Andrey Romanov, «Through One Lord Only: Theological Interpretation of the Meaning of 'dia', in 1 Cor 8,6», Vol. 96 (2015) 391-415
The present study attempts to clarify the theological meaning of dia, in 1 Cor 8,6. Traditionally the preposition is understood as an indication of a contrast between God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus' role is described as either instrumental or analogous to the role of Jewish Wisdom. The present study questions these interpretations on the basis of the analysis of the structure of the verse. In this author's opinion, dia, here indicates the unique functions of Jesus Christ which make him the co-worker of God the Father in both creation and salvation.
04_Romanov_391_co_415 30/10/15 13:10 Pagina 391
Through One Lord Only:
Theological Interpretation of the Meaning of dia, in 1 Cor 8,6
One of the striking elements of 1 Cor 8,6 1 is the usage of a
“cluster of prepositions” 2. Paul uses evk and eivj with respect to God
the Father and two times dia, (with the genitive) with respect to the
Lord Jesus Christ. These prepositions characterize God’s and the
Lord’s relations with ta. pa,nta and h`mei/j, but also (implicitly) the
relationship between one God and one Lord. The present study at-
tempts to clarify the link between the meaning of dia, in 1 Cor 8,6
and Paul’s understanding of the relationship between God the Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The traditional understanding of this relationship expressed in
the verse could be rendered by H. Conzelmann’s words that “the
interpretation of ku,rioj, ‘Lord’ — despite the formal parallelism [of
the verse] — is deliberately set in contrast to that of the concept qeo,j,
‘God’: (a) by choosing the preposition dia,, ‘through’; (b) by using
the same preposition twice” 3. One can, however, pose some ques-
tions: What kind of a “contrast” between God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ is indicated by dia,? What is the theological impli-
cation of this “through”? Can the analysis of the “formal parallelism”
of the verse and of the difference between its prepositions say
something more about the relationship between qeo,j and ku,rioj?
Having in mind these questions I proceed in this study in three
steps. In the beginning I briefly survey some hypotheses which discuss
the position of Jesus Christ in his relationship with God, primarily
in 1 Cor 8,6. In the second part I analyze the structure of 1 Cor 8,6
(described by Conzelmann as “the formal parallelism”) and particularly
According to NA28:
(8:6a) avllV h`mi/n ei-j qeo.j o` path.r evx ou- ta. pa,nta kai. h`mei/j eivj auvto,n(
(8:6b) kai. ei-j ku,rioj VIhsou/j Cristo.j diV ou- ta. pa,nta kai. h`mei/j diV
I use the NRSV for the English translation of the Bible.
So P. RAINBOW, Monotheism and Christology in I Corinthians 8.4-6
(DPhil thesis; Oxford University 1987) 41.
H. CONZELMANN, 1 Corinthians. A Commentary on the First Epistle to
the Corinthians (trans. J.W. LEITCH) (Philadelphia, PA 1975) 144.
BIBLICA 96.3 (2015) 391-415