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Part I - Oxford and Cambridge

1 The Paul of History and the Apostle of Faith (1978)


One of the central points in the view I propose is that Paul regarded the historical people of Abraham as God’s answer to the problem of the sin of Adam. (6)

Two aspects of Christology in particular stand out here. First, the MEssiah sums up his people in himself, so that what is true of him is true of them. SEcond, the Messiah has died and been raised. From these two sources flow salvation history and justification by faith, not as two parallel streams, nor even as two currents in the same stream, but as one stream. If the Messiah has died and been raised, so has Israel: and her death and resurrection consist precisely in this, that God’s purpose of saving Jews and gentiles alike is achieved through justification, in Christ, by faith. And behind the Christology and the soteriology stands the theology: there is one way of justification for all men (Romans 3.27ff) since God is one. (7)

On the phrases “in Christ” and “with Christ”:

If we are right, those phrases mean primarily ‘beloinging to the people of the Messiah’ or ‘members of Israel’ in a way which cannot be reduced either to talk of ‘fields of force’ or to the experience of Christian community. They refer to the visible, historical people of God. (8)

How the cross as a stumbling block points to identification of Messiah and his people, and how Israel is seen as dying and rising again in the Messiah:

The cross is offensive to Jews because a crucified Messiah implies a crucified Israel. Israel rejects the proffered Messiah precisely because she understands this: that is part at least of the force of Romans 9.33. If the Messiah dies under the law’s curse, that means that Israel stands under the same curse: that is part at least of the meaning of Galatians 3:10-14…Israel has become what Adam is, so that Adam may become what Israel is… The realization that the Messiah is the crucified Jesus destroyes and remakes all Jewish catgeories, because of the identification of the Messiah with his people. Damascus Road says to Paul: this is what God is doing with Israel, putting her to death in the flesh and bringing her alive in a resurrection body… As the risen Lord is recofnized y the mark of the nails, so the risen Idrael must be known by its suffering, temptation, repentance, and bearing of the cross… The Church is Israel, but no longer according to the flesh, just as Jesus Christ is raised from the dead never to die again, and just as the Christian is truly human but no longer (in Paul’s sense) “in the flesh.” (8-10)

On Misinterpreting Paul

The tradition of Pauling interpretation has manufactured a false Paul by manufacturing a false Judaism for him to oppose. (14)

Looking in the mirror when reading Paul:

Where, then, did the idea of a works-righteousness come from? Sanders has a ready answer, backed up by long and patient argument: ‘We have here the retrojection of the Protestant-Catholic debate into ancient history, with Judaism taking the role of Catholicism and Christianity the role of Lutheranism.’ The appears, to take but one example, in the often-repeated and massively anachronistic assertion that the Pharisees or the Rabbis held a doctrine of ‘works of supererogation.’ We might supplement this presuppositon, of the Protestant-Catholic debate, with three variations. Baur and the German idealists were very ready to cast Paul and the Jews in the roles of pure spirit and outward religion. Kummel, Bultmann and their followers have seen in them the contrast of authentic existence and the ancious struffle for self-understanding and self-justification. English evangelicals have tended to see the Jews as the establishment figures, the liberal or high-church bishops and theologians, with Paul as the evangelical underdog who wins though in the end, while (of course) keeping his nose clean from charismatic excesses within his own camp. (15)

On Paul and the Law:

Paul does not say that Christ fulfills the law. He is no more a legalist than anyone else is. The fulfilling of the law comes, as in 2.25-29, within the context of the people of God, the true ISrael, who by the Spirit make the baptismal profession fo faith (10.6-10). As we would find in Galatians and Phillippians also, Paul vindicates the law, deomnstrates how its abuse as a charter of national privilege is done away with by the rejected and crucified Messiah (hence the stone of stumbling in 9.33), and establishes the wroldwide church as the ture people of the Messiah, the Spirit-filled visible baptized community. (17)

On Paul and the Old Testament:

The Old Testament is seen by Paul as the book of the people of God, and like the people of God this book must die and be raised. Therefore (to take an obvious example), the food laws, relevant to the time when Israel was one geographical and physical nation, are not relevant now that Israel has died and been raised as the worldwide people of God. On the other hand, much of the law, as quoted in Romans 13, is equally relevant: there is the continuity of resurrection as well as the discontinuity of death. (19)

This is suggestive and brings to mind [[ Leithart-Delivered from the Elements of the World ]] discussion of the flesh vs. the spirit.

