The Unity of the Church in Paul

Vol. 2 No.4 (1958): 187-96

The Unity of the Church in Paul

Abraham J. Malherbe

The modern ecumenical discussion has revived interest in the study of the unity of the early church, This discussion is frequently characterized by a misunderstanding which equates diversity with disunity. One extreme view holds that there was no real unity in the primitive church; that, on the: Contrary, diversity was its main characteristic.1 This means, then, that the New Testament could not be the authority for measures toward unity. A more moderate but quite similar view is that which recognizes some diversity in the New Testament and draws a negative lesson from it, viz., since there were differences within the Apostolic church they can be allowed to exist in the "coming great church.”2 A more positive approach, but one that is somewhat overstated, emphasizes the unity in the New Testament to the extent that the lessom which could be learned from the exhortation to unity are lost.3 An approach which begins in a more promising manner is that represented by John Knox.4 In attempting a solution, all the tools of modern scholarship are used in analyzing the situation in the New Testament with regard to the unity of the church. After the problems have been laid bare, however, difficulty is experienced in finding a solution for them, for there would be a lack of an authority. The New Testament itself is not considered a suitable criterion, for it is regarded as the product of a disunited church. In the final analysis, this approach ends in a weak vote for the episcopate, for "the episcopate is the historically developed means and symbol of the unity and continuity of the church."5

A more realistic approach is to recognize the diversity which exists, and not to confuse it with disunity which is condemned by the New Testament writers, especially by Pau1. Paul's writings reveal a deep concern for the unity of the church. We should beware, however, of regarding the concept of unity as the creation of Paul. Jesus Himself was the father of the idea. The idea of unity is implicit in Matthew 16:18, and in His view of Himself as the Shepherd (John 10 :16), and as the Vine (John 15). It is clear in the High priestly Prayer (John 17:11ff., 20 ff,). As a founder of churches, the problem of unity was continually in the foreground in Paul's thinking. He thus speaks of the unity, not only of the local churches, but also of the universal church. The theme of unity is more emphasized in his later epistles, for, as time passed, the disruptive forces appeared in the churches and needed his attention.

The chief factors of unity for Paul are "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4:5). These factors are also mentioned in connection with the church's unity in the other two epistles which deal [188]especially with this problem. Thus in 1 Cor. 1, Paul is concerned with the person of Christ, with baptism, and with the message that he preached, to which faith was the response. Also in Co!. 2:6-12 it is the person of Christ whom one puts on by baptism as an act of faith that is opposed to the beguiling philosophies.


It is recognized today that the church cannot be separated from the person of Christ. This is particularly clear in Paul's thinking. "The Pauline Ecclesiology is fundamentally nothing other than a Christology, even as the Christology of the Apostle coincides with his soteriology."6 This becomes clear in Paul's treatment of situations like the one in Corinth. His aim in 1 Cor. 1:10-17 is doubtless of a practical character, to do away with the cleavage in the congregation. "The remarkable thing, however, is that Paul argues in this occasional question from the point of view of principle, basing his proofs on the unity between Christ and the church."7 Christ is the representative of the new People of God, the church, and there is an identity of representation between Him and the church. In this relationship lies the motivation for the unity of the church,

This unity between Christ and His church is most obvious in Ephesians and Colossians. In these epistles the ekklesia is for the first time spoken of in the sense of the one universal ekklesia. This concept of universality comes less "from the actual circumstances of the actual Christian communities than from a development of thoughts respecting the place and office of the Son of God: His leadership was felt to involve the unity of all those who were united in Him."8 The one church is not made up of many churches, but of believers who become partakers of Christ's body. "The One Ecclesia includes all members of all partial Ecclesiae; but its relations to them are all direct, not mediate. . . . The unity of the universal Ecclesia as (Paul) contemplated it . . . is a truth of theology and religion, not a fact of what we call ecclesiastical politics."9

The oneness between Jesus and the church is expressed in different figures which are used to describe the church. Although the primary relationship of unity is between Jesus and the church, it will be seen that this unity results in a very real and practical oneness of the members of the church. Particularly relevant in this respect are the metaphors of the church as body, building, and bride.


