Historical Commentary on the First Epistle to Timothy

By W. M Ramsay


That the Pastoral Epistles could not have been written by Paul during the journeys which are described in Acts, may be taken as certain. It is unnecessary to repeat the arguments by which Lightfoot and others have demonstrated this. Our present aim is not to put together all that can be said about these Epistles, but rather to place the reader at the point of view, from which they ought to be contemplated by the historian. Regarded in the proper · perspective, they are historically perhaps the most illuminative of all the Pauline Epistles; and this is the best and the one sufficient proof that they are authentic compositions, emanating each complete from the mind of one author. No work whose composer makes his first object to assume the personality of another can attain such historical significance: it cannot express the infinite variety of real life unless it is written naturally and for its own sake.

Much is therefore here assumed, which is well said in every one of the many good editions of the Epistles, sometimes with one opinion as regards authorship, sometimes with another. The impossibility of an earlier date for the letters has recently been shown more clearly by the ingenious attempts which have been made by some scholars to place them in that earlier period. Either these letters were not written by Paul, or they were written by him during a part of his life later than that which is described by Luke, i.e., in other words, Paul was acquitted at the end of his two years' imprisonment in Rome, and resumed his missionary work at the end of 61 or beginning of 62 A.D.

The arguments against this later date of composition seem to be devoid of all weight. It is said that Paul shows no resentment against the Imperial government on account of the massacre of A.D. 64.  Those who rely on this argument quote 1 Timothy ii. 2, " (that supplications be made) for sovereigns and for all that are in high place," as showing a perfectly friendly spirit to the Imperial government, which was characteristic of Paul's feelings at an earlier time, but which they think incredible after the barbarities of A.D. 64. This argument contemplates the situation from a wrong point of view. Paul is enunciating a general principle of order in the Service of the Church; and he uses the generic plural " sovereigns," in the sense of " the reigning sovereign, whosoever he may be from time to time," and adds, "all who are in authority" in order to make the universality of the principle quite plain. Paul continued after 64 to think as he thought before about government. His mixed feelings towards the Empire are described in the final part of the present writer's Cities of St. Paul; but an ordered government, governors and a people obedient to them, always and necessarily formed the basis of his conception of society. Were Christians never to pray for the sovereign because Nero was a monster? Would Paul lose all his confidence in the possibilities of development in the Empire for that one reason? As soon as the question is put rightly, the falsity of the argument is evident. Paul could not have interrupted his advice about the order of Church Service to make an exception about Nero, or to express his detestation of Nero, without ceasing to be Paul. If the letter were expressed in such a form as those who have advanced this argument demand, that would in our view be a sufficient proof that it was not written by Paul; and the same inference would probably be drawn by the very persons who have used the counter-argument.

Another argument against a date later than the period embraced in Acts is found in the absence of any reference to the great events which were taking place in Palestine from 66.A.D. onwards. This argument, also, shows a want of historical perspective. Why should Paul, writing in. A.D. 66 or 67, be unable to compose a letter to Timothy or to Titus on subjects such as come up in these letters without alluding to the Jewish insurrection, which was now only in its initial stage ~ This is the argumentu.m a silentio carried to the greatest extreme that I remember to have seen. Even if Paul had been writing in 68 or 69, there is no apparent reason why he must discuss the progress of the war in these letters; but when it was barely begun, it is inconceivable, and irreconcilable with the spirit of Paul's work, that it should force itself into letters such as these, where Jewish matters are alluded to only in the slightest and most distant way.

A third and at first sight a much more reasonable argument against the hypothesis that later journeys than those described in the Acts are alluded to in the Pastoral Epistles is found in the words used by Paul himself at Miletus to the Ephesian Presbyters in. A.D. 57, "I know that ye all, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, shall see my face no longer." Here is apparently a prophecy which was never fulfilled. Is it possible to suppose either that Paul would suggest to the Presbyters the idea that he would never see them again, if this were not going to be the case, or that Luke would have recorded the prophecy if it had been falsified by future events?

