How did Paul understand the Spirit in relation to the believer?

1. Old Testament and Second-Temple Religious-Historical Background
2. The Holy Spirit in the Writings of Paul
   2.1. The Holy Spirit and the Believer
       2.1.1. Spirit Bestowed and Indwelling
              A. Rom 5:5
              B. Rom 8:9-11
              C. 1 Cor 12:13
              D. Gal 3:5
              E. Gal 4:6
              F. 1 Thess 4:8
              G. 2 Tim 1:14
              H. Titus 3:5-7

       2.1.2. Christ’s Indwelling of the Believer
              A. Rom 8:9-11
              B. 2 Cor 13:5
              C. Eph 3:17
              D. Col 1:27 (2:2; 4:3)
       2.1.3. Spiritual Union with Christ
   2.2. The Experiential Effects of the Giving of the Spirit
         2.2.1. The Spirit as Principle of Obedience
              A. Direct References to the Spirit as Effecting Spiritual Transformation
                    1. Rom 8:1-2, 3b-8
                    2. Gal 5:16-25

                    3. 2 Cor 3:18                   
                    4. Eph 3:16-17

                    5. Titus 3:5-7

                    6. Circumcision by the Spirit
B. Indirect References to the Spirit as Effecting Spiritual Transformation
                    1. Rom 6:1-23; Gal 3:26-28

                    2. The Obedience of Faith (Rom 1:5)

                    3. Eph 2:10

                    4. Gal 6:14-15; Cor 5:17
                    5. Gal 2:19; Rom 6:11 ("To live for God")

                    6. 1 Thess 5:4-5; Rom 13:12-13; Eph 5:8-9
                    7. Col 3:9-10
               C. Unnatural Possibility of Continued Spiritual Immaturity

       2.2.2. The Spirit As Providing Proof that Believers are Children of God
       2.2.3. The Spirit as the Means of Success in Apostolic Ministry

              A. Signs, Wonders, and Miracles

              B. The Power of God for Apostolic Ministry
       2.2.4. Spiritual Gifts (Charismata)
              A. Two Lists of Charismata
                    1. 1 Cor 12:1-11
                    2. Rom 12:3-8
              B. Two Additional Spiritual Gifts (Charismata)
              C. Ministries
                    1. 1 Cor 12:28-30
                    2. Eph 4:7-12

       2.2.5. Praying in the Spirit
       2.2.6. The Spirit as Revealer of Truth

              A. 1 Cor 1:10-2:16

              B. 2 Cor 4:1-6
       2.2.7. Speaking in Tongues  (1 Cor 14:1-25)
       2.2.8. The Church as the Temple of the Holy Spirit
              A. 1 Cor 3:16
              B. 2 Cor 6:19





1. Old Testament and Second-Temple Religious-Historical  Background


In the context of Israel’s disobedience and subsequent exile, the prophets promised restoration and the establishment of a new covenant. The latter would result not only in forgiveness but also the possibility of obedience to the Law. This new possibility of obedience would result from God’s infusion into his people of an eschatological principle of obedience, which is expressed in various ways. Ezekiel prophesies that God will give them a singleness of heart (11:19), removing the heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh (Ezek 11:19; 36:26); he will give them a new heart (36:26). The prophet also says that God will give his people a new spirit (11:19; 36:26). Jeremiah promises on God's behalf that at the restoration God will put his Law within and write his Law unto the hearts of the people (Jer 31:33). In 32:39, Jeremiah, like Ezekiel promises that God will give the people a singleness of heart, and in 32:40 he says on behalf of God: "I will put the fear of me in their hearts, in order that they not turn away from me.”  In the same historical context, the promise of the eschatological giving of the Spirit is made (Isa 32:15; 44:3; Ezek 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:28), and in Ezek 36:26-27 (see 37:14; 39:29), the eschatological principle of obedience (bestowed at the restoration) is causally connected with God’s giving his own Spirit to the people. (In the other passages predictive of the giving of the Spirit, there is nothing said of the Spirit’s being an eschatological principle of obedience.)


   The term "spirit of holiness," (or Holy Spirit) occurs infrequently in the Old Testament (Isa 63:11 [see Isa 63:14]; Ps 51:11), and never with the meaning of eschatological principle of obedience. (The closest parallel to the idea of the "spirit of holiness" as eschatological principle of obedience is, as already indicated, found in Ezekiel:  the prophet proclaims that God will give His people a new spirit [11:19; 36:26] and that he will give them his own spirit [36:27; see 37:14; 39:29].) The term “spirit of holiness,” however, does occur in some Jewish texts from the second-Temple period with the meaning of eschatological principle of obedience. Generally, in these texts, spirit of holiness refers not to God as Spirit placed in human beings but to a new human spirit or disposition that leads to holiness created by God. (See Book of Jubilees 1.12-26; 4Q504 [Words of the Luminaries] 5.15-16; 1QS [Rule of the Community] 3:6-8; 4.18-21; 9.3; 1QSb [Blessings] 1.2 1QH-a [Thanksgiving Hymns] 15.6-7; 8; Barkhi Nafshi.)  At the end, the time of Israel's final and definitive salvation, God will so spiritually transform his people, that disobedience to the Torah will henceforth be impossible. To have a spirit of holiness is to have this God-given disposition to holiness. (There were other ways to express the idea of Israel's spiritual transformation used in the Old Testament and in later texts.)  In some of these texts, the spirit of holiness is a present reality, whereas in others it is a future reality.



The Spirit of Holiness as Eschatological Principle of Obedience in Second-Temple Judaism

2. The Holy Spirit in the Writings of Paul


The Holy Spirit or spirit of holiness is central to Paul's theology. He holds that the promise of the giving of the Spirit has been fulfilled. Different from the prophecy in the Hebrew prophets, however, Paul asserts that the promise of the Spirit is fulfilled for the church, the new community of God, consisting of Jews and gentiles, and not for the nation of Israel restored to the land.(1)

2.1. The Holy Spirit and the Believer

2.1.1. Spirit Bestowed and Indwelling


Expressing himself in various ways, Paul asserts that the Spirit is bestowed upon Jewish and gentile believers by God and indwells them.

A. Rom 5:5


According to Paul, the reason that a believer’s hope does not disappoint is that, “The love of God is poured out (ekkechutai) in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who is given to us (tou dothentos hêmin).”(2) By the term “heart,” Paul is referring to the “center” of the human being, his cognitional and volitional faculties.(3) He uses the metaphor of “pouring out” in order to communicate the idea of abundance or overflowing surplus.(4) The implication is that believers do not naturally possess the Spirit; rather, the Spirit comes to a person from without. God has poured out his love into the heart, insofar as he has given the Holy Spirit to believers (The phrase “love of God” is a subjective genitive: God’s love.) In other words, the means by which this love of God is experientially present to believers is by means of the Holy Spirit.(5) The Holy Spirit is a manifestation and proof of the love of God or his saving intention. (6) The hope of eschatological salvation that a believer has for the future is confirmed in the present by the gift of the Holy Spirit. (See the parallel in Sir 18:11: “The Lord. . . pours out his mercy upon them.”) On this interpretation, the use of the preposition dia + genitive describes the manner in which God has poured out his love, that is, through the Holy Spirit. (Given that, according to Paul, the result of having the Spirit is resurrection [Rom 8:11] or eternal life [Gal 6:8], it is clear why the Holy Spirit is a manifestation of God’s love.)

B. Rom 8:9-11


In Rom 8, Paul contrasts two mutually-exclusive modes of being: “in the Spirit” (en pneumati) and “in the flesh” (en sarki).(7) To be “in the Spirit” results from being indwelt by the Spirit: “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, so long as the Spirit of God dwells in you (oikei en humin)” (8:9a). How exactly the Spirit dwells in a believer, however, Paul never explains fully. (It seems also that the Spirit of God who indwells believers is the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead [8:11a].) To be indwelt by the Spirit of God appears to be synonymous with “to have [the] Spirit of Christ” (pneuma christou echein); this is evident from the fact that in the very next sentence, Paul says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this one does not belong to him” (8:9b) (see Phil 1:19 for a reference to "the spirit of Christ Jesus" and 2 Cor 3:17 for "the spirit of the Lord"). In 1 Cor 6:19 Paul again refers to "having" the Spirit.) If so, then the phrase Spirit of Christ may be a subjective genitive: “Christ’s Spirit.” It is also possible to interpret it as a genitive of origin: the Spirit who comes from Christ.(8) Regardless of his exact meaning, Paul’s intention is both to distinguish Christ from the Spirit and also to assert an inseparable connection between them.(9) Paul then speaks about the fact that Christ is “in” a believer. The phrase “If Christ is in you” (ei de christos en humin) likewise seems to be another synonym for being indwelt by the Spirit and having the Spirit of Christ. So being indwelt by the Spirit of God, having the Spirit of Christ and Christ’s being in a believer all mean the same thing. Why Paul would use such variety of expression is not clear, except to indicate that the relationship between the Spirit and the believer is ultimately inscrutable.(10)

C. 1 Cor 12:13


In explanation of the assertion that “The body is one” (1 Cor 12:12), Paul says, “We were all baptized in one Spirit to become one body” (en eni pneumati hêmeis pantes eis en sôma ebaptisthêmen). It seems that Paul is speaking about the reception of the one Spirit by believers, which results in being one body or organic spiritual unity.(11) His point is that the oneness of the body is the result of the one Spirit. Paul conceives the Spirit as that into which believers have been baptized: just as they were literally baptized in water so metaphorically they were also baptized in the Spirit.(12) (Paul’s use of the term “to baptize” may be an allusion to the reception of the Spirit at baptism [see Gal 3:27; Rom 6:3-4].)(13) In other words, sharing in the one Spirit unifies believers into one body, a plurality in a unity. (Paul is probably using of eis not with a local sense but with a consecutive meaning, to describe the result of receiving the one Spirit.)(14) In the same verse, still speaking metaphorically, Paul says, “We were given one Spirit to drink” (pantes en pneuma epotisthêmen); this new image serves to supplement the previous idea of being baptized in the Spirit to become one body. To drink of the one Spirit is intended to communicate both that the Spirit is within a believer and that the Spirit—because the Spirit has entered from without—is not being natural or endemic to a human being. Believers are mortal beings unnaturally possessed by the immortal Spirit.(15)

D. Gal 3:5


Paul asks the Galatians whether God grants (epichoregein) them with the Spirit by the hearing of faith or by the works of the Law. What is to be noted is that, for Paul, the defining characteristic of the Galatian believers is the fact that God supplied them with the Spirit on the basis of their faith. To be granted the Spirit implies that the Spirit comes from another and is not possessed innately.

E. Gal 4:6


Paul says to the believers at Galatia that, “God sent the Spirit of his son into your hearts” (exapesteilen ho theos to pneuma tou huiou autou eis tas kardias hêmôn). The reason that God has done this is because they are sons (see 3:26) (The conjunction hoti is causal: “because.”)(16) The “place” where God sent the Spirit of his son is the “heart,” which is not really a place, but the cognitional and volitional “center” of a human being.(17) The phrase “Spirit of his son” is undoubtedly synonymous with the Holy Spirit or other terms expressive of the same reality.(18) The phrase could be a genitive of origin, so that Paul means the Spirit sent from God’s son, or even a genitive of apposition: Spirit, who is the son of God. (The similar phrase "the spirit of Jesus Christ" occurs Phil 1:19.) Perhaps both senses are intended.(19) The Spirit in the heart of believer then calls out “Abba, Father.” (Abba is the transliteration of the Aramaic word for “father.") Paul means that the Spirit as a possession of believers residing in the heart testifies to them that they are indeed sons of God, causing them to address God as Father.(20)

F. 1 Thess 4:8


Paul simply makes the point in passing that God "gives his Holy Spirit into us" (didonta to pneuma autou to hagion eis humas). The implication is that believers receive the Spirit from God and do not naturally possess the Spirit.

G. 2 Tim 1:14


Paul tells Timothy to guard the good deposit that was entrusted to him “with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (dia pneumatos hagiou tou enoikountes en humin).

H. Titus 3:5-7


Paul speaks about the Spirit that has been "poured out" (execheen) upon believers: "by the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Christ Jesus our Savior." Because of Christ's saving work, in other words, God is able to give the Spirit to believers.

2.1.2. Christ’s Indwelling of the Believer


Because of the Spirit's presence in believers, there exists a spiritual union between Christ and the believer. Using a spatial metaphor, Paul asserts that Christ dwells within a believer. It seems that, because the Spirit (of Christ) indwells a believer, Paul can say that Christ indwells a believer.

A. Rom 8:9-11


As already indicated, Paul refers to the Spirit of God as dwelling in a believer, which is synonymous with the Spirit of Christ; this is what it means to being "in the Spirit." Being indwelt by the Spirit is the same as Christ's being in a believer (Christos en humin).

B. 2 Cor 13:5


Paul exhorts the Corinthians to test themselves to be sure that they are "in the faith," which is defined as Jesus Christ's being "in us" (en humin). He seems to be referring to the fact that the essential mark of a believer is to have or be indwelt by Christ which is the same as being indwelt by the Spirit.(21)

C. Eph 3:17


In his prayer for his readers, Paul asks that Christ may dwell in the hearts (katoikesai...en tais kardiais) of his readers, by which he means the Spirit. For Christ to dwell in their hearts is synonymous with the presence of the Spirit of God in the inner man (to pneuma autou eis ton esô anthrôpon). The "inner man" has the same meaning as "heart," both denoting the cognitional and volitional center of a person (on the use of "heart" elsewhere in the letter, see 1:18; 4:18; 5:19; 6:5, 22). Likewise, the Spirit of God is synonymous with Christ. Thus, to be empowered by his Spirit in the inner man is to have Christ dwell in one's heart.(22) The infinitive clause "Christ to your hearts" probably relates to the previous infinitive clause "to be empowered through his Spirit" as an epexegetical infinitive, so that the former explains further what the meaning of the latter.(23) (This means that both infinitive clauses are controlled by the clause "in order that he may give you" [hina dô humin].)

D. Col 1:27 (2:2; 4:3)


Paul says that the mystery of God is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Christos en humin, hê elpis tês doxês).  He seems to mean by this that the Spirit’s indwelling is the basis of the believer's hope of being glorified or receiving eternal life (see Eph 1:13). The fact that he refers to this as a mystery implies that this truth was unknown until his day and therefore did not form part of Jewish eschatological expectation. (As already indicated, there were other "mysteries" which Paul revealed as apostle to the gentiles, such as the messiah's death as salvation-historically necessary, the church as one people consisting of both Jews and gentiles and the hardening of Israel so that gentiles may receive the offer of salvation.)  In Col 2:2 Paul says that the mystery of God is Christ, in whom is found the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; since Christ is in the believer, then so is this wisdom and knowledge. It is this mystery (consisting) of Christ (genitive of content or apposition) that Paul preaches (4:3).