Paul frequently speaks of the church as the body of Christ. The use of the metaphor of the body was common in the time of Paul, and the debate continues unabated as to the origin of Paul's usage. Among English writers there is a tendency to see Greek and Latin paganism as the background against which Paul uses it.10 Two streams of thought, Stoicism and Gnosticism, employed it. Among even the earliest Stoics, the kosmos was regarded as a "living being" of which God was the head.11 Among the later Stoics, the universe [189] as a whole, of which men form a part, was thought of as a body,12 with men the members of this great body.13 In the same period the Empire came to be thought of as a body of which the ruler was the head.14 As the result of this unity, if one part of the body was injured, the injury was considered to have been sustained by the whole body.15

German scholars generally see more likelihood in Gnosticism as being an influencing factor.16 Following the religionsgeschichtliche approach, the Primal Man myths of Iranian and Persian thought are considered to be the source of the metaphor of the body. Fascinating though the speculations of the Heavenly Man may be, however, no literary or even conceptual dependence of Paul on the Gnostic myths has been proven. The weakness of the religionsgeschichtliche approach is its methodology. Propounders of the theory do not study each of the Gnostic systems in detail, but construct a pan-Gnostic system without regard to geographical, temporal or source relationships,17 This mystical and mythical system, whose most mythical element seems to be its very existence, is then regarded as having had an insidious effect on everything in the ancient world. The existence of Gnostic systems as early as the New Testament period is to be seriously doubted.18 That there were certain Gnostic tendencies which were making inroads into Christianity and had to be combated, is clear from the Johannine and Pauline epistles. To regard these motifs as systems which influenced Paul and John, however, requires more courage than could be inspired by a judicial evaluation of the evidence at hand.

In his tendentious work,19 W. D. Davies has tried to show that Paul's use of the metaphor goes back to Rabbinic usage. The Rabbis conceived of a unity of mankind in Adam. Their doctrine implied that the physical body of Adam and its very method of formation symbolized the real oneness of mankind. Although we might agree that Paul's anthropology is more Hebrew than Greek,20 there is nothing in the Rabbinic usage which requires us to look to it as the origin of Paul's usage. There is no evidence that "the body of Adam" was used to designate mankind. Neither does Paul anywhere directly relate the phrase, "the Body of Christ" to the speculation of the First and Second Adam, as Davies implies.21

The most that can be done in this area of background study to Paul's usage is to regard his use of these terms as possible points of contact in conception and terminology, and especially the latter. This is certainly possible in the cases where the terminology has been proved to have been current in Paul's time.22 On the other hand, if one is to grant Paul at least as much originality as the Stoics or Gnostics or Rabbis, there is no reason why he should not independently have used the same terminology for the same reason that it occurred to them, viz., its suitability to express what he had in mind.

[190] Paul speaks of the church as the body of Christ especially in the letters which emphasize the unity of the church. It thus appears in 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4; and Col. 3. Compare also Rom. 12 :3-8, which is at the beginning of the section (chs. 1215) in Romans, which contain repeated exhortations to mutual consideration and brotherly love. The main point that the metaphor conveys, so far as it concerns the idea of unity, is the necessity of harmony in the practical local situations in the churches. For this harmony to exist, it is necessary that the members of the body have mutual respect for each other (Rom. 12:3), and that there be a recognition of their interdependence (1 Cor. 12:14-26). Particularly in the discharging of their offices in the local work of the congregation are members to realize that they are part of the one body and are to act accordingly (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11).

That it is not possible for the church to fulfil its function as the body of Christ in a state of disunity, is clear from the fact that everything is to be done in love (Rom. 12:9ff.; 1 Cor. 12:31; 13:13; Eph. 4:15, 16). Indeed, it is love that binds everything together in perfect harmony (Col. 3:14). Only when these conditions exist, does the body of Christ experience the growth which is the purpose of its existence.23 The practical situation is to exist for the members of the body to "attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood" (Eph. 4:12, 13). One enters the body in the act of baptism (1 Cor. 12: 13) . The continual effort to attain to the unity and maturity in Christ then involves the moral and religious life of the Christian (Col. 2:163:4). It also requires an adherence to Christian doctrine. In order for the body of Christ to grow, it is necessary to be faithful to the teaching which has Jesus at its centre, and which is necessary for unity with Him (Eph. 4:13-15; cf. Rom. 16:17, 18).

Paul thus makes it clear that there is no unity of the Body of Christ, unless there is a recognition of the centrality of Christ as to purpose and authority for the Body. These two factors are to be in evidence in the local situations to be of any value in the matter of the church.


