Study Guide

The Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Timothy, Titus) What's Up With the Title?

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What's Up With the Title?

The authors of New Testament books didn't title their works. Maybe they thought that was a little too fancy. But later generations of Christians, who liked fancy names, needed something to help them tell which book was which. They couldn't use the first lines for these three like they had done for other books, so they went the simple route.

The most commonly used titles for these two—The First Epistle to Timothy, The Second Epistle to Timothy, and the Epistle to Titus—pretty much say it all. It just means that these books of the Bible are

  • letters
  • addressed to Christians named Timothy and Titus

Seems simple enough, right?

But while the title of these letters name Timothy and Titus as the guys on the receiving end of these little notes, it probably didn't really go down this way.

Scholars think these letters were actually written later, after all the folks mentioned in them—Paul, Timothy, and Titus—were long gone. The author of these letters wanted to piggy-back on the popularity of Paul and his disciples, so he wrote these little works, attributed them to Paul, and pretended like they had been sent to Timothy and Titus, too.

Spoiler alert: it worked.

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