2 Justification: The Biblical Basis and Its Relevance for Contemporary Evangelicalism (1980)

#justification, which was previously viewed from the perspective of the last judgment has been brought forward into the present in Christ:

[J]ustification is not only God’s declaration in the present that, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the person who believes the Gospel is in the right. (23)

Atonement is not justification, but deals with sin so that Justification is possible:

In biblical terms, the way to deal with sin is to punish it: in Gethsemane, and on the cross itself, Jesus obeys his Father’s saving purposes by drinking the cup of the wrath of God, so that his people may not drink it. Justification and atonement are not the same thing: justification presupposes an objective dealing with sin. (4)

Faith is a sign of an already renewed heart, and justification therefore is a declaration of the present reality effected by regeneration:

Justification presupposed the work of the Spirit, promised in the Old Testament as the one who would write God’s law on the hearts of his new covenant people. Justification takes place on the basis of faith because true Christian faith - belief that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead - is the evidence of the work of the Spirit, and hence the evidence that the believer is already within the covenant. If a man believes this Gospel, his religious stance is clear. He can be neither Jew nor Gentile, but only Christian. This is where it is vital ti distinguish justification from regeneration. Justification is not how God makes someone a Christian: it is his righteous declaration that someone is already a Christian. Faith is not an achievement which earns salvation, but the evidence of saving grace already at work. Only the renewed heart can believe in the resurrection; only the pentitent heart can submit to Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Because of the work of the Son and the Spirit, God rightly declares that Christian believers are members are members of the covenant family. The basis of justification is the grace of God freely given to undeserving sinners. (24)

The theological relationship between Romans and Galatians

To sum up the biblical message:

This is justification: because of the work of the Son and the Spirit, GOd pronounces in the present the future verdict of ‘righteous’ over all who believe. Irrespective of more or racial background, believers are declared to belong for all eternity to the true people of Abraham, the family of the renewed covenant, the people whose sins are fogiven. And from this perspective, Romans 9-11 falls into place: God is redefining Abraham’s family as the worldwide covenant community, formed now by means of the gentile mission and the constant invitation to Jews to become in truth what they are according to the flesh. (33)

The practical application to modern believers:

The reagedy of the situation is that there must have ben countless Christians down the yeats in all churches who really did believe in Jesus Christ as their risen Lord but who failed in this life to enjoy the assurance of salvation which was theres for the taking, because they were never told that believers are declared ‘righteous’ in the present because of the death of God’s son. ‘Legal’ categories, which some want to do away with today, are not sterile or irrelevant - they are the key to Christian assurance. (37


To anxious individuals, to a troubled world, to a divided church, and to muddled evangelicalism, the biblical doctrine of justification declares: God is God; trust in him; be glad and rejoice in him; and do not be afraid. God is God: therefore relax.

My summary notes:

  • Justification - Declaration of righteous status
  • Present justification on the basis of faith
  • Faith is the fruit (vs. cause) of regeneration
  • Faith is the ground of assurance of future justification
  • Justification = present assurance of our future justification according to works (those of Christ done for and even through us)
  • Baptism - sign of regeneration (in accordance with God’s promises)
  • Faith follows regeneration, therefore need not precede baptism (according to the paedobaptist view)
  • Faith must follow afterward, or else no justification

God’s promise -> Regeneration ——> Present Justification -> Future Justification I I ^ I V V I V Baptism ——–> Covenant Member-> Faith Assurance

3 Godliness and Good Learning: Cranfield’s Romans (1980)

4 A New Tubingen School? Ernst Kasemann and His Commentary on Romans

5 On Becoming the Righteousness of God: 2 Corinthians 5.21

The lesson learned from the controversy over 2 Corinthians 5:21:

