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11 “In Season and Out of Season”: 2 Timothy 4:2

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Chapter Summary

According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the Sophist Gorgias was the first person to write about the necessity for a speaker to adapt his words to the actual circumstances, the καιροί, in which he delivers them. The use of καιροί and its cognates became a commonplace. Philo of Alexandria, in a discussion of the correct καιρός, claims that untimely bold speech (παρρησία ἄκαιρος) is not really bold speech, but the products of diseased minds and emotions. Attributing to Paul the kind of concern one sees in Plutarch, they understood Paul to be advising Timothy to move from the harshest to the mildest admonition in the way a physician progressively administers surgery, drugs, and mild medicines. The admonition to preach ἀκαίρως is more problematical, but it too should be understood in light of the Pastorals' perspective.

Keywords: 2 Timothy 4:2; Dionysius of Halicarnassus; Paul; Philo of Alexandria

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