Who Wrote the Pastoral Epistles? The Case for Traditional Authorship

Among the epistles traditionally attributed to the apostle Paul, none has been subjected to as much controversy concerning their authorship as the Pastoral epistles. There is a near-consensus among critical scholars that the Pastoral letters are pseudepigraphal. In this paper, I will examine this thesis with a view towards determining whether Pauline authorship is more probably true or false. I will first determine whether the Pastoral epistles are likely the composition of a common author. If so, then the Pastoral letters must stand or fall as a unit, and any arguments bearing on the authorship of one must bear on the authorship of all three. Next, I will assess arguments both for and against the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals before arriving at a verdict on their authenticity. This article is not intended to be an exhaustive treatment (which would require a book), though I intend to touch on all of the key issues.

Were the Pastorals Written by a Common Author?

Though some scholars have maintained that, of the Pastorals, 2 Timothy alone is authentically Pauline, while 1 Timothy and Titus are both pseudonymous [1], I find the arguments supporting the authorial unity of the Pastorals to be compelling. If this is indeed the case, then the Pastoral epistles must stand or fall together – either all of them come from the hand of Paul or none of them do. Few scholars would disagree that 1 Timothy and Titus come from the same pen. The literary similarities are simply too abundant to reasonably think otherwise. Bart Ehrman, for instance, observes that “there are numerous clear and specific parallels and overlaps that are virtually inexplicable apart from a literary relationship of some kind, either an abject borrowing of one author by another or, far more likely in this case, joint authorship.” [2] For example, the expression “by command of God our Savior” is virtually identical between 1 Timothy 3:1 and Titus 1:3. Moreover, this expression is found nowhere else in the New Testament. Likewise, the opening greeting shows strong verbal similarity. In 1 Timothy 1:2, we read, “To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Compare this to Titus 1:4, in which we read, “To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” This is unlike greetings found elsewhere in the New Testament, and yet the verbal similarity is too close to be coincidental. Various other words, phrases and concepts are common between 1 Timothy and Titus yet absent from the undisputed Pauline corpus. [3]

More disagreement exists over whether this authorial unity also extends to 2 Timothy, which is thought to resemble Pauline productions more than the other two Pastoral letters. However, the greeting in 2 Timothy 1:2 shows strong verbal similarity to the greetings of 1 Timothy and Titus given above: “To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Bart Ehrman also notes various words and phrases that are shared between 1 and 2 Timothy, and between 2 Timothy and Titus (as well as those shared between all three epistles) but absent from the undisputed Pauline corpus. [4] He notes, for instance, that “ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς occurs in 2 Tim. 1:1 and 1 Tim. 4:8, but never in Paul; Χάριν ἔχω with the dative is found in 2 Tim. 1:3 and 1 Tim. 1:12 and nowhere else in the New Testament.” [5] Furthermore, “2 Tim. 3:17, πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐξηρτισμένος is closely tied to πρὸς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἑτοίμους εἶναι of Titus 3:1; so too the virtual repetition of διὰ τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ in Tit 2:13.” [6] Likewise, “the phrase πιστὸς ὁ λόγος is never found in Paul, but is scattered throughout the three letters (1 Tim. 1:15, 3:1, 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:11; Tit. 3:8).” [7]  Numerous other examples could be given. Cumulatively, these data indicate that there exists a literary relationship between the Pastorals – either there is copying going on or the letters are the product of a common author. Ehrman concludes, and with this I am inclined to agree, that the hypothesis of authorial unity between the Pastorals is a better explanation of these data than that of imitation by a clever forger, since “If one of the books served as the model for the other, the author of the second happened to pick out as the words to be replicated an inordinate number that are not found commonly elsewhere in the New Testament or Paul.” [8] This is all the more striking given that the author of the Pastorals, assuming it was not Paul himself, was evidently familiar with the Pauline corpus. 

The Argument from Verbal Dissimilarity

It is certainly to be granted that one can identify numerous instances of vocabulary and phraseology in the Pastoral letters that are not found elsewhere in Pauline literature. Indeed, “of 848 words in these letters that are not names, 306 occur in none of the other letters attributed to Paul; 175 do not otherwise occur in the New Testament.” [9] My primary concern with this argument, however, is that it is methodologically flawed, since the evidential weight of verbal similarity vs. dissimilarity is epistemically asymmetrical. That is to say, whereas a high level of verbal similarity between two pieces of writing does indeed provide strong evidential support for a literary relationship, of some kind, between the two works (since it is probabilistically unlikely that the same vocabulary and syntax would occur independently in two pieces of writing), verbal dissimilarity between two writings offers only comparatively weak evidence that is disconfirming of a literary relationship (since there exist all manner of plausible explanations for why a common author of two works might choose to deploy different vocabulary and syntax). Indeed, Ehrman appears to acknowledge this fact, when he argues for the authorial unity of the Pastorals. He notes that “When trying to establish common authorship, it is not the difference of two (or three) writings that matter, but the similarities.” [10] However, Ehrman curiously drops this principle when it comes to his discussion of whether the Pastorals share a common author with the rest of the Pauline corpus. To assert that differences in style, vocabulary and syntax weigh strongly as evidence against authorial unity implies the implausibility of an author modifying his style or language, either over time or to suit the occasion of his writing. But it is clearly the case that an author may enlarge his vocabulary over time, or that he may vary his choice of words for different recipients and to address different subject matter. 

