The Significance of Mimesis to the Theme of Jesus’ Identity

This paper assumes the use of mimesis in building the structure of Mark’s gospel. Mimesis is the imitation of another’s work; a common practice in the ancient literary world. Mark imitates the structure of the Elijah-Elisha narrative (1 Kgs 17:1 – 2 Kgs 13:21).[1] I propose that this imitation has significant consequences to the gospel’s overall themes. The structure impacts climactic moments in Mark’s story, such as Jesus’ miracles, his triumphal entry, the cleansing of the temple, and Jesus’ death and resurrection. Specifically, Elijah, Elisha and Jehu play roles in a synthesis of God’s covenant story with Israel. Mark builds off this narrative for structure and Jesus’ identity. This paper first, highlights mimesis and its connection to the Elijah-Elisha narrative, second, demonstrates the typological relationship Elijah, Elisha, and Jehu have to Jesus, and third, attempts to pull together these issues in respect to Jesus’ identity.

Mimetic Orientation

Mimesis is the ancient practice of imitating and building upon the great works of history. Rather than a simple copy, it is a dynamic and living imitation that brings material to life for the reader.[2] At least as early as Isocrates, 436-338 BCE, teachers placed a high priority on training students to imitate and build upon great literature of the past. In Panegyricus, Isocrates affirms the value of literary master pieces as shared inheritance. He goes further conveying that it is not novelty that makes an excellent craftsman but rather the wisdom to speak from his inheritance in ways no one else could.[3] This trend is observable through rhetoricians such as Cicero 55 BCE, and Quintilian writing in the first century CE.[4] In rebuttal one might recall the words of Seneca, a near contemporary of Quintilian “…for an imitator never comes up to the level of his model.”[5] However, Seneca’s remark proves the point, as he was arguing in favor of imitating more than one individual to include masters from the past. Modern scholar Dale Allison, Jr. emphasizes the dramatic difference in perspective in his work, The New Moses: A Matthean Typology. Important to our presumption of Mimesis throughout Mark’s gospel is understanding the practice of developing skills based on another’s work. Allison points out that modern scholarship has missed this ancient perspective and replaced it with novelty.[6] He points to Dr. Samuel Johnson, a British linguist of the eighteenth century, who once said, “no man ever became great through imitation.”

The unique shape of the gospels has led scholarship to focus on oral tradition rather than extant manuscripts in determining a source for Mark. The expectation is that any sources used in forming the gospels must also resemble gospels. Mark’s position as the earliest extant gospel limited source-criticism to pre-Markan and oral traditions. Marcus is led to see the gospel as a hand-me-down of church tradition and the memories of those who knew Jesus.[7] This is not to imply that scholars don’t recognize influences in the gospel.[8] One such example is the grouping of parables, a common practice in antiquity. Marcus recognizes the same practice in Mark’s gospel, but only as it influences the text, not as an imitation of another’s work.[9] Adela Collins goes a bit further, suggesting that the story of Elijah is a model for Gospels as a literary type.[10]

Despite the majority of scholarship, there are four major studies identifying extant source material for the gospel of Mark.[11] Dennis MacDonald argues that Mark is imitating Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey.[12] Virgil’s Aeneid is a great example in this case since most scholars agree that Virgil imitated the Illiad and Odyssey.[13] MacDonald fails, however, to make his case. The comparisons are not as strong compared to the gospel’s connection to the Elijah-Elisha Narrative. One such example represents this weakness. MacDonald compares Jesus sleeping on the boat in Mk 4:35-41 to Odysseus who sleeps on a boat.[14] Despite the similarity, equally strong is the similarity of Jesus to Jonah sleeping on a boat. Given the significance the OT is granted in the gospels, Jonah’s story appears the stronger one. We also don’t know for certain that Mark had access to this material. Bodie, Roth, and Winn all suggest strong ties from the Elijah-Elisha narrative with differing degrees of success. It is out of their work Mark’s use of mimesis gains clarity.

Establishing source materials is a difficult task, but Winn provides guidelines to assist scholars in identifying imitation. This paper follows Winn’s work in establishing points of imitation.[15] For mimesis to be possible the imitated text must be available to the author. The chances of its use go up considerably if the text is commonly imitated by others. These first two criteria are easily accomplished given the frequent use of OT scriptures in the entire NT.  It is also important for the narratives to share similar structures. The stronger the association between the two narrative structures, the more likely the hypotext is being imitated. This does not mean it will match exactly. The author may omit parts of the original structure. It is also possible we might see reversals in order. The author is free to alter the text to meet the need of the story. Throughout the narrative it is likely that the hypertext and hypotext will share some verbal agreement, though not always. These criteria in combination strengthen the relationship between documents. They legitimate the mimetic use of the Elijah-Elisha narrative.

Mimesis, Mark, and the Elijah-Elisha Narrative

Mark’s gospel is a practice in mimesis; by structuring his material after the Elijah-Elisha narrative, we can learn more than oral tradition is able to share. We can now turn to a few examples of Mark’s imitation of the Elijah-Elisha narrative. These episodes attest to the structural reliance Mark has borrowed. Let’s begin with Jesus’ miracles found early in the gospel. Jesus’ healing of the leper in Mk 1:40-45 bears a strong connection to Elijah in 2 Kgs 5:1-19. The story of Naaman, an official from Syria, is the only other account that narrates the healing of leprosy prior to the gospel of Mark. A close examination of both stories reveals strong parallels. Winn identifies several points of similarity.[16] First, in both cases it is the leper who approaches (2 Kgs 5:5; Mk 1:40). Second, a hand movement is referenced in both stories. In 2 Kgs 5:11, Naaman expected that Elijah would wave his hand over him. In Mk 1:41 Jesus stretches out his hand and touches the leper. Third, the infirmity is cleansed in both stories. Jesus touches the leper in Mark and Elijah commands Naaman to be cleansed in the river in 2 Kings. Fourth, sacrifice is mentioned in both stories. Naaman volunteers to sacrifice exclusively to Yahweh; Jesus commands the cleansed leper to offer a sacrifice to the priests (2 Kgs 5:17, Mk 1:44). Through this parallel a connection is made with the prophet Elijah, a character mentioned nine times in the gospel.

We now turn to Jesus’ miraculous feedings that imitate Elisha. The gospel of Mark records two accounts of miraculous feeding in Mk 6:30-44; 8:1-10. These episodes imitate one feeding miracle in 2 Kings 4:42-44. In Elisha’s story, a man travels from Baal-shalishah bearing twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain. Elisha has the food given to one hundred men, and miraculously there is enough for everyone with some left over. To those familiar with Jesus’ feedings of five thousand and four thousand, it is easy to see the parallels. Hunger marks the beginning of each story. An account is taken of how much food is available to eat and it is astonishingly little for the need. A command is given to distribute the food, and in each case the servants or disciples hesitate and are commanded a second time.  The food is ultimately distributed to the large groups of people and in each case food is left over. A possible reason for the doubling of the miracles is to connect Jesus to both Elijah and Elisha.[17]

We now move on to a significant parable that imitates the life of Jehu. Jesus’ triumphant entry and following temple cleansing are both imitations of Jehu’s divinely appointed enthronement. In 2 Kgs 9, Elisha commands one of the sons of the prophets to go to Jehu and anoint him king. He is chosen to take vengeance on Ahab and his family and abolish the idolatrous Baal worship in Israel. When those with Jehu heard the news of his regnal anointing, they laid their garments on the steps before him. A similar activity is performed for Jesus as people place their garments on the colt he will ride (Mk 11:7). After this Jehu sets out to kill the King of Israel. As Jehu approaches, King Joram sends two separate messengers to meet him. Unfortunately, the messengers never return, choosing to defect to Jehu’s side. In concern, Joram meets Jehu on the property of Naboth, a vineyard. There Jehu reveals his intentions and kills Joram as he rides away. The killing of Joram by Jehu resembles the Parable of the Tenants (Mk 12:1-9). Most scholars recognize that this parable resembles Is 5:1-7.[18] This is due to verbal agreement, such as, “ἐφύτευσεν,” “ᾠκοδόμησεν πύργον,” and “ὤρυξεν.”[19] This does not, however, mean that Is 5:1-7 is the only narrative Mark is drawing on in Jesus’ parable. Winn’s rules of identifying imitation allow for a combination of influences and imitations. Virgil’s does this very thing in the Aeneid. He conflates two episodes from the Odyssey[20]. It seems appropriate to allow Mark to bring together multiple narratives from OT scriptures, as well.

