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Title: The fear of God in 2 Corinthians 7:1 : its salvation-historical, literary, and eschatological contexts
Author: Kim, Euichang
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 1607
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2017
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This study sets forth a hypothesis regarding the meaning and function of "the fear of God" in Paul's theology by examining its role in 2 Cor 7:1 within its salvation-historical and literary contexts. The consensus view of the fear of God distinguishes between two kinds of fear with God as its object-a negative fear (terror before judgment) and a positive fear (reverence that motivates holiness) that apply to unbelievers and believers respectively. In contrast, this study will propose that the fear of God-at least for Paul and the OT texts he cites in 2 Cor 6:16c-18-does not denote two kinds of fear, but only one, that is, one's feeling of alarm or trepidation in regard to God that is brought about by the realization of the reality of God's eschatological judgment. Believers and unbelievers do not experience the fear of God differently, but rather, this same fear of God applies differently in relationship to the two types of persons and times by whom and in which this fear is experienced: "believers," as a result of having already experienced God's salvation as members of the covenant, know the fear of God in the present that motivates them to pursue a holy life in anticipation of the judgment to come in the future, at which time they will not need to fear God's condemnation. On the contrary, "unbelievers," who are outside of God's salvation, do not fear God in the present and thus continue to live wickedly, which will lead them to God's condemnation in the future, at which time they will come to fear God's wrath. This hypothesis will be proved through examining the meaning and significance of the fear of God in 2 Cor 7:1 within its own literary context in 2 Cor 5:11-7:1 and against the background of the larger contexts of the OT texts that Paul cites in the catena of Scripture in 2 Cor 6:16c-18, which Paul summarizes in 7:1. The understanding and function of the fear of God that appear in these OT contexts will then be compared with the understanding of this motif in the Second Temple Jewish milieu in order to provide the history-of-salvation context for Paul's thought. Lastly, on the basis of this investigation, we will seek to understand the function of the fear of God in Paul's eschatology, where, for Paul too, it will be shown that the fear of God functions 1) retrospectively, as a proper response to God's saving acts in Christ by which he has established the new covenant people of God as the temple of God's presence (2 Cor 6:16), and 2) prospectively, as it motivates believers to pursue a holy life in anticipation of the eschatological judgment to come. Thus, in 2 Cor 7:1, Paul, as the minister of the new covenant, exhorts the Corinthians, who have experienced God's salvation, but still await the consummation of "the promises" in the future, to "cleanse themselves" and thus "complete holiness" in "the fear of God".
Supervisor: Hafemann, Scott J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: The fear of God ; Paul ; New Testament ; Isaiah ; 2 Corinthians ; Eschatology ; Judgment seat ; New covenant ; BS2675.6F38K5 ; Bible. Corinthians, 2nd, VII, 1--Criticism, interpretation, etc ; Bible. Corinthians, 2nd--Relation to the Old Testament ; Paul, the Apostle, Saint--Criticism and interpretation ; Fear of God--Christianity