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Lyle Brecht 7/25/09

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Lyle Brecht – 25-Jul-09 EFM 2.4 – THE WORLD TO WHICH THE WORD CAME

Against a pagan (Hellenistic) world cynical about prayer, during Jesus’ day, Jews recited the
Shema (the creed) and prayed the Tephilla (blessings) in the morning and the evening, and the
Tephilla alone in the afternoon. Prayer was seen as an integral aspect of their everyday lives, at
which they may have spent 3 hours each day.

The Shema is a creed from the Torah consisting of Deut 6:4-9; Deut 11:13-21; and Numbers
15:37-41:

“Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might…

By ~90 CE, the Tephilla commonly consisted of 18 benedictions. The first three benedictions of
the Tephilla consisted of prayers 1) for the continuity of Israel’s covenant with God; 2)
acknowledging God’s power to raise the dead; and 3) God’s sovereignty in their lives.1 The first
benediction of the Tephilla was:

“Blessed be thou Lord, our God and the God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of
Isaac, and the God of Jacob, God great, mighty, and fearful, most high God, Master of heaven
and earth. Blessed be thou, Lord, the shield of Abraham.”2

Women were regularly present in the synagogue during worship services and maybe both women
and children may have been included among the readers of the prayers.3 Women sat in the same
room as the men during this period.4 Women could be elders or leaders of synagogues during this
period.5
1
Eliade, Mircea, ed. The Encyclopedia of Religion “T” (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company,
1987) p. 310.
2
In ancient times writing down prayers was considered forbidden; scripture used for prayers was recited
from memory. In public prayer at the synagogue, the reader prayed aloud before the congregation, which
responded “Amen” to the blessing. It was not until ~500 CE that the Jewish prayer book, the Siddur or
Seder Tefillot (after completion of the Talmud) was composed and came into general use in the
synagogues. Landman, Isaac, ed. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia Vol. 8 (New York: Universal Jewish
Encyclopedia, Inc., 1942) p. 620 and Encyclopaedai Judaica Vol. 13 (Jerusalem: Macmillan Co., 1971) p.
986.
3
The synagogue’s central function was as a Beit Kenesset (House of Assembly; Beit Tephilla (House of
Prayer) and Beit Midrash (House of Study) for the Torah (the Learning). Synagogue referred not so much
to the place of worship, but means for a people being built up into holy habitation for God’s indwelling.
The earliest synagogues consisted of small groups assembled in people’s homes for prayer, study and
fellowship. The first reference to the synagogue is from ~300 BCE, but it probably existed during the
Babylonian Captivity ~600 BCE and maybe even before then (EFM Lesson).
4
It was not until ~500-600 CE that partitions or divisions separating men from women were erected in
synagogues and by the Middle Ages (11th – 12th centuries CE), the custom of separate seating for men and
for women was universally practiced in synagogues (Levine, Lee I. The Ancient Synagogue: The First
Thousand Years (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000) pp. 472-490).
5
It was not until the ~ 4th Century when the norm for religious leadership became exclusively men (Levine,
p. 477.
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The pagan (Hellenistic) world of this time was paternalistic.

Aristotle: “the state is divided nearly equally in half into its male and female population”
[Nevertheless] “between the sexes, the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the
male ruler and the female subject” (Politics 1.1254b; 1.1269b).

The Roman society regularly practiced segregation in public areas; along class, ethnic or gender
lines.6

Josephus (joe-SEE-fus): “The woman, says the Lord, is in all things inferior to the man. Let her
accordingly be submissive, not for her humiliation, but that she may be directed; for the authority
has been given by God to man” (Against Apion 2.201).

Under the Jewish purity laws the period of purification after childbirth was double when the child
was a girl. A girl did not have the right to inherit property. A girl only acquired a name of her
own when she had a son. Until then she was identified in relation to some other man – first her
father, then when she was ~12 years old, her husband, when she was transferred from her father’s
house to her husband’s house. Marriage was an obligation arranged between families. Women
were considered “less clean” than men and a “perceived threat of pollution” to men.7

We get a different reaction toward women from Jesus in Mark’s Gospel.8 Look at 5 pericopes
(per-IK-o-pees) in Mark illustrating Jesus breaking with the conventions of his day:

Mark 1:29-31. The healing of Simon’s mother-in-law. Jesus healed her and she began to serve
them. The word for “serve” used here is “diakoneo” (dee-ak-on-EH-o) the same verb used earlier
of the angels ministering to Jesus in the wilderness (1:13) and it will be used next when Jesus
speaks of his own mission; “The son of man came not to be served but to serve” (diakoneo -
Mark 10:45; cf. Luke 12:37).9

6
However, in Jesus’ time, Plutarch in his On Virtuous Women provided examples where women could act
aggressively in pursuit of honor when the men who should have acted aggressively failed to do so,
conforming to the honor-shame society of Greco-Roman society (EFM Lesson).
7
Getty-Sullivan, Mary Ann. Women in the New Testament (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991) pp.
54-60, 69.
8
The Gospel of Mark was a revolutionary tract probably written ~late 60’s – early 70’s CE to a people
whose lives were in danger from both the Roman occupation and Jewish leaders who were fighting this
occupation. This was a time of massive political, social, and cultural unrest in the lives of the people to
whom this apocalyptic gospel is written. For the Jews, apocalypse did not mean the end of the world. It
meant an unveiling of the truth of God’s Kingdom in a manner that will change our lives forever (NT
Wright video series on the four Gospels). The name “Gospel of Mark was attached to this writing by the
end of the 2nd century CE. Clement of Alexandria cites Rome as the place where Mark wrote his Gospel
(Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997) pp. 158-163)..
9
Donahue, John R. and Daniel Harrington. The Gospel of Mark: Sacra Pagina (Collegeville, MN:
Liturgical Press, 2002) p. 82.
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Mark 5:21-24, 35-43. The raising of Jarius’ daughter10 and Mark 5:25-34 – The woman healed of
a hemorrhage.11 In these intercalation12 stories both women are dead or as good as dead,13 both
are restored by Jesus’ touch due to their faith, and both healings are public affairs. Both stories
reflect a degraded status of women and how this is rejected by Jesus. In both cases he defies
existing social dictates and purity laws to restore them to their full creativity and personhood
(implies their connectedness with family and community).14

Mark 7:24-30. The Syrophoenician woman.15 This pericope shows that Jesus’ teaching, feeding,
and healing power is not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles.16 This healing broke all the
social boundaries between Jew and Gentiles.

Mark 16:7. Jesus commissions the women as his shaliahim (Apostoloi apostolorum - apostles to
the apostles) to bring news of his resurrection to his own disciples. Not all testimony was
regarded as being of equal merit; most of Jesus’ contemporaries held little esteem for the
trustworthiness of the testimony of women. This narrative demonstrates that those whom the
established order thinks the least and sometimes those whom God sends with his message. In this
case, the women in Mark’s Gospel function as models for discipleship – acting on their faith – for
both men and women who will follow.17

MARK’S THEOLOGY:

10
Twelve was the legal age for betrothal/marriage both in Jewish and Roman law. This young woman died
before she can bring new life into the world. Jesus violates the most severe of the purity codes, corpse
impurity, not only to rescue this young woman, but to restore her to her life-giving capacity. Talith koum
aneste “little lamb, arise” (Donahue, pp. 176-182).
11
Mark 5:25-34. Concerning a woman who violates the purity codes by risking public contact with Jesus.
Her impurity, a hemorrhage for 12 years, was considered highly contagious. Her touching him shows
courage and saving faith. Jesus’ actions in healing her are shocking as they break the Jewish purity code
barrier between men and women and the Roman honor-shame norms (Donahue, pp. 174-176).
12
To insert or sandwich one story within another. Mark implies that the two stories can be better
understood in relation to one another. That one interprets the other.
13
The woman with a 12 year hemorrhage, according to purity laws if unmarried would not be able to
marry. If married, her condition would be grounds for divorce. She would be expelled from her home, cut
off from her family (Getty-Sullivan, p. 69).
14
Getty-Sullivan, p 69.
15
After the 4th century BCE and the conquest of Alexander the Great, the Jews referred to non-Jews as
“Greeks”, “pagans”, “the nations”, “peoples”, “sinners”, or “dogs” (Getty-Sullivan, p. 87). This pericope
illustrates Jesus breaking down the barriers between the patriarchal male dominance and female submission
and the boundaries that separate Jesus from the Gentiles (Donahue, pp 232-238).
16
Meyers, Carol, Gen ed. Women in Scripture (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000) p. 426.
17
Keener, Craig S. A Commentary of the Gospel of Matthew (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999) pp. 678-
700.
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1. Mark’s Jesus is someone who listens to mothers as well as fathers and heals and restores
Gentile as well as Jewish children. The appearing of the Kingdom of God18 in Jesus
ruptures the status quo. Illusions of stability and authority – both the authority of the
patristic Roman rule – and the authority of the purity laws of Second Temple Judaism are
portrayed as rigid and sterile.

2. Mark’s Jesus hears what is broken – broken bodies, broken spirits, broken relationships,
including broken relationships between Jews and Gentiles, insiders and outsiders. For
Jesus, the Kingdom is concerned with the least powerful in society. Its concern for the
poor and powerless is bad news for the established order as it calls to question the
oppressors who use patriarchal religious and political justifications to oppress others.

3. Unlike the Pharisees who taught that the way to the Kingdom was through following the
Torah’s food and purity laws, Mark’s Jesus teaches a way to the Kingdom that comes
through faith, love, and the cross. For Jesus, the fundamental truth of the Torah is: “Hear
O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Shema; Deut 6:4-5) and
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”19 (Leviticus 18:19). For Jesus, this applies
equally to both men and women, adult and child, Jew and Gentile, the powerful and
powerless.20

4. In Jesus, God’s identification is with the victim in the world’s history of oppression:
God’s memory is the victim’s memory. This guarantees the hope of healing grace
through faith because in Jesus the world’s possibilities cannot be extinguished by the
destructiveness of the established order: the establishment’s violence toward the poor and
powerless is neither final nor irredeemable.21

18
“Kingdom of God” to the first century Jew was a highly political statement as it meant that God, which
was the God of Israel, was the king, not the Roman emperor (NT Wright video on Gospels).
19
Mark 12:29-31.
20
From Hayes, Richard B. The Moral Vision of the New Testament (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco,
1996).
.
21
Williams, Rowan. Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2002) p. 17.
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Lyle Brecht – 25-Jul-09 EFM Notes II: Chapter 7 – THE PATTERN OF PROCLAIMATION

Like the call of Abraham in Genesis and the narrative of Exodus, the NT kerygma (proclamations
about Jesus)is fundamentally a narrative. The 4 Gospels, Acts, and Pauline Epistles are comprised
of narratives containing kerygma and didache (ethical teachings of Jesus) that follow from the
kerygma (C. H. Dodd. The Apostolic Teaching and Its Development (1936); History and the
Gospel (1938)). [From ~500 BCE – 300 CE it is not characteristic of Jewish literature to write
narratives of individuals as the Gospels were of the individual, Jesus. Only in the Gospels do we
find this type of literature during this period in Jewish history.]

Examples of kerygma of these narratives that provide basis for theology (see Apostles Creed;
Nicene Creed):
1. In Jesus the HB (Hebrew Bible) scriptures are fulfilled.
2. Jesus proclaims the Kingdom of God has arrived.
3. Jesus performs dynos (acts of power – Synoptics) and semeion (signs – John) to indicate
that the Kingdom of God has arrived.
4. Jesus is the Messiah.
5. Jesus is “Son of God.”
6. Jesus suffers and dies on the cross for our sins.
7. Jesus was resurrected from the dead.
8. Those who believe in Jesus receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and are the true Israel. We
are the Disciples of Christ.

Outline of Mark
1. Prologue (1:1-8) – a messenger announces the One coming in accordance with prophecy.
2. Galilean ministry where Jesus performs mighty works and parainesis (exhortation-
ethical teaching) (1:9-8:21).
3. Traveling to Jerusalem (8:22-10:52) where Jesus foretells his death on the cross.
4. Jerusalem ministry (11:1-15:47) beginning w/ his messianic entry, prophetic act in the
Temple, his teaching, farewell discourse on Mount of Olives, and his passion.
5. Epilogue (16:1-8) telling of messenger announcing the resurrection of the Son of God.

Jesus proclaimed God’s Kingdom; the church proclaims Jesus. When the church proclaims the
message of Jesus through its preaching, “he who had formally been the bearer of the good news
was drawn into it and became its essential content. The proclaimer became the proclaimed
(Rudolf Bultmann, 1953, 33).

Paul, in his epistles quotes pre-existing Christian kerygma. Example: (Rom. 4:25) {Jesus] “who
was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.” When Paul
makes an ethical appeal it is not the character or behavior of Jesus, or at least not these alone. The
basis of Paul’s appeal is the gospel event itself, the kerygma of the redeeming victory God in
Christ has won through his resurrection.

The most parainesis (exhortation- ethical teaching) passages of the Gospels, such as the Sermon
on the Mount and the parables are kerygma, not didache. Their basis is precisely that they are
parables of the kingdom or reign of God. They reveal how God rules the world; and if this is how
God rules the world, then certain ethical behavior follows. Didache follows from kerygma;
teaching follows proclamation.

As the Gospels are narratives and if we see ourselves as heirs to those whose story it was, then we
can view ourselves as living out the narratives’ latest stage.
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Lyle Brecht 11-Dec-03 EFM Notes 2.9-10: THE GOSPEL (evaggelion = good news)
ACCORDING TO MATTHEW

Matt. was written ~85-90 CE in Antioch, Syria, the 3rd largest city in the Roman empire
(Rome was #1, Constantinople was #2).

Plan

1.1-2.23 Introduction: Origin and Infancy of Jesus the Messiah


1. The who and how of Jesus’ identity (1.1-25)
2. The where and whence of Jesus’ birth and destiny (2.1-23)

3.1-7.29 Part One: Proclamation of the Kingdom


1. Narrative: Ministry of JBap, baptism of Jesus, the temptations,
beginning of Galilean ministry (3.1-4.25)
2. Discourse: Sermon on the Mount (5.1-7.29)

8.1-10.42 Part Two: Ministry and Mission in Galilee


1. Narrative: nine miracles consisting of healings; calming a storm
exorcism (8.1-9.38)
2. Discourse: Mission Sermon (10.1-42)

11.1-13.52 Part Three: Questioning and Opposition to Jesus


1. Narrative setting for teaching and dialogue: Jesus and JBap, woes on
disbelievers, thanksgiving for revelation, Sabbath controversies and
Jesus’ power, Jesus’ family (11.1-12.50
2. Discourse: Sermon in parables (13.1-52)

13.53-18.35 Part Four: Christology and Ecclesiology


1. Narrative w/ dialogue: rejection at Nazareth, feeding the 5,000 and
walking on water, controversies w/ Pharisees, healings, feeding the
4.000, Peter’s confession, first passion prediction, transfiguration,
second passion prediction (13.53-17.27)
2. Discourse: Sermon on the church (18.1-35)

19.1-25.46 Part Five: Journey to and Ministry in Jerusalem


1. Narrative w/ dialogue: teaching, judgment parables, third passion
prediction, entry to Jerusalem, cleansing the Temple, clashes w/
authorities (19.1-23.39)
2. Discourse: Eschatological Sermon (24.1-25.46)

26.1-28.20 Climax: Passion, Death and Resurrection


1. Conspiracy against Jesus, Last Supper (26.1-29)
2. Arrest, Jewish and Roman trials, crucifixion, death (26.30-27.56)
3. Burial, guard at tomb, bribing of guard, resurrection appearances
(27.57-28.20)
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“Pray then this way:


Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven
our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of
trial.” (Matt. 6.9-13, NRSV)

Matthew’s Christology

In Matt. Jewish perspective he sees Jesus’ message as bringing the didache of Judaism to
completion. On 12 occasions he shows Jesus acting ‘in order to fulfill the scripture’
(1.23; 2.6, 15, 18, 23; 4.15-16; 8.17; 12.18-21; 13.35; 21.5; 26.56; 27.9-10). Matt. sees
Jesus’ miracles as the fulfillment of Isa. 51 (Matt. 8.17; 11.5-6) and the resurrection as
the sign of Jonah (Mt. 12.39; 16.4). He sees Jesus as the new Moses (Mt. 2), in his
lawgiving (Mt. 5.1), and his Mt. Sinai epiphany (Mt. 28.16). Consequently, the followers
of Jesus form the new Israel, replacing the old. In Mt. 16.18 ‘my community’ mirrors the
people whom God called to himself in the desert – they are the nation to whom the
kingdom will be given when it is taken away from the unfaithful tenants (22.43). The
repeated promise of presence among his community of followers (1.18; 18.20; 28.20)
corresponds to the presence of God among the people of Israel.

Matt. does not attack Hillelite pharisaism of Rabban Yachanan be Zakkai and the
academy at Yavneh (Jamina, city near Mediterranean coast just w. of Jerusalem that was
a center of Jewish learning after the destruction of Second Temple in 70 CE) which had
many attitudes, including opposition to Zealots, in common w/ Jesus. Nor does Matt.
attack later (post 70 CE) rabbinic Judaism. Matt. is attacking the Beit Shammaite
Pharisaism dominant in the period before the fall of Jerusalem, a school of Torah
interpretation whose obsession and zealotry he saw as directly responsible for the
destruction of the city and the Temple.

Vocabulary

am-ha-arets – unwashed peasants

apostolos (Gk.) = shaliach (Heb.) – personal representative

beit ha-midrash – school of interpretation


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chen – graciousness, compassion

chesed – God’s loving -kindness

ekklesia (Gk. church) gahal (Heb.) – congregations of Israel, the people of God
assembled for worship.

exousia: Matt. Jesus teaches w/ exousia – divine power and authority and by this
empowerment makes possible a new existence.

haggadic midrash – material explaining or interpreting elements in the tradition other


than halakhah. It is the beit ha-midraash’s way of interpreting and explaining the
tradition. It provides answers to different questions raised by Biblical text.

halakhic – a community concerned w/ acceptable ways of keeping Jewish biblical


commandments.

“little ones” – common term for disciples.

pesher – commentary on the text.

shalom (peace) – a sense of wholeness and health, not just an absence of conflict

ta logia – proof texts (passages of scripture used to prove something) from the Hebrew
Bible.

Moral Theology of Matthew

1. The world according to Matt. is a world stabilized and given meaning by the
authoritative presence of Jesus Christ.

2. For Matt, Jesus is the authoritative teacher of the people of God. Jesus is the one
teacher who supplants all other rabbis. Matt. Jesus sees the Torah as merely
pointers to a more radical righteousness of the heart – intensifying the relationship
w/ God beyond the Law. Jesus also fulfills the Torah in the sense that his life is a
completion of numerous OT prophesies and stories.

3. As Jesus is the teacher – the church (Gk. ekklesia; Matt. is the only Gospel to use
this term, v. 16.18; 18.17) is seen as primarily a community of those who are
taught. Matt. depicts Jesus as the founder of the church. One cannot follow Jesus,
according to Matt. except by becoming part of the community that he trained to
carry out his mission.

4. This task of modeling obedience is an integral part of the community’s mission.


Obedience is represented as a real possibility for those who hear the word of
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Jesus. Matt. rigorous summons to moral perfection (Sermon on the Mount Matt.
5.1-7.27) cannot be rightly understood as a call to obey a comprehensive system
of rules but instead as the transformation of character and of the heart. Matt.
Envisions a community characterized by humility, patience, and concern for the
“little ones” (disciples) who may stumble or be weak in the faith.

5. God has extended his mercy to sinners. Those who are trained for the kingdom of
Heaven are trained to evaluate all norms, even the norms of the Law itself in
terms of the criteria of love and mercy. Mercy precedes everything: that and only
that is why the announcement of the kingdom of Heaven is near is good news.
God’s ultimate judgment of us will be based on our concrete works of love and
mercy, in accordance w/ the teachings of Jesus. Sin is not to be tolerated or
ignored by the community. The goal of the community’s disciplinary actions must
always be the restoration of the sinner to koinonia.

6. To participate in the kingdom of God means accepting that compassion (chen) is


the source of our hope; consequently, compassion must be the foundation of our
behavior. Compassion will lead us to care about the least in our community.
Compassion is the evidence of love that is the greatest commandment of the Law.

7. To the community that seeks to act w/ compassion, the stewardship of the


kingdom is given. Whoever shares in this obedience to God shares in the
authority. The community’s prayer (defined as compassionate regard for others)
must be one of openness to discern God’s will and the strength to do it (Matt.
6.10).

8. Those addressed by Matt. as hypokritos (hypocrites) are not criticized for


claiming one thing and doing another, but for getting their priorities wrong –
fussing about details and overlooking matters of greater significance. Hypocrites
are doreshei halakhot (interpreters of smooth things). They have misunderstood
the mitzvah (commandment) and so are wrongly interpreting (beit ha-midrash) the
Torah.
Bibliography
Coogan, Michael D. ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible (3rd ed., Oxford: Oxford Univ.
Press, 2001).

Hays, Richard B., The Moral Vision of the New Testament (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996).

Brown, Raymond E., An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday,
1997).

Rudolf Schnackenburg, The Gospel of Matthew, trans. Robert R. Barr (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 2002).

