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The characterisation of the christian calling as a race

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Chapter Summary

The entire reference to the athletic image, including the opening picture of the foot race, has as its tertium the necessity of 'enkrateia' and not only of maximum exertion. Again, the immediate point of reference is Paul's own self-restriction in the interests of the Gospel. Nevertheless, the paraenetic implications for his readers and the relevance of the principle of 'enkrateia' to the discussion of the eating of meats offered to idols is apparent. Granted the hellenistic character or tone of the verbs in v.16, as well as the possibility of the metaphor having been borrowed from the Stoic diatribe, it would be tempting to regard Paul's maximlike words as a direct refutation of the Stoic or hellenistic ethic. A clearer picture of the Christian life of faith as a foot race appears in Gal 5:7 and Phil 3:12-14.

Keywords: athletic image; Christian life of faith; hellenistic character; Paul



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