Markus Barth

Markus Barth on Ephesians 2:15

Barth Ephesians 1-3‘The pacification carried out by Jesus Christ is an act of creation. This distinguishes it from sheer transformation or improvement, or from the unification of diverse elements by revealing a common feature … The beginning and first fruit of the new creation is called “a single new man” (lit. one new man”). Translations such as “new humanity,” “new nature,” “new personality” are not to be recommended because they create the impression that out of two (old) things, a new thing was made. But the text does not describe the creation of a combination of things, e.g. heaven and earth, or the production of a new concept or type of humanity or personality. It speaks only of the creation of a new person, “a single new man”. – Markus Barth, Ephesians 1–3 (The Anchor Bible; vol. 34; Garden City: Doubleday, 1974), 308, 309.

Markus Barth on the triumph of God’s cause

‘A Christian hope that yearns only for the Christians’ own personal perfection, peace and happiness, looks deeply suspicious to all who crave for a hope in promises that are greater than those of egoistical and meritorial systems. Paul’s message in Ephesians is not one of individual perfection, wholeness or happiness. It rather is Jesus Christ “filling all in all (1:23; 4:10); it is the hope to attain to the stature of his fullness and perfection (4:13); it is the manifest triumph of God as Father “of all, over all, through all, and in all” (4:6). By the Spirit, a hope and a triumph are granted that go far beyond some egotist’s private concern. If God is “all in all” (1 Cor. 15: 28), there is no need to be anxious about individual post-existence. Ephesians does not promise heavenly pastures, but it promises the triumph of God’s cause. The Holy Spirit given now is the seal that cannot be removed’. – Markus Barth, The Broken Wall: A Study of the Epistle to the Ephesians (London: Collins, 1960), 63.