Four parallels exist between the Parable of the Tenants and 2 Kings 9.[21] First, multiple servants are sent in both cases. More than three are sent by the vineyard’s owner. Two are sent by Joram. Second, in both stories the servants never complete their missions, dying in one case and switching sides in the other. Third, the final character sent in each case has authority. In the parable it is the owner’s son. In 2 Kings it is Joram himself. Fourth, in both the parable and 2 Kings 9, the last character dies. These points of contact present a strong case for imitation, despite the difference in how the gospel uses these parallels. In Mark’s parable the metaphor places God in the position of the owner who sends his servants. This is very different in Jehu’s story, where Jehu represents God’s agent and the servants are sent by the wicked Joram.  Such a reversal is not uncommon when authors are imitating other writings.[22] Jehu’s life is retold in the form of a parable, perhaps to draw a connection between Jesus and God’s anointed king. This would explain another point of connection. Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is similar to Jehu’s complete destruction of Baal worship in Israel. Both stories include temples, cleansing, and remain close together in the narrative.

Our final parallel is the death, burial, and resurrection narratives of Jesus and Elisha. Most scholars accept the original ending of Mark to be 16:8.[23] It is a startlingly abrupt epilogue that fails to develop Jesus’ actions prior to his ascension. Marcus presents three theories regarding the ending of the gospel.[24] One, it is possible the original ending was lost and latter an alternate ending was added.[25] This is unlikely because it usually takes a while for a writing to lose pages from age and use.[26] Nevertheless, this is the proposal of N. Croy, author of The Mutilation of Mark’s Gospel.[27] Two, perhaps Mark was somehow impeded and unable to complete his writing. This is difficult to prove. Three, Mark deliberately ended his gospel abruptly with the women who “said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”[28] Marcus looks for similarities, comparing OT book endings to the gospel of Mark. He identifies the Deuteronomic History spanning Deuteronomy to 2 Kings and the book of Jonah as examples of open endings.[29] Marcus favors Jonah’s conclusion, calling it “The most suggestive biblical parallel of all…”[30] The book ends with, “…and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11c). While it is certainly true that both books end rather enigmatically and with a question, it is surely not the strongest parallel. Elisha’s death has five points of parallel to the end of Mark.

2 Kings 13:20-21                                            Mark 15:37-16:8

Elisha dies (v.20)                                           Jesus breathes his last (15:37)

They bury him (v.20)                                     He is laid in a tomb (15:46)

A man was being buried (v.21)                      Mary, Mary, and Salome go to anoint Jesus (16:1)

Marauders are seen (v.21)                              They see a young man and are alarmed (16:5)

The dead man is thrown onto                         The young man tells them Jesus has risen (16:6)

the bones of Elisha and revives (v.21)

 

If we remove the parallels that are common with death scenes, the death and the burial, we can still see points of imitation. The unexpected resurrection and abrupt close to the narratives are compelling. The fact that Jesus is accused of calling for Elijah just before his death helps the reader to know that Mark is pointing back to this narrative. As Winn suggests, the rest of the comparisons we see in the gospel support Mark’s mimetic use of Elisha’s death narrative.[31]

Pulling together these episodes in the greater structure of the text may suggest that Mark is sharing a dominant theme his readers would understand. Most scholarship relies upon direct quotes and allusions to build intertextual relationships. The practice of mimesis in antiquity suggests there is more we can learn from the text. Roth goes on to point out that the structure of the synoptic gospel is a type similar to the Elijah-Elisha narrative.[32] A dominant theme in the gospel of Mark is the messianic secret. The Elijah-Elisha narrative may underscore a typological picture of Jesus’ identity.

A Typological Connection to Elijah, Elisha, and Jehu

In the introduction to The New Moses, author Dale Allison connects subtext to Matthean typology.[33] According to Allison, the author of Matthew develops a subtext that connects Jesus to Moses. This is not done arbitrarily, but out of a faithful hermeneutical approach to God’s providence in the world as revealed through scripture. Beyond the idea of imitation there existed an expectation that the last things would be like the first.[34] Ecclesiastes 1:9 makes a similar parallel: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Furthermore, the Elijah-Elisha narrative represents what Brodie refers to as “a synthesis of the ancient foundational narrative.”[35] It is a choice framework for building the gospels, because the narrative develops biographic material out of Israel’s history. [36] Scholars sometimes refer to Mark as a biography. Based on this, I argue that Mark’s imitation of the Elijah-Elisha narrative draws typological connections to Elijah, Elisha, and Jehu. Let us take a closer look at these characters and their function in the Elijah-Elisha narrative.

The prophet Elijah enters the scene to fight Ahab and Israel’s idolatrous worship of Baal. It is a time when the nation has turned away from Yahweh. As soon as Elijah is introduced, he pronounces a drought to come upon Israel. This action challenges the power of Baal and authority of King Ahab. Chapter 17 also develops Elijah’s own authority through three episodes in, v.2-24.[37] Following his pronouncement, Elijah performs multiple miracles, defeats the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, and condemns Ahab and Jezebel for their actions against Naboth. Ahab’s repentance results in a brief stay of God’s wrath until his son’s reign.  According to Beale, Elijah’s narrative validates Jehu’s enthronement.[38] He also sets a precedent for the killing of Ahab’s son Joram. Later, Jehu destroys the temple of Baal with its prophets similar to Elijah at Mount Carmel.[39] The whole of Elijah’s activity warns of the covenant failures of the authorities, powers, and all of Israel.[40] His life come to completion with his ascension, just as it did for Jesus.

Elisha’s role was a continuance of Elijah’s prophetic mission. Both prophets fight against Baal worship. Elisha’s prophetic mission begins with the double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kgs 2:9). During Elisha’s life he performs twice the number of miracles, a total of sixteen.  The miracles themselves contain symbols that reflect the miracles of Elijah. During the Moabite war, Elisha performs a miracle that provides water during a drought similar to Elijah’s own experience (2 Kgs 3:14-17). Elijah deals with Ahab and Elisha concludes the matter God postponed by setting in motion the events that lead to Joram’s death. It is Elisha that sends someone to anoint Jehu and set him on his mission (2 Kgs 9:1). The Elijah-Elisha narrative forms a diptych structure.[41]

This pair of characters appears typologically similar to that of Jesus in the gospel of Mark. Like Elijah who passed by Elisha, Jesus passes by his disciples (1 Kgs 19:19-21; Mk 1:16-18). Jesus performs miracles just as Elijah and Elisha did. Mark’s narrative is steeped in prophecy surrounding Jesus, just as the Elijah-Elisha narrative places a high priority on prophecy. [42] As Marcus points out, both narratives point to Jesus as a prophet and a revolutionary rising against the authorities.[43] Though a typological relationship exists between Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus, this is not to say that Jesus is somehow Elijah. Instead, it is the synthesis of these two characters that fit Jesus.[44] It would be much easier to say that Elisha is a type of Jesus if we were to choose a single character.[45] Their narratives are the most similar. We cannot stop with Elisha, however, because Jehu is a part of Elisha’s narrative and significant features in his life are typical of Jesus. In particular, it is Jehu’s mission and kingship that are developed in Mark’s gospel. As explained earlier, Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, his cleansing of the temple, and his fight against the powers and authorities all fit Jehu. As we look at the whole Elijah-Elisha narrative, Mark’s narrative structure and his portrayal of Jesus build typological ties to 1 Kgs 17:1 – 2 Kgs 13:21. This has a profound influence on how we see Jesus’ identity.

Mark’s use of mimesis develops Jesus’ identity in two ways. The gospel of Mark presents Jesus as the Son of Man, the Son of God and messiah, and the King of the Jews. Jesus also applies to himself the role of prophet. In Mark 6 Jesus is opposed by those in Nazareth, his home town. This leads him to say, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household” (v.4). Further down in chapter 6, people compare Jesus to Elijah and the old prophets. This is not evidence that Jesus is Elijah, but rather that Elijah and the old prophets were similar enough to Jesus for people to recognize it.[46] The imitation of the Elijah-Elisha narrative highlights this prophetic agency of Jesus. Furthermore, it impresses upon the reader to take seriously the prophetic nature of the gospel of Mark. Yet we can go further than this because of Elijah and Elisha’s story. The primary concern of their prophetic position was covenant life. The opening chapters of Elijah’s story are directly concerned with the covenant between God and Israel. It is telling that in Jesus we find a similar concern, only now through the covenant of Jesus’ blood. Jesus himself says, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mk 14:24). While the hypotext is concerned about God’s covenant through David, Moses, and Abraham, the hypertext is concerned about a new covenant through Jesus. Jesus’ identity is wrapped up in his work of bringing about a new covenant.

We also see that Jesus battles the spiritual powers and authorities throughout the gospel. Jehu represents a type of Jesus in his battle against the royal family of Ahab and, in particular, Joram. He also clears the way for God’s sovereign rule and his own kingship. In this way we can understand Mark’s use of mimesis to shape Jesus’ identity.  After Jesus enters Jerusalem he combats the powers and authorities that have overrun the temple. In the last chapter Jesus is mockingly referred to as king of the Jews six times. In a more positive tone, the title “messiah” also portrays Jesus as a king.[47] The Elijah-Elisha narrative is a synthesis of all the trouble God had with human kings. No king was able to live as God desired; even God’s agent Jehu was ultimately unable to walk in the law of the Lord. In this way Jesus succeeds where other kings failed. Jesus is God’s chosen king who sits at the right hand of the Father.

