Romans 9, Pt. 1

Posted: June 21, 2010 by graysutanto in Romans 9
Tags: , , , ,

Here is the first of many parts of an exposition of Romans 9:1-23

Genre and Context

The Genre of the Book of Romans is Epistolic, which means that it is a letter. Epistles are very flexible in their content, usually following a structure that consists of an opening, a body and a closing, and they were meant to be read in a single sitting. These are not narratives like the Gospels, instead, they are generally written with an aim of addressing a certain need or issue that the recipients of the epistle are currently dealing with. A common theme that the epistles share is a reflection upon the significance of Jesus Christ, and what He had done on the cross, how this affects God’s promises on Israel and the life of the new believers. The Epistles are not philosophical or theological treatises that try to expound and explain every issue exhaustively. Instead, they seek to address specific situations facing churches. A key thing to keep in mind while interpreting the Epistles is to try to understand the specific circumstances that the original recipients were facing. Living a long time after these issues were current, means that we could be disadvantaged if we only hear the answer without comprehending the question. Often, we can infer from the text itself a basic idea of the issues that the writer is trying to address. An understanding of the context is therefore crucial.

The book of Romans contains the fullest expression of Paul’s theology, but knowing that it is an Epistle, he still never meant it to be a full or exhaustive theological treatise, leaving out eschatology, major doctrines of the church and Christology. From the text itself, we can deduce that Paul was addressing issues that interested both Jews and Gentiles. The ESV study bible outlines some:

1 Can one be right with God through obeying the Law? (Rom 1:1-3:20)

2 What can be learned from Abraham, and is he the father of both Jewish and Gentile Christians (Rom 4:1-25)?

3 What role does the law play with reference to sin? (Rom 5:29; 7:1-25)

4 What does the salvation of Gentiles indicate about the future of Israel as God’s people? (Rom 9:1-11:36) and

5 Should Christians observe Old Testament food laws, and how should they relate to fellow believers on such matters? (Rom 13:1-15:13) (ESV, 2152) The focus on Jew-Gentile issues implies some sort of tension between them in the Church of Rome, and Paul is seeking to reconcile the Roman Christian body.

  1. […] Coalition: Romans 9, Pt. 7 (see also part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and […]

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