I’ll be on vacation starting tomorrow. I’m not going anywhere just staying at home doing odds and ends and enjoying a lot of reading. I may be giving you some quotes from my reading that I find intriguing. The one I have for you today really got me thinking. It comes from a new book from B&H Academic called The Community of Jesus: A Theology of the Church edited by Kendell H. Easley and Christopher W. Morgan. The quote is from an essay written by Easley on “The Church in Acts and Revelation.” He writes,
“These are the only NT passages that name the church as Christ’s wife/bride, [Rev. 19:7; 21:2; 21:9; 22:17] although Paul famously alluded to this figure in Eph 5:22-33.” (47)
It was the footnote to this passage that left me thinking. There he states,
“Nowhere outside Revelation is wife/bride vocabulary for the church explicitly used in the NT. Contrary to popular preaching, the phrase ‘bride of Christ’ is never found in the NT. When Paul reached the climax of his teaching that Christ’s sacrificial love for the church is the model for a Christian husband’s love for his wife, he said, ‘We are members of His body’ (Eph 5:30), rather than ‘we are His bride (or wife).’” (Emphasis mine. 85n47)
He concludes this short section with something I’ve never thought about.
“These instances of wife/bride language in Revelation occur only near the end. Therefore it appears unlikely that the churches addressed in Revelation would have seen themselves as already being the wife of the Lamb. Perhaps it is better to say that they considered themselves betrothed to him and destined to become his wife in the glorious consummation of all things.” (86)
It’s something to think about.