11:54 AM Last night I read a new book entitled Called to Lead by Anthony Robinson and Robert Wall. It’s a commentary on 1-2 Timothy. These are said to be “letters to a young pastor” (p. 4), and we are told that “These are a pastor’s letters to another pastor” (p. 5). Hence, “we who are called to pastoral leadership may turn to these letters with special interest, anticipating a particular benefit” (pp. 5-6).
Of course, a few moments of sober reflection will poke massive holes in the assumption that 1-2 Timothy were written by a pastor for pastors. This cliché reflects ignorance of the history of the early church and especially the book of Acts. A reading of Acts 20, for example, will show that the church at Ephesus already had elders (note the plural) when Timothy was left there as Paul’s personal representative. I grabbed from my shelf Homer Kent’s commentary on the Pastoral Epistles. On p. 19 he notes, “The function Timothy fulfilled in the early church should not be confused with the present-day pastor.” He is absolutely correct. Neither Paul nor Timothy was a “pastor” in the NT sense of the word. Paul was an apostle, and Timothy was his “official delegate to assist the Ephesian church with its officials in conducting the affairs of the church” (p. 19). I’m not sure it is helpful to ignore these basic historical facts when interpreting these letters.