Sunday, October 22, 2006

I have attended The Exegesis of Ephesians module almost one and a half years ago and finally, I got my results (my lecturer had taken some time with grading the papers due to his own thesis paper deadline) - I got an A! I am thoroughly elated - after so long, I was sure I barely just made it.

There were 2 papers and 3 take-home but close-book exam questions.

1. The first assignment was a free choice of any 3 to 8 verses from Ephesians. I was quite bold in choosing Eph 1:4-6, "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." The lecturer had warned me not to delve too much on the argument of predestination.

These were his exact word: ... be careful not to be caught up with the predestination issue in your paper. You need to first bear in mind Paul's thrust of argument, not the legacy that the Reformation has left us, however important this may be.

Therefore, in my paper, I have asserted that:

    Paul’s purposes in Eph 1:4-6 are:
    · To exhort the Jews to receive Gentiles as part of the Church within the family of Christ;
    · To bring encouragement to the Gentiles that they are part of the family in Christ; and
    · To reveal to them God’s ultimate plan and his mystery that the gospel of Christ is open to all who put their faith in Christ and who believe in him.

    Results: Overall good paper ...
    Grade: A
2. The second assignment was a requirement for us to give a 4-5 page write up on any metaphor found in Ephesians, with a section on practical application. I had chosen the metaphor of The Body of Christ (mentioned 8 times in Ephesians). I have thoroughly enjoyed working this out and have really benefited a lot from it.

I would like to share here my practical application section, which I felt have a very important message:

    In practical application, the “Body of Christ” metaphor brings home indeed the message that our belief lays concretely on the actual bodily relationship with Christ. It must be iron-casted into our belief as members of the Church that the Church is nothing without Christ. But the reality might be far from so.

    Do our churches not struggle to maintain the centrality of worship, prayer and service? Don’t prayers lack the sense of urgency for the kingdom of God? Isn’t worship only but a top-ten chart? Doesn’t service come short of only a dull offering of what is leftover from the other demands of our lives? We may find ourselves in a dreary state of affairs.

    Such spiritual poverty calls for an urgent re-evaluation of our existence as a Church. We are the body of Christ, a historical reality by Christ’s presence and work in the world, inseparably knitted to him who poured himself out for the Church. We need to again realise that in congregating as a community of believers, we are not merely a human institution. Our worship, prayers, and acts of reverence and service are not carried out toward an ideology or mere principles and dogma but offered to a Person, who is Christ.

    We must again let the Head lead the body; to be connected to Christ in all things that we do. In our fellowship with one another, we need to constantly remind ourselves and teach each other that we are congregating to a Supreme Being. The Church as the body of Christ exists bodily under the call of Christ. It is our duty as members of His Body to speak the truth in love, to grow in all things to Him who is the Head; producing the growth of the body to the edifying of itself in love.

    Remember, the body is dead without the head, the Church is dead without Christ.

    Results: Good! You have captured the essence of the metaphor
    Grade: A
3. The take-home and close-book exam was quite scary. We were given the questions right after the final class, and we were given 6 months to prepare for them. We were required to arrange for ourselves a 3-hour uninterrupted session to answer all the questions without any reference to anything other than an unmarked bible. So you will be correct if you think the questions will be tough, and tough they are!

    i. “The canonical Ephesians comprises several letter fragments attributed to the Pauline school that are subsequently compiled by an editor. As such it does not reflect a coherent flow of argument and lacks a discernable occasion and unified purpose of the letter.” Do you agree with this statement? Include in your discussion the textual dispute “in Ephesus” in Eph 1:3.
    Grade: A

    ii. Answer the following:
    a. Paul begins Ephesians with a berakah-formula instead of the usual thanksgiving-formula (Ephesians 1:3). Is there any significance with this unusual departure?
    b. It has been established that the epistolary thanksgiving section (Eph 1:3-14) usually contains themes that are further developed in the body of the epistle. How is this true of Ephesians?
    c. What are some of the spiritual blessings elaborated by Paul in the epistolary thanksgiving section (1:3-14)?
    Results: Good!
    Grade: A

    iii. Answer the following:
    a. What is the function of the Household Code (Eph 5:22-6:9) within Paul’s overall argument in Ephesians?
    b. What are some possible ways you could apply the Household Code in our present context?
    Results: Good
    Grade: A
Soli deo gloria.

Picture by Yi-Chen Lin

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6 comment(s)

  1. Glory to God!

    Congratulations, Maeghan. :-D

    It's really fun reading all your answers. Thanks for sharing.

    We must again let the Head lead the body;

    How do you believe this happens today. Mystically? or Practically?

  2. Awesome Meaghan! Praise God!!

    I love the part about the body of Christ metaphor - dead without the head. Good one.

    Blessings to you as you continue to follow Him...

  3. That's you running out of class, right?

  4. Maeghan,

    Way to go!

    Of course it is no surprize to us readers of your blog.

    Again, excellent job and thanks for sharing along the way.

    God Bless

  5. Thanks all!

    Practically of course.

    lol ... no, that is not me!