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Aida Spencer: 2 Timothy and Titus, NCCS

In a similar fashion to how she began her approach to Paul’s letter to Titus, Dr. Spencer introduces the apostle’s second letter to Timothy. After discussing context and a few inaccuracies, she shifts her focus to opening chapter of the letter emphasizing Paul’s appeal to his familial type relationship to Timothy amidst times of persecution. Dr. Spencer makes significant mention of the personality of Timothy, writing about his compassion, joy and faith. Spencer entertains the idea that Timothy may have been an actual soldier, making his timidity not a weakness but rather a realistic awareness of fear and power.

After establishing the relationship and the personalities of the two men, Paul and Timothy, Dr. Spencer moves on to investigate the substance of Paul’s message, which begins with a summary of the Gospel. She very insightfully recognizes the contrasting statements the Paul continues to make in regards to what the world desires and what Timothy ought to keep hold of in his teaching. Spencer explains Paul’s pattern of reasoning as she connects his warning of what could go wrong to his highlighting of what it looks like when it goes right, by way of the example of the believers in Asia and that of those in the household of Onesiphorus.

Spencer continues to challenge the conservative interpretation of Paul’s letters by stating that his reminder to Timothy was “to entrust the gospel educational process to trustworthy humans.” She explains that 2 Timothy should be read in the context of 1 Timothy, which advocated for women to be educated. Spencer makes a strong point that the act of limiting anthropos to mean men only by certain scholars is “because they presuppose that the teaching offices are restricted to men only.” Thus, the bias dictates the result.

In the concluding chapters of 2 Timothy, Spencer again looks at the idea of women prisoners from another angle and lays claim to the figurative language that Paul is using to represent the idea of false teachers corrupting one’s mind. She very convincingly reminds the reader that Timothy was taught from infancy by Lois and Eunice—indicating that these women are affirmed by Paul and that he directed Timothy to “remember them.” Lastly, Spencer makes a brief case for an egalitarian marriage by referencing Prisca an Aquila and their ministry together as a couple.

Dr. Spencer’s commentary is very well written and offers strong arguments. It does a terrific job of examining what the text states and regularly points out the presence of women within the scene of the early church. Her commentary advocates for a different perspective on women’s functional ministry than what has been made popular by other conservative evangelicals. As was stated in the introduction to this review, her words should be heard and her position should be a point of reflection for those who disagree.

Reviewed by John M. Ames

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Category: Biblical Studies, Summer 2015

About the Author: John M. Ames has his Masters in Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is the church planting founder and Lead Pastor of West End Community Church in Providence, Rhode Island. John founded and directed a non-profit called Real Steps that served youth and families from affordable housing communities in the city of Waltham, Massachusetts. John previously worked in Boston as part of Operation Homefront, managing a partnership between city clergy and the police. During that time, John also worked alongside the Emmanuel Gospel Center as part of the Greater Boston Church Planting Collaborative, serving under Rev. Ralph Kee. John is the son of missionaries and grew up in Cote D’Ivoire. He is married to Jenny, they have a two and a half year old son named Micah. Facebook

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