The newest volume in the acclaimed NICNT series explores Paul's three letters to Timothy and Titus within their historical, religious, and cultural settings. Significantly, Philip Towner treats these texts principally as communications from the apostle to his coworkers as they carried out assignments in the Pauline mission.
The introduction, which questions certain untested assumptions of recent critical scholarship, sets out the rationale for this historical approach. It also establishes the uniqueness and individuality of each letter and the importance of this starting point for interpreting their messages.
The commentary itself highlights a wealth of new insights. Especially evident in 1 and 2 Timothy, for example, is Paul's concern to deal with a group of opponents. Towner suggests that other dangerous trends outside the church were also in Paul's mind as he addressed the matter of the behavior of women who were active as teachers in the church. The situation of opposition in Titus took a different form -- that of a substandard Christianity characterized by course and immoral cultural values and habits from which Paul insisted the church needed to be removed.
Centered on a superb translation of the Greek text and complemented with thorough footnotes, bibliographical citations, and indexes, Towner's commentary on the letters to Timothy and Titus will quickly become a standard reference in New Testament studies.