“We Are The Temple Of The Living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1): The New Covenant As The Fulfillment Of God’s Promise Of Presence -- By: Joshua M. Greever

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 19:3 (Fall 2015)
Article: “We Are The Temple Of The Living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1): The New Covenant As The Fulfillment Of God’s Promise Of Presence
Author: Joshua M. Greever


“We Are The Temple Of The Living God” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1): The New Covenant As The Fulfillment Of God’s Promise Of Presence

Joshua M. Greever

Joshua M. Greever is professor of New Testament at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. He received his Ph.D. in New Testament from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has authored several articles reflecting on Paul’s understanding of the relationship between faith and works, the nature of the church, and the intersection of faith and vocation in the Christian life.

Introduction

Evangelical Christians from various perspectives have wrestled with how the New Testament (NT) relates to the Old, and, more specifically, how the new covenant relates to the prior biblical covenants. Should the relationship primarily be cast in terms of continuity, such that the nature and structure of the new covenant are in essential continuity with the nature and structure of previous covenants? Or should the relationship primarily be understood in terms of discontinuity, such that the newness of the new covenant is emphasized? No doubt, such themes of continuity and discontinuity are located along a spectrum, but different points along the spectrum delineate some of the key differences among theological systems today. To put it simply, one’s view of how the new covenant relates to the old will determine in large part what theological system is embraced.1

In order to be faithful to Scripture, we must pay close attention to the contours and nuances of the text itself. It is easy to overemphasize biblical continuity at the expense of discontinuity, or vice versa. Our job as interpreters is to trace the storyline of redemption so we can carefully discern what elements of the new covenant are in continuity with the old and what elements are discontinuous. Elements of abolition and fruition, of mystery and fulfillment, form the nexus of the issue.

The focus of this article will be on elements of continuity within Paul’s theology of the new covenant. Specifically, I will argue that the new covenant is in significant continuity with previous biblical covenants in that it fulfills the intention or goal of the Old Testament’s (OT) promise of God’s presence among his people. The telos of the covenants was tied to the establishment and maintenance of God’s everlasting presence, a goal that in Paul’s theology was climactically fulfilled in the new covenant. Such teleological continuity among the covenants is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, the center of which includes a catena of Scriptu...

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