Pastoral Ethics in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus

Pastoral Ethics in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus

Read 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus noting the qualities, habits, virtues, practices, warnings, admonitions, rules, guidelines, and/ principles that seem relevant to pastoral ethics.

First and Second Timothy and Titus are collectively referred to as Pastoral Epistles not

only since they were addressed to the two early Christian pastors, but also because they provide

teachings concerning qualifications and obligations of those who are serving as shepherds or

pastors (including deacons and bishops) of the present local congregations. These two pastoral

letters have major lessons for those preparing to serve as shepherds and those already serving as

shepherds in different church leadership capacities. Across the Pastoral Epistles, theological and

ethical admonitions are a major theme. Pastors are urged to teach correct principles doctrines and

denounce false teachings (First Tim. 1:19-20; 4:1-5). In fact, the main purpose of the Pastoral

Epistles was to fight emerging heretical doctrines that posed a threat to the effectiveness of the

early Christian shepherds (1 Tim 1:3-7).

Even though, there is scarce specific information about first century false teachers,

Pastoral Epistles indicate that Paul wrote to people who knew false teachers firsthand. 1 As such,

he does not comprehensively discuss theology of the false teachers but often denounced their

motives and lifestyles just like Jude. The false teachers Paul was alluding two in these two

letters appear to be combination of Gnostic and Jewish elements. Most importantly, Pastoral

Epistles identify features of the false teachings. The false teachers with Jewish features were

teachers of Law and the circumcision party (First Tim. 1:7; Titus 1:10). 2 They were concerned

with genealogies and food laws (Titus 1:14-15; First Tim. 1:4; Second Tim. 4:4) and gave

warnings concerning age-old Jewish myths (Titus 1:14; First Tim. 3:9). False teachers with

Gnostic elements prohibited marriage (First Timothy 2:15) and taught exemption of particular

foods (First Timothy 4:4). 3 They were also culpable of sexual exploitation (Titus 1:11; Second

Timothy 3:6-7), and did put emphasis on knowledge (First Timothy 6:20).


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