A Pastoral Letter to Theo addresses some of the fundamental concerns of recent research into biblical interpretation by Adele Berlin and Kenneth Archer. It also takes into account the communicative literary and rhetorical techniques that were prominent in the Greco-Roman world when the New Testament documents were composed. Elbert suggests that attention to levels of context, plot, repetition, and characterization or personification comprise a proper method for understanding a New Testament writer's original meaning and intent.
Generally, the potentially groundbreaking thesis in much of Elbert's work is for a literary link between the “Spirit” language in Paul's letters and the later narrative of Luke-Acts. Specifically, A Pastoral Letter to Theo reflects heartfelt, pastoral concerns based on detailed contextual study of early Christianity and Christian experience. The book contextually examines in detail several passages pertaining to the ministry of women in missionary-minded early Christianity and concludes that this ministry was thought to be vital for the evangelistic enterprise.