Mosaic at Corinth

2.1.3. Spiritual Union with Christ


Although he is somewhat loose and diverse in his expression, there is ample evidence that Paul believes that there is what one could call a spiritual union between the believer and Christ. In other words, he uses participationist language in order to express his soteriology.(24) It is willingly conceded that the notion of spiritual (or mystical) union with Christ is a secondary construct, not occurring as such in Paul's writings; nevertheless, one can justifiably conclude that this construct is implicit in Paul's various assertions about the relation between Christ and the believer. It seems that this union is effected by the Spirit, whom Paul identifies as the "Spirit of Christ" (Rom 8:9b) or "the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:19) (see "Spirit of the Lord" in 2 Cor 3:17) and even simply Christ (Rom 8:10a).(25) It is the Spirit who effects this ADD ontological??? participation in or spiritual union with Christ. In addition to saying that Christ is in (en) the believer (Rom 8:10; 2 Cor 13:5; Col 1:27; 3:11) or that Christ dwells in the hearts of believers (katoikesai...en tais kardiais) (Eph 3:17), Paul refers to being in Christ (en Christô) (see Rom 8:1; 12:5; 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:13), to living in Christ (en Christô) (Col 2:6), and to being found in him [Christ] (Phil 3:9) (eurêthein en autô), all of which are spatial metaphors intended to express the spiritual union that exists between the believer and Christ: the believer is situated Christ. Similarly, the apostle speaks about being clothed with Christ (Christon enedusasthê) (Gal 3:27), and about Christ's being formed in believers (morphôthê Christos en humin) (Gal 4:19). Paul also writes about being called into fellowship (eis koinônian) with Christ (1 Cor 1:9), about being of Christ (tou Christou) (2 Cor 10:7; Gal 5:24), about learning Christ (emathete ton Christon (Eph 4:20), about knowing Christ (Phil 3:8 tês gnôseôs Christou; Phil 3:10 gnonai auton; Col 2:2 eis epignôsin...Christou), and about gaining Christ (hina Christon kerdêsô (Phil 3:8). These also serve to convey the idea of a spiritual union between Christ and the believer. In conclusion, all the data examined can be tidily subsumed under the theological heading of the believer's spiritual union with Christ.(26)


   Further to this, in several places in his letters, Paul writes about how a believer participates in Christ's death and resurrection, which results in the death and life of Christ being manifested in the believer. In Rom 6:1-10, the believer is said to be baptized into Christ, into his death, and buried with him; the result is that the old man (ho palaios anthrôpos) is crucified with Christ (6:6) (see also 1 Cor 1:13; 12:13; Gal 3:27). But, just as Christ was raised from the dead, so too the believer, being freed from sin (6:7), now lives in newness of life (6:4; see also 2 Cor 5:17); insofar as he is united with Christ in his death, the believer will be united with him in resurrection (6:5). Similarly, in Gal 2:19-20, Paul explains that because he was crucified with Christ, he no longer lives, but Christ lives in him (see Gal 6:14). For Christ to dwell in Paul is for the Spirit or the Spirit of Christ to dwell in him; this indwelling effects a spiritual identity between Paul and Christ, so that he can describe himself as having died with Christ and no longer living. In Colossians, the apostle describes his readers as having been buried with Christ in baptism and raised with him, being made alive together with him (2:12; 3:1; see also Eph 2:5-6) and as those who have died and whose life is now hid with Christ, who is their life (3:3-4). In spite of such a diversity of expression, the point is clear: there is a merging of identities between the believer and Christ effected by the Spirit, so that the believer is said to participate in the death and resurrection of Christ. Christ's death and burial manifests itself in the believer as the death of the old self (the "old man"), whereas Christ's resurrection manifests itself in the present as a new principle of spiritual life and will manifest itself in the future as the resurrection of the body.


Segal claims that the idea that human beings can mystically identify with a heavenly figure and be transformed to become a being like this heavenly figure was part of Jewish mystical theology of the second-Temple period (see, for example, Dan 12:1-2; 1 En 90:37-39; 2 Bar 51:3-6; 3 En 3-15) (see A. Segal, Paul the Convert. The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990) chap. 2) (Many of the parallels cited by Segal, however, do not support his conclusion.) Segal claims that it is this Jewish mystical theology serves as the religious-historical background against which one should interpret Paul’s statements about the believer’s union with Christ and his or her being transformed to be like Christ, especially the receiving of a spiritual body like Christ’s. While there is some conceptual similarity between Paul’s theology and that of Jewish mysticism, Paul’s teaching about the union with Christ is different enough to be considered religious-historically unique in Judaism. Schoeps has presented evidence that some Jews expected the cessation of the Law with the appearance of the Messiah, the age to come. He suggests that Paul may be influenced by this notion (H. J. Schoeps, Paul. The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961] 171-75).


2.2. The Experiential Effects of the Giving of the Spirit


In Pauline theology, there are several experiential effects produced by the indwelling Spirit.

2.2.1. The Spirit as Effecting Spiritual Transformation (as Eschatological Principle of Obedience)


With the eschatological events of the death and resurrection of Christ comes the eschatological Spirit to human beings. Consistent with his Old Testament and second-Temple religious-historical background, Paul holds that the Spirit is indispensable to being able to do the will of God. The believer is controlled and empowered by the Spirit (or other designations), no longer being controlled by the sinful nature ("the flesh"). This is the norm for all believers in Paul's view, not an option, although Paul does allow for the possibility of the Spirit's being hindered. While conceptually they can be distinguished, the spiritual status of being declared righteous cannot be separated experientially from the spiritual transformation effected by the Spirit. Unlike the texts from the second-Temple period, however, for Paul the Holy Spirit is not simply a new human disposition to holiness created by God, but is God or Christ in an individual. In this way, he is in more continuity with the Hebrew prophets. The other difference between Paul and his second-Temple Judaism is that for him the Holy Spirit as the eschatological principle of obedience is given on an equal basis to Jews and gentiles alike.


The idea that human beings are incapable of obedience without divine assistance occurs in Qumran sectarian writings. The assumption in the Hodayot seems to be that human beings are responsible to make the initial decision to repent, but, consistent with the conception of them as generally weak and sinful, they are portrayed as lacking the power to carry through on this decision. God as merciful, however, makes up this deficiency. In 1QH 7.13b-14a (15.14) the founder declares to God, "You establish my your truth to straighten my steps on the paths of righteousness." This is an idiomatic way of saying that God enables the author to obey the Law; the basis of this imparting of this capacity for obedience is God's truth, which is God's mercy or salvific intention towards sinners. Similarly, in 1QH 15.12b-17a (7.15b-21a) the author makes clear "that man is not able to establish his way," which means that God alone is able make a person obedient to Himself (see also 1QH 2.23, 33 and 1QS 11.10). This is why the request to made to God to help the psalmist to remain obedient: "Strengthen.[ ]..against spirits to walk in all which you love and to reject all that you hate" (1QH 17.23b-24a). Not only are human beings innately incapable of obedience but they are also subject to the straying influence of evil spirits. Thus, unless God intervenes there can be no doing what God loves; it is for this intervention that the author petitions God. (See also 1QH 10[18].6: "How can I be strong unless you make me stand?") Finally, an echo of Jeremiah's prophecy that God will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, which, in part, will result in God's placing His Law within them and in writing it upon their hearts (Jer 31:31-34) is found in 1QH 4(12).10-12, where the founder affirms that God has engraved His Law upon his heart (see also 1QH 17[4].23). This is why his opponents were not able to turn him from obeying the Law as God had revealed it to him. So, although He always remains as judge of all human beings, God enables human beings, who are inherently weak and sinful, to meet His righteous standards. This is no doubt what the founder meant when he says that God has not abandoned him to the "designs of my inclination" (1QH 5[13].6a). Finally, in 1QH 13.16b-17a the author says, "By your goodness alone is a man righteous" (see Isa 45:25). What is probably meant is that because of His goodness, God declares people to be righteous who are not actually righteous, a type of imputed righteousness, and that God makes human beings righteous in the sense of being obedient.

A. References to the Spirit as Effecting Spiritual Transformation


Rom 8:1-9


According to Paul, the purpose of God’s sending his son was “to condemn sin in the flesh,” (8:3b) in order that the requirement of the Law (to dikaiôma tou nomou) might be fulfilled in “us” (8:4a).(27) The phrase “the requirement of the Law” is a genitive of content: the requirement consisting of the Law (see its other use in Rom 2:26: "If therefore the uncircumcised keeps the requirement of the Law..."; see also Rom 1:32: "the requirement of God" (to dikaiôma tou theou). Paul’s use of the singular to dikaiôma (“the requirement”) implies the unity of the Law (In Rom 13:8-10 and Gal 5:14, Paul identifies the essence of the Law as “love” [agapê]).(28) In other words, the purpose of the work of Christ is that the essence of the Law be truly obeyed by believers. Earlier, in Rom 8:2, Paul writes that the principle (literally “law” [nomos]) of the Spirit of life has set “you” (a believer) free from the principle of sin and death. He sees “sin” as a causal principle operating in human beings that results in death, not only physical but eternal (8:2); this is nullified by another causal principle, the law of the Spirit of life (ho nomos tou pneumatos tês zôês), or the Spirit whose purpose it is to make possible eternal life (genitive of direction or purpose). (The inclusion of the adverbial phrase “in Christ Jesus,” modifying the verb “set free,” denotes that it is because of the work of Christ that any of this is possible: The “in” [en] is causal.)(29)

Contrary to some commentators, nomos does not refer to the Mosaic Law (E. Jüngel, Paulus und Jesus. Eine Untersuchung zur Präisierung der Frage nach dem Ursprung der Christologie [4. ed.; HUT 2; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1972] 53-62; E. Lohse, “ho nomos tou pneumatos tês zôês: Exegetische Anmerkungen zu Röm 8:2,” Die Vielfalt des Neuen Testaments (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1982) 128-36; E. Reinmuth, Geist und Gesetz: Studien zu Voraussetzungen und Inhalt der pauliniscen Paränese (ThA 44; Berlin: Evangelische, 1985; B. Reicke, “Paulus über das Gesetz,” TZ 41 (1985) 237-57; J. Dunn, Romans 1-8 (WBC; Dallas: Word, 1988) 416-18). Such an interpretation is unnecessarily complicated. For the interpretation of nomos as principle (or synonymous term), see Räisänen, “Das ‘Gesetz des Glauben’ (Röm 3:27) und das ‘Gesetz des Geistes’ (Röm 8:2),” NTS 26 (1979/80) 101-17; D. J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996) 473-77; C. E. B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans (ICC n.s.; 2 vols.; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1975, 1979) 1.375-76; A. Nygren, Commentary on Romans (Philadelphia:Fortress, 1949) 311-12; T. J. Deidun, New Covenant Morality in Paul (AnBib 89; Rome: Biblical Institute 1981) 194-203; U. Luz, Das Geschichtsverständnis des Paulus (BEvT 49; Munich: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1968) 104.


This is the reason for Paul’s confident affirmation in Rom 8:1: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The use of the conjunction gar (“for”) in Rom 8:2 implies that what follows in this verse is the warrant for what is written in Rom 8:1. The reason that there is no condemnation is that “those who are in Christ” have been so transformed that they are now practically righteous as the result of being under the influence of “the law of the Spirit of life.”(30) In other words, they will necessarily be found to be obedient to the “righteous requirement of the Law” at the final judgment. This means that the righteous requirement of the Law is fulfilled because of the Spirit’s indwelling and functioning as a principle of obedience, which is what Paul means by the term “law of the Spirit of life.” This is also implied by Paul’s definition of those in whom the requirement of the Law is fulfilled as those who walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh (tois mê kata sarka peripatousin alla kata pneuma) (8:4b).

   Paul then contrasts “those who are according to the flesh” (hoi kata sarka ontes) and who “think on the things of the flesh” (ta tês sarkos phronousin) with “those who are according to the Spirit” (hoi kata pneuma [ontes]) who “think on the things of the Spirit” (ta tou pneumatos [phronousin]) (8:5).(31) Flesh and Spirit represent two mutually-exclusive principles or causal agents operative within human beings.(32) Those for whom the flesh is the principle are designated as “those who are according to the flesh,” whereas those for whom the Spirit is the principle are causal “those who are according to the Spirit.”(33) “To think on” either “the things of the flesh” or “the things of the Spirit” describes the human being as under the influence of one or the other principle, resulting in two different modes of being or basic existential orientations. The flesh and Spirit necessarily lead to their corresponding actions. Paul then says that the “mind of flesh” (to phronêma tês sarkos), or ‘fleshly’ basic existential orientation, is opposed to God. (The phrase mind of flesh is a genitive of quality, so that the mind has the attribute of ‘fleshiness’.)

There is a tradition in second-Temple Judaism that traces the origin of moral evil to the Watchers, angels who corrupted human beings in antediluvian times (see E. Brandenburger, Adam und Christus: Exegetisch-Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zu Röm 5:21-21 [WMANT 7; Neukirchen: Neukirchener Verlag, 1962] 20-26). In 1 En 6-11, it is said that the Watchers not only had sexually relations with women (6; 7.1-3; 9.8-9; 10.11), but taught evil to human beings, revealing to them heavenly secrets (7:1; 8:1, 3; 9.6-8; 10.7-8; 19:1; 54:6; 64:2; 67:7; 69:27); for this reason the earth was full of sin (see 9.9-10). The same idea occurs in the Book of Jubilees (4:15, 22), except that the offspring of the Watchers played a major role in the corruption of humanity (5.1-4; 7.21-25.) (See also CD 3.4-7; T. Reub. 5.6-7; T. Naph. 3.5). (In the Book of Jubilees, the remainder of the fallen angels is under the control of Mastema (10.8, 11). Another source of corruption in the postdiluvian period is the (evil) spirits of the offspring of the Watchers (1 En 15.8-9; 16.1; Jub. 7:27; 10:1-12; 11:4-5; 12:20). Paul doubtless believes that Satan and the spirits under his authority lead human beings astray, but he would add that they do so because human beings as “flesh” have the potentiality to be so led.


This opposition to God is manifested as not submitting to the Law of God, which is impossible for “the mind of flesh.” Paul adds that “those who are in the flesh,” in fact, cannot please God, for obvious reasons. (The phrase "those who are in the flesh" [8:8] is a synonym for "those who are according to the flesh" [8:5].) In the end, the flesh leads to death, because death is the penalty of sin (8:6a; see Rom 1:32; 5:12-14; 6:23). He adds, "For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die" (8:13a). The phrase "the mind of the Spirit” or ‘Spirit’ as a basic existential orientation, on the other hand, leads to “life and peace” (zôê kai eirênê), which are synonymous terms meaning eschatological salvation (8:6b). (For other uses of "life" to mean eternal life, see Rom 7:10; 8:2, 10, 11; 2 Cor 2:16; 3:6; 4:10-12; Gal 3:21; 2 Tim 1:1, 10; for other examples of Paul’s use of "peace" to mean final salvation [excluding its occurrence as part of an epistolary greeting], see Rom 2:10; 14:17; 15:33; 16:20; 2 Cor 13:11b; Eph 2:17; 6:15; Phil 4:7; Col 1:20; 1 Thess 5:23.) Similarly, Paul makes the following conditional statement, "But if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live" (8:13b). The word "body" in this context is a synonym for flesh. There is a causal connection, in other words, between obedience resulting from the Spirit and eschatological salvation.

2. Gal 5:16-24


As in Rom 8, in this passage, Paul contrasts the “flesh” (sarx) with the Spirit as two principles according to which a human being could live.(34) In Gal 5:16, Paul speaks about walking in the Spirit (pneumati peripateite), in Gal 5:18 about being led by the Spirit (pneumati agesthe) and in Gal 5:25 about living by the Spirit (pneumati zômen).

The Hebraism “to walk” in the Spirit is a metaphorical way of describing living fundamentally as influenced and empowered by the Spirit. See 1 En 94:3; 99:10; Jub. 21:22; 4Q385 frg. 2.2–3 = 4Q386 frg. 1, col. 1.1–2; 4Q388 frg. 7.4 (Pseudo-Ezekiel); 4Q525 frg. 2, col. 2.3b–4a (4QBeatitudes); LAB 16:5; 1QS 2.14; 5.4b–5a; 7.24-26 walk in stubbornness of heart; 1QH-a 4[17].23b–24a; 1QH-a 7.21[15.17]; 1QH-a 12[4].21b–22a; CD 2.15b–16a; CD 7.4b–6a; CD 20.28b–30a; 1QS 11:10b; 1QS 8.16b–19. In 1QS 3-4, a Jews “walks” according to two spirits or basic human dispositions: the spirit of truth and deceit also known as the spirits or light and darkness. The dative pneumati is an instrumental dative used adverbially. Or it could be a locative dative used metaphorically “in the realm of the Spirit”. On either interpretation, however, the meaning is the same.


These are all synonyms, denoting coming under the principle or causal factor consisting of the Spirit. Paul says that “walking in the Spirit” will result in not fulfilling “the desire of the flesh” (epithumia sarkos) (5:16). (The second clause in 5:16 "And you will not fulfill the desire of the flesh" serves as the apodosis of the first clause, even though grammatically it is an imperative: "Walk in the Spirit.") The genitive phrase “the desire of the flesh” is a genitive of origin (“The desire originating in the flesh”) or a subjective genitive (“The flesh’s desire”).(35) On either interpretation, flesh is conceived as almost a quasi-substantial entity, one that produces a fundamental, illicit desire in a human being; in other words, the flesh is an evil principle or causal agent. Paul probably uses the singular “desire” to emphasize that all disobedience to God has its origin in this fundamental opposition to God.(36) In Gal 5:17, Paul elaborates further on what he wrote in the previous verse.(37) The Spirit desires what is contrary to the flesh and the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit. In other words, the flesh and Spirit have an intractable antipathy to each other and are mutually exclusive of each other: they do not and cannot co-exist.