In this case also this argument is based on a false conception, and puts the question from a wrong and misleading point of view. As to Luke's recording the matter, we should not ask whether he would have recorded an unfulfilled and actually falsified prophecy, but whether he recorded events of history and the speeches of Paul correctly and exactly.1 Was his intention in writing history to tell the facts as they happened, or to make out that the words of Paul and other Christians were always proved to be exact anticipations of the course of future events? The answer to this question cannot be for a moment doubtful, except among those who start with the radically false conception of his character and of the spirit of early Christian history, against which I have been contending throughout all that I have written on this subject. Luke's object was to describe events as they happened: he was full of that sublime confidence in the facts, which animated all the great leaders of the early Church. No management, no manipulation of facts, no anxiety, was required on their side: they had only to listen to the Spirit, to obey the guidance of facts, and their part was done: success was certain without any attempt of theirs to direct the development of events: they might fail to understand the current of events at the moment, but all must be well in the end, so long as they obeyed the Divine Spirit implicitly. Accordingly, if Paul said he would not see the Presbyters again, Luke would record this, whether or not Paul did in the issue see them again. So he records the prophecy of Agabus xxi. 11, though it was not exactly fulfilled; and this record has been used as evidence against him and as proof of his inaccuracy.2 So, again, he records the two slightly varying accounts given by Paul of the details of the scene "nigh unto Damascus" (xxii. 5 ff.; xxvi. 12 ff.), and himself gives a third account slightly differing from both, without any attempt to manipulate them into exact agreement with each other. So in the present case there is no reason to think that he would have hesitated to record Paul's forecast of the future or that he would have refrained from telling that the Brethren were specially sorrowful on account of this, even though in the future the forecast was not justified.

The question that remains, therefore, is simply whether it is possible that Paul could have made a statement to the Ephesian Presbyters which even suggested anything that was not exactly and precisely in accordance with the actual course of his future action in later years. In other words, did Paul never change his plans, or were his first intentions, when once announced to any one, like the laws of the Medes and Persians which cannot be altered ~ To put the question thus is to answer it. Itis a mistake to regard his words as a prophecy or a. forecast of the future. They are simply an explicit statement of his plan of campaign in the Roman world (already announced by Luke, xix. 21). It would be ridiculous and irrational to argue that he never changed or could change his mind. He was always guided by the current of contemporary forces, and he always seized the opportunity, even if presented unexpectedly, of the open door. He wished in autumn A.D. 50 to go from Galatia into the Province Asia (doubtless to Ephesus, as Hort long ago perceived); then he planned to go into Bithynia. We can hardly doubt that he mentioned these plans to his travelling companions; and probably to the Galatian Churches also. He certainly made and announced and altered plans about returning to Thessalonica. in A.D. 51. In the course of his stay at Ephesus and later he formed and announced and then changed his plans with regard to visiting Corinth (as is admitted by every scholar, with different conjectures as to the order of variation in his plans). What reason is there to think that he might not change his intentions with regard to seeing the Ephesian Presbyters again~ There is absolutely no reason to think so, and the change throws much light on his mind and his history, as we shall see.

But, it is maintained, the words which he uses in xx. 25 constitute a far more formal and solemn assurance with regard to the future than a mere announcement of plans with regard to a journey; and it seems more strange that such a serious statement as that should be belied in the event. This argument is based on a misconception of the passage, the words and the intention. Paul, in this speech, was merely summing up and concluding the past. He (or rather Luke, who reported in briefer terms the speech) was in one word describing a wide-reaching plan, which he had had definitely and explicitly before him for more than a year. This plan is clearly intimated both by Luke in xix. 21 and by Paul in several parts of the Epistles to Rome and to Corinth. The plan was formed some time before he left Ephesus; and the words in xix. 21 are intended to imply that it was then clearly enunciated to his friends and associates and to the Churches generally. He conceived that his work in the Aegean world was now so far completed, and that the next stage was about to begin, viz., the Roman stage. He was to occupy the central city of the Empire, and work there in a similar wide-reaching fashion to that in which he had worked at Ephesus. But, whereas he had at Ephesus affected the whole Province Asia, a wide sphere, yet after all a restricted one, he would at Rome affect a much wider sphere, for as all the Asian cities looked to Ephesus and their citizens came sometimes to Ephesus, so the whole Empire looked to Rome and all cities sent to Rome and were influenced from Rome. It was, of course, true that, the wider the sphere, the more attenuated was the influence exerted on the distant parts; and therefore a residence in Rome was not by itself sufficient, but would require to be supplemented by personal work in outlying regions. The East, however, had already seen Paul's face, as he thought, sufficiently. Just as he had never seen Colossae and Laodicea and Hierapolis, so (as he thought) would it now be possible for him to communicate even with Ephesus sufficiently by letter and by coadjutors. The outlying parts of the West would demand his presence more imperatively; and from Rome his intention was to go on to Spain.3

Such was the bold, magnificent, and statesmanlike plan which filled Paul's mind during the years 56-57. The visit to Spain was the complement of the intention not to revisit Ephesus. The two parts of the plan fitted one another, and it would be as unreasonable to argue from the words of Paul that he must necessarily have carried out the plan to visit Spain, if he lived, as it is to infer that he could not after all have revisited Ephesus, if he lived.

