Lectionary Year A
June 30, 2002
Romans 6:12-23

Step III: Composition

A. Immediate Context

(JFC) Pre - As presented last week, the first 11 verses of Romans 6 uses the example of baptism, immersion, to illustrate the process of dying to sin and rising to live in newness of life. Then these verses emphasize baptized believers' unity with the risen Christ. With Him we buried our sinfulness and are raised to life with Him lived to God.

Post - Romans chapter 7 uses the model of marriage to illustrate how temporary law is in relationships. He asserts that, just as a husband's death frees a wife to marry again, so we who are dead to the law are free to live with Christ and for God alone. Then he says the law informs, re: sin, so it is worth remembering as holy, just and good. It showed sin to be sin, he claims. Next, Paul blames the law for his doing what he prefers not to do and it is the law that prevents his doing what he would prefer to do as what is right to do. Sin's dwelling in him is what causes him to do erroneously and/or not do rightly. He concludes the 7th chapter maintaining that his mind serves God while the members of his body would still serve the law of sin. He thanks God for rescuing him from his physical "body of death".

B. Organization of the Compositional Whole

(JFC) As noted formerly in these pages, several commentators find the overall subject of Romans to be stated in the first chapter, verses 16f. We might divide the entirety of this Epistle, thematically, into four parts: chapters 1-4 are about God's saving righteousness/justification by faith as shown through the Old Testament, especially; chapters 5-8 express the significance of living life in Christ; chapters 9-11 present Paul's attempt to deal with the large matter of salvation for the Jews; chapters 12-16 convey Paul's ethics and personal concluding remarks.

C. Issues of Authorship

(JFC) As previously stated, virtually every commentary consulted says the Apostle Paul wrote Romans and that he did so between 54 and 60 or so of the Common Era. Some say it was written from Corinth when Paul visited there in 57 or 58. He went to Jerusalem in 57 or 58 and from there planned (Romans 15:22-32, Acts 19:21 and 20:3 and I Corinthians 16:3-6) to go, for his first time, to Rome on his intended way to Spain.

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