This metaphor is very closely related to that of the Body.24 Paul uses the noun, oikodome, with the meaning of "building," only twice (1 Cor. 3:9; Eph. 2:21). but he frequently uses it of the process of building, instead of as referring to that which is built (2 Cor. 10:8; 12:19; 13:10; 1 Cor. 14:25).25 Jesus Himself is the' foundation, themelios, of this building (1 Cor. 3:11) and is also its chief cornerstone, akrogoniaios, upon which the whole house of God is built (Eph. 2:20).26 In Him "the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord" (Eph. 2:21).

As the structure is founded upon Christ, so the process of building also takes place by virtue of His authority. In writing of a situation [191] where strife and disunity actually existed, Paul reiterates that the Lord had given him authority to build, and he therefore demands their respect (2 Cor. 10:8; cf. 2 Cor. 12:19; 13:10). His preaching he regarded as the laying of the foundation, for it embodied the message of Jesus (1 Cor. 3:9-11; cf. Rom. 15:20). It was the purpose of the whole Christian ministry to edify, "build up" the congregation (Eph. 4: 12, 16), and this was particularly emphasized of the preaching of the prophets (1 Cor. 14:3). The metaphors of growth and building are mixed, yet the, dominating thought is quite clear: The church, built on Christ, is to attain to perfection through Him. The metaphor, then, represents a picture of the church in which Jesus is the basis of its existence, as well as the factor which binds its members together. To be united with Christ is to be inextricably united with those who have also accepted Him.


Paul, concerned with the fal1ing away of the Corinthians as the result of false teaching, compares the church to the bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:1-6),27 Doctrinal error is the same as infidelity to Jesus. As her husband, He has authority over her, and she is to be subject to Him (Eph. 5:21-27). Because of His love for the church, shown by sanctifying her by giving Himself for her, and by nourishing and cherishing her, Christ and the church become one, for "a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one" (Eph. 5:25-32; Gen. 2:24). The concept of unity, as realized by love and subjection, is therefore in the forefront of Paul's thinking when he uses this metaphor.


It has been seen that the central position of Christ in the church has certain practical implications for Paul and that these are brought out by the metaphors which he uses for the church. Al1egiance to the one Lord involves the unity in the fullest sense, of the structure, ministry, doctrine, edification, moral life, and ideals of the church. By virtue of being "in Christ," the believer is on the way to maturity. This is not attained through crass individualism or in isolation, or by one's own will, but is possible only insofar as one is partaker of and contributor to what Professor H. Wheeler Robinson has taught us to call the "corporate personality." Only when there is this solidarity between the aggregate of believers and their Lord, is there Christian unity.

B. ONE FAITH The One Lord makes the unity of the church both possible and necessary. The relationship that the believer sustains with Him is one of faith, and it is therefore natural that there is to be one faith. Pistis, "faith," is used by Paul to describe, subjectively, confidence in Christ (Rom. 10 :9, 17), objectively, the body of doctrine that is to be believed (Rom. 1:5; Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim. 4:1); and by metonymy, the obedience of faith (Rom. 1:8; Tit. 2:10).28

[192]Faith, in the subjective sense, comes from the preaching of the message of Christ (Rom. 10:8, 17) and results in a verbal confession (Rom. 10:10). Paul states that one cannot be brought to make this confession, except by the work of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3), and this is said in a context in which he emphasizes the unity of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-11). The oneness of the Spirit therefore points to the oneness of the faith that is kindled in the believer. The object of this trust, moreover, is Christ Himself, particularly as He is announced in the preaching as the crucified and resurrected Lord.29 Paul thought it was his work as a preacher and apostle to bear testimony to the fact that all men can be ransomed by the one mediator, who is between the one God and men (1 Tim. 2:5-7; cf. 2 Tim. 1:911). Accordingly, he uses marturion, "testimony," preeminently for the witness to the death and resurrection of the Lord.30 For Paul there is only one gospel, the testimony that he bears (Gal. 1:8; 2 Thess. 1:8-10), and this is that Jesus Christ is Lord (2 Cor. 4:5). This preaching of His death and resurrection brings forth the confession that He is Lord (1 Cor. 12:3). To say that He is Lord, indeed, is to confess His resurrection (Rom. 10:9; Phil. 2:9-11). [192] Faith, in the subjective sense, then, is kindled by one Spirit, has one Lord as its object, who is Presented to men by preaching which has one theme, and is expressed in one confession.

