The books of First Timothy, Second Timothy and Titus are frequently referred to as the Pastoral Epistles. The reason for this title is that the letters that Paul wrote in these 3 books were written to Timothy and Titus, two of his previous colleagues and apprentices as they had questions about many issues that they were facing and how to deal with them.
The issues facing Timothy and Titus are not that different than the ones that today’s pastor faces in the course of their ministry. Such issues they faced were how to train church leaders, being good stewards of material resources, how men and women are to interact with one another in the church, how to exercise discipline within the church, creating a support system for widows, how to counteract false teaching and the way in which the believer is supposed to act in regards to society and government.
“The terms ‘first’ and ‘afterward’ in Paul’s writings define a historical sequence and not a hierarchical relationship (3:10; 1 Cor 15:46; 1 Thess 4:16–17).” (Page 55)
“The point is that our subjective faith is clear and adequate evidence (to us) that ‘what we hope for’ but ‘cannot [yet] see’ is objectively real and will in fact come to pass. In faith, ‘things hoped for take on reality’ (BDAG 1040).” (Pages 426–427)
“And yet Father and Son are not simply interchangeable. The Son does one thing that God the Father never did and never will do: He functions as a priest to deal with our sins and reconcile us to God, or, as the NLT puts it, he ‘cleansed us from our sins’ (1:3). The Son of God can create and sustain the universe without becoming human. He can act as prophet, that is, as the source of revelation, without becoming human. But he cannot be a priest without becoming human. A priest’s job is to make purification for human sin from the human side by offering a sacrifice to God on humanity’s behalf. The only way God can do this is by becoming a human being, and this is the mission of God the Son (see 10:5–7).” (Page 330)
“The Greek article in verse 15 points the way to the most plausible reading: ‘But women will be saved through the birth of the Child’—that is, Jesus Christ. Although the NLT has ‘but they,’ it is actually the singular ‘but she’—the historic Eve.” (Page 62)
“So, while Paul’s language in verse 9a could be understood in terms of modest attire (NLT, ‘I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing’), well-considered demeanor better fits the context. The sense of verse 9 would then be ‘I want women to behave with respectability and sound judgment.’ Paul here was not concerned with the first-century equivalent of plunging necklines, tight-fitting clothes, and short skirts. The issue was flaunting one’s wealth in public. The well-to-do came to worship with gold-braided hair, pearls, and expensive clothes (2:9b). In so doing, they drew attention to themselves (2:9) and distracted from worship of God.” (Page 52)
An enormously helpful series for the layperson and pastor alike because it centers on the theological message of each book and ties it directly to the text. This approach has been needed for some time and will be an invaluable supplement to other commentary series.
A treasure house of insight into the biblical text. Written by some of the best scholars working today, it is an essential tool for pastors, students, church leadesr, and lay people who want to understand the text and how how it relates to our lives today. Like the NLT text it uses as its base, this commentary series is extemely readable.
—Tremper Longman III
Linda L. Belleville, Ph.D. is Professor of Greek and New Testament at Bethel College in Mishawaka Indiana. She has published commentaries on 1 and 2 Corinthians and various articles and essays on 1 Timothy. She has been a member of the translation team for the New Living Translation since its inception.
Jon Laansma, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Ancient Languages and New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author of several articles and of "I Will Give You Rest": The "Rest" Motif in the New Testament with Special Reference to Matthew 11 and Hebrews 3–4. He contributed the introductions and notes for 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus for the NLT Study Bible.
J. Ramsey Michaels, Th.D. is Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. He has published commentaries on the Gospel of John, 1 Peter, and the book of Revelation. He has been a member of the translation teams for the New International Version and the New Living Translation and has been a consultant for the American Bible Society.