Nicholas Perrin, Luke (TNTC)

Perrin, Nicholas. Luke. Tyndale New Testament Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2022. xxx+487 pp. Pb. $30.00   Link to IVP Academic  

This new volume in the third series of the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series replaces the original volume by Leon Morris, originally published in 1973 (revised 1988). Perrin is president of Trinity International University, Perrin previously contributed Jesus the Temple (Baker Academic, 2010) and Jesus the Priest (Baker Academic, 2013). He co-edited Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N. T. Wright (IVP Academic, 2011) and the second edition of Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (IVP Academic 2013).

Perrin, LukePerrin begins with the premise that Luke’s central character is Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Scripture and the human climax of redemptive history (11). But Luke is also the first historian of the church, a fact that Perrin takes seriously. History begins in Israel’s Scripture, so a redemptive-historical storyline must be considered (the Hebrew Scriptures). As he says in his introduction, in the commentary, he is quick to point out intertextual correspondence with Scripture. Perrin points out this is exactly what Jesus told us to do in Luke 24:27. He states this commentary is “a rather robust contemplation of ‘the Old in the New,’” focusing on” a compositional reading approach.”

The twelve-page introduction begins with the early reception of Luke-Acts, two stories held together by the thread of divine activity. With respect to genre, Perrin argues Luke “self-consciously wrote in the newly established genre of gospel” (4). The closest analogy is the Hellenistic bios, a life of an illustrious man, but with a Hebraic cast. The third gospel is a hybrid. “Luke was setting up his literary shop in the world of Scripture” (4). Luke is an extension of Old Testament scripture written in the present; a blended form “part bios and part pastiche of various scriptural forms” (4). In the end, the gospel of Luke resists literary categorization” (4).

Perrin argues for the traditional view that Luke, a companion of Paul, wrote both Luke and Acts. He asks, “if Luke did not write the third gospel, how did an obscure character like Luke become attached to the book?” There is no satisfying answer for that question, so Perrin assumes Lukan authorship based on external evidence. Regarding internal evidence, he begins with the so-called “we passages” beginning in Acts 16:10. The author of Acts claims to be a companion of Paul (Col 4:10-14; 2 Tim 4:11; Philemon 24). There are similarities with Pauline theology, especially the formulation of the Lord’s Supper. He briefly deals with objections to the traditional view, such as the fact the author makes no claim to be an eyewitness himself. Scholarship often considers Colossians and 2 Timothy post-Pauline, so they cannot really count for evidence for Luke as a companion of Paul. Most scholars see a difference between the theology of Paul in Acts and in the undisputed Pauline letters (no justification by faith, for example). The “we passages” are therefore “fictive interpolations” to give the story the ring of truth. Perrin is more open to treating Colossians and 2 Timothy as authentic (and Philemon is rarely disputed). Paul’s letters deal with specific issues. There is no reason to expect every theological issue to be reflected in Acts.

What can we know about a historical Luke? That the gospel is written in good Greek, perhaps the best in the New Testament, shows he was educated and Greek was his mother tongue. He knew the scripture via the Septuagint. Colossians 4: 10 through 14 implies Luke was a gentile, and possibly a physician. Perrin notes that all of this is affirmed in the Anti-Marcionite prologue, which adds the detail that Luke was from Syria (7).

The traditional view is that Luke wrote from Syrian Antioch, but “given Luke’s itinerant lifestyle, provenance is hardly matters” (9). The gospel of Luke has an audience of one, Theophilus. He argues Theophilus was Luke’s benefactor who wished to be better schooled in what he believed. But Luke addresses the two-volume work to all Christians, everywhere. Luke wrote simply because the church needed its own story, precisely the one told by Luke-Acts.

The date of the gospel of Luke depends on its relationship with Mark. Perrin generally avoids discussing source criticism in the commentary, other than the broad consensus that Luke used the Gospel of Mark. This is “taken for granted” and he is agnostic on Q (11). Scholars usually date Mark is to the early AD 70s because of the account of the destruction of the temple (Mark 13). If Luke made use of Mark, then the third gospel must be dated no earlier than 75 to 85. (Perrin does not deal with more radical dating of Luke-Acts into the second century.) However, if predictions of the fall of Jerusalem are genuine prophecy, then Mark could be dated in the mid-60s if not earlier. Luke too could be written before AD 70. Based on the end of Acts, he suggests a date in the mid-60s, shortly after Mark was written. For Perrin, the compelling factor is that there is no hint of Nero’s persecution in Luke-Acts. This seems unlikely that such a traumatic event would not leave a mark on the book.

Since Luke tells the story of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Hebrew scriptures, he points out numerous allusions to redemptive moments in Israel’s history, such as the exodus or the return from exile. The gospel of Luke traces the Spirit-directed and Spirit-powered mission of Jesus, marked by hospitality (as both guest and host at meals), concern for the poor (the socially marginalized, women, children, and gentiles).

The body of the commentary follows the standard for the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series. Perrin begins each unit with a short section on the context, followed by a verse-by-verse commentary. His comments reflect Greek exegesis and a broad reading of secondary literature, but the commentary style focuses on the English text. Where Greek appears, it is in transliteration. Perrin does not deal with syntactical or textual issues in the commentary. There are footnotes to secondary literature, but this is not a commentary on what other commentaries say.

His comments on Luke 2:2 illustrate his understanding of Luke as a historian. This verse contains a notorious historical problem. Quirinius was governor in Syria in AD 6-9 and, although he imposed a census, it is far too late to be around the birth of Jesus in 6 BC. He therefore suggests that the word protos in 2:22 means “prior” rather than “first,” so that the line reads something like “the census prior to the one ordered by Quirinius.” He points out this is the meaning of protos in Acts 1:1. Luke is the first book prior to Acts.

In his introduction, Perrin says he will “quick to point out intertextual correspondence with scripture,” I will examine several examples from the body of the commentary illustrating this method. In the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:12-24). He begins with the observation the banquet itself is “not unlike the banquet which Yahweh will make for all people” (Isa 25:6). The invitation to come to the banquet “resonates” with the invitation in Isaiah 55:1. The servant is “reminiscent” of Isaiah 53:1. The excuses in Luke 14:18-20 are “imitations” of Deuteronomy 20:5-7; 24:5 (exemptions from war). The Parable of the Prodigal son may, “at least on a secondary level of meaning,” refer to Israel’s squandered inheritance of the land, and is therefore a reference to the exile (a nod to N. T. Wright). In Luke 21:20-21, Jesus’s command to “flee to the hills” when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies does not refer to the literal “flight to Pella.” “Flee to the hills” is an allusion to “the proverbial refuge of the faithful on the spiritual abdication of Israel’s leadership” (407). Perrin cites Ezekiel 7:16, but also 1 Maccabees 2:28. Mattathias and his sons “fled to the hills” after he attacked the king’s officer (1 Macc 2:28). This helps identify the desolation in verse 20 as a desolation of cultic space, recalling Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Finally, the celestial signs in 21:25-26 are a fulfillment of Isaiah 13, a passage predicting the fall of Babylon. They are not literal phenomenon but a “scriptural collage… well-rooted in texts of judgment” (411).

Based on this brief survey, it is clear Perrin achieves his goal to “point out intertextual correspondence with Scripture.” However, I do not see this as the dominant motivation for the commentary. This is not an “Old Testament in the New” commentary, such as Beale and Carson’s one-volume commentary (Baker Academic, 2007). Perrin makes appropriate comments on how Luke has used scripture when it sheds light on Luke’s theological agenda.

Conclusion. Perrin’s Tyndale commentary on Luke is an excellent commentary on the English of the third gospel and a worthy successor to Morris’s classic commentary. This commentary will be helpful for pastors and teachers preparing to preach or teach Luke.


Other reviewed commentaries in third Tyndale series:


NB: Thanks to IVP Academic for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

Osvaldo Padilla, The Pastoral Epistles (TNTC)

Padilla, Osvaldo. The Pastoral Epistles. Tyndale New Testament Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2022. xxix+284 pp. Pb. $25.00   Link to IVP Academic  

This new volume in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series replaces the volume by Donald Guthrie, originally published in 1957. Osvaldo Padilla (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity and author of The Speeches of Outsiders in Acts (Cambridge 2008) and The Acts of the Apostles: Interpretation, History and Theology (IVP Academic, 2016, reviewed here).

