Lectionary Year A
September 8, 2002
Romans 13:8-14

Step II: Disposition

A. Genre

(JFC) This pericope seems to be a Manual of Operations for Christians. It mentions, as examples, some of the Ten Commandments and from there moves right on to the New Testament Commandment of loving. It further states guidelines for this love's fulfilling the Law. Then it reminds the recipients of these instructions that the time for salvation is near, making the time for propriety urgently timely, especially contrasted to misbehavior illustrated by examples then listed. Then it concludes with an admonition to dress in Christ, figurative to live as He did. The language is clear, if repetitious, and moves through three or possibly four related subjects closely bearing on each other.

B. Personal Interaction

(JFC) We have to wonder, in our commercial/affluent culture, why this lection begins with an almost certain economic image, that of owing others something and/or nothing. Then, do the few Commandments mentioned and/or in that order signify anything worth analyzing? And, does love really do NO wrong to anyone/neighbor? Next, what about the appearance of the pictures of the time, especially of salvation, night, waking up, light, day and darkness, do they signify anything beyond the obvious? Furthermore, do the several examples of misbehavior bring to mind anything more than general illustrations of inappropriate manners? Finally, so far, the dressing in Christ seems a bit of an abrupt change of subject. Or, is it natural to build this way to this conclusion?

C. Organization

(JFC) The owing or not is in the first (8th) verse of this lection. The Decalogue parts occupy verse 9 and the love doing NO wrong begins the 10th verse. The times of salvation, night, light, darkness, etc., are mentioned in verses 11f. The examples of misbehavior are in 13b and c. Dressing in Christ concludes the text, verse 14.

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