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New Testament Survey: Acts-Revelation - Lesson 18

Pastoral Epistles

God wants to work in our hearts so we are full of love for him and others. Paul gives his testimony as an example that anyone can be saved. God desires to save all, and he elects some. Elders are described as people of character who lead and teach. In Titus, the ethical exhortations are anchored in the gospel. In 2 Timothy, Paul calls on Timothy to suffer for the gospel.

Thomas Schreiner
New Testament Survey: Acts-Revelation
Lesson 18
Watching Now
Pastoral Epistles

Flow Assignment Hebrews 1:5-14

I. 1 Timothy (Chapters 1 and 2)

II. Leaders in Community (1Timothy 3) [point C in Steins outline]

III. 1 Timothy Chapter 4 [points E and F]

IV. 1 Timothy Chapter 5 [point G]

V. Titus

VI. 2 Timothy


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  • Acts is a continuation of the gospel of Luke, which is a historical account of the life and ministry of Jesus. Acts begins with the 40 days that Jesus was on earth after his resurrection, and continues with his ascension and the work of the Holy Spirit in the early church.

  • This lecture was not recorded. We hope to include it the next time Dr. Schreiner teaches the class.

    Acts Chapter 1 is an account of Pentecost and the first times the apostles proclaim gospel publicly.

  • The kerygma is the proclamation of the gospel to nonbelievers. The first presentations were made to people who were familiar with the teachings of the Old Testament. (Begins on page 6 of the outline)

  • The kerygma is the proclamation of the gospel to nonbelievers. The first presentations were made to people who were familiar with the teachings of the Old Testament. Steven’s speech and Paul’s conversion are significant events.  (Begins on page 6 of the outline under Acts: Outline Summary, point I, F.) (43:40)

  • Description of the expansion of the gospel to the gentiles.

  • Beginning in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul calls us to watch for the second coming of Jesus by being aware that there will be a great falling away from the faith in the body of Christ and the Lawless One will appear. When God calls us, his calling creates life. (43:16)

  • God chose not the wise, powerful or noble, but the foolish, weak and despised so that we would know that our relationship with God is based on what Christ did, not what we do. Paul boasts in the power of God, not the wisdom or eloquence of his arguments. The only way we know about God is when the Spirit reveals him to us.

  • The core problem of the Corinthians is pride. God turns everything for our benefit, even things that cause pain or death. The fight of faith is to believe this, even when circumstances are difficult. Only God can judge a person’s relationship to God. (43:36)

  • It’s better to be cheated than to take a fellow believer to court. If you are a fully devoted follower of Christ, your behavior will show it. (44:35)

  • Paul believes in cultural flexibility and contextualization. Paul uses the example of a race as a picture of be motivated to live well. He is saved and needs to live in a way to be saved. Whether or not to eat meat offered to idols is still a significant issue in some cultures. (41:23)

     

  • Audio content is missing at this time for 1 Corinthians chapters 12-16, 2 Corinthians and Romans chapter 1.

    However, a transcription and outline for this material is provided.  

  • The first of a three-part overview of Paul's epistle to the Romans.

  • Romans 4 tells us what kind of faith Abraham had that was saving faith. You are not saved by working for God, but by believing in God. Hope is confident, sure expectation. Paul’s main rhetorical question is, “Can the law transform us?” His implied answer is "no!" (43:03)

  • The law doesn’t give life because commands don’t transform us. Romans 8 says we need the Spirit to transform us. The witness of the Spirit that we are his children is a mystical sense and evidence of our obedience. Paul says all the promises for relationship to God are for the gentiles as well as the Jews. God is in charge of everything. (44:25)

  • Christ is the very image of the invisible God. He partakes of his essence. Jesus is preeminent, because he’s God and he’s the reconciler of all things. Jesus is Lord of Creation and Lord of the Church. Paul calls the Philippians to unity. (46:43)

  • Summary of main themes in Ephesians. The first three chapters communicate who and what we are in Christ. Chapters 4-6 is the practical outworking. Paul equates maturity with doctrinal purity and stability, not being swayed by every idea. The Christian life isn’t mathematical because it’s a relationship with the Spirit. (43:54)

  • Your view of authorship of biblical documents and how you translate those documents depends quite a bit on your presuppositions. Some people think that because of the vocabulary and the way some subjects are addressed in the Pastoral epistles that Paul did not write them. However, others are convinced that Paul wrote them and offer responses to objections that others have raised. (42:24) This lecture was given by a teaching assistant of Dr. Schreiner's because he had planned to be out of town.

