With respect to Paul’s introductory thanksgivings, Peter T. O’Brien (Introductory Thanksgivings in the Letters of Paul, NovTSup 49 [Leiden: Brill, 1977], 15) says, ‘We note in these periods an epistolary function, i.e. [36] It is probable that the tensions were within the churches of Rome (rather than between the churches) because of the way Paul individualises the conflict: ‘one person … the weak person’ (14:2). It was this passion and love for the Christ that compelled Paul to travel to Spain and acquaint the locals over there with Christianity. 1, 4). [80] Schreiner himself suggests that the reason Paul expresses the genuineness of his distress is most probably because ‘the honor and faithfulness of God are inextricably intertwined with the fate of Israel’ (ibid., 469). First, Paul makes direct reference to opposition to his gospel message. Why Did Paul Write to the Romans? 7. Karris argues that Rom 14:1–15:7 is a generalised, universalised version of 1 Cor 8–10, abstracted from its original living context.37 If this is right, then what we read in 14:1–15:7 is not reflective of a pastoral situation in Rome at all. [14] Sam K. Williams, ‘The “Righteousness of God” in Romans’, JBL 99 (1980): 246. On the one hand, the very seriousness of the issue implies its prominence within Paul’s design in writing the letter. among recent commentators see Colin G. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Pillar New Testament Commentary (Nottingham: Apollos, 2012), 298; Longenecker, Romans, 653–59; Michael F. Bird, Romans, The Story of God Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016), 233. This would be a great encouragement to Paul (see purpose statement [2] above). Paul wrote Romans to conduct an apologetic pastoral ministry among the believers of Rome—or a ministry of pastoral apologetics—designed to further gospel mission in Jerusalem, Rome and Spain. Many argue and debate over the association which existed between Judaism & Paul himself. 14 assumes a new communal identity that must now relativise all others. also 1:9). Clearly the danger is not hypothetical. As Byrne puts it, ‘he knows he has to explain why, if he is as he insists … the apostle responsible to God for Gentiles, he has failed up till now to visit a community where they exist in considerable numbers.’58 There is an uninterrupted logical progression from 1:13 all the way through to 1:18, without a marked distinction between the personal and theological elements of Paul’s introduction.59 As a development of the leading statement of v.13, it is likely that v. 16 also has an apologetic edge to it, with Paul countering the suggestion (voiced by some people) that he should be ashamed of the gospel he preaches.60 Contrary to the rumour that Paul’s gospel both promotes sin and denigrates God’s Law—taken up at length in 6:1–7:25—Paul insists that it reveals the righteousness of God with saving effect (1:16b–17). In 15:4, Paul supports his scriptural appeal to the example of Christ (v. 3, where he cites Ps 69:9 as descriptive of Christ’s self-denial) by affirming a general principle which it illustrates, namely that ‘everything that was written beforehand was written for our instruction, in order that through endurance (ὑπομονή) and through the encouragement (παράκλησις) of the Scriptures we might have hope.’ The reference to hope here is surprising, since Paul appeals to the example of Christ as a motivational model of love. 2 of Justification and Variegated Nomism, ed. Paul then ‘amplifies’63 this objection in v. 8 by mentioning another related one. Its primary audience is theological students, pastors and scholars. But we have no evidence that the edict was the cause of problems in the churches of Rome. Lastly, Paul knew the mission that lay ahead of him would be an uphill task and that he would need a lot of blessings & prayers from the Church of Rome if he was going to find any success in Spain. So far I have argued that Paul had two purposes in mind when he wrote Romans. Furthermore, he explains why he could not visit Rome previously and the incidents which hindered this particular wish of his. Paul implies that the weak are ‘despising’ (ἐξουθενέω) their Christian brothers, and the ‘strong’ are ‘judging’ (κρίνω) them (14:3), but both are ultimately forms of judgment: ‘therefore, let no-one judge one-another’ (14:13). [50] As argued by Barclay, ‘Faith and Self-Detachment’. [23] As also argued by Jervis, Purpose of Romans, 158–64; Weima, ‘Reason for Romans’, 20. [61] For example, the Christian Jews expelled from Rome under Claudius would have spent time in the Diaspora and come into contact with various objections to Paul’s message and mission. And, if so, why would he still judge me? [59] See further Wedderburn, Reasons for Romans, 