The Genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles -- By: B. B. Edwards

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 150:598 (Apr 1993)
Article: The Genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles
Author: B. B. Edwards


The Genuineness of the Pastoral Epistles

B. B. Edwards

[This article, written by the second editor of Bibliotheca Sacra, was published in 1851, the ninth year of the journal’s publishing history. B. B. Edwards was editor of Bibliotheca Sacra from 1844 to 1851. This article, part of a lengthy article, “Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles,” is reproduced here without editing.]

External Evidence

The external evidence in favor of the genuineness of the three pastoral epistles, is very decisive. Eusebius reckons them among the Homologoumena, since not the smallest doubt of their genuineness prevailed in the Catholic church. They are found as Pauline epistles not only in the Canon of Muratori and in the Pesheto, but are repeatedly cited as such by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria. If they are not expressly quoted by the earlier church fathers, yet by allusions, hints, or at least reminiscences, they seem not to have been less known to them than the other Pauline epistles. Clement of Rome uses the word εὐσέβεια, so common in the pastoral epistles, to denote “godliness.” In his first Epistle to Corinthians, ch. ii, he writes, “ready to every good work,” see Titus 3:1. Ignatius, in the Epistle to the Magnesians, ch. viii: “Be not led away with strange doctrines, neither with old fables, which are unprofitable,” 1 Tim 1:4, Titus 3:9. Some places in Polycarp’s epistles, have a very striking correspondence, e.g., “The beginning of all evils is the love of money; knowing, then, that we brought nothing into the world, and have nothing to carry out, let us be armed with the armor of righteousness,” 1 Tim 6:7, 10. Justin, in his Dial. C. Tryph. 47, copies the words, Titus 3:4, “the kindness and philanthropy of God.” There are, also, allusions or quotations more or less direct in Hegesippus, Theophilus of Antioch, and Anthenagoras.

But, with the Gnostic heretics, these epistles shared a different fate. That they are not found in Marcion’s Canon, does not prove that he was ignorant of their existence. Jerome, in the Introduction to his Commentary on Titus, charges him and the other heretics with having arbitrarily rejected them. It is well known how capriciously Marcion treated some of the New Testament writings, admitted by him as genuine. It is in entire harmony with this, when he excludes from the Canon, epistles that so decidedly war agai...

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