One thing only was wanted to crown with completion his work in the four Provinces, Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia; and that was to bind these new Gentile Churches into unity and brotherhood with the original Church at Jerusalem. To cement that unity was a necessary part of his work; and the visit to Jerusalem was present in his thoughts from the moment when the plan began to form itself in his mind: hence Luke, with his usual command over all the essential and critical facts of his subject, mentions it as part of the plan in his very brief account of Paul's scheme, xix. 21. Paul's mind was full of this idea as he spoke to the Ephesian elders. The visit to Jerusalem was necessary to accomplish his course, though he knew that bonds and afflictions awaited him there. He must go, because he was taking with him the representatives of the Churches in the four Provinces and the contributions of all the congregations, to attest their unity in spirit and their sympathy in worldly fortunes with the original mother-congregation in Jerusalem. Syrian Antioch had long ago been bound to Jerusalem by rendering help to the poor there in their hour of greatest need. Paul knew that men continue to like and take an interest in those whom they have benefited; and he trusted to the permanent effect of this charity to cement the unity of all the Eastern Churches, while he devoted himself to Rome and the West.

Hence, as he was starting on the voyage from Miletus to Jerusalem, he told his hearers that in accordance with the plan of work, which was well known to them, they should no longer see his face. In saying this he was addressing, not merely the Ephesians, but all the four Provinces present through their delegates. It has been elsewhere pointed out that this speech passes insensibly from the narrower to the wider address, and that this change is characteristic of a real speech and inconsistent with the theory of fabrication by Luke: it is also very characteristic of Paul and suitable to the occasion. He was hereafter not to go about among these his first Churches, but to work in another region. He is not here thinking of death which should divide him from them. He is not speaking as a prophet, forecasting the future. He is simply announcing the end of one stage and the entrance on a new stage. The occasion was affecting and solemn; and the words correspond to the occasion. But there is in the situation and the words nothing that in any way conflicts with the possibility that future events may have overturned Paul's plans, and that he after all found it advisable to return to his Churches in the four Provinces.

The question arises, whether this voyage to Jerusalem was not the occasion when Paul wrote the first letter to Timothy after having left him in Ephesus before he started for Macedonia (Acts xx. 1), and having again sent him to Ephesus with or after the Presbyters, when they returned from Miletus to Ephesus. On shipboard, sailing from Miletus towards Jerusalem, might not Paul have composed this letter~ Such is the ingenious suggestion of Mr. Vernon Bartlet. It is tempting at first sight; but, apart from other considerations, the words of 1 Timothy iv. 13 are fatal to it. Paul, when he wrote this letter, was clearly purposing to come back to Ephesus and rejoin Timothy there:" Till I come, give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching." It is inconceivable that, a few days after bidding the Ephesian Presbyters farewell for ever,· when (as we have seen) his mind was filled with the other grandiose idea), Paul should have written to Timothy intimating the intention to come again. We can understand that future events disturbed the great plan; but we cannot understand that Paul should have within a few days changed his mind on this subject without any pressure of circumstances constraining him.


The administration of his newly founded Churches was a matter of the first interest to Paul. When he had been expelled suddenly from Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, in succession, and had been compelled to leave them without arrangements for their regular administration, he returned to them, and completed a form of organization of a new kind more akin to the character of Hellenic cities or Roman colonies: he appointed Presbyters by election.4

When Timothy was sent to Thessalonica during Paul's visit to Athens, he did there the same work which Paul had done in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, and would fain have done in Thessalonica by returning there at the earliest possible opportunity, had not Satan hindered him. That the work was done by Timothy appears from l Thessalonians iii. 2 f., "We sent Timothy to establish you and to comfort you concerning your faith; that no man be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that hereunto we are appointed ":compare with this the account of Paul's work when he returned to the three Galatian cities:" Confirming the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the Faith, and that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God." The verses which follow the words just quoted from the Epistle show that Paul's anxiety was that the Thessalonians should " continue in the Faith." The agreement in idea and even in form between the Acts and the Epistle is here so perfect, that there can remain no doubt: Timothy was sent to do in Thessalonica what Paul himself went back to do in the Galatian cities.

