Views On Paul’s Vice Lists And Inheriting The Kingdom -- By: René A. López

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 168:669 (Jan 2011)
Article: Views On Paul’s Vice Lists And Inheriting The Kingdom
Author: René A. López


Views On Paul’s Vice Lists And Inheriting The Kingdom*

René A. López

René A. López is Adjunct Professor of Greek and New Testament and Spanish Biblical Studies, Criswell College, Dallas, Texas.

* This is the first article in a six-part series, “The Pauline Vice Lists and Inheriting the Kingdom.”

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul listed ten kinds of sinners who, he said, “will not inherit the kingdom of God”: fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers. If, as it seems, Paul was addressing believers,1 why then did he say that those who participated in these vices would not inherit the kingdom? Did he mean they would lose their salvation? Or would believers lose fellowship with the Lord? Or miss the millennial kingdom? Or lose rewards in heaven?

None of the views above account for all the details. Rather Paul was simply using this list of vices characteristic of unbelievers as a way of exhorting believers not to emulate them. “Paul was addressing believers who were behaving like unbelievers,”2 and he was encouraging them to live in light of their position in Christ.

However, in a number of passages Paul wrote that those who are guilty of these vices will not inherit the kingdom. Are these passages to be understood in the same way? What about Galatians 5:19-24 and Ephesians 5:3-8? And how were vice lists understood in the Old Testament and in extrabiblical literature? The quest to understand the biblical teaching on this subject has resulted in a number of conflicting interpretations, which may leave some readers confused. This series of six articles discusses these topics in

order to understand how Paul used the vice lists and the phrase “inherit the kingdom.” This first article discusses six views on the subject. The second article examines vice lists in the Old Testament and extrabiblical literature before and after the New Testament era. Article three surveys Paul’s references to vice lists in nine epistles, and article four surveys Paul’s references in ten epistles to inheriting the kingdom. The fifth article examines the vice list in Galatians 5:19-21, and the sixth article considers the vice list in Ephesians 5:3-5.

A survey of...

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