Original Research

The use of οἰκονομία for missions in Ephesians

Timothy A. van Aarde
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 37, No 1 | a1489 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v37i1.1489 | © 2016 Timothy A. van Aarde | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 June 2015 | Published: 01 June 2016

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Timothy A. van Aarde, Department of Humanities Research, North-West University, Vanderbijl Campus, South Africa

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The concern which prompted the letter and the author’s digression in Ephesians 3:2–12 represents a lacuna in Ephesians scholarship. Its function within the wider discourse remains uncertain. The term οἰκονομία is prominent in the discourse and has been interpreted as an administrative office or activity in the Pauline corpus. This article shows that the term has a missional nuance in Ephesians. It is used for the role of Christ in the execution of the plan of God (Eph 1:10) and the role of Paul in the implementation of the plan (Eph 3:2). The author of Ephesians acknowledges the role Paul played in the mission’s movement of the gospel itself, ‘I Paul the prisoner of Jesus Christ’ (Eph 3:1, 7). He is identified as the person to whom ‘the stewardship of the grace of God has been given’ (Eph 3:2). The οἰκονομία of the gospel is committed by Paul to the church, marking a new phase in the development of the mission of the church.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article suggests that in Ephesians 3:10, which is a crux interpretum, that the missional nuance of the term οἰκονομία indicates in Ephesians 3:10 the role of the Church in the execution of the plan of God and the missio Dei is implied.

Keywords: oikonomia; missions; Ephesians


oikonomia; missions; Ephesians


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