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James, Epistle of

(653 words)

Author(s): Strecker, Georg
The Epistle of James is one of the Catholic Epistles. Apart from its simple introductory greeting, it lacks the basic characteristics of letters and does not seem to be written with a specific situation in view; even the admonitions regarding wealth and poverty (1:9–11; 2:1–7; 5:1–6) relate to no particular circumstances in the church. The work is more in the nature of a tractate with exhortation as its goal (Parenesis). It strings together admonitory proverbs and didactic passages (2:1–13, 14–26; 3:1–12) in no special order. The recipients are “the 12 tribes in the Dispersion” (1:1)—tha…

Household Rules

(535 words)

Author(s): Strecker, Georg
The so-called household rules are NT parenetic lists describing the duties of the members of Christian households (the oikos, which included wives and husbands, children and parents, slaves and masters). In the strict sense they occur in the NT only in Col. 3:18–4:1 and Eph. 5:22–6:9. Closely related are the passage on socioethical duties in 1 Pet. 2:13–3:9 and various unstructured statements (1 Tim. 2:8–15; 6:1–2; Titus 2:1–10; 3:1–2; 1 John 2:12–14; 1 Clem. 1.3; 21.6–9; Ign. Pol.  4–6; Pol. Phil.  4.1–6.1; Did.  4.9–11; Barn.  19.5–7). The household rules set Christia…


(2,050 words)

Author(s): Strecker, Georg | Starke, Ekkehard
1. NT 1.1. The Greek verb akoloutheō, “follow,” has a specifically religious sense only in the Gospels (apart from Rev. 14:4) and relates exclusively to Jesus, never to God. 1.2. The call of Jesus, “Follow me” (Mark 1:17), which is always directed to individuals, initiates discipleship. The announcing of the imminence of the kingdom of God, with the ensuing demand for conversion and faith in the gospel (cf. v. 15), gives urgency to the summons. Those who heed the call renounce existing ties (1:18; 10:28; Luke 9:61–62), receive a share in the future salvation that the person of …

John, Epistles of

(775 words)

Author(s): Strecker, Georg
1. 1 John 1.1. Although 1 John is included among the Catholic Epistles, along with 2 and 3 John, it does not have the essential marks of a letter. When, though, the author calls his readers “children” and “beloved,” it shows that he was addressing specific people in a community (e.g., 2:7, 12–14). These people “believe in the name of the Son of God” (5:13). The entire church is in view, not just a single congregation. The work is thus a homily in which an introduction (1:1–4) is followed by sections that are alternately hortatory (1:5–2:17; 2:28–3:24; 4:7–5:4a; 5:13–21; Parenesis) and dogma…


(2,262 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Strecker, Georg | Peters, Albrecht
1. OT 1.1. Term “Sanctification” denotes the transition from the ordinary secular sphere to the sphere of the holy (Sacred and Profane), but then also the analogous transition from the sphere of impurity (on the margin) to the normal sphere of purity (e.g., Lev. 11:44). On the OT view God himself is the quintessence of the holy (he is the Holy One, or the Holy One of Israel, and the beings around him are holy ones; see Isa. 6:3; Ps. 89:7; 99:5, 9). Primarily, then, sanctification is movement into proximity to God, though this movement can be understood in different ways. 1.2. In Space and Time First…