The Sacred “Inner” Space Between (Eph 3:16): Church as Revelation of God's Reconciling Mystery and Its Potential for Church Growth Outcomes (4a of 5)
III. Implications from Solomon’s Temple Dedication and Other OT Temple Texts (A)
There seems to be enough textual, lexical, and conceptual correspondence between Solomon’s temple dedication in 2 Chronicles 1-7, along with the parallel accounts in 1 Kings 6-8, and Paul’s “one new man” (Eph 2:15c) and “inner man” (Eph 3:16c).
The immediate context links the “one new man” and the Ephesians 3 prayer together. [See chart III.1.a]
The one new man, Solomon’s temple, and the future temple.
1. The Solomon temple dedication antecedent relationship to Paul’s Ephesians 2 “one new man” (v. 15c). There is lexical and conceptual associations to suggest this connection between Ephesians 2 and Solomon’s temple dedicatory speeches/prayers in 2 Chronicles 1-7 and 1 Kings 6-8. The centrality of “peace” in Solomon's prayers links the temple-building imagery of Ephesians 2 and points back to the first builder of the temple, making a type-antitype that is both Christological and ecclesiological regarding the Solomon, the man of peace, David’s son, and the temple that he built. Thus, the temple dedication and its wider context (2 Chron 1-7 and 1 Kgs 6-8) is a reasonable place to give intra-biblical background to the “one new man,” and thus, Paul’s reference to the Ephesians 3 “inner man.”
2. Support for my argument is further established by observing the dimension-language in Ephesians 3:18 (τὸ πλάτος καὶ μῆκος καὶ ὕψος καὶ βάθος, the breadth and length and height and depth). This language is used in describing how the temple was to be build and, as well, there is multiple-reference in its use similar to language throughout Ezekiel’s vision of the future restored temple. Interestingly, the same language is used in Ezekiel’s description of the altar in the eschatological temple described in Ezekiel 41:22. Also, we note that the highest prevalence of dimension language in the LXX is in Ezekiel 40-47 where it is used to refer to the dimensions of the new temple.
3. The immediate context for the Ephesians 3 prayer indicates that believing-Gentiles, now, by faith, are freely made fellow co-inheritors, co-heirs with believing-Jews into the body of Messiah (3:4–6), the church, which results in equal and full access to the Father (2:18ff.; 3:12; cf. 1:11-14). This clearly links the Ephesians 2 “one new man” with the temple-dedication prayer. Interestingly, the language of “near” and “far” also finds an antecedent in 2 Chron 6:36, noting its use prior to Isaiah 57:19, the reference Paul quotes in Ephesians 2:17.
“When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to a land far off or near (2 Chron 6:36, μακρὰν ἢ ἐγγὺς; cf. 1 Kgs 8:46; Isa 57:19; Eph 2:13, 17)
The “near” and “far” referents in the Solomonic prayer, an element of the dedication of the construction and the future of the temple are found in the context of the “one new man” and in Paul’s Ephesians 3 prayer; thus, inferring the corporate nature of the apostle’s “inner man
Some parallels to Paul’s Ephesians 3 prayer and Solomon’s temple prayer.
1. Ephesians 3:14–21 denotes Paul rhetorically kneeling in prayer (v. 14) for the new temple (2:18–22) to be filled with the presence of God, mirroring the posture and prayer of Solomon and having the same result: “. . . then [Solomon] knelt on his knees” (2 Chronicles 6:13) and “ . . . the glory of the Lord filled the temple” (7:1). Similarly, Paul’s prayer culminates in church being “filled with all the fullness of God” (3:19). The conceptual imagery is parallel, suggesting that 2 Chron 1-7 (and 1 Kgs 6-8) are, at least in part, the antecedent background for Paul’s prayer for the saints in Ephesus.
2. The question Solomon poses in his temple dedication prayer, “will God dwell with man on earth” (2 Chron 6:18), seems to be answered (i.e., fulfilled), first, in the Ephesians 2 “one new man” and, then, is certified in the Ephesians 3 prayer. Particularly note the use of κατοικέω (dwell) in Eph 3:17 and its use in the Solomonic dedication prayer for the temple (2 Chron 2:2; 6:18, 21; 8:27, 30; 1 Kings 8:27/3 Kings 8:27 (LXX); 1 Kings 8:30/ 3 Kings 8:30 (LXX); cf. God’s dwelling place, 2 Chron 6:30, 33, 39; 1 Kings 8/3 Kings (LXX) 8:29, 43, 49; cf. 3 Kings 8:53a (LXX)).
3. The dwelling: The building and dwelling language makes for antecedent linkage to Solomon’s temple prayer very strong: so that Christ may dwell [κατοικῆσαι] in your hearts through faith . . . (Eph 3:17a).
The use of κατοικητήριον is so prevalent in the temple dedicatory speeches, along with the concern in those same speeches for the foreigner suggest the possibility these temple speeches may be underlying and shaping Paul’s thought world for Ephesians, especially for 2:11–22 and 3:14–19.
4. The place given to the “foreigner” (2 Chron 6:32; 1 Kings 8:41) also suggests a link between the “one new man” and the Ephesians 3 prayer. The foreigner in the temple dedicatory prayer (especially in Chronicles) is in distant (far) lands (ἐκ γῆς μακρόθεν), a distinct connection to the Ephesians 2, and thus they journey to the temple to pray so that that Yahweh would hear their prayers. The result implies mission, evangelism, and church growth: “so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear” Yahweh (2 Chron 6:32–33). Furthermore, the temple is built by an appointed Gentile skilled craftsman, along with Gentile and Israelite laborers (note 2 Chron 2, particularly a leader who is both Gentile and Israelite, vv. 13–14; 1 Kgs 5). This conceptual link (acceptance of Gentiles) between the temple dedicatory prayer and Ephesians 2:11–22 strengthens the likelihood of a relationship with the Ephesians 3 prayer as well.
5. The emphasis on “forgiveness” and exile return offer a link as well. Solomon prophetically anticipated that Israel would stray from the law and the meaning of the temple itself. He asks that God would hear their prayers from exile and forgive them (2 Chron 6:25, 27, 28, 36; cf. 2 Chon 6:21; 7:14). The exile context and the result of “forgiveness” as God’s action in Messiah Jesus offer further linkage (Ephesians 1:7; 4:32; note the parallels in Colossians, 1:14; 2:13; 3:13).
6. The combination of God giving wisdom and understanding is used also in Exod 31:3 as that which is given to enable building of the tabernacle (also in Exodus 35:31, 35). In 1 Chron 22:12 and 2 Chron 1:10–11, it is what Solomon asks for and is given by God. (Aside from these occurrences, we see the same combination in Daniel 2:21, where it is part of Daniel’s praise to God that he gives wisdom and understanding to men.) Building the temple is a “wisdom” thing in both 2 Chon (1 Kgs) and Ephesians (1:8; 3:10; and prayed for in 1:17)
 Stirling, “Transformation and Growth,” 99.
 Stirling, “Transformation and Growth,” 141.
 Although not in the full scope of this paper, the fact that there is an exiled-condition associated with future restoration even here in the Solomonic dedication of the temple (goes to the purpose of the Chronicler) is significance, for God’s action in Messiah Jesus is the exile-remedy for which both Jews and Gentiles benefit, a theme in Ephesians.
 Stirling, “Transformation and Growth,” 99.
 Note: “Overlap between semantic fields with both ἀλλότριος and ξἐνος being used to translate ָנ ְכ ִרי, which is rendered ἀλλότριος in both 1 Kgs 8:43 and 2 Chron 6:32–33” (Stirling, “Transformation and Growth”)
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.