Implications of Paul’s “One Flesh” Concept for His Understanding of the Nature of Man -- By: S. Aaron Son

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 11:1 (NA 2001)
Article: Implications of Paul’s “One Flesh” Concept for His Understanding of the Nature of Man
Author: S. Aaron Son


Implications of Paul’s “One Flesh” Concept for His Understanding of the Nature of Man

S. Aaron Son

Dallas Baptist University

Closely related to his σῶμα concept, Paul’s view of the sexual union as “one flesh (body)” has significant implications not only for his understanding of the nature of man but also of the relationship between Christ and the church. Paul derives this concept from Gen 2:24 and uses it as the biblical basis for his argument, explicitly in 1 Cor 6:12-20; Eph 5:21-33; and implicitly in 1 Cor 7:10-16. In this article, I examine these and other related passages to determine whether and in what respect Paul understands man as a corporate being.

Key Words: Pauline anthropology, one flesh

Paul’s view of the nature of the sexual union regarded as “one flesh” underlies his teachings on sexual purity, marriage, and divorce. Closely related to his σῶμα concept, it has significant implications not only for his view of the nature of man1 but also for the relationship between Christ and the church. Paul refers to the “one flesh” concept explicitly in 1 Cor 6:12-20; Eph 5:21-33; and implicitly in 1 Cor 7:1016. In addition, there are a number of other Pauline texts that are of interest for this study. They are 1 Cor 11:2-16; 2 Cor 11:2-3; and 1 Tim 2:8-3:1a.2 Although these passages do not explicitly refer to Paul’s

“one flesh” concept, they bear on the interpretation of Eph 5:21-33, particularly on Paul’s view of the husband as the head of his wife, of Christ as the head of the church, and of the church as the bride of Christ. In the present study, I investigate these relevant passages exegetically and hope to determine what implications Paul’s “one flesh” concept has for his view of the nature of man.

Analysis Of Paul’s Usage

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Paul’s “one flesh” concept appears in 1 ...

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