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Reviews | Letters to Timothy and Titus

Letters to Timothy and Titus

Alfred Nicholls

Hardback or e-book (ePub)

448 pages

Letters to Timothy and Titus

The Christadelphian review (from July 1993)

Letters to Timothy and Titus

PUBLISHED in the autumn of 1991, and subtitled “Sound Words for Ecclesias under Pressure”, this book, written in a most readable style, consists of a verse-by-verse commentary with a difference. At the close of each chapter there is an “Essay”: there are 52 in all, on a wide range of related topics, from “Faithful Sayings” to “Masters and Slaves”, from “Braided Hair and Costly Array” to “Magic, Miracles and Mighty Works”, each of them a gem in its own right.

There is no mistaking the scholarship behind this sound exposition, even though it is not in the least obtrusive. An easy familiarity on the author’s part with the original Greek is used with a clarity which those unfamiliar with that tongue can grasp without effort.

The Relevance of Paul’s Advice Today

To this reviewer, these three Epistles have been brought into the twentieth century with an urgency and impact totally unexpected. We have our problems; as individuals, as ecclesias, as a community. So did Timothy and Titus, along with the elders in Ephesus and Crete, and the other ecclesias there and elsewhere. The ageing Apostle, under the Lord’s guidance, gave detailed advice as to how to face those problems. More importantly, the advice was presented not as specific remedies, but as principles to be followed. Brother Nicholls, in his own engaging style, has lifted these principles right into today’s situations in a book which no brother charged with ecclesial office can afford to be without if he is to fulfil his duties responsibly. Neither would the wives of such brethren, or other sisters undertaking the service of visiting, welfare or instruction, fail to find considerable benefit from this same source.

The responsibilities of every member of an ecclesia are also highlighted from time to time. For example:

“(The appointment of Arranging Brethren) should rest on something more than skill with the finances or administration, which is part of the routine of a well-founded ecclesia anyway. The question to be asked is, Who will best ‘watch for our souls’? To whom can we safely entrust the decisions which must be theirs and will be binding on us, until we have the opportunity to confirm or deny in a properly convened assembly of the whole ecclesia? If ecclesial appointments were made with attention to the Word of God and prayer, and if the servants for the year, or whatever period, were committed to God for His guidance and blessing at a special meeting for the purpose, then there might be less murmuring or criticism when a difficult and unenviable task is carried out by our brethren, partakers of flesh and blood like ourselves” (pages 173–174).

– and there is much more in similar vein.

A book most heartily recommended.

C. E. HINDE

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