Pastoral Epistles

NT502 The Pastoral Epistles

Pastoral Epistles, Internet Bible College, Vision Colleges

The pastoral epistles are three books of the canonical New Testament: the First Epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy) the Second Epistle to Timothy (2 Timothy), and the Epistle to Titus. They are presented as letters from Paul the Apostle to Timothy and to Titus. They are generally discussed as a group (sometimes with the addition of the Epistle to Philemon) and are given the title pastoral because they are addressed to individuals with pastoral oversight of churches and discuss issues of Christian living, doctrine and leadership. The term "pastorals" was popularized in 1703 by D. N. Berdot and in 1726 by Paul Anton.[1]

Titus was written by Paul to encourage Titus, his brother in the faith, whom he had left in Crete to lead the church Paul had established there on one of his missionary journeys (Titus 1:5). Paul wrote 1 Timothy to Timothy to encourage him in his responsibility for overseeing the work of the Ephesian church and possibly the other churches in the province of Asia (1 Timothy 1:3). His second letter to Timothy was written in approximately AD 67, shortly before the apostle Paul was put to death. Imprisoned in Rome, Paul felt lonely and abandoned and recognized that his earthly life was likely coming to an end soon. The book of 2 Timothy is essentially Paul’s “last words.” Paul looked past his own circumstances to express concern for the churches and specifically for Timothy. Paul wanted to use this last opportunity to encourage Timothy, and all other believers, to persevere in faith (2 Timothy 3:14) and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 4:2).

I. Course Description

Perhaps the greatest need in the Christian community today is Biblical leadership. Throughout the world, churches struggle with numerous issues because they lack relevant and effective leadership. A good leader possesses godly character, sound doctrine, and Biblical priorities. Yet today, there are differing views on several issues related to leadership, such as: What are the responsibilities and priorities of ministerial leaders and their work? Who is qualified for pastoral leadership? Can women serve as pastors? What should pastors expect in ministry?

II. Course Overview

This course identifies Biblical answers to crucial leadership questions from three of Paul's letters, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, which primarily address issues of pastoral leadership and ministry. In his twenty lectures, Dr. John Stott walks his listeners through an exegetical analysis of Paul's words to Timothy and Titus. He shares valuable insight from the historical background and an investigation of the Greek New Testament. Dr. Stott covers such topics as how a congregation should appoint leaders, the role of women in the ministry, the primary function of a minister's work, and how to deal with false teachers while remaining true to “sound doctrine.”

III. Course Text

Mounce, William D. The Pastoral Epistles (Word Biblical Commentary). Waco: Word, Inc. 2000.The student should read the textbook in accordance with the lectures. This is the only required text because the student will do a large amount of reading for the two required papers.

IV. Course Objectives

Given active participation, upon completion of this course you will be able to:

1. Understand the special introductory problems of the Pastoral Epistles, particularly Pauline authorship.

2. Enter sympathetically into the life and work of the author and his readers.

3. Demonstrate interpretive skills by wrestling with difficulties in the text.

4. Develop a Biblical approach to identifying and ordaining church leaders.

5. Obtain realistic expectations of life as a minister regarding suffering and duty.

6. Understand the responsibility of and need for Christian churches and leaders to commit to “sound doctrine.”

7. Develop an approach for handling false teachers, their doctrines, and their methods.

V. Course Learning Activities

Learning Activity #1 Study Questions

Answer the study questions that follow each lesson outline, and submit a typed copy of the questions and your answers to your proctor before the final examination. Each answer should be no more than a few sentences in length. These questions will help to prepare you for the exam and assignments.

Objective: to foster cognitive interaction with the lecture content and to encourage evaluation of where you stand in relation to that content.

Learning Activity #2 Exegetical Paper

Research and write a ten-to-fifteen page exposition of a particular text within the Pastoral Epistles (suggested length of ten verses). In doing so, read a minimum of 750 pages and submit a reading report with the paper. In the reading report, identify the title, author, and number of pages you read in each source. Format your exegetical paper according to the guidelines established by the school through which you take this course. Consult the textbook, other commentaries, lexical and grammatical resources, and journal articles relating to your chosen text. Discuss the situation of the readers, the role of the passage in its context, the author's purpose, and how the text achieves this purpose in that day and today. If you know NT Greek, demonstrate exegetical work in the original language.

Objective: to foster expanded reading and detailed interaction with a passage in order to give an explanation that is both informed and useful for ministry.

Learning Activity #3 Research paper on Women's Role in Ministry

Research and write a ten-to-twelve page paper on the crucial topic of women's role in ministry. In doing so, read a minimum of 500 pages and submit a reading report with the paper. In the reading report, identify the title, author, and number of pages you read in each source. Format your research paper according to the guidelines established by the school through which you take this course.

Objective: to demonstrate the student's ability to research a current topic of debate and to help the student develop an informed approach based on current discussion.

Learning Activity #4 Final Examination

There will be one examination for the course. The Exam is found in the study questions in the Lesson Plans. It will be an essay exam of both brief answers and longer discussions. Be prepared to give interpretations of important or problematic texts within the Pastoral Epistles.

Objective: to reinforce and assess knowledge of lecture content

Learning Activity #5 Spiritual Formation Project

Because the Christian life is more than an academic exercise, the capstone project of this course will apply its principles to your daily life of faith. What happens to you spiritually because of this course is more important than any test you could take or paper you could write. Let this course not only instruct your mind, but also shape your soul! Write a five-to-six page reflective essay on how this course did or did not impact your life, and submit it when you take the final exam. This last and most serious project should not be a summary of course content, but an application of course principles. Begin even now to consider these four points, which should serve as the overall outline for your essay:

1. Reflection
2. Evaluation
3. Interaction
4. Conclusion

Note on confidentiality: Perhaps the Holy Spirit is dealing with you in some very personal areas of your life. Because of this, your proctor will keep your paper entirely confidential and either return it or discard it.

Objective: to stimulate reflection and interaction on course principles in order to enhance personal spiritual formation into Christ-likeness

Click here to download the course outline (PDF)

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