To responsibly exegete the text of First Timothy, one must become familiar with the vocabulary. But examination of word meanings involves more than simply looking up words in a lexicon and choosing a gloss that seems appropriate.
Rick Brannan evaluates the vocabulary of the First Timothy in light of the New Testament, the Septuagint (LXX), the Apostolic Fathers, the works of Philo, the works of Josephus, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, and other material. Many commentaries and other works of exegesis mention material from these sources to provide background information or examples of word usage, duly noting references to such works in footnotes or endnotes. Brannan's work, however, provides full quotations (in translation) of the relevant references. Instead of relegating these citations to footnotes that are seldom if ever looked up, the cited text itself is reproduced for the reader to evaluate.
Rick Brannan has produced a robust and rigorous exegetical introduction to First Timothy. This book is a great guide to the nuances of the Greek text that interpreters need to grapple with as they attempt to interpret this letter. Whether it is women “saved through childbirth” or how “you will save both yourself and your hearers,” Brannan shows you what you need to know as you wrestle with First Timothy. — Dr. Michael F. Bird (PhD University of Queensland) is Lecturer in Theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia.
Rick Brannan’s methodology for these word studies in First Timothy opens new semantic vistas because he takes into account the usage of the Greek words in contemporary Koine works like the Pseudepigrapha and Josephus. Furthermore, he illustrates the “effective” use of these lexemes in the Apostolic Fathers as well. He is careful not to be guilty of anachronism in the latter practice but simply illustrates how the word was understood in Christian literature written soon after the Pastorals. In some ways, this is a ground-breaking approach that deserves serious consideration by other commentators on the sacred text. — Dr. William Varner is Professor of Bible and Greek at The Master's College.