Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Romans 3:9-20:
"The Biggest Problem in the World "

[Crossposted to Street Prophets. The index for the series is here.]

I am using Carl Palmer's titles for these posts. The appropriate links are:

The text is:

(NET) Romans 3:9 What then? Are we better off? Certainly not, for we have already charged that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin, 10 just as it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one, 11 there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.”15 13 “Their throats are open graves,16 they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips.”17 14 “Their mouths are18 full of cursing and bitterness.”19 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood, 16 ruin and misery are in their paths, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.”20 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”21 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under22 the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For no one is declared righteous before him23 by the works of the law,24 for through the law comes25 the knowledge of sin.

15 sn Verses 10–12 are a quotation from
Ps 14:1–3.
16 tn Grk “their throat is an opened grave.”
17 sn A quotation from
Pss 5:9; 140:3.

18 tn Grk “whose mouth is.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

19 sn A quotation from
Ps 10:7.
20 sn Rom 3:15–17 is a quotation from
Isa 59:7–8.
21 sn A quotation from
Ps 36:1.
22 tn Grk “in,” “in connection with.”
23 sn An allusion to
Ps 143:2.

24 tn Grk “because by the works of the law no flesh is justified before him.” Some recent scholars have understood the phrase ἒργα νόμου (erga nomou, “works of the law”) to refer not to obedience to the Mosaic law generally, but specifically to portions of the law that pertain to things like circumcision and dietary laws which set the Jewish people apart from the other nations (e.g., J. D. G. Dunn, Romans [WBC], 1:155). Other interpreters, like C. E. B. Cranfield (“‘The Works of the Law’ in the Epistle to the Romans,” JSNT 43 [1991]: 89-101) reject this narrow interpretation for a number of reasons, among which the most important are: (1) The second half of v. 20, “for through the law comes the knowledge of sin,” is hard to explain if the phrase “works of the law” is understood in a restricted sense; (2) the plural phrase “works of the law” would have to be understood in a different sense from the singular phrase “the work of the law” in 2:15; (3) similar phrases involving the law in Romans (2:13, 14; 2:25, 26, 27; 7:25; 8:4; and 13:8) which are naturally related to the phrase “works of the law” cannot be taken to refer to circumcision (in fact, in 2:25 circumcision is explicitly contrasted with keeping the law). Those interpreters who reject the “narrow” interpretation of “works of the law” understand the phrase to refer to obedience to the Mosaic law in general.

25 tn Grk “is.”

Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
My comments: Romans is the most complete presentation of the Gospel in the New Testament, and Paul has started out to show that God wishes everyone to be saved - but first has to show that everyone needs saving. So, the first three chapters have systematically shown that everyone is lost. This is really the last week of Paul presenting the problem, before launching into God's solution to the problem.

This solution is what most people think of as "the Gospel" - but it all really is the Good News. That Good News is not only that we need saving, but that there is a plan to save us.

In the first three chapters, Paul does not prove that everyone is a sinner - he makes that accusation or charge. It is the indictment of a prosecutor, and not the verdict of a jury or judge. However, Paul is not accusing us of doing bad things or failing to do good things - he is saying that we are "under sin". He views it as a dark force, or a disease, that everyone is enslaved and/or controlled by. It is this force that makes us commit acts - sins - that most people want to think about when you talk about sin. So, his central charge is that

all people are enslaved to sin.

To support this charge, Carl Palmer points out that Paul uses a rabbinical method called "stringing pearls" - he reaches back into scripture and finds 8 verses to support his view. Next: 3:21-25a -- "Good News for the Whole World (Part 1)"

No comments:

Post a Comment

How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly