Paul and the Trinity: The Experience of Christ and the Spirit for Paul's Understanding of God

Gordon D. Fee

in The Trinity

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199246120
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600531 | DOI:
                      Paul and the Trinity: The Experience of Christ and the Spirit for Paul's Understanding of God

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Gordon Fee proposes that Paul, always a rigorous monotheist, became a latent (economic) trinitarian as the result of his experience of the risen and exalted Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit as the eschatological renewal of the promised Presence of God. In turn, the chapter examines: (1) Paul's primary trinitarian/soteriological passages, which are invariably expressed in triadic form when reflecting on the experience of salvation, and always presuppose ‘equal with but distinct from’; (2) the Christ narrative in Phil 2: 6–11, where Paul understood Christ as pre‐existent, equal with God, and invested with The Name (‘The Lord’ by way of the LXX's use of kyrios to translate YHWH); this made Paul a binitarian at the least. What made him a trinitarian was his experience — and understanding — of the Spirit: as both personal and distinct from the Father and Son; as the way the risen Christ was present in the life of the believer and believing community (the Holy Spirit of God is also the Spirit of Christ Jesus); and thus as the eschatological renewal of God's Presence. The chapter concludes with some implications for the present.

Keywords: economic Trinity; eschatological renewal; experience; Fee; Holy Spirit; kyrios; Paul; pre‐existence; Presence of God; salvation; triadic form

Chapter.  10978 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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