Holly J. Carey
Holly J. Carey (Ph.D. University of Edinburgh) is Professor of Biblical Studies at Point University, West Point, Georgia.
Abstract: The household codes of Ephesians 5:21-6:9 and the following “Armor of God” passage in Ephesians 6:10-17 have long been regarded as self-contained. Scholars have seen practically no relationship between these two portions of the letter, reading the latter as a new train of thought for the author. In this study, I argue that, contrary to these scholars, there is indeed a relationship of the household codes to Ephesians 6:10-17. It is demonstrated that this crucial connection is found in the author’s use of Isaiah 59. With sensitivity to this intertext present in the passage, it will be argued that (1) the original context of the Isaianic passage illuminates the
meaning of the Divine Warrior motif in Ephesians, (2) the image of the clothing of the Christian in God’s armor is significant precisely because it transfers the work of the Divine Warrior to the follower of Christ, and (3) the message of justice in Isaiah 59 helps to account for and make sense of the redefined roles of the household codes, and particularly in the Pauline understanding of ideal relationships among the family of God.
Key Words: Household codes, Isaiah 59, Armor, Divine Warrior, justice, family