The apostle Paul regards Jesus' response to Pontius Pilate as a "Good Confession" in [1 Timothy 6] : "I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession" (6:13 παραγγέλλω σοι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζωοποιοῦντος τὰ πάντα καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ μαρτυρήσαντος ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν)

  • The only confession by Jesus to Pontius Pilate in [Mark 15:2, Matthew 27:11, Luke 23:3] was : " σύ λέγω ".

  • Paul could not have been referencing John 18:36 if the letter of [1 Timothy] was dated around 64-65 CE & John's Gospel was dated around 85-95CE.

Why did Paul (in 1 Timothy 6:13) admire Jesus' avoidance of [yes|no] answers (when confessing personal truths to Pontius Pilate) by stating σύ λέγω "Sy legō" made a "Good Confession" (καλός ὁμολογία)?

  • Paul (in 1 Timothy 6:13) admire[s] Jesus' avoidance of [yes|no] answers - Does he ?
    – Lucian
    Oct 26, 2021 at 5:15

2 Answers 2


Paul commanded Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Paul gave an example of this good confession:

13b and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession

Paul enjoined us to follow the example of Jesus before Pilate.

The synoptic gospels do not describe so much interaction between Jesus and Pilate. There is more in John 18:

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Jesus demonstrated gentleness. Paul wanted us to pursue gentleness while fighting the good fight of faith.

37“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Jesus made his good confession by telling Pilate the truth.

Jesus' remark : "Sy legō" (σύ λέγω) in [Mark 15:2, Matthew 27:11] was a "Good Confession" (καλός ὁμολογία) to Pontius Pilate - [1 Timothy 6:13]?

Jesus made more remarks than that to Pilate.

  • How can Paul be referencing John 18:36 if the letter of [1 Timothy] was dated around 64-65 CE & John's Gospel was dated around 85-95CE? - Paul (when writing 1 Timothy) would not have known John's Gospel. - Correct? Oct 25, 2021 at 17:27
  • Paul could have learned of the account by word of mouth before John wrote it down.
    – user35953
    Oct 25, 2021 at 17:35
  • +1 Good answer, but I'm answering with more detail.
    – Perry Webb
    Oct 25, 2021 at 23:31

This indicated that Paul, living during the time of eye witnesses, had access to much more information than in the Gospels.

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25, ESV)

This shows that Paul's information about Jesus wasn't limited to the Gospels. This has additional details compared to the Synoptics.

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Cor. 11:23–26, ESV)

While the Gospel of John was written after Paul's letter, it still gives us some information about Jesus' testimony to Pilate that centered on being truthful.

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (John 18:33–38, ESV)

This is probably what corresponds to the testimony the same time as the Synoptics.

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:7–11, ESV)

The problem Jesus faced was, if he fully defended himself, he probably could have escaped crucifixion. Thus, Jesus answered truthfully, except he did not answer Pilate's question, "Where are you from?"

Paul, often jailed for his preaching Christ, evidently drew strength in Jesus' example when on trial. In Acts we have example of Paul giving his testimony while on trial, even his inviting them to follow Christ.

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