Wright, Rebecca Abts. Education for Ministry: Year One (3rd ed. University of the South,
2000).
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Lyle Brecht 4-Dec-03 EFM Notes 2.11-12, 19-20: GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
(the “Life of Jesus”) and ACTS OF THE APOSTLES (the “Book of the Holy
Spirit”)

Luke-Acts must be read as a single narrative. Acts not only is a continuation of, but it
also provides Luke’s own commentary of Luke’s Gospel. Luke’s narrative was written
between 80-85 CE and is directed to Gentile Christians. Luke’s stated purpose for his
Gospel is “So that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have
been instructed” (v. 1.4). The truth Luke is discussing is not common alethia type of
truth, but the comparatively infrequent asphaleia type of truth.

The Gospel of Mark is a source for Luke’s Gospel. Luke generally follows Mark more
closely, esp. in order of events than does Matt. Luke-Acts employs prospopieia – writing
in the style appropriate to the character. Luke places the story of Jesus and the Church
(Acts contains a reasonably accurate history of the early church) w/in the context of
world history. He connects the story of Jesus to the story of Israel (Lk. 1.5) and to the
larger oioumene – the civilized world of Hellenism. The Gospel is the story of God’s
sending his prophet, Jesus to his people for their salvation. (Lk. 1.68; 7.16; 19.44). Acts
recounts Jesus’ establishment of a second offer of salvation via the ekklesia through the
gist of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 4.12; 5.41).

Luke-Acts primary issue is one of theodicy – developing an apologetic history (defense)


where Luke defends the word and work of God in history (as Paul does in Rom 9-11,
although Luke does not show any indication of using Paul as a source). In Torah, God’s
promises have been made to the people of Israel, the Jews. Luke wants to convince the
Gentile Christians that God’s promises apply to them as well. He accomplishes this by
telling how events happened “in sequence” (kathexes): Luke shows how God first
fulfilled his promises to Israel, and only then extended these blessings to the Gentiles.
Because God has shown himself faithful to the Jews, God’s word that reached the
Gentiles was also trustworthy – the salvation of Israel was necessary for the security
(asphaleia) of Gentile faith. Luke’s narrative becomes the aetiological (etiological =
founding story) myth for Gentile Christianity.

Thus, Luke is writing a continuation of the Hebrew Bible’s story – not just to defend the
new Jewish-Christian movement that has been expanded to include the Gentiles, but
above all to defend God’s ways in the history of the world.

Gospel According to Luke -

1.1-4 Prologue

1.5-2.52 Infancy and Childhood of Jesus Narratives


Annunciation of the Birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah (1.5-25)
Annunciation of Jesus’ Birth to Mary (1.26-38)
Mary Visits Elizabeth (1.39-56)
The Birth and Naming of John (1.57-80)
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Birth of Jesus (2.1-7)
Annunciation to Shepherds and Their Visit (2.8-21)
Jesus’ Circumcision and Presentation at the Temple (2.22-40)
Jesus at Age 12 in the Temple (2.41-52)

31.1-4.13 Preparation for Ministry

4.14-9.50 Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee

9.51-19.27 Teaching on the Journey to Jerusalem


Eschatological Urgency (9.51-62)
Mission of the Seventy (10.1-24)
A Lawyer’s Question (10.25-28)
Parable of the Good Samaritan (10.29-37)
Martha and Mary (10.38-42)
Teaching on Prayer (11.1-13)
Beelzebul Controversy (11.14-36)
Jesus and the Pharisees (11.37-12.12)
Alert for the Kingdom (12.13-53)
Jewish Refusal of the Signs of the Times (12.54-13.35)
Sabbath Meal w/ a Pharisee (14.1-24)
Cost of Discipleship (14.25-35)
At Meals w/ Tax Collectors and Sinners (15.1-32)
The Dishonest Steward (16.1-13)
Reply to the Pharisees (16.14-31)
Teaching for the Disciples (17.1-10)
Ten Lepers (17.11-19)
Eschatological Urgency (17.20-18.8)
Parable of a Pharisee and a Tax-Collector and the Incident of the Children
(18.9-17)
The Very Rich Ruler (18.18-30)
Third Passion Prediction (18.31-4)
Blind Man of Jericho (18.35-43)
Zacchaeus (19.1-10)
Parable of the Pounds (19.11-27)

19.28-21.38 Ministry in Jerusalem


Entry into Jerusalem (19.28-44)
Jesus and the temple (19.45-8)
Controversies in the Temple (20.1-47)
Jesus’ Apocalyptic Discourse (21.1-38)

22.1-23.56 Last Supper, Passion, Death, and Burial


The Last Supper (22.1-38)
On the Mount of Olives (22.39-53)
Evening Wait (22.54-65)
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Jesus before the Council (22.66-71)
Before Pilate (23.1-25)
Way of the cross, crucifixion, burial (23.26-56)

24.1-53 Resurrection Appearances in the Jerusalem Area


At the empty tomb (24.1-12)
Appearance on the road to Emmaus (24.13-35)
Appearance in Jerusalem and ascension to heaven (24.36-53)

Outline of Acts of the Apostles by Luke (“gospel of the Holy Spirit”)

1.1-2.42 Birth of a Church


Recapitulation of the Gospel of Luke; Ascension (1.1-11)
Waiting (1.12-26)
Pentecost and its Aftermath (2.1-42)

2.43-8.1a The Church in Jerusalem


Life Together (2.43-47)
Peter’s Ministry (3.1-5.42)
Stephen’s ministry and martyrdom (6.1-8.1a)

8.1b-40 Philip’s Ministry: the Church in Samaria


Gospel comes to Samaria (8.1b-25)
Philip and the Ethiopian Church (8.26-40)

9.1-28.31 The Church among the Gentiles


Calling of Saul (9.1-31)
First Gentile Converts (9.32-12.25)
Paul’s ministry: First Phase (13.1-14.28)
Apostolic council in Jerusalem (15.1-35)
Paul’s Ministry: Second Phase (15.36-21.14)
Paul’s Arrest and Trials (21.15-26.32)
Paul in Rome (27.1-28.31)

Religious Themes in Luke-Acts

1. world-affirmation – Luke is positive about the world. These writings are the least
apocalyptic writings of the NT (Acts 28.2-10).
2. great reversal – human security and complacency is challenged by Luke’s Gospel
(Lk. 1.53, 4.18; 6.20-24; 7.22; 14.13, 22; 16.19-31).
3. salvation – human values are reversed by God, not for the destruction of the evil
doers but for saving the least and the lost (Acts 7.25).
4. word of God – it is through the prophets that God addresses the world. Jesus is a
prophet like Moses manifesting signs and wonders and has a history in the mosaic
pattern.
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5. conversion – the word of God demands acceptance of Jesus and a turning around
of one’s life. Conversion requires that people change their social behavior to
imitate God (Lk. 10.38-42; Acts 16.11-15)
6. response of faith – God requires faithfulness in return for his fidelity.

Chronology in Luke and Acts

4BCE Jesus is born in Bethlehem; Herod the Great dies and Herod Antipas (age 18) becomes Tetrarch of
Galilee and Panaea.
27 Death of John the Baptist ordered by Herod Antipas; beginning of Jesus’ ministry where he
proclaims the good news in his words and deeds that the Kingdom of God has arrived.
30 Crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus

31 Death of Stephen – dispersal of the believers.


35 The first use of the term “Christian” to describe “followers of the Way”, in Antioch; Conversion
of Paul on the road to Damascus [Paul was not on his horse]; Paul in Damascus (three years).
38 Paul returns to Jerusalem, is sponsored by Barnabas and meets and is accepted by the Apostles.
Paul returns to Tarsus; Barnabus asks Paul to join him in Antioch in Syria; Barnabas, Paul and
Barnabas’s cousin John Mark (the writer of the Gospel of Mark) begin Paul’s first journey (38-
49): Cyprus, Perga, Attalia, Antioch (in Pisidia) Iconium, Derbe, Iconium, Antioch (in Pisidia)
Attalia, Perga, Antioch in Syria).

39 Herod Agrippa I (age 49) succeeds Herod Antipas.

44 Herod Agrippa I imprisons Peter in Jerusalem. James, the brother of John, martyred on the orders
of Herod Agrippa I Death of Herod Agrippa I; Accession of Herod Agrippa II (Age 17), friend of
Claudius; Claudius changes his kingdom back to a Roman province; holdings increased under
Nero; greatly improved Jerusalem; presided over Paul’s defense at Jerusalem; tried to persuade the
Jews from rebelling; returned to Rome after destruction of Jerusalem in 70.

45 Dispersal of the Apostles. Andrew ministers and dies in Scythia; Thomas, Bartholomew identified
with a mission to India; Matthew, Ethiopia; Thaddeus, Persia; James, the brother of Jesus, to
Egypt.

49 Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch; Jews expelled from Rome; Paul and Barnabas in Antioch;
Clash with Peter in Antioch; “circumcision dispute”; the Council of Jerusalem (see Galatians):
Paul, backed by Peter and James, prevails in the position that Gentiles need not be circumcised to
be saved; James the brother of Jesus urges that Gentile believers strive not to offend their Jewish
brothers and sisters in a way to appease both sides; Paul’s mission to the Gentiles endorsed; James
in charge in Jerusalem.

50 Paul splits from Barnabas and Mark. Barnabas and Mark sail for Cyprus. Mark and Silas
commence second journey (50-52): Antioch (Acts 15:36-39); Tarsus; Derbe; Lystra (joined by
Timothy; Acts 16:4-5); Iconium (Acts 16:4-5); Antioch in Pisidia/Bithynia (Acts 16:6-7); Troas
(Acts 16:8-10); Neapolis; Philippi (Acts 16:11-14); Thessalonica (Acts17:1-9); Berea (Acts 17:10-
15); Athens (Acts 17:16-34); Corinth (Acts 18:1-17); Ephesus (Acts 18:18-21); Miletus-Antioch
50-52 Paul reaches Corinth; Letters to Thessalonians.

52 Paul’s third journey (52-56): Antioch-Tarsus-Derbe-Lystra (joined by Timothy) – Iconium-


Antioch in Pisidia-Ephesus-Troas-Neapolis-Philippi-Thessalonica-Berea-Athens-Corinth-retracing
steps back to Troas-then by sea to Miletus-Patara-Jerusalem (Acts 18:23 – 21:15); Paul’s letter to
the Galatians; Paul at Ephesus (three years, 52-56)
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54 Death of Claudius; Nero emperor


55 Letters to the Corinthians

56 Paul arrives at Jerusalem; the trial of Paul in Jerusalem (before Herod Agrippa II); Paul appeals to
the Emperor; Paul’s journey to Rome: Jerusalem-Cesarea-Sidon-Myra-Crete-Malta-Syracuse-
Rhegium-Puteoli-Rome (56-59) Letter to the Romans.

