Thursday, March 09, 2006


Body-Building-Bride: A Theology of Church in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians
A Biblical Theology Paper Submitted to Clinton Arnold, Ph.D.
In Partial Fulfillment of The Requirements of the Course Exegesis in Ephesians TTNT 644
by Laura K. Springer, November 16, 2005

Description of the Images: Bride

Bride (gune; woman, wife) is used nine times in Ephesians (Eph. 5:22ff, 28, 31, 33). All nine instances refer to human wives directly and to the church by analogy.
In 5:22-33, the church is presented as a bride submitting to her husband. She is loved, sanctified, cleansed, and made glorious by him and for him. She is united as one flesh with him. While the body and building metaphors communicate the inherent connection of the church and Christ, it is the image of the bride that shows the intimacy of that connection. It is a connection of choice: Christ's choice to love and the church's choice to submit. Both choices are done willingly and not by force of habit or duty. Best remarks, "This picture of the Church as Wife of Christ has taken us, perhaps, further into the relationship of Christ and the Church than any other because it shows us both sides of that relationship; dependence and obedience on one side; love and unity on the other." [i] There is a necessary mutuality between Christ and the church. This mutuality consists in the choice to be and to do for the good of the other. Christ's love for the church is not mere emotion, but a willing choice of self-sacrifice. The church's response is willing submission. [ii] Minear summarizes: "The image stresses the wife's role of subjection and obedience and the husband's role of self-sacrifice and authority. Their mutual interdependence is so intimate and so permanent that the two become one body." [iii]

for BIBLIOGRAPHY see introduction

i Best 179
ii Metzger 60
iii Minear 55

Previous Posts:
The Context of Ephesians
Description of the Images: Body
Description of the Images: Building

Future posts:
Summary and Theological Conclusions
Practical Implications

NOTE: This is a rumination ("1. The act of pondering; meditation. 2. The act or process of chewing cud." American Heritage Dictionary) in search of synergy ("1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.")


“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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