The Greek feminine noun ἐπιϕάνεια, “appearance, manifestation,” occurs five times in the Pastoral Epistles, but nowhere else in the New Testament—except in 2 Thess 2:8. The use of ἐπιϕάνεια instead of the more eschatological term παρουσία, “presence, arrival,” is usually considered to be a feature of the Pastoral Epistles as a corpus. In case of individual compositions, this common theme could be elaborated in different but complementary ways. This article aims to investigate the meaning of ἐπιϕάνεια in the three Pastoral Epistles separately by a close reading of all the pertinent passages. It will be argued that ἐπιϕάνεια in 2 Timothy always concerns the earthly appearing of Christ (not only in 2 Tim 1:10 but also, contrary to the opinion of most commentators, in 4:1 and 4:8 as well), whereas in 1 Timothy and Titus the word refers to his future appearing (in 1 Tim 6:14 and Titus 2:13). The difference between 1 Timothy and Titus on the one hand and 2 Timothy on the other can be explained by the testamentary character of 2 Timothy. The apostle Paul, finding himself in captivity, must take into account the possibility of an early death, which would prevent him from experiencing the parousia. So, when contemplating the ἐπιϕάνεια of Christ, he rather highlights the importance of the incarnation in the proclamation of the Son of God.

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