The significance of salvation : a study of salvation language in the Pastoral Epistles
Although the prevalence of salvation language in the Pastoral Epistles is acknowledged, there have been few studies of their soteriology, and differing critical assumptions concerning the PE are reflected in widely divergent descriptions of their soteriological perspective. This thesis investigates the concepts and presentation of salvation in these letters. To lessen the effect of prior assumptions, the study does not start from an historical reconstruction of their situation. Rather, it utilizes the growing scholarly recognition of the literary coherence of the PE to seek to uncover the soteriological outlook that enables the salvation material to function within the paraenetic strategies of these epistolary documents. The assumption that the three letters are one corpus is set aside and each is studied independently to allow any distinctive profile to emerge. From a detailed analysis of the use of salvation language (1 Tim 1:1; 1:12-17; 2:1-7; 2:15; 4:10; 4:16;2 Tim 1:9-14; 2:8-13; 3:14-17; 4:16-18; Titus 1:1-4; 2:11-14; 3:1-8) the soteriological perspectives and emphases of each letter are described and the results compared. The three are found to share a kairological framework, locating the initiative for salvation in God’s pretemporal will that is intimated in the Old Testament, decisively inaugurated in the historic Christ event, continues to be implemented in the present age through the proclamation of the Gospel with the response of faith, and awaits final realization in the eschatological kingdom of Christ. Each letter, however, shapes its presentation of salvation to serve its distinctive paraenetic goals. The study confirms the coherence of argumentation of these letters, challenges certain current readings of their soteriology, and finds that the soteriological elements are not in conflict with the understanding of salvation in Paul and sit comfortably within the range of presentations of salvation in the NT.