Dynamic Oneness: The Significance and Flexibility of Paul’s One-God Language

By Suzanne Nicholson

A study showing how, through the analysis of key passages in his epistles, Paul’s theology was influenced by his understanding of the oneness of God.

ISBN: 9780227173664


In his epistles, the apostle Paul affirms on several occasions that there is only one God. Yet in the same letters Paul also gives praise to the Lord Jesus Christ, often using language similar to his descriptions of God. How can this self-avowed Hebrew of Hebrews reconcile these ideas?

Dynamic Oneness explores the strongest one-God statements in Paul’s undisputed letters and asks how Paul’s Jewish monotheistic understanding informs his overall argument. These three texts – 1 Corinthians 8:6, Galatians 3:20, and Romans 3:30 – occur in very different contexts and address different issues. By looking at the historical, cultural, and grammatical contexts of these passages, as well as Paul’s language about God and Christ elsewhere in these letters, Dr. Nicholson argues that Paul’s understanding of the one God is not static or perfunctory; rather, it is dynamic and flexible, influencing significant aspects of Paul’s Gospel message. Paul’s ethics, his view of salvation history, and his soteriology are all fundamentally shaped by his understanding of the one God of Israel.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationJPOD

About the Author

Suzanne Nicholson is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, and is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. She received her PhD from Durham University in 2007.



1. Introduction: The Need for Further Study
2. The Function and Coherence of Paul’s Monotheistic Concepts – 1 Corinthians 8:4-6
3. The Superior Mediator – Galatians 3:20
4. The People of the One God – Romans 3:30
5. Conclusions: Dynamic Oneness in Paul’s Thought

Index of Subjects
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Sources


Endorsements and Reviews

Suzanne Nicholson’s book is the first to focus specifically on the coherence of Paul’s thought in relation to his statements about God’s oneness. Her theological approach resists the temptation to render Paul’s view of God as axiomatic. Instead, this study, which commits itself to a nuanced treatment of the apostle’s argument, shows a commendable sensitivity to the role played by distinguishable epistolary and socio-religious contexts in shaping Paul’s monotheistic language.
Loren T. Stuckenbruck, Richard Dearborn Professor of New Testament Studies, Princeton Theological Seminary

Anyone who is already convinced that the early Christians believed Jesus was divine within the parameters of Jewish monotheism will find Nicholson’s book quite helpful.
Tyler A. Stewart, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 21, No 1