It is unclear whether the Pastoral epistles were intended to be read aloud to the local assemblies (as probably was the case with the majority of Paul’s letters) or whether they were intended only for Timothy and Titus, who would be responsible for communicating the contents of the letters to their respective congregations. Since the epistles are addressed to individuals and contain various personal allusions, the latter seems more likely. Furthermore, Luke Johnson, Philip Towner, and Craig Blomberg have all suggested that the epistolary subgenre of 1 Timothy and Titus was that of a mandate letter, a set of instructions given by a superior (such as a provincial governor) to his subordinate (such as a local city leader) concerning the manner in which he ought to exercise his public duties. [11] Johnson, Towner and Blomberg suggest that Timothy and Titus are best thought of as “apostolic delegates” – that is, individuals who have been commissioned by Paul to oversee churches in Ephesus and Crete respectively. Blomberg concludes that “At least some of the differences in form may well be accounted for by this distinct subgenre of epistle.” [12]

Another consideration that may account for some of the differences of style is that much of the distinctive vocabulary of 1 Timothy is found in pre-formed tradition. Mark Yarbrough has identified various pre-Pauline traditions in 1 Timothy using a detailed set of criteria. [13] He argues that the clearest instances include 1:8-10, 15a-b; 17; 2:5-6a; 3:1, 16; 4:8, 9-10; 5:24-25; 6:7, 10a, and 11-16. The vocabulary that is unique to 1 Timothy occurs disproportionately in these creedal statements. This may have led to the author’s utilization of the same phraseology elsewhere. To take an example, the word εὐσέβεια (“godliness”) is found ten times in the Pastorals, eight of which are in 1 Timothy. Outside of the Pastorals, this word is found nowhere else in Paul’s writings (though it is used once in Acts and four times in 2 Peter). However, of those eight occurrences in 1 Timothy, three are found in preformed tradition (3:16; 4:8; 6:11). The other five are found in verses that are closely adjacent to these creedal statements (2:2; 4:7; 6:3, 5, 6). It is not implausible, therefore, that the presence of this word in the preformed tradition was causally connected to Paul’s utilization of it in the surrounding context.

A yet further potential explanation for the linguistic issues has been advanced by Charles Moule in the early 1960s, and subsequently developed by Stephen Wilson and, more recently, by Ben Witherington. [14] They argue that Luke was Paul’s amanuensis for the Pastoral epistles. Luke, we are informed in 2 Timothy 4:11, was alone with Paul during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment, and we know that Luke was also present with Paul during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment (Col 4:14; Philem 1:24). On this hypothesis, Paul may have delegated Luke to write, in his own voice, Paul’s instructions to Timothy and Titus. The resultant letters may then have been subsequently reviewed by Paul to confirm that they corresponded to what he had intended. Moule summarizes: “Luke wrote all three Pastoral Epistles. But he wrote them during Paul’s lifetime, at Paul’s behest, and in part (but only in part), at Paul’s dictation.” [15] Wilson observes that 37 (more precisely 34) words in the Pastorals are found nowhere else in the New Testament except for Luke-Acts. Moreover, an additional 27 words are found in Luke-Acts and only infrequently in the rest of the New Testament corpus. [16] A total of 544 words are shared between the Pastorals and Luke-Acts. While Wilson argues that Luke rather than Paul is responsible for the Pastorals, Ben Witherington by contrast argues, that Wilson “goes much too far, and that his data better supports the theory of Pauline and Lukan involvement in these three letters.” [17] Witherington concludes, “the voice is the voice of Paul, but the hand is the hand of Luke. In some places these letters sound almost like Pauline dictation, especially in spots in 2 Timothy, but in various places they sound much more like Luke. We must think of a symbiosis of the two thinkers’ styles here, with Luke sometimes simply rendering things that were more memorable in Paul’s sort of wording, but in other cases his own style took over, perhaps because Paul could simply say to Luke, ‘You have heard me speak about these things before, so tell them about …,’ and Luke would do so in his own way and style.” [18]

It is sometimes claimed, notably by Percy Neale Harrison, that the vocabulary of the Pastorals is akin to that of the second century, thus betraying its late date. [19] However, Donald Guthrie rightly points out that this argument “involves an extraordinary assumption. It assumes that the Pastoral Hapaxes [i.e. words unique to the Pastorals in the New Testament] cannot have been current in the first century because no other New Testament writer happens to use them. While it is true that some of these words were used by the Apostolic Fathers, Harrison gave insufficient attention to the possibility that the Pastorals influenced the vocabulary of these later writers even where there is no indication from the context that they are citing the Pastorals.” [20] Harrison does include in his analysis secular writers (e.g. Epictetus, Appian, Galen and Marcus Aurelius). Guthrie points out, however, that “the two cases are clearly not analogous for there is a presumption in favour of the Pastorals influencing second-century ecclesiastical writers, but none whatever in the case of the secular writers. It is not a matter of enriching vocabulary so much as using words in common ecclesiastical usage for similar purposes.” [21] Guthrie further points out three factors that significantly reduce the evidential weight of this argument: First, a high-percentage of those words that are unique to the Pastorals are not found in the apostolic fathers (74 percent in 1 Timothy; 58 percent in 2 Timothy; and sixty percent in Titus). Guthrie notes that “This hardly supports the idea that the author lapsed into current second-century speech when departing from his Pauline model.” [22] Second, of the sixty words that the Pastorals share with the Apostolic Fathers, twenty-eight of those are found in the latter sources only a single time. This “cannot therefore constitute evidence of common language.” [23] Third, of the words that are unique to the Pastorals, only seventeen are found in more than one of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. This “shows the extent of their frequency during this period.” [24]

A further issue with Harrison’s analysis relates to the number of known words during the two periods being compared. The number of words of the Apostolic Fathers is given as 4,020 [25], whereas the number of words found in Paul is given as only 2,177 words [26].  There are thus nearly twice as many words associated with the Apostolic Fathers from which to identify parallels. Guthrie argues that “Before such parallels can prove common vintage, it is necessary to show that the words in question could not have been used in the first century. But Montgomery Hitchcock showed that all but twenty-eight of the non-Pauline words were known before AD 50, while Harrison himself admits that the number unknown before AD 90 is less than a score. Such a small group of words is hardly enough to prove second-century vintage, since their non-appearance in first-century literature may be due to the small amount of such literature still extant.” [27]

In addition to linguistic differences, Ehrman also notes various stylistic differences between the Pastorals and the rest of the Pauline corpus. For example, “the author, in a clear departure from Pauline practice actually names [the false teachers]. They are Hymenaeus and Philetus: persons, therefore, known, if only fictionally, to both the (fictional) audience and author.” [28] However, this argument appears to be extremely weak. Consider as a control the case of Romans and Galatians, which are virtually universally acknowledged to be Pauline productions. The themes and illustrations of these two epistles are quite similar (e.g. the reference to Abraham). A stylistic difference between those epistles is that whereas in Romans Paul enforces his positions with argument (as he is not known in person to most of his recipients), in Galatians he frequently rests the positions on his personal authority.