  • God wants to work in our hearts so we are full of love for him and others. Paul gives his testimony as an example that anyone can be saved. God desires to save all, and he elects some. Elders are described as people of character who lead and teach. In Titus, the ethical exhortations are anchored in the gospel. In 2 Timothy, Paul calls on Timothy to suffer for the gospel.

  • We should think of Hebrews as a sermon. The warning passages are exhortations following theological teaching. It was probably not written by Paul. The book was written to Hebrew Christians to warn them against committing apostasy.

  • Christ is more important than Moses. Warning passages encourage us not to drift away or harden our hearts. Since Jesus was fully human, he experienced the full range of temptation, but never gave in. (43:55)

  • The main points in the book of Hebrews beginning with chapter 6. Jesus was a priest in the order of Melchizedek because he was superior to the Levites. Christ’s sacrifice is better than the animal sacrifices because it is once for all. The sacrifices are good because they are a shadow and an image of what is coming, but the sacrifices are temporary and imperfect. (43:55)

  • The author of Hebrews concludes by exhorting people to put into practice the theological truths he has just explained.

  • Defining questions about the content and origin of the epistle of James. (43:01)

  • Summary of the teaching of James on justification and wisdom. (41:58)

  • Peter’s call to look forward to our future inheritance and live as God’s people. (42:35)

  • Flow assignment 1 Peter 2:18-25

    Peter calls followers of Jesus to persevere by responding to suffering in a godly way. (44:48)

  • Concluding verses in 1 Peter and the epistle of 1 John. The purpose of John’s epistles is to give people assurance of their faith.

  • God has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

  • The purpose of Revelation is to encourage suffering saints. (44:47)

  • This lecture was cut short because of technical difficulties during the recording. The audio covers point III. Visions of God, points A and B, beginning with Revelation chapter 4. The next lecture begins at point IV. The Seven Seals, point D.

  • Main ideas in Revelation chapters 6-13.

  • Summary of the last days of judgment and then the creation of the new heavens and new earth. The time for this lecture was shortened to give students time to complete an in-class evaluation. (30:15)

A study of the Acts to Revelation in the framework of the history of the early church. We are missing a few lectures that we hope to record the next time Dr. Schreiner teaches the class. These include lecture numbers 2 and 11, the lecture covering Acts chapters 16-22 and 1 Thessalonians, and the lecture covering Revelation chapter 6.

You may download Dr. Schreiner's complete course outline By clicking on the Resource link and then the Class Outline link. An outline for each lecture displays when you click on the Outline tab on each lecture page.

Dr. Schreiner has developed a system for exegesis. The "Flow and Tracing" handout gives you some information about how he does it. Some lectures include audio of Dr. Schreiner applying this method to specific passages. Dr. Schreiner recommends that you read the chapter in his book, "Interpreting the Pauline Epistles" along with this handout before you try this process.

Course: New Testament Survey, Acts to Revelation

Lecture 18: Pastoral Epistles

This is the 18th lecture in the online series of lectures on New Testament Survey by Dr Thomas Schreiner. Recommended Reading includes: Article on Divorce and Remarriage – Craig Blomberg, Trinity Journal, 1990; The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross by Leon Morris; Are there Two Will in God by John Piper; Two views on Women in Ministry by James Beck and Craig Blomberg; Word Bible Commentary: Pastoral Epistles, Volume 46, by William D. Mounce and Recovering Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, by Wayne Gudem and John Piper (article by Vern Poythress entitled, ‘The Church as a Family’)

(Any slides, photos, notes or outlines that the lecturer refers to should be down loaded separately. If they are not available, you may be able to find something similar using the Google© search engine.)

God wants to work in our hearts so we are full of love for him and others. Paul gives his testimony as an example that anyone can be saved. God desires to save all, and he elects some. Elders are described as people of character who lead and teach. In Titus, the ethical exhortations are anchored in the gospel. In 2 Timothy, Paul calls on Timothy to suffer for the gospel.

