Didn’t Paul Write First Timothy?


I'm always at least moderately amused — or maybe just plain perturbed
at all the second guessing against the obvious that goes into the
discussions of who wrote a given book of the Bible. Some books are open
to immense debate like Hebrews. Who wrote it? I haven't a clue at the
moment but –if I still care– I'll be happy to ask Jesus when I get to
heaven. I assume that since the author didn't leave his/her name then
we'll never know with certainty unless we somehow find the actual
original manuscript with a signature on it. But even that would be
debated by scholars with an axe to grind.
But concerning the Pastoral Epistles it appears (Cref. Word Biblical Commentary)
that the question of Pauline authorship was never an issue until the
19th century.
I'm tempted to provide the greater weight of evidence to the preceding
18 centuries in which the PE's (Pastoral Epistles) were considered
Paul's handiwork than to some modern liberal hack who fancies himself a
scholar. In fact shouldn't I pay more attention to the first few
hundred year's testimonies of the church father's than to a newcomer
with an admittedly brilliant mind an equally attested bent to
disbelieve in the authenticity of scripture?
Over at www.pastoralepistles.com there's a post by Rick Brannan discussing another book by Ray Van Neste called "Cohesion and Structure in the Pastoral Epistles" James Miller (Note:
Per the comment by Mr. Neste below I clearly misunderstood Rick's post.
Ray Van Neste Supports Pauline Authorship – it is James Miller who was
a detractor of such in his book "The Pastoral Letters as Composite Documents" and whom Mr. Van Neste was responding to. My
apologies to Mr. Neste.) You can read it but let me just echo a sentiment given by Rick that I agree with: "Even
though I realize I'm a bit of a luddite when it comes to authorship and
the Pastorals in that I still think that Pauline authorship makes the
most sense
"
I won't read Neste's book. I don't have time to waste on it, I've
already investigated the introductory material from over ten (quality)
commentaries and I am convinced of Pauline authorship. Though as Rick
states, it's not without it's problems. However I would counter the
problems as being more in the mind of the reader than the pen of the
author.
As Bill Mounce Comments in the WBC
"… if one places greater weight on external evidence (and it is
considerable) and if it is felt that a writer may vary his or her
writing style and theological expression to a large degree, then it is
easier to interpret the PE as Pauline. The point is that the real issue is not the text. A
comparison of the conclusions of scholars such as Fee and Hanson, or
Jeremias and Oberlinner, reveals such a wide divergence that at times
it is difficult to believe they are discussing the same text. This results not from the text but from the assumptions that are brought to the text." (Emphasis mine) (Mounce,
William D. Vol. 46, Word Biblical Commentary : Pastoral Epistles. Word
Biblical Commentary, Page xlvi. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.
)

I'm with you Rick, call me a Luddite. I unapologetically to believe
that the last 2000 years have been sufficient to prove the authenticity
of the scriptures. 1 Timothy 1:1 starts with Paul's name. It hasn't
been complained about until the last hundred+ years; and many of the
church fathers (e.g. Clement of Rome & Irenaeus) have assumed or stated Paul's authorship of the PE. That's good enough for me.
So let me make my assumptions clear. I'll enumerate them as best I can, and probably will leave plenty out.

  • I Believe Paul wrote 1 Timothy (as well as 2 Timothy
    and Titus.) Any legitimate concerns to the contrary, like so many
    supposed contradictions in the bible can be readily accounted for with
    a bit of honest scholarship and the willingness to ask yourself why you'd rather not believe what is written.
  • I
    believe that Paul wrote 1 Timothy (as well as 2 Timothy and Titus)
    under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and as such the original text
    which Paul wrote is infallible as God's word.
  • I believe that
    the texts represented in any of several very good translations (KJV,
    NASB, NIV) are reasonably accurate translations of an altogether
    reliable coalescence of the original autographs. (i.e. I believe the
    UBS4/NA27 to be a reliable Greek text.) (Yes I'm aware that the KJV is
    an M.T. translation rather than Alexandrian)

So Paul wrote 1 Timothy.
That's the truth.
In the original post some Comments Followed.

I came across this post quite at
random, but am pleased to see your affirmation of Pauline authroship of
the Pastorals. I too affirm this point as I have stated in print. I was
a bit amused at your response to my book. The link you provided
actually goes to a discussion of a book by James Miller, who does
indeed deny Pauline authorship at least for most of the content of the
letters. My book attempts a refutation of Miller.
Blesings to you,
Ray


Thanks for the correction Ray, I'll fix it post haste.


Gravatar Thanks!