Term Paper: Exogenesis of Paul's Letter to the Romans

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Romans 7 7-25

Main Idea and Outline

The main idea of this exegetical paper is to describe the understanding and knowledge contained within the passage Romans 7-7:25, which helps the reader find balance between, man's, nature's and God's law.

Romans 7-7:25

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." 8 but sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 for sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 and if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 as it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 for I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 for I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do -- this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 for in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Introduction

Incorporating the many different styles of law and regulation are extremely challenging for those who have chosen to walk with Christ on their journey. Rules give us boundaries and site posts to help manage our often debilitating sources of weakness and confusion. The purpose of this paper is to exegetically explain the New Testament Passage Romans Chapter 7 verses 7 through 25. This essay will illuminate certain principles about balance, law abiding and the importance of sin and failure in one's spiritual journey as outlined in this passage.

The essay will first give some background information about the passage and explain its authorship and its place amongst the Written Word. The essay will then analyze the passage to help bring out the more subtle details about the importance of the significant themes present in the writing. The essay will conclude with ideas on how this understanding of the passage can be applied in a practical manner and how the Holy Spirit is eventually realized by mere contemplation of the passage and incorporating its exegetical meaning into the routines of everyday life.

Context

To understand this passage it is first imperative to understand the author and the context in which this chapter in the verse is written. The Apostle Paul is credited for writing these scriptures. They were written as letter to representatives of the Roman empire to help explain both the new Christian faith that was beginning, and most likely as a means of testament to his faith, a covenant with his creator.

The New Testament, written in the Greek Language, attributed this writing to Paul's time in approximately 50 to 60 AD. This occurs after both the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and the tone of the writing is extremely excitable if not overly-wrought with emotion and desperation to be heard. Romans is used by Christians as useful tale to help balance the needs of the individual and the needs of the collective.

Purch (2012) contextualized Romans 7-7:25 as a smaller part of the larger picture dealing with rules and regulations that is related to how the Roman empire was governing. He wrote "The purpose of Romans is less clear than Paul's other letters. He never gives a purpose statement, and because of the general lack of knowledge of the origin of the church in Rome one can only guess what its issues may have been. "[footnoteRef:2] the form of this scripture must be understood that it is simply a letter written to the Roman power structure in general and no specific claims of injustice or wrong doing are mentioned in this particular letter which composes Romans . [2: James Purch (2012). An Exegetical Study of Romans 7;7-25. Literary Baptist Theological Seminary, June 2012.]

Paul uses his unique literary skills to prove his points throughout the letter and includes many devices to help deliver a well-intentioned message. At heart of this letter is the idea of transformation and metamorphosis, as the world, especially the Jewish one, was going through massive revolution during this time with the arrival of the or a messiah known as Jesus Christ of Nazareth. To help understand this breaking away from more of the non-Christian elements of the Jewish faith, appears to be the main motivation of its creation and allows a contemplative place for those wishing to question authority of law in relation to God's law. "Romans 7 as more historical than personal: "[Paul] is not answering questions put to him in a Christian holiness convention, but rather struggling with the place of the law in God's purpose."[footnoteRef:3] [3: Ibid, p. 3.]

The verse in question, Romans 7: 7-25, is very pertinent to the main theme of the letter as significant questions arise within Paul's psyche that are acting in competing ways to help him understand the idea of salvation and the role of God in one's own journey. This particular verse is worth extra attention due to the illuminating ideas that significantly relate to the general passages of the more accepted trends of the story are revealed as holy and integral within a complete or direct experience through God or his son Jesus Christ.

Background Explanations

Much has been written about this biblical verse, most likely due to its importance in achieving a balanced live, where spirituality may be practically and wholeheartedly applied with success and fulfillment. Dunn (1974) summed up the experience of this passage in a clear and distinct way when he suggested "it is well-known, opinions regarding this passage have been divided three ways -- a division which has persisted from the earliest centuries until today1. The different views can be summarized thus: (a) Romans 7,7-25 is Paul's autobiographical account of his own pre-conversion experience; (b) Romans. 7,7-25 is not autobiographical, but depicts man in general, or the Jew in particular, apart from Christ, under the law; (c) Romans 7,7-25 describes Paul's own experience even as a believer"[footnoteRef:4] [4: James D.G. Dunn, "Romans 7, 14-25 in the Theology of Paul," Theologische Zeitschrift, September/Oktober 1975. Copyright 1975 by Friedrich Reinhardt Verlag. Basel]

The passage begins with ideas about the sometimes confusing way that Law is applied to be sanctimonious and true. Line 5 suggested that sinful passions are lawful but later in line 7 he counters that even though this is true law is not sinful. This may take some time to understand when taken out of context, but in essence Paul is clamoring for end of morality contained within law. Morals are too subjective to be generalized, however laws are necessary to guide and give encouragement to find a true path.

Stuhlmacher (1994) added some clarity to this idea in his book. He suggested almost the same thing as Paul is entitled to his opinions and his faith is adequately demonstrated by the writing itself. " Just as 7:5 provided the heading for 7:7-25, the epitome of 8: 2-17 is to be seen in 7:6. Against the background of the lament oin 7:7 -24, Paul now speaks of liberation from the Law of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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