59 Paul at Rome; the letters from Rome: Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians


62 Execution of James, the brother of Jesus
64 Probable death of Paul, in Rome; Peter (according to Eusebius, (Christian bishop, 4th c.)) crucified
in Rome, upside down; Linus succeeds Peter in Roman Bishopric; Nero’s persecution of Christian
Jews begins.
65-70 Mark’s Gospel
66 Commencement of The Jewish War
68 Death of Nero; Vespasian emperor
70 End of The Jewish War; destruction of the Second Temple; Masada; commencement of the
Diaspora.
79 Death of Vespasian; Titus emperor
81 Death of Titus; Domitian emperor; Domitian’s persecution.
85-90 Matthew’s Gospel
85-95 Luke’s Gospel; Luke’s Acts of the Apostles.
90 Beginnings of church organization
100-110 Final form Gospel of John (original composition ~90 CE)

Moral Theology of Luke (Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles)

9. Luke presents the events surrounding Jesus’ life as the fulfillment of the promises
God made to Israel. But unlike Matt. Scripture is read not as a book of prophesies
which are being fulfilled, but as a book of promises to God’s chosen people –
promises that have been made manifest in the dramatic events of Jesus’ ministry,
death, and resurrection. The repeated stress on promise and fulfillment is a
distinctive and foundational motif of Luke-Acts

10. Jesus dies in accordance w/ Scripture, as the Righteous One, prefigured in Isaiah,
the lament Psalms, and Wisdom of Solomon. Luke depicts Jesus as an archetypal
martyr – like the Maccabean martyrs (2 Mac. 6-7, 4 Mac. 5-18).

11. The call to repentance (Lk. 24.47; Acts 2.38), which lies at the heart of the gospel
of Luke, includes precisely the call to reform individual lives and community
practices in accordance w/ the prophetic vision of justice – as set forth in the
Torah and that stand as the foundation of Jesus’ kerygma of the kingdom of God.

12. “Kingdom of God” was a politically charged saying in 1st Century Judaism: it
would have been heard as declaring the restoration of Israel freedom from outside
domination. The church’s role in Luke’s vision is transformation – turning the
world upside down – not through armed rebellion but through formation of a
counter-cultural community which provides an alternative witness to the status
quo. Thus, Luke’s overturns the world’s notions of “wisdom” and “power.”
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13. Luke portrays the church after Pentecost as the fulfillment of two ancient ideas:
the Gk. ideal of true friendship (f. Aristotle’s Nicomachen Ethics) and the Deut.
ideal of the covenant community (Deut. 15; Isaiah 58).

14. For Luke, the community of the faithful stands w/in a great unfolding story of
God’s redemptive faithfulness. Thus, the community that is faithful is located
both in time and in history.

15. The important aspect of the church in time is its direct continuity w/ Israel. The
community’s identity is rooted in its salvation history. The God work in the
church is the same God who chose and delivered the people of Israel.

16. In history, the community must understand itself as participating in a journey – an


exodus to a promised destination not yet revealed. The journey is neither aimless
nor mapped. Jesus, a great prophetic leader, like Moses, has led the way – and the
community must follow the way he has shown. For Luke, the ministry of Jesus
corresponds to the life of Moses – Moses, as a prophetic liberator of his people
from slavery under the Pharaoh.

17. For Luke, Jesus’ messianic activity is the work of liberation, w/ a prophetic call
for justice. God’s salvation is for everyone whom God may call, including
Gentiles. God’s deliverance is always God’s gift and dependant on no human
creativity or power. God’s deliverance often comes at the boundaries of human
possibility and in the moment of its exhaustion.

18. The Holy Spirit empowers the work and witness of the church. When the Spirit is
at work, liberation is underway.

19. The purpose of God’s outpouring of the Spirit is to establish a covenant


community in which justice is both proclaimed and practical.

20. The church in Luke-Acts is not a defensive community withdrawing from the evil
world; instead it acts boldly on the stage of public affairs – proclaiming the gospel
to all persons of goodwill – and expecting an open-minded response.

21. The question that Luke-Acts to the church – then and now – is not “Are you
reforming society?” but rather, “Is the power of the resurrection at work among
you?”

22. Luke’s inclusion of women is his gospel is another sign of eschatological reversal
– of God setting the world right by deposing the powerful patriarchy and lifting
up the lowly.
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Vocabulary

alethia (Gk.): An common OT term for truth denoting reality that is firm, solid, binding,
and hence true. In Luke (v. 4.25) use it means “truth of a statement”

asphaleia; The idea in Luke (v. 1.4) is the “reliability” or “security” of the teachings;
truth that emphasizes reliability and therefore reassurance.

Docetism: belief that Jesus was only divine and not human.

great Lukan omission: Luke does not cover Mk. 6.45-8.26 in his gospel.
katecheo: instructed

kathexes: in sequence

qal wa-homer: Heb. “light and heavy”

krisis (Gk.): judgment.

Magnificat = Mary’s song (Lk. 1.46-55): parallel to Hannah’s Song (Sam 2.1-10).

Bibliography

Alter, Robert and Frank Kermode. The Literary Guide to the Bible (Cambridge: Harvard
Univ. Press, 1987).

Barton, John and John Muddiman. The Oxford Bible Commentary (Oxford: Oxford Univ.
Press, 2001).

Bromiley, Geoffrey W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One


Volume ed. By Gerhard Kittle et al. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992).

Coogan, Michael D. ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible (3rd ed., Oxford: Oxford Univ.
Press, 2001).

Haislip, Larry. “Christianity 101” course notes.

Hays, Richard B., The Moral Vision of the New Testament (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996).

Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke (Sacra Pagina Series vol. 2; Collegeville,
MN: Liturgical Press, 1991).

Wright, Rebecca Abts. Education for Ministry: Year One (3rd ed. University of the South,
2000).
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Lyle Brecht 4-Dec-03 EFM Notes 2.13-14: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN

The final form of the Gospel of John was completed between 100-110 CE (original
composition was ~90). The Fourth Gospel presents an independent tradition w/ its own
purposes and witness. No book of the NT shows more familiarity w/ the terms and forms
of rabbinic discussion that John. John set out to show that: 1) Jesus was not rejecting
either Jews or Judaism, and 2) Jesus is not simply divine, but fully human.

Also, the whole theological basis of the sacramental system is found in Johannine
thought: the Word became flesh (1.14) to conquer the world of flesh or matter that had
been placed under the power of Satan by human sin (1 Jn 5.19). Jesus conquered Satan
(12.31; 16.33), but the working-out of that victory in time, the re-conquest of the world of
matter for Christ, is the work of the church (17.15-18; 1 Jn 5.4) And in that re-conquest
of this world, bread and water and wine become the instruments of a new divine life in
the sacraments (Jn 4.14; 6.52)

The narrative of John, like that of the Synoptics, follows the pattern of the kerygma: Jesus
heals the sick, debates w/ religious authorities, is accused of infringing of the Sabbath,
and has dealings w/ am-ha-arets and sinners. The differences from the Synoptics are:

1. John’s narrative is arranged in issue-centered collections of dialogues and


discourses in a narrative framework. Each section ends w/ some kind of response:
acclamation, testimony, division, or condemnation.

2. John has no birth/infancy narrative, no account of Jesus’ temptation, no


Transfiguration, no confession of Peter, no “words” of “institution” at the Last
Supper. John Has no synoptic-like “parables of the kingdom.” The synoptic
“miracles” are not found in John except for the feeding of the five thousand – the
only miracle story told in all four Gospels.

3. In Mark’s section on discipleship (Ch. 8-10) Jesus predicts his Passion three
times. Matt. and Lk. follow Mark in this respect. John does not follow the
synoptic form but has three promises of the Son of Man being “lifted up” (Jn.
3.14; 8.28; 12.34).

4. John’s Jesus, as in the Synoptics, is preacher, healer, prophet like Moses, in both
what he says and what de does. Additionally, in John, Jesus is one who reveals
God’s purposes and humankinds possibilities. In the Synoptics Jesus proclaims
the kingdom of God; in John Jesus speaks more of having life through believing
in him or coming to him (4.14; 5.24, 40; 6.40; 11.25-26). That is what John means
by eternal life: not existence w/o end. But living the kind of life of God lives – in
the world.
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Plan

Prologue: hymn to the Word (logos) (1.1-18): John takes us back behind creation itself.
The logos is said to be “pre-existent” in that the Word of creation had an existence before
creation itself, as did God (“by the word of the Lord the heavens were made” Ps. 33.6a)
John links what we are told about Jesus w/ the story of salvation history in the Hebrew
Bible (1.1-12).

The people of Israel are the people of God because they have received God’s
Word;22 the same Word that created God’s world has created them to be God’s
people. And the same is true of Jesus. Jesus is like Israel, and so is anyone who hears
the Word of God and obeys it.

John brings the Redeemer onto the stage as one who is utterly bound to and conjoined
with the only God; as one who moves and works through the whole history of the world
and of Israel; as one who is compared w/ and contrasted w/ Moses; and as a heavenly
figure “close to the father’s heart who “has made him [God] known. He is the one who
begins where mystic dreams end.

Part One: The Book of Signs (1.19-12.50) – the Word reveals himself to the world and to
his people, but they will not accept him. John provides seven “signs” (semeia), prophetic
act that identify Jesus w/ the sequence of messengers23 God has sent to Israel over the
centuries. These signs are also “mighty acts” or “miracles” showing God’s power in Jesus
in order to get attention of the witnesses. These semeia function as a window into the
world of God, which Jesus’ words then connect to the worlds of his hearers.

Seven days of gradual revelation of Jesus (1.19-2.11)

Replacement of OT institutions and reactions to Jesus by officials and Gentiles


(2.1-4.54).

Replacement of OT feasts and the theme of life (5.1-10.42).

Lazarus (11.1-12.36): The raising to life of Lazarus leads directly to the


condemnation of Jesus. Lazarus is present at the anointing of Jesus for burial, and
enthusiasm over the miracle performed in his favor occasions the Palm Sunday
scene. The raising of Lazarus is the culmination of the life-light themes.

22
Jewish tradition (Sirach 24) had long held that God’s Wisdom, God’s Torah, was offered at Sinai to all
the nations of the world, but all refused except Israel.
23
Missionary (the “sent one”). Sending was a common way of speaking about divine inspiration for the
Greeks. For John, in the case of Jesus, the relationship between sender and agent is not merely a legal one
but one of love (3.16, 35). The Father sends not just an agent but a Son. Legally, an agent must carry ourt
his or her mission in accordance w/ the wishes of the sender. Thus, Jesus does not claim independent
authority: “Very truly, I tell you [emphatic formula], the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he
sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise’ (5.19; cf. 5.30). Hence “anyone
who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (5.23b).
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Part Two: The Book of Glory (13.1-20.31): To those who accept him, the Word shows
his glory by returning to the Father in death, resurrection, and ascension. Fully glorified,
he communicates the Spirit of life.

