Introduction To The Volume -- By: Benjamin L. Merkle

Journal: Southeastern Theological Review
Volume: STR 07:2 (Winter 2016)
Article: Introduction To The Volume
Author: Benjamin L. Merkle

Introduction To The Volume

Benjamin L. Merkle

STR Editor

This volume is dedicated to the study of the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus). The first three essays focus on the household metaphor or familial language. Paul uses many metaphors to describe the church. Perhaps the most common images are the church as the people of God, the body or bride of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. The metaphor that is mostly used in the Pastoral Epistles, however, is that of the family or household. For example, in 1 Tim 3:5 and 12 a person qualified to be an overseer or deacon must know how to manage his household well before he is fit to hold an office in the church. An overseer is also said to be God’s steward or manager (Titus 1:7)—one who manages the affairs of God’s household or family. In 1 Tim 3:15 Paul explicitly calls the church the “household of God.” The attitude toward different age groups in the church is likened to familial relationships (1 Tim 5:1–2). The church is to care for widows who are truly in need because they are part of the spiritual family (1 Tim 5:3–16). The metaphor of a house containing honorable and dishonorable vessels is used to encourage Timothy (2 Tim 2:20–21). Finally, Paul refers to Timothy and Titus as sons (1 Tim 1:2, 18; 2 Tim 1:2; 2:1; Titus 1:4). Thus, it is fitting that several essays highlight this important theme.1

The first essay is by Chuck Bumgardner, PhD student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In this essay, “Kinship, Christian Kinship and the Letters to Timothy and Titus” he argues, contrary to a more critical approach of the Pastoral Epistles, that the kinship terminology does not invalidate the letters’ claim of Pauline authorship. Instead, the sibling language is compatible with similar language used in the undisputed letters of Paul and is therefore not an indication of pseudonymity. Any dissimilarities in usage can be attributed to various scenarios Paul was addressing.

The second essay, by Greg Couser of Cedarville University, is a study of 1 Tim 5:1–2 and the nature of God’s house...

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