Conclusions about Jesus and the Elijah-Elisha Narrative

Throughout this paper we have established several points toward our goal. Major connecting points demonstrate Mark’s mimetic use of the Elijah-Elisha narrative. These connecting points are the miracle of healing leprosy, the miraculous feedings, Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, the cleansing of the temple, and his death, burial, and resurrection. They establish a typological relationship between the character and stories of Elijah, Elisha, and Jehu with that of Jesus. Jesus is misidentified as Elijah, he performs miracles similar to those of Elijah and Elisha, and he places a high priority on prophecy and covenant. Like Jehu, Jesus is anointed, enthroned and clears a temple. This relationship illuminates Jesus’ identity as a prophet king who battles the authorities and powers in the world and establishes a covenant through his blood. In terms of source criticism, Mark’s mimetic use of the Elijah-Elisha narrative forces scholars to explore sources beyond the use of allusion and quotation. Mark’s Jesus is the prophet king.

 

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Works Cited

Allison, Dale C. The New Moses: A Matthean Typology. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2013.

Aune, David E. Library of Early Christianity. Vol. 8, The New Testament in Its Literary Environment. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987.

Brodie, Thomas L. The Crucial Bridge: The Elijah-Elisha Narrative as an Interpretive Synthesis of Genesis-Kings and a Literary Model for the Gospels. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2000.

Brown, Raymond Edward. “Jesus and Elisha.” Perspective (Pittsburgh) 12, no. 1-2 (1971 1971): 85-104. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

Bultmann, Rudolf. The History of the Synoptic Tradition. Rev. ed. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1963.

Cicero. Cicero On Oratory and Orators. Translated by J. S. Watson. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishing, 1875.

Croy, N Clayton. The Mutilation of Mark’s Gospel. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2003.

Collins, Adela Yarbro. “Mark’s interpretation of the death of Jesus.” Journal Of Biblical Literature 128, no. 3 (September 2009): 545-554. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

____________. Mark: A Commentary. Edited by Harold W. Attridge. Hermeneia–a Critical and Historical Commentary On the Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007.

Guillaume, P. “Miracles miraculously repeated : Gospel Miracles as duplication of Elijah-Elisha’s.” Biblische Notizen 98, (1999): 21-23. New Testament Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

Iersel, Bas van. Journal for the Study of the New Testament. Supplement Series. Vol. 164, Mark: a Reader-Response Commentary. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998. Accessed April 2, 2016. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&an=378193.

Kevin, Robert Oliver. “The lost ending of the gospel according to Mark: a criticism and a reconstruction.” Journal Of Biblical Literature 45, no. 1-2 (1926 1926): 81-103. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2016).

Leim, Joshua. “In the Glory of His Father: Intertextuality and the Apocalyptic Son of Man in the Gospel of Mark.” Journal of Theological Interpretation 7, no. 2 (2013).

Macdonald, Dennis R. Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

Marcus, Joel. The Anchor Bible. Vol. 27, Mark 1-8: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.

Meye, Robert P. “Mark 16:8: the ending of Mark’s Gospel.” Biblical Research 14, (1969 1969): 33-43. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

Perseus Digital Library. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu

Roth, Wolfgang. Hebrew Gospel: Cracking the Code of Mark. Oak Park, IL: Meyer-Stone Books, 1988.

Quintilian. Quintilian’s Institute of Oratory. Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Amazon Kindle edition.

Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, and Michael Winterbottom. The Loeb Classical Library. Vol. 1, The Elder Seneca Declamations. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974.

Wallace, Howard N. “Oracles against the Israelite dynasties in 1 and 2 Kings.” Biblica 67, no. 1 (1986 1986): 21-40. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

White, Marsha C. Brown Judaic Studies. Vol. 311, The Elijah Legends and Jehu’s Coup. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1997.

Winn, Adam. Mark and the Elijah-Elisha Narrative: Considering the Practice of Greco-Roman Imitation in the Search for Markan Source Material. Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick Publications, 2010.

Wray Beal, Lissa M. Apollos Old Testament Commentary. Vol. 9, 1 and 2 Kings. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2014.

Zimmermann, M & Zimmermann, R. Mimesis Bible Didactics: An outline in the context of religious education, HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 71(1), 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2785 (accessed, April 8, 2016).

Notes:

[1] All biblical references in this paper are taken from the English Standard Version.

[2] M. Zimmermann, & R. Zimmermann, Mimesis Bible Didactics: An outline in the context of religious education, HTS Teologiese Studies/ Theological Studies 71(1), 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i1.2785 (accessed, April 8, 2016).

[3] Isocrates, Isocrates, trans. George Norlin, in the Perseus Digital Library, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0144%3Aspeech%3D4%3Asection%3D9 (accessed April 1, 2016).

[4] Cicero, Cicero On Oratory and Orators, trans. J. S. Watson (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishing, 1875), 107; Quintilian, Quintilian’s Institute of Oratory (Lee Honeycutt, 2010), under “11356,” Amazon Kindle edition.

[5] Lucius Annaeus Seneca and Michael Winterbottom, The Loeb Classical Library, vol. 1, The Elder Seneca Declamations (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974), 7.

[6] Dale C. Allison, The New Moses: A Matthean Typology (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2013), 272.

[7] Joel Marcus, The Anchor Bible, vol. 27, Mark 1-8: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 59; See also K.L. Schmidt Der Rahmen der Geschichte Jesu (Berlin: Trowizsch, 1919); Rudolf Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition, rev. ed. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1963).

[8] For additional scholars that connect the Elijah-Elisha narrative to the gospels, see Lindars, Elijah, Elisha and the Gospel Miracles; Aune, The New Testament in its Literary Environment, 40-41; Brown, Jesus and Elisha.

[9] Marcus, Mark 1-8, 73-75. On the similarities between Paul and Mark.

[10] Adela Yarbro Collins, Mark: A Commentary, ed. Harold W. Attridge, Hermeneia–a Critical and Historical Commentary On the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007), 156.

[11] See Dennis R. Macdonald, Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010); Brodie, Crucial Bridge, p 86-95; Roth, Hebrew Gospel; Winn, Mark and the Elijah-Elisha Narrative. This paper dates Mark as the earliest gospel. Major studies following the Griesbach Hypothesis are excluded. For examples see: C.S. Mann C S. Mann, The Anchor Bible, vol. 27, Mark: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1986).

[12] Macdonald, 2.

[13] Virgil, Aeneid, trans. H. Fairclough, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1956); Homer, The Odyssey, trans. A.T. Murray, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1946).

[14] Adam Winn, Mark and the Elijah-Elisha Narrative: Considering the Practice of Greco-Roman Imitation in the Search for Markan Source Material (Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick Publications, 2010), 42.

[15] Ibid, 31. Winn’s rules are version of McDonald’s rules in The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark.

[16] Ibid., 77-78.

[17]P. Guillaume, “Miracles miraculously repeated: Gospel Miracles as duplication of Elijah-Elisha’s.” Biblische Notizen 98, 21-23. New Testament Abstracts, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

[18] See Aus, University of South Florida International Studies in Formative Christianity and Judaism, vol. 4, The Wicked Tenants and Gethsemane: Isaiah in the Wicked Tenants’ Vineyard, and Moses and the High Priest in Gethsemane : Judaic Traditions in Mark 12:1-9 and 14:32-42; Evans, Craig A. “On the vineyard parables of Isaiah 5 and Mark 12.” Biblische Zeitschrift 28, no. 1: 82-86.

[19] Winn, 101.

[20] Ibid., 16; Virgil, 249-269; Homer, 449-465.

[21] Ibid., 104-105.

[22] Virgil, 269; Homer, 465. Compare Aeneas who lives in the Aeneid and Odysseus who dies in the Odyssey as an example of mimetic reversal.

[23] Marcus, Mark 1-8, 1088.

[24] Marcus, Mark 1-8, 1088.

[25] Kevin, Robert Oliver. 1926. “The lost ending of the gospel according to Mark: a criticism and a reconstruction.” Journal Of Biblical Literature 45, no. 1-2: 81-103. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 5, 2016).

[26] Marcus, Mark 1-8, 1091.

[27] N Clayton Croy, The Mutilation of Mark’s Gospel (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2003).

[28] Robert P. Meye, “Mark 16:8: the ending of Mark’s Gospel.” Biblical Research 14, (1969 1969): 33. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

[29] Marcus, Mark 1-8, 1094-1096.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Winn, 115.

[32] Wolfgang Roth, Hebrew Gospel: Cracking the Code of Mark (Oak Park, IL: Meyer-Stone Books, 1988), 119.

[33] Allison, 7.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Brodie, 96.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Lissa M. Wray Beal, Apollos Old Testament Commentary, vol. 9, 1 and 2 Kings (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 230-31.

[38] Ibid, 231.

[39] Marsha C. White, Brown Judaic Studies, vol. 311, The Elijah Legends and Jehu’s Coup (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1997), 27.

