The New Covenant in Ephesians
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation maintains that the new covenant was a significant soteriological, ecclesiological, and ethical category in Paul's theology. Using Ephesians as a test case, it analyzes the relevant texts where Paul seems to appropriate the Old Testament's promises specifically linked with the new covenant. Chapter 1 surveys and assesses various views on the significance of the new covenant to Paul, and offers a way forward in the debate. Chapter 2 surveys the new covenant in the Old Testament. Included is exegesis of the most relevant prophetic texts that point to a day when God would usher in a new covenant with his people. A summary of these texts shows a list of major themes most often associated with the new covenant. Chapter 3 analyzes the blessings of the new covenant in Ephesians 1:3-14. Themes such as election, sonship, forgiveness of sins, and the Spirit indicate the prevalence of the new covenant's promises in Pauline thought. These promises are rooted in the promises to Abraham. Chapter 4 analyzes the new covenant in Ephesians 2:11-22. Paul frames the plight, solution, and new status of the Gentiles in covenantal terms. Peace with God and one another through the death of Christ is at the center of the text and is especially rooted in the promises of Isaiah. The new status for believing Gentiles includes membership within the true people of God, who, fulfilling the covenant ideal in Christ, dwells with his people. Chapter 5 suggests that some of the ethical commands of Ephesians 4:17-5:5 find their background in the ethic of the new covenant. Speaking the truth in love and walking in love summarize the ethic of the new covenant. Included in this chapter is an excursus on the structural similarities between Deuteronomy and Ephesians, which indicates the covenantal framework of Paul's ethics. Chapter 6 summarizes the thesis by comparing the nature of the new covenant in chapter 3 with the findings of chapters 3-5. That many of the promises of the new covenant are found to be present in various texts in Ephesians suggests the prevalence of the concept to Paul as he formulated his soteriology, ecclesiology, and ethics. These conclusions are then set within the context of the broader scholarly discussion concerning Paul's view of the new covenant.