One may also point out that there are also striking similarities between the Pauline corpus and the Pastoral letters. For example, Paul is very fond of derivatives of the word πλουτος (“riches”). He writes about the “riches of his kindness” (Rom 2:4); “riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom 11:33); the “riches of his grace” (Eph 1:7; 2:7); God being “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4); the “riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8); and “riches of full assurance of understanding” (Col 2:2). In 1 Timothy 6:18, Paul writes of being “rich in good works.” It should be noted here that the figurative use of this word, though employed frequently by Paul, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except once in the epistle of James (2:5). However, in the latter case the word is manifestly suggested by the antithesis (“…has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith…?”). Another example is Paul’s use of the word ἀρσενοκοίταις (“homosexual” or, literally, “man bedder”) in 1 Timothy 1:10, a word he also uses in 1 Corinthians 6:9. Paul’s usage of this word appears to be the first in surviving Greek literature, suggesting that it is a word invented by Paul, derived from a conjunction of two Greek words (ἄρσην and κοιμάω) found in the LXX translation of Leviticus 20:13. 

A further example is the use of Deuteronomy 25:4 (“You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain”), quoted in both 1 Timothy 5:18 and 1 Corinthians 9:9. Paul was clearly fond of this verse and was determined that the pastors he was setting up would be able to get paid even though Paul himself was able to make money through tent-making, even while undertaking his ministry (Acts 18:3). It is striking that the citation of this verse in 1 Corinthians 9:9 uses the verb κημόω (“to muzzle”), whereas that in 1 Timothy 5:18 uses φιμόω (“to silence”) instead. If a forger were drawing from 1 Corinthians 9 as a source, one might expect him to follow Paul’s wording. Interestingly, the LXX uses the verb φιμόω (as does 1 Timothy 5:18), though the word order of the LXX is followed by 1 Corinthians 9:9 but not by 1 Timothy 5:18. Thus, neither citation completely corresponds to the LXX, which is characteristically Pauline. It should be noted that, although a majority of manuscripts support the reading φιμώσεις in 1 Corinthians 9:9 (which would make it consistent with 1 Timothy 5:18), most scholars favour κημώσεις, since it is the more difficult reading (being the less literary word, and φιμώσεις is also the Septuagint reading).

Yet another parallel is the admonition to Timothy to “Let no one despise you for your youth,” (1 Tim 4:12). This resembles Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians: “When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. So let no one despise him,” (1 Corinthians 16:10-11).

Plenty of other examples of verbal similarity could be offered. Indeed, “there are some 55 words found in the Pastoral Epistles and only in the other Pauline letters in the New Testament.” [29]

It may be objected that a clever forger, who had the epistles of Paul before him, would be expected to draw vocabulary and other features from Paul’s letters in order to pass himself off credibly as Paul. However, it is inconsistent to point to differences in vocabulary and expressions as indicators of non-Pauline authorship of the Pastorals on the one hand, while on the other dismissing verbal and conceptual similarities on the basis of it being exactly what one would expect a clever forger to do. This is a classic ‘heads I win; tails you lose’ kind of reasoning. In any case, it seems incontestable that verbal similarity between the Pauline corpus and the Pastorals raises the probability of Pauline authorship of the latter, and thereby constitutes some, though perhaps inconclusive, evidence that tends to confirm Pauline authorship.

A further connection to Paul, which goes beyond the Pauline epistles, is the “athlete finishing the race” metaphor, which is used both in 2 Timothy 4:7 and in Paul’s speech at Miletus, reported in Acts 20:24. It is doubtful that a pseudepigraphal author of 2 Timothy used Acts as a source, given the notorious difficulty (as I will discuss later) of integrating the Pastoral epistles into the chronology given in Acts.

The Argument from Theological Differences

Another argument Ehrman advances for pseudonymity is that the Pastoral epistles exhibit stark theological differences from the Pauline corpus. For example, 1 Timothy 2:11-15 instructs women to be silent and submissive. By contrast, asserts Ehrman, “the women in Paul’s churches were apostles and deacons; they were not silent in church or urged to be silent, but were told to speak their prayers and prophecies – congregational activities performed in the presence of men – with covered heads.” [30] However, Paul also writes to the Corinthians (the very same letter that Ehrman quotes), “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church,” (1 Cor 14:33-35). Contrary to being a difference between Paul and the Pastorals, this instruction strikingly resembles Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” Whatever Paul means in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, it therefore must be consistent with the instructions that he imparts just three chapters later. One should be very hesitant to conclude that an author has contradicted himself within the same letter – much less within a few chapters. Multiple plausible harmonizations of Paul’s instructions have been offered – for example, one is not necessarily committed to supposing that 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 concerns a church context. 

It must be acknowledged here that some textual critics, most notably Gordon Fee, have argued that the words of 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 represent an interpolation into the text. [31] Fee observes that there is variation in the manuscript tradition as to the placement of those verses, with the Western manuscripts (D F G ar b vgms Ambst) situating these verses after verse 40. Fee asserts that, if these verses are original, then it is difficult to account for their transposition by a scribe. Furthermore, argues Fee, these verses seem out of place in this chapter, and “one can make much better sense of the structure of Paul’s argument without these intruding sentences.” [32] It must be noted, however, as Fee acknowledges, that verses 34 and 35 are present in all known manuscripts. If these verses represent an interpolation, therefore, they must have become incorporated into the manuscript tradition very early indeed. It is also curious that no scribe appears to have expressed doubt about the authenticity of these verses (by addition of an asterisk or obelisk, as is found in other cases where scribes doubted the authenticity of clauses). One plausible hypothesis, suggested by E.E. Ellis, is that these words were inserted into the margin of the original autograph by Paul himself. [33] On this (admittedly conjectural) hypothesis, Paul may have removed doubt that the words were his by adding his name. How, though, did the Western tradition uniformly come to include these verses at the end of the chapter? The NET Bible Notes, following Ellis’ conjecture, suggest that “the scribe of the Western Vorlage could no longer read where the verses were to be added (any marginal arrows or other directional device could have been smudged), but, recognizing that this was part of the original text, felt compelled to put it somewhere.” [34] In my opinion, on balance, I judge it to be somewhat more likely than not that these verses are indeed authentic. However, on the basis of the arguments adduced by Fee, these verses should be treated with caution.

