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In order to reconcile the authorship of the epistle with the relations known to us from the Acts, some interpreters, particularly Bertholdt and Matthies, have recourse to Acts 20: 3-5. They suppose that Timothy left Corinth before the apostle, and then went to Ephesus, (which Luke indeed does not mention,) where he received the epistle from Paul. Matthies seeks to fortify this opinion, by inferring from 1 Tim. 1: 3, that Paul had directed Timothy to go to Macedonia, thence to proceed and to stop in Ephesus. But this explanation cannot in any manner be justified; the passage rather makes decidedly against it. But leaving this out of the account, the theory can be maintained only by charging on Luke, as Bertholdt does, an historical inaccuracy. "I believe," he says, "that Acts 20: 4, 5, puts us on the right track, only I think, at the same time, that Luke has not given the account with entire accuracy. His notice that Timothy preceded Paul to Asia Minor, is indeed perfectly correct, but there is an inaccuracy in the account that Timothy journeyed in company with Sopater, Aristarchus, etc., and with them awaited Paul at Troas. It is in the highest degree probable that Timothy started from Corinth with these helpers of Paul, but that he took the direct course to Ephesus." Since Luke states definitely that Timothy accompanied the apostle to Asia, together with other friends, (ovveínero avro űyot Tis 'Acías,) that Timothy went first to Troas, and that Paul met them1 in Troas, then has Luke, if Bertholdt is correct, not only given an inaccurate, but an entirely false account. Should his notice not be considered as a falsification of the fact, then we must suppose that Paul had instructed Timothy to go to Ephesus, etc. But this is contradicted by 1 Tim. 3: 14, since Paul then had no intention to go to Ephesus; besides, it is not conceivable why Paul in this case did not give his instructions to Timothy verbally, rather than communicate them in writing immediately after his departure, which would seem the more strange, as he himself would go to Ephesus forthwith. Still more untenable are the hypotheses of Paulus, that the epistle was written during the Apostle's imprisonment at Caesarea; of Schneckenburger, that it was written in Jerusalem at the time mentioned Acts 21: 26; of Böttger, at Patara, Acts 21: 1, or in Miletus, Acts 20:17. Against all these hypotheses is the fact, that they alike render necessary an arbitrary handling of 1 Tim. 1: 3.
If one will not allow himself in these arbitrary interpretations,
1 Ouro v. 5, refers obviously to all the persons before named, consequently also to Timothy.
Date of the First Epistle to Timothy.
there then remains (supposing that the Epistle was written in that portion of Paul's life recorded by Luke in the Acts), only the supposition that the journey of the apostle from Ephesus to Macedonia, mentioned 1 Tim. 1: 3, when Timothy was left behind at Ephesus, occurred during the two or three years' abode of Paul in Ephesus, without being mentioned by Luke. This supposition, which Mosheim and Schrader favored, Wieseler (Chronologie des Apostolischen Zeitalters), setting aside the manifest errors with which they connected it, has endeavored to prove as the only one which is correct. The possibility is allowed, that Luke may have omitted to mention not merely one journey of the apostle; several passages in the Epistles to the Corinthians, (1 Cor. 16: 17. 2 Cor. 2: 1. 12: 14. 13: 1, 2. 12: 21,) place it beyond doubt, that Paul, before he wrote the Epistles to the Corinthians, had been in Corinth not once but twice, though in the second instance he stayed but a short time. For this journey, of which Luke says nothing, there is no other place in the history of the Apostle, except during his abode in Ephesus (Wies. pp. 233 seq.), so that it is necessary to regard the journey to Macedonia mentioned 1 Tim. 1: 3, as identical with the one to Corinth, and to conclude that the first Epistle to Timothy was written on this journey from Macedonia. But there are several objections to this theory. Against the suggestion that the organization of the church presupposed in the epistle, as well as the requisition that the iníoxozos should not be a vɛóguros, imply a longer existence of the church, Wieseler indeed remarks that that journey was undertaken by the apostle just before the close of his residence in Ephesus, so that the church there had been in existence long enough to justify the presupposed organization and the requisition in regard to the "elders;" but this supposition again has its difficulty from the fact that according to it, the apostle himself was in Corinth shortly before he wrote the first epistle to the Corinthians, and that consequently there could have been no sufficient occasion for writing to the church there. Besides, Acts 20: 29, 30 is against Wieseler's view. According to the epistle, false doctrines had already penetrated into the Ephesian church, but, according to the passage in Acts, Paul describes the introduction of false doctrines as to be expected in the future. If we allow that the words vuov avrov refer not to the church, but only to the elders assembled at Miletus, still is vμãs, v. 29, is to be understood of the Ephesian Christians generally; and assuredly Paul, in his address to the elders, would not omit to mention the presence of false teachers if he knew that the church were so seriously threatened by them, that; he had