Last Supper (13.1-17.26)


Washing of the feet and the betrayal (13.1-30)
Jesus’ last discourse (13.31-17.26)
Jesus’ passion and death (18.1-19.42)
colophon: Resurrection, ascension, and conferring of the Holy Spirit (20.1-31):
the gospel’s aim is so that the reader “may come to believe that Jesus is the
Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing” they “may have life in his
name.”

Epilogue (21.1-25): A series of resurrection appearances in Galilee of theological import.

coda (21.1-19): Jesus and the disciples – testimony, dialogue, direction.


attestation (21.20-25): Jesus and the beloved disciple.

Literary Characteristics of John

1.

Vocabulary

Moral Theology of John

1. John brings the redeemer onto the stage as one who is utterly bound to and
conjoined w/ the only God; as one who moves and works through the whole
history of the world and of Israel; as one who is compared w/ and preeminently
contrasted w/ Moses; and as a heavenly figure, close to the Father’s heart who has
made him.

2. The gospel and letters of Jon portray the community of believers as deeply
alienated from the world.

3. Miracles in John as not “mighty works” as in Luke-Acts that portend the coming
of God’s kingdom here on earth, but as “signs” of Jesus’ divine authority.

4. Jesus’ death in John is depicted as an act of self-sacrificial love that enables the
cruciform life as the norm for discipleship.
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5. God’s eschatological judgment has already occurred as a result of Jesus’ coming


into the world.
6. In John, the Holy Spirit is to provide not only God’s continuing presence w/in the
community, but also a source of continuing revelation.

7. The people of Israel are the people of God because they have received God’s
word; the same word that created God’s word has created them to be God’s
people, And the same is true of Jesus. Jesus, like Israel, and so is anyone who
hears the word of God and obeys it.

Bibliography

Brown, Raymond E., An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday,
1997).

Brown, Raymond E. The Gospel and Epistles of John: A Concise Commentary


(Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1988).

Coogan, Michael D. ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible (3rd ed., Oxford: Oxford Univ.
Press, 2001).

Hays, Richard B., The Moral Vision of the New Testament (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996).

Wright, Rebecca Abts. Education for Ministry: Year One (3rd ed. University of the South,
2000).
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CHAPTER 16

The Ministry of Jesus, Part I

What is meant by “the Kingdom of God”? When is or was or will be the Kingdom of
God?

The earliest references in the Old Testament refer to the sovereignty or dominion of God
over all creation and of our loving obedience to that sovereignty, “Your kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom,/and your dominion endures throughout all generations.”(Psalm
145:13)

As the affairs of Israel progressed, the Jews believed that the Kingdom of God would be
established in the future when God redeemed and restored Israel to spiritual and/or to
political power. The “zeal for the Law” meant the willingness to defend it, if necessary,
by violence, including armed resistance. Many people flocked to John’s baptism in
hopes of becoming part of a national restoration, and many in Jerusalem were looking for
a prophet of the coming redemption. Jesus looked to them like that person and appeared
to be making that claim. What separated him from other messengers or prophets was that
he taught a way to the kingdom that came through peace, love, and a cross. To fight the
oppressor with the oppressor’s weapons was to become the oppressor.

Jesus, living and preaching within the beliefs of the synagogue, regarded the minutiae of
the Law as irrelevant to the kingdom that he was proclaiming. It was more important to
focus on the fundamental aspects of the Law, the love of God and the love of neighbor
than the system itself.

Jesus preached that the kingdom is already at work in the world and that those who
accept it are already blessed. It is a kingdom also concerned with the well-being of those
who are on the fringes of society or even regarded as no longer part of society at all. To
them the kingdom offers restoration and renewal; healing, good news, and the reversal of
death.

The parables told by Jesus reflect a rabbinic tradition of inspiring the listener. However,
Jesus’ parables challenged the listener to hear his message in a new and empowering
way. Jesus declared that by his listeners’ reaction to him, they determine their
relationship to God. Each listener brings a different point of view and may receive a
different revelation. Being open to the message brings new insight into God’s
sovereignty. Those who are unwilling to explore the parables, Jesus says, “..may not turn
again and be forgiven.”

Several sayings announce that those who come to Jesus are those to whom the kingdom
of God “belongs”. By using Scriptural and cultural references, he was able to talk about
what God was doing in and through his ministry. He declared that “…there are some
standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come
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with power.” To his disciples, who witnessed his preaching, condemnation, death,
resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the power of the kingdom of God was
evident to them in their lifetime in a decisive way. With the recreation of the Last Supper
with Jesus after the Resurrection, the disciples felt a new experience of God’s sovereign
power.

The apostolic tradition imparts that knowledge to us, and we can share in the power of
God’s sovereignty through the Eucharist. For its complete and final manifestation, the
disciples could, and we can, only continue to hope and to pray.
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“Christ’s self-manifestations to us continue….We are met by the risen Christ not just in
particular moments, but in all things, if we are willing to look for him and to receive him.
We are met by him in the things where he has promised to be, when we gather in his
name, or where we celebrate his sacraments; and we are also met by him in the whole
order of creation that is his….he comes to us…in and through those whom, by whatever
means and with whatever intention or even…justification, we have made our victims. In
them the living Christ calls us, and to Christ in them we must look for the grace, pardon,
and renewal that Christ alone offers” (EFM 2, 282).

The euangelion theou (‘gospel of God’) that defines Christians include: (1) Jesus of
Nazareth is the Christos (Jewish ‘Messiah’) and Kyrios (Jesus is ‘Lord’ of all creation,
not Caesar); (2) Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures (1 Cor 15:3).
The cross is the event in which YHWH reveals his covenant faithfulness and hesed
(steadfast love) for humanity; (3) YHWH raised Jesus from the dead (1 Cor 15:20; Acts
5:30, Rom 4:24; 8:11). The resurrection is a display of YHWH’s awesome power over
life and death whereby “nothing in history has set limits to YHWH’s nearness [hesed] to
human beings” and is a promise of hope for the future;24 (4) the Spirit is YHWH’s gift to
his covenant people as an antidote to the ‘sufferings of this present time’ (Rom 8:18; Acts
1:17). The canon of the New Testament (NT) assumes the resurrection.

THE ESCHATOLOGICAL (NEW AGE) VISION of the EUANGELION THEOU25


Resurrection Parousia @ eschaton
↓ ↓
Adamic Space-Time (Old Age of Already Space-Time of Kingdom Not Yet Space-Time of Kingdom
the Old Testament [covenant]) of God (New Age) of God

Sin dikaiosyne (justification) Consummation of YHWH’s reign


Death shalom (peace)
Law Spirit
Hope

Historical-critical views of the Resurrection:

1. Fraud. Herman Samuel Reimarus (Fragments, 1778) explained the resurrection


as fraud, because it was non-rational (EFM 2, 271-2).

2. Resuscitation. H.E.G. Paulus (Life of Jesus…, 1828) explained the resurrection


as an example of “deliverance from premature burial” (EFM 2, 273).

3. Myth. David Friedrich Strauss (Life of Jesus Critically Examined, 1835-6) said
that the resurrection stories were myth – stories “dealing w/ supernatural and

24
Charles B. Cousar, A Theology of the Cross: The Death of Jesus in the Pauline Letters (Minneapolis:
Fortress, 1990), 104-8.
25
Adapted from Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stewart, How to Read the Bible for all Its Worth (3rd edition,
Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 147.
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heroic beings and events and imparting a primitive view of the world” (EFM 2,
274).

4. Myth attached to historical belief. Christian Weisse (Critical and Philosophical


Study of the Gospel History, 1838) imagined that the ‘historical fact’ of
resurrection “is only the existence of a belief – not the belief of the later Christian
church in the myth of the bodily resurrection of the Lord – but the personal belief
of the apostles and their companions in the miraculous presence of the risen
Christ in the visions and appearances which they experienced…” (EFM 2, 275).

5. Spiritual, but not historical fact. Rudolf Bultmann (“New Testament and
Mythology”, 1953 in H.W. Bartsch, Kerygma and Myth vol. 1) claimed that (1)
“the ‘resurrection’ of Jesus is essentially the continuing power of the crucified
Lord to grasp our lives”; (2) “faith in Jesus is faith that the Crucified and Risen
One has power to change my life now!” (3) but “obviously [the resurrection] is
not an event of past history with a self-evident meaning.” It must rather “be
understood simply as an attempt to convey meaning of the cross” (EFM 2, 276-7).

“The problem is not simply one of accounting for an idea. It is a matter of accounting for
the very existence of Christianity” (EFM 2, 277):

6. Spiritual and historical fact. N.T. Wright (The Resurrection of the Son of God,
2003) says that the historical fact of resurrection was what tipped the scales
towards the recognition of Jesus as Messiah by the first Jewish-Christians. “…that
Jesus of Nazareth was bodily raised from the dead. This belief was held by
virtually all early Christians for whom we have evidence….it was the basis of
their recognition that Jesus as Messiah and lord, their insistence that the creator
god had inaugurated the long awaited new age, and above all their hope for their
future bodily resurrection.”26

In Old Testament scripture: “the Messiah was supposed to win the decisive victory over
the pagans, to rebuild or cleanse the Temple, and in some way or other to bring true, god-
given justice and peace to the whole world. What nobody expected the Messiah to do was
to die at the hands of the pagans instead of defeating them; to mount a symbolic attack on
the Temple, warning it of imminent judgment, instead of rebuilding or cleansing it; and to
suffer unjust violence at the hands of the pagans instead of bringing them justice and
peace.” “The resurrection was every bit as radical belief for the early Christians as it had
been for the Pharisees….”27

Martin Luther defines the ‘ground of being Christian’ as theologia cruces (‘theology of
the cross’): a “place of waiting for the hope that is against all human hope.”28

26
N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis, Fortress, 2003), 685.
27
Wright, 557, 583.
28
Douglas John Hall, Lighten Our Darkness: Toward an Indigenous Theology of the Cross (Philadelphia:
Westminster, 1976), 116.
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Chapter 20

The Acts of the Apostles, Part II

The Apostles began preaching in the synagogue. At first, Paul’s preaching about Christ
is accepted, but the following Sabbath, as Paul starts to make clear that Christ’s message
was also meant for Gentiles, the Jews object and contradict him. Paul supports his claim
through the prophecy of Isaiah in which the Lord says, “I will give you as a light to the
nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isa. 49:6).