The unity of the faith, understood in an objective sense, lay close to Paul's heart even at the beginning of his literary career, and it increased as the danger of apostasy increased.31 Already in his first letters he feels the necessity of emphasizing that there is only one gospel (Gal. 1:6ff.), and to mention that he withstood Peter because he was not "straightforward about the truth of the gospel" (Gal. 2:14). He requires adherence to the doctrines which had been received from him (2 Thess. 2:15; cf. 3:6), and orders that failure to do so should cause disfellowship (2 Thess. 3: 14) . The Corinthians maintained the traditions which he had delivered to them (1 Cor. 11:2), but they are exhorted to agree, to be of the same mind and the same judgment (1 Cor. 1:10). His prayer for the Romans is that they live in harmony with each other, in accord with Christ Jesus, so that they with one voice may glorify God (Rom. 15 :5, 6). Dissensions and difficulties are regarded as the results of opposition to the doctrines that they had been taught (Rom. 16: 17, 18).

In his prison epistles, Paul is still more interested in the unity of the church, particularly as it is related to doctrine. This "unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God" is the objective for which Christ instituted the various offices in the church, "so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine. . . ." (Eph. 4:11ff.). Concerning false doctrines, Paul admonishes the Colossians (Col. 2:4ff.) of the sufficiency of Christ in an spiritual matters. As they had received Christ, they were to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and [192] established in the faith, just as they had been taught (Col. 2:6, 7). They were to be on the watch against human wisdom with empty deceit (Col 2:8). In an attempt to nip the incipient division in the bud in Philippi, Paul wishes to hear that they "stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel" (Phil. 1 :27). Again, he asks, "complete my joy by being of the same mind" (Phil. 2 :2, 3), the disposition required being the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5).

More interesting yet are Paul's Pastoral Epistles. As the danger of digression increased, and the end of his life drew near, he was more concerned with the care for the "sound" or "good" doctrine. We hear of people whose faith had suffered shipwreck (1 Tim. 1: 19); who depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1; 6:10); who oppose the truth (2 Tim. 3:8ff.); who upset the faith of others (2 Tim. 2:18). In these passages "faith" is used in the objective sense and is a synonym for the special expressions, "sound doctrine," "good doctrine." How strongly Paul felt about heretical teaching and teachers is illustrated by his description of them. The teaching is called "godless chatter" (1 Tim. 6:20) and is said to act like gangrene (2 Tim. 2: 16f). The teachers of these doctrines are fierce wolves who speak perverse things (Acts 20:28ff.); they are dogs (Phil. 3:2) and have a corrupt mind and counterfeit faith (2 Tim. 3:8). They were to be treated accordingly. Some were delivered to Satan (1 Tim. 1: 20), while others were to be rebuked (Titus 1: 13) and to be taught, so that they could escape from the snare of the devil, after having been caught by him (2 Tim. 2:23ff.) After repeatedly admonishing a factious man, the man of God is not to have anything to do with him, for his actions will show that he is perverted and sinful (Titus 3.:10ff.).

Subjective and objective faith are not unrelated or independent of each other. As the former is the acceptance of God's revelation in Christ, so the latter is the explication of that revelation and of the believer's relationship with Christ. This is brought out clearly in Paul's description of the causes of disunity in doctrine, and of his antidote to disunity. Dissensions are caused because the false teachers do not serve Christ, but have selfish motives (Rom. 16:17, 18). Anyone who does not agree with the teaching of Jesus is puffed up with conceit and knows nothing. He has a "morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions" (1 Tim. 6:4). To oppose these men, Paul goes to the source of the trouble. He suggests that the mind of Christ will prevent dissensions (Phil. 2: 5), that Christians who are troubled by speculations should continue to live in Him, "rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith" (Col. 2 :6-8). Instead of taking part in controversies, the Lord's servant is to manifest the characteristics of his Master (2 Tim. 2:22-26).

In summary, then, there is a unity of "the faith" because there is one Lord. As He determines the content of the faith, so also does [194] He determine the believer's relationship with it. Allegiance. to the faith is never mere fidelity to certain doctrines. It is a dedication to the Lord, which is reflected in adherence to His teachings. To dissent from the body of doctrine is therefore an indication of a lack of the proper personal relationship with Christ.

