From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Fri Apr 26 1996 - 03:09:18 EDT

Doug Jantz wrote:

>I am studying Paul's Christology in Philippians. Have any of you done much
>work on the phrase EN CHRISTOS, which seems to be peculiar mostly to Paul?
> Please email me privately if you have good info on this, as I am currently
>off the list while studying this.
>Thank you!

For my 2cents on this let me suggest two things to consider:

     (1) It has been traditional to understand the EN XRISTWi relationship
in some sort of "mystical union" sense; personally I don't think that idea
is behind what Paul is discussing. I think he is referring to legal concepts
of relationships and responsibilities. The two best discussions I've run
into on this issue are to be found in Ridderbos, _Pauline_Theology_ and
Ladd, _NTTheology_, both under their discussions of the concept of "in
Christ," and the "believers relationship to Christ."

     (2) I think its incorrect to assume that everytime you run into the
phrase "in Christ," "in him," "in the beloved," etc., that the syntactic
and sematic relationship of the phrase is the same for every sentence. A
rather lengthy journal article was done 10 or so years ago and published
in "Notes on Translation" dealing with all the Pauline uses of this phrase
passage by passage, discussing the grammar, etc. I don't have the data here
at home with me, but it shouldn't be too hard to track down.

Hope that gives you something to chew on....

Dale M. Wheeler, Th.D.
Chair, Biblical Languages Dept Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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