Bret James Stewart's Reviews > The Pastoral Epistles

The Pastoral Epistles by Donald Guthrie
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it was amazing

This commentary is part of the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. It predominantly uses the NIV translation, which is not my favourite, but is acceptable. This book is on par with other commentaries, I think. Donald Guthrie knows what he is about, and I believe he has handled the text appropriately. The book itself is attractive, well laid out, and is essentially error-free. This particular version is revised, almost exclusively in regard to switching to a current form of English. I always recommend that any commentary be used with at least one other--not because Guthrie is careless, but because I feel so doing is the intelligent way to approach commentaries as the presuppositions of the individual and the church background/tradition is going to impact how the text is handled. Guthrie provides a suitable introduction defending Pauline authorship, the historical background, and the other front matter one would expect in such a book. He also provides more detailed information in an Appendix at the end of the volume for those who want more information.

The three Pastoral epistles, I and II Timothy and Titus, have much in common is regard to type, doctrine, and historical situation, which is the reason they are generally treated together in a manner similar to the way the “evangelical” and the “prison” epistles are handled. The term “pastoral” was applied in the 18th century and serves as a slight misnomer in that the subject matter does not deal predominantly with the duties or organization of a pastorate. Still, this moniker is useful in regard to the distinction the title provides in organizing the Pauline writings by subject matter as the pastorals deal with church discipline, which is a pastoral matter. Further, it could be argued that the name is warranted due to both Timothy and Titus (the individuals) are pastors.

Unlike Paul’s other epistles, which were fully public, the pastorals are quasi-public. All three are written to individuals, Timothy and Titus. Paul wrote many such letters during his ministry to exchange news and to exhort the recipients in some fashion. Their inclusion in the canon demonstrates their value as it pertains to practical matters of the church. In the epistles, the brief doctrinal statements are intermingled with ecclesiastical advice and personal requests and references, which further evidences the letter quality of the epistles. They reveal much as to Paul’s reactions to the early conditions of the church and provide the apostle’s advice to his associates regarding how to deal with the same. Overall, the epistles demonstrate a loving concern for the ordering of church affairs for the benefit of the congregation and to the glory of the Lord and have, therefore, been an abiding source of pastoral guidance.

Guthrie has done a good job of providing a medium level of information that is accessible to both the scholar and laymen without making it too technical or dumbing it down, respectively. I think this book will appeal to anyone interested in learning more about these New Testament books, especially Christians who prefer the NIV text.


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Finished Reading
January 16, 2016 – Shelved

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