Ehrman further argues that “to say that women’s salvation is contingent on bearing children is completely removed from anything known from the apostle Paul.” [35] However, the intended meaning of 1 Timothy 2:15 is notoriously difficult to discern. Paul may be using the verb σῴζω (“to be saved or delivered”) in a non-soteriological sense. Craig Keener notes that “Women normally prayed to particular gods to ‘save’ them, which meant bringing them safely through childbirth. (The curse on Eve came to be associated with death in childbirth in some parts of Judaism, so Paul might be qualifying his comparison in 2:13–14. In this case, he would be noting that Christian women are not daughters of Eve in every sense, thus implying that his illustration in 2:13–14 should not be pressed beyond the service for which he employed it.)” [36]

Ehrman also asserts that the view of marriage presented in 1 Timothy is inconsistent with that of Paul. Ehrman writes, “It is true that he never did, in the surviving letters, actually ‘forbid marriage’ (4:3); but he certainly discouraged it, in no uncertain terms, in view of the ‘impending disaster’ (1 Cor 7:27-27 [sic]). Not this author. Bishops are actually required to be married men with households that they rule over (3:2,4). So too the deacons (3:12). Young women, too, are to be married and have children. How does this coincide with Paul’s wishes that others – presumably leaders above all – be like him, celibate and single (1 Cor 7:6-7)?” [37] I would argue, however, that Paul is not requiring that overseers or deacons be married. Indeed, in Greek, Paul writes that overseers and deacons are to be μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα (literally, “a one woman man”). More likely, therefore, Paul is indicating that an overseer or deacon must not be a womanizer or one prone to sexual immorality. If the author had desired to express that overseers and deacons are expected to be married, he could have required that they “must be married” or that they must be, simply, “the husband of a wife.”

Ehrman asks, “Is the author even Jewish? The idea that anyone would urge people to ‘abstain from foods’ seems completely foreign to him (4:3), a sign of living in the latter days. For this author all foods are created by God and are good, and no food is to be rejected if received thankfully (4:4).” This, however, does not appear to be inconsistent with Paul, who writes that “One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him,” (Rom 14:2-3). Jesus Himself is said to have “declared all food clean” (Mk 7:19), so it is not unreasonable to think that this view was also adopted by Paul.

The Acts of Paul and Thecla

Some scholars, most notably Dennis MacDonald, have argued that the Pastoral epistles are intended as a polemic against the Acts of Paul and Thecla. [38] The Acts of Paul and Thecla expresses a negative attitude towards marriage (compare 1 Tim 4:3) and condemns sexual intercourse (compare 1 Tim 2:15). It also allows women (Thecla specifically) to exercise authority and teach (compare 1 Tim 2:12). Given the contrasting positions taken by the Pastorals and the Acts of Paul and Thecla, MacDonald suggests that the epistles were written by a second century author as a response to what they considered to be contrary to Paul’s actual view. A significant hurdle to this view, however, is that the Acts of Paul and Thecla is dated by the consensus of scholars to the late second century. But the Pastoral epistles have to be significantly older than this, particularly because they are listed as canonical by the Muratorian fragment, traditionally dated to 170 A.D. It is doubtful that the Pastorals would have been recognized as canonical by the Muratorian fragment if they were a recent composition. Bart Ehrman, disagreeing with MacDonald, argues instead that “a more obvious solution” is “that whoever wrote the Acts of Paul was reacting to the (earlier) Pastoral epistles.” [39]

Do the Pastorals Presuppose a Later Church Structure?

Ehrman observes that the Pastoral epistles “are concerned with the qualifications of the leaders who man (literally) [the church organization] – not with the duties that they are to perform. But this speaks even more for the pseudepigraphic character of 1 Timothy and Titus…because these letters do not assume that a church hierarchy is starting to be established to replace the charismatic ordering of the churches of Paul’s own day. They instead presuppose that a church hierarchy already is in place, to the extent that there are bishops, deacons, and widows who are to be enrolled.” [40] However, Philippians 1:1 indicates that during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment there were in fact overseers and deacons. Ehrman objects that the epistle to the Philippians does not indicate that these individuals were ordained by the laying on of hands or selected from a pool of candidates. [41] Thus, he argues, we have “no way of knowing whether they are comparable to the figures addressed in the Pastorals or not.” [42] However, the burden of proof here lies with the person wishing to make the case that the overseers and deacons of Philippians 1:1 are dissimilar to those described in 1 Timothy 3 – since this point is crucial if this argument for the pseudepigraphic nature of the Pastorals is to hold. Indeed, the same Greek words, ἐπισκόποι καὶ διακόνοι are used of elders and deacons in both Philippians and 1 Timothy. Furthermore, we read in Acts 14:23 that “when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” Although the word here for elders is different (πρεσβύτεροι rather than ἐπίσκοποι), it is not unreasonable to suppose that they fulfilled similar or identical roles. In fact, Acts 20:17 uses the same word (πρεσβύτεροι) to describe the Ephesian elders, but these very individuals are described as ἐπισκόποι in Acts 20:28: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers (ἐπισκόπους), to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” In any case, the evidence suggests strongly that there was indeed an organized church structure even during Paul’s day.

