Re: Eph 4: 22-24

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Wed Apr 05 2000 - 17:49:12 EDT

<x-flowed>Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:

Dear Dale, You bring out an
>important emphasis in stressing the relevance of Eph 2:15 to Eph 4:22-24. I
>recently studied Colossians with Darrell Bock, who brings out the same truth
>concerning Col 3:10: Col. 3:10 and have put on the new man, that is being
>renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him: This idea
>also appears in some commentaries. You seem to consider the "new humanity"
>of Ephesians 2:15 solely in terms of Gentile-Jew relations. But it is a new
>creation (2 Cor 5:17), with implications for every aspect of life. The
>relations between Jew and Gentile are one element of the "new humanity."
>Yours, Harold Holmyard

As a rule of thumb I assume that there are no such things as technical
terms in the NT, so "new/old man" used in various places by Paul may OR may
not be referring to the same thing. I'd say that it is one of the great
fallacies of "Bible Study Methods" books and classes is when they teach
that you can automatically go to Romans to find out what James meant, or
you can find out what Paul means in one place by going to another place
where he uses the same word/phrase, as if SWZW always means "justification
by faith."

In the case of Eph, I'm not the one who predefined the term in 2:15, Paul
did. And the way I look at it hermeneutically is that if he hasn't made it
clear that he's using the term in some other way than he used it in 2:15,
then I should read it as he's predefined it. A corollary to my belief that
there aren't any technical terms, is that the Ephesians are reading the
letter to the Eph's, not Romans, 2Cor, or Col, so there would be no way for
them to know how Paul uses a term elsewhere...unless of course he tells
them, which I'd say it appears to me, he hasn't. As I tell my exegesis
students all the time, in the 1st century there were no "Theological
Dictionaries," Cell Phones, WWW, or even great theology conferences where
everyone got together and decided on how everyone was going to use certain
terms. My expectation of NT writers (which I've found to be true in
practice) is that they either predefine a term early in a letter, or they
give contextual clues as to what they mean.

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

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