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The New Testament writers use spatial language and imagery to portray our relationship with God, speaking both about God or Christ in us and us in them. Believers are also described as possessing and participating in divine qualities such as life and glory. Both aspects are prominent in John's Gospel and letters. However, outside the Pauline writings, union with Christ has hardly been addressed in New Testament scholarship. Clive Bowsher seeks to redress this balance in his New Studies in Biblical Theology volume Life in the Son.
In John's Gospel, the oneness of the Father and Son is described as the Father and Son being "in one another." Clive Bowsher's study shows that union with Christ in John's Gospel and letters is the in-one-another relationship of believers with the Father and Son by the Spirit—the intimate, loving, relational participation of the believer and God, each in the life, affections, ways, and work of the other. Insightful and accessible, Bowsher's study also explores connections with the shape of sonship, covenant and the life of the age to come. This volume fills a significant gap in the literature and promises to be a blessing to pastors, preachers, and scholars alike.
Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.
"The recent resurgence of scholarly attention given to the theme of union with Christ has primarily focussed on Paul, making the lack of attention to the theme within Johannine literature all the more striking. Clive Bowsher has addressed this gap with his insightful, probing, and informative volume, demonstrating the centrality of in-one-anotherness of Father-Son and believers in John’s Gospel and Letters. Bowsher highlights John’s focus on this loving, intimate, and relational participation between God and his people, making his book essential reading for anyone wanting to understand union with Christ and/or John’s writings." - Constantine R. Campbell, Professor and Associate Research Director, Sydney College of Divinity
"Clive Bowsher persuasively demonstrates the centrality of what he calls “in-one-anotherness”—or the reciprocal relationship between believers and God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—to the Gospel and Epistles of John. This entails participation in God’s ways, work, and character as the fulfillment of the Bible’s covenant motif, as sharing in the story of Jesus, and as experiencing proleptically the life of the age to come. Everyone interested in the Johannine literature, or in the themes of union and participation, should engage this significant volume." - Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
"Many Protestants are familiar with the one-anotherness of the Christian faith; we are called to a life of selfless love for each other in Christ’s body, the church. But few are aware that the one-anotherness between believers is based on something even more fundamental, the fact that the Father and Son are eternally in one another and that we as Christians are in the Father and the Son. Bowsher’s illuminating research expertly explores the contours of in-one-anotherness between God and believers in the Johannine writings of the New Testament. His book is eye-opening, faith-enriching, and heart-warming; it will affect every aspect of your relationship to God and to his people. I recommend it enthusiastically." - Donald Fairbairn, Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary