Concern for Social Respectability in the Pastoral Letters (Box 22.5)

The Pastoral Letters exhibit special concern for the social respectability of Christians:

In general, Christians are to be productive and obedient, good citizens whose lives are free of anything offensive or scandalous (1 Tim. 2:1–3, 9–10; 3:2–13; 2 Tim. 2:22–25; Titus 1:5–8; 2:3–10; 3:1–2, 14). The virtue of “self-control” receives particular emphasis (2 Tim. 1:7; Titus 1:8; 2:5–6, 12). Thus these letters make clear that Christianity is not socially subversive and that the gospel has a certain “civilizing function”: it trains those who would otherwise be “vicious brutes” (Titus 1:12; cf. 3:3) to live in ways that are “self-controlled, upright, and godly” (Titus 2:11–12).