The Pastoral Letters

“Pastoral” characterizes the contents of 1,2 Timothy and Titus. These letters provide instruction concerning the care of the churches.

Biblical interpreters have raised more doubts about the authenticity of the Pastoral Letters than about any of the other lettersof Paul:

    1. The events mentioned in the Pastorals cannot be fitted into the account of Paul’s life and ministry in Acts.
    2. The theology is different from that found in the other letters of Paul, and the church organization is more advanced.
    3. The vocabulary and style of writing are not characteristic of Paul.

Although these are formidable objections to authorship by Paul, there are satisfactory answers:

    1. Paul’s death is not reported in Ac 28. In all probability he was released from prison and went on another mission(see map, pp. 1876-1877), during which there was adequate time for the historical events mentioned in the Pastoral Letters to take place.
    2. The theology is consistent with that found in other letters of Paul, and the church organization in the Pastorals is no more advanced than that found, e.g., in Philippians.
    3. While the scope of these letters is too limited to draw any firm conclusions about authorship based on vocabulary and style, these features of the Pastorals can be satisfactorily accounted for by considering the different circumstances, addressees and subject matter Paul is dealing with.

Certain themes and phrases recur throughout the Pastoral Letters: (1) God the Savior (see note on Tit 1:3); (2) sound doctrine, faith and teaching (see note on Tit 1:9); (3) godliness (see note on 1Ti 2:2); (4) controversies (1Ti 1:4; 6:4; 2Ti 2:23; Tit 3:9); (5) trustworthy sayings (see note on 1Ti 1:15).


© Zondervan. From the Zondervan NIV Study Bible. Used with Permission.