The problem is the church’s insistence that Gentiles can be heirs of God’s promises to
Israel without first becoming Jews. Chapter 15 of Acts presents Luke’s solution to that
problem, an apostolic decree that upholds three Jewish laws that were especially aimed at
the Gentile converts: idolatry, sexual immorality, and the prohibition against eating live
animals. The other four laws (blasphemy, murder, robbery, and disregard of judicial
orders) were considered obvious to the Gentiles. This new system of law creates a new
fellowship of Jews and Gentiles without abandoning or violating the Torah.

Following his call from Christ, Paul’s mission develops a pattern. First, he goes to the
synagogue, and then he goes to the Gentiles, sometimes with success, sometimes not, but
always with divine protection and with the Holy Spirit as the guiding force. Squabbling
amongst the Jewish communities continues, aggravating their relations with the Roman
governments. Paul is often arrested, held, and released by the Romans, occasionally with
apology. However, wherever Paul is led by the Spirit or taken by the Romans, his
preaching continues and his mission spreads. He is received in love and peace by the
Christian communities. Paul’s journeys ultimately take him from Jerusalem to Cyprus,
Galatia, Antioch, Thessalonica, Philippi, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Macedonia, and
Rome several times.

Paul continues to claim that rejection of the gospel by some Jews is a fulfillment of
prophecy and a sign that the salvation of God is now also sent to the Gentiles, who “will
listen”. One of Luke’s chief aims is clearly to emphasize that the mission to the Gentiles
is directed by God, which is itself proof that we are now in the messianic age. How could
such things be happening if Jesus were not the Messiah?

Following in the tradition of Jesus in the gospels, women are mentioned as supporters of
the church’s mission. In Corinth, Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, join with Paul in his
mission to preach the gospel. In the Macedonian city of Philippi, Paul met Lydia, whose
household was baptized and who allowed her house to be used as a meeting place for
prayer, essentially, the first European church.

By the end of Luke’s narrative, two years have elapsed, during which Paul has been
under house arrest but has “welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of
God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance”.
Nothing can stop the gospel.
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Paul’s Letters
Paul’s letters are written by a trained amanuensis (secretary/scribe) to be read aloud by a
rhetor in their entirety as rhetoric in the early Christian ekklesia (house churches) “and
even perhaps to be exchanged between communities.”

ProtoPauline (undisputed) Letters (7)


I Thessalonians, Galatians ~48-51 CE (earliest known Christian writing)
I Corinthians, II Corinthians written in the mid-50s
Romans was written in mid to late 50s
Philippians, Philemon (‘Prison Epistles’) written in mid to late 50s or early 60s

Deuteropauline Letters (disputed Pauline authorship - pseudonymity) (6)

II Thessalonians
Colossians
Ephesians

Pastoral Epistles (3) may have been


written in the 60s
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
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Paul’s Life History as we Know it

5 BCE – 10 CE Birth in Tarsus, followed by education in Tarsus, then Jerusalem

30-36 Persecution of Christians (1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13-14; Phil 3:6; Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2)

33-36 Conversion/call (Gal 1:15-16; Acts 9; 22; 26; Phil 3:3-11). For Paul, his conversion was
(1) a conversion of the heart; (2) a recognition of his own sinfulness; (3) a response to
call. ‘Through his meeting w/ the crucified and risen Jesus, Paul found that something in
himself- something God-given and itself dependent upon the fact of Jesus – was able to
respond to Jesus in trust, hope, and aspiration” (3.21, 315). His “awareness of Jesus as
living Lord, risen, active, and present” sets the tone for the early church (2 Cor 3:17-18;
5:16)

33-39 Three years in Arabia and Damascus (Gal 1:17)

36-39 First Jerusalem visit; two weeks w/ Cephas and James (Gal 1:18-19)

37-48 Early missionary work in Syria and Cilicia and possibly elsewhere (Gal 1:21; Acts 9:30)

46-58 Period of mission work in Asia Minor, Greece, etc. and writing most extant letters

47-51 Jerusalem meeting/’council’ (Gal 2:1-10; Acts 11:27-30? Acts 15?)


50-52 Corinth stay of 18 months (Acts 18)
52-57 Ephesus stay of 2-3 years (Acts 19, inc. possible imprisonment

54-58 Arrest in Jerusalem (Acts 21:27-36)


60-63 Imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28)
62-68 Possible release from Rome and further mission work/letter writing (Pastoral Epistles?)
29
62-68 Death

A Dozen Theological Convictions of Paul, kletos apostolos


(“called to be an apostle”, Rom 1:1; 1 Cor 1:1).30

1. The Covenant God of Israel is the One True God for Both Jews and
Gentiles
Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one
Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. (1 Cor 8:6)

Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since
God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised
through that same faith. (Rom 3:29-30a)

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel
beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.’ (Gal 3:8)

29
Michael J. Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul & His Letters
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 44-5, 50.
30
Twelve convictions and scripture examples are from Gorman, 131-145. All scripture is from the NRSV
unless otherwise noted.

27
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2. The Power of Sin [and Death] and the Powerlessness of the Law
There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,
but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For
God shows no partiality. All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the
law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of
the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. (Rom 2:9-
13)

What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all; for we have already charged that all, both Jews
and Greeks, are under the power of sin. (Rom 3:9)

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in
the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh. (Rom 8:3a)

Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that
could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. But the scripture has
imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus
Christ might be given to those who believe. (Gal 3:21-22)

3. The Righteousness of God (dikaiosyne): His Covenant Faithfulness


to Israel and Mercy to the Gentiles is a Gift
But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law
and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For
there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now
justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put
forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his
righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously
committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the
one who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:21-26)

And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
(Gal 3:29)

What if some were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no
means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written, ‘So that you may be
justified in your words, and prevail in your judging. (Rom 3:3-4a)

4. Jesus the Christ (Christos/Messiah: ‘anointed one’) is Lord (Kyrios),


not Caesar

Therefore God has highly exalted him


and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11, RSV)

28
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Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus
be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:3)

5. The Crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah is Revelatory, Redemptive


(apolytrosis), and Reconciling31
For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling
block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human
wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (1 Cor 1:22-25)

But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much
more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ,
abounded for the many. (Rom 5:15)

The Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all
have died….in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses
against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. (2 Cor 5:14b, 19)

6. There is a New Covenant – an ‘Already/Not Yet’ Eschatological Time


before the Parousia (the Second Coming of Christ)

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything
has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given
us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Cor 5:17-18))

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my
blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ (1 Cor 11:25)

7. Justification32 by Grace (charis) Through Faith (pistis)

For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God
the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one;
and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same
faith. (Rom 3:28-30)

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope
of sharing the glory of God. (Rom 5:1-2a)

31
Shalom (peace) “means wholeness and harmony and ‘reconciliation’ (Rom 5:10, 11). To be reconciled
meant…to be conscious of new possibilities for existence” (3.21, 315).
32
“the establishment or restoration of right covenantal relations with God, including fidelity to God and
love for neighbor, with the certain hope of acquittal on the day of judgment” (Gorman, 138).

29
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So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Rom 6:11)

…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through
faith in [or “the faith of”] Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. (Phil 3:9)

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in
the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just
requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according
to the Spirit. (Rom 8:3b-4)

8. The ‘Trinitarian’ Experience of God

And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba!
Father!’ (Gal 4:6)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with
all of you. (2 Cor 13:13)

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone
who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the
body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who
raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your
mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. (Rom 8:9-11)

9. Cruciformity, the Obedience of Christ

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit,
any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same
love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in
humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests,
but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,


did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross. (Phil 2:1-8)

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by
becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil
3:10-11)

10. The Spirit as Promise Fulfilled and Hope Guaranteed

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Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written,
‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham
might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal
3:13-14)

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but
that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows
what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of
God. (Rom 8:24-27)

11. The Church as Redeemed Counter-Cultural Community33

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and
female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)

What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a
revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. (1 Cor 14:26)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a
living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed
to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is
the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:1-2)

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an
opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. Bear one
another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 5:13c; 6:2)34

12. Belief in the Resurrection of the Dead, the Parousia, and the Final
Eschatological Triumph of God

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since
death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human
being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. (1 Cor 15:20-21)

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by
becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phil
3:10-11)

Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised
from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have
been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like
his. (Rom 6:4-5)

33
“God transforms and saves a people, not atomized individuals. Consequently, the faithful find their
identity and vocation in the world as the body of Christ.” Robert B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New
Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco,
1996), 36
34
Scripture choices for this section are from Hays, 32-35.

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For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of
God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are
alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air;
and so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thess 4:16-17)

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to
be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of
God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who
subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will
obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Rom 8:18-21)

Honor-Shame Society: “Honor” is a “combination of the worth that you have in


your own eyes together w/ the worth that you have in the eyes of whoever is important to
you.” “Shame” is “what a healthy person ought to feel when experiencing dishonor or
acting dishonorably.” Honor/shame was played out in a patriarchal society where the
“role for the man was to be aggressive and active in pursuing honor; the normal…role of
a woman was by her modesty to defend” he honor (3.21, 316-7).

Patronage: The “economic glue that held the Roman Empire together” was
benevolentia/obligatio – a system of “patron/client” relations. “It was the (honorable) role
of the patron to convey protection, favor, and other types of benevolentia to his/her client
whose (honorable) role is to render support, loyalty, and other appropriate marks of
obligatio to the patron….When [patrons] began to be satisfied to invest their wealth
purely in personal acquisition, then the empire began to collapse.” “The early Christian
movement depended on a network of support from patrons” (3.21, 317-8).

1 Thessalonians:

Holiness and Hope in a Pagan World


1:1 Opening
1:2-3:13 Thanksgiving – Turing to God: Paul, the Thessalonians, and the
Gospel
1:2-10 Authenticity of the Thessalonians’ Conversion
2:1-12 Authenticity of Paul’s Ministry
2:13-16 Thessalonians and Paul’s Common Bond of Suffering
2:17-3:13 Timothy’s Visit: Absence, Concern, and Reassurance

Summary of 1 Thess 1-3


• As Christians living in the time ‘already/not yet’ time between the resurrection
and the parousia (second coming of Christ) our job is to live lives of faith, hope
and love – and continue in hope in relationship w/ God as Father, Son, and Spirit.
• Our ministry is powered by the Spirit and informed by Christ’s example of
obedience to the will of God.
• As Christians, our task is to support one another in our ministry – with love.35

4:1-5:11 Instructions – Serving God and Waiting for the Son

35
Gorman, 156-7.

32
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4:1-12 Serving God: The Call to Holiness
4:1-3a The Call
4:3b-8 Sexual Purity
4:9-12 Love for One Another and Relations Outside
the Community
4:13-5:11 Waiting for the Son: Eschatological Hope and Challenge
4:13-18 Hope for the Dead
5:1-11 Challenge to the Living
5:12-28 Closing Exhortations and Final Matters36

Summary of 1 Thess 4-5


• Holiness – is the norm for Christians, especially in their identity as ‘children of
the light.’
• The promise of Jesus’ parousia (second coming) and the resurrection of the dead
at the eschaton provides both a comforting hope from the ‘sufferings of the
present time’ and a mandate to live ethical lives now.37
• The fruit of God’s agape [love] for humankind is the formation of ekklesia –
communities of believers-in and livers-of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The tasks of
these ekklesia are to confess, to worship, and to pray together – in a way that
glorifies God.” These ekklesia are where the God of the new covenant resides. He
no longer resides in the Temple in Jerusalem.38

Philemon:

Drama in Four Acts


Act 1: The (relatively) Distant Past
Scene 1: Epaphras founds the church in Colossae.
Scene 2: Philemon, perhaps while traveling on business, encounters Paul
and believes in the gospel.
Scene 3: A church in Colossae begins to meet in Philemon’s house.

