Ray Van Neste seeks to further the scholarly discussion of the coherence of the Pastoral Epistles by providing the most thorough analysis to date of the cohesion of each letter. The need for such a study arises from two sources. First, the previous works on coherence of the Pastorals, which have turned the tide of scholarship, focused on thematic coherence of the corpus. Second, the renewed and even more extreme argument for incoherence begs response along the lines just suggested since it analyzes connections and lack thereof within and between the discourse units.
Van Neste examines 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus to determine the boundaries of each discourse unit using cohesion shift analysis. The cohesion of each unit is then analyzed, noting common devices from the ancient epistolary genre, rhetorical devices, lexical and semantic repetition and symmetrical patterns. Van Neste also focuses on connections between the units in the letter - connections between contiguous units, semantic chains, and the grouping of units into larger sections. Thus the variety of connections across and throughout the letter are highlighted. Van Neste concludes that there is a high degree of cohesion in each of the Pastoral Epistles at both the micro and macro levels.