Now Paul did something more in the Galatian Churches; Acts xiv. 23, "And when they had appointed for them elders in every Church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they had believed." In the letter Paul commends the Thessalonians to the Lord (v. 23), and prays for them (iii. 11-13), as we may be sure that Timothy also had done with them. One thing alone remains: presbyters were chosen in the Galatian Churches. Surely Timothy must have been charged to look after this matter also. There were officials, who were over the Thessalonian Church, at the time when Paul was writing his letter. Owing to the suddenness and secrecy of his departure from the city, he could not have appointed them in preparation for that event; and the apparently backward condition of the congregation in respect of knowledge and comprehension of the Faith seems to show that they had not progressed so far as to be constituted into a regular Church with officials before the riots broke out. Everything alike in the Acts and in the Epistle points to the conclusion that all four Churches, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Thessalonica, were in the same condition of incomplete organization when Paul was forced to go away; and this was the reason of the extreme anxiety that Paul had felt about the Thessalonian congregation. On this account he thought it good to be left at Athens alone and to send Timothy to Thessalonica.5

Paul's action in those cases must be regarded as a proof of the high value that he attached to administration and government. The organization of each young Church was the prime necessity, and must in one way or another be arranged.

From his earlier letters, taken by themselves, we might fail to gather that he had such a strong sense of the importance of organization and good government; and this has led many scholars to doubt the Pauline origin of the Pastoral Epistles. But the earlier letters are all suggested by special occasions and special needs. It was not part of his subject in them to lay stress on administration; yet even in them there are signs that he was quite alive to its importance. He not merely saw the overwhelming importance of unity among all the scattered Churches in the one great body: he knew also that this unity could not be attained without a suitable government and mutual fitting of the parts to one another in each congregation. Each Church by itself must be composed, not of absolutely homogeneous individuals, but of individuals working together for the common good in different lines; and there must be persons charged with the superintendence of the corporate life.

One single example may be mentioned, where Paul's language in a letter is guided by his sense for organization in a congregation. The Church at Thessalonica was in need of further instruction on several points, about which it entertained imperfect ideas; and the first Epistle was written to explain the points in question; but at the end Paul gives advice of a general kind to a young congregation, in which the corporate life was still not strong (l Thess. v. 12-22). In this advice the first thing that he lays stress on is the duty of obedience to the officials, recognition of their character, and an affectionate esteem for them on account of the work that they were doing.

There is another reason why this side of Paul's mind and work has been too little noticed by many modern scholars: we have very little information about the way in which his Churches were organized; and, if government had been so important in his estimation, they infer that we should have known more on the subject. The little information which we possess is so obscure and conflicting, that Church organization must be regarded as at that time still unimportant and merely inchoate. That the organization was in an elementary stage and that much development was still to come, is of course admitted and certain; but that was inseparable from the situation. Paul took an important step in this development: he found the Church in one stage, he carried it into another.

The form of government in the Pauline Churches, so far as described in the Acts, was simply through Presbyters. These were evidently different in character from the Presbyteroi of the early Church in Jerusalem, who apparently were not officials, but merely men of age and experience whose influence in the congregation rested, not on formal appointment or selection, but on time and wisdom: they were distinguished from the Neoteroi, whose vigorous age was suited for the active parts of congregational work (e.g., Acts v. 6).6 Paul's Presbyteroi were in a true sense officers, chosen on account of their fitness and trusted with authority, as he impressed on the Thessalonians, 1, v. 12, where they are called by the general term " who are over you," προιστάμενοι. This term was probably chosen in order to convey a sense of their authoritative and governing position. That these officials were of the same kind as the Presbyters in Galatia can hardly be doubted, although the word is not used. In Luke's history we must regard the first case as intended to be typical of the rest.

That the work of the Presbyters was Episkope, i.e., surveillance of the common interests and corporate life of the Church, cannot be doubted. As they were charged with the duty of Episkope, they are called Episkopoi by Paul in Acts xx. 28. That they were also teachers and preachers is a matter of course. Every Christian ought in his own way to be a teacher and preacher, when occasion offered;7 and a fortiori the outstanding and distinguished Christians should be so. Now Episkope was in Luke's estimation the duty of the Apostles in the early congregation at Jerusalem (Acts i. 20):he therefore considered that the Pauline Presbyters were a device for the performance, at least in part, of the duties that were discharged by the Twelve in the original congregation.