Act 2: The Immediate Past


Scene 1: Paul, along w/ Epaphras, is imprisoned.
Scene 2: Onesimus, Philemon’s slave, leaves his master’s household and
Colossae.
Scene 3: Onesimus encounters Paul in prison, believes the gospel, and begins
assisting Paul in some way.
Scene 4: Paul receives news of Philemon’s love and faith, as well as either direct
or indirect expressions of love from him that have encouraged fellow
believers.

36
Gorman, 152.
37
Gorman, 164.
38
Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996),
32.

33
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Act 3: The Present
Scene 1: Paul writes to Philemon, appealing to him to welcome Onesimus back as
he would welcome Paul himself, as a brother rather than a slave, and to
forgive any perceived debt or wrong.
Scene 2: Paul sends the letter (and probably Onesimus w/ it) to Philemon.

Act 4: The Future (as yet unwritten)


Scene 1: The letter arrives in Colossae and is read to the church.
Scene 2: Philemon ponders a critical and difficult request, and finally makes a
decision.
Scene 3: Paul arrives at Philemon’s house.39

Pauline Themes in Philemon:


• Faith must express itself in deeds of love – Christ-like, sacrificial, cruciform love.
• In Christ, all believers are brothers and sisters – no matter what their position or
status in society or the church.
• The cross subverts the status quo where the powerful are comfortable and calls us
to a counter-cultural stance the world where relationships are based on love and
acceptance of the ‘other.’40
Excurses: Philemon as an example of cooperative conflict resolution:

• Paul summons each party to responsible action: Onesimus was to return to his
master; Philemon was to set him free.
• Paul requests that Philemon recognize the “weaker party’s” potential contribution
to shared objectives: Onesimus’ value to Paul’s mission which he frames as
Paul’s emissary and “son” this affirming Onesimus’ contribution to the Christian
community. This also empowers Onesimus to see a different value himself
(contributor vs. “slave”).
• Paul is willing to take responsibility and assume the cost for “initiating and
enabling a just reconciliation.” Thus, although Paul risked alienating both
Philemon and Onesimus w/ this stance, he did so in a manner that was non-
coercive.41

39
Gorman, 457-8.
40
Gorman, 468.
41
John Koenig, New Testament Hospitality: Partnership with Strangers as Promise and Mission
(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985), 78-80 in Glen Stassen, ed., Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for
Abolishing War (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1988), 194.

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1 Thessalonians:

Holiness and Hope in a Pagan World


1:1 Opening
1:2-3:13 Thanksgiving – Turing to God: Paul, the Thessalonians, and the
Gospel
1:2-10 Authenticity of the Thessalonians’ Conversion
2:1-12 Authenticity of Paul’s Ministry
2:13-16 Thessalonians and Paul’s Common Bond of Suffering
2:17-3:13 Timothy’s Visit: Absence, Concern, and Reassurance

Summary of 1 Thess 1-3


• As Christians living in the time ‘already/not yet’ time between the resurrection
and the parousia (second coming of Christ) our job is to live lives of faith, hope
and love – and continue in hope in relationship w/ God as Father, Son, and Spirit.
• Our ministry is powered by the Spirit and informed by Christ’s example of
obedience to the will of God.
• As Christians, our task is to support one another in our ministry – with love.42

4:1-5:11 Instructions – Serving God and Waiting for the Son


4:1-12 Serving God: The Call to Holiness
4:1-3a The Call
4:3b-8 Sexual Purity
4:9-12 Love for One Another and Relations Outside
the Community
4:13-5:11 Waiting for the Son: Eschatological Hope and Challenge
4:13-18 Hope for the Dead
5:1-11 Challenge to the Living
5:12-28 Closing Exhortations and Final Matters43

Summary of 1 Thess 4-5


• Holiness – is the norm for Christians, especially in their identity as ‘children of
the light.’
• The promise of Jesus’ parousia (second coming) and the resurrection of the dead
at the eschaton provides both a comforting hope from the ‘sufferings of the
present time’ and a mandate to live ethical lives now.44
• The fruit of God’s agape [love] for humankind is the formation of ekklesia –
communities of believers-in and livers-of the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The tasks of
these ekklesia are to confess, to worship, and to pray together – in a way that
glorifies God.” These ekklesia are where the God of the new covenant resides. He
no longer resides in the Temple in Jerusalem.45

42
Gorman, 156-7.
43
Gorman, 152.
44
Gorman, 164.
45
Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996),
32.

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Philemon:

Drama in Four Acts


Act 1: The (relatively) Distant Past
Scene 1: Epaphras founds the church in Colossae.
Scene 2: Philemon, perhaps while traveling on business, encounters Paul
and believes in the gospel.
Scene 3: A church in Colossae begins to meet in Philemon’s house.

Act 2: The Immediate Past


Scene 1: Paul, along w/ Epaphras, is imprisoned.
Scene 2: Onesimus, Philemon’s slave, leaves his master’s household and
Colossae.
Scene 3: Onesimus encounters Paul in prison, believes the gospel, and begins
assisting Paul in some way.
Scene 4: Paul receives news of Philemon’s love and faith, as well as either direct
or indirect expressions of love from him that have encouraged fellow
believers.

Act 3: The Present


Scene 1: Paul writes to Philemon, appealing to him to welcome Onesimus back as
he would welcome Paul himself, as a brother rather than a slave, and to
forgive any perceived debt or wrong.
Scene 2: Paul sends the letter (and probably Onesimus w/ it) to Philemon.

Act 4: The Future (as yet unwritten)


Scene 1: The letter arrives in Colossae and is read to the church.
Scene 2: Philemon ponders a critical and difficult request, and finally makes a
decision.
Scene 3: Paul arrives at Philemon’s house.46

Pauline Themes in Philemon:


• Faith must express itself in deeds of love – Christ-like, sacrificial, cruciform love.
• In Christ, all believers are brothers and sisters – no matter what their position or
status in society or the church.
• The cross subverts the status quo where the powerful are comfortable and calls us
to a counter-cultural stance the world where relationships are based on love and
acceptance of the ‘other.’47
Excurses: Philemon as an example of cooperative conflict resolution:

• Paul summons each party to responsible action: Onesimus was to return to his
master; Philemon was to set him free.
46
Gorman, 457-8.
47
Gorman, 468.

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• Paul requests that Philemon recognize the “weaker party’s” potential contribution
to shared objectives: Onesimus’ value to Paul’s mission which he frames as
Paul’s emissary and “son” this affirming Onesimus’ contribution to the Christian
community. This also empowers Onesimus to see a different value himself
(contributor vs. “slave”).
• Paul is willing to take responsibility and assume the cost for “initiating and
enabling a just reconciliation.” Thus, although Paul risked alienating both
Philemon and Onesimus w/ this stance, he did so in a manner that was non-
coercive.48

48
John Koenig, New Testament Hospitality: Partnership with Strangers as Promise and Mission
(Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985), 78-80 in Glen Stassen, ed., Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for
Abolishing War (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 1988), 194.

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Plan of 1 Corinthians

Chaos and the Cross in Corinth49


1:1-9 Opening: A Community Called by God
1:1-3 Salutation
1:4-9 Thanksgiving

1:10-4:21 Call for Unity in the Community


1:10-17 Factions in the Community
1:18-2:5 The Word of the Cross Excludes Boasting
2:6-3:4 Wisdom for the Mature Christian
3:5-23 The Community and its Leaders Belong to God
4:1-21 Direct Confrontation w/ Corinthian Boasters50

Summary of 1 Corinthians 1-4

• Allegiance to human leaders w/in the church, rather than to Christ is divisive and
destructive.
• The crucified Christ is, paradoxically, the wisdom and power of God.
• A Spirit-empowered life is counter-cultural in that it overturns accepted norms of
social status and power and comes through living a cruciform life (obedience to
God).
• Discipleship to Christ is faithfulness to God’s call – in word and deed through
conformity to the crucified Christ and through service to your neighbor.
• As servant leaders for Christ, we are accountable to God and God alone.
• The church does not belong to human leaders – but to God.51

5:1-6:20 Call for Community Discipline


5:1-13 “Drive Out the Wicked Person from Among You”
6:1-11 Handle Legal Disputes w/in the Community
6:12-20 “Glorify God in Your Body”

7:1-15:58 Responses to Contested Issues in Corinth


7:1-40 Sex and Marriage at the Turn of the Ages

Summary of 1 Corinthians 5-7

• Belonging to God’s new community means living a holy life away from the
immoralities of the secular, pagan world.

49
Michael J. Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul & His Letters
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004, 227-86.
50
Outline is from Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching
and Preaching, Louisville: John Knox Press, 1997), 13-14.
51
Gorman, 245-6.

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• Living a life in Christ means remembering the past (scriptural teachings, death,
and resurrection of Christ) while hopefully looking forward to the future
(parousia, bodily resurrection, and judgment).
• The self pursuit of revenge, whether through the courts or through the church is
wrong and a betrayal of the gospel of God.
• Sexual activity should be sanctified through marriage.
• Our bodies should be used in ways that glorify God, and within marriage, to their
spouses.
• Marriage is a gift from God to each of the spouses.52

7:1-15:58 Responses to Contested Issues in Corinth Con’t.


