Body-Building-Bride: The Building Metaphor

Body-Building-Bride: A Theology of Church in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians
A Biblical Theology Paper Submitted to Clinton Arnold, Ph.D.
In Partial Fulfillment of The Requirements of the Course Exegesis in Ephesians TTNT 644
by Laura K. Springer, November 16, 2005

Description of the Images: Building

Building (oikodome) is used four times in Ephesians (Eph. 2:21; 4:12, 16, 29), either referring to the church as a building or as being built. In 2:11-22, the building is that which, in relationship with the chief cornerstone (Christ) and built on the foundation of the New Testament apostles and prophets, grows into a holy temple in the Lord and is built together into a house of God (2:21-22). The temple is not primarily a place to gather for worship, but is rather the dwelling place of God. [i] Christ is the sphere in which the growth of the building takes place (2:21). “The building is complete, the chief corner stone having been put in position; yet it still grows. This paradox of completion, or perfection, with growth we also found in the metaphor of the Body and the Head.” [ii] This building is the one body (the one new humanity) composed of Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus, in relationship with one another and with Christ.

In 4:7-16, the building is the process of growth, resulting from the training of the saints, by which the body grows itself in love (4:12, 16). “The church is a building-site … It is constantly in the making, just as we ourselves are. We are a temple, or the house of God. God’s house is no longer the stone or mud building, it is the community of people, the living community.”[iii] Christ is both the origin and goal of this process. [iv] Attention is focused on construction and connection rather than on the building itself. [v]

for BIBLIOGRAPHY see introduction

i Ernest Best, One Body in Christ: a study in the relationship of the church to Christ in the epistles of the Apostle Paul, (London, S.P.C.K., 1955), 168.

ii Best 167

iii Pierre Simson, “The Church in the New Testament,” AFER 19.05 pp. 280-288. (C) 2004 ATLA Serials. Downloaded November 10, 2005. 284

iv Bruce M. Metzger, “Paul’s Vision of the Church: a study of the Ephesian letter.” Theology Today, 6.01 pp. 49-63. (C) 2004 ATLA Serials. Downloaded November 10, 2005. 59

v Paul S. Minear, Images of the Church in the New Testament, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960, third printing 1977), 49.

Previous Posts:
Abstract
Introduction
The Context of Ephesians
Description of the Images: Body

Future posts:
Description of the Images: Bride
Summary and Theological Conclusions
Practical Implications

About Laura

My name is Laura and I am on a journey, pondering the implications of God's glorious design of humanity and integrating every aspects of this design into a description of whole life health.
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