Paul wrote thirteen of the New Testament’s twenty-seven books. The Epistle to Philemon was a very personal letter, written to an individual. Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians and both letters to Thessalonica, were written to churches. First and Second Timothy and Titus were written to young pastors.
Timothy was pastoring the network of house-churches in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3-4) while Titus was pastoring on the Mediterranean Island of Crete (Titus 1:5).
Church structure and function are highlights of these three Pauline letters. In First Timothy Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, listed the requirement for one who would be considered as a Pastor (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and the requirement for one who would serve as a Deacon (2 Timothy 3:8-12). In his letter to Titus, Paul directed him to help churches call and ordain Godly men to serve as their pastors. “The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you, to appoint elders in every town” (Titus 1:5). In the following verses Paul notes the character-qualities of a pastor. He “must be blameless, the husband of one wife, with faithful children who are not accused of wildness or rebellion. As an overseer of God’s household, he must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not an excessive drinker, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:6–9).
But the Pastoral Epistles are not just written to pastors about pastoring. These letters are timely and important to the church in twenty-first-century America.
They teach a sound doctrine of Salvation by grace alone. “When the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4–7). Paul gives clear testimony of God’s great grace, illustrated in his own life. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15, NKJV).
The Pastoral Epistles teach the doctrine of the inspired, infallible, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
Paul’s letters to the young pastors call the church to prayer. “I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity”
(1 Timothy 2:1–2).
And Paul’s Epistles call every Christian to live holy, sanctified lives. “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth... Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:15, 22–23).