Page images


Internal Evidence of the Genuineness.



The genuineness of the Epistles has been assailed mainly on three grounds:

I. The historical difficulty of fixing on any time in Paul's life when they could have been written. But this difficulty presupposes that a liberation of the Apostle from his imprisonment at Rome, mentioned in Acts, did not take place. But since it has been shown that this presupposition is not well founded, the difficulty falls to the ground. II. The introduction of some points, which indicate a later age than the apostolic. These are three in number.

1. The heretics attacked in all three of the epistles.

The passages in the first Epistle to Timothy, which refer directly to the heretics, are 1: 3, 4, 6, 7, 19. 4: 1-7. 6: 3 seq., 20. The heretics are characterized in these passages as follows: They favored the emanation theory; they put believers under the yoke of laws, particularly in respect to certain kinds of food, and also marriage; they were given to a tiresome love of disputing, and thereby boasted of a special knowledge; they made use of their supposed godliness as a cloak to gain earthly possessions. Besides, the passages 1: 17. 2: 4, 5, 15. 3: 16. 4: 10. 6: 15, 16, seem to stand in opposition to the heretics. If this be the case, then their theology did not embrace the absolute idea of the Divine Being, which well agrees with the emanation theory; they denied the universality of the Divine grace in regard to salvation, as, perhaps, they referred it only to a class of mankind, the "spiritual," avevμάtizo; they favored Docetism, since they rejected the truth of the human nature of Christ, and viewed the Texvoyoría of women as something in itself to be rejected, which would accord specially with their prohibition of marriage, and in general with their view of the nature of matter. Less definite is the second epistle to Timothy in regard to the heretics. The passages are 2: 16-23. 4: 6-9, 13. 4: 4, and perhaps 2: 8. Only one peculiarity is brought out, namely, that they maintained that the resurrection was already past, which was in manifest opposition to the Christian doctrine of the resurrection. In the epistle to Titus, the heretics are referred to in 1: 10, 11, 14, 16. 3: 9, 10. The characteristics perfectly agree with those in 1 Timothy, except that here the Judaizing element is particularly prominent, since the μvo are described as Jewish, and the μáza as of the law.

It is manifest that these heretics are wholly different from the Judaizers, whom Paul attacks in the Epistles to the Galatians and

Romans, for if both were characterized by a "legal" spirit at war with the evangelical life, yet the one class were entirely different from the other. The "legal" spirit of the heretics of the pastoral epistles, not only went beyond the Mosaic law, but had a different ground from that of the Judaizers. Its quality is indeed not formally stated in the pastoral epistles, but it cannot be denied that it lay in its fantastic, speculative theories on the being of God and his relation to the world. These heretics more resemble those attacked in the Epistle to the Colossians, than they do the Judaizers. There is no sufficient ground for the supposition that our epistles attack different heretics from those referred to in the Colossians. All the traits much more perfectly agree in one likeness, and this likeness corresponds to that which later meets us in Gnosticism. Still, an essential difference is not to be overlooked. Gnosticism was found in a stronger or weaker opposition to Judaism, while the heresy here described has a Jewish character. We have not then sufficient grounds to find in this heresy the first germ of Gnosticism. The same fantastic, speculative tendency is certainly common to both, but here we see this tendency in connection with Jewish-Christianity, there, on the contrary, with GentileChristianity. That Judeo-Christian speculation was not so fully developed as Gnosticism, is naturally accounted for from the fact that the Jewish type of Christianity was wholly absorbed in the Gentile type; only in Ebionitism and in the Clementine system did a tendency, at least similar, continue. The more we look at this heresy and that of the later Gnosticism, the more will the semblance of an argument disappear in favor of the position that the former could not have belonged to the apostolic age, especially as then the existing Judaism likewise showed tendencies to the same speculations.

Baur thinks that the heresy referred to in the pastoral epistles is the Marcionite Gnosticism; but his position is not tenable. According to him, in 1 Tim. 1: 8, the heretics would express the sentiment "that the law was not good," but a sound interpretation would draw exactly the opposite from the passage, as the word ropodidάoxaλo shows. From Tit. 3: 9, Baur infers the Antinomian character of the false teachers; but if this were correct, it would not prove the Marcionite character of it, for Antinomianism, as is known, was found with other Gnostics. The passages 1 Tim. 4: 3 connected with Tit. 1: 14, certainly show that the prohibitions by the heretics here stated, e. g. forbidding to marry, had their ground in a dualistic conception of the world; but it is manifestly too much to say, that this dualism is to be found only, or in its most definite form in Marcion, for the same,


Ecclesiastical Organization.


though with modifications, is an essential element in Gnosticism in general. Baur also thinks, that the author of the epistles was infected with Gnosticism; but it is hardly worth while to refute him. We may exclaim with De Wette, "how artificial!" How blind must Irenaeus and Tertullian have been, that they the most decided opponents of Marcion - did not discover the manifest traces of the Marcionite system in these epistles? This discovery was reserved for a Tübingen professor 1600 years later! De Wette is compelled to place the authorship of the epistles not later than the end of the first century; but it may just as well be placed in the apostolic times, for proper Gnosticism, in its developed form, was as foreign to the close of the first century, as it was to apostolic times

