Introduction to Paul's Pastoral Letters

Paul writes his Letters to Timothy and Titus towards the end of his life, probably between 63 and 67AD. They are called ‘pastoral’ letters because they give instructions to Paul’s fellow-workers on how to lead and care for the new believers.In his First Letter to Timothy, Paul warns the young church leader about false teachings and advises him about Christian worship and church administration.

In his Letter to Titus, Paul advises his young colleague how to choose church leaders and how to instruct different groups of people within the church. He also gives guidelines on Christian conduct.

Paul writes his Second Letter to Timothy while facing execution in the Mamertine Prison in Rome in c.67AD. In the face of persecution, Timothy is encouraged to endure any suffering and to be a bold witness to his faith in Jesus Christ.


Mamertine Prison, Rome

Paul wrote from the Mamertine prison in Rome


Paul's Pastoral Letters

Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus are known as ‘pastoral letters’ because they give instructions to Paul’s fellow-workers on the pastoral care of the young churches. These letters were written towards the end of Paul’s life, probably between 63 and 67AD after the events that are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

The style of these letters is more formal than the earlier letters, so they may not be in Paul’s own words.  It’s possible that Paul asked a Christian friend to write his thoughts down in these letters, rather than dictating them word for word.

Paul’s colleague Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles during the period 60-62AD while staying with Paul, who was under house arrest in Rome awaiting his trial by the Emperor Nero (see Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-2, Colossians 4:14 & Philemon 1:24.) Luke finished his account of the Acts of the Apostles towards the end of this period, after Paul had been under house arrest in Rome for two years (see Acts 28:30-31).

As a result, Luke doesn’t mention a number of significant events that happened shortly after 62AD. He makes no mention, for example, of the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD, of the subsequent persecution of Christians by Emperor Nero, the outbreak of the Romano – Jewish War in 66AD, and the execution of Peter and Paul in Rome (in c.67AD). Neither does he report the outcome of Paul’s trial before Nero, which was unknown at the time he finished Acts in 62AD.

As a result, we don’t know with any certainty what happened to Paul between 62AD and his death in c.67AD. Using information from his letters – particularly those written after 62AD – we can, however, piece together a provisional account of the last five years of Paul’s life.

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