Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


A. Boyd Luter


Chiasm, Chiasmus, Matthew 16-18, Ecclesiology, New Testament, Church


Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The only two instances of the Greek term ἐκκλησία (usually translated “church”) found in the Gospels are in Matthew 16:18 and 18:17. These two passages have been examined, debated, and interpreted in a number of ways by various scholars. The present dissertation presents considerable exegetical evidence that these two uses of ἐκκλησία are actually part of a larger literary structure called a chiasmus, which connects the passages in which Matthew 16:18 and 18:17 are found. Because these are highly significant ecclesiological passages, this study further develops the connection of the chiastic structure to other foundational ecclesiological passages, namely the Matthean Great Commission (28:16-20) and Acts 2-6 in order to examine and clarify the theological implications of this newly discovered chiasm. The results of this study demonstrate that: 1) there is strong support for the existence of this chiasm; and 2) understanding Matthew 16:13-18:20 as such has important implications for ecclesiological issues such as the relationship of national Israel to the church and the specific circumstances of the beginning of the church.

Available for download on Saturday, March 14, 2020