Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 159:636 (Oct 02) p. 473
by the Faculty and Library Staff of
Dallas Theological Seminary
Robert D. Ibach, Editor
“The First Contribution to the πίστις Χριστοῦ Debate: A Study of Ephesians 3.12,” Paul Foster, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 85 (2002): 75-96.
Much has been written in the past two decades about the interpretation of Paul’s expression πίστις Χριστοῦ (“faith of Christ”). Did he mean “faith in Christ” (objective genitive) or “faith(fulness) shown by Christ” (subjective genitive)? Both have biblical warrant, but which sense is more appropriate in the contexts in which Paul used such a phrase (πίστις plus a simple genitive referring to Jesus Christ is used in Rom. 3:22, 26; Gal. 2:16 [twice], 20; 3:22; Eph. 3:12; Phil. 3:9)? Overall this discussion has been a helpful avenue for exploring Paul’s teaching about the gospel more carefully, regardless of which conclusion one comes to.
Foster’s article approaches the issue from a different angle, because Ephesians 3:12 is different from the other verses cited above in two significant respects. First, it alone uses a genitive pronoun referring to Christ; the others have genitive nouns. Second, the verse occurs in a book many regard as deutero-Pauline. The other books cited above are all widely accepted as genuine Pauline letters, but a number of scholars think Ephesians was written by a later disciple of Paul. For both reasons Ephesians 3:12 is usually an afterthought in discussions of the phrase “faith of Christ” in Paul’s writings. Foster renders valuable service in showing how Ephesians 3:12 is important for the larger discussion.
Foster begins by surveying grammatical arguments used in the πίστις Χριστοῦ debate. He clears away some grammatical confusion arising from previous treatments, but he does not discuss the wider syntactical patterns that affect the issues he discusses (viz., article usage with a noun that has a genitive pronoun and article usage in prepositional phrases). The best treatment of these grammatical features is found in Daniel B. Wallace, Greek G...
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