Summary: Paul, An Outline of His Theology
by Herman Ridderbos
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, 1975 (translated John Richard de Witt)

The definitive work on Paul, the theologian, Ridderbos's Paul is an in depth (587 pages), systematic outline of the apostle's theology. Ridderbos's scrupulous attention and sensitivity to the text produces many beneficial insights into the eschatological nature of Pauline thought and the apostle's own redemptive historical emphasis. His sound exegesis and meticulous research are exemplary and yield significant advances in our understanding and study of Pauline literature. Among our favorite sections is his "fundamental structures."

Among Ridderbos's best contributions to Pauline thought is his recognition of the apostle's relentless adherence to the indicative-imperative framework. In light of his constant pounding home of the indicative-imperative scheme is how one sees ethical conduct. Ethics cannot be divorced from redemption. In fact, apart from the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ there can be no ethical action that pleases God. That is why Paul would have us preach Christ and Him crucified and not the wisdom of the Greeks.

This highly acclaimed treatise has quickly become the standard work in seminaries and theological schools. His abundant Scripture references and citations provide an easy commentarial guide for any serious student of Paul. Readable, clearly footnoted, and well-indexed, this work is sure to be a monumental bulwark for redemptive historical and biblical scholarship for years to come.


I. Mainlines in the History of Pauline Interpretation

A. Introduction
B. F.C. Bauer (the Tubingen School)
C. The Liberal Interpretation and its Decline
D. The History of Religions Approach
E. The Eschatological Interpretation
F. Continuing Development

II. Fundamental Structures

A. The Fullness of the Time
B. The Revelation of the Mystery
C. The Mystery of Christ: Eschatology and Christology
D. The Firstborn from the Dead: The Last Adam
E. In Christ, With Christ: The Old and the New Man
F. Revealed in the Flesh: Flesh and Spirit
G. Christ, the Son of God and the Image of God
H. The Firstborn of All Creation
I. Christ the Exalted and Coming Kyrios

III. The Life of Sin

A. The Present World: Aeon, Cosmos
B. The Universality of Sin: Flesh, Adam
C. The Essence of Sin: Anthropological or Theological
D. The Wrath of God
E. The Corruption of Man
F. Romans 7 in the Pauline "Anthropology"
G. The Antithesis with Judaism
H. No Righteousness by the Law: "Boast" and "Skandalon"
I. The Law Impotent because of the Flesh
J. The Bondage of the Law
K. The Law as Disciplinarian unto Christ
L. Paul, Judaism, and the Old Testament

IV. The Revelation of the Righteousness of God

A. Introduction
B. The Eschatological Character of Justification
C. The Righteousness of God in Christ
D. Righteousness of Faith: Without the Law
E. The Justification of the Ungodly: Imputation
F. Judgment According to Works

V. Reconciliation

A. God's Reconciling Activity in Christ
B. The Peace of God
C. Christ's Death as Atonement: Katallage and Hilasmos
D. Ransom
E. The Adoption of Sons: The Inheritance

VI. The New Life

A. The General Point of View
B. Death and Resurrection with Christ
C. Life Through the Spirit
D. The New Man
E. Faith as the Mode of Existence of the New Life
F. The Nature of Faith

VII. The New Obedience

A. Indicative and Imperative
B. The Theocentric Point of View: Sanctification
C. The Totalitarian Point of View: Perfection
D. Unity and Multiplicity
E. The Concreteness of the Paraenesis
F. Tertius Usus Legis
G. Liberty and Conscience
H. Love
I. Life in the World
J. Marriage
K. Social Relationships
L. Subjection to Civil Authority

VIII. The Church as the People of God

A. Two Principle Aspects
B. Ekklesia
C. "Saints," "Elect," "Beloved," "Called"
D. The New Covenant: Universal and Particular
E. The Nature of Election: God's Purpose
F. The Future of Israel

IX. The Church as the Body of Christ

A. Various Viewpoints and Problems
B. "Body" and "Body of Christ"
C. Body and Head
D. Christ the Head of All Things: The Church as Pleroma
E. The Church as the People of God and as the Body of Christ

X. Baptism and the Lord's Supper

A. Different Definitions of Baptism
B. Baptism as a Means of Salvation
C. The Redemptive Significance of the Lord's Supper
D. The Critical Significance of the Lord's Supper: Self-examination

XI. The Upbuilding of the Church

A. The Church as Edifice
B. Extensive and Intensive Upbuilding
C. The Spiritual Equipment of the Church
D. Charisma and Ministry
E. Diversity of Gifts
F. Ecclesiastical Order and Discipline
G. Worship

XII. The Future of the Lord

A. The Life of Expectation
B. Death Before the Parousia: The "Intermediate" State
C. The Revelation of the Man of Lawlessness
D. The Parousia
E. The Resurrection
F. The Judgment
G. The Consummation: The Eternal State

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