Insights from Paul's Pastoral Epistels

25 February 2016

Insights from Paul's Pastoral Epistels

This is one of three inspiring courses offered in ETF’s Summer Colloquium, scheduled August 22 – 27, 2016. This international study week includes lectures, various workshops and times for meeting and reflection.

Registration is open until 1 June 2016.

The Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus) have suffered greatly in New Testament scholarship, because of the widespread belief, especially within Continental European scholarship, that they are not by Paul.

In fact, for many it is one of the assured results of scholarship that Paul did not write these three highly instructive letters. As a result of such a view, what insights they contain are often relegated to the category of later Pauline interpretations or reflections of developments in second-century Christianity. The loss has been great, not only for scholarship but, more importantly, for the Christian church that has not appreciated or taken seriously the comments of a senior Christian to his junior fellow pastors, as he reflects on contemporary church issues.

This course does not engage in extended justification or defence of the authenticity of the Pastoral Epistles as written by the Apostle Paul – although the major arguments for and against will be raised and discussed where appropriate. Instead, this course takes the approach that, if we view the letters as by the Apostle Paul, we can benefit greatly from Paul’s instructions to his companions as we engage in interpretation of them. The course will cover all three of the letters, but focus will be placed upon a number of the traditionally difficult and even controversial passages that touch on such issues as the nature of Scripture, the role of women in the early church, church organization and authority, social responsibility, and other topics of surprisingly contemporary relevance. One of the results of such an investigation is the realization that a possible, if not likely, reason that the Pastoral Epistles have been avoided or relegated to non-Pauline status is that they raise issues and propose solutions that the church has not always wanted to embrace. A full and robust exploration of a number of crucial passages, attempting to get beyond pre-established understandings and even translations, opens up further avenues for discussion of what Paul said in these letters and their possible implications for today.

Stanley Porter_webProf. Dr. Stanley E. Porter is President and Dean, Professor of New Testament, and Roy A. Hope Chair in Christian Worldview, at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



ETF’s Summer Colloquium in August 2016 features three inspiring courses which intersect theology, church and society. The two other courses are:

This international study week includes lectures, various workshops and times for meeting and reflection. Our Summer Colloquium is compulsory for ETF Open University students open to interested people with academic qualifications and can serve as additional in-service training for pastors, teachers, and other ministry professionals.

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