The Plan of Salvation in the Letters to Timothy and Titus
The New Testament letters to Timothy and Titus (LTT) are often lumped together as “The Pastoral Epistles.” While there are understandable reasons for this approach, it has meant that the distinctive contribution of each of the three letters has not been sufficiently considered. Furthermore, narrative approaches to the Pauline letters have led to fruitful explorations of their theology, especially from a salvation-historical perspective, but these approaches have not been applied to the LTT, at least in part due to their marginal status in the conversation. Taken together, this has impoverished our understanding of the theology and purpose of the LTT.
Therefore, this thesis employs a narrative approach to examine the salvation-historical outlook of each of the LTT. This is accomplished by adopting minimal assumptions about authorship and reviewing each letter in turn, describing the components of a narrative “plan of salvation.” The relationship between the elements of the plan is examined so as to shed light on the narrative world, theology and, especially, the rhetorical purpose of the letter. For such short letters, there is a wealth of data and clear differences between the three. Thus we are able to identify areas where the letters have been misrepresented or misunderstood in scholarly literature, offering a fresh and creative contribution to scholarship on the LTT. The outcome is a clearer understanding of the distinctive contribution of each letter, particularly in terms of the plan of salvation as conceived from a narrative perspective.