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Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles

| Deutero-Pauline Epistles | Colossians | Ephesians | II Thessalonians | Pastoral Epistles|

   The Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles are not attributed directly to Paul; they were written after his death. However, Paulís influence can be seen in certain passages which contain Pauline concepts. Such passages are now combined with other material which seemed to be appropriate for the conditions which existed in the churches at the time the letters were written.

The Deutero-Pauline Epistles

   The Deutero-Pauline letters were written around 80-90 C.E. (approximate time the gospels of Matthew and Luke-Acts were written). Following are the main reasons we do not attribute Pauline authorship to these letters.

Colossians and Ephesians

I. Unique style and vocabulary

   By pointing to the peculiarities, the goal is not to accumulate statistical evidence, but to examine critically the style of the writer. Most scholars judge that the writers of Colossiansí and Ephesiansí style was markedly different from that of Paul, and that the difference is greater than can be accounted for by adjustments in style and vocabulary, because of Paulís old age, living in prison, using opponentsí terminology, the occasional use of a liturgical or hymnic style, or the polemic setting. Matters of style include, for example, the turn of a phrase; the use of particles, connectives, and prepositions in a particular fashion; the habitual shape of the sentence.

A. Complex and long sentences (Ephesians 1:15-23)

B. Vocabulary missing from Paulís authentic letters, and found frequently in the later New Testament writings and writings of Church Founders.


C. The author of Ephesians used a different term or phrase in place of the one that would be expected from the unquestioned letters. For example, the writer used the phrase "heavenly places" quite often (Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10;6:12) whereas Paul generally referred to "heaven" (Romans 1:18; Galatians 1:18; Philippians 3:20).

D. The author of Ephesians and Colossians introduced terms and blocks of material not present in the unquestioned Pauline letters.



II. Distinctive Assertions

A. Ephesians

B. Colossians


II Thessalonians

I. Unique style

   Like Colossians and Ephesians, II Thessalonians is written in a style different from Paulís own style. If we compare II Thessalonians to I Thessalonians, which was surely written by Paul, these differences are apparent:

A. II Thessalonians is much more impersonal than I Thessalonians. No details of Paulís relationships with the Thessalonian Christians or his past and future travel plans are mentioned.

B. I Thessalonians 1:3 bases the thanksgiving on the Pauline triad "faith, hope, and love"; II Thessalonians 1:3 only speaks of faith and love.

C. I Thessalonians speaks of the rejoicing in the salvation of Christians when Christ comes in judgment (1:10, 4:17-18); II Thessalonians is more concerned with the punishment that will come upon non-believers (1:6-9, 2:8-12)


II. Unique vocabulary

   II Thessalonians contains frequent references to parts of I Thessalonians. In fact, as much as a third of II Thessalonians consists of sentences and phrases from I Thessalonians, but terms and words that Paul used in his authentic letters occur in II Thessalonians with a very different meaning.

   These typical Pauline thoughts are redefined by the writer of II Thessalonians:


The Pastoral Epistles

   The Pastoral Epistles were written around 100 -110 C.E., (closer to the time the gospel of John was put in its final written form). They are valuable from a historical perspective, since they reveal the beginnings of that type of church organization which, with modifications, has persisted to the present.

   There are four main reasons for questioning Pauline authorship of the Pastoral epistles.

I. Textual reasons

A. The earliest codex of Pauline writings stop at I Thessalonians 5:5.

B. Marcion did not include the Pastorals in his canon.

C. The Muratorian canon included the Pastorals as an appendix to the Pauline corpus.


II. Distinctive Assertions

A. Faith is not so much a personal commitment as it is a body of propositions to be believed. (I Timothy 1:19)

B. Remarkable stress on good works (I Timothy 2:10; 5:10; 6:8; II Timothy 2:21; Titus 2:14)

C. Justification, on the human side, is the outcome of both faith and works. (Titus 3:5ff)

D. "Savior" is a title used for God as well as for Christ. God: (I Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4). Christ (II Timothy 2:10; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6).

E. "Epiphany" is a term used to refer to both the first and second comings. It can refer to both God and Christ. (II Timothy 1:9f; Titus 2:13).


III. Absence of key Pauline concepts

A. The phrase "in Christ" is not used.

B. The indwelling Spirit occurs in only 2 places: II Timothy 1:14; Titus 3:5.


IV. Unique vocabulary and style

   360 words contained in the Pastorals do not appear in the authentic letters; new words appear frequently:


See also: Church History Timeline 30-313.

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