Thursday, December 19, 2013

Romans 1:1-7

Year A - Advent 4 - Needed Change 4
December 22, 2013
Romans 1:1-7

If you are reading either the KJV or the NRSV and not breathing hard at the end of a 7 verse sentence, you weren’t paying attention as you went along. It will take an accomplished Shakespearean actor to come close to giving this justice. It will be all too easy to proof text from this complex assertion.

In coming to this section it is good to hear the confession of N. T. Wright in The New Interpreter’s Bible: “Perhaps not surprisingly, it remains the case that anyone who claims to understand Romans fully is, almost by definition, mistaken. It is common to list saints and Christian leaders whose lives have been changed by reading this letter; the catalog could be balanced by a similar number who have radically misunderstood it. Troublingly, the lists would overlap.”

The New Community Bible delineates some of the different paths found here: “Numerous theological notions have been derived solely or in part from Romans. Augustine acquired his idea of original sin from Romans 5; Luther gained his understanding of justification by faith alone from Romans 3-4; Calvin obtained his doctrine of predestination from Romans 9-11. John Wesley got his distinctive teaching on sanctification from Romans 6 and 8, and Karl Barth learned of the importance of the righteousness of God from Rom 1 and 2.”

The Common English Bible, among many others, breaks this into sentences (CEB version). They also note in their Study Bible, “Paul introduces himself, the good news (or “gospel”) he proclaims, Jesus as the content of the good news, and his reader’s participation in it.”

In all the G*D and Jesus talk it will be very easy to overlook an important participation phrase—Through Jesus we have received grace and apostleship/appointment to graceful living.

Which of these translations are you Adventing toward?

... to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles

... to bring all Gentiles to faithful obedience

Are you oriented toward order or grace? Yes, too broadly put and open to “radical misunderstanding”, but asked anyway.

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