Original Research

Believers or loyalists? Identity and social responsibility of Jesus communities in the Empire

Jeremy Punt
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 51, No 3 | a2050 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v51i3.2050 | © 2017 Jeremy Punt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 October 2015 | Published: 14 March 2017

About the author(s)

Jeremy Punt, Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


The narrowed down translation of πίστις to [belief] skews the interpretation of the Pauline letters, where this word-group primarily denotes loyalty and fidelity, including notions of trust, confidence and conviction. These notions, if in different ways, framed the Jesus communities’ relationship to God as well as to the imperial context in significant ways. In the end, rather than faithful discipleship and responsible citizenship, the Pauline letters promoted faithful citizenship.


Pauline letters; Faithfulness; social responsibility; Empire; politics; citizenship


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