Discerning the "Word of the Lord"

Discerning the "Word of the Lord" : The Word of the Lord" in 1 Thessalonians 4:1

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In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, the Apostle Paul appeals to a "word of the Lord" to provide authority for his eschatological encouragement. This appeal has left a perplexing problem related to the nature and function of the specific authority to which the phrase refers. Two theories have predominated in the history of interpretation: either 1) it refers to a directly received prophetic revelation, whether to Paul or to another Christian prophet; or 2) it refers to a teaching of Jesus received as tradition, whether preserved in the Gospel tradition or otherwise unknown.This book investigates this problem from three angles: epistemological analysis, examining Paul's authorities for his knowledge, particularly in his eschatology; linguistic analysis, including both grammatical and lexical study of the phrase; and contextual analysis, setting the statement within its historical and literary contexts. These approaches converge to suggest a fresh solution to the problem: while Paul does appear to employ traditional Christian eschatological teaching in his response to the Thessalonian crisis (4:16-17a), the phrase ?? ???? ?????? does not refer to this tradition, but rather refers to the proclaimed gospel message about Jesus centred on his death and resurrection which forms the theological foundation of Paul's response (cf. 4:14).
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Product details

  • Paperback | 216 pages
  • 156 x 234mm
  • T.& T.Clark Ltd
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0567690180
  • 9780567690180

Table of contents

Chapter One: Introduction: The Problem of the ?? ???? ??????
1.1. The Nature of the Problem
1.2. The Significance of The Problem
1.3. The Scope and Method of This Study

Chapter Two: Solutions to the Problem of the ?? ???? ??????
2.1. Introduction
2.2. The History of Interpretation of ?? ???? ??????
2.3. The ?? ???? ??????as Mediated Jesus Tradition
2.4. The ?? ???? ?????? as Direct Prophetic Revelation
2.5. Evaluating the Conventional Solutions
2.6. Conclusion

Chapter Three: An Epistemological Analysis (1): Prophetic Revelation and Jesus Tradition
3.1. Introduction
3.2. Paul and Early Christian Prophecy
3.3. Paul and the Jesus Tradition
3.4. Conclusion

Chapter Four: An Epistemological Analysis (2): Scripture and the Christ Events
4.1. Introduction
4.2. Paul and Scripture
4.3. Paul and the Christ Events
4.4. The Relationship among these Epistemic Authorities
4.5. Conclusion

Chapter Five: A Linguistic Analysis: Paul's Language of Divine Utterance
5.1. Introduction
5.2. Basic Lexical and Grammatical Matters
5.3. Language of Divine Utterance in Early Jewish Literature
5.4. Language of Divine Utterance in Early Christian Literature
5.5. An Exploration of "Word" as "Gospel"
5.6. Conclusion

Chapter Six: A Contextual Analysis: 1 Thessalonians 4:15 in Context
6.1. Introduction
6.2. Historical Context: The Thessalonian Situation and Paul's Response
6.3. Literary Context: The Structure of the Passage within the Letter
6.4. Conclusion

Chapter Seven: Conclusion: A Fresh Solution to the Problem of the ?? ???? ??????
7.1. A General Summary of the Book
7.2. A Final Assessment of the Options
7.3. Some Closing Reflections
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Review quote

Pahl's work deserves close study, and he has re-opened important questions. -- Expository Times [Discerning the "Word of the Lord"] is a creative and stimulating study. -- Religious Studies Review
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About Michael W. Pahl

Michael W. Pahl took his Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Birmingham, U.K., and has taught New Testament studies in Canada and the U.K.
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