Paul's concept of the unity of the faith is reflected in his view of the ministries of the church. It is significant that he discusses the offices and functions of the ministry particularly in those epistles which deal pre-eminently with the problem of the unity of the church. In 1 Cor. 12 the plurality of the spiritual gifts and the accompanying tendencies toward disunity cease to be a problem when Paul emphasizes that they are the working of the one and the same Spirit (vs. 4-11). The various functions are to be performed harmoniously, since the ministers are members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27, 28). The purpose of these gifts is to build up the body (1 Cor. 14:3,27). Likewise, in Rom. 12:4-8, the figure of the body, with its connotation of oneness, is used again in describing the various functions. So also is it used in Eph. 4: 11-16, where it is more explicitly stated that the purpose of the offices is the attainment of the unity of the faith (v. 13).32


Paul mentions baptism in his discussion of the unity of the church, for it is the act by which man becomes one with Christ (Rom, 6:3, 4; Gal. 3 :27). It fits in well with Paul's thinking in Eph. 4 :4-6.33 The response to the one Lord, is one of faith, which is outwardly expressed in the one baptism.34 The believer puts Christ on in baptism (Gal. 3 :27). This act also places him in a special, relationship with other members of the body, for it is baptism that creates the unity of Christians (1 Cor. 12 :13; Gal. 3:28). This unity transcends differences as to nationality, social position, and sex.35 A similar list is found in Col. 3:11, which does not explicitly refer to baptism, but whose main point is also that the differences were effaced by Christ. Verses 9, 10 of this section, however, have reminiscences of 2:11, 12; Gal. 3:27, which do refer to baptism. It is clear, then, that Paul conceives of baptism as the act by which man puts on Christ and at the same time becomes part of a group of believers who constitute a church of Christ.

While baptism in a sense creates the church as a unit, the other Christian ordinances occupy an equally prominent role in maintaining that unity.36 Thus singing is mentioned in a context in which the keynote is harmony and mutual edification (Col. 3:12-17), It is probably significant that the command is to sing to one another (cf. Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). All things are to be done for edification (1 Cor. 14:26). The same is also true of prophesying (1 Cor. 14:3, 4).

The Lord's Supper, by its very nature, is more explicit.37 The only passages in which Paul discusses the Lord's Supper (1 Cor, 10, 11), are in a context in which his main point is the unity of [195] the church. Christ is here not merely the motivating power towards oneness, but, as in baptism, is the real basis of it. The participation in the blood and the body of Christ includes as a necessary consequence, unity among Christians, for, "since there is one loaf, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the same loaf" (1 Cor. 10:17).38


Our investigation has shown that for Paul the real reason for the unity of the church is Christ. Because there is only one Lord, there is also only one Faith, and one Baptism, which expresses faith.



1 E. W. Parsons, The Religion of the New Testament, New York, 1939; E. F. Scott, The Varieties of New Testament Religion, New York, 1943.

2 C. T. Craig, The One Church - In the Light of the New Testament, Nashville, 1951.

3 Floyd V. Filson, One Lord, One Faith, Philadelphia, 1953; A. M. Hunter, The Message of the New Testament, Philadelphia, 1944.

4 John Knox, The Early Church and the Coming Great Church, Nashville, 1955.

5 Ibid., p. 150.

6 E. Percy, Der Leib Christi: In den paulinischen Homologumena und Antilegomena, Lund, 1942, p. 45. For a similar view among leaders of the Restoration Movement on the American frontier, see Roy Ward, "The Nineteenth Century Restoration Movement and the Plea for Unity," Restoration Quarterly II (1958), p. 82f.

In connection with the close relationship between Christology and the church, note the cosmic unity which is attained through Christ's resurrection (Eph. 1 :16-23; Col. 1: 15-20). The resurrection, the fact upon which the church is built, is also the act by which God made the kosmos subject for the church. Ina similar manner, the division in the human race is overcome by the saving actof Christ (Eph. 2 :11-22). For the figure of the polis in describing this unity, see K. L. Schmidt, Die Polis in Kirche und Welt, Basel, 1939.

7 Stig Hanson, The Unity of the Church in the New Testament, Uppsala, 1946, p. 75.

8 F. J. A. Hort, The Christian Ecclesia, p. 148.

9 Ibid., p. 168.

10 cf. W. L. Know, St. Paul and the Church of the Gentiles, Cambridge, 1939, p. 161.

11 J. von Arnim, Stoicorum vetermn fragmenta, Leipzig, 1903-05, I, p. 153, 157, 110; III, 4.

12 Epictetus, II, 10:3,4; Marcus Aurelius, Meditationes II, 1; Seneca, De Ira II, 31-36.

13 Seneca, Ep. 95, 52.

14 Seneca, De Clementia, I, 5, 1.

15 Cicero, Verr. v. 67; Pro Balbo c. 13; cf. a similar interdependence in I Cor. 12.

16 E. Kaesemann, Leib und Leib Christi, Tuebingen, 1933, pp. 59ff; H. Schlier, Theologisches Woerterbuch III, pp. 675ff.; Christus und die Kirche im Epheserbrief, Tuebingen, 1930, pp. 42ff.; R. Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament I, New York, 1955, pp. 310ff.