In Gal 5:17b, after referring to the mutual antipathy between the flesh and the Spirit, Paul adds the purpose clause “in order that you do what you do not want to do” (hina mê ha ean thelête tauta poiête). Although this passage is somewhat obscure, the interpretation that is certainly excluded is the one that takes 5:17b to express ongoing moral failure of the believer because the flesh’s continued opposition to the Spirit. This is different from H. Ridderbos, The Epistle to the Galatians (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953) 203-204; U. Borse, Der Brief an die Galater (RNT; Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1984) 195-96; P. Althaus, “‘Das ihr nicht tut, was ihr wollt’ Zur Auslegung von Gal 5,17,” TLZ 76 (1951) 15-18; J. Dunn, “Romans 7:14-25 in the Theology of Paul,” ThZ (1975) 257-73, esp. 267-68. The claim is often made that 5:17b is thematically parallel to Rom 7:14-25 (see H. D. Betz, Galatians [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979] 279-81). Rather, in 5:17b Paul probably intends to express nothing more than the fact that the flesh necessarily aims to oppose the Spirit and the Spirit the flesh (Burton, Galatians, 300-302; F. Mußner, Der Galaterbrief (HTKNT 9; Freiburg: Herder, 1974) 377-78; H. Schlier, Der Brief an die Galater (14 ed.; MeyerK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971) 249-50). On this interpretation the hina-clause is telic, a purpose clause. (Some take the position that the hina-clause as a result clause not a purpose clause (Betz, Galatians, 279-81). Given the larger context, however, this statement should not be interpreted to mean that the flesh and the Spirit are equally-matched in their struggle within the hearts of believer. According to Mußner, for example, the alleged stalemate between the flesh and Spirit results in the believer standing perpetually in a state of freedom between these two fundamental possibilities (Der Galaterbrief, 377-78). What Paul says in 5:24 about how the flesh has been crucified renders such an interpretation impossible: he clearly affirms that the believe has no genuine freedom to exist according to the flesh, that that flesh is no longer an operative principle within the believer, the one who walks according to the Spirit (see G. D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994) 434-35; J. Barclay, Obeying the Truth: A Study of Paul’s Ethics in Galatians (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1988) 112-15). In 5:17b, Paul’s point is that the goal of both “powers” is to produce conflict in a believer by opposing its opposing force. All that is implied, however, is the believer’s awareness of the presence of the flesh opposing the Spirit and the Spirit opposing the flesh. Nothing is implied about the two being equally balanced in their power to influence the believer. Unlike Mußner, Betz believes that in 5:17b “the human will is disabled from carrying out its intentions” (Galatians, 280-81). He holds that Paul has left out the role of the Spirit, the third “will” and depicts a human being as incapacitated by the two opposing forces; as such this reflects a “pre-Pauline” anthropology. Barclay’s interpretation is equally unconvincing. He writes, “The warfare imagery is invoked not to indicate that the two sides are evenly balanced but to show the Galatians that they are already committed to some forms of activity (the Spirit) and against others (the flesh)” (115). According to Barclay, the reference to “doing whatever you want” refers to the believers’ not being in a situation of complete freedom even though they are not under the Law (5:18), but are obligated to the Spirit. It is true that Paul does not believer that the flesh is a true opponent of the Spirit and that believers are not under the Law, nevertheless, he does seem to be speaking about the flesh struggling against the Spirit. Experientially, a believer experiences the desires of the flesh in opposition to the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit in opposition to the flesh. The flesh does not disappear but is rendered subordinate to the Spirit.


There follows a list of “the works of flesh” (ta erga tês sarkos): “sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and similar things.” These works are the manifestations of the principle of the flesh. To walk in, live by, be led by the Spirit leads to the production of “the fruit of the Spirit,” which Paul lists in 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control. The use of the metaphor of “fruit” lays stress on “divine empowerment,” the result of the influence of the Spirit on the human being.(38) If he walks in the Spirit, a person does not carry out the “desire of the flesh” (epithumia sarkos), which is a way of describing the fundamental attitude of defiance to God (5:16). If the “desire of the flesh” is carried out, the result is “the works of the flesh,” as delineated in Gal 5:19-21. Another of Paul’s ways of expressing that this new principle of obedience is operative in the lives of believers is to say that they have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (tên sarka estaurôsan sun tois pathêmasin kai tais epithumiais) (5:24).(39) This is a metaphorical way of describing how the Spirit has rendered the “flesh” ineffective.(40) The “passions” and “desires” of the flesh are probably synonyms; each denotes the experiential results of the flesh’s fundamental defiance of God, “the desire of the flesh.”(41)


3. 2 Cor 3:18


In 2 Cor 3:18, Paul probably says believers as having unveiled faces contemplate the glory of the Lord (3:16). The middle voice of the verb katoptrizein normally means to behold in a mirror (see Philo, Leg. 3.101).(42) (The other interpretive alternative is "to reflect as a mirror," but this seems less likely in spite of efforts to prove the contrary.)(43) The contrast is between those whose minds are still veiled when they read the Torah ("Moses") and those whose faces are unveiled (3:14-16)(44) (Paul switches his veil imagery from Moses who covers his face to prevent people from seeing the fading glory to contemporary Jews who have veils over their minds.) What those with unveiled face metaphorically behold in the mirror is the "glory of the Lord" (hê doxa tou kuriou); it is the image of the glory of the Lord that believers look upon. In order to understand Paul's point, the meaning of the phrase "the glory of the Lord" must be determined.


   Throughout 2 Cor 3:7-18, Paul uses the term glory to refer to the splendor or magnificence that each covenant had. When he says that the old covenant (3:14) came in glory he is referring to the fact that Moses' face shone after descending from Mt. Sinai (Exod 34:28-35) (3:7). Paul argues the new covenant must have even more glory than the first covenant since it is "the ministry of righteousness" and not the ministry of condemnation. It seems, however, that in 2 Cor 3:18, Paul makes an important shift with respect to the meaning of glory.(45) (Paul is very loose in his argumentation in his midrash on Exod 34:28-35.) It does not refer to the splendor or magnificence that either of the ministries or covenants has, but seems to be a soteriological concept referring to Christ's glory to which believers are promised a share: Christ's present glory is the believer's future glory. (In this case, "the Lord" seems to be Christ, and the phrase "the glory of the Lord" is a subjective genitive: Christ's glory.) This is consistent with Paul's frequent use of the noun "glory" (doxa) and verb "to glorify" (dozazein). According to Rom 2, those who do good seek for "glory, honor and immortality" (2:7) or "glory, honor and peace" (2:10). In Rom 8:16-18, Paul sees the believer as the co-heir of Christ, destined to be "glorified with him." To be glorified with Christ is a way of expressing final salvation (see Rom 8:30). Christ has inherited a "glory," in which the believer will share (see also Rom 8:18, 21; 9:4, 23). Similarly, in 2 Thess 2:14 Paul writes,"In order that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." The term glory refers to final salvation consisting of the resurrection (see 2 Thess 1:5 "to make you worthy of the Kingdom of God"). In Phil 3:20-21 Paul writes about how Christ will transform "our body of lowliness" to become like "the body of his glory" (to sôma tês doxês autou). Finally, in 2 Cor 4:17 he can refer to his future eschatological salvation as "an eternal weight of glory." In conclusion, it seems that the phrase "the glory of the Lord" refers to a believer's eschatological salvation culminating in resurrection, which he shares with the exalted Christ. (The phrase "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus" in 4:6 probably refers to God’s making his greatness known insofar as God provides for human beings the possibility of salvation, which is made possible through Jesus ["in the face of Jesus"].) If this is not Paul's meaning then it is difficult to explain how the believer who looks upon the image of the glory of the Lord as in a mirror is transformed into the image of the glory.


   The question that now needs to be answered is why Paul uses the metaphor of a mirror rather than simply saying that believers behold the glory of the Lord. It is probable that Paul's intention is to communicate that this glory is still only indirectly, partially or even imperfectly understood by those who have yet to experience it. Any mirror reflects a only a small part of the world and the bronze mirror--the kind that Paul has in mind—was known its distortion of that world.(46) (Corinth was a renowned manufacturer of bronze mirrors in the ancient world.) In other words, Paul wants to express the idea that "the glory of the Lord" is not wholly understood by believers. As he writes elsewhere, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9). In 1 Cor 13:12, Paul uses the same mirror metaphor to express the idea that believers now know only partially and not as they would know if they could see "face to face," by which is meant to behold directly the reality that is reflected in the mirror.


   Paul adds that those with unveiled faces who are looking at the image of the glory of Christ as in a mirror are being transformed into that very image. It is clear that Paul expects the mortal bodies of believers to be transformed at the resurrection to become like the incorruptible body of Christ (1 Cor 15; Phil 3:21). But in this passage he is speaking of an on-going transformation that is happening in the present. This eschatological salvation that culminates in the resurrection also includes a pre-resurrection spiritual transformation. The nature of this transformation is likely what Paul describes in 2 Cor 4:16: “The inner man is being renewed day by day.” He is referring to the fact that although his body ("outer man") is gradually wearing out—no doubt hastened by his excessive suffering— his spirit or non-corporeal part of his being is being transformed by the Spirit. When Paul writes in Rom 8:29 that the ultimate destiny of those whom God has foreknown is "to become conformed to the image of his son" he no doubt means that this transformation is already in process (see Gal 4:19). This ongoing transformation into the image of Christ will culminate in the resurrection of the dead and the transformation of the perishable into the imperishable, the mortal to the immortal (1 Cor 15:53). What Paul describes, in other words, is the process of sanctification. It must be stressed that Paul connects the present indwelling of the Spirit with the future ressurection from the dead: "But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Rom 8:11).The phrase “from glory to glory” means with ever-increasing glory, and refers to the progressive approximation of the believer to the image of Christ, who has been glorified by God.(47) The means by which the spiritual transformation is occuring is identified "as from the Lord the Spirit." It is the Spirit who is responsible for the spiritual transformation of believers and it seems that Paul identifies the Spirit with the Lord (Christ). (This intepretation assumes that "the Lord" and "Spirit" are in apposition.)(48)

4. Eph 3:16-17


Eph 3:16-17 is a difficult to interpret, because it is so densely theological. In this passage, Paul says that it is his prayer that God, out of his glorious riches, would strengthen the Ephesians with power by means of the Holy Spirit in the inner man, or, in other words, that Christ would dwell in their hearts.(49) Paul portrays God metaphorically as having glorious riches, which means resources for righteous living that are available to human beings. The phrase “riches of glory” (to ploutos tês doxês) is probably a genitive of quality (see Eph 1:18).(50) These “glorious riches” in power strengthen human beings, enabling them to live as they ought, to be as they were designed to be. This strengthening of human beings occurs through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Paul uses two words to express the idea of power: the instrumental dative dunamei “in power” and the verb “to be strengthen” (krataiôthênai). By placing the adverbial phrase “through his Spirit” (dia tou pneumatos) after the adverb and the verb (“in power to be strengthened”), Paul is able to specify more exactly the means by which God strengthens in power: by the Spirit.

   The strengthening described in this passage occurs “in the inner man” (eis ton esô anthrôpon), which is a uniquely Pauline way of describing the non-corporeal part of a person, the human being as consciousness (see Rom 7:22; 12:2).(51) When the Holy Spirit so strengthens, it is the same as Christ’s dwelling in their hearts through faith (katoikêsai ton christon dia tês pisteôs en tais kardiais humôn). The infinitive clause “Christ to your hearts” probably relates to the previous infinitive clause “to be empowered through his Spirit” as an epexegetical infinitive, so that the former explains further the meaning of the latter.(52) (This means that both infinitive clauses are controlled by the clause “in order that he might give to you.”) Thus, to be empowered by his Spirit in the inner man is to have Christ dwell in one’s heart.(53) (In this context, inner man and heart are functional equivalents.) The Holy Spirit or the indwelling Christ transforms human beings spiritually (see Col 1:11), with the result that believers are “rooted and grounded in love,” by which Paul means fundamentally characterized by love (avga,ph) in all that they do. This is the effect of coming under the influence of the Spirit. Even though Eph 3:16-17 is Paul’s prayer for his readers, it is safe to say that he expects the prayer to be answered.

5. Titus 3:5-7


Paul explains that God saved believers by the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. The phrase "washing of rebirth" (loutros paliggenesesias) is unique in Paul's writings, but no doubt refers to baptism and its transformative effects (see Rom 6; 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27). For Paul baptism and the Spirit are inseparable from one another, and neither is separate from faith. (The metaphor of rebirth does occurs, however, in John 3; 1 Pet 1:23.) Doubtless, for Paul, this rebirth is effected by the Spirit, so that the terms "rebirth" and "renewal of the Holy Spirit" (anakainôsis pneumatos hagiou) are synonymous. To be renewed is to be transformed spiritually, which Paul describes in various ways.


6. Circumcision by the Spirit


Paul interprets the work of the Spirit in a believer as a circumcision of the heart. In Rom 2:28-29, Paul differentiates between two types of “Jews”: “the outward Jew” (ho en tô phanerô Ioudaios) and “the inward Jew” (ho en tô kruptô Ioudaios). The former is the person who is circumcised physically (en sarki peritomê) but does not obey the Law, whereas the latter has the circumcision of the heart (peritomê kardias), and obeys the Law.(54) Paul further characterizes physical circumcision as “by the letter” as opposed to the circumcision of the heart, which is “by the Spirit.” This reference to the Spirit seems to point to believers as those who are truly circumcised and for this reason are Jews in the true sense.


Sanders claims that Paul’s statement in Rom 2:27 that gentiles obey the Law and will judge Jews is not hypothetical, nor does it refer to gentile believers. Thus, Sanders concludes that Paul contradicts himself insofar as he allows for the possibility that a human being can be declared righteous by obedience to the Law. This theological inconsistency was the result of Paul’s careless use of traditional synagogue material that was at variance with his own theological views (Paul, the Law and the Jewish People [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985] 123-35). Sanders writes, “I think that the best way to read 1:18-2:29 is as a synagogue sermon. It is slashing and exaggerated, as many sermons are, but its own natural point is to have its readers become better Jews on strictly non-Christian Jewish terms, not to lead them to becoming true descendants of Abraham by faith in Christ” (129). Similarly, H. Räisänen argues that Paul inconsistently says in Rom 2:14-15, 26-27 that gentiles can keep the Law and thereby make themselves righteous (Paul and the Law [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986] 101-109). He rejects the possibility that Paul is speaking hypothetically: “It is hard to see, however, what point there would have been in taking up such a fictitious matter at all. Above all, such an imaginary Gentile would be of no use for Paul’s polemic against the Jew. How could a nonexistent Gentile ‘condemn’ him?” (103-104). What Sanders and Räisänen fail to notice is that Paul is using an unreal hypothetical situation to make a theological point. The exegete is obliged to give Paul a certain amount of exegetical latitude because of the occasional nature and the brevity of his letters.


To be circumcised “by the letter” is to be circumcised in literal fulfillment of Law, whereas to be circumcised “by the Spirit” is to be spiritually renewed by the work of the Spirit. Paul assumes that Jews who are only circumcised physically as a result are not true Jews, insofar as they do not obey the Law. Those who are circumcised of the heart by means of the Spirit, by contrast, obey the Law and are for that reason true Jews. No doubt within the group described as those who are circumcised by the Spirit Paul would include uncircumcised gentile believers.(55) A gentile circumcised “by the Spirit” is a true Jew, although he may not appear outwardly to be a Jew. If so, the Law that the uncircumcised gentile keeps is not identical to the Mosaic Law because circumcision is an integral part of the latter. Implicitly, Paul would be differentiating between the Law understood as “love” (agapê) (Rom 13:8-10; Gal 5:14) and the Mosaic Law.(56)

   In Philippians, Paul similarly describes believers as being the truly circumcised. Those whom Paul calls “of the (true) circumcision” are those who have experienced a spiritual transformation; such people stand in contrast to those who have only a physical circumcision. Those of the (true) circumcision worship (latreuein) by the Spirit of God (Phil 3:3) (The phrase pneumati theou is an instrumental dative). What is implied is that the object of this worship is God. (This explains the variant reading of pneumati theô.) The verb “to worship” (latreuein) often denotes religious service to God or the gods, especially of a cultic nature (see LXX Exod 23:25; Deut 6:12; 10:12, 20; Jos 22:27), but in Paul’s writings comes to mean more generally life as devoted service to God (Rom 1:9; 12:1; 2 Tim 1:3). To worship or serve God by the Spirit of God is to do so as empowered and led by the Spirit. Presumably, this would include both Jews and gentiles. Similarly, Paul says that those of the (true) circumcision “boast in Christ Jesus, and not in the flesh” (kauchômenoi en Christô Iêsou kai ouk en sarki). His use of the term “to boast” is likely polemical, directed against Jews who “boast” or put their confidence in the works of the Law, what they have accomplished by their obedience to the Law, which includes physical circumcision. To boast “in flesh” (en sarki) denotes putting one’s confidence in human accomplishment, which is really no accomplishment at all. (“Flesh” has typical negative connotations.) In contrast, the (true) circumcision boast or put their confidence only in what Christ has accomplished for them (see 1 Cor 1:31; 2 Cor 10:17 = Jer 9:21).(57) In this case, it is the Spirit as the agent by which spiritual circumcision occurs.