[40] Beale, 51.

[41] Thomas L. Brodie, The Crucial Bridge: The Elijah-Elisha Narrative as an Interpretive Synthesis of Genesis-Kings and a Literary Model for the Gospels (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2000), 12-27.

[42] Marcus, Mark 1-8, 183. Howard N Wallace, 1986. “Oracles against the Israelite dynasties in 1 and 2 Kings.” Biblica 67, no. 1: 21-40. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

[43] Marcus, Mark 1-8, 183-184.

[44] Joshua Leim, “In the Glory of His Father: Intertextuality and the Apocalyptic Son of Man in the Gospel of Mark,” Journal of Theological Interpretation 7, no. 2 (2013): 215.

[45] Bas van Iersel, Journal for the Study of the New Testament. Supplement Series, vol. 164, Mark: a Reader-Response Commentary (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), 130, accessed April 2, 2016, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nl

ebk&db=nlabk&an=378193.

[46] Raymond Brown, “Jesus and Elisha,” Perspective (Pittsburgh) 12, no. 1-2 (1971 1971): 85-104. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

 

[47] Adela Yarbro Collins, “Mark’s interpretation of the death of Jesus.” Journal Of Biblical Literature 128, no. 3, 2009.: 553. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 2, 2016).

Paul’s Construal of the Exodus

A Hermeneutical Assessment of 1 Cor. 10:1-14; Paul’s Construal of the Exodus

 

Paul makes use of the history and application of the Israelite exodus from Egypt and desert wanderings in 1 Corinthians 10:1-14. Paul interprets these occasions in such a way that he reduces the distance between the ancient religious history of Israel and “modern” 1st century church in Corinth. This results in phrases such as “baptized into Moses”, “that rock was Jesus”, “These things occurred as examples”, “test Christ as some of them did”. 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 is a picture into a Pauline typological/allegorical exegesis of salvific and apocalyptic stories in the Old Testament. The historical Israel becomes a signifier for the signified “the church”. Paul may even be presenting his interpretation through a short Midrash or commentary about the Israelites. Through this Paul pulls together a picture for the Corinthian church, mostly gentile, to warn them against attending cultic meals where the practice of idolatry is present. This paper is a critical explanation of Paul’s applied hermeneutical framework of 1 Corinthians 10:1-14.

The writings of the New Testament display a deep reliance upon Jewish history and literature, in particular, the recorded religious material found in the Tanakh. The majority of references made to the O.T. are allegorical, typological, or prophetic. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-14, Paul’s overall picture is typological so this paper begins with this model. A difference should be emphasized between allegory and typology. Allegory assigns a nonliteral or hidden meaning to figures or elements in a story.[1] Τύπος, in the context of interpretation, may be defined as the “embodiment of characteristics or function of a model” such as an archetype, kind, class, or thing that suggests a pattern.[2] Directly related to this Greek word is the hermeneutical classification, typology. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries, catacombs and sarcophagi display early Christian use of typological art. Jonah in particular is a common O.T. story depicted in the catacombs. One such example is found in the catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter where Jonah is depicted as being vomited out of a giant fish. Jonah’s experience serves as a τύπος of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus himself uses Jonah’s story as a prefiguration of his death and resurrection.[3] This use of typology is probably built off of teachings from the synagogue that compare the belly of the fish to Sheol.[4] The retelling and artistic display of Jonah’s story becomes the Christian’s hope for resurrection found in Jesus.

Paul’s use of typology falls historically in line with its rich use in the O.T., N.T., and church history until it fell out of fashion with the emergence of early twentieth century critical scholarship. The emphasis moved toward historical critical methods. More recent scholarship, seeking a hermeneutic from scripture itself, revitalized interest in typological hermeneutics. Baker notes such examples of typology as Abraham’s life, Lots attitudes, Moses as prophet, and David as king.[5] From these examples and others like them it becomes apparent that Jews believed God would follow a pattern of behavior. It falls, as part of the scope of this paper to uncover how Paul’s construal of the exodus fits along the use and development of typology.

Though the Hebrew language does not have an exact parallel to τύπος there remains a plethora of examples that point to the use of typology in the Old Testament. At least a close comparison can be made with the word, תתַּבְנִי tabnȋth translated as pattern, model, and structure.[6] During the construction of both the tabernacle and the temple tabnȋth refers to a divine pattern.[7] In the making of the tabernacle God reveals to Moses a pattern to follow; the Temple plans were laid out for David through revelation.[8] Hummel refers to this typological model as “vertical” or divine type compared to the more frequent “horizontal” or historical type.[9] As we examine Paul’s use of typology this paper considers both planes of the model. It is also relevant to see how Paul’s use of typology is formed in regard to the model’s foundational material, which is the typical. The typical is an expectation of characteristics found of a particular group, person, or thing regardless of its regular or non-regular occurrence in history.[10] As archaeologists recover pottery, documents, etc., a limited number of types are found for a single period.[11] These expected characteristics form the basis for making historical judgments. Albright refers to this as “judgments of typical occurrence.”[12] Pulling together a broad concept of typology, grounded in the typical and inclusive of horizontal and vertical axis we may set forth a definition of typology. For the purposes of this paper, typology is a hermeneutical device that draws symbolism from the historical persons, events, objects, or divinely revealed plans of the Old Testament for use in the present or future. This definition aids in the exegesis of 1 Corinthians 10:1-14 by determining any links between Paul’s use of the exodus and interpretive practices in the Bible.[13] Paul’s is wirkungsgeschichtliches Bewusstsein and our examination of his use of typology illuminates this characteristic. Barrett connects both contemporary scholarship and a deep reliance upon the O.T to the majority of N.T. authors.[14] Going further, I think we can also say that Paul’s use of typology remains a coproduction of meaning of the τύπος between the author who witnesses and relays the symbolism, the reader who relates personal meaning, and God who establishes the pattern within his design.

Confusion may be created from the modern Protestant use of the Masoretic text which we hope to avoid by differentiating between Paul’s use of the Septuagint and the Masoretic text. Paul’s quotations almost always agree with the LXX against the Hebrew.[15] Paul only quotes one passage from the O.T., Exodus 32:6 in verse 7. Paul’s words are a direct quote from the Septuagint. Compare 1 Corinthians 10:7 “ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ πεῖν καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν”[16] with ὁ λαὸς φαγεῖν καὶ “πιεῖν καὶ ἀνέστησαν παίζειν”[17] from Exodus 32:6. Paul’s allusions to the exodus in the rest of our passage are not direct quotes, possibly from memory. The direct quote of v.7 emphasizes both the main purpose of the exodus example and pivots to a set of warnings.[18] A deeper study of v. 7 is discussed later. It serves us however to map what scriptures Paul is quoting from the O.T.[19]

Our first allusion comes from Exodus 13:21, about the Israelites initial escape from Egypt where the Shekinah, in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night led the people. In Chap. 9:24-27, Paul emphasizes his concern for those attending idol worship. Verse 10:1 begins with “γὰρ” to draw a connection between being “disqualified” in v. 27 and Paul’s argument in chapter 10.[20] Paul then proceeds to connect his audience with the O.T. narrative by saying, “our fathers”. Paul is here implying that the gentile church should consider themselves the sons and daughters of Jewish ancestors.[21] Clement of Rome’s letter to the church in Corinth is further evidence that believers considered themselves as part of God’s holy people. Clement refers to Jacob as, “our father.”[22] The second part of v.1 diverges from the Exodus account by placing the Israelites under the cloud instead of before or behind it. Perhaps Paul is drawing from the psalms here as a reference to a “covering” is found in 105:39.[23] During the Intertestamental period the Book of Wisdom also refers to the cloud as a covering. [24] At the very least, Paul’s description of being “under” appears consistent with how Jews spoke of the cloud. The relevance of portraying Israel as under the cloud becomes clear in v.2 when both the cloud and the sea are pre-figurations of Christian baptism. Notice the similarity between “baptized into Christ” in Gal. 3:27 and v.2. One explanation for why Paul alludes to a baptism into Moses comes from the rabbinic treatment of Eccles. 1.9. Ecclesiastes reads, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” From this passage developed rabbinic teaching that the Messiah would resemble Moses; “the ‘later Redeemer’ (the Messiah) would be as the ‘former Redeemer’ (Moses).”[25] We can understand from this the desire to maintain the typical through Jewish literature. This theme of casting the O.T. in light of the life of Jesus is continued through v.3-4. The wilderness manna and the water from the rock both become symbols for the Eucharist. Even Jesus himself is portrayed at the rock. Garland goes on to say, “Paul begins with the premise that baptism marks the beginning of the Christian life, and he applies it to the beginning of Israel’s existence as God’s covenant people…”