thought it necessary at an earlier day to warn Timothy against them, as he has done in his Epistle to him. Besides, according to Wieseler's view, Paul had been separated from Timothy only a short time, and after his return to Ephesus, must have sent him forthwith from that city. But how does this agree with the entire character of the Epistle? The instructions which Parl gives to Timothy manifestly show that the latter was to labor long in the church, and the more threatening to the church the false doctrines were, the more unlikely it appears that Paul, so soon after the communication of those instructions, should have withdrawn Timothy from his labors in the church.
The Epistle to Titus. The historical relations to which the epistle points are these: After Paul had labored in Crete, he left Titus there; then he wrote to him the epistle, which he probably sent by Zenas and Apollos, Tit. 3: 13, in which he directs him as soon as he had sent Artemas and Tychicus to him, to hasten himself to come to the Apostle at Nicopolis, where he had concluded to pass the winter.The Epistle contains nothing definite on the first planting of Christianity in Crete, nothing on the duration and extent of the Apostle's labors there, nothing on the length of time between the departure of the Apostle from Crete and the writing of the epistle; but it is probable that the Gospel was not first preached in Crete by any other apostle, as it was Paul's maxim, not to enter into another's labors. Paul had probably labored in Crete some time, for 1: 5 presupposes that when Paul wrote the epistle, there were Christians in the principal cities, at least in a number of cities; it is probable that the epistle was written by Paul not long after his departure, for it could not be supposed that he would leave his substitute long without written instructions; finally, it is probable that Paul had given Titus these instructions a long time before winter, for only on the supposition that Paul had allotted a considerable time to Titus for labor on the island, would he have given these instructions.
If we suppose that the epistle was written during that part of Paul's life recorded in the Acts, then we may inquire whether his visit in Crete and the writing of the epistle took place before or after or during his two or three years' abode in Ephesus. Each supposition has had its supporters.
Those who place both the visit and the writing previously to Paul's residence in Ephesus, fix either on the time during which Paul was first in Corinth, Acts 18: 1-8, or while he was going from Corinth to Ephesus, Acts 18: 19, or after he had passed through Galatia and Phrygia at the commencement of his third missionary journey, before
Date of the Epistle to Titus.
he went thence to Ephesus, Acts 18: 23. But in opposition to all these views alike, is the circumstance that Apollos could not have been Paul's helper before Paul's second visit at Ephesus, Acts 18: 24-19: 1, but as he is named as such in our epistle, then we must suppose that another Apollos is here meant -a supposition which is wholly arbitrary. Besides, against the first view, according to which Paul journeyed from Corinth to Crete, thence to Nicopolis in Epirus, Tit. 3: 12, and thence back to Corinth, is the fact that the second abode of Paul in Corinth, mentioned 1 Cor. 16: 7. 2 Cor. 2: 1, etc., could not have occurred then, but must be placed afterwards. Against the second opinion is not only the fact that the journey from Corinth to Jerusalem was undertaken with a certain haste, so that there was hardly time for any labor in Crete, but also the circumstance that, according to this view, by Nicopolis, a city in Cilicia is meant, when it is not obvious why Paul would winter there and not in Antioch. Against the third view is the fact, that Paul, in his third missionary tour, had chosen Ephesus as the goal of his labors, Acts 18: 21; his labors up to the time of reaching that city were confined to "strengthening the disciples," Acts 18: 23. How would it accord with this, if Paul, instead of going at once to Ephesus, had gone from Phrygia to Crete and Corinth, and had there determined to winter in Nicopolis in Cilicia, and then go to Ephesus?
