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Pluriform Unity in Christ: Ethnicity, Race, and Reconciliation in Ephesians 2

An accessible article on unity and diversity Ephesians 2, at Lexington Theological Quarterly

This article aims to counteract overly totalizing understandings of “unity” in Ephesians 2 by focusing on the expressions of plurality that appear alongside unity in the three key metaphors in Eph 2:11–22. Within the vision of ethnic reconciliation and peace found in Ephesians 2, a plurality of identities and perspectives is a significant factor. This requires questioning some common interpretive assumptions about the passage and reconsidering translations of some key phrases within it.

This article is short and accessible. It’s based on more detailed Greek exegetical argumentation and conclusions that I have presented elsewhere in Biblical Research. I don’t repeat the technical
exegetical details–instead, I summarize my findings in a
way intended to be accessible to a broader range of readers who
are not necessarily familiar with the Greek text.

My retranslation of Ephesians 2:19–22 is as follows:

So then, you are no longer foreigners and resident aliens, but you are fellow citizens of the holy ones and family members of God, having been built on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets, the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself, in whom every construction [process], being combined with [the others], effects growth [of each congregation] into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together with [the others] into a dwelling-place for God by the Spirit

Ephesians 2:19–22