The Ephesians 5 filling command and the household code suggests church growth outcomes beyond mere numbers of people (Not by the Numbers)
Summary of part 2 of Not by the Numbers: The “Be filled in Spirit” Command and the Church-Temple Imagery
Most up to date commentaries recognize a relationship between the command to be filled in Spirit (Eph 5:18c) and the following household code (5:22-6:9), although to varying degrees. Specifically, the last of the list of five participles of manner in 5:19-21, modifying be filled in Spirit (v. 18c), is imported into the first of the relationship-trio (wives-husbands). The syntactical relationship between the filling command and the household code, thus, connects the relationship-trio to the filling/fullness/Spirit thread in Ephesians. Furthermore, this syntactical and inter-textual association, then, joins the relationship-trio to the cosmic reconciliation of Messiah’s redemptive action (1:9-10), the Messiah’s subjection of all things in heaven and on earth (1:22-23), and the household-temple-church (2:19-22). This, thus, dynamically relates the Ephesians household code to the nature of the church itself and to the sphere of church growth, which suggest outcomes beyond mere numbers of people in a room at an addressed-church building on one certain day during the week or an the annual average of names on a church roll.
*For those following my thoughts on "Church Growth" as I prepare a paper for the upcoming November 2015 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Atlanta I post thoughts and drafts of sections of my paper. Other Not by the Numbers posts >>
Chip M. Anderson, advocate for biblical social action; pastor of an urban church plant in the Hill neighborhood of New Haven, CT; husband, father, author, former Greek & NT professor; and, 19 years involved with social action.