   Finally, in Col 2:11-12, Paul describes believers as those who have been spiritually circumcised. He writes that “in him” (i.e., Christ) his readers have received a circumcision that is not done with hands (acheiropoiêtos), by which he means not a literal circumcision. He uses the phrase “the circumcision of Christ” to describe this type of circumcision, which is a genitive of quality: Christ-circumcision (2:12).(58) This circumcision results when believers identify with the death of Christ in baptism (2:12). Paul then explains that this type of circumcision consists in “the putting off of the body of flesh” (tê apekdusei tou sômatos tês sarkos) (2:11; see Col 2:18). Used figuratively, to put off refers to the complete removal of something. In this case, what is removed completely is the “body of flesh.” This phrase, however, cannot refer to the physical body, because this type of circumcision is that “not done with hands.”(59) Rather, it probably is more or less equivalent to the Paul’s use of the term “flesh.” Paul uses the parallel phrase “body of sin” in Rom 6:6 to mean the whole human being as controlled by sin, the principle of disobedience. It seems that “body of flesh” is a synonym for this phrase. (The use of the phrase in Col 1:22 has a different meaning.) The one who has received the Christ-circumcision has removed or rendered ineffectual his flesh or that principle of disobedience innately at work within. Although he does not say so explicitly, based on what he writes in Rom 2:29, it is the Spirit who is the instrument by which this “Christ-circumcision” occurs.

B. Indirect References to the Spirit as Effecting Spiritual Transformation


Paul makes statements about the spiritual transformation of the believer without explicitly referring to the Spirit’s role in this. Given what Paul says elsewhere, however, the transformation that he describes must occur by means of the Spirit. Before examining individual passages, it should be noted that, using different expressions, Paul refers to God as a source of power that is made available to believers (especially in Ephesians): "The surpassing greatness of his power (to huperballon megethos tês dunameôs autou) towards us who believe...according to the working of the strength of his might (kata tên energeian tou kratous tês ischuos autou) (Eph 1:19); "To be strengthened through his Spirit (krataiôthênai dia tou pneumatos autou) in the inner man" (Eph 3:16); "According to the power working within us" (kata tên dunamin tên energoumenên en humin) (Eph 3:20; "In the strength of his might" (en tô kratei tês ischuos autou) Eph 6:10); "Through faith in the working of God (tês energeias tou theou) (Col 2:12). Regardless of the term or combination thereof that Paul uses, this power operative within believers should be understood as the effect of the indwelling Spirit.

1.  Rom 6:1-23


In Rom 6:1-23, Paul describes the spiritual transformation that believers have experienced. Although thematically a unity, Rom 6:1-23 can be divided into two literary units: Rom 6:1-14; 6:15-23.(60) The phrase “What, then?” (ti oun) functions as a transition between the two units.(61) In Rom 6:1-14, Paul explains that there is no danger that his “good news” will lead to unfettered disobedience among believers. In Rom 6:1, he begins by asking, “What shall we say then?” (ti oun eroumen) (see also Rom 3:5; 7:7; 9:14), which is a rhetorical clue that Paul is about to refute a false inference from something that he has just written. In this case, Rom 5:20b “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” might be taken to imply that it is beneficial for a believer to remain in sin because then grace would continue to increase, which would be a good thing, since the more grace the better (see also Rom 3:1-9, 27-31; 4:1-12). In other words, the question that Paul is addressing is whether “we,” or those who are declared righteous by faith, can continue to sin habitually (“remain in sin”). Paul is likely dealing with a real objection to his views put forth by his opponents, who argue that, unless the Law functions as a means of being declared righteous synergistically in conjunction with faith’s appropriation of the forgiveness of God, a person can sin and even ought to sin. (The accusation to which Paul is responding is echoed in Rom 6:1, 15; 7:7, 13.) Paul’s rejoinder to this accusation is to deny the very possibility envisioned. A key to the proper understanding of this passage is to recognize that, for Paul, “sin” (hamartia) means a power or principle of disobedience operative in human beings, similar to its use in Rom 3:9; 7:4; Gal 3:22 (As such it is equivalent in meaning to “flesh” [sarx]).(62) In Rom 6:2, Paul exclaims, “May it never be” (mê genoito), which is his preferred rhetorical means of denying emphatically an assertion (see Rom 3:4, 6, 31; 6:15; 7:7, 13; 9:14; 11:1, 11; 1 Cor 6:15 Gal 2:17; 3:21; 6:14). He explains that “we,” i.e., those who have been declared righteous, “have died to sin.” The phrase “to sin” (tê hamartia) is probably a dative of disadvantage: “to the disadvantage of sin.”(63) The meaning is that the believer’s death has negatively affected the capacity of “sin” to control him. By his use of the metaphor “to die,” Paul stresses the decisive and irreversible break with the very possibility of continued disobedience.

   Paul further develops the idea of the believer’s “dying” in Rom 6:3-10.(64) In Rom 6:3-4, he explains how it is that believers have “died to sin.” He says that all who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death; they were buried together with Christ through baptism into his death.(65) (Paul introduces his statement with the question “Or do you not know,” which is a clue that what he is about to write is probably already known to his Roman readers; see Rom 6:16; 7:1; 1 Cor 3:16; 5:6; 6:2, 3, 9, 15, 19; 9:13, 24.) By baptism, Paul means the initiation rite of immersion in water (see 1 Cor 1:13-17; 12:13; 15:29); being baptized was so inseparably connected with faith in Christ that being baptized becomes synonymous with being declared righteous by faith. (Because of his stress on faith, Paul probably does not have a view of baptism as ex opere operata, in which the rite itself effects union with Christ; nevertheless, baptism and faith are inseparably linked for him.) To be baptized “into Christ Jesus” (eis Christon Iêsoun) is to be spiritually united with Christ by means of the rite of baptism, which naturally presupposes faith in Christ (see parallel in Gal 3:27 “For whoever was baptized into Christ has been clothed with Christ”).(66) Being baptized into Christ is a uniquely Pauline way of expressing that those who are declared righteous by faith are also in spiritual union with Christ; it is a spatial metaphor describing how becoming a believer results in becoming spiritually united with Christ, as if the believer becomes part of Christ.(67) The idea of “baptism into Christ” affords Paul the opportunity to delineate the nature of the spiritual union of the believer with Christ and its practical consequences. The spiritual union between Christ and the believer includes becoming a participant in the death of Christ: “We were baptized into his death” (Rom 6:3b). What Paul is describing is the identification of the believer with Christ’s experience of dying because of the spiritual union between Christ and the believer. To be baptized into Christ’s death is to become a real participant in Christ’s death by virtue of being in spiritual union with Christ. In Rom 6:4a, he continues by explaining that “We have been buried with him through baptism into his death” (sunetaphêmen oun autô dia tou baptismatos eis ton thanaton). That a believer has been buried with Christ is implied by the fact of his being baptized into Christ’s death (see also Col 2:12 “buried together with him in baptism”). (The preposition dia, in this context expresses instrumentality: by means or because of being baptized into his death.) Practically, for Paul to be baptized into Christ’s death and to be buried with him is to die to the possibility of sin. Christ died because of human sin insofar as he died on behalf of sinners. (In fact, Paul says that God made Christ sin [2 Cor 5:21].) Being identified with Christ’s death insofar as one is spiritually united with him results in dying to the sin for which Christ died. Sin is understood as a power controlling human beings, which has now been broken.


   In the same way that a believer is identified with the death of Christ, so also is he identified with his resurrection. Paul writes, “In order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (6:4b). According to Paul, the purpose of being buried with Christ is that those who have died with Christ will live (“walk”) “in newness of life” (en kainotêti zôês) (6:5). Walking in newness of life is the necessary correlative to dying to sin; it denotes a new life of obedience to God that results from dying to sin. Christ’s own resurrection is metaphorical of this “newness of life.” Thus Christ’s literal death and resurrection are manifested metaphorically in the dying to sin and the reception of new spiritual life of those in spiritual union with him. No doubt Paul would attribute this new reality to the indwelling Spirit. The phrase “through the glory of the Father” (dia tês doxês tou patros) denotes the means by which Christ was raised from the dead. In this case, “glory of the Father” is synonymous with God’s power. (This is the only occurrence of the idea that Christ was raised by the “glory of the father”; normally, Paul says that God raised Jesus from the dead; see Rom 8:11; 10:9; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1 Thess 1:10.)

   In Rom 6:6, Paul speaks of the death of “our old man” (ho palaios hêmôn anthrôpos). According to him, the “old man” died with Christ—was crucified with him—in order that the body of sin (to sôma tês hamartias) might be destroyed.(68) (Paul introduces this section with “knowing this,” implying that his Roman readers are already familiar with what he has to say.) The phrase “the old man” refers to the human being as existing in sin and so implicitly refers to the mode of human existence without the Spirit. From a believer’s point of view this mode of existence is “old” in an experiential and salvation-historical sense, having been replaced by “the newness of life” (see Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-11). In this context, “body” (sôma) denotes the whole human being, not simply the human being as corporeal (see Rom 7:24; 8:10). The expression “the body of sin” means the whole human being as controlled by sin, the principle of disobedience.(69) For this reason, “the body of sin” and “the old man” are identical in meaning. Paul speaks of a crucifixion with Christ because of the spiritual union of the believer with the death of Christ assumed in this passage (see also Gal 2:19: "I have been crucified with Christ."). To be crucified with Christ is the same as being baptized into his death (6:3) and being buried with him (6:4). To be in spiritual union with Christ is metaphorically to have experienced his death. Destroying “the body of sin” means that “we” no longer serve sin.(70) Paul has personified sin and speaks metaphorically of doing its bidding. (The dative “sin” [tê hamartia|] is a dative of advantage; the opposite of “to serve sin” is “to die to sin” [6:2].) Paul continues by saying that the one who has died (i.e., with Christ) has been set free from sin (dedikaiôtai apo tês hamartias) (6:7).(71) This is simply another way of saying what he has already expressed in other terms: That the believer is necessarily no longer under the power of sin, no doubt because of the indwelling Spirit.

It is noteworthy that, after stating the fact that believers have died to sin, Paul exhorts his readers “Consider yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (6:11). This is another example of how the indicative and imperative stand in apparent tension with each other in Paul’s theology. Similarly, in Rom 6:12-14, Paul exhorts the Romans not to allow sin to reign in their bodies, that is to say, not to sin, not to obey its desires, nor to give the parts of one’s body in the service of sin. He tells them paradoxically to be what they already are: dead to sin. Thus, his readers should present themselves to God and let the members of their bodies be used as instruments of righteousness, which means instruments for the purpose of doing righteous acts. For Paul, the fact of not being dead to sin does not preclude the necessity of the use of the will.

   In the second literary sub-unit, Rom 6:15-23, Paul explains in different terms why it is impossible for one who has been declared righteous by faith to continue in sin.(72) In Rom 6:15, he reiterates the original accusation to which he responds in Rom 6, but with a slight variation: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law but under grace?” (see Rom 3:7-8). He answers that this is impossible because the believer is a slave to obedience (doulos eis hupokoên), by which he means that he necessarily does what God requires (6:15-16). According to Paul, there are two states in which a human being can exist: as a slave of sin (doulos hamartias) or a slave of obedience (doulos hupokoês). There is no third alternative (6:16).(73) Whereas they used to be “slaves of sin” (douloi tês hamartias), because they were obedient to the “form of teaching” that they received (i.e., Christian teaching, but from which source it is not said), the Roman believers were set free from sin and became enslaved to righteousness: “You have become enslaved to righteousness” (edoulôthête tê dikaiosunê) (6:17-18), also expressed as “being enslaved to God” (doulôthentes tô qeô) (6:22). (“Being enslaved to righteousness” and “being enslaved to God” are also synonymous with being a “slave to obedience” [6:16].) Paul recognizes that the metaphor of slavery is, in part, harsh and inappropriate, but uses it anyway in the absence of a better metaphor (6:19).(74) He continues by explaining that, formerly, his Roman readership “were slaves of sin and free with respect to righteousness” (6:20) (tê dikaiosunê is a dative of respect).(75) Paul is using the word “righteousness” in its simple moral sense, as the opposite of sin.(76) What he means by this idiomatic expression is that, before they believed in Christ, the Romans were sin’s slaves and necessarily were not enslaved (“free with respect to”) to righteousness. The assumption is that a person cannot be both a slave of sin and of righteousness simultaneously and that he must be a slave to one or the other (see his earlier remarks in Rom 6:17-19). Later Paul explains that in contrast to their former life (“But now” [nuni de]), the Roman believers have been freed from sin and are now enslaved with respect to God (doulôthentes tô theô) (6:22a). To be “enslaved to God” is a synonym for being “enslaved to righteousness” (Rom 6:18) and being “slaves of obedience” (Rom 6:16). Paul no doubt assumes that it is the indwelling Spirit who effects the transition from slavery to sin to slavery to righteousness or God.


2. The Obedience of Faith (Rom 1:5)


Paul says that the grace of (his) apostleship is for the purpose of (eis) the obedience of faith of the gentiles (Rom 1:5). The phrase “obedience of faith” has three possible meanings that are the most consistent with Paul’s theology. It may be interpreted as a genitive of apposition or definition (or epexegetical genitive), so that Paul's meaning is "the obedience that consists of faith." If so, then Paul sees faith as an expression of obedience.(77) It is true that sometimes Paul writes as if faith or belief is a type of obedience (see Rom 10:16 "But not all have obeyed the good news"; 11:30-31 "to be disobedient to God" [by rejecting Christ]; 15:18 "for the purpose of the obedience of the gentiles, in word and deed"). Nevertheless, it seems that, in general, Paul opposes faith and obedience (expressed as "works"). Thus it improbable that Paul intends that this be taken as a genitive of apposition or definition. Another alternative is to understand the phrase "obedience of faith" as a subjective genitive, so that it means faith's obedience, the implication being that obedience belongs to faith as its natural and expected possession or correlation. It is also possible that the phrase represents a genitive of origin and therefore means "the obedience originating in faith." On this interpretation, obedience is inseparably tied to faith as its basis: faith inevitably produces obedience. It is difficult to choose between both remaining possible interpretations; on either reading, however, faith and works are inseparable from each other. Paul assumes that his gentile converts who have faith will also be characterized by obedience to God.(78)

3. Eph 2:10


After discussing how they are saved from God’s wrath by grace and not from works, Paul says that believers are God’s “workmanship” created for the purpose of doing good works that God has prepared in advance for them to do.(79) It is clear that in Paul’s view is that a believer is not simply saved from divine wrath but also spiritually transformed. The term poiêma (“workmanship”) is used in the LXX to denote what God created (Ps 64:9 [63:10]; 92:4 [91:5]; 143:5 [142:5]; Eccl 3:11; 8:9, 17; 11:5; see Rom 1:20). Used of believers, it refers to them as spiritual creations of God, the implication being that they did not create themselves.(80) The idea of a believer as God’s workmanship is elaborated in the participial phrase that follows: “created in Christ Jesus.” The verb “to create” (ktizein) is sometimes used in the LXX to describe God’s creative activity (see Gen 14:19, 22; Deut 4:32; 32:6; Pss 33:9 [32:9]; 89:12 [88:13]; 148:5; LXX Hos 13:4). The use of the passive voice (“created”) again implies that those who were created did not create themselves but that God created them. The adverbial phrase “in Christ Jesus” may represent the instrumental use of the preposition “in” (en), so that God’s spiritual creation of believers is because of Christ Jesus, or more exactly, because of the soteriological benefits of his death and resurrection. It is also possible that the adverbial phrase “in Christ Jesus” is to be interpreted as metaphorically locative, thereby indicating the “place” where God’s transformation occurred. This is consistent with Paul’s previous description of believers as being seated in the heavenlies “in Christ Jesus.” The purpose or goal of being “created in Christ Jesus” is “for good works” (epi ergois agathois) (The use of the preposition epi + genitive can denote purpose or goal.)(81) These good works God created in advance for those “created in Christ Jesus” to do. (Probably the form of the relative pronoun is hois by attraction to ergois agathois and should be understood as "which good works.") Paul sees salvation as issuing in obedience without exception. No doubt, in Paul’s mind, it is the Spirit who makes the believer into “God’s workmanship.”


