Best Bible Study Resources: The Pastoral Epistles


One of the great things about the Daily Office Lectionary is that it takes you through the majority of the Bible every year. If you’d like to learn a bit more about the books of the Bible as you work your way through, we’re compiling these “Bible Study Resources” posts for every book of the Bible.

(If you know of an excellent resource that we left out, please let us know in the comments below!)


No matter what book of the Bible you’re reading, two helpful websites for studying the Bible are and The latter is especially useful for free access to basic Hebrew and Greek resources.

The Bible Project

If you haven’t checked out the Bible Project already, you need to do so! They’ve got perhaps the best collection of free Bible study resources online. In addition to videos on biblical books, themes, and word studies, they’ve got a series on How to Read the Bible that’s a great place to start.

Here are the Bible Project’s resources on 1 Timothy.

Here are the Bible Project’s resources on Titus.

Here are the Bible Project’s resources on 2 Timothy.

Best Commentaries

The following commentary rankings are drawn from—an excellent free online resource to help guide your Bible study!

If you’re looking for more guidance on selecting commentaries and Bible study tools in general, check out:

Other Resources

Give Donald Guthrie’s Tyndale commentary on The Pastoral Epistles a look.

It’s always worth checking out the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, published by IVP. Volume IX of the New Testament Series covers Colossians, 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.

You should also take a look at the Reformation Commentary on Scripture, also published by IVP. Volume XII of the New Testament Series covers 1-2 Thessalonians, 1-2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon.

In How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart provide the following “Orienting Data for 1 Timothy”:

Content: an indictment of some false teachers—their character and teachings—with instructions on various community matters these teachers have brought to crisis, interspersed with words of encouragement to Timothy

Author: the apostle Paul (although doubted by many)

Date: A.D. 62–63, from Macedonia (probably Philippi or Thessalonica), apparently after his (expected) release from the imprisonment noted in Philippians 1:13 and 2:23–24

Recipient(s): Timothy, a longtime, younger companion of Paul; and (ultimately) the church in Ephesus (the grace-benediction in 6:21 is plural)

Occasion: Paul has left Timothy in charge of a very difficult situation in the church in Ephesus, where false teachers (probably local elders) are leading some house churches astray; Paul writes to the whole church through Timothy in order to strengthen Timothy’s hand in stopping these straying elders and some younger widows who have followed them

Emphases: the truth of the gospel as God’s mercy shown toward all people; character qualifications for church leadership; speculative teachings, asceticism, and love of controversy and money disqualify one from church leadership; Timothy, by holding fast to the gospel, should model genuine Christian character and leadership (pg. 373)

Here’s Fee and Stuart’s orienting data for Titus:

Content: instructions to Titus for setting in order the church (es) on Crete, including the appointment of qualified elders and the instruction of various social groups, set against the backdrop of some false teachers

Author: the apostle Paul (although doubted by many)

Date: ca. A.D. 62–63, apparently from Macedonia at about the same time as 1 Timothy (see 3:12; Nicopolis is on the Adriatic coast of Macedonia)

Recipient(s): Titus, a Gentile and sometime traveling companion of Paul (see Gal 2:1–3; 2 Cor 7:6–16; 8:6, 16–24; 12:17–18); and the churches on Crete (Titus 3:15, “you all”)

Occasion: Paul had left Titus on Crete to finish setting the churches in order, while he and Timothy (apparently) went on to Ephesus, where they met a very distressing situation (see 1 Timothy). But Paul had to go on to Macedonia (1 Tim 1:3; cf. Phil 2:19–24); perhaps the Holy Spirit reminded him while writing 1 Timothy that some similar problems had emerged in Crete, so he addressed the churches through a letter to Titus

Emphases: God’s people must be and do good—this is especially true of church leaders; the gospel of grace stands over against false teachings based on the Jewish law (pg. 383)

Finally, here’s Fee and Stuart’s orienting data for 2 Timothy:

Content: an appeal to Timothy to remain loyal to Christ, to the gospel, and to Paul, including a final salvo at the false teachers (of 1 Timothy)

Author: the apostle Paul (although doubted by many)

Date: ca. A.D. 64, from a prison in Rome (the lion in 4:17 is an allusion to Nero or to the empire itself)

Recipient(s): Timothy primarily; secondarily to the church (the first “you” in 4:22 is singular, the final one is plural)

Occasion: Paul has been once more arrested and taken to Rome (most likely from Troas and at the instigation of Alexander, 4:13–15 [probably the same man who was disfellowshiped in 1 Tim 1:19–20]); the letter urges Timothy to come to Paul’s side, but mostly offers him a kind of last will and testament

Emphases: the saving work of Christ, “who has destroyed death and brought life … through the gospel” (1:10); loyalty to Christ by perseverance in suffering and hardship; loyalty to Paul by recalling their longtime relationship; loyalty to the gospel by being faithful in proclaiming/teaching “the word” (= the gospel message); the deadly spread, but final demise, of the false teaching; the final salvation of those who are Christ’s (p. 379)

Check out Fee and Stuart’s full chapters on 1 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Timothy for an overview, specific advice for reading, and a walk-through of the main content!

Again if we missed any resources on the Pastoral Epistles that you think should appear, please let us know in the comments and we’ll update this post!

Published on

July 16, 2020


Joshua Steele

Josh Steele was the first Managing Editor of Anglican Compass. Learn more about him at

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