Lectionary Year A
August 25, 2002
Step III: Composition
A. Immediate Context
(JFC) Pre - Chapters 9-11, which we have studied in previous weeks, argue toward
the salvation of the Jews who reject Christ as the Messiah
Post - The rest of Romans 12 tells readers/hearers to treat others with love, as they would want to be treated and to seek peace with all and let good overcome evil.
B. Organizational of the Compositional Whole
(JFC) As these pages have reported before, 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. And, Karl Barth's Shorter Commentary on Romans, writes of this Epistle, "It has often been compared to a catechism, or even to a handbook of dogmatics, and for that reason the first systematic theologian of the Evangelical Church, Melanchthon, did in fact use it as a pattern for a work of this kind."
C. Issues of Authorship
(JFC) As previously noted, 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.
Barth and Dodd (The Moffett NT Commentary) both recognize Paul's apprehension at going to Rome where he expected some hostility among the residents there, Barth identifying them as "disobedient Jews", disobedient of the covenant(s) God had made with their forefathers. Dodd calls them "Jewish-Christian opponents".
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