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Session 11. Paul on the Church & Moral Guidance in St. Paul. Online Readings:. Schnackenburg: Paul on the Church Paul’s Moral Teaching J.D. Dunn: Pauline Ethics (from: The Theology of Paul the Apostle). 1 Paul's originality

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session 11
Session 11

Paul on the Church


Moral Guidance in St. Paul

online readings
Online Readings:


Paul on the Church

Paul’s Moral Teaching

J.D. Dunn:

Pauline Ethics (from: The Theology of

Paul the Apostle)

1 Paul's originality
  • 2 Who are the People of God?
  • 3 The "two wives", compared with "the old Olive Tree"
  • 4 "Jerusalem on high" and "true descent from Abraham"
  • 5 On inheriting the titles and priveleges of Israel
schnackenburg on paul church 2
Schnackenburg on Paul & church (2)
  • 6 Turning-point: accepting the mystery of Christ
  • 7 Equal rights of Jewish and Gentile Christians
  • 8 Promoting unity between the two branches
  • 9 Church as Temple of God
  • 10 Who are The Saints?
schnackenburg on paul church 3
Schnackenburg on Paul & church (3)
  • 11 Responsibility within the Body of Christ
  • 12 Eschatological Dimension of Church
  • 13 No purely "individual" Christianity
  • 14 Church is essentially spiritual, but needs some earthly structures
outline for pauline morality
Outline for Pauline Morality

Schnackenburg Part III. The Moral Teaching of the Early Church : Paul

  • § 27. Presuppositions of Pauline Moral Teaching
  • § 28. Anchoring Moral Precept in God’s Grace
  • § 29. Struggle with the Powers of Evil
  • § 30. Conscience and its Formation
  • § 31. The Moral Preaching of Paul
dunn s outline 1
Dunn’s Outline (1)
  • §23 Motivating principles

1. Indicative and imperative

2. Once more, the law

3. Faith and "the law of faith"

4. Spirit and "the law of the Spirit"

5. Christ and "the law of Christ"

6. Liberty and love

7. Traditional wisdom

dunn s outline 2
Dunn’s Outline (2)
  • §24 Ethics in practice

1 The social context

2 Living within a hostile world - Rom. 12.9-13.14

3 Living with disagreements - Rom. 14.1-15.6

4 Between two worlds: sexual conduct (1 Cor 5-6)

5 Between two worlds: marriage and divorce

6 Between two worlds: slavery (1 Cor. 7.20-23)

7 Between two worlds: social relations (1 Cor 8-10)

8 The collection

9 Conclusion

points to highlight
Points to highlight

Indicative and imperative

    • You have been ……
    • Therefore you should…
  • theological exposition followed by the practical application
  • E.g.“just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we should walk in newness of life."
true freedom
True Freedom
  • Gal. 5.1a-b - "For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand fast, therefore, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.“
  • Gal. 5.13a-b- "For you were called to freedom, brothers; only not the freedom for opportunity to the flesh, but through love serve one another.“
  • Phil. 2.12-13 work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
      • “ Ineinander” quality
the law
The Law

Paul’s sharp antithesis between gospel and law can be misleading

Challenged his kinsfolk's assumption that the law's protection gave them before God a distinctive and favoured position over the other nations

Law helps to “define” sin – but something more is needed to set sin aside.

paul s positive use of the word law
Paul’s positive use of the word “law”
  • What he means by nomos in the phrases:
    • "the law of faith" (Rom. 3.27),
    • "the law of the Spirit" (Rom. 8.2)
    • "the law of Christ" (Gal. 6.2)
      • Is it used loosely, by analogy with the Mosaic code, for the way of life fitting for a Christian?
3 ethical principles
3 Ethical principles
  • The fundamentals of Paul's ethics can be summed up in these terms :
    • justification by faith
    • participation in Christ
    • the gift of the Spirit
    • “The 3 keys to righteousness”
liberty to love
Liberty to love
  • Gal. 5.1 - "For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."
  • Equally fundamental to Paul is the body of Christ concept and their mutual interdependence upon each other, so that “love is the fulfilment of the law” (Rm 13:10)
js mill vs st paul
JS Mill vs St Paul
  • According to John Stuart Millthe only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs or impede their efforts to obtain it.
  • What is lacking in Mill's definition is Paul’s sense of liberty as something to be used on behalf of others.

Pauline paraenesis often echo traditional formulations: lists of common vices and virtues.

Gal 5:22 the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

moral commonsense
Moral Commonsense

Paul’s awareness of a high degree of shared ethos and moral sense among people of good will allows him to talk of final judgment very simply, in terms of

  • "good" being rewarded and
  • "evil" punished (Rom. 2.6-11)
in the world not of the world
In the world, not of the world

A sense of being surrounded and threatened by the night and "the works of darkness" (Rm 13.11-13)

But they also had to fit into the real world: his stress on civil obedience and paying taxes was presumably no accident. (13.1-7 )

relationships within the church
Relationships within the church

In the second half of his paraenesis in Romans (14:1 – 15:6) he turns from relationships with the world to relationships within the congregation.

The fact that he makes this section the climax of his exhortation and gives such space to it indicates its importance

marriage and celibacy
Marriage and Celibacy
  • He blends idealism with realism
  • What is Paul’s view on the interaction of the sexes?
paul on slavery
Paul on slavery
  • He knows it is inhuman and wrong
  • But it’s ingrained in the Roman world
  • Feels there’s no time to properly tackle the problem, with Christ’s imminent coming
collection for the saints
Collection for the “saints”
  • 2 Cor 8-9 – a masterpiece, on generous living: shows Paul’s capacity to persuade, which was his greatest pastoral trait.
  • Perhaps a model of how morality should be taught in the church