Book Review–The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus (John Stott)

Apologies for the lack of posts here recently. My energies recently have been focused on preparing some talks for Southampton and Solent CUs.

Although this commentary does not cover all three pastoral epistles, Stott uses the introduction to discuss the arguments for and against Pauline authorship for the pastorals as a whole. He does not go into exhaustive detail, but the discussion is fuller than normal for the Bible Speaks Today series.

He works verse by verse through the two letters in expository fashion, not just explaining the text, but applying it to contemporary church situations and is always willing to briefly comment on theological issues raised. Both letters contain plenty of material directed to church leaders, a passion that Stott shares, believing that “the health of the church depends very largely on the quality, faithfulness and teaching of its ordained ministers.”

His discussion of gender issues is sensitively handled, and he argues for a creation principle of male “headship” which has varying cultural expressions. This leads him to categorise women teaching alongside men raising their hands and women plaiting their hair – practises that may or may not be appropriate in different cultures as expressions of an underlying principle. It is an interesting suggestion, although it does require him to maintain that the first century cultural expression of this principle is the exact opposite of the modern one in this case.

He suggests that the ministry of deacons includes teachings, and that they functioned as assistants to the elders. The treatment of the subject of money in chapter six is particularly insightful, discussing simplicity and destitution. “Money is a drug, and covetousness a drug addiction”.

The letters of 1 Timothy and Titus have plenty to say on the importance of sound doctrine, a passion that Stott shares. He also highlights the emphasis on the importance of good works that permeates the letter to Titus. He describes Titus as being about “doctrine and duty” – in the church, the home, and the world. He argues that there is an “indissoluble connection” between doctrine and duty and that “any doctrine that does not promote godliness is manifestly bogus”.

As with all Stott’s contributions to the Bible Speaks Today Series, this is one that I would highly recommend for anyone wanting to go deeper in their personal Bible study.

4 thoughts on “Book Review–The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus (John Stott)

  1. I’m reading through this with my wife for devo’s and we’re just starting on 1 Tim 2 tomorrow night actually!

    Stott on complementarianism is refreshing as often times I feel as if the discussion is dominated by Wayne Grudem types who are against any public form of female led instruction of males.

    Gordon Hugenberger has an interesting perspective where he sees male/female (aner/gune) as better translated as husband/wife. This would allow for female ministers, elders even, but while still affirming male headship.

    See here: http://www.parkstreet.org/qa_women

  2. thanks for the comment Brooks, I’ll check out the article. Newfrontiers which I am in is more along the Grudem lines than Stott, but there are a growing number of female teachers/preachers/conference speakers in the ranks.

  3. Pingback: Book Review–The Message of 2 Timothy (John Stott) | wordandspirit

  4. Pingback: My Commentary Recommendations | wordandspirit

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