Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Quick Exegetical Diagram for Ephesians 2 (Response to James)


For the visual learners out there, I created a quick exegetical diagram for Ephesians 2 partly as a response to James (the blogger) and partly because Paul uses a lot of great juxtapositional language that lends itself to nerdy diagrams--bottom line:  I needed an excuse to use some diagramming software. 

Here's a brief explanation of the diagram: 

Paroikos vs. Oikeios:

Paul says the Gentiles were Paroikos before Yeshua--which literally means they are not members of the household ("beside" and "house").  And later in Eph. 2:19 Paul explains that through Yeshua the Gentiles become Oikeios (members of the household).  This is Hebraic covenantal language.  For example, Deuteronomy 14:21 in the LXX, paroikos is used to translate "ger" because the translators wished to make explicit that there are two types of ger (sojourner), those who are covenanted (proselutos) and those who are not covenanted (paroikos).  

NOTE:  Paul also contrasts paroikos with citizenship (politeia/sumpolites--note that there is no scholarly debate about what these terms mean and James the blogger doesn't know what he's talking about).  Paul also uses paroikos to contrast with diatheke (covenant). 

Xenoi vs. Huiothesia

In the Book of Ruth (LXX), xenoi is used to translate the Hebrew word for stranger.  The Hebrew in Ruth 2:10 is wonderful because it's one of the many examples of Hebraic plays on words.  Ruth asks how Boaz can "recognize" her given that she is "unrecognizable."  And this is the concept of Xenoi:  Gentiles without Yeshua were strangers to G-d's family, they were not recognized as family!  But, Baruch HaShem, through Yeshua's blood, we become family and are adopted as sons (and daughters) and become "Huiothesia" (a term that Paul actually employs in Ephesians 1).  This term is loaded with Hebraic covenantal significance.

So much beautiful and rich language in this passage!




  1. Great points, I agree...

    As I pointed out in the discussion, if we take Ephesians 2, and render all the meanings of gentiles relationship to Yeshua, Israel, God, the Covenants and the promises as metaphorical, which by the way, is the standard view of Bilateral Ecclesiology. They do not believe that Ephesians 2 should be taken with any literal implications, at least none that would change gentiles into being something more in Yeshua, some for example, believe gentiles should simply be considered "sons of Noah" and not "sons of Abraham"(Gal 3). According to this theology, in Messiah, nothing has really changed for a gentile, at least not enough to make a point about it. Which makes me conclude then, that either Paul was simply wasting his words in Ephesians 2, meaning, his words have no relevancy in the life of a gentile, because they are simply just metaphors for being saved, or they do have literal implications, and how far this goes, is something we probably will not see till the kingdom.

  2. Re: (politeia/sumpolites--note that there is no scholarly debate about what these terms mean...

    I have just finished JK McKee's 'Are Non-Jewish Believers Really A Part of Israel?' and, while not a debate, he has an extended discussion about politeia beginning around mid-171. Of particular import are his quotes of the word use from classical Greek and also Jewish references.

    From page 179-180: " The classical Greek meaning of politeia (which I was certainly taught at the University of Oklahoma as a political science undergraduate) also witnessed in ancient Jewish works, does not imply a kind of citizenship where a single monarch rules over a collection of separate states, but rather speaks of either a single government or a way of conduct within a society (sometimes within the context of a city). Of critical importance to us are those notable places where politeia, and a related term like politeuma, appear in the Apostolic Scriptures denoting citizenship... (cites Acts 22:28 & Phil. 3:20)

    continues... Anyone who would try to equate the Greek term politeia with a kind of multiple nation-state commonwealth in mind does not have strong support from either classical usage or Biblical usage of the term.
    What Paul describes as Believers possessing politeuma in Heaven, should not escape our notice. No one would honestly argue, for example, that born again Believers have different kinds of "citizenship" within the Kingdom of Heaven"....

    In a shorter form, McKee also discusses politeia in 'One Law For All' on ppgs 53-55. I can't find the reference right now, but I think he mentions a Duke University professor who has studied the term further.

    Long story short (as I understand it): politeia is a concrete term referring to full rights as a citizen in a nation-state with all having allegiance to a single monarch/single and equal legal code.

  3. Yeah, it would be as idiotic and non-comforting as me saying to a homeless person: "Hey, bro, I don't have any real money to give you...but I'd like to offer you a metaphorical $20 bill." And then act like I'm dropping a bill into his can.

    Here's another one:

    A woman is afraid her husband doesn't love her anymore. The man tries to comfort her and says, "I love you so much...in a purely metaphorical sense. I don't literally love you. So we're good, right?"

  4. Sadly, this is the same reasoning of Replacement Theology, every reference to Israel is turned into a metaphor, meaning Israel cannot be viewed in any literal way, which allows for the interpretation that Israel is now "the Gentile Church", gentiles who have been grafted in are the 'New' Israel (spiritual), 'Old' Israel (literal) is gone, and blah blah blah...

    Bilateral Ecclesiology, flips this thinking and turns the gentile relationship to Israel and the scriptures to be a metaphor and thus has no literal implications... Making Paul's words irrelevant to our actual lives and our relationship to Israel. Not any more convincing than Replacement Theology, lol... Simply traded one extreme for the other, no thanks... :P