Flow Assignment Hebrews 1:5-14

For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’? Or again, ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God's angels worship him.’ Of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels, winds and his ministers a flame of fire.’ But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’ And, ‘You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.’ And to which of the angels has he ever said, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

There are citations from 2nd Samuel 7 ‘I will be to him a father and he will be a son to me’; and then one from Psalms 104:4, another from Psalms 46:6 and 7 and Isaiah 61:1. There are key words at the beginning of verse 6, ‘an ‘and’ and a ‘when.’ One such citation is from Deut 32:43 where it says ‘let all God’s angels worship him.’ This is from the LSX and then there is another and in verse 7 with the citation from Psalm 104. You can see that this is a detailed exegetical treatment from the Old Testament. Another key word is ‘but’ in verse 8 and then quoted Psalm 45, ‘Your throne. O God is forever and ever. The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.’ This continues, ‘you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.’ Psalm 102 is cited from verse 12 through 13. This starts off with ‘you, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands…’ There is another citation from Psalm 110 saying, ‘sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ This passage is extremely important as Jesus cites it himself. It is not only cited in different places but also alluded to throughout the New Testament.

I. 1st Timothy (Chapters 1 and 2)

Note that Titus and Timothy are much the same in a lot of ways. The Book of Titus is a lot shorter of course but you have that same concern for church structure and office. There are some differences. Titus was ministering on the island of Crete and it seems that the church was newly planted. Of course Timothy is in Ephesus and that church has been going for some time. For Tutus some commentators say that you have a more rude and primitive congregation there. Perhaps that is correct but there are a lot of commonalities between the two congregations also. But with 1st Timothy, the first thing you see is he is responding in chapter 1 to opponents. Obviously false teachers have entered into the community and teaching certain things that are not helpful. They are into myths and genealogies along with speculations. We find this is 2nd Timothy as well. Objectively we try to discern what these people are like and how are we to categorize them. It is really hard; what do these people really believe. Paul doesn’t give us very much information on exactly what these false teachers were teaching. Why were they into myths and endless genealogies? We are really at a lost as to what these things were about. But Paul doesn’t have to say what they were teaching as the church knew all about it. This is kind of frustratingly vague. Some think that these people were Gnostics having held some form of Gnostic Christology. The interesting thing about this is that Paul sort of dismisses their false teaching and basically says what they were teaching was silly and a waste of time. So instead of engaging them, he brushes them aside. Also, he says that they have lost the center of the Christian faith that we be more loving people. God wants to work in us so that our hearts are full of love for him and others. This love comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. That love must come from a Godly character and apparently these teachers have left these things and had gotten into other things. Paul says that they want to be teachers but they don’t know what they are talking about. They want to use the law but ultimately they don’t know what it is for. Paul says that only unrighteous people need the law. But for us, we will be transformed from within, and will not need to law in heaven. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need the commandments.

In Paul testimony, he says that Christ saved him as the chief of sinners. Christ showed mercy to him so that he would be an example for others. This is so that we understand that nobody is outside of God’s saving realm. Paul says that God saved him for Christ so we ought not to leave anyone out. In verses 18-20, notice that he charges Timothy about these false teachers again. In the first part of chapter 2, there are strong emphases on salvation for all people; no one should be left out there and we are to pray for governing leaders and for peace for the spread of the Gospel. Even if we are at war, we pray that peace will be established and that will lead to the spread of the Gospel, particularly in war torn countries of today. Furthermore, Paul is arguing that this saving message is extended to all because God desires all to be saved (chapter 2:4) and come to the knowledge of Christ. There is only one way of salvation and that is God and one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus Christ. Some people argue how can you believe in election where God saves only some and then say that God desires to save all? Is that a contradiction? John Piper’s essay called, ‘Are There Two Wills in God?’ That is in a book called ‘Still Sovereign.’ What Piper argues and I believe that he is correct, theologically, that there is a sense where God desires to save all. But it is also true that God elects some; both are true. It isn’t an either / or. But obviously God desire to save is the same with some are elected, otherwise you have a contradiction. But know that in the complexity of who God is, he desires to save all. Even Armenians think there are two wills in God because they believe that God desires to save all and he chooses to save only those who believe. There is another level in God’s will even in the schema of the Armenians. I think Piper’s solution is a very good one.