2. The church organization. Those, who have attacked the genuineness of the epistles, especially Baur and De Wette, object that the strengthening and development of the hierarchy which are indicated in the epistles, could not have been the work of the apostle Paul. Baur, in his earlier work on the Pastoral Epistles, remarks, that in the genuine Pauline epistles, there is no trace of particular officers for the guidance of the churches, while, according to the pastoral epistles, these officers are so organized, that ἐπίσκοποι, πρεσβύτεροι and διάxovo come out prominently; in connection with which he supposes that the plural, nоeoßureдot, in the collective sense designates the single overseers, one of whom, under the name iníoxonos, had the oversight of single churches. In his later work on Paul, Baur maintains, that the Gnostics, as they were properly the earliest heretics, first gave occasion for the establishing of the episcopal organization. It is granted, that they were thus actually organized, yet in this we may certainly find a proof for the earlier authorship of our epistles than the period of Gnosticism, for in the epistles there is not a trace of the peculiar episcopal organization; yea, even if Baur's view on the relation of the expressions πρεσβύτεροι and ἐπίσκοποι, were correct, still the meaning of iníoxonos here would be essentially dif ferent from what it was later in the proper episcopal organization. In our epistles, we meet with the simplest form of church order. The institute of deacons originated in the earliest apostolic period; and if the time when the "presbytery" had its origin and the manner in which it was introduced, are not handed down by tradition, still, it must, apart from all the testimonies of the Acts, have originated very early, since no church could be conceived of without a government. Now in all the precepts which are given in our epistles on the presbyters and deacons, the writer has obviously in view nothing else than

that such men only should be taken for this work, who by their previous conduct were worthy of the confidence of the church, and were fitted for successful labor. Where is there aught hierarchical in this? How different in this respect are the Ignatian epistles? If one thinks it strange, that, while, in the eight epistles of Paul acknowledged as genuine, such references are not found, they should be met with in our epistles, he is to consider that these epistles, if genuine, belong to the last period of Paul's life, when he was near the end of his labors. It must have been natural for him, especially when he saw a heresy, destructive to the churches, beginning to extend, to turn attention to church institutions and also to men, that, to a certain extent, would take his place in care for the churches. That Paul had not the smallest interest in ecclesiastical institutions, and that this want had its deep foundation in the spirit and character of the Pauline Christianity, is an absolutely groundless idea, as it stands in the most decided contrast with what we know in the Acts, of the Apostle's labors.

3. Institute of widows. Schleiermacher takes noα, 1 Tim. 5: 9 seq., in the sense of deaconesses, and adduces it as a testimony of the later origin of this epistle. Baur supposes, that by this expression, according to its usage in the church in the second century, those females were denoted, who adopted an ascetic mode of life, and, in this character, gradually formed a peculiar ecclesiastical order, closely connected with that of the bishops, presbyters and deacons, on account of which the name deaconesses was given them. Baur adds, that they were not so much actual widows, as nominally such. But he allows, however, that widows only were first received; later, the unmarried were admitted, while the name remained unchanged. But, if no indicates a peculiar kind of ecclesiastical persons, it would prove nothing against the apostolical origin of the epistle. It would well accord with apostolic times, and with the spirit of Paul. That virgins were admitted into the number of widows, or that the widows were devoted to an ascetic life, cannot be proved from 1 Tim. 5: 11, as Baur thinks. But it is still a question whether the word noα here means deaconesses. Mosheim and De Wette contend that it does not. According to the former, the "deaconesses” waited on the women, without performing spiritual duties, while the "widows" had an honorable place in the assemblies, exercised a kind of superintendence over other women, and attended to the education of the orphan children that were supported by the church. If this view be correct, such an arrangement in regard to widows might have properly been made in the apostolic church. De Wette objects to the regular and


Peculiarities of Expression.


formal choice of these widows, as something foreign to that period, but there is nothing said in the entire passage of a formal choice; karuhɛyέovo does not imply it. That the widow must have been the "wife of one husband," i. e. married only once, by no means indicates that a second marriage was not regarded as Christian. The ground of the precept may have been, that the widows might have a "good report" among "those without," the heathen considering it as an honor not to marry the second time.

The manner in which Paul speaks of Timothy, in his epistles to him, is regarded by some as an objection to the genuineness. According to De Wette, Timothy must have been at least thirty-five years of age, having labored ten years with Paul. He is represented as a timid youth, needing, in his inexperience, many instructions. But we should infer from the first account of him, Acts 16: 1 seq., that he was much below twenty-five years. Then, the difference between his age and position, and those of Paul, would render it proper for the latter to speak of him as his son, as a young man, and to address him as one needing exhortation and encouragement, especially as he was to take the oversight of an important church, in which there were many "elders."

III. The last objection to the genuineness of the epistles, relates to the peculiarities of expression and modes of thought. We are to inquire, whether these are of such a kind as to preclude the apostolic origin of the epistles. That they contain a multitude of peculiar words, anaş heyoμéva, manifestly decides nothing, for each of Paul's epistles contains a greater or less number of such expressions. These phrases would be a proof of the spuriousness of the epistles, only as it should be shown that they belonged to a later period, or were borrowed from other writings.

It is urged as an objection against the three epistles, that some passages have a coloring peculiar only from the fact, that they are borrowed from other New Testament epistles, and in fact can be explained only by means of these epistles. Instances are found 1 Tim. 1: 12-14, "and I thank Christ Jesus our Lord," etc., compared with 1 Cor. 15: 9, 10; 1 Tim. 2: 11, 12, "Let the women learn," etc., with 1 Cor. 14: 34, 35, "Let your women keep silence," etc.; also 2 Tim. 1: 3-5, with Rom. 1:8 seq.; 2 Tim. 2: 5, with 1 Cor. 9: 24, and others. The resemblance is undeniable, but it cannot constitute an objection. The agreement is not complete. There are some deviations. In that case, the objector must suppose that the author of the pastoral epistles either designedly deviated from the text lying before VOL. VIII. No. 30.


« PreviousContinue »