Does 1 Timothy 5:18 quote Luke as Scripture?

EutychusEutychus Admin
edited November 26 in Kerygmania
1 Timothy 5:18 says (ESV):
For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

The first saying appears in Deuteronomy 25:4, while the second appears in Luke 10:7.

I have just heard of this text being used, on the back of 2 Timothy 3:16 ('all Scripture is inspired by God') and 2 Peter 3:14-15 (Paul's "difficult to understand writings" being "like the other Scriptures") as an argument that Paul recognised the Gospels as Scripture. I'd always understood the Gospels to be commonly dated after the epistles...

A number of hypotheses appear possible:

1. The reference to 'Scripture' in 1 Tim 5:18 refers only to the first saying and not the second, which might just be a customary proverb (I don't have enough Greek to be sure)
2. 'Scripture' doesn't mean Scripture™ but just "writing" (seems unlikely here)
3. Paul was familiar with the Gospel of Luke (which would make its authorship very early)
4. 1 Timothy was written a lot later than Paul's lifetime.

I'd be interested in everyone's take on this.

Comments

  • There is certainly one school of thought which designates the pastoral epistles as pseudigraphical. Mainly to do with the style of the Greek, which some scholars say is of a later variety. Of course the writer - Paul or someone else - might have been aware of this statement (the labourer deserves his wages) as one in general use - which could also be why Jesus used it - and erroneously thought that he had come across it in the Hebrew Scriptures. It being the sort of thing that might well be found there, only it happens not to be.

    Did you check the apocrypha? I haven't time to do that just now, but it might be there....
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    FWIW William Mounce in the Word commentary says
    the problem of calling the citation “Scripture” is accounted for by recognizing that “Scripture” need only apply to Paul’s first citation from the OT. This is similar to Mark 1:2-3 where the formula “as it is written in Isaiah the prophet” introduces three citations from Exod 23:20, Mal 3:1, and Isa 40
  • That's certainly the fastest way out and the one I suggested to my interlocutor!

    I'm still interested to hear whether anyone has heard this before, though, and whether they would have the same answer.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Yes, and given Mounce’s background I assume that reading is not contradicted by the Greek.
  • Well it's for these sort of reasons that I'm beginning to describe myself as a "textualist", i.e. go and see what the text actually says first. My first stop in these circumstances is the Greek interlinear, but I'm nowhere near enough of a Hellenist to be sure in this case.

    It does show you what a difference punctuation can make in English, though. The commas in the ESV (which I would guess is quite conservative) seem to allow for either reading.
  • What Jesus said was drawn from the scriptures, and restated in his time. I think his words came from Deuteronomy 24:14-15 which would have been familiar to his listeners and to Paul.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    And certainly He knew his scripture - reading to and teaching the elders in the Temple at age 12 being an example.
  • The question to my mind is whether Paul and Jesus are both quoting the same paraphrase or extension of Deuteronomy, or whether Paul is quoting the Gospel of Luke and qualifying it as "Scripture".

    In my 'Colombe' Segond Révisé version of the Bible, a generally rigourous and 'neutral' translation popular in protestantism from the 80s onwards, quotes in the text from other Bible books are in italics with the source in a footnote.

    In this verse, the second saying, "The laborer deserves his wages", is in italics and referenced to Luke 10:7 (in which the Greek is apparently word for word the same). The implication that Paul is directly quoting the Gospel of Luke is clear.

