Bible Question:

Are there any proofs that Paul is the author of the Pastoral Epistles?

Bible Answer:

Some critics today say that the apostle Paul did not write the Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. But there are several facts that give us confidence that Paul did write them.

The Doubts

A variety of reasons have been raised that say that Paul is not the author of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus .

Some claim that the style in which the Pastoral Epistles were written shows that Paul was not the author. But this ignores the fact that people’s writing styles change with time as they grow and mature. The writing style of this author has changed over the last twenty years. When I go back and see some of my past articles, it is difficult to believe that I wrote them. To assume that a person’s writing style does not change ignores the facts of life. The apostle Paul wrote Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon over a twenty year period (A.D. 49-67). One would expect that his writing style might change, his vocabulary would expand, and the problems that he wants to address will change.

Some state that Paul did not write 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus because they say that Paul never went to the island of Crete as Titus 1:5; 3:12 claims. Therefore, they claim that the book of Titus was not written by Paul but by a forger. They also say Paul did not write 1 and 2 Timothy, claiming that Paul never had time to visit Macedonia as claimed by 1 Timothy 1:3. They state that Acts is a biography of Paul’s life and it ends with Paul in prison in Rome. Acts never says that Paul went to Crete or to Macedonia.

The Evidence

At first this sounds convincing, but it ignores a statement at the end of Acts.

And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. (NASB) Acts 28:30-31

Acts does not end with a disappointing statement that Paul died. If he did die, why not say so? If he left the prison, why not say so? The implication is that Paul was only there for two years. The Holy Spirit did not choose to tell us what happened after this. To say that Paul never visited Crete or Macedonia is to assume that we know more than the folks who lived near Paul’s time. An ancient document, the Muratorian parchment (A.D 170) , states that Paul went to Spain. Acts did not say that. The early church father Eusebius writes,

And Luke, who wrote the Acts of the Apostles, brought his history to a close at this point, after stating that Paul spent two whole years at Rome as a prisoner at large, and preached the word of God without restraint. Thus after he had made his defense it is said that the apostle was sent again upon the ministry of preaching, and that upon coming to the same city a second time he suffered martyrdom. In this imprisonment he wrote his second epistle to Timothy, in which he mentions his first defense and his impending death.

Ecclesiastical History, Book 2, Chapter 22

Other Testimony

All three books: 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, include Paul’s signature.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus . . . (NASB) 1 Tim. 1:1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus . . . (NASB) 2 Tim. 1:1

Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ . . . (NASB) Titus

Each book bears Paul’s signature. This is the first evidence that the apostle wrote each book. This is the same signature that Paul used with other books (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon).

More testimony comes from the early church fathers who claimed that Paul wrote 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. The Muratorian parchment includes 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus among the list of the books written by Paul.

As for the letters of Paul, they themselves show those who wish to understand from which place and for which cause they were directed. First of all [he wrote] to the Corinthians forbidding schisms and heresies; then to the Galatians [forbidding] circumcision; to the Romans he wrote at greater length about the order of the scriptures and also insisting that Christ was their primary theme . . . the blessed Paul himself . . . writes to seven churches in the following order: first to the Corinthians, second to the Ephesians, third to the Philippians, fourth to the Colossians, fifth to the Galatians, sixth to the Thessalonians, seventh to the Romans . . . Moreover one to Philemon, one to Titus and two to Timothy in love and affection; but they have been hallowed for the honor . . . in the regulation of ecclesiastical discipline.

Bruce, F. F. The Canon of Scripture. IVP Press. 1988, p. 160

Conclusion:

Is Paul the author of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus? There is no logical reason to doubt it and the ancient testimony says Paul wrote them. The answer is “yes” Paul wrote them.