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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


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A convenient designation for First and Second Timothy and Titus. The title, which Anton first applied to these writings in 1753, highlights their concern for proper pastoral authority in the face of heresy. Scholarly debate has centered on the related questions of authorship and setting in the history of the early church. Traditionalists have argued Pauline authorship. Such interpreters generally argue that Paul's two-year imprisonment (Acts 28:16 ,Acts 28:16,28:30 ) ended, not in Paul's death, but in his release, followed by further missionary work in Achaia (2 Timothy 4:20 ), Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3 ), and Asia Minor (2Timothy 4:13,2 Timothy 4:20 ) and a second Roman imprisonment (compare 2 Timothy 3:16 ). Such critics date the Pastorals after the first imprisonment between A.D. 61,68. Other interpreters assign the Pastorals to a disciple of Paul writing about A.D. 100. Such critics appeal to differences in vocabularly and content—missing are Paul's emphases on the union of the believer and Christ, the Spirit as the power of the new life, and freedom from the law. The interpreter's presuppositions concerning the permissibility of pseudonymous writings in the canon and concerning the development of the early church generally determine his or her weighing of the evidence. Whether by Paul or one of his later disciples, these writings reflect a changed agenda for the church. The issue is no longer the missionary concern to incorporate Gentile believers into the church, but the institutional concern to fight heresy within established churches and to present a sober witness to a negative society. See Timothy, First Epistle to; Timothy, Second Epistle to; Titus, Epistle to .

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Pastorals'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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