Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Several years ago the writer became interested in a study of the New Testament concept of the church. Since the major part of the New Testament collection dealing with this concept is made up of the writings of the apostle Paul he felt that the study should begin with these writings. In making a preliminary study it was found that the apostle's concept would be too extensive and too inclusive to incorporate in its entirety within the scope of a thesis written as partial requirement for the Master of Arts Degree. Consequenty this work is limited, being primarily foundational.
In order to maintain this foundational character the writer decided to make a study of a representative passage of each variant shade of Paul's concept, and, that only where some form of the term (ecclesia) appears in the text.
So that Paul's usage of the term might be more fully understood the first and second chapters are designed to serve as a background. These chapters will show that Paul, when he had become a Christian, had inherited a word that was potent with vital significance for him and for others like him in the new religion.
The remainder of the thesis is divided according to the major emphases which Paul makes upon the term 'ecclesia'. This has caused a shift of the Galatian letter from its traditional date of composition which places it shortly after the writing of the Corinthian letters into a closer proximity with the Thessalonian letters. The concept of 'ecclesia' in Galatians is more in accord with that found in the Thessalonian letters than with that in Corinthians and Romans.
Bealer, Ralph G., ""Ecclesia" According to Saint Paul" (1955). Graduate Thesis Collection. 466.