The forty-three-page introduction begins, as all commentaries on the pastoral epistles must, with a detailed discussion of authorship. Beginning with the evidence dating to the second century, he observes there is strong evidence for Pauline authorship (6). Padilla traces the various challenges to Pauline authorship but concludes “the view taken in this commentary is that the belief in Paul’s authorship of the pastoral epistles is not something that can be proved by engaging in argument and counterargument with those scholars who deny Pauline authorship” (10). He confesses that Protestant evangelical submission to the authority of scripture means that 1 Timothy 1:1 says Paul wrote the book, so Paul wrote the book. Nevertheless, he still engages with the typical arguments made against Pauline authorship such as the lack of connection with Paul’s missionary movements and various linguistic arguments and social arguments such as (Paul’s view of women in ministry).

Padilla, Pastoral EpistlesPadilla affirms traditional Pauline authorship because the biblical text states Paul is the author. Pseudepigrapha was not an acceptable practice in the early church (with the exception of false teachers) and no early Christian writer doubted Paul wrote the letters, and all the usual arguments are flawed (15). Most challenging, he states that the majority position is influenced by academic and social pressure to deny Pauline authorship (15).

With respect to the genre, Paul used a letter genre that would help him accomplish his task. The pastorals are parenetic letters which work with the ethos of authority of the author to provide exhortations but are not official or administrative letters (19) 1 Timothy and Titus are letters both parenetic, 2 Timothy includes features of a farewell letter. But are these pastoral letters? Padilla retains the traditional title but understands the theological emphasis of the letters is on church life. He also recognizes that there are three separate letters and readers need to respect their uniqueness.

The occasion of second Timothy is clear: Paul wrote the letter at the end of his life from Rome between AD 64-67. First Timothy and Titus are more difficult to place. The traditional view is they reflect Paul’s ministry after the book of Acts (since they are difficult to fit into the missionary journeys of Acts). Padilla takes up a suggestion found in Badcock’s 1937 commentary. Paul wrote Titus first, during Paul’s Ephesian residence (Acts 19) and 1 Timothy on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 20-21). Paul wrote 2 Timothy while under house arrest in Caesarea (Acts 24-26).

What prompted Paul to write these letters? Padilla suggests 1 Timothy 3:14-16 is the key to the pastoral epistles, following the suggestion by Celsus Spicq (23). First, Paul wrote to stress the importance of godly leadership if the church is going to thrive. Second, he wanted to remind believers that conduct is grounded in sound doctrine. Third, he emphasizes that sound doctrine is based on proper Christology and soteriology. Padilla recognizes a polemic against false teachers in the letters. Following Martin Hengel, the false teachers were Jewish Christians, possibly itinerant teachers Hengel called “Hasidic-Essene Gnostics.”

Padilla summarizes four theological emphases in these letters. First, the God of the pastoral epistles is the God of Israel and the father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this God is the savior. Second, the letters describe salvation with the language of eternal life and look forward to a future salvation at the return of Christ. Third, the letters describe the Christian life as doing good works and conducting a godly life. But Padilla sets both into a Greco-Roman context: good works are connected to Greek virtues like godliness. Finally, Paul’s theology of the church is like his other letters. A key element for the church in the pastoral epistles is guarding or keeping the gospel.

Most people evaluating a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles naturally turn to 1 Timothy 2:8-15 to examine the author’s view of Paul’s controversial comments on women. Paul addresses both men and women, his comments disproportionately target women. Padilla begins his commentary on this section by setting the context, specifically the Greek virtue of sophrosyne. In 1 Timothy 2:9, Paul says women ought to cloth themselves in sophrosyne. The word is often translated as “self-control” (ESV), “decently” (NRSV) or “propriety” (NIV). Paul uses this word twice (2:9, 2:15) to frame this controversial section. Padilla shows that the word can apply to women in several different contexts. First, he cites Sophocles, Euripides, and Plutarch, who all used the word in the context of speech and language, “sophrosyne is demonstrated in silence” (86). But sophrosyne also appears in contexts of sexual self-control. Citing Philo of Alexandria, Potiphar’s wife acted without sophrosyne when she approached Joseph. Third, the word is used as an opposite for immodesty. A woman who wears immodest, expensive clothing with excessive ornamentation is not demonstrating sophrosyne.

