Powers of Darkness: Principalities  Powers in Paul's Letters, By Clinton E. Arnold

Powers of Darkness

Principalities Powers in Paul's Letters

by Clinton E. Arnold

Powers of Darkness
  • Length: 244 pages
  • Published: February 03, 1992
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 1336
  • ISBN: 9780830813360

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Satan worship. Witches. New Age channelers.

The last two decades have witnessed a vast upsurge in occult activity. Scores of popular books have warned Christians of the dangers and urged them to do battle against these spiritual forces. Few books, however, have developed a careful biblical theology on demons, principalities and powers.

Clinton Arnold seeks to fill this gap, providing an in-depth look at Paul's letters and what they teach on the subject. For perspective, he examines first-century Greek, Roman and Jewish beliefs as well as Jesus' teaching about magic, sorcery and divination. Arguing against many recent interpretations that have seen principalities and powers as impersonal social, economic and political structures, Arnold contends that the New Testament view is that such forces are organized, personal beings which Jesus defeated at the cross and will bring into full subjection at his return.

In his concluding section Arnold suggests practical ways in which Christians today can contend with the forces of evil.

A thoughtful, biblical look at an urgent challenge facing the church.



Part I: First-Century Belief in the Powers
1. Magic and Divination
2. Greco-Roman and Oriental Religions
3. Astrology
4. Judaism
5. The Teaching of Jesus

Part II: Paul's Teaching on the Powers
6. What Are the Powers?
7. The Defeat of the Powers at the Cross
8. A New Kingdom and Identity for Believers
9. The Influence of the Powers on Believers
10. Christ and No Other
11. Spiritual Warfare
12. Christ's Final Defeat of the Powers

Part III: Interpreting the Powers for Today
13. Reality or Myth?
14. The Powers and People
15. The Powers and Society

Conclusion: Contending with the Powers
Selected Bibliography
Author Index
Index of Biblical Passages
Subject Index


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Arnold, author of Powers of Darkness: Principalities and Powers in Paul's Letters, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and has done post-doctoral work at Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen in Germany. He is currently associate professor of New Testament at the Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.