Luke does not allude to Deacons in the Pauline Churches; but they are mentioned in the Epistle to the Philippians, where the officials are addressed as" Bishops and Deacons." These two kinds of officials were therefore in existence as early as A.D. 61. Now, Luke regards Diakonia, like Episkope, as the duty of the Twelve at Jerusalem originally;8 and it seems clear that in Luke's estimation Deacons, like Presbyters, performed work which fell to the Apostles in the first Church.

It is remarkable that, if this is so, Luke should nowhere mention the institution of Deacons in the Pauline Churches; and the fact becomes all the more noteworthy when we take into consideration that the general character of the views which are expressed in the letter to Timothy approximates closely to the point of view on which the book of the Acts is written. The writer of that book was entirely under Paul's influence and guidance. He had heard and learned from Paul the same ideas, with regard to the practical working of a congregation, which are here stated by the Apostle to Timothy. Luke wrote with a strong sense of the importance of good administration and good government in a congregation. He traces step by step down to a certain point the growth of administrative machinery in the Church, the filling up of the College of Apostles, the formation of a Church fund, the appointment of the Seven, the government of the Church of Syrian Antioch by a college of prophets and teachers, similar in general character to the College of Apostles at Jerusalem. His interest in this topic springs from his recognition of the fact that a well-governed Church will be more vigorous and more healthy, and will stand on a higher level of moral character, than a badly organized one. That was also the view on which Paul worked, and his methods can never be understood unless one keeps that fact in mind.

Why, then, does Luke not mention the appointment of Deacons in the Pauline Churches? His silence ceases to be surprising, if we take into account that his work was left unfinished. The earliest stage of the Pauline organization knew only Presbyters; in the second stage Deacons were added. The occasion when this development occurred was later than the arrival of Paul in Rome. That Luke, who thoroughly appreciated the importance of Church organization, should intend to leave his readers with so defective a conception of it, seems as improbable as that the writer, who so well comprehended the nature of Paul's great Roman plan,9 should bring the Apostle to Rome and dismiss his further work in a brief sentence.

The relation between Presbyters and Deacons in the Pauline Churches remains utterly obscure. It is not within Luke's purpose to tell what were the powers or duties of the Presbyters. His readers were familiar with the facts of their own Church; and his object was to relate what was useful for them. That there must have been some difference of function between the two classes of officials is evident. The fact that the Diaconate was later in origin implies that it was intended for some purpose which previously was not satisfactorily attained. In the Pastoral Epistles there is no suggestion that higher qualifications were required for one position than for the other; yet it was inevitable that one should be less dignified than the other. The analogy of the Twelve and the Seven was not without effect. The Deacons ranked in relation to the Presbyters, as the Seven to the Twelve, and probably also as the Neoteroi to the Presbyteroi in the earliest Church. Duties which required more personal effort were assigned to the Deacons, as younger men. But ·the qualifications were practically the same, though the Bishop or Presbyter is more closely scrutinized, because his position is the more honourable.

Nor is any quality required in a Bishop or a Deacon, which is not required in every Christian. The sole condition for office is that the candidate shall be approved as a thoroughly good member of the Church. The Deacon has the opportunity of gaining reputation and standing in the congregation. Thus he has an advantage over the ordinary Christian if he "seeketh the office of a Bishop"; but this advantage is accidental, and there is no suggestion that the Diaconate was preparatory to the office of Bishop, still less that the two constituted in any way a different class or order from the mass of members of the Church.

Women Deacons are clearly referred to in 1Timothy iii. 11. This makes it probable that the Diaconate was not in the same way an office as the position of Bishop or Presbyter was.10 It carried with it no authority in the Church. It was in itself only a burden; · but the person selected to bear the burden was thereby honoured, and the eyes of all were on the Deacon. As being thus regarded by all, a true Deacon was likely to be stimulated to the fullest performance of the duties of a true Christian.

The meaning of the regulation in iii. 2, 12, v. 9, has been much discussed; but beyond question it means only" monogamistic " in the fullest and purest sense: it neither forbids second marriage, nor enjoins marriage. The writer of the Pastoral Epistles did not-differ in this respect from the writer who praised celibacy and devotion to the divine life when he wrote to the Corinthians. This point needs no elaboration. It is insisted on by Paul merely because he had to emphasize the higher standard of moral purity in the Christian Church. Every Christian, and not merely a Bishop, must be strictly monogamistic.