Besides this linguistic evidence, Padilla suggests Paul is dealing with two specific issues in the church. First, there are women who lack sophrosyne or are not demonstrating sophrosyne properly as a wife, mother, and manager of the home (all part of Greco-Roman sophrosyne values). Second, there seems to be an issue with false teachers targeting women and leading them astray, perhaps explaining the unusual language about Eve being deceived in 2:13-14.

Padilla does not address “have authority” until his commentary on 2:12. He summarizes Köstenberger’s view that “to teach” and “to have authority” (authenteo) are both positive in 1 Timothy and Paul’s issue is the gender of the person teaching and exercising authority. Padilla finds this problematic since the words are neither positive nor negative by themselves. In 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul uses didaskeo positively, “teaching sound doctrine” but in 4:1 Paul uses the same word for the “doctrine of demons.” For Padilla, “to have authority” (authenteo) has a pejorative sense. There is something wrong with the way some women are exercising authority in a domineering way. He therefore suggests authenteo means something like, “I do not permit women to take control and tell men what to do” (94). If they are acting in a domineering way, they are not demonstrating sophrosyne. Paul prohibits men who behave in this way from serving as overseers (1 Tim 3:1-7). I suggest, “don’t be a toxic, bullying leader,” whether one is a male or female. His conclusion: “It does seem unlikely that we should take this passage to mean that women are forbidden from teaching men” (97).

This leads to the question of elders and deacons. 1 Timothy 3:1-13. Padilla observes there is a significant overlap between the roles and little description of concrete work for each role. The overseer has general oversight and is assisted by the deacon. But the reader should be careful to not import later church office into 1 Timothy 3. Padilla also says it is problematic to conflate the role of an overseer with the role of a modern pastor. The biblical model focuses on the character and attitudes, rather than a charismatic or powerful leader with great preaching and administration skills (or, I would add here, just about anything else that contemporary leadership books consider to be important for leaders like “vision casting,” etc.) He concludes “leaders in the church must be godly men and women who have benefited been gifted by the Holy Spirit to teach scripture competently and care pastorally for the congregation, similar to the way parents care for their children” (110). Note well the pronouns.

Like other volumes of the Tyndale New Testament Commentary, Padilla’s exegesis is based on the Greek text, but the commentary focuses on the English. The commentary is not overly distracted by finer points of grammar, so readers without Greek should benefit from his comments. The commentary is rich with illustrations from Greco-Roman sources to illustrate how Paul is working within his culture. Each section ends with an application focusing on theological issues, but especially on how Paul’s comments should be applied in a Christian Church context.

Conclusion. Padilla’s commentary on the Pastoral Epistles is an excellent example of writing a commentary that is the “right size.” It is brief compared to I. H Marshall’s mammoth ICC volume, but it is detailed to enough to help pastors and teachers prepare to present these important letters to their communities.

One way to see how commentaries have changed over the last sixty years is to compare Guthrie’s popular commentary with this new volume. Guthrie had a single page of abbreviations which also served as a select bibliography. Padilla’s new commentary has nine pages of select bibliography and another eight pages of abbreviations.



Other reviewed commentaries in third Tyndale series:



NB: Thanks to IVP Academic for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 – Paul’s Last Words

Despite his certain execution, Paul knows that he has been faithful to his calling from God. Paul describes himself as already “being poured out like a drink offering.” This is a particularly vivid image that anyone in the ancient world would understand.

The verb is a single word (σπένδω) usually translated as the phrase “poured out like a drink offering.” This refers to pouring wine (or water) onto the altar as the main sacrifice was being burned. In Num 15:24, for example, a sacrifice is a “pleasing aroma to the Lord” and is accompanied by an offering of wine and grain as well. A drink offering is never the main sacrifice, it is one that is given along with the main sacrifice.

Good FightPaul used this same word in Phil 2:17 in a similar context, he refers to his life as a kind of sacrifice that accompanies the “main sacrifice.” In Philippians 2:17, the main sacrifice is the faith of the Philippian church. Here in 2 Tim 4:6 Paul does not specify the main offering. Perhaps he is thinking of Jesus as the main sacrifice for sin, and the martyrdom of the believer as that which accompanies the main sacrifice.

He uses three metaphors to describe his faithfulness to his commission. In each of these three lines Paul emphasizes the object, “the fight, I fought, the race, I finished, the faith, I kept.”

