on Ephesians and the Center of Paul’s Theology

We’ve all been trained to think the bulk of Paul’s theology is found in Romans, when actually….


consider the following:

The Christian church—at least in the West, and especially Protestants—has read Paul through the lens of Romans.  We have historically regarded this letter as the center of Paul’s theology.

I don’t think this is right.  Inasmuch as we can speak of a “center” of Paul’s theology and insofar as any extant NT letter represents that, I think Ephesians is a better candidate.  Among other reasons, here are just a few:

First, Romans is situational while Ephesians isn’t.  Paul argues as he does in Romans because he’s trying to resolve a conflict.  Many of his statements are directed to that end, and when they’re taken out of their communicative context and transformed into abstract theological principles, they give a distorted picture of Paul’s theology.

Ephesians, on the other hand, isn’t situational.  It’s probably a circular letter that Paul intended to be read to a range of churches in Asia Minor, informing them of what God has done in Christ and how they can participate in that.  Because Paul writes to give multiple Christian communities a broad understanding, we can say that Ephesians represents Paul’s basic gospel proclamation (i.e., Paul’s “theology”).

Well there is more and it is certainly a provocative post.  I like it!  Let me know what you think.  🙂


6 responses to “on Ephesians and the Center of Paul’s Theology

  1. Pingback: The Liebster Award | Apprentice 2 Jesus

    • I think you are absolutely right and I think a great view into the story is seen in the notion of Ephesians as drama. i love the whole idea of the drama of scripture. thanks for commenting!

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