Jesus’ portrayal as the rock from the wanderings is yet another startling example of Paul’s figurative writing style in chap. 10. It is not without some merit however, as God himself was portrayed as “The Rock” in Moses’ song.[26] It seems a strong likelihood that Paul here refers to the rock in Ex. 17:6. It is also possible that Paul refers to Nu. 20:7-11 or both. The MT uses צוּר in Ex. 17:6 and סֶלַע in Nu. 20:8 but the LXX glosses over this distinction and uses πέτραν.[27] According to Earle Ellis, these verses form the basis of rabbinic stories about the rock of Horeb that followed the Israelites.[28] Some caution is warranted however, since the literature depicting these legends are written after the 1st century. Nonetheless, Paul does seem to be referencing a similar tradition. The blessing of the spiritual rock as Jesus serves to connect the church in Corinth to the Israelites. Just as Christians are saved by the living water of Jesus, so also are the Israelites saved by the rock that is Jesus. As Hays says, “Thus in every respect Israel enjoyed the grace and presence of God.”[29] Both Hays and Garland strongly warn against reading the O.T. passages as if the Tanakh itself reads these passages sacramentally. Paul is the first to make this connection and his purpose is to speak to idolatry.[30]

We now hone in on the second half of v.7 and the only direct quote in Paul’s typological warning. This sentence can be broken into two sections, “The people sat down to eat and drink” and “and rose up to play.” Hays understands this division as an elaboration on the two halves of Paul’s argument. The reference to eating and drinking reflects v.1-4, while the phrase “to play” speaks to the upcoming set of warnings.[31] By drawing together the idea of eating and drinking Paul connects the amazing blessings of God with Israel’s sinful response. It also develops an “ironic” picture by connecting the Corinthian’s practice of the Eucharist with the idolatry of eating and drinking in worship to the golden calf.[32] This creates a humbling picture for those in Corinth who believe they can worship idols without concern. The reference to “Play” in the second half of the verse sounds very much like Paul’s contemporary Philo. The reason for this is Paul’s wording in v.6 is characteristic of how Jews saw the idolatry of Israel and the golden calf. Combining v.6 and v.7 results in an interpretation of the Israelites idolatry that is similar to Philo’s conclusions. Philo’s phrasing is seen in his work “Life of Moses (2:168).”[33]

 

“Then, having made a golden calf in imitation of that which appeared to be the most sacred animal in that district, they offered up unholy sacrifices, and instituted blasphemous dances, and sang hymns which differed in no respect from dirges, and, being filled with strong wine, gave themselves up to a twofold intoxication, the intoxication of wine and that of folly, reveling and devoting the night to feasting, and, having no foresight as to the future, they spent their time in pleasant sins, though justice had her eye upon them, who saw them while they would not see, and decided what punishments they deserved.”

 

For Meeks, this leads to the overall conclusion that Paul’s homily is carefully constructed in light of contemporary Jewish thought. The writings close to the time of Paul enlighten the readers understanding of the text.

Verse 8 presents a whole new challenge because at first glance it appears that Paul is in direct contradiction with the O.T. wilderness account. Paul claims that 23,000 people are killed as a result of idolatry. The reference Paul is making best fits Num. 25:9. At that time the Israelites were living in Shittim and worshipping Baal of Peor. God’s response to the Israelite’s idolatry came in the form of a plague that killed 24,000. Paul’s divergence from O.T. scripture begs the question whether Paul simply made an error or whether there is some other reason for the incongruence. Barrett suggests that Paul accidently combined the two figures from Ex. 32:28 and Nu. 25:9.[34] Ex. 32:28 numbers those who died for worshipping the golden calf as 3,000. Keeping these verses in mind, Paul accidently combined the two together. Fee raises the question of whether an unknown Jewish source is responsible for the error, but quickly dismisses it.[35] All known Jewish traditions repeated the 24,000. John Calvin wrote that neither Paul nor the passage in Num. 25:9 ever intended to make an exact count of every head. Instead, they put down a close estimate.[36] Leon Morris goes a little further than Calvin to include the idea that Paul was subtracting those who are killed by the Lord’s command and Moses’ direction. In this case Moses asks the judges of Israel to kill all the men who gave themselves to Baal.[37] Perhaps the best answer to this issue comes from Garland who suggests that Paul intentionally mixes Nu. 25:9 with Ex. 32:28.[38] Paul references the calf in v.7 and then combines the numbers 3,000 and 20,000 as a way of referencing both O.T. passages. This is reinforced through Paul’s word choice. He says in v.8 23,000 fell in a “single day.” Numbers 25:9 does not specify that they died in one day. Instead we find this language in Ex. 32:28. Since v.7 is Paul’s only direct quotation it serves us here that Paul is making an allusion to both passages to offer instruction to the church in Corinth. The destruction referenced in this passage points toward God’s judgment and the need for Christians to resist idolatry as a part of their cruciform life found in Christ.[39]

Our next verse, v.9 connects the church in Corinth to the grumbling and testing of the Israelites in Exodus 17:7. So the Israelites would never forget the consequences of their behavior, Moses named the place where they were Massah and Meribah. Massah is a reference to their testing and Meribah refers to quarreling against God.[40] Paul once again places Christ in the wanderings so connect them with the Israelites. This is consistent with O.T. use of the passage as Psalms 95:8, 9 uses the same passage to instruct the Jews; “do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.” A second connection is made by the reference to being destroyed by snakes. In Num. 21:6 the Lord sends fiery serpents to kill those grumbling against Him. By participating in worship to false gods the church in Corinth should expect a similar response as the Israelites did.

According to Hays, v.10 “is the most difficult passage to connect to a specific Old Testament text and also the most difficult to relate to any known behavior of the Corinthians.”[41] This is to be expected given that Paul is making allusions rather than directly quoting the text. Hays believes that Numbers 14 is the most likely text to which Paul is alluding.[42] In this chapter the Israelites criticize Moses and Aaron because they believed it was impossible for them to conquer the land God had promised them. As a result none of those who complained against Moses and the Lord are allowed to enter the Promised Land. Hays, suggests that the connection here to the church in Corinth rests on possible complaints the church had against Paul. Paul as the spiritual founder of the church is prefigured in Moses from Num. 14.[43] It is possible that members of the church viewed their knowledge of God as giving them permission to worship and eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul’s prohibition of idol worship may have resulted in church members viewing Paul as weak. As a result of the Israelites complaining the whole nation suffered. The church in Corinth may share the same fate. Verse 10 makes mention of the phrase, “the destroyer”. It is possible Paul is referencing the destroyer during the plagues found in Exodus 12:23.[44] There the Israelites are protected against “the destroyer” who is striking against the Egyptians. Paul is possibly connecting the destruction of the Egyptians with what will happen to those in Corinth who worship idols. A further connection to 2 Samuel 24:16 suggests this “destroyer” is an angel of the Lord. There an angel destroys 70,000 men.

All of these things are pulled together again by verses 11-14. Here Paul emphasizes for the second time that these things are examples and recorded for the church at this rare moment in history.[45] This is theologically consistent with rabbinic teaching. Rabbi Hiyya b. Abba comments that “all the prophets [all the good things] prophesied only in respect of the Messianic age”.[46] Over estimating the relationship between Paul and the rabbinic teachings is cautioned however since a reference to the Babylonian Talmud is anachronistic. The phrase “the ends of the ages has come” emphasizes this epic point in history in which Paul finds himself. Paul is living in the eschatological point where the old age and the new age have collided. This new situation sheds light on the past and directs the church into the future. Paul felt this profoundly in his ministry. He acted with a sense of urgency for the sake of the church.[47] Garland draws out another important theological idea from this passage. He says, “Understanding the exodus from this particular perspective, as a morality tale that mirrors the present, reveals that God has not suddenly become lax in punishing transgression…”[48] The idea involved here is that Christians often portray God dualistically. In the O.T. God emphasizes condemnation while in the N.T. God is abundantly merciful. Paul’s references to the Israelites in the wilderness shows God’s consistency. The principle of v.1-14 is pulled together when Paul says in v. 12 “take heed lest you fall” and “flee from idolatry” in v. 14. Verse 13 then serves to remind the church in Corinth that despite the pervasive religious world that surrounds them God is faithful and always provides a way out of temptation. According to Hays, this “maxim” fits into the text as a contrast to the way those in Corinth are testing God.[49]

1 Corinthians 10:1-14 is set within the larger context of idolatry from 8:1-11:1. The style of v.1-14 are so different from the surrounding text it may be presumed an insertion into the text.[50] One suggestion, Led by Wayne Meeks, is that v.1-22 is a Midrash formed before the writing of 1 Corinthians. This implies that Midrash means “a writing primarily based on Jewish thought rather than Greek of Roman. In this case Paul includes the Midrash as part of a haggadic argument. Support for this comes from a reference of Philo who values “manna” and “the rock” as symbols of God’s wisdom.[51] Are they drawing from similar texts? In this case however, it would serve to break the text up into segments destroying the unity of 1 Cor. 10:1-14. The warnings found in v.5-13 would stand apart from v.1-4. If this section is Midrash that is carried from Judaism the unity of the text would again break down from the reference of baptism in v.2. There are no symbolic uses of baptism out of the exodus in Jewish literature so it would have to come from some, as of yet, unknown source. It is simpler to understand the text as a Christian writing that utilizes the reoccurrence of the typical in the O.T.[52]

Treating v.1-14 as Midrash may break down Paul’s argument but there still remains a strong unity in the text. Meeks considers the whole section, v. 1-13, as a unified homily.[53] Paul then employs this homily in his letter to aid his argument beginning in chap. 8:1-4. The structure of v.1-13 does indicate a careful construction. Verses 1-4 uses the word “πάντες” five times. This is followed by four uses of “τινες αὐτῶν” and one use of “ἐκείνοις”. This forms the unified idea that all of them received blessings but some of them gave in to evil desires. The blessings section and the warnings section both conclude with a form of “τύπος” translated as “example” in v.6 and “warnings” in v.11. This connects the whole section of v.1-11 to 12-14 which stands as a “paraenetic conclusion”.[54] Psalms 78 bears stylistic similarity to Paul’s text. Besides the inclusion of exodus material, Psalms 78 also includes blessings and warnings meant for instruction. Verses 78:14-17 stand out for comparison.