Regarding the enrolment of widows, of which Paul writes in 1 Timothy 5:9-10, Ehrman is correct that Paul’s words suggest that the roster of widows was well-established by the time of his writing, having been carried out for a long time, and that he need only supply instructions to Timothy regarding how his own jurisdiction should carry out this practice. However, in Acts 6:1-4, we find that this practice was indeed carried out from early on in the church’s history: “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’” This event took place prior to the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7, which Colin Hemer suggests is “suitable to the…troubled last years of Pilate,” implying a date prior to A.D. 36. [43] Certainly it was prior to Paul’s conversion, recounted in Acts 9. In 1 Timothy, Paul lays out criteria for the enrolment of widows requiring assistance. Paul’s choice of words suggests that the roster of widows was a well-established custom, and that Paul need only advise Timothy regarding how the practice ought to be performed in his own jurisdiction. Lydia McGrew argues, following an argument initially set forth by William Paley, “This is exactly what we would expect to find if the enlistment of widows for aid had been carried out for a long time. As is always the case with such practical matters of charity, continual adjustment of the nitty-gritty details is required on a prudential basis, and these details vary from one venue to another.” [44]  William Paley concludes, “Now this is the way in which a man writes, who is conscious that he is writing to persons already acquainted with the subject of his letter; and who, he knows, will readily apprehend and apply what he says by virtue of their being so acquainted: but it is not the way in which a man writes upon any other occasion.” [45] The reference to the roster of widows in 1 Timothy, then, far from being an argument against Pauline authorship, in fact somewhat confirms it.

The Pastorals and the Canonicity of Luke

Ehrman also draws attention to the implication in 1 Timothy 5:18 that the gospel of Luke (which is quoted directly) is Scripture: “For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The labourer deserves his wages.’” The former quotation is from Deuteronomy 24:4; the latter is from Luke 10:7. Is Paul really equating a text from the gospel of Luke with the authority of the Pentateuch? This argument depends heavily on the dating of the gospel of Luke. According to the majority of scholars, the gospel of Luke was composed sometime between 80 and 90 A.D. According to this chronology, the gospel of Luke was not completed at the time of Paul’s writing to Timothy in the early 60’s A.D. However, the dating of the gospels is, in my opinion, a rather arbitrary judgment that does not stem from compelling evidence. Indeed, the primary motivating factor for dating the gospels after 70 A.D. is because Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple, and it is supposed that supernatural prediction is not possible. Since I reject this supposition, this argument is not at all compelling to me. The arguments for dating the gospels are sufficiently inconclusive that, if independent evidence provides compelling reason to think that the Pastorals are in fact Pauline (as I maintain), then the allusion in 1 Timothy to Luke 10:7 as Scripture could be taken as evidence confirming a date for Luke’s composition earlier than is often assumed. 

In fact, I would argue that there are grounds, independent of this consideration, to think that Luke pre-dates 1 Timothy, though these are not completely conclusive. The dating of Acts sets an upper bound on when Luke can have composed his gospel, since Acts is presented as a sequel to the gospel of Luke. It is not my intention here to interact in detail with the scholarship on this topic, since that would require a lengthy discussion. However, briefly, I would argue that Acts is best dated to the early 60’s A.D., which means that Luke may have been composed as early as the 50’s A.D. In support of early dating, conservative scholars have typically pointed to Acts’ silence regarding the martyrdom of Paul, Peter and James the brother of Jesus, the persecution under Nero, the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. Τhe account in Acts ends on a cliff hanger, with Paul under house arrest in Rome. There is some merit to this argument, though it is an argument from silence and therefore in my judgment not particularly strong by itself (but perhaps stronger than many of the other arguments from silence that are used in the field of New Testament studies). Colin Hemer is right to note that “Even if…no part of the New Testament shows clear allusion to the fall of Jerusalem as a past event, that silence is no more than suggestive apart from positive arguments.” [46] Other evidence that is less often talked about includes the sparing use of the noun Χριστιανόι; the use of μάρτυς in the literal sense of “witness” rather than in the modern sense of “martyr”; the use of “Simon” (Σίμων) for Peter; and the comparatively primitive use of the term ἐκκλησία. Though these arguments are not completely conclusive, they do cumulatively point to an earlier rather than a later date.

Do the Pastorals Respond to Second Century Gnosticism?

It is sometimes argued that the false teaching addressed by the Pastoral epistles is second century Gnosticism, which taught, among other things, that the material world is evil, while the spiritual world is good. [47] Ascetism was a common feature of Gnosticism, and their followers would be encouraged to treat the body severely, through restricting certain foods and abstaining from sexual activity. Thus, some have suggested that the “myths and genealogies” opposed in 1 Timothy refer to these heretical teachings. [48] If this is so, they argue, 1 Timothy must be a second century composition. However, unlike the Gnosticism of the second century, the false teachers denounced in the Pastoral letters were still within the church (1 Tim 1:3-7) and their heresy was inspired by Judaistic legalism (1 Tim 1:7; Titus 1:10, 14; 3:9). Gordon Fee concludes, “given the lack of any real concern in 1 and 2 Timothy for characteristically Gnostic motifs, plus the fact that in verse 7 the errors are specifically related to the Law, it is more plausible that these myths and endless genealogies reflect Jewish influence of some kind, undoubtedly with some Hellenistic overlays.” [49]

Chronological Issues

Another category of evidence that is often used to argue against the Pauline authorship of the Pastorals is the difficulty integrating the letters into the chronology given in Acts. Bart Ehrman acknowledges the weakness of this argument. He writes, “It is true that bad arguments are often made to attack the Pauline authorship of the letters. It is commonly and roundly asserted that it is hard to locate the letters in Paul’s ministry as laid out either in his own letters or Acts. But as Johnson points out, our hard information on Paul’s ministry is extremely sparse: eight of the twelve years spanning 50 and 62 CE are summed up in the book of Acts in four lines.” [50] Furthermore, even if we cannot construct a journey precisely, we can produce a consistent picture. Paul went back from Rome after his first imprisonment to Greece and Asia Minor. He was then re-arrested, and 2 Timothy was written from this second imprisonment. It should be noted that this contrasts starkly with his stated intention, according to Romans, to visit Spain after having been in Rome (Rom 15:24,28). At that time, he was hoping to come to Rome as a free man and continue his missionary journeys westward from Rome. The prison epistles themselves reveal that he changed this plan and travelled east rather than west following his first imprisonment to visit the churches there and strengthen them. We can infer from 2 Timothy that he was re-arrested in the course of those travels. 

