Friday 16 December 2016

Southeastern Theological Review 7, 2 (2016) on the Pastoral Epistles

The latest edition of the Southeastern Theological Review is available online as a pdf here, containing the following essays devoted to the Pastoral Epistles.

Benjamin L. Merkle
Introduction to the Volume

Charles J. Bumgardner
Kinship, Christian Kinship, and the Letters to Timothy and Titus
After a brief discussion of Paul’s use of the family as a metaphor for the church, this essay addresses two points regarding Paul’s use of this metaphor of church as family as it is used in the Letters to Timothy and Titus (LTT). First, over against the recent argument of Raymond Collins, it is argued that the way that kinship terminology is used in the LTT does not invalidate the letters’ claim to have been written by Paul. Second, the essay demonstrates that Paul’s use of the metaphor in juxtaposition with his references to physical family in the LTT provide significant insight into the interplay between the two.

Gregory A. Couser
Divergent, Insurgent or Allegiant? 1 Timothy 5:1–2 and the Nature of God’s Household
This study asks how Paul’s household conception of the church in 1 Tim 5:1–2 compares to the social norms characteristic of the Greco-Roman household. First, 5:1–2 is set within the overall flow of the book’s argument to show how this passage rests on a carefully developed theological substructure. Second, the passage itself is closely examined to delineate the social norms that emerge in the manner of engagement urged upon Timothy with respect to the various strata of the household. This study argues that Paul is extending a pre-existing, theologically-shaped notion of God’s household as he guides Timothy. Drawing on the OT as mediated through Jesus and his own earlier apostolic reflection, Paul determines the character and manner of Timothy’s interaction within the family of God. It is this theologically- shaped conception of God’s household which drives the re-appropriation (or recla- mation) of the social spaces in the secular household toward the fulfillment of God’s purposes in and through his family. Contacts with Greco-Roman social norms are incidental and not fundamental.

Gregory J. Stiekes
Paul’s Family of God: What Familial Language in the Pastorals Can and Cannot Tell Us about the Church
Some authors, especially among the Family-Integrated Church movement, have sought to draw practical implications for the administration of the church from Paul’s family language. But does Paul use family metaphors to prescribe or even to suggest specific organizational structure within church body life? The purpose of this essay is to help establish to what extent Paul’s use of the family metaphor is able to instruct us about how to organize and govern the church’s worship and ministries. The essay traces the development of the concept of family from Genesis to the Pauline letters as a theological backdrop to Paul’s family language. From the Old Testament to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, the Bible appears to present a single “family of God” comprised of believers who are devoted to him, in contrast to those who reject him. Reading Paul against this theology brings us to the conclusion that the church is not a “family of families,” but that the church actually is God’s “family,” more significant than any human family. So while family language certainly has important implications for church body life, this essay concludes that Paul’s use of family language is quite fluid, allowing for flexibility among churches in how they flesh out their identity as the “family of God.”

L. Timothy Swinson
Πιστὸς ὁ λόγος: An Alternative Analysis
This article offers a literary analysis of the elliptical clause πιστὸς ὁ λόγος (“the word is faithful”) that appears five times in the Pastoral Epistles. Nearly every modern study of this clause operates from the premise that each instance of πιστὸς ὁ λόγος must refer to a distinct “saying” that occurs in the immediate context, either preceding or following the clause in question. Consequently, the referent of ὁ λόγος changes with each occurrence, and interpreters often must disregard the syntax of the immediate literary context so as to accommodate their construals, while the clause itself conveys no consistent message. As an alternative to the majority opinion in its various presentations, it will be argued that, in 1 Tim 1:15, 3:1, 4:9, 2 Tim 2:11, and Titus 3:8, the reader is expected to understand πιστὸς ὁ λόγος as a recollection and reminder of the fundamental, apostolic gospel.

Charles J. Bumgardner
Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus: A Literature Review (2009–2015)

Interview with Ray Van Neste of Union University

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