    I haven't looked very far, but if the 'Colombe' does that, I'm pretty sure that just about every protestant version in this house that adopts the practice of sourcing Bible quotes will do so.
  • I would ask, does Timothy mean by Scripture what we mean by Scripture, that is, Holy Writ? In Greek the word just means "writing(s)". By translating it "scripture", with all the historical baggage that word brings along, are we anachronistically shoving our understanding back into the New Testament, where it may or may not belong?
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited November 27
    I'd have thought that could be a legitimate question for 1 Tim 5:18, except that 2 Tim 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:14-15 seem to use the same term quite unambiguously to refer to Holy Writ (albeit not the entire canon as we know it today).
  • Are they referring to it AS holy writ? Or as a writing? Since that's what the word means? We run the risk of saying 'Well, the book they are referring to when they say "writing" is in fact Holy Writ, therefore by "writing" they MEAN Holy Writ.' See what I'm saying?
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited November 27
    2 Tim 3:15-16:
    "...from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right."
    2 Peter 3:15-16:
    ... our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    I think it's pretty unequivocally clear that in 2 Timothy Paul is referring to Holy Writ (what "inspired" means and what the extent of the Holy Writ he's referring to is are separate questions). I think there's also quite a strong case to be made for Peter making a reference to Holy Writ too.

    By extension I'd say Paul is referring to Holy Writ in 1 Tim 5:18 at least as far as the first saying goes, not least because it is clearly in Deuteronomy.

    The question is whether (as all the versions I've checked suggest in their footnotes) the second saying is included in Paul's reference, i.e. is Holy Writ, and is Holy Writ as found in Luke.

    If the latter is the case, the writer is asserting familiarity with the Gospel of Luke (either putting Luke earlier than is usually thought or putting 1 Timothy later than Pauline authorship, AIUI).
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »

    I think it's pretty unequivocally clear that in 2 Timothy Paul is referring to Holy Writ (what "inspired" means and what the extent of the Holy Writ he's referring to is are separate questions). I think there's also quite a strong case to be made for Peter making a reference to Holy Writ too.

    By extension I'd say Paul is referring to Holy Writ in 1 Tim 5:18 at least as far as the first saying goes, not least because it is clearly in Deuteronomy.
    I'm not sure you've really digested @mousethief 's point. And, in the above bolded part, I think you've got the wrong end of the stick. The notion of being "inspired" was pretty straightforward and used to clarify the more obscure notion of the place that received writings held for the early Church as I understand these passages. I may be a bit anachronous here, but I know that the early Church wrestled with the value of received writings for Christian Jews. The conservatives pushed for a full embrace of the entire Hebrew text as binding in the same way that it was for the pharisaic Jews of the day. Clearly, Paul and his followers pushed back on that, but the author(s?) of the pastoral letters were anxious that this not go so far as to dismiss the God-given nature of the received texts.
    The question is whether (as all the versions I've checked suggest in their footnotes) the second saying is included in Paul's reference, i.e. is Holy Writ, and is Holy Writ as found in Luke.

    If the latter is the case, the writer is asserting familiarity with the Gospel of Luke (either putting Luke earlier than is usually thought or putting 1 Timothy later than Pauline authorship, AIUI).

    My sense, FWIW, is that the second part was included and was from Luke. I take that as part of the evidence that the pastoral letters were not authored by Paul, but by one or more of his followers. Of course, that in no way diminishes their place in scripture.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited November 27
    By way of clarification, I meant "irrespective of what 'inspired' means". 2 Timothy seems to make a clear distinction between "writings" and "holy writings". The other arguments (I'm not saying I agree with them, just citing them) are extensions of that passage. Does that make any more sense of what I wrote?
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    By way of clarification, I meant "irrespective of what 'inspired' means". 2 Timothy seems to make a clear distinction between "writings" and "holy writings". The other arguments (I'm not saying I agree with them, just citing them) are extensions of that passage. Does that make any more sense of what I wrote?

