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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

The Pastoral Epistles - Introduction

These three letters purporting to be from Paul to two of his close companions clearly belong together as a set. They have always been placed together in the New Testament, their concerns and language are shared. Certain key words and ideas permeate the three, connecting them and holding together what at first sight might seem a rather amorphous collection of ethical injunctions and doctrinal assertions. 1 Timothy and Titus are very similar in character and subject-matter, their teaching concentrating on church order and ethical exhortation. Sandwiched between them, 2 Timothy is more personal than the other two; Paul is in prison, while in the other two he is free. His character and behaviour in adversity are presented as models to Timothy which arouse the reader's sympathy and admiration.

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Oxford University Press

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