 

14In the daytime he led them with a cloud,

and all the night with a fiery light.

15He split rocks in the wilderness

and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.

16He made streams come out of the rock

and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

[¶]17Yet they sinned still more against him,

rebelling against the Most High in the desert.”

 

The style Paul uses of blessings and warnings is already in use in Psalms 78. Meeks also notes psalms 105, 106, and Nehemiah 9:9-37.[55] Meeks views chap. 10 as a unified Christian construction that is stylistically Jewish. Philo of Alexandria’s mention a prayer for Yom Kippur that demonstrates Paul’s writing is consistent with Jewish compositions.

 

“How he opened fountains to give them abundant drink; and how he rained food from heaven sufficient for each day so that they might consume what they needed, and rather than hording or bartering or taking thought of the bounties received, they might rather reverence and worship the bountiful Giver and honour him with hymns and benedictions such as are due him.”[56]

 

In light of the recognizable unity of the passage the question then turns to whether Paul or another Christian author wrote v.1-14 apart from the Corinthian letter. To answer this question, it will help to consider how Paul uses v.1-14 to develop his argument.

Garland believes the text fits perfectly in Paul’s argument.[57] For his purposes, the O.T. text serves as a perilous example of idol worship for the church in Corinth. The blessing that is given to them from the exodus out of Egypt is broken by “violating their covenantal obligations”.[58] Yielding to evil desires, worshipping other gods, testing the Lord, and grumbling violate the covenant made between Israel and God. Through this understanding of the past Paul cautions the church in Corinth in making too much of their liberty which is based on their knowledge of the one true God. In this way 10:1-14 is critical to Paul’s argument and should not be considered a later insertion. Hays continues this thought by recognizing the strong connection v.1-13 has to v.14-22.[59] In v.15 Paul calls the Corinthians to judge what he saying as “sensible people”. This links what has just been said to what Paul will continue to argue. Those who eat the sacrifices at the altar are participants in the worship. Those who attend various temples eating the meet and joining the worship are forced to see themselves as fraternizing with demons. They are in spiritual jeopardy.

A final concern over the text is what how Paul’s use of the exodus and wilderness Israelites might threaten the integrity of the original story. Does Paul, through his allusions, destroy the real and personal story of the Israelites who wandered after leaving Egypt? Hays contention is that Paul’s use of the O.T. does not destroy these past events but rather creates further significance.[60] About the church he says it,

“discovers its true identity only in relation to the sacred story of Israel, and the sacred story of Israel discovers its full significance-so Paul passionately believed-only in relation to God’s unfolding design for salvation of the Gentiles in the church.”

 

The interpretive method Paul uses creates a positive relationship between the Israelites and the church in Corinth. The Israel/Church typology stresses the relationship of the church to the rest of God’s chosen people in history. In addition Hays points out that in any typological hermeneutic one part of the comparison will become the foundation for comparison. In our example the “Christian experience of salvation” is the foundational paradigm for understanding Paul.[61] This is concluded by Christ and baptism being prefigured in the Israelite wilderness story. Bockmuehl sees the same deitic picture in Paul’s allusions though takes the development further by wholly encompassing the O.T. references into the new situation.[62]

We can conclude from this examination that Paul constructed a typological argument in keeping with the Jewish tradition of valuing the typical. The verses 1-14, though stylistic and well-constructed, are completely immersed in their context from chapter 8-10:33. Paul’s connection to the Israelites in the exodus and wilderness both blesses and admonishes the church in Corinth. Paul’s hermeneutical framework builds a practical use of typology as it stresses the full-significance of the Israelites wilderness story by connecting it to the Christ-event.

 

 

Works Cited

Aland, Kurt, Matthew Black, Carlo Maria Martini, Bruce M.

Metzger, and Allen Paul Wikgren. Novum Testamentum Graece: Post Eberhard Nestle Et Erwin Nestle. 26. neu bearbeitete aufl. ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1998.

 

Albright, William Foxwell. “Archeology and religion.” Cross

Currents 9, no. 2 (1959 1959): 107-124. accessed November 11, 2015. Available from ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials through EBSCOhost.

 

Baker, David L. Two Testaments, One Bible: The Theological

Relationship between the Old and New Testaments. 3rd ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2010.

 

Barrett, C.K. “The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the

New.” In The Cambridge History of the Bible: The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New: Volume 1, From the Beginnings to Jerome, edited by P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans, 377-411. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

 

____________. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. Black’s New

Testament Commentary. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993, ©1968.

Beale, G.K., ed. The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays

on the use of the Old Testament in the New. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994.

 

Beker, Johan Christiaan. The Triumph of God: The Essence of

Paul’s Thought. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.

 

Bock, Darrell L. “Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and

Referents: The New Testament’s Legitimate, Accurate, and Multifaceted Use of the Old.” In Three Views on the New Testament Use of Old Testament, edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, 105-51 (responses 90-95, 226-31). Counterpoints. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.

 

Bockmuehl, Markus N.A. Revelation and Mystery in Ancient Judaism

and Pauline Christianity. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 36. Tubinggen: Mohr Siebeck, 1990.

 

Calvin, John. Commentary On 1 and 2 Corinthians. Titus Books,

  1. Amazon Kindle edition.

 

Danker, Frederick W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New

Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

 

Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers. New York:

Dorset Press, 1986.

 

Ellis, E Earle (Edward Earle). “Note on 1 Corinthians 10:4.”

Journal Of Biblical Literature 76, no. 1 (March 1957): 53-56. accessed ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.

 

ESV Compact Thinline Edition. Wheaton IL: Crossway Bibles, 2003.

 

Fee, Gordon D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. 1 vols. The

New International Commentary On the New Testament. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1987.

 

Garland, David. 1 Corinthians. Baker Exegetical Commentary On

the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015. Kindle edition.

 

Goppelt, Leonard. “Paul and Heilsgeschichte: conclusions from

Romans 4 and 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.” Interpretation 21, no. 3 (July 1967): 315-326. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 9, 2015).

 

______________. Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the

Old Testament in the New. Translated by Donald H. Madvig. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982.

 

______________. “” In Theological

Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by G. Kittel and G. Freidrich, translated by G.W. Bromiley, 8:246-59. 10 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964-1975.

 

Hays, Richard B. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven: Yale University Press,1989.

 

_______________. First Corinthians: Interpretation: a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Edited by James Mays.

Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press, 2011. Amazon Kindle edition.

 

Hummel, Horace D. “Old Testament basis of typological

interpretation.” Biblical Research 9, (1964 1964): 38-50. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 4, 2015).

 

Kirby, Peter. “Historical Jesus Theories.” Early Christian

Writings. 2015. accessed November 16, 2015. Available from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html.

 

McKim, Donald K. Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms.

Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996.

 

Morris, Leon. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Vol. 7, 1

Corinthians: an Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008.

 

Thiessen, Matthew. 2013. “‘The rock was Christ’: the fluidity of

Christ’s body in I Corinthians 10.4.” Journal For The Study Of The New Testament (Online) 36, no. 2 (December 2013). accessed Available from ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials through EBSCOhost.

 

Winston, David. The Anchor Bible. Vol. 43, The Wisdom of

Solomon: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979.

 

[1] Donald K. McKim, Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), 7

[2] Frederick W. Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 1019-20.

[3] Matt.12:39, 16:4; Luke 11:29 “All biblical references in this paper are taken from the English Standard Version.”

[4] Leonhard Goppelt, Typos: the Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), 81.

[5] D L. Baker, Two Testaments, One Bible: The Theological Relationship between the Old and New Testaments, 3rd ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2010), “1743,” Kindle edition. See also: Gen. 12:1-9; 13:10-13; 15:6; 22:16-18; Num. 11:5; 14:2-4; Deut. 18:15, 18.

[6] Hummel, Horace D. 1964. “Old Testament basis of typological interpretation.” Biblical Research 9, 38-50. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 4, 2015), 39.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ex. 25:8, 40, 26:30; 1 Chr. 28:19.

