Divine Warrior

Timothy Gombis argues ( The Drama of Ephesians: Participating in the Triumph of God , 28-31; ch. 4) that Paul follows a “divine warrior” story-line in Ephesians 1-2. Drawing on Longman and Reid’s God Is a Warrior , Gombis says that the divine warrior story moves through these . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptismal meditation

A mediation for the baptism of my third granddaughter, June Annwyn Marie Tollefson. Ephesians 5:8: You were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the world; walk as children of Light. It’s a good Sunday for a baptism. In many churches, today, the third Sunday of Advent, is Gaudete . . . . Continue Reading »

Grace for Grace?

In a 2003 article in Perspectives in Religious Studies , Jason Whitlark gives this sharp summary of the classical Greek linkage between charis (grace) and reciprocity: “(1) Charis’s contextual environment was one of reciprocity, not only among humans but also with the gods. (2) Charis . . . . Continue Reading »

Marriage in Christ

Reflecting on the Haustafeln in Ephesians 4-5, John Paul observes ( Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology Of The Body , 474-5) that Paul’s instructions overlap with customary family advice in the Greco-Roman world. More important than detailed differences is the fact that Paul places . . . . Continue Reading »

Wedding homily

Ephesians 5:18-21: Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to . . . . Continue Reading »

Eucharistic meditation

Ephesians 4:8: When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men. How do we reach maturity in Christ?  Paul gives us a clue when he quotes from Psalm 68, a Psalm of ascension.  The Psalm begins as a plea for the Lord fight for David.  He calls on . . . . Continue Reading »

Fullness of the One Who Fills

What does Paul mean in Ephesians 1:23 when he describes the church as the fullness of Christ?  Does it mean that the church is completed and filled up by Christ, or does it mean that Christ is completed and filled up by the church? Certainly the first.  But the second is also true. . . . . Continue Reading »

Historicized Pleroma

Gnostics used the term pleroma , fullness, to describe the realm of emanations from the high God, the realm of perfection and life. Paul had pre-refuted this later development by giving pleroma an earthly address and a history.  The body, He says, is the pleroma of Chrit (Ephesians 1:23), and . . . . Continue Reading »

Bridal food

Some thoughts after a stimulating discussion of Ephesians 5 with my colleague Toby Sumpter. Toby pointed out that the description of marital life in Ephesians includes a number of sacrificial terms: Husbands are to imitate the Christ who “gave Himself,” who “washes” His . . . . Continue Reading »