Research Paper: Paul's Use of the Old

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[. . .] Malachi 1.2-3

Paul used this Old Testament account because he wanted the Jewish community to understand that it needed to return to covenant faithfulness. Malachi emphasized that the Jewish community had a tendency to question God's love for them and this violated the very tradition that it was built on. Paul considered that it was essential for Jews to understand that their community has put across sinful and blasphemous attitudes with regard to the Lord. He expected that by acknowledging that they were arrogant and disrespectful they would eventually be enabled to change their position.


The Old Testament played an important role in the development of the Early Church. It supported the belief that Jesus was the Messiah and that some of the most important characters in the Old Testament predicted his coming. The Scripture is generally believed to stand as a set of concepts that culminate in the coming of Jesus Christ. Even with this, this does not seem like a likely scenario for everyone and Paul actually used the Book of Romans in an attempt to provide the Jewish community with the chance to look at matters from a different perspective -- one involving an episode in which they actually are in need of being saved by a Messiah.

Christ is basically one of the principal concepts of the Old Testament, taking into account the numerous accounts relating to him and highlighting the fact that his coming is meant to save society as a whole. The New Testament is thus an Christological approach at speaking about a setting involving much of the information in the Old Testament rewritten with the purpose of changing a series of social values that had been widely respected until the time when it was written. Paul's account is one of the most intriguing texts in this situation, taking into account that it basically relates to older texts with the purpose of demonstrating that Jewish people needed to change their overall attitude in order to be able to gain a more complex understanding of their role.

The New Testament can be considered to be both a continuation of the Old Testament and a reinterpretation of the document. "As in the Old Testament, so in the New, God is still working his purposes out. The same God continues his work and brings it to a climax in Christ."

It is virtually as if the Old and New Testaments can be combined in creating a scenario involving creation, the exodus, and God's decision to choose a group that would be most qualified to fit His intentions.

Justification by faith

The idea of justification by faith is focused on explaining how true believers were requires to actually accept Jesus as their savior and thus honor God by doing so. In contrast, Jewish individuals, the ones who were presumably justified by works, failed to acknowledge the role Jesus played in their society and did not honor God through the attitudes that they employed. Romans 5-9 emphasizes that Jesus died with the purpose of making God accept that it was important for Him to save the world as a whole with no exceptions.

Pharisees were mainly concerned about employing arrogant attitudes toward others as they claimed to be different from the rest and as they believed the God would choose them as His favorite community regardless of what happened. However, the moment when they failed to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah significantly altered their position in society in general.

To be justified means that one would have to employ a righteous attitude toward God and toward the world in general without feeling that he or she is different from other individuals. Justification by faith is basically the process that a person experiences as he or she goes from a state of sin to a condition of grace. Paul actually wanted to highlight that when a person is in a state of sin it would be impossible for the respective individual to earn justification just by performing good deeds or by works. "Receiving the grace of God and the forgiveness of our sins is never a "prize" or "reward" which we deserve because of any supposedly virtuous deeds which we have previously carried out. The reception of grace and justification is always a free and completely unmerited gift."

Simply believing that God exists is not enough to earn a person justification, as he or she also needs to have a complex understanding of God and of why it would be important for him or her to change many of his or her attitudes concerning the world. Demons also have a particular type of faith or belief and it would thus be wrong to consider that simply being faithful is going to earn one justification by faith. Instead of adopting limited attitudes regarding faith, individuals actually need to take on a repentant type of faith in order to actually be able to accept God and to be accepted by God.

Paul uses Old Testament Scriptures with the purpose of relating to Abraham and David and their struggle to receive acceptance from above. Justification, according to experiences that Abraham and David have gone through, is a concept that a person is provided to in the form of a gift. God practically issues gifts in an attempt to compensate individuals for their attitudes, even with the fact that these people have not necessarily performed a great deal of actions with the purpose of helping others. From Paul's perspective, justification by faith is not a concept that had been recently introduced and he uses accounts involving Abraham and David with the purpose of demonstrating this. Paul's use of the Old Testament in Romans is basically meant to provide a complex understanding of what justification is and of the attitudes that people need to adopt in order to be able to be justified by faith.

Justification is a complex act and it is important for an individual to have a proper understanding of what it implies in order for God to provide him or her with this particular gift. "It involves acquittal from condemnation, and restoration to divine favor. The justifying act itself is strictly legal though grounded on the righteousness of Christ, sovereignly imputed to the sinner who has believed in Jesus Christ" (Justification by faith 389).

Although Paul uses particular ideas in the Old Testament, he does not attempt to say that the document only contains positive concepts. He actually emphasizes that some Christians fail to understand the role of salvation and focus on reviving old Jewish traditions promoted in the Old Testament as if they were actually essential in order for individuals to be saved. He wanted people to focus on a righteous path in being saved, as he was well-acquainted with the errors that a person could commit if he or she failed to understand that he or she needed to filter information in the Old Testament in order for him or her to see the big picture.


Paul knew that individuals would find it especially easy to adopt particular attitudes as long as they considered that such acts would guarantee salvation. As a consequence, he got actively involved in devising a strategy meant to assist people in focusing on things that actually mattered in order for them to be able to succeed as true believers. He supported his beliefs by encouraging Christians to focus on maintaining their attitudes throughout their lives in order to experience positive feelings. "The clear and natural sense of such Pauline teaching is the perennial Catholic doctrine that Christian believers can indeed fall from grace and lose their souls if they do not continue to be on their guard against the wiles of the Evil One."

Works cited:

Abasciano, Brian J., "Paul's Use of the Old Testament in Romans 9.10-18: An Intertextual and Theological Exegesis," (Continuum International Publishing Group, 23.06.2011)

Allen, Leslie C. "The Old Testament in Romans I-VIII*," Retrieved March 3, 2013, from the Biblical Studies Website:

Byrne, Brendan, J. Harrington, Daniel, J., "Romans," (Liturgical Press, 1996)

Fyvie, Bruce, "The Letter of Paul to the Romans: An Introduction and Commentary," (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1985)

Harrison, Brian W., "JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH," Retrieved March 3, 2013, from the EWTN Website:

Keathley, Hampton, "Justification by Faith: The Case of Abraham and David (Romans 4:1-8)," Retrieved March 3, 2013, from the Website:

McCartney, Dan G. "James (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)," (Baker Academic, 01.11.2009)

Schreiner, Thomas, R. "New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ," (Baker Academic, 01.06.2008)

"JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH," Retrieved March 3, 2013, from the Biblical Studies Website:

Schreiner, Thomas, R. "New Testament Theology: Magnifying… [END OF PREVIEW]

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