By Nathan Jones
Are 1 Timothy and 2 Peter in the Bible forgeries?
On our television program Christ in Prophecy, we asked this question of Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures, located in Frisco, Texas. His ministry specializes in defending Christianity against Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, the cults, world religions, and about any group that teaches false doctrine. He is a seminary professor and an excellent writer who has written more than 70 books! His latest one is titled, The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy.
Dr. Rhodes addressed some of the outlandish statements Newsweek magazine had made in a recent article that distort the Bible and treat Christianity with contempt.
The Pauline Forgeries Argument
"It is the universal opinion of biblical scholars that both 1 Timothy and 2 Peter are forgeries."
Everyone believes it, he is saying, right? What doctor is the author again? What professors did he ask?
Well, that is just nonsense! These guys offer some arguments that they think are just killer arguments, like claiming that Paul didn't write 1 Timothy, but they aren't.
Do you know what their arguments are? First of all, they'll claim the style of writing is a little different in 1 Timothy, so Paul couldn't have written it. Not only that, they'll point out that Paul likes to talk about big theological themes in his books, and 1 Timothy doesn't have any big theological themes, and so therefore Paul could not have written it. They will also go on to say that they think the book was written in the Second Century, and if 1 Timothy was written in the Second Century, Paul couldn't have written it because he died in the First Century. Then they'll claim that the error that Paul was dealing with in 1 Timothy was Second Century Gnosticism.
These are the kinds of weak arguments that they offer. So, let's just evaluate them real quickly.
First of all, let's look at the style. In Romans, Paul was writing to the Church at Rome theology about justification and sanctification. When he was writing to Timothy, his young friend who started up a church, He's writing like to one of his little pals. Timothy was one of Paul's close, intimate friends. Obviously, the style is going to be a little bit different.
Really, there are no theological themes in 1 Timothy? That's what you're bringing to the table, Newsweek, really? The fact is that what you find in 1 Timothy is a discussion of the atonement of Jesus Christ. Is there any bigger theological theme than the atonement of Christ?
Paul also talks about Christ being the mediator between God and man.
By the way, 1 Timothy is not dealing with Second Century Gnosticism. Its dealing with First Century Jewish legalism. So, Newsweek got it wrong from beginning to end.
As for 2 Peter being a supposed forgery, this is another one of those comical things where they just didn't reading the text very carefully. The reason these skeptics claim that 2 Peter is not given the evidence of being written by Peter is because the style is completely different from 1 Peter. If you look at the book, it's got different words and different style than 2 Peter does. They are just different.
Have they even read 1 Peter? If you read 1 Peter and you come to chapter 5 verse 12, what does Peter say there? Peter says, "This letter has actually been written down for me by my scribe Silvanus." He was a stylist. He was an expert in Greek linguistics who wrote this down for Peter. Peter then would have checked what Silvanus recorded over to make sure it was exactly right before it then went out to the churches.
In 2 Peter, Peter didn't use a stylist. He wrote it by himself, and he is a little more sloppy than the scribe who recorded 1 Peter. But, both of them came from Peter.
My point is that these skeptics' arguments are ridiculous! The sad thing is that most Christians are too illiterate to even know this stuff, and so therefore there will be a lot of Christians who will believe the lies that are set forth in this article.