    I think I get what you are saying, but I believe I disagree with your view. Perhaps this will help clarify my view: I have seen it suggested that the passage in 2 Timothy is in response to Titus 1:14, that exhorts the faithful not to pay attention of "Judean myths." If we take that to be a reference to the Hebrew scriptures, we might view Timothy as arguing that they are sacred texts, not errant writings. While the direct link to Titus is speculative at best, the underlying argument (against Titus or some other Christian less sympathetic to traditional Judaism) seems on-target. That is, the identification of the writings as "Holy" is part of the argument, not a universally-acknowledged truism.
  • Chaucer quotes the Timothy passage as "all that is written" (I can't do quotes on my phone, I'm afraid). It seems to me this discussion has a post-Reformation hang up with what counts as Scripture.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    I’d also climb back up on my pet hobby horse and note that the ancients had a very high view of writing generally. Given that writing was so uncommon, the ancients seemed to regard all of it as inspired, in some way. It’s easy enough to locate passages in Aristotle and others quoting and reading Homer in a way that treats it like ‘scripture,’ in a way.
  • There is another possibility. That is in the late dating of the Gospels there is nearly always some suggestion of proto-writings that preceded the Gospels and that the writers drew on. I am not wanting to get into the alphabet soup of possible proto-writings that the gospels drew on. However, one possibility is that the writer of 1 Timothy is actually drawing on these rather than Luke's Gospel. I suspect these writings were fragmentary (i.e. we tend to posit one source when there are actually multiple) but that some were collections of the teachings of Christ and these might well have been held to be Holy Writ in mimicry of the idea of the books of the Law were the teachings of Moses are Holy Writ.

    Heck, I have never thought before of the similarities in style between the Pentateuch and the Gospels.
  • Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Heck, I have never thought before of the similarities in style between the Pentateuch and the Gospels.
    Some would say that is because they ultimately have the same Author. :)

    I was also thinking that a proto-source solves the issue nicely. Luke claims to have researched his writing, which could include reading up on earlier sources. One such Now Unknown source might have recorded the laborer/wage comment and 1 Timothy is referencing that revered writing. Luke subsequently included the comment.

    The other theory Eutychus mentioned:
    1. The reference to 'Scripture' in 1 Tim 5:18 refers only to the first saying and not the second, which might just be a customary proverb (I don't have enough Greek to be sure)
    also has some potential. After all, Luke already has Jesus quoting a proverb with "Physician, heal thyself." Jesus calls it an old saying or proverb, but as I recall Luke's gospel is actually the earliest source that we have for that particular formulation of the saying (older sources have comments that get across much the same point--like "don't go to a doctor who limps"--but they don't use that actual phrasing). The laborer deserving the wage might easily be a similar "old saying" that Jesus used to articulate his point, knowing his audience was familiar with it.

  • Hedgehog wrote: »
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Heck, I have never thought before of the similarities in style between the Pentateuch and the Gospels.
    Some would say that is because they ultimately have the same Author. :)

    I would say this smacks of the heresy of monotheletism, which is ultimately a denial of the Incarnation.
  • @tclune thanks for opening up a whole new and interesting can of worms for me.

    @Jengie Jon and @Hedgehog, I agree the proto-source is quite an elegant answer as regards 1 Tim 5:18 and is supported by Luke's own assertion of having drawn on prior sources.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Hedgehog wrote: »
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    Heck, I have never thought before of the similarities in style between the Pentateuch and the Gospels.
    Some would say that is because they ultimately have the same Author. :)

    I would say this smacks of the heresy of monotheletism, which is ultimately a denial of the Incarnation.

    Are you suggesting the Father inspired the writing of the Old Testament and the Son inspired the writing of the New Testament?

    I think Hedgehog was making the relatively benign suggestion that all scripture was inspired by God.

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited November 28
    ECraigR wrote: »
    I think Hedgehog was making the relatively benign suggestion that all scripture was inspired by God.

    Inspired by, yes. Written by, hell no.

    PS and I don't think monotheletism means what you think it means.
  • ECraigRECraigR Shipmate
    Well I don’t think you’re invoking it properly here, so I was just trying to understand what you were suggesting. Elucidation would be appreciated.
  • Not distinguishing between the spirit of the prophet and the spirit of the God that inspires the prophet is like unto not recognizing that Christ was both man AND God, and had both a human soul and a divine spirit. And because Christ is both God and Man, he has two wills, a human will and a divine will. In the case where God is inspiring a prophet's writing, the prophet is riding according to the prophet's will; God has not taken over the prophet's will. God is not moving the hand.
Sign In or Register to comment.