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Date of the Second Epistle to Timothy.


Epirus was reckoned to Achaia, Wieseler supposes that the hope expressed by the apostle in that passage was fulfilled; but though the epistle was not directed solely to the church in Corinth, still it especially referred to that, so that the readers would assuredly interpret those words only of an intended residence of Paul in Corinth, and not of a place so far removed from this city. That Paul could not possibly have thought of Nicopolis, is obvious from the fact that when he wrote these words, as Wieseler himself holds, he had not been in Nicopolis, but made known the gospel there at a later time. Paul conceived of Christians only as the readers of his epistle, but not those who might be afterwards converted to Christianity. Finally, if Augustus extended the name Achaia even to Epirus, it does not follow that in common usage, Nicopolis was considered as lying in Achaia. Besides, Paul, according to Wieseler, did not carry out the plan mentioned Tit. 3: 13, since he remained in Nicopolis only two winter months; and thus must have travelled to Corinth in the midst of winter. Though some subordinate circumstances may favor Wieseler's view, and give an air of probability to it, as that Apollos was with Paul in Ephesus, 1 Cor. 16: 12. Tit. 3: 13, still the correctness of the view can, thereby, by no means be shown.

Second Epistle to Timothy. From the epistle we learn that it was written by the Apostle, when he was imprisoned, and written in Rome, 1: 8, 12, 16, 17, etc. The New Testament mentions only one imprisonment of the Apostle in Rome. We are then to inquire, whether it was during this period, that the epistle was written. Since Timothy was with Paul when he wrote the epistles to the Colossians, Philippians, and to Philemon, then our epistle must have been written to Timothy either before or after those epistles. According to the more common opinion, it was written before; but this is contradicted not only by the entire tone of it, but by the following particular dates: 1. In Acts 27: 2, Luke expressly names Aristarchus, besides himself, as the companion of Paul to Rome; when the epistles to the Colossians and Philemon were written, Aristarchus was still with him; but when our epistle was composed, he was not with Paul. 2. At the time the two epistles were written, Demas was with Paul, but when he wrote to Timothy, he had forsaken him, "having loved the present world;" one might indeed say that at the time of the writing of the two epistles, he had penitently returned to Paul, but this would be a very improbable hypothesis. 3. According to 2 Tim. 4: 6, Paul apprehended the end of his life to be very near; on this account clearly be desired Timothy to come to him immediately; in the other

epistles written during the imprisonment recorded in Acts, he nowhere represents his situation as having been earlier more afflictive and later more favorable as he does in the second Epistle to Timothy; now if the imprisonment closed with the death of the Apostle, then it is manifestly more probable that the martyrdom took place immediately after this epistle was written, than immediately after the authorship of the others.

The second theory, that our epistle was written later than the three referred to [during the imprisonment mentioned in Acts], has been particularly advocated by Wieseler. But several objections lie against this. First, the passage, 2 Tim. 4: 13, is adverse. Paul could have left the cloak, together with the books and parchments at Troas only during his third missionary tour. Now it would be singular that he should first wish to obtain these articles after the lapse of something like five years, for that he had left them with Carpus for his special use, is an hypothesis which has nothing in its favor, but rather the word anέinov against it. Still more decidedly adverse is the passage, 2 Tim. 4: 20. An unbiassed reader would gather nothing else from it, than that Paul journeyed from Corinth, Erastus stayed behind in Corinth, and Paul, on his departure from Miletus, left Trophimus there sick. Since now Paul on his journey from Caesarea to Rome, was neither in Corinth, nor in Miletus, so the journey here spoken of could be only the journey which the apostle made before his imprisonment in Jerusalem. But how can it be supposed that Paul should have made mention for the first time of these circumstances to Timothy, in a written form five years afterwards, though Timothy, within this interval, had been with Paul? In order to deprive this passage of its weight, Wieseler supposes that it is to be understood of Paul's experience as a prisoner. Trophimus, says Wieseler, was not left at Miletus by Paul on his missionary journey, for according to Acts 21: 29, he was with Paul in Jerusalem. Paul embarked in a ship sailing to Adramyttium near Troas. In this he sailed to Myra in Lycia, and there went aboard another, sailing direct to Italy. Trophimus accompanied him to Myra; there, on account of his sickness, he left him and went in the Adramyttium ship to Miletus, where he would remain as his conjectured home. But aside from the artificial character of this hypothesis, and the inexactness at least in which it involves the language of the apostle, all this, if it actually so occurred, must have been necessarily known a long time to Timothy, who had been with Paul in Rome, and so much the more, if, with Wieseler, we suppose, that Paul wished to take Trophimus to Rome that he might be a witness for him against his Jewish accusers.


