The New Household In Christ: How Wives And Husbands Are To “Put On The New Self” In Colossians 3:18-19 -- By: William M. Marsh

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 21:1 (Spring 2016)
Article: The New Household In Christ: How Wives And Husbands Are To “Put On The New Self” In Colossians 3:18-19
Author: William M. Marsh


The New Household In Christ:
How Wives And Husbands Are To “Put On The New Self” In Colossians 3:18-19

William M. Marsh

Assistant Professor of Theological Studies
Cedarville University
Cedarville, Ohio

Introduction

The aim of this study is to argue that Col 3:18-19 represents Paul’s vision for the “new household in Christ” that is clothed with “(re)newed garments” and enjoys the power of the gospel in an estate that has existed under the curse of Adam’s sin. The Apostle Paul’s injunction for wives to submit to husbands “as is fitting in the Lord” and for husbands to love their wives without being harsh in Col 3:18-19 flows out of the initial command in Col 3:9-10 for all Christians to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”1 Although the tradition within biblical studies has been to seek to situate Paul’s account of the so-called Haustafeln (household codes) in Colossians and Ephesians primarily within the cultural setting of the Greco-Roman world through a form-critical approach, it is the contention of this presentation that the backdrop against which Paul addresses wives and husbands is Ge 1-3.

I will seek to demonstrate this thesis in three stages. First, the subject of the OT’s presence and material influence upon Colossians will be treated. A brief survey of recent approaches to Paul’s use of the OT in this letter will be covered followed by a suggested proposal concerning authorial composition that builds upon other scholars’ explanations for the nonoccurrence of scriptural quotations who likewise assume Pauline authorship for Colossians. Second, Ge 1-3 will be argued as the scriptural backdrop to the whole of Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians. Despite the letter’s historical particularity, a strong case can be made that by Col 3, Paul has already been instructing these believers whom he has never met from within the context of the biblical world of OT Scripture since the letter’s earliest

moments. And third, an interpretation of Col 3:18-19 will be proffered that understands Paul’s injunctions for wives and husbands as still literarily underneath the exhortation to be clothed in the “new self” (Col 3:10) while “...

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