First Epistle to Timothy

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Light iron-age reading
The Bible
Icon bible.svg
Gabbin' with God
As Saint [Paul] was dyslexic, he couldn’t write much more than a name for the Holy Rolodex but he could dictate faster than anyone I’ve [Timothy] ever known. Of course he had a short attention span, which is why he seldom finished any of the letters. I don’t give away any great secret when I say that I wrote maybe half of the letters Saint signed. I was particularly good at the fear-and-trembling stuff. Of course the basic bad news and bad-mouthing of just about everybody came from Saint himself, as he danced around our, hotel suite in downtown Corinth…
Gore Vidal[1]:43

The First Epistle to Timothy is a New Testament book traditionally believed to have been written by Paul of Tarsus to Saint Timothy,Wikipedia who was a companion and assistant to Paul, and first bishop of EphesusWikipedia in western Anatolia. It contains instructions on organizing the church and Timothy's duties as a church leader.

Claims of Pauline authorship are widely challenged. Raymond F. Collins states:

By the end of the twentieth century New Testament scholarship was virtually unanimous in affirming that the Pastoral Epistles were written some time after Paul's death. … As always some scholars dissent from the consensus view.[2]:4

In addition, David E. Aune states:

While seven of the letters attributed to Paul are almost universally accepted as authentic (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon), four are just as widely judged to be pseudepigraphical, i.e., written by unknown authors under Paul's name: Ephesians and the Pastorals (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus).[3]:9

To balance these views, MacArthur's Study Bible points out that "it is unnecessary to dignify such unwarranted attacks by unbelievers with an answer"[4]:1857 but also asks, "Why would he include warnings against deceivers (2 Timothy 3:13; Titus 1:10), if he himself were one?"[4]:1858 Presumably, a deceiver would want to avoid bringing up the idea that there might be a deceiver about because that might prompt them to ask, 'What if the person writing this is a deceiver himself?' That would be as foolish as a pickpocket warning his prey that there are vultures everywhere. … Except that is precisely a pickpocket tactic used to induce marks to signal where on their persons their valuables are located.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. Live from Golgotha: A Novel by Gore Vidal (1992) Penguin Books. ISBN 0140231196.
  2. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: A Commentary by Raymond F. Collins (2004) Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 0664222471.
  3. The Blackwell Companion to the New Testament by David E. Aune (2010) Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 1405108258.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The MacArthur study Bible: New King James Version by John MacArthur (1997). ISBN 0849912229.
  5. 13 Signs You’re About to Be Pickpocketed by Meghan Jones (Feb. 07, 2019) Reader's Digest (archived from January 26, 2021).