Pastoral Epistles Commentary by Simpson

Simpson's Commentary on the Pastoral EpistlesThe following Pastoral Epistles commentary is now available for free download in PDF:

E.K. Simpson, M.A., The Pastoral Epistles. The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary. London: The Tyndale Press, 1954. Hbk. pp.174.

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Pastoral Epistles Commentary

Introduction

I. The Author

The spell cast by Saul of Tarsus over minds of any moral earnestness admits of no question. Unlike his namesake, the first king of Israel, he was shortish of stature. Chrysostom styles him ho tripechus anthropos, and Augustine, playing on his Roman cognomen, paullum modicum quid; but the extent of the shadow he has spread over posterity bears witness to the hulk of his spiritual build. Indeed, his most ardent admirers do not pay him more signal homage in this respect than those detractors from his just fame who ascribe to his influence an age-long perversion of primitive Christianity so entire as to set him at cross purposes with his Master. Such a man’s career throbs with interest to all serious thinkers.

That career, as we all know, bisects itself into two wholly discrepant halves. To explain how the hunting leopard of Pharisaism came to he transformed into one of the Good Shepherd’s most docile lambs has always baffled sceptical ingenuity. The change of front is so utter, and pregnant with such far-reaching issues, that it positively demands the supernatural cause which he himself assigns for it to render the phenomenon intelligible.

But our theme restricts us to those closing days of this marvellous biography about which, strange to say, we know less than about the rest. Whatever he the verdict we pass on the Pastoral Epistles, it cannot be denied that they form a group by themselves, detached from the residue of Paul’s writings and attached to one another by links of their own. Some of the older commentators, in common with Wieseler, a German theologian of the last century, have sought to isolate Titus and the first Epistle to Timothy from its twin brother, and affix on them a date prior to what are known as the ‘Prison Epistles’. They seem to have thought that on any other supposition the apparent references to a revisit of Paul to Ephesus clashed with his declaration in Acts xx to the elders at Miletus that they should ‘see his face no more’. But there are two or three ways of parrying this over-hasty conclusion.

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ICC Gospel of Luke Online

The following public domain Commentary on the Gospel of Luke is now available for free download in PDF:

Alfred Plummer [1841-1926], A Critical and Exegetical on the Gospel According to S. Luke, 4th edition. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1913. Hbk. pp.592.

Commentary on the Gospel of Luke

Introduction

The Author

As in the case of the other Gospels, the author is not named in the book itself. But two things may be regarded as practically certain, and a third as highly probable in itself and much more probable than any other hypothesis. (i.) The author of the Third Gospel is the author of the Acts. (ii.) The author of the Acts was a companion of S. Paul. (iii.) This companion was S. Luke.

(i.) The Author of the Third Gospel is the Author of the Acts.

This position is so generally admitted by critics of all schools that not much time need be spent in discussing it. Both books are dedicated to Theophilus. The later book refers to the former. The language and style and arrangement of the two books are so similar, and this similarity is found to exist in such a multitude of details (many of which are very minute), that the hypothesis of careful imitation by a different writer is absolutely excluded. The idea of minute literary analysis with a view to discover peculiarities and preferences in language was an idea foreign to the writers of the first two centuries; and no known writer of that age gives evidence of the immense skill which would be necessary in order to employ the results of such an analysis for the production of an elaborate imitation. To suppose that the author of the Acts carefully imitated the Third Gospel, in order that his work might be attributed to the Evangelist, or that the Evangelist carefully imitated the Acts, in order that his Gospel might be attributed to the author of the Acts, is to postulate a literary miracle. Such an idea would not have occurred to any one; and if it had, he would not have been able to execute it with such triumphant success as is conspicuous here. Anyone who will underline in a few chapters of the Third Gospel the phrases, words, and constructions which are specially frequent in the book, and then underline the same phrases, words, and constructions wherever they occur in the Acts, will soon have a strong conviction respecting the identity of authorship. The converse process will lead to a similar result. Moreover, the expressions which can be marked in this way by no means exhaust the points of similarity between the two books. There are parallels of description; e.g. about angelic appearances(comp. Lk. i. 11 with Acts xii. 7; Lk. i. 38 with Acts i. 11 and x. 7; Lk. ii. 9 and xxiv. 4 with Acts i. 10 and x. 30); and about other matters (comp. Lk. i. 39 with Acts i. 15; Lk. ii. 39 with Acts xiii. 29; Lk. iii. 8 with Acts xxvi. 20; Lk. xx. 1 with Acts iv. 1; Lk. xxi. 18 with Acts xxvii. 34; Lk. xxi. 35 with Acts xvii. 26; Lk. xxiii. 2 with Acts xxiv. 2-5 ; Lk. xxiii. 5 with Acts x. 37; Lk. xxiv. 27 with Acts viii. 35).1 And there are parallels of arrangement. The main portion of the Gospel has three marked divisions: The Ministry in Galilee (iii. 1-ix. 50), between Galilee and Jerusalem (ix. 51-xix. 28), and in Jerusalem (xix. 29-xxiv. u).And the main portion of the Acts has three marked divisions: Hebraic (ii.-v.), Transitional (vi.-xii.), and Gentile (xiii.-xxviii.).In the one case the movement is from Galilee through Samaria, etc. to Jerusalem : in the other from Jerusalem through Samaria, etc. to Rome. And in both cases there is an introduction connecting the main narrative with what precedes.

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Alfred Plummer on the Gospel of Matthew

The following public domain commentary on the Gospel of Matthew is now available for free download in PDF.

Alfred Plummer [1841-1926], An Exegetical on the Gospel of S. Matthew, 2nd edn., 1920. London: Robert Scott, 1909. Hbk. pp.451. [This material is in the Public Domain]

Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew

Introduction

The Author

 

In no case is the title to a book of the New Testament part of the original document. It was in all cases added by a copyist, and perhaps not by the first copyist. Moreover, in all cases it varies considerably in form, the simplest forms being the earliest. The “according to” neither affirms nor denies authorship; it implies conformity to a type, and need not mean more than “drawn up according to the teaching of.” But it is certain that the Christians of the first four centuries who gave these titles to the Gospels meant more than this: they believed, and meant to express, that each Gospel was written by the person whose name it bears. They used this mode of expression, rather than the genitive case used of the Epistles, to intimate that the same subject had been treated of by others; and they often emphasized the oneness of the subject by speaking of “the Gospel” rather than “the Gospels.” This mode of expression is accurate; there is only one Gospel, ‘the Gospel of God’ (Rom. i. 1) concerning His Son. But it has been given us in four shapes (Iren. III. xi. 8), and “according to “indicates the shape given to it by the writer named.

Was the belief of the first Christians who adopted these titles correct? Were the Gospels written by the persons whose names they bear? With the trifling exception of a few passages, we may believe this with regard to the Second, Third, and Fourth .Gospels: but it is very difficult to believe this with regard to the First, the authorship of which is a complicated problem not yet adequately solved. But the following results may be accepted as probable, and some of them as very probable.

Ancient testimony in favour of Matthew being the author is very strong. It begins with Papias and Irenaeus in the second•century, and is confirmed by Origen in the third and Eusebius in the fourth, not to mention a number of other early writers, whose evidence repeats, or is in harmony with, these four. Papias speaks of “the oracles” or “utterances” which Matthew composed; the other three speak of his “Gospel”. Assuming that the two expressions are equivalent, the testimony is uniform that the First Gospel was written in Hebrew by Matthew, the tax-collector and Apostle. In that case the Greek Gospel which has come down to us must be a translation from this “Hebrew” original.

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