Drinking Deeply

Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 1:28 AM

Roaming about in Romans

So over the past few weeks, I've had the blessing to be able to read through the book of Romans repeatedly. That's been stupendous. There have been so many things that I've noticed that I never would have seen without being able to read it all in one go. I would suggest it to anyone (o at least suggest the reading any book of the Bible repeatedly).

Some examples of what I've had the blessing to see:

Romans 1 expresses Paul's desire to visit the church at Rome, saying that he wishes he could go to preach the Gospel.

Romans 15 echoes that desire to visit Rome, but no longer includes the part about preaching the Gospel. Coupled with the fact that he launches directly into talking about the Gospel in the second half of ch. 1, we can understand that the book of Romans is Paul's Gospel.

Romans 2 talks about presuming upon God's kindness and patience. I had always assumed that to refer to the "general" kindness like the sun shining, the rain falling. But read right after where repeatedly we see "And God gave them up..." coupled with Paul's condemnation of "those who judge," I've started to see God's kindness in the sense of "you're not as bad as they are, but that's no reason to boast!"

Romans 10 is an interesting interjection in between 9 and 11. Honestly, I have to confess I'm a little befuddled about how it fits into Paul's general discussion on the falling away and ingrafting of Israel. Especially this paragraph -
14But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[c] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" 16But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" 17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

18But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
"Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world."

19But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
"I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry."

20Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
"I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me."

21But of Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people."

Is Paul "dialogging"? Why does he interject the words about "how will they hear..."? I don't get it! So a good frustration from wrestling with the text.

I'm also more convinced than ever that my reading of Romans 9 is right, so hopefully I'll get around to posting on that in the future... if I ever get back to my TULIP series. Apologies for the delays. Been ... busy/lazy.


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