His Place in the Pastoral Epistles

The Holy Spirit and the Scriptures

After examining the references to the Holy Spirit in the Pastoral epistles, I feel constrained to draw your attention to 2 Timothy 3:16. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” He is the source and author of the God-breathed word of which we speak so often as the “Bible” or the “Holy Scriptures.” When God “spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets” (Heb 1:2), it was as 1 Peter 1:11 states, “The Spirit of Christ who was in them testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.” Truly, “Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet 1:21). This principle governed the conveyance of the mind of God in Holy Scripture for the benefit of mankind. Divine revelation is the communication of the mind of God. Inspiration is the divinely ordained means of ensuring that the communication of such revelation is infallible. The Lord Jesus used the tense of the verb to confound the Pharisees when He quoted the words of Jehovah, “I am the God of Abraham … ” (Mt 22:32). Paul used the singular number of the noun, “seed,” to teach doctrine concerning Christ in Galatians 3:16. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” Thus we are sure that all the “words” used to express “thought” were inspired. We rejoice, therefore, in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures by the Holy Spirit, knowing that all the writers, as Moses, “wrote all the Words of the Lord” (Ex 24:4).

The Holy Spirit and the Son of God

In 1 Timothy 3:16 we have a reference to the Holy Spirit in relation to the person of Christ. The writer accepts that the AV and RSV correctly render Spirit with a capital “S.” It is worthy of note that John wrote, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) and, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him” (v 32). This shows that it is not compulsory to accept “Spirit” as a reference to His own Spirit in contrast with flesh. When He was manifested in flesh, He was humanly perfect, perfectly human, sinless, and holy He was, therefore, a tripartite being with body, soul, and spirit. The apostle Peter states that after He was anointed by the Holy Spirit, “He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). Since His actions were in the power of the Holy Spirit, there was an ongoing vindication of Him as being righteous, holy, and divinely empowered in His life, ministry, and miracles. Furthermore, there is no grammatical problem raised by taking the preposition, “en” as having an instrumental usage, to emphasize the fact that the Holy Spirit was the vindicating instrument or agent. The two outstanding moments of vindication were at His baptism and resurrection. The former was a vindication of His life from His birth until baptized by John, and the latter vindicated Him from that time until the moment He sacrificed His life on the cross. I am not satisfied with the view that the reference to “Spirit” in this verse is to His own spirit and that the vindication is presently in the “spirit realm” before angels, and not yet seen by the world. I delight to preach Christ as ultimately vindicated by the Holy Spirit who raised Him from the dead (Rom 1:4; 1 Pet 3:18).

The Holy Spirit Speaking of Last Days

It may be helpful to point out that the epistles to Timothy and Titus were first given the title of Pastoral Epistles in 1703 by D. N. Berdot. Later in 1726, P. Anton used it as title for his commentary. While this title is generally suitable, provided that we refuse the erroneous view that Timothy and Titus held pastorates in one or more assemblies, it is not comprehensive. This is evident as we note the many personal references to them and consider 1 Timothy 4:1-3 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5 which are prophetic in character.

“Latter times,” points to conditions which were already developing but which would become more acute after the apostolic age. “The last days” refer to the close of this age of grace prior to the coming of the Lord. Thus we are thankful that the Spirit speaks expressly or specifically of conditions which are now clearly seen in the world. This gives us assurance that the coming of the Lord is imminent, and gives us confidence in the absolute veracity of the Holy Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit Enabling the Exercise of Spiritual Gift

In 2 Timothy 1:6-7 we have reference to the exercise of gift already possessed by Timothy This was a divine impartation of a spiritual gift in addition to natural ability already inherent in Timothy. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 show the unity and involvement in the Godhead in the bestowal of spiritual gifts. Timothy was to maintain his gift with spiritual freshness and vigor. There was a danger that the opposition encountered by a faithful exercise of it might cause a measure of timidity in him. Paul is reminding him that in addition to the spiritual gift initially imparted, there was an accompanying divine enablement that he might continue faithfully without fear, manifesting self control, even when¬†partaking of the afflictions of the gospel. While Paul does not directly state the fact, it is clear that he has in mind that “Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” are the product of the indwelling Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Giving Strength to Guard the Deposit

