Paul and συν-compounds: James Dunn

In studying συν Χριστω, I was intrigued by Paul’s use of συν-compounds. Most of these compounds only appear in Paul in the New Testament but they seem to incorporate so much of Paul’s theology – engaging past, present, and future realities for those ‘in Christ. It turns out I am not the only one who finds these terms significant…

Also see Con Campbell and Murray Harris.

James Dunn — The Theology of Paul the Apostle (403-404, list of all usages in footnotes on 402-403)

Particularly notable are the clustering of the compounds in several passages. Rom 6.4-8 and 8.16-29 deserve particular attention…

The prominence of the death-resurrection motif in the compounds uniting the believer to Christ underlines the distinctively Christian, that is, Pauline, character of the teaching. Paul appeals not simply to the wider sense of the appropriateness of death imagery when describing the beginning of the process of salvation. Fundamental is the eschatological claim that with Christ’s death a whole epoch has passed and a new age begun. Moreover, this new age is characterized by the steady reclaiming of individuals for an ever closer conformity to the risen Christ. In some sense the event of Christ’s passion and resurrection has to be reenacted in believers until the renewal of the new age is complete. Not only so, but the process cannot, almost by definition, be something merely individual and individualistic. Rather, by its very nature it is a shared experience which involves creation as well. The ‘with Christ’ cannot be fully enacted except as a ‘with others’ and ‘with creation.’

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