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Showing posts from March, 2020

The ‘Body’ in the Ecclesiology of Ephesians and Colossians, and in Ancient Medical Writings

The purpose of this essay is to examine Paul’s teaching on the Church in Ephesians and Colossians with reference to his use of the metaphor of the body.The study benefits from considering Hippocrates and, especially, Galen’s writings on the body.Paul could have been aware of Hippocrates' works, but Galen wrote a century after Paul.Nevertheless, what is presented here seems likely to be representative of the state of the discussion in society, and no suggestion is being made that Paul is dependent on any particular writing.My suggestion is that we can appreciate Paul’s points more by considering the functions of genesis, growth, and nutrition and the role of joints and ligaments in ancient medical works.One application, not dwelt on in this essay, is to redirect contemporary discussion of ministry as ‘leadership’ to what Paul is actually saying about the function of ministries in the Church.
Genesis, Growth, and Nutrition
The second century AD medical author, Galen, des…

Dimensions of Grace in Ephesians

Ephesians captures many dimensions of God’s grace.I offer an overview here with quotes from the English Standard Version.
1.Goal of the Mission of the Triune God: a. God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing, chose us before the foundation of the earth to be holy and blameless before Him in love, predestined us to be His adopted children—to the praise of His glorious grace with which He blessed us in the Beloved (Ephesians 1.3-6). b. Christ has redeemed us with his blood, forgiven our trespasses, lavished his grace upon us, made known the mystery of God’s will in Christ to unite all things in heaven and earth under one head, made us heirs that we might be for the praise of his glory (1.7-12). c. The Spirit has sealed us, guaranteeing our inheritance to the praise of his glory (1.13-14).
2. Revelation of grace: Ephesians 1:17-18 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him,18 so th…

The Diversity Dialogue

Professor Rapp stopped by the cafeteria on his way to the faculty meeting.He wanted a cup of coffee and, since he had some extra time, thought he might treat himself to a walnut cranberry muffin as well.It seemed just the thing for a cold, snowy, day in New England.Shortly after sitting down, several of the seminary students asked if they could join him.They, too, were early for their course on the exegesis of Paul’s letter to the Colossians.
James Adoyo, a student from Kenya, introduced a subject for discussion.“We are studying Colossians 3 today, Professor.I wonder if you have any thoughts on Paul’s statement in verse 11 about there being no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free.”
Professor Rapp: “Ah, that is an excellent verse.As a matter of fact, at the faculty meeting I will be attending shortly, we will be interviewing a candidate to join our faculty who is an Inuit woman from northern Canada.We have decided to diversity our faculty, which…