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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Publication details for Professor John Barclay

Barclay, John M. G. (2019). Gift and Grace in Philippians, 2 Thessalonians, and Ephesians: a Response. Horizons in Biblical Theology 41(2): 224-237.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This response to Willis, Sumney, and MacDonald highlights and develops their key points. Reinforcing Willis’ reading of gift-reciprocity in Philippians, seen even in the self-giving (non-“taking”) of Christ (Phil 2.6-11), it is argued that Paul views gifts in Christ as operative simultaneously at two levels—gifts circulate among believers, but also come from God and are offered to God. Sumney’s reading of 2 Thessalonians is nuanced by connecting the language of “worth” to 1 Thess 2.12: the congruity between believers and the Kingdom of God is based on the agency of God and the prior gift of new life. Further reflection is offered on the perfection of “efficacy” and its possible range of meanings. Finally, MacDonald’s reading of Ephesians is affirmed with emphasis on the Christ-gift as the key to the cosmos; the Psalm-interpretation in Ephesians 4.7-10 clarifies how this gift permeates (“fills”) all reality, as manifested first in gifts within Christ’s body.