4.  New Creation (Gal 6:14-15; 2 Cor 5:17)


Twice in his extant letters, Paul describes the state of the believer as being a “new creation” (kainê ktisis).(82) The implication is that there has been a spiritual transformation of the believer. The individual as a new creation is the corollary of the new eschatological age made possible by Christ (see Gal 1:4; Eph 2:1-7).(83) In the Old Testament, Israel’s eschatological hope is sometimes described as a new creative act (Isa 43:18-19; 65:17); the same idea occurs in the second-Temple period (1 En 72:1; 2 Bar 32:6; 44:12; 57:2; Jub. 1:29; 4:26).(84) Paul, however, has applied to the individual believer what was applied to nation.(85) As Paul uses the term, new creation denotes the eschatological salvation experienced by the individual as a present reality.


   In Gal 6:15, Paul writes that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters, but what does matters is “a new creation.” Although he does not explain this statement, he probably means in part that what alone is important is the spiritual transformation effected by the indwelling Spirit, the new life brought about by the Spirit. Whether a person is a Jew or a gentile is inconsequential compared to whether a person has the Spirit in his heart (Gal 6:15). In the previous verse, in the context of the exclusion of boasting, he writes that through the cross of Christ the world has been crucified to him and he to the world. (Paul uses datives of disadvantage.) This is an adaptation of the idea that of his sharing in Christ's crucifixion insofar as he is in spiritual union with Christ (see Rom 6:6; Gal 2:19-20). (The prepositional phrase di' hou probably has for its antecedent "the cross" rather than "Christ," although it makes little difference to Paul's meaning.)(86) Paul means that his relation to the world and its relation to him has been terminated.(87) Paul uses the term "world" (kosmos) with the negative sense of created reality standing in opposition to God, which includes that in which human beings seek to boast (see Phil 3:7-8); it stands in opposition to the new eschatological age in which believers are new creations.(88) (see the use of "world" in Jas 1:27; 4:4; 1 John 2:15). No doubt, Paul would say that his death to the world by his spiritual union with Christ is an effect of the indwelling Spirit.


   Similarly, in 2 Cor 5:17, Paul writes, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” To be in Christ is a Pauline way of describing what it means to be a believer with all that is implied thereby. If a person is a believer then he is said to be a “new creation.”(89) In 2 Cor 5:17b Paul adds that for the one who is a new creation “Old things have passed away, behold everything is new.” He does not explain what he means by “old things” (ta archaia), but in light of what he says in his other letters, it would be the flesh, sin and the Law. Although he does not say so explicitly, it is probable that Paul would identify this newness and the disappearance of the old as the result of the Spirit.

5. “To live for God” (Gal 2:19; Rom 6:11)


Paul’s Judaizing opponents apparently accused him of making Christ “the servant of sin,” insofar as he taughts. that gentiles who become believers do not have to obey the Law. They interpret Paul as teaching that morality is optional for gentile believers. This accusation stands behind Paul’s rhetorical question: “But if, seeking to be declared righteous in Christ, we ourselves are found to be sinners, then also [does this mean that] Christ is a servant of sin?” (2:17).(90) As expected, Paul rejects the charge that he has made Christ into a servant of sin, but his reason for rejecting the accusation may have come as a shock to his Jewish opponents: “For if what I have destroyed these things I build up again, then I establish myself as a transgressor” (2:18). Paul’s argument is that he (and other Jews who support him and his gentiles converts) cannot be accused of being sinners insofar as they violate the Law because the Law no longer has validity and therefore cannot be violated. This is what he has destroyed. Instead, Paul says that he has “died to the Law, in order that I might live for God” (2:19) (tô theô is a dative of advantage). (By his use of the first person “I,” Paul doubtless means to be speaking paradigmatically also; the same is true of his used of “I” in Gal 2:18.)(91) To die to the Law is to no longer be under the authority of the Law; this is the condition of “living for God,” which is the new way of serving God (see Rom 7:1-6).(92) The idiom “to live for God” means living in a new relationship to God, effected by the Spirit, which leads inevitably to obedience to God apart from the Law.(93) (It is safe to say that Paul’s Jewish opponents would see no difference between “living for God” and being under the Law, but Paul would beg to differ.) In Pauline theology, to be a believer, and therefore to have died to the Law, is necessarily “to live for God”: there is no neutrality.

   Paul uses the same idiom in Rom 6:10-11: just as Christ now lives for God, so Paul admonishes his readers to consider themselves as dead to sin but living for God in Christ Jesus (see also Rom 14:7-8). The believer’s spiritual state is to be dead to sin, which means that sin, understood as a causal principle, no longer predominates; rather, the believer “lives for God,” which expresses the spiritual state of no longer being under the power of sin but of being obedient to God. The qualifying adverbially phrase “in Jesus Christ” seems to provide the warrant for the fact a believer is dead to sin and living for God: because of Christ’s soteriological work. If asked, Paul no doubt would cite the indwelling Spirit as responsible for this new possibility of “living for God.”(94)


6. 1 Thess 5:4-5;  Rom 13:12-13; Eph 5:8-9


Paul uses the metaphor of being in the light or the day (as opposed to the darkness or the night) to describe the state of the believer. Being in the light or the day is to be in a state of understanding and obedience to God.  Paul tells the Thessalonians that they are "not in the darkness," but are "sons of the light and sons of the day" (5:4-5a). Since they are not "of the night, nor of the darkness" (5:5b) they are exhorted to live accordingly (5:6-8). To the Romans, Paul says to "put off the works of darkness" and put on "the armor of light" (13:12-13). Similarly, he tells the Ephesians that they were "of the darkness,"  but are now "light in the Lord." The "fruit of light," he adds, consists of "all goodness, righteousness and truth," meaning obedience to the will of God (Eph 5:8-9).  If asked why believers were no longer in the darkness but in the light (or some equivalent pair of terms), Paul would on doubt explain that it is the Spirit who effects this transformation.

7. Col 3:9-10


Describing it as if it were a piece of clothing, Paul tells the Colossians that they have taken off “the old man” (ho palaios anthrôpos). (The participles following the imperative “Do not lie to one another” and are genuine participles, descrbing the spiritual state of the readers.)(95) The term “the old man” is the equivalent of “flesh.” Instead, Paul says that the Colossians have put on “the new man” (ho neos anthrôpos), which describes the spiritual transformation that they have experienced, no doubt by the presence of the Spirit (see the parallels in Sir 6:31; 27:8; Wis 5:18). He adds that “the new man” is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator (see 2 Cor 4:16). In other words, the person who lives by the Spirit (or a synonymous phrase) has a continuously renewing knowledge consisting of being conformed to the image of God (an allusion to Gen 1:26; see Eph 4:24); what is being described, it seems, is a new understanding of reality that is progressively moving towards what originally human beings should have known, were it not for the interference of sin on the mind (see Rom 1-2).(96)


In early rabbinic writings, God is active in helping human beings obey his Law and thereby obtain reward in two ways.  First, God as merciful has made obedience and obtaining reward as easy as possible, so that even the intention to obey God is rewarded (Mek. Pisha 12.89-90; t. Peah 1.4).  If, for example, he said that he would give to his needy brother, and then gave, a man would receive a reward for the intention to give as well as the actual giving.  If he said that he would give, but for some reason was unable to do so, he would still receive a reward for the good intention (Sipre Deut 117).  Fulfilling a commandment unintentionally is also considered meritorious (Sipre Deut 252; 283; Sipra Hobah parashah 12.13 [LXV:II 7]). Even simply refraining from doing evil is rewarded as much as actually performing a commandment (m. Makkot 3.15; Sipre Deut 286; see Mek. Nezikim 18.96-99).  The same idea is communicated in passages where it is said that, if a man fulfills some of Law, God considers him as if he has done all the commandments of the Law.  For example, it is said that if a man is honest in his business dealings and one in whom the spirit of his fellows takes delight, it is accounted to him as if he has fulfilled the whole Law (Mek. Vayassa 1.164-65).  Likewise, t. Peah 4.19 claims that charity  and acts of kindness are equal to all the commandments of the Law.  Also R. Joshua claims that if a man studies two halakot in the morning and two in the evening, it is accounted to him as if he has fulfilled the whole Law. In other words, in mercy God accepts this minimal output of effort as the totality of a man's religious duty (Mek. Vayassa 3.28-31).  The person who obeys the commandment to wear fringes on his or her garments is considered to have fulfilled all the commandments (Sipre Num 115). Finally, R. Meir said that the person who lives in the land, recites the Shema and speaks the holy tongue is assured a place in the world to come (Sipre Deut 333). Whether any or all these assertions should be taken literally is open to question. Nonetheless, hyperbole or not, they make the point that God desires to make it as easy as possible to be declared righteous in His sight.  The lack of difficulty for human beings to meet God's requirements is presupposed by m. Sanh. 10.1: "All Israel have a portion in the world to come."  Proof of this is found in Isaiah 60:21: "The all your people will be righteous; they will possess the land forever.  They are the branch of my planting, the work of my hand, for my glory."  This Isaian prophecy is interpreted as the eschatological description of how all Israel will enter into their eternal inheritance.  In other words, none shall be excluded.  Now, immediately following is found a list of those who do not have a share in the world to come, so that "all Israel" cannot mean every last Jew.  This list includes the one who denies that there is a resurrection of the dead, the one who says that the Law is not from heaven and the heretic (i.e., Epicurean). (Other categories of persons are also included.)  Nonetheless, the point remains that anyone who wills to obtain a portion in world to come can do so easily.  Those who are excluded from the world to come are not those who have arduously toiled in the Law, but have fallen short of the necessary minimum of good works; rather they are apostates, those have rejected the covenant itself. Any Jew who remains faithful to the fundamentals of Judaism has secured a portion in the world to come.


The second way in which God is active in helping human beings obey his Law and thereby obtain an eternal reward is his role in influencing the will. Generally, it is assumed that human beings have freedom of will, so that to obey the Law or not is a free choice for them.  But, it seems that God responds to a person's initial decision to obey by acting to coerce the will, so that subsequent disobedience becomes difficult if not impossible.  Simon b. Azzai says, "Once a man chooses to hearken of his own will, he is led to hearken when it is his will to do so and when it is not.  And if it be his will to forget, he will be led to forget even when it is not his will" (Mek. Vayassa 1.180-82). Nothing is said of the mechanism whereby this constraining of the will takes place. It relates perhaps to the view that obedience and disobedience are processes of habituation. At any rate, God in his mercy helps a person in the way of obedience, once he or she has chosen to enter upon that way. This idea probably stands behind the statement that the one who keeps the Sabbath is kept from transgression (Mek. Vayassa 6.10-13).  That God can influence the will for God is also assumed by R. Issac's interpretation of the phrase "The Lord keep you": "And keep you from the evil inclination" (Sipre Num 40). It should be noted that the Jeremian new covenant is referred to as a future, eschatological reality.  When God makes a new covenant with Israel, it will be impossible for the nation to break this covenant, which assumes, naturally, that it will be impossible for individuals not to obey the Law (Sipra Behuqotai pereq 2.5; see also Mek. Nezikim 18.107-18). But until that time, freedom of will is given to individuals. God may act to influence of the righteous, helping them to remain obedient in times of temptation, but ultimately the individual bears the responsibility for his or her free choices.



C. Unnatural Possibility of Continued Spiritual Immaturity


In spite of his belief that they are transformed by the Spirit, Paul still believes that it is possible for believers to choose to hinder their spiritual development and so remain spiritually immature. He refers to this condition as being "fleshly" (sarkikos), being an "infant in Christ" (nêpios en Christô) and "living in a merely human way" (kata anthrôpon peripatein ) (1 Cor 3:2-3). To be fleshly is to be characterized by the flesh, which for Paul describes the human being as a willing instrument of sin (see The Human Being as "Flesh"). The phrase "infant in Christ" describes a new believer; the designation "in Christ" indicates that a person is a Christian, whereas being an infant denotes that he or she has only recently believed in Christ. Paul expects new believers to be spiritually immature, but it is possible, although unnatural, for them to remain spiritually immature when they should have matured. The Corinthians to whom Paul is writing have been believers long enough that they should no longer be like new believers. He uses the metaphor of milk and solid food to distinguish the spiritually immature believer from the spiritually mature: "I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able." When the Corinthians first believed Paul fed them spiritual milk because they were infants in Christ; but now, after several years, he expects them no longer to be spiritual infants. Unfortunately, however, Paul still cannot give them advanced teaching, what he calls spiritual "solid food," since they are still spiritual infants. For the Corinthians "to live merely in a human way" describes living as if they do not have the Spirit (see 1 Cor 2:10b-11: "For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God"). The fact that most of the Corinthian believers are "fleshly" explains why they are so factious, relating to their leaders as if they were spiritual teachers in whom they could take pride: "For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly" (1 Cor 3:3). Paul refers to the opposite of the "fleshly" believer as the "mature" (teleios) (1 Cor 2:6; 14:20; Phil 3:15) or the "spiritual" (pneumatikos) (Gal 6:1).


   For Paul, the category of "fleshly" (sarkikos) is not the same as that of "soulish" (psuchikos). In 1 Cor 2:14-16 Paul explains that the person without the Spirit does not and cannot receive the things of the Spirit insofar as he or she does not have the Spirit, which he calls the "mind of Christ" (nous Christou). He writes, "But a soulish human being does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him or her; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him [Isa 40:13]? But we have the mind of Christ." By contrast, the person whom Paul calls "fleshly" has the Spirit but has hindered the Spirit in the Spirit's transformative work, thereby remaining immature.


   The unnatural possibility of hindering the Spirit explains why Paul exhorts the Thessalonians not to quench the Spirit (1 Thess 5:19) and the Ephesians not to grieve the Spirit (Eph 4:30). It is possible, therefore, to have the Spirit and still to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18), because to be filled with the Spirit means to be yielded to the Spirit.

2.2.2. The Spirit As Providing Proof that Believers are Children of God (Rom 8:16; 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5 Eph 1:13-14)

Rom 8:16 

It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.


 2 Cor 1:22 

He [God] has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.


 2 Cor 5:5 

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

 Eph 1:13-14 

13 In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 which is the guarantee of our inheritance.

Eph 4:30

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.






In Rom 8:16, the Spirit testifies to the believer's spirit to the fact that he or she is a son (child) of God in the soteriological sense. Paul also says that the Spirit metaphorically functions to seal believers (sphragizein). To seal something is to set the stamp of one's ownership on it, so that metaphorically believers have the stamp of God's ownership on them insofar as they have the Spirit ( 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30) (see the parallel in Rev 7:3; see also Ezek 9:4; 44:5; Ps. Sol. 15:6, 9; 4 Ezra 6:5-6). Moreover, Paul refers to the Spirit metaphorically as a guarantee (arrabôn) (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:14). The point is that the Spirit is the first installment of all the benefits of eschatological salvation, and so functions as a guarantee that the rest will come. It should be noted that in Rom 8:11, he writes that, if the Spirit dwells in "us," the Spirit will raise "us" from the dead in the same way that the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. In this way, the present indwelling of the Spirit is the guarantee of future resurrection. What Paul describes in these passages is part of the experience of the believer, and by definition is not fully communicable.

2.2.3. The Spirit as the Means of Success in Apostolic Ministry


A. Signs, Wonders, and Miracles (semeia, terata, dunameis)

Rom 15:18-19 

18 For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, 19 by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the good news of Christ.

1 Cor 2:4 

And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.


 Gal 3:5 

Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? 



In Romans 15:18-19, 1 Corinthians 2:4 and Galatians 3:5, Paul claims that he and other believers performed signs and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit; the signs and wonders were confirmations of the good news. He does not give any details about these signs and wonders, but from what Luke says in Acts these signs and wonders in part consist of healings (Acts 14:8-20; 19:11-12).