8:1-11:1 Idol Meat
8:1-13 Knowledge Puffs Up, but Love Builds Up
9:1-27 Apostolic Example of Renouncing Rights
10:1-22 Warning against Idolatry
10:23-11:1 Use Your Freedom for the Glory of God

Summary of 1 Corinthians 8:1- 11:1

• Those who live a life in Christ cannot live according to self-interest and rights,
but must always consider their impact of behavior on others.
• The truest decision of freedom is not the exercise of rights but the free decision,
out of loving concern for others, not to exercise even legitimate rights when those
rights impinge on the freedom of others.
• Even apparently correct theological knowledge can be destructive and dangerous
when used carelessly or selfishly.
• Allegiance to Christ is an exclusive devotion that leaves no room for idolatry.53

11:2-14:40 Community Worship


11:2-16 Hairstyles and gender Distinctions
11:17-34 The Lord’s Supper: Discerning the Body
12:1-14:40 Spiritual Manifestations in Worship

Summary of 1 Corinthians 11–14

• The church is the body of Christ, a community of unity in diversity that


remembers, proclaims, and embodies the cross of Jesus by giving special attention
to its poorer and weaker members.
• Cruciform love – love that is patient and kind, not rude or arrogant – is the most
fundamental and distinguishing feature of the church’s life.
• Cruciform love w/in the body of the church gives meaning and shape to the
worship life, especially in its exercise of spiritual gifts for the edification of the
body.54

52
Gorman, 255.
53
Gorman, 263-4.

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15:1-58 Resurrection of the Body

Summary of 1 Corinthians 15

• Christ’s resurrection is an integral part of the gospel of God


• If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ was not raised, the gospel is not good
news, and believers’ faith, hope and love is in vain.
• Since Jesus was raised, he is the first fruits and gurantor of believers’ bodily
resurrection.
• At the parousia, all believers will experience a transformation from perishable to
an imperishable bodily form following the resurrection of the dead.
• The parousia will lead to the final defeat of all the enemies of God and humanity,
including the last enemy, death itself.55

16:1-24 Concluding Matters


16:1-12 Collection and Travel Plans
16:13-24 Farewells56

Plan of 2 Corinthians

Paul’s Defense of Cruciform Ministry


1:1-2 Address/Greeting and Thanksgiving

1:3-7:16 Part 1: The Cruciform Apostleship of Reconciliation


1:3-2:13 Paul, the Corinthians and the God of Consolation
2:14-6:10 Reconciliation and a Theology of the Cross
6:11-7:16 Final Appeal for Reconciliation

Summary of 2 Corinthians 1-7

• Believers share both in Christ’s suffering and in God’s comforting presence


• Ministry faithfulness and integrity are founded on and symbolic of Christ’s
faithfulness and obedience to God.
• Ministry is especially characterized by truthfulness/integrity and cruciform love.
• The present life of suffering is insignificant in comparison to the immeasurable
glory that awaits those who live and die for the Lord.
• God’ reconciling love shown in Christ’s death (God’s only son) provides the
model for reconciling love in our ministry.

54
Gorman, 277.
55
Gorman, 282.
56
Hays, 13-14.

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• Ministry w/ integrity is difficult, virtuous, and paradoxical.
• Metaphors for ministry include: sharing in Christ’s sufferings, being Christ’s
ambassadors, etc.
• Paul’s relationship w/ the Corinthians exemplifies the meaning and activities of
reconciliation that require ongoing attention and further reconciliation.57

8:1-9:15 Part 2: Generosity Comes from the Grace of the Cross


8:1-24 Christ, the Macedonians, and the Corinthians
9:1-15 God, the Macedonians, and the Corinthians

Summary of 2 Corinthians 8-9

• Generous giving is an experience of divine grace for believers; a means of


expressing deep gratitude for grace received from God; a way of conforming to
the generous self-giving of Christ.
• Giving to the needy should be done cheerfully and liberally.
• The generous find that God supplies their own need and more; so one may give
all the more generously.
• Generosity demonstrates the reality of the experience of grace.
• The Corinthians, while not compelled by Paul to give; ought to feel themselves
‘urged on’ by grace and love to do so.58

10:1-13:10 Part 3: The Cross Illustrates Power-in-Weakness of the Spirit


10:1-6 Paul’s Declaration of War
10:7-18 Edification and Boasting
11:1-15 Paul’s 1st Speech of Foolish Boasting: Paul’s Self Support
11:16-12:10 Paul’s 2nd Speech of Foolish Boasting: Paul’s Weaknesses
12:11-13 Conclusions to Speeches
12:14-13:10 Final Summary, Warnings, Appeals

13:11-13 Concluding Greetings, Blessings59

Summary of 2 Corinthians 10-13

• Ministry in Christ can be depicted as being a spiritual warrior and the father of the
bride.
• Ministers, who practice self-praise, flaunt power, and burden believers (especially
financially) preach a gospel devoid of Jesus and the Spirit.
• Paul’s ministry to the Corinthians was done out of love.
• Weaknesses and tribulations are the fundamental elements of authentic
apostleship.

57
Gorman, 311-2.
58
Gorman, 317-8.
59
Gorman, 292.

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• Paul also has evidence of visions and miracles that authenticate his apostleship;
“Whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”
• If believers betray their life in Christ, Paul will not hesitate to judge them.60

60
Gorman, 333

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Plan of Galatians

Faith Working through Love61


1:1-5 Opening and Theme

1:6-2:21 The Gospel of Christ: Justification through Crucifixion


1:6-10 Apostolic Rebuke, Curse, and Claim
1:11-24 The Divine Origin of Paul’s Apostleship and Gospel
2:1-10 Jerusalem’s Initial Approval of Paul’s Gospel
2:11-14 A Betrayal of the Gospel
2:15-21 The Gospel of Christ

Summary of Galatians 1-2

• Paul’s apostleship and teaching have their source in God’s call and revelation, not
in any human person or teaching.
• Paul’s apostleship began in an unexpected experience of conversion, call, and
commission that changed him from being a persecutor of Christians to an
unstoppable proclaimer of God’s universally available grace, especially among
the Gentiles.
• Paul’s missionary work among the Gentiles was appreciated by Jewish believers,
and then, years later, officially approved by the Jerusalem leadership.
• The influence of those Jerusalem leaders who opposed Paul did not deter him
from his mission to the Gentiles.
• The gospel is about the grace of God that justified both Jews and Gentiles who
respond in faith to the gospel of Christ crucified.
• The source of this justification is not possession and performance of the Jewish
Law and its customs, but the covenant-fulfilling, faithful, loving death of God’s
only son, Jesus Christ, who now lives in believers.

3:1-4:31 The Promise of the Father: The Testimony of Scripture


3:1-5 The Galatians’ Initial and Ongoing Experience of the Spirit
3:6-14 God’s Promise of the Spirit to Abraham
3:15-29 The Law and the Promise
4:1-7 The Father’s Gift of the Son and the Spirit
4:8-20 Apostolic Appeal
4:21-31 Freedom from Slavery: The Allegory of Hagar and Sarah

Summary of Galatians 3-4

• The Galatians already posses the Spirit by responding in faith to the gospel of
Christ crucified.
• God promised to and through Abraham – and his “Seed” (Christ) – to bless,
justify, and give the Spirit to all Gentiles who have faith like his.

61
Michael J. Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul & His Letters
(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 183-226.

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• The Law came after God’s covenant w/ Abraham.
• Christ’s death redeems humanity from its enslavement to Sin and Death and the
Law.
• Ethnic/racial, socioeconomic, and gender distinctions have no importance in
Christ.
• God’s sending of the Son and Spirit has radically altered everything and must not
be undone by returning to the Law, and thus to slavery, through circumcision.

5:1-6:10 The Freedom of the Spirit: The Life of Faith and Love
5:1-12 Christ, the Spirit, and Circumcision
5:13-15 Freedom, Cruciform Love, and the Fulfillment of the Law
5:16-26 Walking in the Spirit
6:1-10 The Law of Christ in the Life of the Community

6:11-18 Summary and Final Summons

Summary of Galatians 5-6

• Circumcision or non-circumcision is irrelevant in Christ


• ‘Freedom’ is not an excuse for ‘the flesh,’ for license, for immorality, or for
irresponsibility.
• Freedom is a communal reality and aparadoxical reality, experienced only as
‘slavery’ to others.
• What matters in Christ is the Christ-like life of faith expressing itself in love,
which is true freedom and which fulfills the Law; it is the mark of those who live
in the new creation as Israel of God.
• Life in Christ is one of ‘walking’ or ‘keeping in step with’ the Spirit;: crucifying
the desires of the flesh and allowing the fruit of the Spirit otbe produced.
• Those who ‘walk’ by the Spirit bear others’ burdens and thereby fulfill the ‘law’
or narrative pattern of Christ. The Galatians already posses the Spirit by
responding in faith to the gospel of Christ crucified.

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CHAPTER 28
The Letter of Paul to the Romans, Part III

In the last chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul reaches the point of his message;
the call to a life worthy of Christ, aimed at rival factions within the church. His message
would have been familiar to Jews and pagans alike, who were steeped in the Hellenistic
philosophy of moderation in the ideal community—a concern with familial affection,
mutual honor, and the ability to endure, which is the mark of self-control. Paul uses the
Hellenistic model of the community as a body in his vision of the church. Everyone has
their own gift from God and their own contribution to make, to make the church whole.
Paul appeals to them to live in harmony with one another even where they disagreed with
each other.

In this same Hellenistic world, both Jews and pagans tended in general to regard those
who were outside their particular communities as being somewhat less than fully human.
To bring them together as well as to extend beyond their boundaries, Paul quotes
scripture from Deuteronomy, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” and from
Proverbs “…if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them
something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” He
exhorts them to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

Those whose hearts are presently “hardened” can also be recipients of God’s mercy. In
seeking to “bless” its persecutors the church is simply seeking a blessing for itself,
looking for the completion of its own life in God and union with all creation. Paul says in
14:1,3-4, “Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling
over opinions…for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants
of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld,
for the Lord is able to make them stand.”

This contrasts with Calvin’s interpretation of Paul’s vision in chapters 9-11. Calvin
regarded Paul’s appeals as a rebuke of the Jewish community who were rejected by God
and who, themselves, rejected Christ. Calvin sees verses 11:7-10 as the predestination of
the Jews to suffer from God’s hardening of heart. He errs in that he fails to allow for a
predestination to deliverance, for God wills to have mercy on all. Speaking to the
Gentiles about the Jews in verses 30-32, Paul says, “Just as you were once disobedient to
God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been
disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy.
For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.”

In common with the broad consensus of pagan and Jewish thinking, Paul regards civil
institutions as related to divine authority, “for there is no authority except from God”. As
long as the imperial state limited itself to proper functions, Paul questions any civil
disobedience, however, the state is open to challenge wherever and whenever it claimed
too much for itself or betrayed the purposes of its institution. Paul says, “…the authority
does not bear the sword in vain. It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the

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wrongdoer.” Later, we see the same attitude in the Swiss reformer, Zwingli, who came to
see the state as the instrument of the church in keeping order and discipline.

Paul ends his letter speaking of his plans for missionary work into Spain, his concern for
aid from the wealthy Gentile churches to the church in Jerusalem from which they had
received spiritual gifts, commendation of his letter-bearer, Phoebe, and greetings to his
friends in Rome. About one-third of those named are women, most notably, Prisca with
her husband, Aquila. Phoebe is lauded as “our sister”, a deacon, a benefactor, and by the
mere fact that she is designated to carry Paul’s letter.

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