Learning and knowing divine truth are very different experiences from “keeping” or “guarding” it during the course of Christian life and testimony Paul who had “kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7), had entrusted Timothy with the deposit of divine truth and exhorted him to “guard” or “keep” it (1 Tim 6:20). He reminds him again of the necessity to do so (2 Tim 1:13-14). He also stresses the importance of having or holding fast an orderly or systematic form or outline containing the actual words used by the apostle. This would facilitate guarding the deposit as well as communicating it to others. We need to stress the importance of the words, “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us (2 Tim 1:14). Divine power is needed to hold divine truth, hence the importance of living in the power of an ungrieved Holy Spirit. We cannot hold fast truth which condemns unscriptural practices in our lives. Therefore, we note the emphasis in the epistles placed on godly living and having a good conscience.

The Holy Spirit and our Salvation

In Titus 3:5-6, we have the only reference to the Holy Spirit in this epistle. Titus is reminded that salvation is not by works of righteousness. It is a divine work accomplished by divine power. God has saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. The word for washing is “loutron.” It contains no thought of a layer or font used for sprinkling as a misnomer for baptism which is not mentioned in the verses. This washing involves one concept of regeneration and renewing, and is the once for all washing referred to in John 13:10 and Hebrews 10:22. The word for regeneration is “palingenesia..” The word, “palm” means again, and “genesia” means birth. Thus we have an “again birth” or a new birth. The word is different from that used for being born again in John 3, showing that the “new life” is imparted to the person who upon receiving Christ, is born again and becomes a child of God (John 1:12). Regeneration denotes that the believer is brought into an entirely new state or order of things. The only other usage of the word, in Matthew 19:28, helps to make clear the meaning. The context deals with the new condition or order of things which will be introduced by the Millennial reign of Christ. Since Paul states that God saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, it is evident that all three were instantaneous and simultaneous at the moment of salvation. We should note, however, that the word, “anakainoo,” which means, “renewal or make anew,” is used in Romans 12:2 for the renewal of the mind, in 2 Corinthians 4:16 for the renewal of the inward man, and in Colossians 3:10 for renewal of the new man. These three refer to an ongoing process which we can experience throughout our lives as Christians. As we live in the good of this, instead of manifesting the seven vices which marked us in our unregenerate condition (ch 3:3), we will show forth the seven virtues found in verses 1,2. This tremendous change is wrought by the power of the indwelling Spirit.

The aorist tense of the verb, “shed” or “poured,” points clearly to the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:33). It also includes the personal experience of Paul and Titus and all believers at conversion by the use of the words, “which He poured on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.”

The Holy Spirit Producing Growth and Godliness in Believers

It is helpful to point out that the working of the Holy Spirit in believers is clearly seen in the Pastorals. We will only refer to the epistle of Titus. We note the background of those saved on the isle of Crete who were described by one of their own as, “always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.” While this may not have been true of all, it certainly was true of many What a marvelous change was wrought in their lives and character by the grace of God which brought salvation. In a remarkably short time, evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit was seen in that whole families were saved and men were raised up with the qualifications for overseers. There was evident development of Christian character in both old and young, men and women. Hospitality was being practiced as they lived soberly, righteously, and godly, anticipating the coming of the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is surely able to produce similar results today in the lives of the saints whom He indwells from the moment of conversion, regardless of the environment in which they are found. The growth and development of godly character as seen in the Pastoral epistles is surely a rebuke to any who suggest that early Christian standards are not attainable in a modern and decadent society. The words of Jude 24, 25 should encourage us all: “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty. dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”