A forger would be far more likely either to make Paul write from Spain (if he were going to set epistles after Paul’s first imprisonment) or, far more likely in my judgment, to set a forged epistle at some recognizable point within the travels in Acts. The fact that the pastoral epistles fit nowhere in Acts has often been used to argue against their authenticity. However, it is an argument in precisely the opposite direction. In real life, people change their plans, and we can reconstruct from the prison epistles and pastorals how Paul revised his plans and carried them out between the two imprisonments. Thus, rather than being an argument against the authenticity of the Pastoral epistles, I would lay it out as evidence confirming their Pauline authorship.

Another interesting point about chronology is Paul’s instruction to Timothy to “remain at Ephesus” in Asia Minor (1 Tim 1:3) and his comment to Titus that “This is why I left you in Crete [Macedonia], so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you,” (Tit 1:5). This fits well with Paul’s statements in the prison epistles concerning his intentions, if he is released from Rome, to return to Macedonia and Asia Minor (Phil 2:24, Philem 22). This also comports well with the statement in 2 Timothy 4:13 that at some point he left a cloak at Troas, which was on the overland route between Asia Minor and Macedonia. Paul further indicates in Titus 3:12 that he will spend the winter in Nicopolis (in Greece).

Perhaps the weakest argument in Ehrman’s case for the Pastoral epistles being pseudepigraphic has to do with the portrayal of Timothy in these letters as being a young man. For example, the author instructs Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity,” (1 Tim 4:12) and to “flee youthful passions” (2 Tim 2:22). Ehrman observes that Timothy comes to be associated with Paul during Paul’s second missionary journey in Lystra (Acts 16:1), by which time he was already an adult. [51] Furthermore, Ehrman observes that Timothy co-authors with Paul what is probably the earliest surviving Pauline correspondence, 1 Thessalonians, around 49 CE. [52] Ehrman asks, “Even if Timothy was a young man then…how could he still be young fifteen years later when Paul, on any reasonable chronology, is face-to-face with death at the end of a relatively long and productive ministry?” [53]

If we suppose that Paul was released from his imprisonment in Rome in 62 A.D., then 1 Timothy could have been written around 63 A.D. Paul’s second missionary journey is generally dated to 49-51 A.D. If we date Paul’s meeting Timothy in Acts 16:1 to 49 A.D., then 1 Timothy was likely written around fourteen years after Paul’s first recorded meeting with Timothy. Thus, Ehrman’s estimation of the time between those two events is approximately correct. However, Acts gives us no indication of how old Timothy was at the time of Paul’s second missionary journey. If we conjecture that he was eighteen, then by the time Paul wrote 1 Timothy he would have been about thirty-two years old. Youth is relative and it is not at all unreasonable to think that someone in their early thirties could have been described as young.

Verisimilitude in the Pastorals

In addition to the evidence confirming Pauline authorship that I have already noted in the foregoing, there are various marks of verisimilitude in the Pastorals. One oft-noted example is the sudden injunction for Timothy to take wine for his stomach (1 Tim 5:23). This is incredibly realistic and does not comport well with the hypothesis of forgery, since it is placed in a list of more or less unrelated injunctions – a realistic mode of the composition of a personal letter between friends. Another mark of verisimilitude is Paul’s reference to himself as the chief of sinners (1 Tim 1:15), an allusion to his having been a persecutor of the church (1 Tim 1:12-14). While a forger may include this on purpose, the accompanying theological reflection (that he obtained mercy so that he could be an example of the patience of Jesus Christ for those who came later) seems rather profound for a forger who merely wanted to drop in an allusion to Paul’s former life.

The Pastoral epistles also contain unexplained allusions that are suggestive of truth. In 2 Timothy 1:15, we read, “You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.” This seems like an odd allusion for a forger to invent without any further explanation or elaboration. The ways in which Onesiphorus rendered service to Paul in Ephesus is also left unexplained, though Paul indicates that Timothy knows of them (2 Tim 1:16-18). The letter of 2 Timothy is filled with so many pointless personal touches and obscure references, including the cloak (4:13) that he left at Troas with Carpus (who is mentioned nowhere else in Scripture) that the hypothesis that 2 Timothy represents a forgery seems to me to be exceedingly unlikely.

Some scholars, such as Gordon Fee, have pointed out that it seems prima facie unlikely that a forger would produce two different letters containing such similar ideas as 1 Timothy and Titus. [54] Ehrman objects to this since “Fee himself thinks that this is precisely what Paul did.” [55] However, it seems to be at least somewhat more probable that a single author would write letters to two different individuals concerning similar themes than that a forger would fabricate two letters containing essentially the same subject matter. Thus, though not conclusive in itself, I would argue that this fact does constitute evidence that tends to confirm Pauline authorship.

There are also examples of undesigned coincidences in the Pastoral epistles that are suggestive of Pauline authorship. An undesigned coincidence arises when one has two or more different historical accounts that interlock in a way that is unexpected if (a) the story is being made up out of whole-cloth; (b) one account is borrowing from the other; or (c) both documents are copying from a common source. In addition to helping us to corroborate Biblical history, cases of undesignedness can also often help us to corroborate the authorship of a letter. This is the case with the epistles of Paul, which often dovetail with incidents which we read of in the book of Acts. One example of where the pastorals dovetail casually with the book of Acts is the statement in 2 Timothy 3:14-15: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” We also read in 2 Timothy 1:5, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” This means that one, or both, of Timothy’s parents must have been Jewish. 

