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Paul's Summons to Messianic LifePolitical Theology and the Coming Awakening$
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L. Welborn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171311

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171311.001.0001

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Kairos (B)

Kairos (B)

(p.11) 2 Kairos (B)
Paul's Summons to Messianic Life

L. L. Welborn

Columbia University Press

According to Paul, the possibility of executing the command to love the neighbor arises from an awareness, or recognition, of the kairos (Rom. 13:11). In addition, Paul is not referring to a future event when he speaks of the kairos. As elsewhere in Romans when Paul mentions the messianic time, the term kairos is qualified by the temporal marker nun, which focuses attention on the present moment as such, “now.” This chapter seeks an understanding of the Pauline concept of “the now time” by locating Paul's usage in relation to Jesus' proclamation of the “nearness” of the kingdom of God. It shows that for Paul, as for Jesus, the kairos is not an interval before the end of time, but time filled with the presence of the “now”; for Paul, as for Jesus, the kairos is not a transition to the future, but a present in which time stands still; for Paul, as for Jesus, the kairos cannot be deferred, but must be accepted today. But there is one crucial difference: whereas for Jesus the kairos is entirely present, for Paul the kairos is a relationship of the present to the past.

Keywords:   Romans 13, Paul, kairos, love the neighbor, Pauline eschatology, messianic time, Jesus, kingdom of God

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