Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Romans 1-8 Clearinghouse

For whatever it is worth, if indeed it is worth anything at all, here is the one-stop shopping source for the entire series on Romans 1-8, with the links for the entire series given below.

I have personally found deep study of Romans 1-8 to be very intellectually and spiritually stimulating, and writing out my thoughts in what is hoped to be a respectably careful fashion has helped things to stick. I would almost go so far to say that I have the entire text of Romans 1-8 memorized in paraphrase form in my head as a result of reading things over and over and thinking about them. And, given that very few students come to my office hours, I've taken the opportunity to be a student of St Paul, as all believers must sit at his feet, inspired apostle that he was.

I've thought about going through all of Romans, which means doing posts on Romans 9-16. I have reservations about doing this; these reservations clinch the case [at least for the time being] for not doing such a series.

(1) I simply don't have confidence that I understand Romans 9-11 well enough to speak on it with any authority. I [think that I] understand the structure and parts of the big picture, but even if I comment only on the structure of a text, I do so having full confidence in my interpretation of the details. [For Romans 1-8, I have great confidence in my interpretation of the details, and I could probably write a good 400 page semi-scholarly commentary on the interpretation of the Greek text, hence I am confident about posting thoughts on this part of the epistle.]

(2) While all of scripture is God's revelation for us and to us, it isn't the least bit disrespectful to assert that some parts of it interest a person more than others do [though of course we're bound to those parts that don't interest us as well]. I find Romans 1-11 interesting, but 12-16 don't float this student's boat. I'd probably start the series with a bang and soon it would whimper out pretty quickly. [Pedantic Politics...cough cough cough]

(3) Referring back to (1), the blogging intensity is going to [so I say now] die down somewhat over the next few weeks for various reasons. Writing substantive entries is rather time-consuming, and, though I've done these entries for what is ultimately a selfish reason [so that things stick in my teflonesque-as-of-late mind], I'd really like to study a few high-level commentaries carefully and nail down Romans 9-11. Dr Svendsen of NTRMin fame told me in a personal chat that were I a Calvinist, Romans 9-11 would make perfect sense. Perhaps he's right. We'll see. [But if I take a Calvinist mindset, will I have to have a new circle of friends? Will I need to buy a whole new wardrobe? Will I have to change the blog name to Collegiate Calvinist?]

Oh well, the series is through for now, and, for the convenience of readers --- if I may be so bold as to presume that anybody would be interested in an autodidactic MDiv's semi-structured Romans romp --- here is the full collection of links, given in the chronological order in which they were posted.

(i) Link to the discussion of Romans 1-4

(ii) Link to the discussion of Romans 5

(iii) Link to the discussion of Romans 6

(iv) Link to the discussion of Romans 7:1-12

(v) For the link in (iv), it was mentioned that the identity of the "I" in 7:7-12 and 7:13-25 required some form of discussion. The "I" in Romans 7:7-12 is discussed at this link: Pauline "I" for the Exegetical Guy [Regardless of what one thinks of my conclusion, it is intellectual dishonesty not to give props for the thread name!]

(vi) In the same vein, we discuss the "I" of Romans 7:13-25 relative to the two major interpretations: the "I" has being unregenerate is at this link.

(vii) The interpretation of the "I" in 7:13-25 as regenerate is discussed and upheld in this link.

(viii) Upon completing Romans 7, I gave a summary of the thought-flows in Romans 1-7.

(ix) Discussion of Romans 8:1-11 was found here.

(x) Discussion of Romans 8:12-39 is found here.

In the end, the following pastoral words must be stated, not only for the benefit of readers, but, most of all, for the benefit of this student. The study of scripture is not an end in and of itself, but it is a means to an end, the end being a full and solid knowledge of those things God has specially revealed to us. The study of scripture is for our edification and defense against whatever enemies and antagonists to the faith [both external and interal relative to ourselves!] exist, as well as for the edification of others. And it is worth mentioning that in presenting Christianity to others, diligent study allows us to be accurate and careful with what we herald, not substituting our own philosophical hobby-horses for what God has revealed. In the end, appropriately quoting Paul here and the main theme of the Roman epistle, the scriptures attest to the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is true man and true God, who bore on our behalf our sins on His Incarnate body, who was raised from dead, who was glorified, and will come again to judge the living and the dead, and this gospel truly is God's saving power unto the salvation for all who believe.

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