When we turn to the book of Acts, we read that “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.” (Acts 16:1). Notice also that Acts makes mention of the mother alone being a believer. Acts suggests that the father was not a believer. Likewise, in the epistle, Paul praises Timothy’s mother Eunice for her belief (even making mention of her name, which is not given in Acts). But he makes no mention of the father. Incidental corroborations such as this between Acts and the Pastoral epistles are all the more striking given that it is apparent that the author of the Pastorals, supposing him to be a forger, probably was not using the Acts of the Apostles as a source (as evidenced by the challenge, discussed previously, of integrating the Pastorals into the chronology found in Acts). Furthermore, it seems prima facie unlikely that a forger would invent out of whole cloth Timothy’s grandmother (who is never mentioned anywhere else) and refer to Timothy’s being raised and instructed by women rather than men, appealing to Timothy to follow what he learned from those women. It would hardly commend the story to anyone to invent Timothy’s grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. Jewish men would typically base their claim to orthodoxy on a male line of instruction. Indeed, Paul’s own instruction would have carried much more weight, and one might expect a fraud to emphasize Paul’s own teaching of Timothy. This would even have fitted with Paul’s own personality elsewhere (c.f. 1 Cor 4:16; 1 Cor 11:1; 1 Thess 1:6).

Another example of an undesigned coincidence can be found in 2 Timothy 4:20: “Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus.” Paul here mentions his solitude, and urges Timothy, “Do your best to come before winter,” (verse 21). We know from Acts 19:22 that Timothy and Erastus were “two of his helpers”, which means Timothy and Erastus evidently knew each other well (hence it is fitting that Erastus should be mentioned in a letter to Timothy). It seems also a fair presumption that the city of Corinth was Erastus’ home, hence why Paul mentions to Timothy that “Erastus remained at Corinth.” It is striking, then, that when we turn to the epistle to the Romans (16:23), we read, “Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.” Now it turns out that Erastus was the city treasurer for the city from which Paul was writing his epistle to the Romans. If, then, we can establish a firm case, on completely independent grounds, that the epistle to the Romans was written in Corinth, this then would explain why Paul at the close of his letter specifically mentions Erastus’ greeting of the Roman church — and it would be a coincidence too subtle to be the product of design. 

How, then, can we be sure that Paul was writing his epistle to the Romans from Corinth? In 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, we read, “Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.” Here, we learn of a collection that was going on in the city and Paul wants the collection to be ready by the time he arrives in Corinth. In Romans 15:28, we read, “When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you.” Paul mentions here that the collection is ready and that he intends to deliver it. This implies that he was in fact writing from Corinth. This then explains why he mentions in 2 Timothy 4:20 that “Erastus remained in Corinth” and in Romans 16:23 mentioned Erastus as the city treasurer. Notice that it is only by putting together the pieces from different sources that we can arrive at a coherent picture. These patterns are not at all what would be expected from a forgery. Erastus would probably have not been widely known outside of Corinth. Erastus’ role in Corinth has been corroborated with archaeological evidence as well. In 1929, archaeologists identified an inscription, dating to the mid-first century A.D., on large paving stones in Corinth. [56] The inscription reads, “Erastus in return for his aedileship laid [the pavement] at his own expense.” It is remarkable that such a minor character in the New Testament should be confirmed through archaeological evidence.

In 2 Timothy 2:22, Paul instructs Timothy to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” This connects with 1 Timothy 4:12, in which Timothy is instructed to “Let no one despise you for your youth.” It is thus fitting, given that Timothy was evidently a young man, that in the second epistle Paul warns Timothy to flee from youthful lusts. This also connects with what we read in 1 Corinthians 16:10-11: “When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.” The integration between those texts is only incidental. In his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul instructs the Corinthian Christians not to despise Timothy when he comes, “for he is doing the work of the Lord”, just as Paul was doing. Paul gives no indication of why the Corinthian Christians might despise Timothy. It is only when we read 2 Timothy that we learn that it was because of his youth.

A further example is found in 2 Timothy 3:10-11, in which we read, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.” The Antioch here mentioned was not Antioch the capital of Syria but rather Antioch in Pisidia, to which, as we read in Acts 13, Paul was sent along with Barnabas. The book of Acts tells us (13:50-51), “But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.” Acts 14:1-7 tells us of the persecution Paul endured in Iconium at the hands of both Jews and gentiles, occasioned by his preaching in the Jewish synagogue. As a consequence, Paul had to flee to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and the surrounding country, where they continued proclaiming the gospel. In Acts 14:19-21, we read of Paul being stoned and dragged out of the city by Jews who came from Antioch and Iconium. It is thus evident that this account relates directly to the persecutions that Paul references in 2 Timothy 3:10-11, where he alludes specifically to his “persecutions and sufferings that happened to [him] at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra.” We thus have a conformity between Acts and 2 Timothy in terms of his persecutions in those three cities of Antioch, Iconium and Lystra. There is also conformity of the fact that he suffered these persecutions in immediate succession and in the order in which Paul mentions the cities in his letter to Timothy. 

Another point that bears mentioning is that, in Acts, Lystra and Derbe are frequently mentioned together, whereas in the quotation from 2 Timothy, Lystra is mentioned while Derbe is omitted. And sure enough, in the book of Acts, we do not read of Paul facing any persecutions in Derbe. Rather, we are told in Acts, “But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,” (Acts 14:21). Thus, there is perfect correspondence not only between the enumeration of the cities in which he faced persecution, but also where that enumeration stops, and the accounts of his persecutions as given in Acts. 

Paul also seems to imply that Timothy witnessed these persecutions that happened to him in these cities, or at the very least is very well acquainted with them and can bring them to mind. This too can be corroborated from Acts. According to Acts, Paul made a second missionary journey through the same country. The purpose for this trip, as stated in Acts 15:36, was to check on those who had been converted during the first journey to see how they were doing. In Acts 16:1-2, we further learn, “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.” We thus are informed that either Derbe or Lystra was Timothy’s hometown. It is clear from the text that Timothy had already been converted by the time of this visit. And Paul himself refers to Timothy as “my true child in the faith” (1 Tim 1:2) and “my beloved child” (2 Tim 1:2). This indicates that Timothy was most likely Paul’s own convert. It then follows that Timothy was almost certainly converted upon Paul’s previous journey through these cities, at just the time when the apostle had undergone the persecutions alluded to in his letter to Timothy.

