Ox and Laborer: Implications of “For the Scripture Says” in 1 Timothy 5:18

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2023

Authors

Creel, Alexander

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This thesis project argues that, in quoting both the Torah and a Gospel account together in 1 Timothy 5:18, the apostle Paul places them in equal textual and religious authority for his readers, during a time before the entire biblical / New Testament canon was officially established. The main methods used to show this will include research into history, religion, textual criticism, and literary practices of that era; and this via scholarly writings in Classics and Religious studies and biblical commentaries. We examine various ancient texts of the epistle to evaluate potential discrepancies (scribal errors, etc.) and to compare the exact wording of the primary sources (manuscripts of the Gospels, of Paul’s epistle, and of Torah in LXX). We also confer and reference various scholarly texts which analyze what meaning can be derived solely from the text. After compiling and evaluating these primarily literary sources, we also refer to potential historical/cultural factors which impact the meaning and intent of the writings (though this not to say that cultural phenomena and the grammar of language can be fundamentally separated in the first place). And of course, before all of this, it must be shown reasonable that the epistle was written by Paul in the first place. The final product is a mixture of all these types of valuation, organized around different areas of concern for the subject being discussed. The text in question is specifically the verse 1 Timothy 5:18, but more broadly, the goal is to examine the ways in which quotations were used by religiously- and historically-educated figures such as the apostle Paul in order to instruct and write to recipients (here, his apprentice Timothy), and to support specific arguments (here, that those with greater authority who serve responsibly in a religious organization should be recognized for it). This culminates in all the potential implications for his use of these quotations, such as a description of Paul’s overall view of “Scripture” (in the biblical sense); 1 Timothy’s date of composition; and Paul’s understanding of biblical composition in the New Testament era.

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