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Power and Magic: The Concept of Power in Ephesians [Paperback]

By Clinton E. Arnold (Author)
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Item description for Power and Magic: The Concept of Power in Ephesians by Clinton E. Arnold...

This commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians focuses on Paul's emphasis on power and spiritual warfare, a necessary focus according to Clinton Arnold when one considers the occultic and magical context of pagan Ephesus.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Pages   260
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 5.82" Height: 0.61"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2001
Publisher   Wipf & Stock Publishers
ISBN  1579108350  
ISBN13  9781579108359  

Availability  0 units.

More About Clinton E. Arnold

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Clinton E. Arnold, professor of New Testament language and literature at Talbot School of Theology, is a noted authority on spiritual warfare. He is the author of Power and Magic: The Concept of Power in Ephesians, Powers of Darkness: Principalities and Powers in Paul's Letters, and The Colossian Syncretism: The Interface between Christianity and Folk Belief at Colossae. His Ph.D. degree is from the University of Aberdeen.

Clinton E. Arnold has an academic affiliation as follows - Biola University, California.

Clinton E. Arnold has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 3 Crucial Questions
  2. Zondervan Commentary
  3. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on New Testament
  4. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
  5. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary
  6. Zondervan Visual Reference

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

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Reviews - What do customers think about Power and Magic: The Concept of Power in Ephesians?

Not everyone's cup of tea?  Oct 29, 2008
From the two reviews posted, one would think it must be a great book, which it would still be, if it were more readable.

I was recommended this book by an evangelist friend but have to say that unless you are a serious theologian or you are a uni student that loves academic writing full of big words and academic jargons that you have to read and re-read in order to understand what is being said, you would quit half way like I did, and would have forgotten the half that you did read anyway!

That's not to say the material is bad, just that the style of writing does not lend itself to reader "stickability"! It was hard work. I gave up.
Book summary  May 3, 2005
The nature, purpose and contents of the epistle Ephesians have been variably hypothesized . Beare , Martin and Goodspeed , theorize Ephesians as a comprehensive summary of Pauline theology. Dahl understands Ephesians to be addressing disunity in the church, calling the church back to its beginning to remind them that they share in the privileges God has granted to them all. Many regard it as an anti-heretical tract against Gnostic tendencies, with the author employing Gnostic language and thought to provide a point of contact with the readers. Others point out parallels to the language and theology in the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Qumran community. Ephesians has also been suggested as a liturgical document, perhaps for specific events like baptism, the Eucharist, or Pentecost.

In contrast to the above, Arnold suggests that the "life setting" or circumstances behind Ephesians was the need of "a group of churches in western Asia Minor needing help in developing a Christian perspective on the "powers" and encouragement in their ongoing struggles with these pernicious spirit-forces." (p. 167). Ephesus bore the reputation of being a center for magical practices widely influential in Greco-Roman culture, with its patron goddess Artemis (a.k.a. Diana) being claimed as a "cosmic" goddess of the underworld superior to the alleged power of any other deity, astrological fate and evil spirits. This "life situation" would sufficiently explain the prominence of the power-motif in Ephesians - that God's power working on behalf of the believers is juxtaposed to the might of the "powers" of evil working against believers -- as a primary theme to address its recipients' strong belief and fear of the demonic realm.

This theme has six key points:

First, God's power's superiority and Christ's supremacy have been demonstrated especially in Christ's resurrection from the dead and his exaltation to a preeminent position. , , This message would bring great comfort to the Christians. There is no longer any reason to fear the tyrannical evil "powers" in light of the superior power of God the Father, who brings about all things in accordance with his will through Christ.

Second, the believer now has access to God's power , through having been transplanted from one sphere of power into another.

Third, God's people are brought onto the closest-possible union with their resurrected and exalted Lord., such that the believers are already co-resurrected and co-exalted with Christ. Christ and the Holy Spirit indwell in each believer, providing him/her with strengthening and making them sharers of the divine power to be appropriated through faith.

Fourth, There exists an evil spiritual order led by "the prince of the authority of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), who wields an enslaving influence over the pagan world , leading people into disobedience and sin . While all these evil forces still retain a large measure of their power, their authority and sway has been effectively broken by Christ's resurrection and exaltation. Hence, all who are "in Christ" need not succumb to the authority of the "powers". At the consummation, these powers will be completely subjected by Christ.

Fifth, Believers are admonished to take up a resistant stance, by appropriating God's power to withstand these forces' vicious attacks.

Sixth, God's supernatural power imparted to believers has others in view, whereas the pagan magical practices have almost exclusively the practitioner's self-centered interest in view. God's power strengthens the believer to love, after Christ's pattern. This love's rigorous responsibility requires divine enablement.

The above perspective suggests that Ephesians needs not primarily be a response to cosmic speculation such as an anachronistic and dubious first-century Gnosticism. The cosmic "powers" can be better explained by the folk-religion's evident involvement in the demonic realm. Ephesians could be addressing the felt needs of common people in churches of western Asia Minor, who perceived themselves as oppressed by the demonic realm. Ephesians' distinctive accentuation of cosmic Christology" and "realized eschatology" was thus motivated by the author's pastoral intention of admonishing the readers to depend completely on Christ in their struggle against the forces of evil.
A Portrait of the Ephesians' Spiritual Battle  Dec 18, 2004
Excellent book. There are a lot of flaky books out there on spiritual warfare, and this is not one of them. Arnold presents a framework for understanding spiritual power from a biblical perspective. He uncovers the intense interest in spiritual things prevalent in the first century. Magic and the worship of the goddess Artemis (or Diana)were central to life in Asia Minor in biblical times (just check out the book of Acts!). These practices were connected to demonic power, says Arnold. The apostle Paul writes the book of Ephesians into this milieu in order to equip the believers to "stand firm" in the power of God against the dark influences. Arnold does an excellent job of unpacking this message in a scholarly fashion.

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