Both letters were addressed to persons left by the writer to preside in their respective churches during his absence. Both letters are principally occupied in describing the qualifications to be sought for in those whom they should appoint to offices in the church; and the ingredients of this description are in both letters nearly the same. Timothy and Titus are likewise cautioned against the same prevailing corruptions, and in particular against the same misdirection of their cares and studies.
This affinity obtains not only in the subject of the letters, which from the similarity of situation in the persons to whom they were addressed might be expected to be somewhat alike, but extends in a great variety of instances to the phrases and expressions. The writer accosts his two friends with the same salutation, and passes on to the business of his letter by the same transition (comp. 1 Tim. 1:2, 3 with Titus 1:4, 5; 1 Tim.1:4 with Titus 1:13, 14; 3:9; 1 Tim. 4:12 with Titus 2:7, 15).
Easton's Bible Dictionary (1897) gives a date for the First Epistle to Timothy of around AD 66 or 67 and says of 2 Timothy, "It was probably written a year or so after the first, and from Rome, where Paul was for a second time a prisoner, and was sent to Timothy by the hands of Tychicus," as the text indicates. Of the Epistle to Titus, Easton's says "Paul's authorship was undisputed in antiquity, as far as known, but is frequently doubted today. It was probably written about the same time as the First Epistle to Timothy, with which it has many affinities."
Adherents of the traditional position date the Epistle to Titus from the circumstance that it was written after Paul's visit to Crete in Titus 1:5 That visit could not be the one referred to in Acts 27:7, when Paul was on his voyage to Rome as a prisoner, and where he continued a prisoner for two years. Thus traditional exegesis supposes that after his release Paul sailed from Rome into Asia, passing Crete by the way, and that there he left Titus "to set in order the things that were wanting." Thence he would have gone to Ephesus, where he left Timothy, and from Ephesus to Macedonia, where he wrote the First Epistle to Timothy, and thence, according to the superscription of this epistle, to Nicopolis in Epirus, from which place he wrote to Titus, about A.D. 66 or 67.
Those who ascribe the books to Paul find their placement fits within his life and work and see the linguistic differences as complementary to differences in the recipients. Other Pauline epistles have fledgling congregations as the audience, the pastoral epistles are directed to Paul's close companions, evangelists whom he has extensively worked with and trained. In this view, linguistic differences are to be expected, if one is to assert Pauline authorship to them. Johnson'asserts the impossibility of demonstrating the authenticity of the Pastoral Letters. It is possible to state, however, that the grounds for declaring them inauthentic are so flawed as to seriously diminish the validity of the scholarly "majority opinion".' Stott and Donald Guthrie likewise say that the authorship of Paul is the most likely explanation and the burden of proof now falls to those who would dispute it.
In the First Epistle to Timothy, for example, the task of preserving the tradition is entrusted to ordained presbyters; the clear sense of presbuteros as an indication of an office, is a sense that to these scholars seems alien to Paul and the apostolic generation. Examples of other offices include the twelve apostles in Acts (an additional apostle was selected to replace Judas Iscariot) and the appointment of seven deacons, thus establishing the office of the diaconate. Presbuteros is sometimes translated as elder; by a longer route it is also the Greek root for the English word priest. (The office of presbyter is also mentioned in James chapter 5.)
A second example would be gender roles depicted in the letters, which proscribe roles for women that appear to deviate from Paul's more egalitarian teaching that in Christ there is neither male nor female.
The later dates are usually based on the contention that the Pastorals are responding to specific second-century developments (Marcionism, gnosticism); the fact that they are absent from Marcion's canon, assembled ca 140, is not an overly significant part of the argument for their date (though it does weigh into the larger body of evidence), for Marcion's exclusionary canon omitted all New Testament books save edited versions of Luke and the Pauline epistles, omitting the Epistle to the Hebrews and these pastoral epistles, according to Tertullian. However, scholars do not agree that the targets of the epistles' criticism can be definitely identified.
According to Raymond E. Brown (An Introduction to the New Testament, 1997), the majority of scholars who accept a post-Pauline date of composition for the Pastorals favour the period 80-100. Scholars supporting a date in this mid range can draw on the description in 2 Timothy 1:5 of Timothy's Christian mother and Grandmother who passed on their faith, as alluding to the original audience being third generation Christians.
Within the New Testament, these letters are arranged in size order and some scholars doubt this represents chronological order, speculating that 2 Timothy was an earlier book than 1 Timothy.