Raymond F. Collins is a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Providence and Professor Emeritus of New Testament at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Collins has authored numerous books, including several New Testament commentaries, such as First Corinthians in the Sacra Pagina series (2007) and Second Corinthians in the Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament series (2013). Collins has written broadly in the field of New Testament and Pauline Studies, and thus the present commentary on the Pastoral Epistles is situated firmly within his academic wheelhouse.
As part of the highly acclaimed New Testament Library series, indeed the inaugural volume of the series, I & II Timothy and Titus: A Commentary is exemplar in almost every respect. Collins opens with a brief introduction to the Pastoral Epistles before treating each epistle individually. Unsurprisingly, Collins assumes the so-called “scholarly consensus” concerning the authorship of the epistles as occurring sometime after the death of Paul. Thus, for Collins, the composition of the Pastoral Epistles is pseudepigraphical in nature and the author is appropriately designated by the title “the Pastor.” Those that touchdown outside of this critical consensus concerning the Pauline authorship will appreciate Collins’ survey of the issue, but likely find his conclusions lacking in argumentative substance. Collins likewise discusses the nature of the Pastorals and their difference from other epistles, the literary from of the epistles, etc. Again, the introduction is brief, but Collins does well to cover some of the necessary grounds.
The commentary proper handles each epistle individually and includes a condensed introduction on each epistle, an outline of the content, and the treatment of the text. Collins has also included ten excursus sections scattered throughout the volume. The excursus sections cover topics such as Christians in the world, faith, church order, the Pastor’s perspective on women, etc. Much of Collins’ treatment is flavored with a reliance upon an underlying presence of Hellenistic motifs within the Pastorals. This is brought out several times in the commentary, including the notorious passage on women in 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Collins approach is unique, and the reader will likely benefit from the vantage point that he presents. However, one of the more disappointing aspects of the volume is the lack of an author translation (NRSV is used) and the accompanied textual notes that are present in the subsequent volumes of the series. This is particularly evident with passages such as Titus 2:13, which typically should have provided an alternative translation and commentary around the reasoning of such. Both are unfortunately lacking here.
I & II Timothy and Titus: A Commentary by Raymond F. Collins is an excellent commentary. It provides a clear and consistent treatment of the Pastorals from a critical, Catholic perspective. In any case, the reader should appreciate Collins’ approach, as it will compliment other volumes on the Pastorals extremely well. I don’t see this volume replacing Mounce (2000), Knight (1992), or Towner (2006), but it is certainly worth the investment for those interested in the Pastorals, It comes highly recommended!