The use of οἰκονομία for the missional plan and purpose of God in Ephesians 1:3-14

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Abstract:

The term οἰκονομία is used in the Pauline epistles with a specific nuance. It is Paul who uses it specifically as a missional term. He uses οἰκονομία in Ephesians for the missions activity of God, the missio Dei (Eph 1:10), his own mission activity and the proclamation of the gospel (Eph 3:2) and for the missions activity of the church. The mission of the church is discernible through a missional hermeneutic and reading of Ephesians and the identification of the missional calling of the church. In this paper it is my contention that οἰκονομία is an important term in a missional reading of the epistle to the Ephesians. This paper will focus on the importance of the word οἰκονομία for missions in Ephesians. The use of οἰκονομία as a missional term in the epistle to the Ephesians will support the proposal that οἰκονομία is to be read as a missional term in all of its occurrences in the Pauline Epistles. The contention of this article is that a missional hermeneutic should be employed when we read the Pauline epistles because Pauls mission undergirds and shaped the text. This article will serve as an introduction to a series of articles in which the purpose of the letter to the Ephesians will be revisited. David Bosch employed a missional hermeneutic in the reading of Luke (cf. Bosch 1991:88, 104). It was a bold and controversial claim within biblical studies. It led to insights and steps taken toward a missional reading of Matthew and Paul. The insights of Bosch have led to the development of a missional hermeneutic that has continued to move forward toward a more consistent expression