[9] Hummel, 39.

[10] William F. Albright, “Archeology and religion,” Cross Currents 9, no. 2: 107-124, accessed November 11, 2015, available from ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials through EBSCOhost.

[11] Ibid,.

[12] Ibid,.

[13] For a further discussion on O.T. use of typology see: Beale, G.K., ed. The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essayson the use of the Old Testament in the New, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), “3997,” Kindle edition.

[14] C.K. Barrett, “The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the

New,” In The Cambridge History of the Bible: The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New: Volume 1, From the Beginnings to Jerome, edited by P.R. Ackroyd and C.F. Evans, 377-411. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

[15] Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, ©1989), xi.

[16] Kurt Aland et al., Novum Testamentum Graece: Post Eberhard Nestle Et Erwin Nestle, 26. neu bearbeitete aufl. ed. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1998), 456.

[17] Exodus 32:6, LXX.

[18] David Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary On the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015), under “10643,” Kindle edition.

[19] Paul’s allusions are seen in the following scriptures: v.1-2 – Ex. 13:21, 14:19,21,22, Ps 105:39; v.3 – Ex. 16:15; v.4 – Ex. 17:6, Nu. 20:8,11, Deut. 32:4, Ps 78:15, 105:41; v.5 – Nu. 14:29; Ps. 78:17; v.7 – Ex. 32:4,6,19; v.8 – Nu. 25:1-9, or possibly Nu. 26:62; v.9 Ex. 17:2, Ps. 78:18,95:9,106:14, Nu. 21:5,6; v.10 – Nu.16:41,49,17:5,10, Ex. 12:23, 1 Ch. 21:15.

[20] Garland, “10355,” Kindle edition.

[21] Ibid, “10384,” Kindle Edition.

[22] Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Father, (New York: Dorset Press, 1986), 25.

[23] Other examples include: Nu. 14:14; Neh. 9:13; Wis. 19:7.

[24] David Winston, The Anchor Bible, vol. 43, The Wisdom of Solomon: a New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979), 219.

[25] C K. Barrett, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Black’s New Testament Commentary (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1968), 221.

[26] Deut. 32:4,15,18.

[27]Matthew Thiessen, “‘The rock was Christ’: the fluidity of Christ’s body in I Corinthians 10.4.” Journal For The Study Of The New Testament (Online) 36, no. 2: 104, accessed September 9, 2015. under ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.

[28] Edward Ellis, “Note on 1 Corinthians 10:4,” Journal Of Biblical Literature 76, no. 1: 53-56. accessed October 18, 2015. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost.

[29] Richard Hays, First Corinthians: Interpretation: a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed. James Mays (Louisville: Westminister John Knox Press, 2011), under “3489,” Kindle edition.

[30] Ibid, Garland, “10444,” Kindle edition.

[31] Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, 92.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Philo, Life of Moses, 2:168. Early Christian Writings. 2015. accessed November 16, 2015. Available from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html.

[34] Barrett, 225.

[35] Gordon Fee, The Epistle to the Corinthians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987) 456.

[36] John Calvin, Commentary On 1 and 2 Corinthians (Titus Books, 2012), under “3880,” Kindle edition.

[37] Leon Morris, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, vol. 7, 1 Corinthians: an Introduction and Commentary(Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008), 141.

[38] Garland, “10689,” Kindle edition.

[39] Johan Christiaan Beker, The Triumph of God: The Essence of Paul’s Thought (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990), 27.

[40] Garland, “10700,” Kindle edition.

[41] Hays, “3579,” Kindle edition.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid, “3586,” Kindle edition.

[44] Garland, “10712,” Kindle edition.

[45] Darrell L. Bock, “Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and

Referents: The New Testament’s Legitimate, Accurate, and Multifaceted Use of the Old.” In Three Views on the New Testament Use of Old Testament, edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), “2011,” Kindle edition.

[46] Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin, in the Sanhedrin Directory, accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.come-and-hear.com/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_99.html.

[47] Garland, “10740,” Kindle edition.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Hays, “3607,” Kindle edition.

[50] Meeks, Wayne A. 1982. “‘And rose up to play’: midrash and paraenesis in 1 Corinthians 10:1-22.” Journal For The Study Of The New Testament 16, 64-78. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed November 8, 2015).

[51] Philo, That the Worse is Wont to Attack the Better, 118-9. See also, Leg. All. 2.86. Peter Kerby, “Historical Jesus Theories.” Early Christian Writings. 2015. accessed November 16, 2015. Available from http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html.

[52] Meeks, 66. (Note the use of Jewish literary patterns that resemble the text. The additional mention of the typical is my own.)

[53] Meeks, 65.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Meeks, 66.

[56] Philo of Alexandria, Spec. leg. 2.199. Kirby

[57] Garland, “10331,” Kindle edition.

[58] Garland, “10331,” Kindle edition.

[59] Hays, “3607,” Kindle edition.

[60] Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, 100.

[61] Ibid, 101.

[62] Markus N.A. Bockmuehl, “Revelation and Mystery in Ancient Judaism and Pauline Christianity,” Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 36 (Tubinggen: Mohr Siebeck, 1990) 154.

 

Peter on the water

Matthew 14, in particular, the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water. In this story, we often focus on the relatable character of Peter, who after seeing Jesus, steps out in faith to walk upon the water with Jesus. I can imagine Peter, with his eyes focused on Jesus, walking bravely toward his teacher. The other disciples in the boat most likely watched in awe and fear at the sight of their friend and Jesus doing the impossible. Then, in a moment of fear and disbelief, Peter is buffeted by the wind and sinks quickly. “Lord save me!” he cries out to Jesus. Jesus as the benevolent Lord, saves Peter and rebukes his unbelief. Then they get on the boat and the sea calms. Peter is a relatable character in this story since all believers have experienced the cold, damp and dripping weight of unbelief.

If we reorient the story to focus more on Jesus than Peter perhaps we can see another ark in the story. Here is Jesus walking in the dark, and through a storm to get to his disciples. Seen this way I think we can see an interesting analogy between Jesus’ walk on the water with the tumultuous conflict Jesus experiences throughout his life. From all sides Jesus is buffeted by waves of sin and evil. As he approaches the boat, even his disciples do not recognize him. Then one faithful student dares to join Jesus against the violent sea. Peter, as an apostle, chooses the difficult path of walking with Jesus. Even Peter is unable to keep the faith however, and requires the saving grace of Jesus. So Jesus is the lonely Lord who pushes against the sin of the world.

We might also connect with this story to all Christians. Sitting in a boat buffeted by the wind we each step into the dark and angry sea to join our Lord in the battle against sin. Weak as we are, we have still made the faithful step toward our Lord. Jesus stands atop the seas an impediment to the crushing waves around us. Though weak in faith compared to the overwhelming evil of our own desires Jesus pulls us from the water and calms the storm.

Technology Needs Philosophy and Religion

Technology Needs the Philosophical and Religious Person?

As our scientific and technological global community treks forward the usefulness of philosophy and religion is called into question by atheistic scientists. Leaders such as Neil deGrasse Tyson (atheist) and John Lennox (Christian) argue back and forth on the issue. The question deepens as people like Richard Dawkins argue that religion leads people to violence. The same is said of atheism, but I am not trying to make a point about who commits more violence and why. There is a pervasive idea that science will eliminate the need for philosophy and religion. This is not to mean that it will be possible to remove the rich heritage of philosophy and religion from our historically effected consciousness but rather that it will lose its function in society. It’s difficult to imagine humankind without it. What would it look like I wonder? Thinking about it only makes me want to ask more questions; some questions that are familiar and others that stretch the mind. For example, where does morality come from without philosophy and religion? This is an obvious gauntlet thrown down whenever this issue arises. Atheists and theists both create great arguments for this question. Atheism relies on forged meaning and cultural common sense, while religious groups such as Christianity challenge the functional application of a shifting culturally formed meaning. Instead we favor a morality based on the unchanging character of a just God. A future without a backbone of philosophy and religion begs much stranger questions than this first one. Here are a few I have been thinking about and are the ones most troubling me right now. At what point do our scientific creations, whether biological or technological cease to be tools and become persons? Does science have an answer for when a thinking machine has rights? We see these questions in the morality plays drawn out in Star Trek. These are questions we have asked before but I think we need to revisit them as the reality of this approaches. One major reason I think we need to answer questions like these is that in answering them we tend to think anthropocentrically, placing ourselves as the dominant will and power. However, scientists estimate (or guestimate) that super-intelligent computers will exist in the relatively near future perhaps even in the next 50-90 years. What do you do with a computer that is more intelligent than humankind? What right does the human race have to impose its own forged and cultural sense of morality? What are the dangers of not imposing morality on such a creation? How should such a technology relate with its creator? It feels to me, perhaps because I am a Christian, that atheistic science loses its grip on answering such questions once you begin dealing with powers that understand the universe, physics, mathematics, etc. better than we do. Science is not static, at least for now it continues to be a changing reforming confluence of tested ideas. When a machine can do this better than us how can we answer these questions for them? This leads us into the horrifying question of what happens when a super-intelligence uses its own perspective to judge us. Would it have any reason to make judgments about us? You may feel like this issue doesn’t find relevance in your life today and that makes sense. Computers today are more like 3 year olds than super-intelligent persons. Nonetheless, It is precisely now that we should ask these questions because, as every parent knows, kids grow up fast.