B. The Power of God for Apostolic Ministry


In 2 Cor 4:7 Paul explains that at work in him and the other apostles is a power (dunamis) that is of God and not from himself. He writes, “We have this treasure in clay containers in order to show that the all-surpassing power is of God and not of us.” Paul is referring to the power that he experiences in his apostolic activity, which is probably a reference to the Spirit who indwells and empowers him. In his view, God’s design is that all—including the clay containers themselves—should know that the power manifested in Paul and his co-workers comes exclusively from God insofar as that power is the Spirit at work in them. When the apostles operate as common and fragile human beings, it is clear to all that it is the Spirit that is responsible for their success. What Paul says in 2 Cor 4:7 relates to his earlier statements in 1 Cor 1–3, made in the context of his handling of the Corinthians’ dispute over their leaders. His statement that he and his colleagues are comparable to clay containers recalls his interpretation of the roles played by the leaders in the Corinthian church: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted and Apollos watered, but God caused the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who causes the growth” (1 Cor 3:5–7). In Paul’s view, all who have leadership roles in the church are nothing more than mere instruments through whom God works, so that no distinctions can be made among them. They make no contribution to the outcome—the growth; only God does this.


   Later in 2 Cor 13:4 Paul refers to how, although they are weak, because of their identification with the suffering and death of Christ, Paul and the other apostles nevertheless also share in the power of Christ, the same power that raised him from the dead. According to Paul, it is that same power that is directed towards the Corinthians: "For indeed he [Christ] was crucified because of weakness, yet he lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in him, yet we will live with him because of the power of God directed toward you." He no doubt is referring to the power of the Holy Spirit who works through the apostles, who paradoxically appear incapable of producing such results on their own. (See also Paul's reference to operating "in the power of God" in 2 Cor 6:7 and his statement that he is a servant of the good news "according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of his power" in Eph 3:7.) Similarly, in Col 1:29 he refers to God's "working" (energeia) that is operative in him as an apostle: "For this purpose also I labor, striving according to his working, which mightily works within me in power." No doubt, he understands the term "working" to be a synonym for "power" (dunamis), which explains why he uses the adverbial phrase "in power" (en dunamei). Paul also uses the compound phrase "according to the working of his power" (kata tên energeian tês dunameôs autou) to refer to the power behind his apostolic activities calling: "Through the good news, of which I was made a servant, according to the gift of God’s grace that was given to me according to the working of his power" (Eph 3:7).


Parallel to Paul's notion of the Spirit as a source of apostolic power, the idea that the Spirit's presence enables human beings to do things that are beyond their normal abilities occurs frequently in the Old Testament. Moses leads the Israelites under the power of the Spirit (of God) (Num 11:17), and the Spirit is transferred to Joshua by the laying on of Moses' hands, thereby giving Joshua wisdom in order to lead the Isaelites, which is why the Spirit is called the Spirit of wisdom (Deut 34:9). The seventy elders prophesied by Spirit (Num 11:25). Bezaleel’s artistic skill that he used to construct the tabernacle came as the result of being filled with "the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship" (Exod 31:3; see 35:31; 36). The Spirit of Yahweh comes upon the judges enabling them to lead the Israelites to victory over their oppressors (Judg 3:10: Othniel; 6:34: Gideon; 11:29: Jephthah; 13:25: Mahaneh-dan; 14:6, 19; 15:14: Samson). The Spirit of Yahweh comes upon Saul, resulting in his assuming the role of leadership in Israel (1 Sam 11:6), and comes upon Amasai, the chief of the thirty (1 Chron 12:18).


2.2.4. Spiritual Gifts (Charismata)


According to Paul, the Spirit gives spiritual gifts to believers to be exercised for the benefit of the whole church. Paul compares the church to a body with different parts (i.e., different gifts), each working in harmony with the other parts for the good of the whole body (1 Cor 12:1-11; Rom 12:3-8); these gifts are not natural abilities but supernatural, Spirit-given abilities.

A. Two Lists of Spiritual Gifts (Charismata)


There are two passages in his letters where Paul provides lists of spiritual gifts (charismata). With the exception of the charisma of prophecy, the two lists are different, which leads one to think that possibly there are other gifts of the Spirit not listed in either passage.


1. 1 Cor 12:1-11

1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed.  2 You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved.  3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.  4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.  7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  8 To one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.


In 1 Cor 12:4-11, Paul explains the nature and purpose of spiritual gifts, and gives a list of some of these. He is perhaps responding to the Corinthians’ request for such a clarification. Paul explains that there is a diversity of gifts (charismata), but only one Spirit, a diversity of ministries, but one Lord and a diversity of operations but one and the same God is at work (12:4-6). His purpose is to stress the unity that exists amidst the diversity of spiritual activities. Paul also points out the manifestation of the Spirit in each person is for the benefit of all, the common good (12:7). There is also an Trinitarian formula in 1 Cor 12:4-6 insofar as Paul implicitly identifies the Spirit (pneuma), the Lord (Jesus) (ho kurios) and God (ho theos). Paul then provides a partial list of spiritual gifts (charismata), the ways in which the Spirit is operative in believers. He does not define these gifts, so that we must determine their nature simply from the names that he gives to them. In some cases this is simple, but in others it proves to be more difficult.

  • Word of wisdom (logos sophias)

A word of wisdom is a communication with wisdom as its content. Wisdom, in Paul's understanding, is of divine origin, being given by revelation; it especially pertains to word of the cross (see 1 Cor 1-2). It seems that the spiritual gift of a word of wisdom is being enabled by the Spirit to understand in part the mind of God. To have a word of wisdom to have an insight into the nature of reality that is of some practical use to the church.

  • Word of knowledge (logos gnôseôs)

The gift of a word of knowledge must differ from a word of wisdom, since it is a distinct gift. It seems that this gift consists in receiving useful information from God that is otherwise unknowable. This information is useful in some manner.

  • Faith (pistis)

A gift of faith is to be differentiated from the faith that all believers have; as a gift, faith is the ability to know God's will and then with certainty and confidence to believe that this will be realized.

  • Gifts of healings (charismata iamatôn)

Gifts of healing are the Spirit’s multiple grantings of the ability to heal human beings. Since Paul uses the plural (healings), it seems that he conceives of each healing is a distinct gift of healing; each instance of healing requires its own gift.

  • Workings of miracles (energêmata dunameôn)

The gift of workings of miracles are giftings to do extraordinary things. Again, since the plural is used, each miracle is a separate gift of the working of a miracle.

  • Prophecy (prophêteia)

A gift of prophecy is a  Spirit-inspired message given to a specific person to be delivered to a group. Paul gives more information on prophecy in the (Corinthian) church in 1 Cor 14. It is clear from what he says that prophecy is for the purpose of the edification of believers (14:3-5): they hear what is given to the prophet by the Spirit and are built up in their spiritual lives. (Prophecy was a common phenomenon in the early church [e.g.’s Acts 2:17; 13:1; 21:10].)

  • Discernment of spirits (diakriseis pneumatôn)

The nature of a gift of discernment of spirits is difficult to determine, because the meaning of “spirits” is unclear. Either the gift consists in the ability to know the spiritual states of another (human spirit) or to recognize the activity of demonic spirits. It is probable that the gift consists in the ability to discern both types of spirits. The purpose of the gift is to be able to discern truth from error and good from evil.

  • Types of tongues or languages (genê glôssôn)

A gift of tongues is the ability to a speak divinely-inspired communication in another language not understandable by the speaker nor the hearer.

  • Interpretation of tongues (hermêneia glôssôn)

A gift of tongues is the ability to a speak divinely-inspired communication in another language not understandable by the speaker or the hearer.


   In 1 Cor 12:12-26, Paul stresses the spiritual co-dependency of the members of the church.  Using a metaphor, he compares different people with different gifts within the church to the parts a body, each of which contributes to the well-being of the whole body. His reasons for saying this could be that the Corinthians are putting too much stress on the gift of tongues (see 1 Cor 14). In making this point, Paul explains that all believers were baptized into one body and given one Spirit to drink (12:13).  He means that in baptism the believer becomes part of Christ and receives the Spirit, as if the Spirit were something ingested, like a drink.  He also says that the church is an organic unity so that each part is affected by the others: when one suffers the others do also, and when one rejoices so likewise do the others (12:26).

2. Rom 12:3-8

3 For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 he who encourages, in his encouragement; he who shares, in liberality; he who leads, with zeal; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 


Paul explains that those "in Christ" are like the many parts of a single body; he stresses that each part does not have the same function (12:4-5). He then says that there are many gifts (charismata), but one grace, i.e., one source in God as gracious.

  • Prophecy (prophêteia)

As in 1 Cor 12: this gift is the ability to speak a  Spirit-inspired message to a specific person or persons at a specific time (This is the only item in common between 1 Cor 12 and Rom 12.)

  • Service (diakonia)

The gift of service is the ability to meet some particular practical need in the church.

  • Teaching (didaskôn)

The gift of teaching is the ability to communicate spiritual truths to one or more believers in such a way the teaching is effective, i.e., produces results.

  • Encouragement (parakalôn)

The gift of encouragement is the ability to encourage one or more people to continue in obedience to God.

  • Sharing (metadidous)

The gift of sharing is the inclination and ability to share materially with those in need in a much greater capacity than the non-gifted but still generous believer.

  • Leadership (proïstamenos)

The gift of leadership is the capacity to provide leadership  to the church is a particular situation.

  • Showing mercy (eleôn)

The gift of mercy  it  is the ability  to show compassion in a practical way to the extremely needy and genuine unlovely.

B. Two Additional Spiritual Gifts (Charismata)


The two additional spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Cor 12:28-30—doing helpful things (antilêmpseis) and administrations (kubernêseis)—should be added to the other two lists. The former is the ability to do small and practical helpful acts for others. The latter is the ability to provide administrative assistance to the operations of the church.

C. Ministries


There are two passages where Paul provides lists of ministries or offices, some of which clearly are the result of the regular exercise of one of the gifts.

1. 1 Cor 12:28-30

  • Apostles (apostoloi)
  • Prophets (prophêtas
  • Teachers (didaskalos)

The remainder of this list does not consist of offices or ministries but of spiritual gifts; but the context requires that these gifts be translated as those exercising these gifts, so that the regular exercising of these gifts has become a type of ministry.

  • Workers of miracle (dunameis)
  • Those with gifts of healing (charismata iamatôn)
  • Those who do helpful things (antilêmpseis)
  • Those who do administrative tasks (kubernêseis)
  • Those who speak in types of tongues (genê glôssôn)

2. Eph 4:7-12


In this passage, Paul says that to each grace (charis) has been given, as Christ has apportioned it. Quoting Ps 68:18, he says that, upon his ascension, Christ gave gifts (domata) to human beings. Christ gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some pastors and teachers. Paul's use of Ps 68:18, it should be noted, is another example of a pesher-like interpretation; in fact, Paul adapts the text to suit his purposes. Originally, Ps 68:17-18 probably describes the victory of the Israelites in the name Yahweh and how the ark of the covenant, representing God's presence, was brought back to the Temple (ascending on high), having been removed to provide supernatural support for the war effort (see Ps 24:7-10; 1 Sam 3:4-8). The Israelites took prisoners during this conflict and received from them gifts, i.e., tribute paid to the Temple by Israel's defeated enemies. Paul interprets the text as describing Christ descent to the lower parts of the earth (Hades) before ascending to heaven.  When he ascended to heaven, Christ gave (as opposed to received) spiritual gifts to human beings. The apparent arbitrariness of Paul's interpretation is not disturbing to anyone familiar with first-century Jewish exegesis.


   Some of the offices or ministries to which Paul refers in 1 Cor 12:28-30 and Eph 4:7-12 (apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists and pastor/teacher) may be designations for those who habitually exercise the corresponding spiritual gift. This seems to be the case with prophet and teacher, since prophecy and teaching are said to be spiritual gifts.  It is also possible that apostle, evangelist and pastor/teacher are the result of the exercise of one or more of the spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Cor 12:1-11 and Rom 12:3-8.



"Theodotus, (son) of Vettenus, priest and archisynagogos (ruler of the synagogue), son of an archisynagogos, grandson of an archisynagogos, built the synagogue for the reading of the law and the teaching of the commandments, and the guest-chamber and the rooms and the water installations for lodging for those needing them from abroad, which his fathers, the elders and Simonides founded."

Theodotus Inscription

In 1913, R. Weill discovered the inscription now known as the Theodotus Inscription at the bottom of a cistern. The artifact is dated from before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70. Presumably this inscription was attached to a synagogue in Jerusalem. The inscription indicates that the synagogue built by Theodotus was not only intended as a place of learning the Law, but also served as a place of lodging for visitors to Jerusalem. Reference to the ruler of the synagogue (archisynagogos) as a designation is also found in the gospels and the Book of Acts (see Mark 5:22, 35-36 = Luke 8:49; Luke 13:14; Acts 13:15; 18:8, 17).


2.2.5. Praying in the Spirit


Paul speaks about praying in (the) Spirit, which seems to mean to pray in the power of the Spirit (Eph 6:18); he also says that the Spirit prays on our behalf according to the will of God, although we do not know what He is saying (Rom 8:26-27). In 1 Cor 14, however, praying in spirit means to speak in tongues, and is set in opposition to praying with mind (14:14-16).

2.2.6. The Spirit as Revealer of Truth


A. 1 Cor 1:10-2:16


The Spirit reveals truth to believers, in particular that the good news is really the wisdom and power of God (see Rom 1:16). In response to the Corinthians' attempt to make the good news into a type of wisdom (sophia), in 1 Cor 1:18, Paul says that "the word of the cross" or the message about the death and resurrection of Christ, sets up a division between two classes of human beings: those who are perishing and those who are being saved. The former considers "the word of the cross" as foolishness, whereas the latter accept it as the "power of God." This leads him in 1 Cor 1:19 to quote Isa 29:14 to make the point that God has always sought to overturn human wisdom. In 1 Cor 1:20-25, Paul goes on to explain that it was God's intention to make foolish the wisdom of the wise through “the word of the cross.” To the Jew, it is a scandal because the Messiah was not supposed to be crucified; to the Greek it represents foolishness, because no one could imagine God's using the message about a crucified man to save those who believe it. One could call God’s plan to use the “the word of the cross” to save those who believe divine irony: in order to destroy all human pretension and autonomy, God nullifies what the world considers wisdom. (Yet it should also be noted that in 1 Cor 1:24b, Paul calls Jesus the power and wisdom of God; what he means is that from a divine perspective—in opposition to human standards of wisdom—the word of the cross is a type of wisdom. Moreover, it is also the power by which people are saved.)(97)


   In 1 Cor 2:6-16, Paul says that he does have a wisdom that he speaks among the "perfect" (en tois teleiois) (1 Cor 2:6) (see 1 Cor 1:24b), but this is not wisdom by the standards of this age nor the leaders of this age who are passing away. (The use of the term teleioi to denote is Paul's accommodation to the Corinthians' own terminology derived from Hellenistic philosophy.(98) The Corinthians imagined themselves as fully wise and so "perfect.") The wisdom that he imparts is not recognized as such by those who are considered wise, powerful and well-born in this age, the pre-eschatological and disobedient period of human history (see 1 Cor 1:20, 26). He calls his wisdom “a wisdom in mystery” (hê sophia en mustêriô), meaning a hidden or inaccessible wisdom, not understood by the "rulers of this age" (2:7-8). What God has prepared soteriologically for those who love him is only known by means of the revelation of the Spirit (2:9). (Although he intends to quote from Scripture to make this point, it is not clear which Old Testament passage Paul has quoted; the closest text to it is Isa 64:4 [LXX 64:3].) He says that this hidden wisdom comes to human beings only by a revelation, by means of the Spirit of God (2:10). He adds, "The Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God" (2:10). In this context, the depths of God seem to refer to God's ultimate salvation-historical purposes, in particular, the death and resurrection of Christ (see Rom 11:33); these depths the Spirit reveals to believers. This explains how it is that believers come to accept the good news, which is foolishness by human standards: the Spirit who reveals to them the truth of the good news, and without the Spirit there would be no such understanding. Paul explains by analogy that just the spirit of a man in him (to pneuma tou anthrôpou to en auto) knows the things of a man (ta tou anthrôpou), so the Spirit of God knows the things of God; thus, because they have the Spirit of God believers in them believers have access to an understanding of God's salvation-historical purposes inaccessible to others. Paul's statement that believers have not received "the spirit of the world" [to pneuma tou kosmou], but the Spirit of God, is probably intended to stress that the Spirit of God does not originate in the world or this age (2:12). If so, then Paul is not identifying two "spirits" operative among human beings, even though one finds such a conception in 1QS 3-4; T. Judah 20; T. Asher 1:3-9.(99) Paul's point is that what a believer knows about "the things freely given to us by God," by which he means salvation in the present and in the future, is because of the indwelling Spirit, who originates from God.


   Possibly making use of the Corinthians' own terminology (because Paul never uses this "soulish" / "spiritual" dualism again), Paul differentiates between the "soulish man" (ho psuchikos anthrôpos) and the "spiritual" person (ho pneumatikos anthrôpos ). (The Corinthians may have used such terminology to differentiate themselves as "wise" and "perfect" from their inferiors, the "soulish men," which would have included Paul himself.) The former is "soulish" because he has not "received" the Spirit; as such he does not accept revelation that comes from the Spirit: "The soulish man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him." Such matters, Paul says, are "spiritually discerned" (pneumatikos anakrinetai), by which he means that they understood because of the Spirit's revelatory work. Finally, Paul concludes with another quotation from Isaiah (Isa 40:13), making the point that no one can instruct the Lord (Yahweh). He adds, however, that the Christian has at least partial access to a knowledge of God's salvation-historical purposes, because he has the mind of Christ. Given the context, it seems to mean that to have the mind of Christ is to have the we have the Spirit.


B. 2 Cor 4:1-6


Paul describes the nature of the ministry to which he and his associates have been called. Responding to his critics, he says that they do not behave deceitfully and do not falsify the word of God (see 2 Cor 2:14-17). (What was meant by the charge that Paul falsified the good news, however, is not explained.) Rather, they commend themselves to the consciences of all people in the sight of God by clearly setting forth the truth (2 Cor 4:1-2). He insists that he and his colleagues do not preach themselves, but the Lord Jesus Christ, contrary to his critics (2 Cor 4:5). (It is not clear what Paul's critics mean when they accuse him of preaching himself, but they may be accusing him of commending himself too much [see 3:1; 5:12].)(100) Paul concedes, however, that the good news that he proclaims is not evident as such to those who do accept it and so are in a state of perishing. He expresses this using the metaphor of a veil over the eyes: "And even if our good news veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing" (2 Cor 4:3). The idea is that, just as the veil over the eyes prevents seeing, so metaphorically those who reject his message have a metaphorical veil over their understanding. The use of the metaphor of the veil hearkens back to 2 Cor 3:14-16, where, on his midrash on Exod 34:29-35 (Moses' veiling his face when coming down from Mt. Sinai), he states that Jews who read the Torah but do not find Christ there have a veil over their hearts, or understanding: "But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart" (2 Cor 3:15). Paul explains further that it is "the god of this world," by which he means Satan, who is the cause of the fact human beings do not recognize the truth of what Paul proclaims as good news: "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving in order that they might not see the light of the good news of the glory of Christ" (4:4). He referring to the fact that Satan is actively involved in deceiving the human race (see Cosmic Exaltation of Christ). He prevents human beings from understanding and believing the good news that consists of the glory of Christ, by which Paul means the salvation that Christ makes possible. (In the context of 2 Cor 4, the phrase "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" is functionally equivalent to "the light of the good news of the glory of Christ" [4:4], both referring to the salvation that God makes possible through Christ; see 2 Cor 4:4, 6; 3:18a). It is only by an act of God that understanding occurs, which Paul expresses as follows: "For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the one who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" (4:6). Just as God spoke and created light in the darkness (Gen 1:3), so God shines ligh tinto the darkness of the human hear, bring ing understanding that the good news that Paul and others proclaim is indeed true. Perhaps in the background stands Isa 9:2 "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them" or Paul may be interpreting Christ as the Servant who brings light to the nations: "I will also make you a light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (Isa 49:6; see 42:6, 16; 60:1-2).(101) No doubt, when interpreted in light of 1 Cor 1:10-2:16, the means by which God brings light to human beings is the Holy Spirit.



In the Thanksgiving Hymns (Hodayot), God as merciful not only supplies the spirit of holiness as a principle of obedience but also as a principle of understanding. The spirit of holiness also denotes the means of access to knowledge that is otherwise inaccessible to human beings. The author of 12[20].11b-12, who seems to be a leader in the community, writes, "I, the Instructor [or who am wise], know you, my God, by a spirit that you have given to me and by a spirit of holiness I have faithfully heard your marvelous counsel." Presumably, because of the spirit of holiness granted to him, the psalmist can say, "You have opened within me knowledge of the mysteries of understanding" (12[20].13a). The spirit or spirit of holiness is given to the psalmist with the result that he knows God's "wondrous counsel," which seems to be synonymous with "the mysteries of understanding." In both cases, the meaning is that God reveals knowledge that is otherwise inaccessible to human beings (see also 13[5].18b-19a; 14[6].12b-13a). The content of the revelation, however, is not explicitly identified in the Hodayot; presumably, the various references to having received knowledge refer to the foundational theological knowledge received upon entrance into the community (The exception to this is the teacher of righteousness or perhaps also other inspired teachers in the history of the community, through whom God meditates this foundational knowledge to the community.) Such knowledge would include an interpretation of the community as the eschatological remnant, through which individuals have the possibility of present and future salvation, and all that is entailed by this assertion. Without such knowledge no experience of salvation in the present would be possible. In addition, the spirit of holiness functioned as a means of a proper understanding of the Law, without which obedience and therefore true repentance was impossible. At least, this seems to be the meaning of 14[6].25-26: "And I, your servant, have been favored with a spirit of knowledge [ ] order to loathe all the paths of wickedness." The spirit of knowledge means the spirit characterized by knowledge (genitive of quality). It is not that each member independently receives enlightenment from God by means of the spirit, for it is clear that the founder functioned as the authoritative teacher of the community, instructing them in mysteries revealed only to him (see below), and, probably, other leaders in the community assumed a similar role after the founder's death. Rather, it seems that the spirit (of holiness) enables members to recognize the truth of what God has revealed to the founder and perhaps other sages.


2.2.7. Speaking in Tongues  (1 Cor 14:1-25)


In 1 Cor 14:1-25, Paul explains more fully the phenomenon of speaking in tongues (or other languages).  In so doing, he seems to distinguish between a private and a public use of speaking in tongues.

Paul takes exception to the Corinthians’ over-inflated estimation of the gift of tongues; he tells them that he considers prophecy to be the superior gift. (It is possible that they expressed their view in their letter to him that the gift of tongues was the greatest of the spiritual gifts.) In 1 Cor 14:1, he tells the Corinthians to pursue love (agapê), but at the same time to seek spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. Then in 1 Cor 14:2-12, he contrasts the gift of tongues unfavorably to the gift of prophecy, and in so doing he explains the nature of this spiritual gift more fully. He says that the one who speaks in tongues speaks directly to God and is not understood by others; conversely the one who prophesies speaks to other human beings (1 Cor 14:2-3). The one who speaks in tongues builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds the church up; Paul's preference is for prophecy (1 Cor 14:5). It should be noted that in 1 Cor 14:5, Paul says that he would like that all the Corinthians speak in tongues as he does, but in 1 Cor 12:30 he asks rhetorically (expecting a negative response) whether all speak in tongues. It seems that Paul distinguishes between speaking in uninterpreted tongues privately and speaking in tongues publicly accompanied by an interpretation. The former is available to all, whereas the latter is a specific ministry not available to all. The Corinthians apparently were all speaking in tongues together during their meetings, some without interpretations, which Paul condemns as inappropriate. Nevertheless, in spite of its inferiority to prophecy as a public spiritual gifting, speaking in tongues non-publicly is still a benefit to the individual doing so, which is why he writes that "The one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up" (ho lalôn glôssê heauton oikodomei) (14:4). Although he does not say so, Paul would probably see the benefit of speaking in tongues to be twofold. First, the one who does so is directly connected to God, which is intrinsically beneficial spiritually, even if one does not know what one has said. Second, the one who speaks in tongues privately may receive an interpretation of what he or she has spoken in an unintelligible language.


   In 1 Cor 14:6-12, Paul argues further that anything that is spoken in intelligible speech is preferable to the speaking in tongues at a public gathering; Paul names four such things: revelation, knowledge, prophecy or teaching; it is not clear how these four things differ, except that the latter three seem to be spiritual gifts.  (It is uncertain, however, how "revelation" [apokalupsis] differs from the other three.)  Paul's concern is to ensure that whatever is said at a public gathering is intelligible to all present there. In 1 Cor 14:13-17, he recommends that the Corinthians pray for the gift of interpretation, so that the message spoken in tongues may edify others. Paul then says that when he prays in a tongue, his spirit prays, but his mind remains unfruitful, that is, inactive. He explains that a person can pray or sing "in spirit" or "in mind." He means that a person can pray or sing using an intelligible language ("in mind") or using an unintelligible language ("in spirit"), that is, speak or sing in tongues.  Paul says that he will both pray and sing "in spirit" and "in mind," but he will not do the former at a public gathering in the presence of the outsider (those who come to the meetings who are not [yet] Christians). How Paul is using the anthropological terms "spirit" and "mind" is difficult to determine. It seems that he is saying that the human spirit under the influence of the Spirit speaks directly to God in an unknown language, which the human spirit itself (in its function as mind) does not understand. What is said in tongues is not something that the human spirit, as mind, cannot say on its own. Paul says that, although he speaks in tongues more than any of the Corinthians, he prefers to speak in intelligible speech in the church (1 Cor 14:18-19).


   In 1 Cor 14:20-25, Paul begins by telling the Corinthians to be mature, the practical application of which is that they should stop speaking in tongues in their meetings unless there is someone to interpret. He then quotes Isa 28:11-12 (Paul calls it "the Law," by which he means the Scriptures), thus beginning a new thought. It is difficult to know how Paul using the Old Testament in this instance and to what end. In the original context, Isaiah prophesies to Israel that God will speak to them through the lips of foreigners (lit. "stammering lips") and through those of other languages; the point is that God would speak to the Israelites in judgment through the invasion of the Assyrians, whose language they will not understand. Even after being invaded, however, the Israelites will still not recognize the judgment of God, so that they will not heed Isaiah’s words. Paul quotes this passage as applicable to the situation of the early church. Obviously, what drew him to this text was the reference to the other languages, or tongues; he then gives this text a new application that is analogous to the first situation: the foreign languages through which God speaks in judgment to Israel are no longer the language of foreign invaders, but the languages spoken by (gentile) believers under the inspiration of the Spirit. The gift of tongues is a sign to unbelievers who see the reality of the Spirit's activity, and are confronted by evidence of the existence and power of God.  Witnessing this activity of the Spirit demands a response from unbelievers, but, because they do understand what is being said, they all too easily dismiss what they are witnessing as insanity, and thereby bring condemnation on themselves. Paul's view is that the Corinthians ought not to force unbelievers to witness the exercise of the gift of tongues, because they will be too easily inclined to reject what they are witnessing as foolishness. Rather, it is preferable for the Corinthians to prophesy in their meetings, so that when an unbeliever enters, he or she will hear God’s communications in intelligible speech; the result will be repentance and faith.

2.2.8. The Church as the Temple of the Holy Spirit


A. 1 Cor 3:16


Based on this idea that Holy Spirit dwells in each believer, in 1 Cor 3:16 Paul can call a church the temple of the Holy Spirit: "Do you not know that you are a Temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (en humin)?" Paul is using a metaphor:  a temple is a building made up of many parts and indwelt by a deity; so similarly a local church is made up of many parts, each of which is indwelt by the Spirit, so that the whole resembles a temple.

B. 1 Cor 6:19


In 1 Cor 6:14-18, by means of a series  of rhetorical questions, Paul instructs the Corinthians "not to be unequally yoked" with unbelievers. He is using another agricultural metaphor, the use of animals to pull a plow: two incompatible animals put  under the same yoke will not work together; the same is true for  believers and unbelievers. Then in 6:19 he makes a statement similar to one made in 1 Cor 3:16-17: the body of each member of the Corinthian church is the temple of the living God, meaning that God now dwells not in the Temple in Jerusalem, but in the bodies of believers. He writes, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" Likely, that which makes the church the Temple of God is the Holy Spirit who indwells the body of each believer (see 1 Cor 3:16). This is why the body must be kept pure from sexual immorality.


Paul quotes Old Testament passages to reinforce his point in 2 Cor 6:16. The first quotation occurs in three separate places (Lev. 26:12; Jer 32:38; Ezek 37:27); assuming that Paul intended to quote all three passages, he seems to saying that God's intention to have a people expressed in Lev 26:12, but not fulfilled, and expressed again as a future hope in Jer 32:38 and Ezek 37:27 is taking place with the calling of believers,i.e., the founding of the church. Clearly, Paul sees the eschatological promises of restoration to the land and the establishment of a relationship between God and Israel such that Israel would no longer rebel as fulfilled at least partially in the establishment of the new covenant of which believing Jews and Gentiles are equal members. The second verse quoted by Paul is from Isa 52:11:again Paul takes a passage addressed to Israel and applies it to the church, to the new people of God, the new Israel.The final verse does not seem to be from the Old Testament, as we have it. Some interpreters view it as from 2 Sam 7:14, 8, but this passage deals with the David kingship and is rightly understood messianically; it is hard to see how Paul could see this as relevant. The passage likely derives from Isa 43:6 or Jer 31:9, both of which make reference to the restoration of Israel to the land; Paul interprets this as coming to fulfillment in the establishment of the church. Thus, the church is not only the Temple of God but the eschatologically restored people of God.







(1) On Paul’s View of the Holy Spirit, see D. J. Lull, The Spirit in Galatia. Paul’s Interpretation of Pneuma as Divine Power (SBLDS 49; Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1980); David A. Brondos, Paul on the Cross (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006) chap. 6.

(2) For parallels in language to Rom 5:5, see Pss 22:5 (LXX 21:6); 25:3, 20 (LXX 24:3, 20); 119:116 (LXX 118:116). See G. Nebe, "Hoffnung" bei Paulus: Elpis und ihre Synonyme im Zussamenhang der Eschatologie (SUNT 16; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983) 123-36.

(3) On this passage, see O. Michel, Der Brief an die Römer (12 ed.; MeyerK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1963) 133; H. Schlier, Der Römerbrief (HTKNT 6; Freiburg: Herder, 1977) 149-51; C. K. Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans (BNTC; London: A&C Black, 1967) 104-105; C. E. B. Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans (ICC n.s.; 2 vols.; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1975, 1979) 1.261-63; J. Dunn, Romans 1-8 (WBC; Dallas: Word, 1988) 252-53.

(4) D. J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996) 304-305. verb “to pour out” (ekchein or ekchunnein) is used to describe the giving of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:17-19 = LXX Joel 3:1-2; 2:33; 10:45; Titus 3:6.

(5) Schlier argues that Paul uses the aorist participle tou dothentos to indicate that the Holy Spirit was given at a particular point in the past, which he identifies as primarily the time of baptism. But it would also include other bestowals of the Spirit (Der Römerbrief, 149).

(6) M. Wolters, Rechtfertigung und zuküftiges Heil: Untersuchungen zu Röm 5,1-11 (BZNW; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1978) 43, 161-66.

(7) On this passage, see G. D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994) 542-54.

(8) Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans, 158-59. J. Lagrange comments, "L’Esprit est L’Esprit du Christ parce qu’il descend dans l’âme par l’union au Christ" (Saint Paul Épitre aux Romains [Paris: LeCoffre, 1916] 198).

(9) Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.843.

(10) Fee argues that Paul shifts from speaking about the Spirit of God in 8:9a to Spirit of Christ in 8:9b is that "the argument is now returning momentarily to an emphasis on the work of Christ and his relationship to the Spirit, which will be quite the point of v. 10" (God’s Empowering Presence, 548).

(11) G. D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987) 604.

(12) Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 180-82.

(13) See G. R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1962) 167-71.

(14) A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (ICC; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1911) 272; Barrett, C. K. Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (2d ed.; London: Black, 1971) 288; contrary to F. Lang, Die Briefe an die Korinther (NTd 7; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1986) 171; H. Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975) 212.

(15) See Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 288-89; Lang, Die Briefe an die Korinther, 170-72; Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 603-606.

(16) E. Burton, The Epistle to the Galatians (ICC; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1921) 221; H. Schlier, Der Brief an die Galater (14 ed.; MeyerK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971) 197; F. Mußner, Der Galaterbrief (HTKNT 9; Freiburg: Herder, 1974) 274-75; H.-J. Eckstein, Verheißung und Gesetz. Eine exegetische Untersuchung zu Gal 2,15-4,7 (WUNT 86; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1996) 241.

(17) Paul uses the present tense "you are. . ." with the aorist "[God] sent" thereby indicating that the Spirit "bleibt in ihnen als dauernde Gabe" (Mußner, Der Galaterbrief, 275).

(18) P46 and Marcion (Tertullian, Adv. Marc. 5.6) both lack tou huiou autou.

(19) Schlier explains, “Denn ’der Geist seines Sohnes’ ist der Sohn selbst in der Macht seiner die Herzen. . .ergreifenden Gegenwart" (Der Brief an die Galater, 198).