The Epistles written late in Paul's Life.


The idea that the emphasis is to be laid on the words Trophimus and sick, and that Paul by that would remind Timothy only of the sickness of Trophimus, which might still hinder him from coming to Rome, is an unsatisfactory artifice, since the whole sentence involves nothing less than a wish to remind Timothy of the facts. Wieseler thinks that Erastus was an important witness for Paul, whom he had sent for to come to Rome, summoned either through Timothy, or Onesiphorus, but that, notwithstanding, he remained in Corinth, and that it was this, which Paul now communicated to Timothy; but of such a summons there is not the smallest trace. Besides, v. 20 has not at all the position which it would probably have if it were written in relation to the judicial proceedings. These are referred to in vs. 16, 17. If the notices in v. 20, refer to the same things, they must have been placed in connection with vs. 16, 17; but they are wholly separated by the salutation in v. 19. On the other hand, they stand in immediate connection with the direction to Timothy to hasten to him before winter. It is more than probable that vs. 20, 21, stand in a like relation to each other as vs. 9, 10. Timothy supposed that Demas, Crescens and Titus were with Paul in Rome; Paul now informs him that they had left him; he conjectured that Erastus and Trophimus had accompanied Paul to Rome; Paul now tells him that they had not. So the whole stands in a simple, natural connection. Thus the epistle cannot have been written by the Apostle after the writing of the Epistles to the Colossians, etc. during that imprisonment in Rome, of which the Acts makes mention.

From the above considerations, it is evident, that these three epistles could not have been written in the part of Paul's life described in the Acts; and in spite of the opposing difficulties, should it be thought not absolutely impossible, that one or another of them might have been written in the period in question, still, the fact is of peculiar weight, that the placing of the authorship in that period is alike difficult in respect to all the three epistles, and to accomplish the same, more or less improbable and artificial combinations are necessary. Besides, the events and circumstances in the life of the Apostle, which are presupposed in these epistles, are certainly omitted in the Acts, which is not the case, in general, of any other of Paul's epistles. Still, if one wholly dissents from the above, there are other weighty reasons, arising from the nature of the epistles themselves, adverse to the theory in question. If we look at the contents of the three epistles, we find that in all alike, an attack is made on certain false teachers. These are of an entirely different kind from those with VOL. VIII. No. 30. 29

whom Paul had to do in the epistles to the Romans and Galatians; they are like those who are opposed in the Epistle to the Colossians -such false teachers as could have originated only at a later period. Paul, also, in his address to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, speaks of the appearance of such teachers in the church as something future. Christianity must have already become a powerful principle before such a mixing of the Christian element with the oriental-Jewish speculation, as is shown in those false teachers, could have taken place. If we look at the form of the three epistles and their peculiar diction, we find that the coloring is manifestly different from that of the other Pauline epistles.

