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
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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