102–4. This view is not unique to Karris. The introduction consists of few common notes about Paul himself. Assuming the conflict exists within the individual church cells, the suggestion of Barclay (‘Faith and Self-Detachment’, 198) that to welcome one another meant, in practice, to welcome one another to communal meals, is highly plausible. In Romans 7 Paul appears to be saying that he was unable to cease from sin. Later, I will suggest that this statement functions as part of a personal apologetic.19 For now, I simply note that the gospel is tied to Paul’s own mission (1:14–15). [60] A number of interpreters have understood 1:16 as apologetic in tone. Second, it is important to notice that the leading statement concerning the gospel in 1:2–4 is tied to Paul’s apostolic calling through the risen Christ, which concerns his mission to preach the gospel among the Gentiles (1:1, 5–6). Salvation, as is believed by many among the Christian masses, is the key to attaining Paradise as a reward for having lived life within this mortal world in submission & practice of the teachings & commandments of Jesus Christ. The problem with the various single-reason hypotheses is that they fail to account for all the data of Romans.5 The attractiveness of a multi-reason hypothesis for Romans is that it better accounts for the sheer complexity and scope of the letter. Only in this way will they become an acceptable, sanctified offering to God (15:17). Therefore, I will attempt to show some of the connections between the reasons for Romans. This means, of course, that when faith and love are harmed or disregarded in the community, hope inevitably withers, since the community will no longer look like the one that God’s gospel was designed to effect and fulfil. Third, on a few occasions Paul directly defends himself against misunderstanding or criticism. Also, he went head-on against idol worshipping since that was the prevalent norm in the Roman society. However, not only is ‘each of these trips … directly connected with his work as an apostle to the nations/Gentiles’,14 and as such is an extension of Paul’s calling, but each is fraught with potential difficulty for Paul (on which more below). [45] See Barclay, Paul and the Gift, 479–89. Paul presents four parallel statements of purpose or intent which explain why he either intends or has intended to visit the church in Rome. Although what follows is my own understanding of the question and is not intended as a survey of the many positions taken,4 the reader can follow the references to pursue various avenues for further exploration. Paul is speaking about a group of troublemakers whose behaviour and modus operandi were familiar to him (v. 17). 7, 13, 14, 16, 22), and he presents a model of humble confession in the face of God’s Law (vv. [15] See further, D. A. Carson, ‘Mystery and Fulfillment: Toward a More Comprehensive Paradigm of Paul’s Understanding of the Old and New’, in The Paradoxes of Paul. These differences in principled practice were proving divisive in Rome, and it is easy to imagine each group respectively digging their heals in. Why did Paul write Romans? These verses offer four expressions of intent, which line up together as mutually interpreting descriptions of why Paul would love to visit the believers in Rome: Reason (4) is clear enough.27 In 6:21–23 and 7:4–5 the image of fruit is closely connected with the life that the gospel brings, so it seems that reasons (3) and (4) are closely tied together. also the phrase κατὰ Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν (‘according to Jesus Christ’) at the end of 15:5, which I think also refers to Christ’s example. 1:12), as well as ‘be helped on [his] journey’ (προπεμφθῆναι) by them (15:24). [65] Stuhlmacher, ‘Purpose of Romans’, 239–40; Philip F. Esler, Conflict and Identity in Romans: The Social Setting of Paul’s Letter (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003), 125–28; Douglas A. Campbell, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 495–518. Immediately noticeable is the emphasis by repetition that we observed in 1:8–15. [19] In other words, Paul is not simply saying something important about the gospel, but about himself. If any man teach otherwise, and is not content with the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine of godliness, he is puffed up and knoweth nothing: but wasteth his brains about questions and strife of words…, In the sixth [chapter] he exhorteth the bishop to cleave to the gospel of Christ and true doctrine, and to avoid vain questions and superfluous disputings which gender strife and quench truth, and by which also the false prophets get them authority…, @2020 - All Right Reserved.


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