This research is both an exegetical study of relevant pericopes, as well as the exegesis of a theological theme, viz, the leadership of the Pauline churches. Chapter one elucidates on the motivation for this research (like the fundamental importance of leadership, the continued lack of clarity with regard to the form and function of Pauline leadership), as well as giving a history of research done on the subject. Prominent issues come into focus from this history of the research done, which function as the basis for the questions asked in the remainder of the study. The main questions involve the following: -- The identification of the Pauline church’s leadership structure. -- The identification of cultural antecedents that functioned as a ‘gene-pool’ for the leadership and ministry structures of the Pauline churches. -- The dynamic between charism and office. -- The unique essence of the Pauline ministry, as well as Pauline authority. -- The relevance of the Pauline leadership structures and ministries for today’s church. The method of research includes three important perspectives that will be utilized to elucidate and interpret the relevant pericopes. These perspectives include the following: -- The influence of the world of the early Christians (viz, their social values, political structures and the ‘oikos’); -- the theological (religious) traditions in which Christians (especially Paul) grew up (viz, Judaism[s], ‘collegiae’ and hellenistic religions), and that exerted a conscious, as well as an unconscious influence upon early Christians and church leaders; -- the dynamic influence of the Holy Spirit (pneumatological factor), by virtue of the fact that the church is more than a social phenomenon - it is also a supernatural entity. For this reason, I am convinced that when we read the history of the church, we probably are witnesses of the unfolding of a pneumatological plan with regard to the form as well as the leadership of the Pauline churches, carefully executed by the Holy Spirit. This research considers the social dimensions of the community that hosted the Pauline churches (chapters two and three) - a critical key towards gaining an understanding of the leadership structures of the Pauline churches. This aspect suffered neglect in the past, which resulted in anacronistic readings and conclusions which had little or no moorings in the texts themselves (eg the so-called chronological view, as well as interpreting New Testament ministries in terms of modern church offices). Because of this, there is a constant focus upon the world of the texts in this research, and the powerful influences exerted by cultural factors (both secular and religious) upon the Pauline churches. The pericopes that come under scrutiny (chapters four to six) are 1 Corinthians 12-13; Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. This research confirms the powerful influences of the above-mentioned cultural forces and religious antecedents. Closer examination reveals the absence of so-called, ‘direct debts’ between the early church and it’s social and religious environment. It would probably be more correct to speak of a general analogical resemblance between the two. Chapter seven presents a summary of the conclusions reached by way of the exegesis, as well as a presentation of principles (dimensions) that can serve as guidelines (directives) for modern church leadership. These guidelines are based upon the exegesis of Paul’s letters and the experience of the Pauline churches. The study concludes with a proposed definition of a Pauline leader that includes all these principles (dimensions), gleaned from the pericopes.
Thesis (PhD (New Testament Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2006.