Less probable is the opinion that Paul went to Crete at the time mentioned Acts 15: 41, and that later, during his two or three years' abode in Ephesus, wrote the epistle. Against the former supposition is the circumstance that the definite route is given in Acts 15: 41 and 16: 1; against the latter, that almost the whole of the second and a part of the third missionary journey of Paul would lie between the beginning of the independent labors of Titus in Crete and the sending of the epistle to him.
Some, who place the visit and the writing of the epistle after the resi dence in Ephesus, think that Paul on the journey from Ephesus to Greece went from Macedonia, vs. 1, 2, to Crete; in that case Titus, after finishing his second mission to Corinth returned again to the apostle in Macedonia; Paul with him then made a journey to Crete; then Paul returned alone to Macedonia, then wrote the epistle from Macedonia, and then first betook himself to Corinth. Thus Paul, after he had written the second Epistle to the Corinthians, must have twice passed Corinth without stopping, yet from the last notices which he had received from Corinth, he must have felt constrained not to delay his journey there. Others think that he visited Crete during his
three months' abode in Greece, Acts 20: 3. But these were winter months, in which a journey to Crete and back was not to be thought of.
The third supposition, that Paul undertook the journey to Crete from Ephesus, before his departure to Macedonia, and from thence wrote the epistle to Titus, has been defended by Wieseler with great acuteness. According to this view, Paul, having remained something over two years in Ephesus, journeyed, through Macedonia, 1 Tim. 1: 3, (namely the second journey, not mentioned in Acts) to Corinth; on this journey, which was short, Titus accompanied him; with Titus he went to Crete; on his departure he left Titus there; he returned to Ephesus, and there wrote the epistle to Titus; then he sent Timothy to Macedonia, directing him to go to Corinth, and thereupon wrote our first Epistle to the Corinthians. Then he sent Tychicus and Artemas to Crete, and directed Titus to come to him; he thereupon sent Titus to Corinth. With the hope of meeting him in Troas, he commenced his journey to Macedonia; he first met with Titus, not in Troas, but in Macedonia; he now sent him the second time to Corinth; after he had written our second Epistle to the Corinthians, he went through Macedonia to Nicopolis in Epirus, where he spent the first winter months, and then went to Corinth.
But in opposition to this theory, the following reasons may be adduced: 1. If Paul made his second journey to Corinth at the time here fixed upon, he could have spent upon it only a short time; how then is it conceivable, that he could at the same time have performed a missionary labor in Crete? 2. Paul wrote to Titus, that he should stay in Crete till he had sent to him Tychicus and Artemas, that then he should himself come to Paul at Nicopolis. According to Wieseler, Paul must have altered this plan, for he caused Titus to come to him at Ephesus; still it is hardly conceivable, that the apostle, when he had just committed to Titus an important service in Crete, should have so soon withdrawn him from it. 3. It is not probable that Paul would have fixed on a city as a winter residence, in which he had not been before, and where he could not know what reception he should find; his determination seems rather to presuppose, that he had already labored in Nicopolis. 4. In 1 Cor. 16: 6, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "With you, perchance, I shall remain, yea even tarry through the winter;" according to Wieseler, the words ngos vuas are to be referred not to the Corinthians only, but in general to the Christians in Achaia, to whom, 1: 2, the epistle was directed; since now, according to Tacitus, Ann. 2, 53, Nicopolis in