The phrase “fought the good fight” is common in contemporary English, but usually it refers to making a very good effort. But the adjective “good” modifies the noun, so it is a “good fight.” Paul’s point is that is life was like a long boxing match, but the reason for the fight was good and anyone who takes up that fight after he departs will also be “fighting a good fight.” It is the task to which Paul was called was good, as opposed to the false teachers who also fight (about words, etc.). They are “fighting the pointless fight.”

The second metaphor is also sports-related. Paul has “finished the race.” Looking ahead at the end of this section, Paul knows that he has competed well and will have his reward when he stands before the judge.

Third, looking back on his ministry, Paul can say he has “kept the faith.” This ought to understood of what the “faith” means in 2 Timothy. He has not qualified or compromised his doctrine in the face of persecution.

Paul was prepared to preach his gospel whenever and wherever he was called, he was ultimately committed to “discharge the duties of a minister of the gospel.” Even in his death, Paul is setting himself up for Timothy as an example. Being faithful to the Gospel is dangerous and may very well put Timothy in same sort of imprisonment Paul is facing at this moment.

In fact, Paul has already been “rescued from the lion’s mouth,” despite no one coming to his defense (vv. 16-17). The “earlier defense” could refer to the end of the book of Acts, Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. But Paul seems to be referring to more recent events, so it is likely that he has in mind a preliminary trial after his second arrest in Rome, perhaps just after the Fire of Rome.

The reference to being saved from the “mouth of the lions” could be literal, but if it is it means that he was not thrown to the lions when he might have been. It is not the case that he was in the arena about to be killed and somehow he was rescued. Think of this as someone who is acquitted from a capital offense “escaping the hangman’s noose.” The important fact is that God rescued him despite the fact that no human came to his defense.

Finally, Paul looks forward to standing before his Lord “in that Day. ”The “day” refers to the moment when Paul stands before the judgment seat of Christ and receives a victor’s crown. That he is “in Christ” qualifies him to stand there, not the fact that he ran the race well or that he finished the race to which he was called

Paul will receive a “crown of righteousness.” This is the natural metaphor that follows from the use of a race or a boxing match a few lines before. But is this righteousness a description of the crown, or is righteousness itself the reward? Typically we focus on justification as righteousness given to the believer in Christ at the moment of salvation, in other texts Paul looks at our ultimate justification (being made righteous) at the resurrection (Gal 5:5).

Paul’s final words to Timothy focus on the Gospel. Like Timothy, we must continue being faithful to our calling and stand on the foundation of Scripture, clearly proclaiming the gospel. This is the “good fight” to which we have all been called.

2 Timothy 3:13-15 – Avoiding Self-Deception

MontebankThe opponents in Ephesus stand in contrast to Paul’s record of suffering (v. 13) It is Paul and Timothy’s opponents who are the imposters. The noun (γόης) Paul uses here is a common way to describe an opponent in a philosophical debate. The noun originally referred to a sorcerer (T.Sol 19:3 uses it for a witch, Herodotus, Hist. 7.791.2 for magicians, sometimes it refers to a “juggler,” [Aeschines, Ctes. 137], presumably because they do some sort of distracting act while they pick the pockets of the crowd.).

By the first century this word was used to describe a swindler or a con-man who used some kind of deception to gain a profit from his audience. I think of the character from old Western movies, the “snake oil salesman.” The Greek writer Demosthenes used the word in this sense: “for fear I should mislead and deceive you, calling me an artful speaker, a mountebank, an impostor, and so forth” (Dem., 18 276).

Ironically, these deceivers succeed in deceiving themselves! This is also a common way of describing sophists and charlatans in Greco-Roman world (Dio Chrysostom, Orations, 4.33). The way to avoid these sorts of people is proper “divine” education (4.29).

Dio Chrysostom, Orations 4.33 If, however, he falls in with some ignorant and charlatan sophist, the fellow will wear him out by leading him hither and thither, dragging him now to the east and now to the west and now to the south, not knowing anything himself but merely guessing, after having been led far afield himself long before by impostors like himself.

Similarly, the way to avoid the self-deceptive teaching of the opponents in Ephesus is to devote oneself to divine teaching through the Scripture which has been given by God.

