Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Romans - the central spine

Paul's Letter to Rome - the questions on their own

The table shows a 10-fold structure - 10 'What then'; 10 'By no means'; 7 'what shall we say' and 4 'I ask then'. (Well, 11 fold here). Was Paul counting on his fingers?

The structure should agree with the grammatical structure shown by the deliberate features in the epistle.

I highlighted 27 questions through the numbering - I do not yet know if I have hit the high points of the argument. There is a serious tension in Paul - his love of Torah and his statement that it is fulfilled. He refuses to say that the covenant with Israel has been replaced, yet he does not allow the pride of having been chosen to undo the reality of completion in Christ for all.

Summary of the 27
[1] 13.1: Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?[1a]
The value of Circumcision
3: What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
By no means!The faith of the Chosen
5: But if our wickedness serves to show the justice of God, what shall we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? By no means!Argument against grace

For then how could God judge the world? [3a]

7: But if through my falsehood God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?[3b]

8: And why not do evil that good may come?[3c]

[4] 2

9: What then? Are we Jews any better off?

The value of Circumcision
27:Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded.
No boasting
On what principle? On the principle of works?[6a]
Life is not by 'status'
29: Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also?[7a]
God is One

31: Do we then overthrow the law by this faith?

By no means! How to establish Torah
[9] 3 4.1: What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?
Does faith agree with the evidence in Torah itself?

3: For what does the scripture say?[9a]
9: Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised?
Is Torah inclusive?

We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness. 10: How then was it reckoned to him?[10a] Was it before or after he had been circumcised?[10b]


[11] 46.1: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?By no means!We, now including Jew and Gentile

How can we who died to sin still live in it?[11a]

3: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?[11b]

[12]515: What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!obedience without relationship is sin

16: Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to any one as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?[12a]

21: But then what return did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed?[12b]

7.1: Do you not know, brethren -- for I am speaking to those who know the law -- that the law is binding on a person only during a person's life?
Having died, the law is no longer binding
[14] 6

7: What then shall we say? That the law is sin?

By no means!the Law is not sin

13: Did that which is good, then, bring death to me?

By no means!The good Law brought wrath, not death

24: Wretched human that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?[15a]

[16] 7 8.31: What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?
Confidence in the Extreme

32: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?[16a] 33: Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?[16b] It is God who justifies; 34: who is to condemn?[16c] Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? [16d] 35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?[16e] Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?[16f]


9.14: What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part?

By no means! Is this Justice? Yes
19: You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?[18a]" 20: But who are you, a human, to answer back to God?[18b] Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me thus?[18c]" 21: Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?[18d] 22: What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, 23: in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory, 24: even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?[18e]
Fault cannot be found in God - there is patience and humility in God's wrath.
[19]930: What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; 31: but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on law did not succeed in fulfilling that law. 32: Why?
Election and Torah
10.8: But what does it say?
Confession and the word of faith
14: But how are people to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? [21a] And how are they to hear without a preacher? [21b] 15: And how can people preach unless they are sent? [21c] As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" 16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?"
Evangelism in time (there is no time and there is all time)
18: But I ask, have they not heard?
All have heard
19: Again I ask, did Israel not understand?
They will be provoked to understanding
11.1: I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?[24a] By no means!Remnant
[25]10 7: What then? Israel failed to obtain what it sought.
Faith and status
11: So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means!Not the end


15: For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
the end
This series on Romans begins here

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