New Testament Book of Romans Research Proposal

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New Testament Book Of Romans

God inspired Paul to write the New Testament Book of Romans, and several other books in the New Testament, as well as inspired other men to write the books of the Bible, Sir Isaac Newton asserts. Along with the "discovery" God authored the words in the Bible men wrote; that Biblical words evolve more than from mere human musings, Newton crafted calculus, discovered the laws of motion, as well as the law of gravitation, and constructed the first reflecting telescope. Newton boldly professed his Christian faith, and before he died, wrote more than a million words of notes on the Bible.

Paul, of Jewish origin and identity; noted in Romans. 11:1: "I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin," like Newton, was a prolific writer, who boldly professes personal perspectives in/of the Christian faith, particularly in the New Testament Book of Romans. During this paper, the writer explores the New Testament Book of Romans, along with considerations from a number of commentaries and other credible sources. Primary references utilized during this study include:

The New International Version of the Bible (NIV). (1995-2009). Zondervan;

Interpreting Romans: The New Perspective and Beyond," by, S.J. Brendan

Byrne;

Isaac Newton Text Commentaries

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Preface to Romans: Notes on the Epistle in Its Literary and Cultural Setting by Christopher Bryan, (2000),

People's New Testament by Barton Warren Johnson (1891),

The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans by Klaus Haacker (2003),

The New International Version of the Bible

Research Proposal on New Testament Book of Romans Assignment

More than 100 scholars reportedly worked from prime, credible Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts to develop the New International Version of the Bible (NIV). During 1965, after committees from the Christian Reformed Church and the National Association of Evangelicals, a trans-denominational and international group of scholars met at Palos Heights, Illinois, and agreed the need existed for a new translation of the Bible in contemporary English, they conceived the idea for the NIV. During 1966, a significant number of church leaders met in Chicago and endorsed the proposed effort. A self-governing body of fifteen Biblical scholars, along with the Committee on Bible Translation accepted the responsibility for the NIV during 1966. In 1967, the New York Bible Society (now International Bible Society) undertook the financial sponsorship for this project.

A team of scholars, with three separate committees thoroughly reviewing and revising their work at various stages, completed the translation of each book. Along with the accuracy of translation, the clarity, and ease of reading by various groups of people were stressed. Basically, Zondervan asserts, the NIV translation passed through a thorough process of review and revision. Zondervan notes:

In 1973 the New Testament was published. The Committee carefully reviewed suggestions for revisions and adopted a number of them, which they incorporated into the first printing of the entire Bible in 1978. Additional changes were made in 1983.

Historical Background and Authorship

Romans was not originally a letter, but an Epictetus-like diatribe that Paul taught in a schoolroom to his students, some sources note. After the introduction and concluding sections were added, however, the diatribe was reportedly appropriated as a letter. "As a diatribe this teaching was not directed to a specific group of people, such as the Christians in Rome, but rather was 'intrinsically universalized."

In turn, the message in Romans proves intrinsically powerful for readers today.

Paul reportedly wrote Romans at Corinth, during his three months' stay in Achaia (Greece); noted in Acts 20:3.

Although the epistle does not confirm the exact date for the writing of Romans, the writing occurred early in a.D. 58, as Paul planned to "go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints... At the close of his second visit to Greece, during the winter preceding his last visit to that city (Romans 15:25)."

During the time Paul wrote Romans, Erastus was chamberlain of Corinth, while Gaius of Corinth entertained Paul. Afterwards, Phoebe of Cenchrea conveyed Paul's account, recorded in Romans, to Rome.

To "judge" any piece of workmanship, whether a corkscrew, a cathedral or anything else, according to C.S. Lewis, one first needs to understand what the entity "is." One also needs to know what the piece of workmanship "was intended to do and how it is meant to be used."

Although determinations by individuals regarding the corkscrew, the cathedral, or the Book of Romans, albeit depend on the convictions of the considering the works, understanding the object being considered proves vital. Although this paper does not purpose to "judge" the book of Romans, it does, albeit aim to increase the understanding of the meaning and intent this "letter" to the Romans.

