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Book Reviews > New Testament > I & II Timothy and Titus: A Commentary

Ray VanNeste

Ray VanNeste
Director of the RC Ryan Center for Biblical Studies and Assistant Professor of Christian Studies

I & II Timothy and Titus: A Commentary
Collins, Raymond F.
Details: 2002, Westminster John Knox, Amazon.comISBN: 0664222471
Posted: August 26, 2003

This is the highly publicized first volume of The New Testament Library series and is written by an established scholar with previous helpful contribution to the field. As one would expect from the Old Testament counterpart series, the publisher, and the author, this commentary takes a more critical approach to the Pastorals. Thus, Collins considers it almost patently obvious that Paul did not write these letters and that the letters could not be true personal letters – “In no case can any one of the Pastoral Epistles be considered a truly personal letter” (p. 7). While this does not seem to take seriously enough significant research to the contrary, it must be said that Collins is more positive towards the Pastorals than a previous generation of critical commentators (e.g. Hanson).

The commentary focuses more on background (largely Hellenistic) and form more than on theology. Given that emphasis one would expect more interaction with significant research on the letter form which is more positive for the Pastorals. Also Mounce’s recent important commentary is not listed in the bibliography, and even though some of Towner’s work is listed it is not discussed in key places such as when Collins simply reaffirms the view of a waning eschatological urgency in the letters.

In short, if one is doing academic research on the Pastoral Epistles consult this commentary in a library after examining works such as Marshall, Mounce, Quinn/Quinn-Wacker, Knight, etc. If one is preaching on the Pastorals, one can safely skip this commentary as the technical issues are covered better elsewhere and other works (e.g. Marshall, Mounce, Stott, Towner) will be more helpful in theology and application.