Paul encourages Timothy to “continue in what he has learned” from the Scriptures (vv. 14-15). Timothy was trained in the scripture from a young age. Jewish family, reading the Old Testament in Greek (most likely). While the opponents are progressing into more esoteric “deep” knowledge, Timothy is told to remain where he is. He has already learned the truth and has been convinced that it is the truth. There is no need for him to dabble in the “myths and genealogies” of the opponents.

The Jews regularly referred to their scriptures as “sacred writings,” Paul can only have in mind here the Old Testament. At this point in history it is unlikely that the Gospels were circulating as Scripture, perhaps Paul’s churches cherished his letters as authoritative. But the New Testament as we know it simply does not exist yet!

Paul says Timothy was “raised on the Old Testament.” We know that his mother was Jewish and it is likely that he was taught the Old Testament, perhaps having some training in the Septuagint and Hebrew Bible in a synagogue. I doubt that Paul selected Timothy as a missionary companion if he was totally ignorant of the Bible prior to coming to faith in Jesus!

The remedy for self-deception, for Paul, is an absolute reliance on the Scripture for faith and practice. While the opponents in Ephesus pursue fruitless “myths and genealogies” Timothy is to remember what the Scriptures plainly teach and pursue righteousness.

I suspect if people actually read the Bible, they would not tolerate the sort of “teaching” that passes for popular Christian preaching!

2 Timothy 3:10-12 – Why did Paul Suffer?

In contrast to the false teachers, Paul lists his own suffering as an example of what will happen to anyone that wants to live a godly life (vv. 10-12). This is somewhat surprising for contemporary Christians who are fed a steady diet of “health and wealth” gospel: if you are really spiritual and doing everything God requires, you will be blessed, you will be happy, healthy and wealthy. That teaching is the exact opposite of Paul’s point in this passage.  Paul knows that his Gospel is the truth because he has suffered physically as a result of his preaching of Jesus.

It might seem odd, but Paul recalls his first missionary journey as an example of his suffering. He specifically has in mind the persecution he faced in Asia Minor (Acts 14). In Antioch, Paul is opposed by Jews from the Synagogue, who follow him to Iconium to harass him. Paul was attacked in Lystra, stoned and left for dead (Acts 14). Perhaps these persecutions were chosen because he was “left for dead,” or perhaps this period continued to haunt him in his ministry for some time.

Paul StonedWhile that physical attack was important, Paul has in mind the constant treat from the Jewish community throughout that first journey as well as the threats to his churches reflected in the book of Galatians.  The attack on Paul’s character reflected in Paul’s early letters may have been more painful than the physical pain he faced in Lystra.  It appears that some of Paul’s opponents described him as unqualified to preach the gospel (Gal 1) or worse, as a charlatan (1 Thess 2, for example).

A potential problem with this review of Paul’s ministry is that it all occurred on the first missionary journey, before Timothy began to travel with Paul (Acts 15). This is used to argue the letter of 2 Timothy is a pious forgery. The writer introduced a historical error by saying Timothy witnessed these events himself. On the other hand, Timothy was from Lystra himself and joined Paul mission with the full knowledge that Paul is often persecuted physically and opposed by very powerful people where ever he preaches the Gospel!

Paul states very clearly everyone who desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. This is a common theme throughout the New Testament: Jesus was persecuted and so too will his followers face similar trials.  Galatians 5:11 indicates that Paul was persecuted because he was preaching that the Gentiles were not under the Law.  The immediate background is his troubles in Asia Minor to which he alludes here in 2 Timothy (cf. Rom 8:35, 1 Cor 4:12, 2 Cor 4:9, 12:10, Gal 4:29, 5:11, 2 Thess 1:4).

If Timothy’s desire is to live a godly life, he will in fact face some sort of trial or  persecution.  Paul knows that Timothy is at the moment facing a difficult time because of the false teachers in Ephesus, even if that has not developed into a physical persecution at this point. This text is clear that the one who is “in Christ” will suffer like Christ.  Perhaps this is an indication that the opponents in Ephesus are not really “in Christ,” they simply do not suffer!

Imagine what would happen in Evangelical Christianity if people really believed they should suffer for Jesus rather than expecting to be wealthy because of their faith. When was the last time you took a rock to the head because of your faith in Jesus?