"God, who giveth us richly" Wealth, Authorship, and Audience in 1 Timothy 6

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Published Oct 11, 2021
Jackson Reinhardt

Abstract

While prior biblical scholarship has firmly rejected the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Timothy and Titus), rarely has analysis focused on socio-economic context. I argue that examining the economic conditions and theology of 1 Timothy provides additional reasons to rejects the letter’s authenticity. While Paul’s audience was primarily impoverished urbanites, the author of 1 Timothy (i.e., the Pastor) was writing to a prosperous congregation who needed instruction on the proper handling of their wealth. Paul’s theology of wealth, in turn, reflects the context of his audience: he supported inter-ecclesial programs of mutual interdependence and a rejection of the prevailing modes of economic exploitation that existed in first-century Palestine. The Pastor does not promote any similar alternative economy among believers. He contends that wealthy believers should be charitable so as to build up a heavenly treasure and secure posthumous favor.

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Keywords

New Testament, Economics, Pastoral Epistles, 1 Timothy, Materialist Criticism

Section
Articles