling attempt to refer πορευόμενος (i. 3) to Timothy, not to Paul, and in this way to refer the situation to Acts xix. 22 ; but this is exegetically untenable.
  3. When the literary integrity of the epistle is maintained this allusion naturally drops to the ground, since the use of the epistle by Polycarp rules the earlier conjectures of Baur and others (who made the pastorals anti-Marcionite) out of court; besides, passages like i. 7 (Titus i. 10, 14) would not apply to the Marcionites. Dr Hort (Judaistic Christianity, pp. 113 seq.) prefers to group both the false γνῶσις (cf. Rom. ii. 20) and the ἀντιθέσεις as Jewish casuistical decisions, the γενεαλογίαι of i. 4 and Tit. iii. 9 being the legendary pedigrees of Jewish heroes, such as are prominent in Philo and the Book of Jubilees. Cf. Wohlenberg, pp. 30–36, and on the other side Klöpper in Zeits. für wiss. Theologie (1902), pp. 339 seq.
  4. Hesse is in particular, is shipwrecked on the assumption that the Ignatian epistles must be dated under Marcus Aurelius.
  5. Thus ii. 11–15 seems almost like a gloss (Hesse, Knoke), iv. 1–8 parts easily from its context, and the οὖν of ii. 1 indicates a very loose relationship to the preceding paragraphs.
  6. So the philologist T. Nägeli (Der Wortschatz des Apostels Paulus, 1905, pp. 85 seq.), whose opinion is all the more significant on this point that he refuses to admit any linguistic features adverse to the Pauline authorship of the other epistles.
  7. Καλός, which Paul never uses as an attribute, is mainly employed in this way by the author. On σωτήρ as applied to God, cf. Wagner in Zeits. f. neut. Wiss. (1905), pp. 221 seq.
  8. The so-called “Lucan” features (cf. Holtzmann, pp. 92 seq., and Von Soden in Theologische Abhandlungen, 1892, pp. 133–135) have suggested that Luke may have been the amanuensis (cf. 2 Tim. iv. 11), or even the author of the pastorals.
  9. E.g. Tit. i. 11 (cf. Plut. Moral. 967, 13), ii. 3 (cf. Thuc. ii. 61 ; Xen. Mem. i. 5, 5, 6, 8); 2 Tim. ii. 17 (cf. Plut. Moral. 65 ὁ δὲ καρκίνος πολυδιάχυτον ἐν τῷ σώματι πάθος) ; 1 Tim. i. 6 (cf. Plut. Moral. 414 Εἰ ἀστοχοῦσι τοῦ μετρίου καὶ πρέποντος), i. 10 (cf. Plut. De educ. lib. 5 A τοῦ ὑγιαίνοντος καὶ τεταγμένου βίου καταφρονεῖν, for ὑγιής = “normal”; cf. Plato’s Protagoras, 346 C), i. 19 (cf. Galen, x. 307, ἐν οἷς έναύγησαν οἱ πρόσθεν ἰατροί = “came to grief”), vi. 5 (cf. Plut. Cato major, 25, Moral. 92 B with Plato’s Protagoras, 313).
  10. Even linguistically Titus and 1 Tim. are closer to one another than either to 2 Tim. The latter has no allusion to the καλόν ἔργον, the ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν, the διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, &c, of the others, and contains one or two specific phrases of its own. 1 Tim., like Ephesians, is a writing whose lack of greetings and general tone point to the functions of an encyclical or Catholic epistle.
  11. For details, cf. Ency. Bib. 5093–5094. Of the five “faithful sayings,” three occur in 1 Tim.; these condensed aphorisms tally with liturgical fragments such as the famous quotation in 1 Tim. iii. 16, a formula of confession written in small short cola (cf. Klöpper in Zeitschrift für wiss. Theologie, 1902, pp. 336 seq.).