17 W. Bousset (Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, Goettingen, 1907) is the dean of the researchers in this field. He applies his method to Paul's relationship with Gnosticism in Kyrios Christos (3rd ed.), [196] Goettingen, 1926. For a criticism of his method, see H. H. Schaeder, Urform und Fortbildungen des manichaischen Systems, pp. 73, 100.

18 Cf. A. D. Nock's review of Hans Jonas' Gnosis and spaetantiker Geist I, in Gnomon XII (1936), p. 605; cf. also E. Haenchen, "Gab es eine vorchristliche Gnosis?", Zeitschrift fuer Theologie und Kirche 50 (1953), pp. 123-158.

19Paul and Rabbinic Judaism, London, 1955, pp. 53-57.

20 J. A. T. Robinson, The Body, London, 1952; Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament I, p. i90ff.

21 E. Best, One Body in Christ, London, 1955, p. 92.

22 That Paul used Stoic terminology on Mars Hill to express the Christian message in terms that his hearers could understand, for instance, is clear from Bertil Gaertner's definitive work, The Areopagus Speech and Natural Revelation, Uppsala, 1955.

23 The "growth" or "edification" of the church will be discussed below, under the discussion of the church as a building.

24 cf. P. Bonnard, Jesus-Christ edifiant son Eglise, Neuchatel, 1928.

25 Contra J. A. T. Robinson, The Body, p. 76, who states that every time Paul uses the term oikodome, he refers to the Body.

26 For the difference between themelios and akrogoniaios, see V. Taylor, The Names of Jesus, pp. 93-99, and Jeremias in Theologisches Woerterbuch I, p. 792; IV, p. 278. Themelios would be the ordinary foundation, and akrogoniaios the top stone which holds the whole structure together.

27 According to some researchers (Schlier, Christus und die Kirche im Epheserbrief; Bousset, Hauptprobleme der Gnosis, p. 267ff.) This is a Gnostic view that influenced Paul. However, it is more probablethat Paul remembered Jesus' use of the figure of the bridegroom, e.g., Matt. 9:15; 25:1-13, and that he applied His emphasis on the indissolubility of the marriage relationship (Matt. 5 :32; 19 :4ff.) to the relationship between Christ and the church.

28 For these different usages, see R. Milligan, The Scheme of Redemption, p. 479ff.; Burton, Galatians (I.C.C.), pp. 478-485; Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament I, pp. 314-324; Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.

29 Cf. I Cor. 1:23; 2:2-6; 15:1-3; Gal. 3:1; Rom. 10:8,9. See C. H. Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and Its Development, 1954, pp. 9-13.

30 1 Cor. 1:6; 2:1, 2; II Thess. 1:10; I Tim. 2:6; II Tim. 1:8. The only place (I Cor. 15:15) in which he uses the verb, marturein, of his preaching, is also used of the resurrection.

31 For this section of the discussion of faith, see especially, P. I. Bratsiotis, "Paulus und die Einheit der Kirche." in Studia Paulina, Studies for Johannes de Zwaan, Haarlem, 1953, pp. 28-36.

32 The Pastorals are explicit that, in the performance of the ministry, teachers should adhere to a standard, II Tim. 1: 13, 14; 2 :2, 15; 3:14-17; 4:2-4; Tit. 1:9.

33 Hanson, op. cit., p. 151, thinks that in Eph. 4 :4-6 we have a paranesis of baptism, "or in any case a traditional formula in some way connected with baptism." For baptism and church unity in the Restoration Movement, see Ward, op cit., p. 84f.

34 Baptism and faith are not two different things for Paul. Baptism is the action of faith, Gal. 3:26, 27; Col. 2:12 (cf. Mk. 16:16).

35 Notice how the theme of unity is emphasized by Paul. "For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body" (I Cor. 12:13). ". . .you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3: 28).

36 cf. Oscar Cullmann,Early Christian Worship, p. 26ff.

37 For the problem of the Lord's Supper in the modern ecumenical discussion, see T. H. Mullin, "The Lord's Table and Unity of the Church," Biblical Theology 8 (1958) No. 1.

38 Cf. Didache 9, 4 for the theme of unity in the Lord's Supper still present in the early church.

Vision in Action

Watch the video above to witness the future of Abilene Christian University taking shape.

Learn more 

Connect with ACU