The severity of difficulties surrounding Paul’s use of Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8 is well known. I argue that Ephesians 4:8 is best understood as an instance of Paul quoting Psalm 68:18 against a broader canonical backdrop, putting the themes of Psalm 68 in dialogue with other portions of the OT (especially Numbers 8) while engaging in typological and christological reflection on the nature of the church as a diversely gifted community. I make this argument by evaluating seven major interpretive options for understanding Paul’s use of the OT here. I then assess the two most promising options by examining Psalm 68 in its relation to Judges 5 and Numbers 8 and by investigating the extent to which these canonical co-texts might have informed Paul’s appropriation of the psalm, concluding that more attention should be given to the possibility that Paul is engaged in a christological reading of Numbers 8.
In 1811, Lord Sidmouth introduced a bill before the House of Lords which would require new qualifications in the registration of dissenting preachers. While a staunch churchman and typically unsympathetic to dissent overall, Sidmouth saw his bill as being helpful to nonconformists. The purpose of his action was to remove uneducated and unqualified itinerants who had free reign to preach across the countryside. But nonconformists perceived his act as a new avenue of persecution. They saw this measure as a threat to their religious liberties. Dissenters from all ranks rallied together to protest the bill. Such a unified voice was unprecedented among nonconformists and they discovered the might of their political power as the measure was defeated. This article seeks to understand the motivations of Sidmouth’s intentions, whether of persecution or of prejudice.