According to Wieseler's theory, which, aside from this, has the most probability in its favor, the first Epistle to Timothy was written between the first and the second Epistles to the Corinthians, after that to the Galatians and before that to the Romans. But it cannot be denied from an unprejudiced examination, that the entire mode of exhibition in the epistles is adverse to such a view. Whoever estimates, not simply the external relations, but the nature, the internal evidence, must consider it impossible, that Paul could have written the first Epistle to Timothy at the same time in which he wrote the other epistles alluded to. Besides, the character peculiar to this epistle is entirely like that of the other two pastoral epistles. The inward connection between them is at least as great, if it is not greater, than that between the Epistle to the Colossians and the Ephesians. If one is compelled, on account of this relationship, to place the authorship of these two at the same time, then we must certainly come to the same conclusion in regard to the pastoral epistles. According to Wieseler, indeed, there was no long interval between the first Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus, though the first to the Corinthians is to be placed between them, which still is attended with much difficulty; but the second to Timothy which has entirely the same character with the first, is put more than five years later, during which time not only the second Epistle to the Corinthians and that to the Romans, but also those to the Ephesians, Colossians, etc. were written! To rend from one another things so related, cannot possibly be justified.

As a result, it stands sure, 1. that all three epistles belong to one and the same period in the life of the Apostle, and 2. that this period cannot fall in that section of the Apostle's life, which is known to us by the Acts, and by the rest of Paul's epistles. The writing of them must, accordingly, belong to a later portion of his life. But this is


Eusebius on Paul's Liberation.


possible only on the ground that Paul was liberated from the Roman imprisonment related by Luke, and was subsequently imprisoned in Rome.

The notice in the Acts cannot be made to hold good against the historical probability of a liberation and subsequent imprisonment, since the martyr-death of the Apostle at the close of the imprisonment mentioned by Luke is not less an hypothesis than the liberation. We must resort to the statements of the ancient church fathers. Still, it is not to be overlooked, that they give only a few notices respecting the apostles. Not so much an historical, as a parenetical or doctrinal interest lies at the basis of their writings. They looked at existing needs, and only occasionally at past facts. Hence we cannot wonder if they communicate only a few facts in regard to Paul, and those few only in the form of hints.

The first clear and definite notice that Paul was liberated from the imprisonment mentioned by Luke, is found in Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 22, 22, and is as follows: "Then (namely, after the lapse of the two years, mentioned Acts 28: 30) after pleading his cause, the Apostle is reported to have gone again on the ministry of preaching, and that having come a second time to the same city, he finished his course by martyrdom under him [Nero]. While he was in bonds, he wrote his second Epistle to Timothy, signifying at the same time his first defence, and his impending death." Still, the testimony of Eusebius has not remained unassailed. The attempt has been made to invalidate it, 1st, because Eusebius himself does not rely on competent vouchers, but only on the report, 2óyos, and 2nd, because his conviction of the correctness of this report rests only on the second Epistle to Timothy itself, and particularly on his interpretation of 2 Tim. 4: 16, 17. But, on the other hand, it is to be remarked, that Eusebius, by the phrase, 2óyos xa, never denotes an uncertain and doubtful report or myth, appearing only occasionally, but rather, the general, prevalent conviction, as such, so that it appears from his testimony, if nothing more, that at his time, the view generally prevailed that Paul was set at liberty from that imprisonment. Since now Eusebius met with this account, so the condition of the second epistle was a proof to him, that it was written in the second imprisonment in Rome, indicated by

1 Τότε μέν οὖν ἀπολογησάμενον αὖθις ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ κηρύγματος διακονίαν λόγος ἔχει στείλασθαι τὸν ἀπόστολον, δεύτερον δ ̓ ἐπιβάντα τῇ αὐτῇ πόλει τῷ κατ ̓ αὐτὸν τελειωθῆναι μαρτυρίῳ· ἐν ᾧ δεσμοῖς ἐχόμενος τὴν πρὸς Τιμόθεον δεύτεραν ἐπιστολὴν συντάττει, ὁμοῦ σημαίνων τὴν τε πρότεραν αὐτῷ γενομένην ἀπολογίαν καὶ τὴν παραπόδας τελείωσιν.

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