Raymond Collins wrote this commentary on the Pastoral Epistles in the New Testament Library (NTL) series. Its critical stance is in line with what I found in several of these NTL volumes, though there are a few a little less critical in the series. I’ve heard it criticized for having too little scholarly interaction, but that proved no detriment to me as he at least thoroughly articulates his own critical position. I’m not sure I found as much theology as can be found in some of these NTL volumes, but at around 400 pages he never skimps on various passages.
After a bibliography, Collins provides an overall introduction to the Pastoral Epistles. From several angles (second-century witnesses, how the Pastorals differ from other epistles, and a scholarly review of authenticity and literary form), he rejects Pauline authorship and dates late. He reviews other issues within the Pastoral Epistles and determines that it’s reasonable to assume a single author for all three epistles though they came from someone else’s hand after the death of Paul. Strangely, in a section entitled “engaged teaching”, he argues that the teaching presented is taken beyond that which Paul gave. It is in this section, though, that he outlines what are the main themes, in his opinion, of these epistles.
Next, he provides a short introduction to 1 Timothy alone. Mostly that is just to discuss its unique elements. From there, he dives into commentary on the text. The same pattern is followed with 2 Timothy and Titus. Though I often disagreed with him, he did give some good food for thought for several passages. He used the analogy of “text and context” to reserve some of the more debated passages in these epistles to Paul’s day alone (e.g., the Household Code).
While this might not be my favorite NTL volume, it does uphold the series’ aims and is a good representation of the critical position. It’s not as wordy as those in the Anchor Bible Commentary series and so is probably the ideal commentary for those who want to add a critical commentary to round out their studies.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.