A final undesigned coincidence I will consider relates to Paul’s allusion to Alexander the coppersmith, whom he notes “did me great harm,” (2 Tim 4:14-15, c.f. 1 Tim 1:18-20). [57] Given that Timothy is placed by the Pastoral letters in Ephesus (1 Tim 1:3), the most obvious individual for a forger to choose as Paul’s enemy would be Demetrius the silversmith (Acts 19:23-28). Instead, Paul cautions Timothy concerning an otherwise unknown metalworker. The passing allusion in 1 Timothy 1:18-20 does not even indicate that Alexander was a smith. Interestingly, Acts 19 reports a riot in Ephesus that involved not only Demetrius, who instigated it, but also “workmen in similar trades” (Acts 19:25). It is striking, then, that the Alexander of 2 Timothy is said to be a workman who occupied a trade similar to that of Demetrius.


In conclusion, having weighed carefully the evidence both for and against Pauline authorship, I judge the arguments favoring Pauline authorship, taken cumulatively, to be significantly stronger than the arguments favoring Pseudepigraphy. The evidence is sufficient to warrant the inference that the three Pastoral epistles come from Paul’s mind, though it is plausible that he used an amanuensis, possibly Luke. The differences in vocabulary and style between these epistles and the rest of the Pauline corpus can be satisfactorily accounted for by several plausible explanations.


[1] Michael Prior, Paul the Letter Writer in the Second Letter to Timothy (Sheffield: Sheffield University Press, 1989.

[2] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 196.

[3] Ibid., 195-197.

[4] Ibid., 197-202.

[5] Ibid., 197.

[6] Ibid., 199.

[7] Ibid., 200.

[8] Ibid., 198.

[9] Craig L. Blomberg and Robert B. Stewart, The Historical Reliability of the New Testament: Countering the Challenges to Evangelical Christian Beliefs (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2016).

[10] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 195.

[11] Craig L. Blomberg and Robert B. Stewart, The Historical Reliability of the New Testament: Countering the Challenges to Evangelical Christian Beliefs (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2016). Luke T. Johnson, The First and Second Letters to Timothy (New York and London: Doubleday, 2001), 46–47; Philip H. Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006), 33–36.

[12] Craig L. Blomberg and Robert B. Stewart, The Historical Reliability of the New Testament: Countering the Challenges to Evangelical Christian Beliefs (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2016).

[13] Mark M. Yarbrough, Paul’s Utilization of Preformed Traditions in 1 Timothy: An Evaluation of the Apostle’s Literary, Rhetorical, and Theological Tactics, ed. Mark Goodacre, vol. 417, Library of New Testament Studies (London; New York: T&T Clark, 2009).

[14] Charles Moule, “The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles: A Reappraisal,” Bulletin of John Rylands Library 47 (1965); Stephen G. Wilson, Luke and the Pastoral Epistles (London: SPCK, 1979); Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, vol. 1: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1–2 Timothy, and 1–3 John (Downers Grove: IVP, 2006), 57–62.

[15] Charles Moule, “The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles: A Reappraisal,” Bulletin of John Rylands Library 47 (1965): 434.

[16] Stephen G. Wilson, Luke and the Pastoral Epistles, JSNT 10 (1981): 69–74.

[17] Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1–2 Timothy and 1–3 John, vol. 1 (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2006), 58.

[18] Ibid., 60.

[19] Percy Neale Harrison, The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles (London; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Copenhagen; New York; Toronto; Melbourne; Cape Town; Bombay; Calcutta; Madras; Shanghai: Oxford University Press; Humphrey Milford, 1921).

[20] Donald Guthrie, Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 14, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 237.

[21] Ibid., 238.

[22] Donald Guthrie, Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 14, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 238.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Percy Neale Harrison, The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles (London; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Copenhagen; New York; Toronto; Melbourne; Cape Town; Bombay; Calcutta; Madras; Shanghai: Oxford University Press; Humphrey Milford, 1921), 68.

[26] Ibid., 46.

[27] Donald Guthrie, Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 14, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 239.

[28] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 215.

[29] Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1–2 Timothy and 1–3 John, vol. 1 (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2006), 57.

[30] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 207.

[31] Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse et al., Revised Edition., The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014), 782–789.

[32] Ibid., 784.

[33] E. Earle Ellis, “The Silenced Wives of Corinth (1 Cor. 14:34–5),” New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 213–20.

[34] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), 1 Co 14:35.

[35] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 207.

[36] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, Second Edition. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2014), 606.

[37] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 208.

[38] Dennis Ronald MacDonald, The Legend and the Apostle: The Battle for Paul in Story and Canon (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1983).

[39] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 382.

[40] Ibid., 205.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Colin J. Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, ed. Conrad H. Gempf (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 176.

[44] Lydia McGrew, Hidden in Plain View: Undesigned Coincidences in the Gospels and Acts (Tampa, FL: Deward Publishing Company, Ltd, 2017), 167.

[45] William Paley, Horae Paulinae or, the Truth of the Scripture History of St. Paul Evinced (In The Works of William Paley, Vol. 2 [London; Oxford; Cambridge; Liverpool: Longman and Co., 1838], 451.

[46] Colin J. Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, ed. Conrad H. Gempf (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 374.

[47] Bart D. Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God — Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (San Francisco, CA: HarperOne, 2011), 95-96.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 41.

[50] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 202.

[51] Ibid., 210.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 6.

[55] Bart D. Ehrman, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 201.

[56] Titus M Kennedy, Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries That Bring the Bible to Life (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2020), 218–219.

[57] Lydia McGrew, “New Undesigned Coincidence Supporting Pauline Authorship of 2 Timothy”, Extra Thoughts, March 17, 2020, https://lydiaswebpage.blogspot.com/2020/08/new-undesigned-coincidence-supporting.html.

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