II. Leaders in Community (1st Timothy 3)

Here we have elders and deacons together. This terminology is very familiar in the New Testament. You see it in Acts, 1st Peter and in James and of course with Paul. Some have never experienced this, not that it isn’t in the Bible, but we obviously read the Bible in a certain traditional way and miss these things. We read the Bible through our experiences in the past. This leads to things that we never see sometimes, until the Spirit or a person calls attention to it. When I was in Seminary, the significance of the New Covenant was pointed out to me and then I saw it just about on every page! So what do elders do because we are hardly told anything? They lead and they teach. It doesn’t say that deacons are to be able to teach but elders are. Titus says that elders are to encourage sound teachings and refute those who contradict. So you may have a very godly person in your congregation who loves and who is sweet, but perhaps not refute those who go against sound doctrine. That person should perhaps be a deacon instead. So elders need to be able to lead a congregation by primarily teaching. The main thing that Paul says in Timothy is who they are; it puts emphasis on character and often when we read it, we think that we don’t match up, yet Paul would probably say that many would meet the qualification to be elders. This is what is expected of all Christians not just a few but ordinary believers who are walking with God. In Titus for example, they were all new converts so elders was chosen from them! You don’t always have the luxury of choosing a ‘seasoned saint’ as such. Paul is just listing the kind of things that are true of most people. When Paul says ‘husband of one wife,’ I don’t think Paul is excluding divorce people as such! Of course in appointing elders and deacons, we need to think seriously and prayerfully over whom to choose, of course. Paul says, not a drunkard, but this doesn’t ever mean, not ever a drunkard. Because before I was a believer, I got drunk; so? I don’t think he means this, though. The meaning, do you have a sufficient track record in your marriage, so that you can function in that sort of way.

It also says that children should be believers and I understand that to mean that they have good obedient children, and in that culture they usually got married at a very young age. I think it is more significant if the children are wild and crazy and out of control when they are young. This tells you the way the home is operating. There are some kids when they are young, they are just running wild. It tells you something about what is happening in the home. Again, obviously every situation has to be considered. So I think we need to tone down the way we apply these requirements.

As far as deacons, it seems they assist the elders in serving the congregation. They do all sort of things from greetings, setting up for communion to helping with the finances. So they help in a variety of service area; that is the kind of things deacons do. They seem to have the same character qualifications as the elders. I understand also the women serve as deacons, according to verse 3:11. It is never said that deacons are to teach and rule. I think in Romans 16:1, Phoebe was a deacon of the church at Cenchreae. There is no feminine word in Greek for deacon like we have in English as deaconess. She seems to be financially well-off. So my understanding of the Biblical pattern for churches is that you have elders, overseers, pastors and deacons with deacons being comprised of both men and women. Some churches only have deacons who are really elders. And you need to realize that going into a church and making changes to whatever set up takes a long time and one needs to be prudent in doing so. Note that the word wife and woman in Greek is the same. Interestingly, why would he be concerned about the wives of deacons when nothing is said about the wives of elders? This is because wives can be deacons but not elders. I think lay people should be part of the elders or involved in some way. John McCarthy thinks that the elders should make all the decisions. I think the congregation can reverse any motion brought by the elders but in some churches the congregation has no voice. Interestingly in Titus, Paul doesn’t say anything about deacons. Perhaps there weren’t enough people to have elders in deacons in those new churches in Crete. In verses 14-16, Paul is interesting in the church should be ordered in such a way that it be the pillar and support of the truth. Roman Catholics really like this verse; the church is the pillar of the truth and support of the Gospel. The Roman Catholics need to realize that it is the Gospel that creates the church. Then it is true that the church, once it is established, is also the guardian of the truth. If a church starts to go astray and ceases to preach the Gospel, the truth is damaging the community. We see churches in our community that are not preaching the Gospel anymore which obviously hurts the truth. Of course, we know that the Gospel will triumph. In verse 16, we have an early Christian hymn summarizing the Gospel, ‘he was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.’