While the Presbyterate of the Pastorals11 is clearly an office of authority in the congregation, there is no reason to think that the authority rested on the office in itself. The honour in which the Presbyter was held is based on the way in which the office was filled, just as it is in 1 Thessalonians v. 12. The Presbyter had authority in certain departments of congregational life. He ought to be regarded with loving honour on account of his work, because he convinced men by his deeds that he deserved honour. He was officially a teacher. But all Christians taught, all spoke and prayed in the assembly: the older members of the Church were regarded with honour: even Timothy ought not to reprove a person older than himself. The Bishop, as Paul desires to see him, is simply the best and most typical Christian in the congregation, and honour is paid to him on that account.

The organization of the Church in the Pastoral Epistles, therefore, is not apparently advanced one step beyond that of the Church in Philippi in A.D. 61. We have in them the Pauline Church as it was in the later years of Paul's life, whether or not he survived the first trial in Rome. But we see no reason to doubt for a moment that he survived it, and returned to the Aegean lands and Churches.

The Pastoral Epistles show us a series of glimpses into the management and the actual condition of the Pauline Churches in the Aegean world. The demand for obedience and respect to the officials was urgently needed. Disorder was rife in the congregations. The struggle to establish the authority of the officials continued throughout the first century; and its later stage appears in Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians.


The teachers whose action in the Asian cities Paul dreaded and urged Timothy to resist, were evidently members of the congregations, whose intentions were in themselves not reprehensible. They felt prompted to speak and to teach; and they gave expression to their. views, since it was customary for any of the Brethren to speak in the assembled congregation as the Spirit moved them, both men; and women. Scenes of disorder were apt to arise if several spoke simultaneously; and Paul had to repress the unseemliness of such public appearances. He especially discouraged the women from speaking in the congregation, though, of course, considering what his views were as to the free action of the Holy Spirit and as to the equality of all human beings, Jew and Gentile, slaves and freemen, male and female, in the presence of God, it was impossible for him to go so far as positively to forbid any woman whom the Spirit moved to speak. But he could, and did, forbid them to teach, and to hold an office of authority over men.

But the teachers, whom he has in mind in this letter, were persons who went beyond mere speaking in the public assembly, and set up as professional teachers or lecturers. He accuses them of desiring to make money by their teaching, "supposing that godliness is a way of gain" (vi. 5). Now Paul did not think that it was wrong for the teachers or evangelists in the Church to be paid and maintained by the Church. On the contrary, he entirely approved of this custom and defended it. There is no reason to think that the writer of the Pastoral Epistles differed from Paul and disapproved of such payment. He is referring to another matter. These teachers whom he disliked so much were not the regularly chosen officials of the congregation, but volunteers, who set up as teachers with the intention to make a business and a means of livelihood out of the Word of God: " the falsely-called knowledge, which some professing12 have erred": vi. 21. In Titus i. 11 the phrase" for filthy lucre's sake" is directed against the same class of persons, but the English version is open to misunderstanding, as if all lucre; i.e. pay gained by teaching, were disgraceful. It is only money gained by bad or false teaching that is disgraceful; and the passage might be rendered, " who make a gain that is dishonourable by teaching what they ought not."

We are here placed in view of Christian society in a certain stage of its development. The historical question is whether this stage is a very early one, or whether it belongs to the end of the first century or even to the middle of the second century, which is the date that some have assigned for the composition of the Pastoral Epistles. It obviously would not be possible that at the time when Paul was writing Galatians or Thessalonians, difficulties of this kind would be of such serious importance that his attention should be largely directed to them. In that first stage of the growth of a newly founded congregation matters of that kind would be comparatively unimportant. Paul's attention in that stage is mainly directed (1) to making his own doctrine clearer and better understood by the congregations, (2) to combating the doctrine of missionaries coming in to preach a doctrine opposed to his own and in his opinion fundamentally false and fatal,  (3) to rebuking, correcting and punishing moral faults and vices among his converts, faults largely arising from the persistence in them of their original pagan standard of morality and conduct. That third class of difficulties is similar to one of the two classes which are chiefly treated in 1 Timothy (see Section IV.). The others hardly appear in the Pastoral Epistles.

