Did Paul really write the pastoral epistles?
Did Paul really write the pastoral epistles? Most scholars refuse this opinion and say that they were written later after Paul’s death. They say that the vocabulary and style are different from that of the seven undisputed epistles. Some have suggested that Paul used a secretary to write these epistles, probably Luke, because he was alone with Paul (2 Timothy 4: 11). What’s your opinion?
I cannot prove that Paul wrote these letters. You say that “most scholars” refuse this opinion. More accurate is to say that most liberal scholars (the majority of whom do not even believe in the inspiration of the Bible) are of the opinion that Paul did not write these letters. Most conservative scholars–those who actually believe that the Bible is inspired (who just so happen to be right on this particular question) believe that Paul did in fact write the pastoral epistles. You should learn to take what unbelieving scholars say about the Bible in general with a very big grain of salt. They bring an incorrect presupposition to the table (the incorrect presupposition being that the Bible literally cannot be inspired by God). When we start our inquiry with a flat-out incorrect assumption as the basis for our study, we tend to make rather big errors. This is the case in discussions about who wrote the letters traditionally ascribed to Paul, at least in my opinion.
But enough of my getting on my soap box. I need to answer your question. I believe that it is far more likely that Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus than that he did not. However, I cannot prove this and I will admit that there is at least some reason to consider the possibility that he was not the actual author of the letters. Some say that it was someone from the “school” of Paul who wrote the letters–that it was a close associate of Paul who wrote these letters, but that they were written some time after Paul died. The problem for this theory is that there is no evidence to support it. It all comes down to arguments about language and theology in the book. The exact style of writing in these letters is somewhat different from that in Ephesians or Romans, because these are completely different kinds of letters. They are personal letters between friends, not formal letters from an individual to a group of people, many of whom did not even know Paul. This fact will explain the differences in style and word-usage. Besides, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, Colossians were probably written ten or fifteen years before 2 Timothy, which can explain some difference in word choice and style. If you read the first book I wrote, the style of writing will be substantially different from my latest book–to the point that these scholars would claim with great confidence that they had two completely different authors.
As for 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, here is the bottom line for me. Those who received the letters and the church in the next generation or two as well, believed that Paul wrote these letters. It is the unanimous opinion of those who would actually know–the ones who copied these letters and the early church leaders–that Paul wrote these letters. They are not completely unanimous that John wrote 3 John, and they are not sure who wrote Hebrews, but they all agree that Paul wrote these letters. I believe that these people, who are in a much better position to know, are far more likely to be right than second-guessing scholars two thousand years later.
Besides, I have read more than one of these commentaries that make the claim the books were not written by Paul. They claim a great gulf in world view and in theology between Paul and the writer of the pastoral epistles. I have looked at their arguments and found them totally unconvincing. I know of no important idea in Titus or 2 Timothy which veers away for the ideas and thoughts of the apostle Paul. The supposed theological distinctions exist more in the minds of the scholars (who make a living from coming up with controversial ideas, not from accepting the conservative idea) than in the letters.
Almost certainly Paul did use a secretary. In fact, there is fairly good reason to think that Paul had a vision impairment of some sort (2 Cor 12:1-10, Gal 6:11, 1 Cor 16:21 and more). It is somewhat unlikely that it was Luke who was the scribe of 2 Timothy, because this letter was probably written after the events of Acts 28. This is not proof, and it really does not matter much who was Paul’s scribe when he penned the pastoral epistles. The point is that the supposed majority opinion about the pastoral epistles is not the majority opinion if we listen to those who have a world view that allows for the possibility that these books are inspired by God (which they are.)
A final comment. It really does not make a massive difference in the meaning and application of the pastoral epistles (Timothys, Titus and Philemon) if it was a friend of Paul’s rather than Paul himself who wrote the letters. All that matters is whether these books are in fact inspired by God and therefore belong in the canon. If “Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 1:1) really means “Disciple A, speaking for Paul, an apostle of Jesus,” then the meaning and application of the text is little changed. However, I strongly disagree with this conclusion for the reasons I have given above. I believe that this opinion is coming mostly from people who do not even believe in the Bible and who make a reputation from controversial opinions, not from accepting the conservative position, even if the evidence favors that position.