By Leland Ryken
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Extra info for Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
ABUNDANCE Abundance in the Bible is of two types-physical, or earthly, and spiritual. The two are interrelated, for earthly abundance is consistently portrayed as a blessing from God, who gives it as a reward for covenant keeping or simply out of grace. On a spiritual level the vocabulary of abundance is related to such large and overriding issues as salvation, miracles, reward, evil and honor to God. References are found in both Testaments, and some images recur as themes in both. Overall, images of abundance are used in the Bible primarily as a means of inspiring worship or of encouraging obedience to God.
McBride (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987) 337–56; A. T. Lincoln, “Abraham Goes to Rome: Paul’s Treatment of Abraham in Romans 4, ” in Worship, Theology and Ministry in the Early Church, ed. [ed. ed.. edition; editor (s); edited by] M. J. Wilkins and T. HTM 5/13/2007 Page 62 of 3291 1992); S. Sandmel, Philo’s Place in Judaism: A Study of Conceptions of Abraham in Jewish Literature (augmented edition) (New York: KTAV, 1971); J. Van Seters, Abraham in History and Tradition (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1975).
The second two are so interrelated that they can be covered together. The keynotes of Paul’s references to Abraham are the motifs of faith and promise. Faith, which is largely implicit in Genesis and absent in the rest of the OT [OT OT. Old Testament] , forms the cornerstone of Paul’s use of Abraham as an image of faith in contrast to the law and circumcision, with special focus on Genesis 15:6 (Rom 4:2–5; Rom 6–12). Circumcision serves merely as a “seal” of the righteousness of faith (Rom 4:11).