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Worship and the Risen Jesus in the Pauline Letters


Tony Costa

The very essence of the existential relationship between the human and the divine is communicated by the English word, ‘worship’. Although the word appears to carry a univocal meaning in English, no such word per se exists in the Greek New Testament. The English word at best explains but does not adequately and completely define the dynamics involved in the relationship between humanity and God. Worship and the Risen Jesus in the Pauline Letters approaches the subject of Christian worship in respect to its origins from the perspective of the earliest New Testament writer: Paul. This book seeks to address the relative absence in scholarship of a full treatment of worship in the Pauline Letters. Closely related to the theme of Christian worship in the Pauline Letters is the person of the risen Jesus and the place he occupies in the faith community. This work proposes a proper working definition of, including criteria for, ‘worship’. Paul employed an array of Greek words as descriptors to communicate the various nuances and dimensions related to one’s relationship with God. ‘Worship’ also functioned for Paul as a boundary marker between believers and unbelievers vis-à-vis baptism and the Eucharist. The eschatological and teleological aspects of worship are also examined through a study of the Carmen Christi (Phil 2: 6–11). This study maintains that worship in Paul is not defined by any one word but is rather a composite and comprehensive personal religious relationship between the worshipper and God.


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AB Anchor Bible ABD Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman. 6 vols. New York, 1992 AMP Amplified Bible ASV American Standard Version BAGD Bauer,W., W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. W. Danker. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 2nd ed. Chicago, 1979 BCE Before Common Era BDAG Bauer, W., F. W. Danker, W. F. Arndt, and F. W. Gingrich. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Chicago, 2000. BDB Brown, F., S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs A Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Oxford, 1907 BETL Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium ca. circa CE Common Era CEV Contemporary English Version cf. confer, compare chap. chapter XIV | WORSHIP AND THE RISEN JESUS IN THE PAULINE LETTERS ed. editor, edited (by); edition eds. editors e.g. exempli gratia, for example ERV English Revised Version esp. especially ESV English Standard Version et al. et alii, and others DPL Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Edited by G. H. Hawthorne, R. P. Martin, and D. G. Reid. Downers Grove, 1993 frg. fragment FRLANT Forschurgen zur Religion und Literatur des und Neuen Testament GNT Good News Translation (= Good News Bible = Today’s English Version) HCSB Holman Christian Standard Bible ibid. ibidem, in the same place ICC International Critical Commentary IDB The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Edited by G. A. Buttrick. 4 vols. Nashville, 1962 i.e. id est, that is IVP InterVarsity Press (abbrev. used only in commentary series name)...

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