This "Letter" to the Romans

This letter to the Romans may be separated into five major sections:

Recount that because of Adam's sin, each person is "guilty" before God (1:18-3:20).

Reminder that God justifies the sinner who believes in Christ (3:21-5:21).

Reassurance that the Christian, a believing Sinner, may have victory over sin (6:1-8:39).

Recognition of considerations regarding the Jew, including Israel's past, present and future (9:1-11:36).

Revelation of Christian living principles (12:1-15:33).

Paul, the Slave

In chapter 1, verse 1 of Romans, Paul presents himself to the believers at Rome as: "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus." As a servant or slave of Jesus, the Messiah, the word slave links Paul to the Jewish and scriptural tradition of individuals who belong to God. Although not common, the concept of a person being "slave of the god" has also been noted in pagan contexts. "Lucius Apuleius, after his deliverance by the grace of Isis, rejoices that he has begun to be 'slave to the goddess' and is in his turn exhorted to accept willingly 'the yoke of service' (Metamorphoses 11.15)."

Paul could have conveyed himself as a citizen, stressing his "citizenship" of heaven, as he did in Philippians 3:20. However, to introduce himself in the letter to the Romans, Paul chose slavery, a metaphor at the heart of the Roman Empire.

The essence of slavery was ownership. Slavery, according to the jurist Florentinus, was "an institution of the ius gentium whereby someone is subject to the dominium of another."... Certainly we must not romanticize slavery, and certainly the ancients did not. Jew and gentile alike regularly agreed that to be a slave was the worst life imaginable. But that did not alter the fact that some slaves actually found the system working to their advantage. A slave or freedman of the emperor would be no one in himself, but in certain circumstances he might give orders to a patrician and expect to be obeyed....Though the institution of slavery was severely oppressive, some slaves were able to manipulate it to become rather powerful persons with a certain degree of informal status in society, compared, at least, to the majority of the people of the empire, who were, though free, poor and powerless. For this small but significant minority of slaves, slavery represented an avenue to influence and was therefore, remarkable as it usually sounds to modern ears, a means of social mobility.

The key to security and even to a measure of (derived) authority among others was to be in a favorable relationship with the right master or mistress.

Hence, though slavery was usually a metaphor for drudgery, it could also be a metaphor for salvation -- as it clearly was on occasion for Jew and pagan alike. Paul, then, belongs to Christ: "he belongs to his Lord and his Lord answers for him," as Karl Barth put it; and so, Paul will stress, must all who would find wholeness.

Slavery Status

The slavery status Paul chooses to belong to does not depict bondage vs. liberty, as each person belongs to something or someone. During Paul's time, a 'patronage' society existed where society virtually reinforced each individual's sense of dependence on another person at some level. Consequently, slavery, as an institution, proved easy to grasp. Some even took slavery for granted.

The status of Romans at the center of theological debate has been figuratively, routinely taken for granted after Martin Luther recaptured Paul's insights of Augustine and transported them into the heart of the Reformation. "No other biblical document touches on so many of the great theological issues, and for that reason no other raises such intense theological passion."

When one taught Romans in an ecumenical faculty 35 years earlier, the Reformation divide between Catholic and Protestant interpretation legacy still strongly survived. One had to tread cautiously around justification and predestination, prominent issues in Romans.

During 1977, E.P. Sanders' publication Paul and Palestinian Judaism shook the foundation of the dominant Lutheran tradition of Pauline interpretation. Now, one may justifiably discuss a paradigm shift in Pauline studies. James D.G. Dunn coined the phrase of a totally "new perspective," "one in which concern for the relationship between Christianity and Judaism has replaced intraChristian controversy as the primary context for the interpretation of Romans."

Paul does not target a legalistic quest for righteousness through a person practicing the law; nor does he utilize… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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