Guard the Truth: The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus

By John Stott
Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity (1996). 233 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Alex Montoya
9.1 (Spring 1998) : 120-120

Here is another splendid work by John Stott, former rector of All Souls Church in London and a preacher, evangelist, and expository preacher of the Scripture.

Guard The Truth is a biblical exposition of 1 Timothy and Titus. Stott contends that "the true apostolic succession is a continuity not of order but of doctrine, namely the teaching of the apostles handed on from generation to generation" (12). Paul was concerned about the preservation of that doctrine and so he wrote the Pastoral epistles. Here he tells Timothy and Titus to "guard the truth."

Stott believes in Pauline authorship of the Pastorals: "The most likely scenario is that Paul the apostle wrote the three Pastorals, toward the end of his life, addressing contemporary issues, and communicating through a trusted amanuensis" (34).

Here you have a deeply spiritual layman-preacher's commentary showing the fruit of deep scholarship and diligent labor but without the technical terms or expressions. The sections are well outlined with numerous summaries in the paragraphs. It is a homiletical jewel if one wants to preach through these two epistles.

The author does not avoid the difficulties surrounding certain passages. Stott endeavors to give the reader the different options for the various positions so that he/she may weigh the evidence for all opinions. This is very helpful. He usually lands on the conservative side, though he waffles somewhat on 1 Tim 2:11-15 in his treatment of women in ministry.

 Serious students of the Pastorals should consult the more extensive and critical works used by Stott. Nevertheless, this volume can be a useful tool in discipling lay leaders, especially lay elders and deacons. There is a study guide located at the end of the book for group discussion, which should prove very helpful.