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

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

in The Library of New Testament Studies

by Michael W. Pahl

Pages 216
Publisher T&T Clark
Published 2009
ISBN-13 9780567455659
In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, the Apostle Paul appeals to a "word of the Lord" to provide authority for his eschatological encouragement. This appeal has left a perplexing problem related to the nature and function of the specific authority to which the phrase refers. Two theories have predominated in the history of interpretation: either 1) it refers to a directly received prophetic revelation, whether to Paul or to another Christian prophet; or 2) it refers to a teaching of Jesus received as tradition, whether preserved in the Gospel tradition or otherwise unknown.This book investigates this problem from three angles: epistemological analysis, examining Paul's authorities for his knowledge, particularly in his eschatology; linguistic analysis, including both grammatical and lexical study of the phrase; and contextual analysis, setting the statement within its historical and literary contexts. These approaches converge to suggest a fresh solution to the problem: while Paul does appear to employ traditional Christian eschatological teaching in his response to the Thessalonian crisis (4:16-17a), the phrase ?? ???? ?????? does not refer to this tradition, but rather refers to the proclaimed gospel message about Jesus centred on his death and resurrection which forms the theological foundation of Paul's response (cf. 4:14).

  • Table of contents
  • Chapter One: Introduction: The Problem of the logos kuriou
    • 1.1. The Nature of the Problem
    • 1.2. The Significance of The Problem
    • 1.3. The Scope and Method of This Study
  • Chapter Two: Solutions to the Problem of the logos kuriou
    • 2.1. Introduction
    • 2.2. The History of Interpretation of logos kuriou
    • 2.3. The logos kuriou as Mediated Jesus Tradition
    • 2.4. The logos kuriou as Direct Prophetic Revelation
    • 2.5. Evaluating the Conventional Solutions
    • 2.6. Conclusion
  • Chapter Three: An Epistemological Analysis (1): Prophetic Revelation and Jesus Tradition
    • 3.1. Introduction
    • 3.2. Paul and Early Christian Prophecy
    • 3.3. Paul and the Jesus Tradition
    • 3.4. Conclusion
  • Chapter Four: An Epistemological Analysis (2): Scripture and the Christ Events
    • 4.1. Introduction
    • 4.2. Paul and Scripture
    • 4.3. Paul and the Christ Events
    • 4.4. The Relationship among these Epistemic Authorities
    • 4.5. Conclusion
  • Chapter Five: A Linguistic Analysis: Paul's Language of Divine Utterance
    • 5.1. Introduction
    • 5.2. Basic Lexical and Grammatical Matters
    • 5.3. Language of Divine Utterance in Early Jewish Literature
    • 5.4. Language of Divine Utterance in Early Christian Literature
    • 5.5. An Exploration of "Word" as "Gospel"
    • 5.6. Conclusion
  • Chapter Six: A Contextual Analysis: 1 Thessalonians 4:15 in Context
    • 6.1. Introduction
    • 6.2. Historical Context: The Thessalonian Situation and Paul's Response
    • 6.3. Literary Context: The Structure of the Passage within the Letter
    • 6.4. Conclusion
  • Chapter Seven: Conclusion: A Fresh Solution to the Problem of the logos kuriou
    • 7.1. A General Summary of the Book
    • 7.2. A Final Assessment of the Options
    • 7.3. Some Closing Reflections

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