III. 1st Timothy Chapter 4

Again, we have the threat about the false teaching in the church. We learn a little more about it here. These people were Ascetics who forbade people from marriage. It was said that if you really want to be spiritual, you will not get married or eat certain foods and privately people can do what they ever want in this regard. I was in a home Monday night where the family is vegetarian, but they don’t impose it on other except when you come over for dinner. It was a good dinner. The Gospel teaches us that marriage is good and sexual relations are good within marriage. Some people think that all sex is evil, even within marriage. This is not true. God created everything and we acknowledge his goodness to us.

In verses 6-16, we see Timothy’s responsibility to counter the heresy by his teaching and by his life. This is a great section for all of us going into the ministry or in ministry. What it means to be a minister is to teach and live the truth. Verse 16 sums these verses up saying, ‘keep a close watch on your Godly life and on the teaching.’ Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. Live in a Godly way and remain in that Godly life. ‘By doing this, you will save yourself.’ This is an amazing comment. Don’t take this out of context, as it could become heresy. Paul is talking about our responsibility to persevere to the end. Those who hear must persevere to the end to be saved on the last day. No one can say, ‘I have received Christ and now I can do whatever I want, I am just saved anyway.’ This thinking is obviously contrary to Scripture.

IV. 1st Timothy Chapter 5

Chapter 5 verses 1 and 2, ‘do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, old women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.’ Verne has written an essay, the Church as a Family. We ought to think of the church as a family. These verses tell us that. It is addressed to a man here so you have to apply it depending on your station in life and your age, etc. We don’t treat everyone the same. As a young man, you are to address an older man with respect compared to someone of your same age. This is clear from this verse. Some people think that they can treat everyone the same; that is wrong. You treat an older man as you would a father. This is common sense but a lot of people have lost common sense today. As our culture becomes more ungodly, people have lost their common sense. You treat a younger man like you would a brother. You treat older women the same way you would treat your mother. Make sure that you engage in purity with any woman that is young, realizing that there may be a temptation that needs to be avoided. So this is very practical. What about widows in verses 3-16? Paul is telling them that the widows in the church should be financially supported. Notice he begins within the church. There is a level of responsibility, right? But you begin within your own family. Paul says that if you don’t do this, you have denied the faith and you are worse than an unbeliever. Of course there are people who aren’t able to help their parents financially. If you have the resources, it is your responsibility to do this. Paul is saying if you don’t do this, how can you call yourself a Christian? So you start with the family and then it goes to the church. If the family can’t do it, then the church takes over. And from there, it is the world. The church has a particular responsibility to take care of its own. And Paul makes it clear, not to put it on the church what the family should do. Of course, in our culture today, the government helps retired people and there are even other avenues by which older people can obtain help.

More on elders in verses 17-25; first of all elders should be respected and paid well; this is in having double honor. Paid well can mean anything. The church has a responsibility to pay a pastor appropriately. Obviously, there can be big differences in what this could mean. This is done so that they can study God’s word and teach and preach. Also, if there are actuations brought against elders, the presented evidence needs to be of two or three witnesses. If elders sin, they must publically bring their sins before the body of Christ, that is sin that warrants discipline. So if you fall into significant sin, it is not right for you to hide it. You need to bring it to the congregation and confess it so that they can decide whether you need to be removed or not. Note that an elder needs to be without reproach and so they need to be respected by the community and unbelievers. We must be careful in ordaining elders because some people should not be appointed. Timothy seems to be an extremist; Paul tells him to take some wine for his health.

V. Titus

The only thing that I want to say about Titus, I want you to notice how the ethical exhortation is anchored in the Gospel. Some people think that that is not in the Pastoral Epistles, but you have the ethical exhortations and then the call to the Gospel.

For 2nd Timothy; it is a book where Paul calls on Timothy to suffer for the Gospel. You have a theme of suffering throughout the book. This is Paul’s last letter before he is about to die. So he is calling on Timothy as he looks to future generations, and what does it mean to transmit the Gospel to a new generation? It means that we are willing to suffer for the Gospel. Paul calls on Timothy to do that with Paul being a remarkable example of one who has suffers for the Gospel. We are now done with the Pastoral Epistles.