These three letters, which form a distinct group in the Pauline corpus, claim to be dispatches of the great Apostle to two of his most trusted lieutenants. The Pastorals have a special interest an importance. As letters they differ from the majority of Pauline letters, being written for individuals rather than churches. They lift the curtain revealingly from aspects of the Apostle’s activities which are largely ignored in the rest of his correspondence. They show us something of his relations with his more intimate, responsible colleagues, and illustrate his concern for administrative arrangements, his approach to practical problems, and the new emphases in his later theology. They also supply fascinating glimpses of the Church’s life and organization, and of the doctrinal distortions with which it had to wrestle. As J. N. D. Kelly shows, their evidence for Paul’s movements and attitude is immeasurably precious.
“The cumulative effect of these arguments is impressive. Taken in conjunction with the early external testimony to the letters, the relatively primitive situation they presuppose, and the mass of convincingly Pauline material they embody, it tips the scales perceptibly, in the judgment of the present editor, in favour of the traditional theory of authorship.” (Page 34)
“But, in the first place, there is far too much matter intervening between the words and you may know to allow of their being connected with that verb; in the second place, the subject of discussion is not Timothy but the function of the church. Exegetes have had recourse to these expedients because they have imagined that, as ordinarily interpreted, the passage must imply that the church is somehow the foundation or ground of the gospel, whereas the exact opposite is the case (1 Cor. 3:11). But if the translation and explanation given above are correct, the alleged difficulty is non-existent. Paul’s sole concern is to emphasize that the members of each local community should be a strong bulwark of the gospel against the assaults of false teachers.” (Page 88)
“An insistence on the practical exercise of charity, though much less prominent in the acknowledged Paulines, is by no means absent from them (e.g. Rom. 2:7; 2 Cor. 11:8; Eph. 2:10; Col. 1:10). (b) The gospels abound in evidence that our Lord’s teaching, as it was passed down and understood in the primitive Church, placed immense store by deeds of charity (cf. esp. Mt. 25:31–46). (c) There is no suggestion in the Pastorals, any more than in the gospels, that the good deeds of Christians are done with the motive of acquiring merit. On the contrary, such hints as they give seem to indicate that the good men do is the work of God in them (2 Tim. 2:21), and they strongly repudiate any idea that salvation depends on good works (ib. 1:9; Tit. 3:5).” (Page 67)
Dr. Kelly's contribution to Black's New Testament Commentaries is of the first order: an excellent book in every way. The exposition in particular is sheer pleasure to study, and the reader cannot fail to admire the author's skill in combining a large amount of information, and detailed discussion of the various interpretations that can be put upon Greek constructions, with an easy but dignified style.
—Journal of Theological Studies
The judgment on this important volume must be that it is a learned, judicious, and well-written treatment, with some fresh insights. It deserves careful study, perhaps especially from those students who too easily dismiss the conservative position [on Pauline authorship].