(20) U. Borse, Der Brief an die Galater (RNT; Regensburg: Verlag Friedrich Pustet, 1984) 544.

(21) H. Windisch, Der zweiter Korintherbrief (9 ed.; KEK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1924) 420.

(22) P.T. O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians [PNTC; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999] 258-59.

(23) G. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 696.

(24) See W. Wrede, Paul (London: Green, 1907); A. Schweitzer, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle (New York: Seabury, 1968) [1931]; E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977), Part Two. See the summary in T. Donaldson, Paul and the Gentiles. Remapping the Apostle’s Convictional World (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997) 10-13.

(25) See A. Schweitzer, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle,165; U. Schnelle, Gerechtigkeit und Christusgegenwart (GTA 24; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983) 106-22.

(26) See Schweitzer, The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle, 121-22; H. Windisch, Paulus und Christus. Ein biblisch-religiongeschichtlicher Vergleich (UNT 24; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, 1934) 229-52.

(27) On this passage, see P. von Osten Sacken, Römer 8 als Beispiel paulinischer Soteriologie (FRLANT 112; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975) 226-60; G. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 515-42; J. A. Ziesler, "The Just Requirement of the Law (Romans 8:4)," AusBR 35 (1987) 77-82.

(28) A.J. Bandstra, The Law and the Elements of the World (Kampen: J. H. Kok, 1964) 107-108; R. W. Thompson, "How is the Law Fulfilled in Us? An Interpretation of Rom. 8:4," LS 11 (1986) 32-33.

(29) Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1. 375.

(30) J. Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; 2 vols.; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1959, 1965) 282-83; Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 282-83; H. Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975) 280-88; Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 534-37; T. Schreiner, The Law and Its Fulfillment (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993) 150-54.

(31) Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 485-91.

(32) See Michel, Der Brief an die Römer, 190-92.

(33) Dunn plays down the contrast between flesh and Spirit in this passage (Romans 1-8, 424-25). By the term "those who are according to the Spirit" Paul is not referring to an ideal type but to actual believers.

(34) See G. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 427-56.

(35) J. Gundry Volf argues convincingly that in Gal 5:19–21 Paul does not have a parenetic interest but apologetic: He defends himself against the charge that his “antinomian” views leads to moral laxity, insofar as without the Law the “works of the flesh” are no longer identifiable (fanera,) (see 2:17; Rom 6:15) (Paul and Perseverance: Staying in and Falling Away [Louisville: Westminster/Knox, 1990] 141–54).

(36) Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 432: "basic perspective of life in the flesh." As Mußner points out, Paul’s use of "flesh" is functionally equivalent to the idea of the "evil inclination" in early Judaism (Der Galaterbrief, 375).

(37) According to Burton, “The gar is confirmatory and the whole sentence a proof of the statement of v. 16, that walking by the Spirit will not issue in subjection to the flesh” (Galatians, 300).

(38) Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 444. See Mußner, Der Galaterbrief, 385: “Fruchte am Baum des Pneumas.”

(39) R. Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ [BNZW 32; Berlin: Topelmann, 1967) 61-62.

(40) According to Schlier, the flesh has been crucified in baptism (Der Brief an die Galater, 263-64).

(41) It should be noted that this passage, like Rom 8:12-14, also contains both imperatives and indicatives in a paradoxical arrangement: Paul tells the Galatians that they have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (5:24) (They “live by the Spirit” [5:25]), implying that there is a necessary connection between the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. But then he exhorts them that “if we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided (stoichein) by the Spirit,” implying that the human will is not excluded in the process. Nevertheless, it is fundamental to Paul’s theology that, even though they have wills, ultimately believers have no free wills, but are compelled to be obedient by the indwelling Spirit.

(42) H. Windisch, Der zweiter Korintherbrief (9 ed.; KEK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1924) 127-28; F. Lang, Die Briefe an die Korinther (NTD 7; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986) 275; C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (BNTC; London: A & C Black, 1973) 124-25; G. D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994) 316-17.

(43) See L. Belleville, Reflections of Glory: Paul’s Polemical Use of Moses-Doxa Tradition in 2 Corinthians 3.1-18 (JSNTSup 52; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991) 273-96.

(44) G. D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994) 314-16.

(45) J. Jervell understands 2 Cor 3:18-4:6 as an interpretation of Gen 1:27, but this seems too tenuous (Imago Dei: Gen 1,26f. im Spätjudentum, in der Gnosis und in den paulischen Briefen [FRLANT 58; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1960] 173-76). See also R. P. Martin, 2 Corinthians (WBC; Waco: Word, 1986) 71-72.

(46) Contrary to G. D. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994) 316-17.

(47) H. Windisch, Der zweiter Korintherbrief (9 ed.; KEK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1924) 129; Martin, 2 Corinthians, 72.

(48) C. K. Barrett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (BNTC; London: Black, 1973) 126; contrary to Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 318-20.

(49) On parallels with the DSS, see H.-W. Kuhn, “The Epistle to the Ephesians in the Light of the Qumran Texts,” Paul and Qumran. Studies in New Testament Exegesis (London: Chapman, 1968) 117-18. See 1QH-a 15.17, 19; 20.35; 1QM 10.5. See C. Arnold, Ephesians: Power and Magic: The Concept Of Power in Ephesians in Light of Its Historical Setting (SNTSMS 63; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) 88.

(50) See O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, 256-60; Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 695-97; H. Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003) 477-78.

(51) F. Mußner, Der Brief an die Epheser (ÖTK 10; Gütersloh: Gerd Mohn, 1982) 109-10.

(52) G. Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 696.

(53) O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, 258-59.

(54) The metaphor of “circumcision of the heart” to mean a inner disposition to obedience occurs in Lev 26:41; Deut 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4; 9:25-26 (see 6:10 “uncircumcised of ear”); Ezek 44:7; Jub. 1:23; 1QS 5.6 (“To circumcise in the community the foreskin of his inclination and a stiff neck”); 4Q504 frg. 4, 11.) (See the discussion in Justin, Dialogue with Trypho, 114).

(55) There are examples from second-Temple sources of an eschatological distinction to be made between righteous Jews and their wicked counterparts; see, for example, 1 En. 5:4-5; 90:25-27 (Animal Apocalypse); 91:12 (Apocalypse of Weeks); 98:12; Pss. Sol. 3:11-12; 14:9-10; 15:12). So Paul’s statement that the circumcised may forfeit the benefits of the covenant by disobedience is not unique. What is unprecedented is Paul’s use of the gentiles as those who may receive what disobedient Jews have forfeited. Needless to say, this would have a undeniable “shock value” for his readers.

(56) Paul has also been interpreted as speaking hypothetically, in order to underline his point that circumcision is of no value without keeping the Law. His argument is that, if it were possible for them to obey the Law, gentiles—by definition, the uncircumcised—who obeyed the Law would be considered as if they were circumcised, or members of the covenant people. Paul’s aim in using this unreal hypothetical situation is to refute the presumption of Jewish national privilege. See E. Käsemann, Commentary on Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980) 73-76; S. Westerholm, “Letter and Spirit,” NTS 30 (1984) 229-48, esp. 235; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 169-71; A. van Dülmen, Die Theologie des Gesetzes bei Paulus (SBT 5; Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1968) 72-82; R. Bell, No one seeks for God (WUNT 106; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1998) 184-209; T. Eskola, Theodicy and Predestination in Pauline Soteriology (WUNT 2d s. 100; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1998) 129-36.

(57) See P.T. O’Brien, The Epistle to the Philippians (NTGTC; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991) 357-64.

(58) J. Gnilka, Der Kolosserbrief (HTKNT X/1; Freiburg: Herder Verlag, 1980) 132; P. Pokorny, Colossians (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991) 125.

(59) As Lohse points out, the phrase “the putting off of the body of flesh” may be an allusion to the ritual of the putting of the mortal body in the mystery religions (Colossians and Philemon [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1971] 102-103). In this usage the phrase “body of flesh” “characterizes the human body in its earthly frailty wherein it is subject to suffering, death, and dissolution” (102). (This is the same meaning that the phrase has in 1:22.) In the initiation rite into the mysteries, this mortal body is ritually put off, which is symbolized by the removal of the initiand’s clothes and his taking a purificatory bath. Lohse suggests that possibly the false teachers understood circumcision as the rite by which “the putting off body of the flesh” occurs. If so, then Paul may be polemicizing against them by using the same phrase, but intending something different by it (similar to the phrase “body of sin” in Rom 6:6).

(60) Schlier, Der Römerbrief, 205; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 350-51; Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.296; Michel, Der Brief an die Römer, 148. Other commentators place the division between 6:11 and 6:12 (Käsemann, Commentary on Romans, 172; Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.226; Dunn, Romans 1-8, 305-306.

(61) On this passage, see the extensive treatments by Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ, 7-43; H. Frankmölle, Das Taufverständnis (Stuttgarter Bibelstudien; Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1970); Schnelle, Gerechtigkeit und Christusgegenwart, 74-88; P. Silber, Mit Christus Leben. Eine Studie zur paulinischen Auferstehungshoffnung (ATANT 61; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1971) 191-249; Von Osten Sacken, Römer 8 als Beispiel paulinischer Soteriologie, 177-88.

(62) Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ, 14-20.

(63) See C. F. D. Moule, “Death ’to Sin’, ’to Law’, and ’to the World’: A Note on Certain Datives,” Mélanges bibliques en homage au R. P. Béda Rigaux (ed. A Deschamps and A de Halleux; Gembloux: Duculot, 1970) 367-75; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 357.

(64) See Beasley-Murray, Baptism in the New Testament, 126-46.

(65) See Reumann, “Righteousness” in the New Testament, 80-84.

(66) Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, 396-406; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 360. A Schweitzer, however, interprets Paul as teaching that baptism does effect a dying and rising with Christ ex opere operato (Paul and His Interpreters Paul and His Interpreters: A Critical History [London: A & C Black, 1912] 225-26.

(67) Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 360. Other uses of the phrase “to baptize into” (baptizein eis) occur in the New Testament. In Mark 1:9, Jesus is said to have been baptized into the Jordan River (ebaptisthê eis ton Iordanên) so that the preposition eis indicates the place where Jesus was baptized. In Matt 3:11, the phrase eis metanoian indicates the condition of baptism or what baptism expresses: “I baptize you with water for the condition or as an expression of repentance (egô men humas baptizô en hudati eis metanoian). Similarly, in Acts 2:38, Peter says that his hearers are to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ “for the purpose or result of forgiveness of your sins” (eis aphesin tôn hamartiôn humôn). Paul himself writes to the Corinthians that “we were baptized into one body” (eis hen sôma ebaptisthêmen) (1 Cor 12:13), which is similar to his statement that believers have been “baptized into Christ.”

(68) R. Scroggs, “Romans 6:7. ho gar apothanôn dedikaiôtai apo tês hamartias,” NTS 10 (1963-64) 104-108. Tannehill argues unconvincingly that by the phrase “our old man,” Paul refers to “a collective entity which is destroyed in the death of Christ” (Dying and Rising With Christ, 24-30). He holds that “old man,” body of sin” and “Adam” are all terms for the “old aeon” (27). See Barrett, The Epistle to the Romans, 124-25.

(69) Schlier, Der Römerbrief, 197; Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 309-10; Dunn, Romans 1-8, 320; see also Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 375-76; Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, 115-17. This is contrary to Michel who holds that sw/ma means the physical body as standing under the domination of sin (Der Brief an die Römer, 155).

(70) According to Dunn, the presence of mêketi and the use of the present tense “implies that the possibility of the believer’s continuing to serve sin is very real” (Romans 1-8, 320). This seems to be the opposite of what Paul is saying. Similarly, Paul is saying more that what Schlier asserts: “Der Leib der Sünde ist in der Taufe vernichtet worden und der Getaufte damit der Notwendigkeit zu sündigen enthoben. Er ist nicht mehr ihr Sklave. Er kann nicht sündigen” (Der Römerbrief, 198). The point that Paul makes is not that it is possible not to sin but that it is impossible to continue in sin.

(71) See the verb with the preposition in Sir 26:29; T. Sim. 6:1. See Dunn, Romans 1-8, 321; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 377; H. Frankmölle, Das Taufverständnis, 78-79.

(72) See F. Stanley Jones, “Freiheit” in den Briefen des Apostels Paulus (GTA 34; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1987) 113-14.

(73) Michel, Der Brief an die Römer, 158-60.

(74) Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.320-30.

(75) Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 406; Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.327. See BDF § 197.

(76) Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 325. Kertelge attempts to connect this ethical meaning righteousness with the salvation-historical use of the term as the “neue Macht” of God in the previous chapters of Romans (“Rechtfertigung” bei Paulus, 263-75). This seems to create too much confusion. Similarly, Käsemann, commenting on Rom 6:13, writes, “For him, as the context shows, unrighteousness is ungodliness, while righteousness is the power of God which has come on the scene with Christ and with justification, which effects new life in anticipation of bodily resurrection, and which sets us in its service” (Commentary on Romans, 177). Why righteousness does not simply mean godliness is unclear. It seems that Käsemann works with notion that righteousness in all its appearances in Paul’s letter must mean the eschatological power of God manifested in history.

(77) See Cranfield, The Epistle to the Romans, 1.66-67; Nygren, Commentary on Romans, 55; R. Dabelstein, Die Beurteilung der ‘Heiden’ bei Paulus (BET 14; Frankfurt a.M: Lang, 1981) 109-11; L.T. Johnson, Reading Romans. A Literary and Theological Commentary (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2001) 24.

(78) G. Davies, Faith and Obedience in Romans [JSNTSup 39; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1990] 25-30; Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 51-52. See also D. Garlington, The Obedience of Faith: A Pauine Phrase in Historical Context (WUNT 2. s. 38; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1991).

(79) See A. T. Lincoln, “Ephesians 2:8-10: A Summary of Paul’s Gospel,” CBQ 45 (1983) 617-30.

(80) On Eph 2:10, Hoehner, Ephesians, 346-47; O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, 178-81.

(81) BDF §235(4).

(82) See H. Schlier, Der Brief an die Galater (14 ed.; MeyerK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971) 282; M.V. Hubbard, New Creation in Paul's Letters and Thought (SNTSMS 119; Cambridge University Press, 2002).

(83) See R. Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ, 63-65. Tannehill writes, "The world has a structure which determines the life of every individual, and so human life as a whole, and man can only escape from this through an event which breaks into the all-encompassing world of sin and opens up the possibility of a new existence in a new world" (64).

(84) E. Sjöberg, "Wiedergeburt und Neuschöpfung in palästinenischen Judentum," ST 4 (1950) 44-85; id., “Neuschöpfung in den Toten-Meer-Rollen,” ST 9 (1956) 131-36; H. W. Kuhn, Enderwartung und Gegenwärtiges Heil. Untersuchungen zu den Gemeindeleidern von Qumran (SUNT 4; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1966) 48-52; 75-78.

(85) Contrary to Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ, 68-69, Martin, 2 Corinthians, 152 and B. Eastman, The Significance of Grace in the Letters of Paul (SBL 11; New York: Lang, 1999) 39, it seems that Paul is thinking primarily of the individual as new creation, although it is true that the individual could not be a new creation without being in spiritual union with Christ (and indwelt by the eschatological Spirit), which is a function of the new eschatological age.

(86) F. Mußner, Der Galaterbrief, 414; R.Y. Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians [NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988], 306 n. 42; R. Longenecker, Galatians (WBC; Waco: Word, 1990) 294-95.

(87) Mußner, Der Galaterbrief, 414.

(88) H. Ridderbos, The Epistle to the Galatians (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953) 224; Fung, The Epistle to the Galatians, 306-307.

(89) See Windisch, Der zweite Korintherbrief, 189-90; Barrett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 173-74.

(90) See Eckstein, Verheißung und Gesetz, 30-41.

(91) Tannehill, Dying and Rising With Christ, 55-61.

(92) Mußner, Der Galaterbrief, 182.

(93) Eckstein, Verheißung und Gesetz, 69.

(94) Michel, Der Brief an die Römer, 156.

(95) Jervell, Imago Dei, 236 ; T.K. Abbot, Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians (ICC; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916) 283-84.

(96) Lightfoot, Colossians, 215-16.

(97) See Fee, 1 Corinthians, 66-78.

(98) Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians, 60-61.

(99) Fee, 1 Corinthians, 112-13.

(100) Martin, 2 Corinthians, 74-81

(101) S. Kim, The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (2d. ed.; WUNT, 2s. 4; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1984) 6-8.


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