Introductory Issues in Romans
Christians and the state
In Romans 13:1-7, A Christian missionary who once persecuted the church More calls upon his readers to be subject to the governing authorities. The passage has been used to support Christian cooperation with evil regimes with disastrous consequences. Some Christian clergy and other leaders during the American Revolution appealed to these verses to oppose resistance to British rule. One should recognize that Paul wrote to people in Rome where some Jewish Christians had already been expelled under Claudius not many years before. Paul wrote to a place where Christians could suffer from civil disobedience. Whether he wrote for all times is another matter. In the end Paul himself must have been executed for civil disobedience, presumably refusing to participate in worship of the Roman emperor. Paul relativized the authority of the emperor by declaring that he is God’s servant (13:4), not a god.
A diatribe can be a rant or a bitter critique, often pointing out how bad things are and placing blame through an extended and one-sided complaint, something many prophets in the Old Testament delivered on God’s behalf. A diatribe was also a Greek rhetorical style… More
The term is derived from the Greek word diatribē, a word with several meanings, including “discourse.” It refers to a form of presentation, oral or written, in which the speaker or writer confronts and debates an imaginary addressee in order to instruct those actually being addressed. Typically, it makes use of hypothetical questions and false conclusions. Paul uses the technique frequently in his letters by setting up false inferences of the gospel and then correcting them. In Romans, diatribe is particularly evident in 1:18-3:20 (using an imaginary opponent at 2:1, 17; showing the opponent to be wrong at 2:4; naming false conclusions at 3:3-4, 9; and making his own conclusion at 3:19-20).
The “I” of Romans 7
Romans 7 is an extensive and deeply moving treatment of the human being before the law of God. Interpreters struggle and disagree among themselves concerning Paul’s use of the first-person singular pronoun “I” in much of the chapter. Proposals have included the following: (1) Paul writes autobiographically, describing his own personal struggle; (2) Paul is talking here about the struggle that the Christian has in resisting sin; (3) he speaks about the non-Christian person, particularly the Jewish person; and (4) he describes the life of the non-Christian from a Christian perspective. It appears that Paul is not simply talking theology apart from some experiential basis. He could be referring to the experience of the Christian, whose only hope is the Salvation can mean saved from something (deliverance) or for something (redemption). Paul preached that salvation comes through the death of Christ on the cross which redeemed sinners from death and for a grace-filled life. More that God brings (7:24-25).
Faith in or of Christ?
At several places in his letters (Romans 3:22, 26; Galatians 2:16, 20; 3:22; Philippians 3:9), Paul uses expressions in Greek (such as pistis Christou) that have traditionally been translated as “faith in Christ” (or some other christological title). That is how the phrase is rendered in the NRSV, Revised Standard Version (RSV) , New International Version (NIV), and other modern translations of the Bible. But the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition (NRSVue) has “faith of Jesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God’s saving act for humanity More Christ” or something similar in most of the texts cited above, thereby placing more emphasis on Christ’s own faithfulness than on a person’s faith in Christ. The “Pistis Christou Debate,” as it is often called, continues among New Testament scholars.
Paul uses the Greek word for “law” (nomos) in several senses. It can refer to the law of God in a broad sense, which even gentiles can know and by which they can live (Romans 2:14-15); to the The Mosaic law is another term for the Torah or the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. These five books are traditionally accepted as the word of God as told to Moses. More that guides Jewish life (Romans 8:3, 7; 9:31; Galatians 3:10; 4:21); to the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament) in a more general sense (Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 14:21); to the books of the The Torah is the law of Moses, also known as the first five books of the Bible. To many the Torah is a combination of history, theology, and a legal or ritual guide. More (the “The Pentateuch is a Christian term the first five books of the Old Testament. These books contain stories of Israel’s early history, God’s covenants, and many laws such as the Ten Commandments). More,” the first five books of the Old Testament) in particular (1 Corinthians 9:9; Galatians 4:21-27); to some general principle (Romans 7:21); and to “the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Romans and homosexuality
Romans 1:26-27 has been a key text in views about homosexuality historically and in modern times. According to some people, the passage is definitive and normative, the basis for opposing the full acceptance of homosexual individuals in the church and in society. According to others, homosexuality is an orientation, and therefore the passage is not about homosexuality but about certain same-gender behaviors evident in Paul’s time (primarily the exploitation of youths, slaves, and other vulnerable people). With this reading, the passage would have nothing to say about “homosexuality” as an orientation and perhaps nothing about some same-gender activities by homosexual individuals.
The salvation of the Jewish people
In Romans 9-11 Paul laments that the Jewish people have not accepted the gospel. He probes why that is so, often drawing upon the Scriptures of Israel with a thoroughness not found elsewhere in his letters. Near the end of these three chapters Paul concludes that “all Israel will be saved” (11:26). The salvation of Israel will not be on the basis of observing the law of Prophet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More but purely by the Grace is the unmerited gift of God’s love and acceptance. In Martin Luther’s favorite expression from the Apostle Paul, we are saved by grace through faith, which means that God showers grace upon us even though we do not deserve it. More of God. Although interpreters have found it difficult to think that here Paul might be thinking of salvation of the Jewish people without their prior faith in Christ, Paul says that he is disclosing a “A mystery is something secret, hidden and not perceived by ordinary means. In the book of Daniel a significant mystery is revealed through divine revelation (Daniel 2); Paul speaks of a mystery of God in Romans 11 and again in Ephesians 3. In speaking of… More” (11:25), a revelation from God that is not according to reason.
Women as Ministers of the Gospel
Paul’s letters indicate that women, as well as men, were active in spreading the gospel in the first century and helped establish and lead early Christian communities. Romans 16 names seven such women: Phoebe, The wife of Aquila and a leader of the early Church More, Mary, Junia, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis. At least one of these women, Prisca, was a ministry coworker of Paul. One should not assume that the ministry roles women exercised in early Christianity were necessarily different than those of men and/or excluded preaching the gospel, as some interpreters have concluded. For example, Paul states in Romans 16:7 that Junia is an Derived from a Greek word meaning “one who is sent,” an apostle is a person who embraces and advocates another person’s idea or beliefs. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus called twelve apostles to follow and serve him. Paul became an apostle of Jesus… More (see commentary on this verse in “Passages”), just as he describes himself (e.g., Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1). And Prisca (a shortened form of Priscilla), together with her husband Eloquent Jewish Christian from Alexandria who worked with Paul. More, led house churches both in Rome (Romans 16:3–5) and also in Asia (possibly Ephesus—see 1 Corinthians 16:19; Acts 18:24–26). The fact that she is typically mentioned before her husband suggests that she may have been the more prominent Christian leader, including when she and A co-worker with Paul and the husband of Priscilla. More provided corrective instruction about Christianity to Apollos (Acts 18:26). And though the precise nature of the work that Mary, Tryphaena, Tryphosa, and Persis do is not specified (Romans 16:6, 12), the same Greek verb (kopiaō) that is used for their labor also describes Paul’s ministry (e.g., Galatians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 15:10). The fact that Paul mentions women’s active participation in the ministry of the gospel without explanation or defense suggests that he did not see this as unusual or controversial.