How to prove Paul did not write certain New Testament books

In studying Titus 3:3-8 I came across this fine example of exegetical haberdashery from Raymond F. Collins[1]:

“Works of righteousness” (ergon ton en dikaiosyne) has a Pauline ring, but the apostle did not actually use the phrase “in righteousness” (en dikaiosyne). Writing about righteousness or justification, Paul occasionally used a prepositional phrase that includes “righteousness” as the object of the preposition, but the preposition is either eis, “in,”…or dia, “through,” “on account of”… The prepositional phrase used by the Pastor is, however, found in four pseudepigraphic epistles all influenced in some degree by the writings of Paul (Titus 3:5; 2 Tim. 3:16; Eph. 4:24; 2 Pet. 1:1; . . .

By way of explanation, Collins refers to the author of Titus as “the Pastor” since Paul-obviously!- did not write it. And note the unassailable logic that is used to demonstrate that Paul did not write Titus: “We know Paul did not write Titus because the author uses the same phrase found in other books that Paul did not write- Ephesians and 2 Timothy.” Ah yes. Well of course.

I believe this is what is called “begging the question.”

And the poverty is noteworthy.

In contrast to Collins, Donald Guthrie[2] comments of the same passage:

The negative statement not by works of righteousness which we have done is intended to bring out by way on contrast the absolute character of the divine mercy in the next phrase. RSV has a better rendering of the Greek, ‘not because of deeds done by us in righteousness’. The word dikaiosune (righteousness) here denotes observance to the Mosaic Law, in complete agreement with Paul’s general usage.


[1] Raymond F. Collins, I & II Timothy and Titus (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 363.

[2] Donald Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984), 204.

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You say its my birthday…

Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, “A man is conceived.” Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. That night–let thick darkness seize it! Let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months. Behold, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry enter it.

Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not.

What is man, that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous? Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in his sight; how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks injustice like water!

“Dominion and fear are with God; he makes peace in his high heaven. Is there any number to his armies? Upon whom does his light not arise? How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure? Behold, even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes; how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!”

For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. “As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number: he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; he sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope at noonday as in the night. But he saves the needy from the sword of their mouth and from the hand of the mighty. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth. “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.

Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.

Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her. The LORD records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”

But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Job 3:3-7; 14:1-2; 15:14-16; 25:2-6; 5:6-18; Psalm 22:9-11; 71:6-9; 87:5-7; Galatians 4:26-31

Praying to find the joy of redemption on-what is increasingly- a day I wish was shrouded in darkness.

Carl Trueman to the Young, Restless, and Reformed (and hip)

Two things came to mind: the beautiful young things of the reformed renaissance have a hard choice to make in the next decade.  You really do kid only yourselves if you think you can be an orthodox Christian and be at the same time cool enough and hip enough to cut it in the wider world. Frankly, in a couple of years it will not matter how much urban ink you sport, how much fair trade coffee you drink, how many craft brews you can name, how much urban gibberish you spout, how many art house movies you can find that redeemer figure in, and how much money you divert from gospel preaching to social justice: maintaining biblical sexual ethics will be the equivalent in our culture of being a white supremacist.

Published here

In other words, the world is just like God: it accepts no half-servants.

Gregory of Nazianzus On Man’s Greatest Pleasure

For nothing is so pleasant to men as talking of other people’s business, especially under the influence of affection or hatred, which often almost entirely blinds us to the truth.

Oration 2 (In Defence of His Flight to Pontus), 1

A stickler might quibble over the taxonomy of sin. There is a perverse pleasure in hateful speech, and a warped joy in the blind lover’s gushing. The pleasures might be different, but they are nevertheless real.

May the Lord keep me from three great sins: talking of other’s business, being overly enamored, hatred.

Gregory of Nazianzus: Prophet of Fundamentalism?

We have opened to all not the gates of righteousness, but, doors of railing and partisan arrogance; and the first place among us is given, not to one who in the fear of God refrains from even an idle word, but to him who can revile his neighbor most fluently, whether explicitly, or by covert allusion; who rolls beneath his tongue mischief and iniquity, or to speak more accurately, the poison of asps.

We observe each other’s sins, not to bewail them, but to make them subjects of reproach, not to heal them, but to aggravate them, and excuse our own evil deeds by the wounds of our neighbors.  Bad and good men are distinguished not according to personal character, but by their disagreement or friendship with ourselves.  We praise one day what we revile the next, denunciation at the hands of others is a passport to our admiration; so magnanimous are we in our viciousness, that everything is frankly forgiven to impiety.

Gregory of Nazianzus, In Defence of His Flight To Pontus 79-80

John Calvin on The Trinity and Forgiveness

Wherefore, as during our whole lives we carry about with us the remains of sin, we could not continue in the Church one single moment were we not sustained by the uninterrupted grace of God in forgiving our sins. On the other hand, the Lord has called his people to eternal salvation, and, therefore, they ought to consider that pardon for their sins is always ready. Hence let us surely hold that if we are admitted and ingrafted into the body of the Church, the forgiveness of sins has been bestowed, and is daily bestowed on us, in divine liberality, through the intervention of Christ’s merits and the sanctification of the Spirit.

Institutes, 4.1.21