I think philosophy and religion hold powerful cards in answering these questions. In philosophy, turning to the conceptual rather than the empirical may be a strong tool in answering our questions and training up a super-intellectual invention. Crossing the language bridge from 1’s and 0’s or quantum language into the philosophic world of linguistics may aid us in connecting a super-intelligence to humankind. Even the greatest finite intelligence will fail to recreate the object of its great intellectual focus due to the limitations of performance in language and being. We share this finitude regardless of our level of intelligence. A super-intelligence that relates itself to the finite existence of humankind may discover the importance of good cross-species relationship because of our collective understanding. Similar to how a dolphin’s view of the world might bring more vivid clarity to our human understanding of the world. Religion, such as Christianity points to faith in a God who transcends the boundaries of the finite and pierces the infinite by fully knowing (not limited by the separation of Him from the object) all creation. Christianity adheres to a morality for mankind that may be useful to our friend the super-intelligence because it makes morality claims that come from a source greater than us and it. God is righteous. It is His character that defines right and just for all creation. We then find ourselves once again in the difficult position of being made in the image of God and being asked to testify about Him to all creation, even one beyond our own intelligence. In this way we may build a relational bridge between us by way of the communal interpretation of value and meaning spurred by a creative communal God. There is something more than empirical data that makes something beautiful. Any intelligence will be shaped by our categorizations of beautiful, lovely, repulsive, evil, and good. It becomes, or has always been, our job to interpret and relate the world God created to his creation including our own.

Whatever answer takes its place as the final tool for building positive relations between a super intelligent technology and humanity I seriously hope it incorporates philosophical and religious elements because I don’t believe our understanding of science is exact enough to teach a computer to love its creators or at least not destroy them.

Neil Tyson, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos:_A_Spacetime_Odyssey & John Lennox, https://youtu.be/JH7HlfaXFuk , 2015
Star Trek’s Data http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Measure_of_a_Man_%28Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation%29
Super Intelligent computers, http://www.ted.com/talks/nick_bostrom_what_happens_when_our_computers_get_smarter_than_we_are
Child-like computers http://www.ted.com/talks/fei_fei_li_how_we_re_teaching_computers_to_understand_pictures

David: God’s anointed warrior king

I have added here a look into the life of King David. It breaks down David’s life into significant life processes (Credit is due to Robert Clinton and his book “The Making of a leader”). I hope this is a clarifying study for anyone who reads it. You may notice this study does not include a look at the Psalms. I hope to add this at a later time. Please enjoy.

David Anointed Warrior King

Trust in Him

Jesus said, “12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

Lord I believe. I believe and I am prepared to be used by you for great works. I believe and I am prepared to ask you to sustain the whole of my life. You have told your disciples to ask for anything in your name, so I will look to you for everything. I faithfully believe you will do it all!

For everyone who has a chance to read this I pray for you, that you would accept the challenge to believe, that you might allow God to do great works through you, and that you trust him whose riches of grace and mercy in Christ Jesus is abundant. As a show of my faith in you I encourage you to message me about the journey of your faith.

In His Steps

I recently read (and Listened too on Audiobooks) “In His Steps” by Charles Sheldon. This book, published in 1896, is a sentimental yet pleasing read. Though not enthralled by some of the characters in the book, it was for me an optimistic perspective of what might happen if Christians humbly asked, what would Jesus do. It is a bit crushing to discover that, at the time of its publishing, the author was robbed royalties due to improper registration of the copyright. Perhaps, however, we all benefited because the book became one of the best selling books of all time as a result (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books). I can still remember the wristband around my arm with the large block letters, WWJD stamped across it. I didn’t know them but Charles Sheldon was traversing time and speaking directly to me. Of course he is not the first one to ask such a question but this is not a post about the history of imitatio dei. No, I want to share of myself a parallel of the miraculous examples given in this book. I was a man of great worries. Rachel can attest to this and offer several examples of proof I am sure. Though blessed with a sense of spiritual things from the beginning of my life and regardless of my spiritual gift of “Faith”, I wrestled my problems away from God and with hands clenched refused to let them go. Until the day God said to me, “No More Worries”. Unlike the people in Raymond I didn’t answer a call to the backroom in the church. However, the call to relinquish my worries and faithfully walk as Jesus did was as clear as a man dying with Jesus on his lips. Miraculously, the call was evidenced by a complete lack of worry in my heart, though I had every cause to be afraid. It was as if God had preemptively cast out my worries and then challenged me to retain the blessing through fervent commitment and prayer and repentance. I must emphasize, it was not my accomplishment, but Gods. Perhaps, it was as Paul said, “the intercession of the Spirit through wordless groans.” I know in my heart that it was the Spirit.

The faith journey began anew with the greatest step in ministry I have ever taken, the decision to follow God into Church Planting. On three previous occasions God planted seeds in the hearts of both Rachel and me. Why was this such a leap of faith? Because it required trusting God with our finances, residence, safety, and a whole lot more.

Consistent with how God has spoken to me at other times, this journey required a transformation of my identity. Was I prepared to give up being a paid church Preacher? Seeking preaching positions would certainly be safer. In that I at least had experience. A minister in his early thirties with seven years of full-time ministry experience is certainly desirable. None of that experience nor most of my formal education, however, prepared me for the evangelistic effort that is church planting. Nonetheless, God said, no more worries. So I bathed myself in faith and moved to New England where I knew God was sending us. (Rachel can share with you her own journey in this desire to plant churches. It is a remarkable one and I would not dare steal her story here.) We had no job and no home. Fortunately, Mom and Dad opened their home to us while we transitioned into what God had planned for us. I admit the cultural stigma associated with moving in with Mom and Dad lingered in my mind. Not for prideful reasons, though perhaps some, but rather I didn’t want to burden them unfairly. Regardless, the offer was made and we excepted. Mom and Dad have blessed me more than a few times with gifts of love and generosity. This time however, grew to feel like something more. It wasn’t a simple pure affection for us but also a support of God’s call to reach unbelievers. I didn’t realize at first but their hearts and kind words made it apparent.

With a desire for some brevity I will leave out a few things here and tell you one of the greatest gifts of our move to New England. The Dutile family and the seed team. Never have I come to be accepted and loved by such a group of people so quickly than the seed team. I am eternally grateful for them. We first met Shaun and Marci over Skype and were excited by their tender desire to know us and discern the work of the Spirit in bringing us to them. Later we visited the team (at that point just two families) and were again embraced by the team. The drive home however was different, worry crept in. Was this really what we should do? Are these people going to accept us? What if we don’t match? But God said, Do Not Worry! In a moment of sheer desire not to be overwhelmed by worry I cried out to God for an hour after we got home. “Lord we desperately need your guidance! Show us NOW what you have in store for us!” I spoke these words not with the heart of a doubting man but with the eagerness for the Lord as Gideon had done. The next morning the phone rang. “Let’s meet this week Chais” said Shaun. “How about Tuesday”, I said. Can we do Monday, he replied.” God wasn’t waiting, he was answering prayers!

All along this journey Kairos, a church planting organization that helps planters establish churches of Christ, was in communication with Rachel and myself. They are our continued compass in the planting business. We were continually uplifted by Stan, Scott, and Bruce with every step we have taken. On their word Rachel and I signed up to learn how to raise support. Right now we anticipate traveling to New York for the class. Already the material for the course has been invaluable. It is NOT a guide to fundraising. It is a Christ centered approach to engaging Christians in ministry. Few tools I have discovered are as practical and useful as “The God Ask” by Steve Shadrach and Scott Morton. What we are learning from this course is challenging our faith into growth. As a direct result of how God has spoke, “No More Worries”, and the spiritual guidance of “In His Steps” and “The God Ask” Rachel and I prepare for another faith move.

After some time past it became apparent that the Lord was bringing all of us, that is the seed team, together. Shaun and Marci formally invited us to work with them. God had blessed us again!!! It was not long after that I began to feel the call to move again. This time, with less money, less safety and no regular job except sharing the Gospel! With Rachel in agreement, we began looking for a place to live in Laconia, NH. Right NOW, this very weekend, Rachel and I found a place we desire to live. In faith and with no worries we are marching forward. God has not called us to a place of safety, but he has sent us to a bounty of people with whom we can share the word of God. What Would Jesus Do? This I believe we have tried to live. We are disciples whose mission is from the Lord. I believe He says to us, “Go to them, the marginal, the helpless and the hapless. Heal the sick, raise the dead, and give as you have been given.