These amateur and volunteer teachers to whom Paul refers were setting up in their own congregation, and could have some hope of gaining a livelihood. That implies a Christian society and social character already formed in the congregation. The congregation must therefore have existed for some time. Can we suppose that, before Paul's death in. A.D. 66, or at latest 67, his congregations in the Hellenic cities were already so far developed that rival teachers, official and unofficial, were in a way competing with one another? I confess that this state of the congregations, so far from being of later character, seems to me to suit only with an early stage in their development, and to be irreconcilable with a second-century date. The only question is whether it belongs to. A.D. 65 or to. A.D. 90. I shall try to show that there is no reason why it should not exist

between 60 and 70.A.D., though it doubtless continued for some time. It was extirpated by establishing firmly the authority of the officials and forbidding all amateur teachers; and Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians derives its importance largely from its having been accepted as settling finally the principle of obedience to the Church officers as such.




1) Of course abbreviating, but never misrepresenting, the speeches.

2) This point is briefly noticed in the first paper of the present writer's Luke the Physician.

3) Incidentally, it deserves notice that this scheme (Rom. xv. 28) furnishes a. clear proof that Paul knew Latin, and intended to address himself to the people of the Spanish cities in Latin. He could not be dreaming of addressing them in Greek; but Latin was sufficient for his purposes. Spain was thoroughly Latinized, and the Spanish cities were all raised to the Latin rank a. few years later by Vespasian. Greek was never known by the people except in a. few Greek colonies on the east coast of Spain; and it is doubtful whether even in them it was used as late as A.D. 57. That Paul spoke Latin is argued in St. Paul the Traveller.

4) I think it is necessary to understand that the principle of election was instituted; the word χειροτονήσαντες, xiv. 23, might not be sufficient to prove this, taken alone; but in conjunction with subsequent custom and with Paul's allusions to aiming at office and with Greek habits it must be read in this way.

5) Some difficulty has been felt as to the way of reconciling the narrative in the Acts with the allusions which Paul makes in his letter to the movements of Timothy. According to the former Paul was convoyed from Beroea to the sea-coast by some of the brethren. At the coast some change occurred in his plans; and the brethren brought him to Athens, and returned to Beroea carrying a message to Silas and Timothy to come to Paul with all speed. The residence in Athens was evidently cut short, and it was in Corinth that Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul. Luke says nothing about Timothy's mission to Thessalonica; and, if we had only the Acts to go by, we should understand that Timothy with Silas returned from Beroea to join Paul, and finding in Athens that he had gone to Corinth followed him thither. But from Paul himself we gather that he sent directions from Athens to Timothy to go to Thessalonica, and that the latter came from Thessalonica to rejoin him. There seems to be no inconsistency between the two. The one adds to the other, but does not disagree with it. Paul sent from Athens to Timothy and Silas, bidding them come to him there with all speed; to this we must add that they were to use all speed in finishing up their work. That they had some work in hand may be regarded as certain: Paul and his subordinates were always busy. That they had separate pieces of work in hand is shown by the whole situation: there were two pieces of work to do: Paul himself was prevented from doing them. The inference is that Timothy was to come to Athens through Thessalonica, confirming the Church there and appointing officials, while Silas was to finish up the work at Beroea, and then come on to Athens. Finally both came to him in Corinth" from Macedonia": if they had both come from Beroea, Luke would naturally have said " from Beroea."

6) So Hellenic cities in Asia Minor generally contained assemblies or societies of the Neoi or men and the Presbyteroi or Elders.

7) 1 Thess. v. 12 and 14: the same word is applied to the duty of the ordinary members and of the προιστάμενοι in the congregation.

8) Acts i. 17; vi. 4.

9) See the preceding Section.

10) ii. 12, a woman must not; teach, nor hold authority.

11) Presbyter is the term used in v. 17 ff., Tit. i. 5-9, to indicate the Bishop of iii. 1 ff.

12) ἐπαγγέλλεσθαι regularly implies that the persons mentioned came before the public with promises in order to gain supporters: it is applied to candidates for municipal favour and votes in the Greek cities, who publicly announced what they intended to do for the general benefit, if they gained popular support. The word used in Tit. i. 16 "they profess that they know God" is ὁμολογοῦσιν which carries no such connotation and should rather be rendered " they confess," or " acknowledge " that God has been duly and properly set before them, and have not the excuse of ignorance, but their actions show revolt from Him,