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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Introduction

The two letters to Timothy and the single letter to Titus have been called the “Pastoral Letters” since they deal largely with issues regarding pastoral care in Pauline communities. Most scholars consider them not to have been written by Paul but by a later writer, since they reflect a degree of church organization not present in Paul's day. We are indebted to these communities for preserving this distinctive correspondence that describes the initial development of church offices and organization. The Pastorals might be read as reflections on Christian ministry. In keeping with the tradition of authorship by Paul we will refer to the writer as “Paul,” although most interpreters would agree that these letters are written at least a generation after Paul's death. In form they are personal letters written to one disciple, but in reality, they are open letters to communities on church policy in various issues.

Paul himself traveled far and wide preaching the message of Christ, founding churches, and writing letters back to communities he had established. Throughout his missionary career, Paul was joined by others and worked with others. He depended upon others. He kept in touch with local leadership. His letters request prayers and sometimes aid for himself and for his mission. In writing letters, Paul often names co‐workers as co‐authors. He sends emissaries to communities, sometimes for diplomatic reasons and sometimes because he is prohibited from coming at the time and needs to send a messenger. Among his most trusted and reliable partners in the spread of Christianity were Timothy and Titus.

We have references to the work and reputation of these companions of Paul in the authentic Pauline letters. Galatians 2, 2–3 says that Titus accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem and that, although he was a Gentile, the Jerusalem authorities did not insist that Titus be circumcised. Luke mentions Timothy as a companion of Paul on the second (Acts 16, 1–4 ) and third (Acts 19, 22 ) missionary journeys. Luke does not mention Titus, but he was a trusted messenger of Paul who eased the apostle's difficult communications, especially with the Corinthians (see 2 Cor 2, 12–13; 7, 7; 8, 16–24 ).

Timothy and Titus served Christian congregations in ancient Greece. The traditional understanding, reflected in these letters, is that Timothy later became a church leader in Ephesus (1 Tm 1, 3 ) and Titus in Crete (Tit 1, 5 ). Both were struggling with the challenge of those who offered alternatives to the teachings of Paul. Paul writes to reinforce the faith of these pastors and to encourage them, reminding them of their own Christian vocation.

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