The question must always be not, ‘what does the tradition say this verse means?’ but ‘what does the verse itself, in context, actually say?’ (68)

Paul’s embodying of God’s messenger making an appeal:

Astonishingly, the voice of the suffering apostle is to be regarded as the voice of God himself, the God who in Christ has established the new covenant, and who now desires to extend its reconciling work into all the world. The second half of the verse should not, I think, be taken as an address to the Corinthians specifically, but as a short pithy statement of Paul’s whole vocation: ‘On behalf of Christ, we make this appeal: “Be reconciled to God!”’ ((73)

Part II - Lichfield and Westminster

6 Gospel and Theology in Galatians (1994)

On how some passages seem deceptively easy:

[Quoting C.S. Lewis] ‘We turn to the helps only when the hard passages are manifestly hard. But there are treacherous passages which will not send us to the notes. They look easy and aren’t’ (79)

Meaning of Euangelion in 1st-Century Palestine

What was Paul converted to on the road to Damascus? What did he understand to be true?

WHat happened on the road to Damascus, I suggest, was something like this: Paul realized that the crucified Jesus was indeed risen from the dead; that in him the hope of Israel had thus been fulfilled; that he was therefore that which his supporters had claimed, namely, Israel’s Messiah; that this Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah of Israel, was now enthroned as the Lord of all, Jew and gentile alike; that these events were indeed the inauguration of the ‘age to come’, though not in the form for which he, as a zealous Pharisee, had been longing; and that, as a result of this whole complex of thought (comples for us, reconstructing it; plain sailing for the first-century Pharisee), the pagan idolatry of the wolrd had been decisively defeated, and those who adhered to it - that is, the gentiles - were to be summoned to give allegiance to this strange and subversive Jewish Messiah. Hence, ‘the gospel of Christ’ (86)

A new “spirituality” would not have garnered the opposition seen by the Christians:

OFfering people a new religious mode of being, in a private sense, is not particularly threatening. It beocmes so, and provokes violence, the minute it challeneges the life and worldview of a community; this is so just as much in the modern ‘Christian’ western world as in first-century Asia Minor. (90)

How this Pauline understanding of #gospel fits with the Gospels:

If we take Paul’s ‘gospel’ to denote the announcement that the true god has acted in fulfillment of his promises, sending the MEssiah to die and be raised, and so ushering in the new world order in which the false gods are confronted and confounded and their adherents summoned to a new a liberating allegiance, then we may realize that the description would do fairly well for Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as well, for all their obvious differences from one another and from Paul. (91-92)

7 Romans and the Theology of Paul (1995)

“A Jewish Theology for the Gentile world, and a welcome for Gentiles designed to make the Jewish world jealous”

How Jesus receives in history, what was expected for Israel at the end of history:

Paul’s Christian theological reflection begins, I suggest, from within exactly this matrix of thought, with the realization that what the creator/covenant god was supposed to do for Israel at the end of history, this god had done for Jesus in the middle of history. Jesus as an individual, instead of Israel as a whole, had been vindicated, raised fromt he dead, after suffering at the hands of the pages; and this had happened in the middle of ongoing ‘exilic’ history, not at its end. This by itself would have been enough, I think, to propel a Jewish thinker to the conclusion that Jesus had somehow born Israel’s destiny by himself, was somehow its representative. When we add to this the early Christian believe in Jesus’ messiahship, and Paul’s own exposition of this theme, there is every reason to suppose that Paul made exactly this connection, and indeed made it central to his whole theology. (96)

On the particular Jewish concerns in Rome:

What Paul faced as a serious possibility in Rome was the mirror image of the problem he had met in Antioch. In making Rome his new base, there was always the danger, as the rise and popularity of Marcion in the next century was later to show, that local anti-Jewish sentiment would lead gentile Christians not only to isolate Jews within the Christian fellowship but also to marginalize a mission that included Jews. Paul, therefore, wanted to insist that the gospel was ‘for the Jew first and also, equally, for the Greek.’ (97)

Romans 2-3 raises the question (also picked up in 9ff) of how the creator God can remain faithful to his covenant for dealing with evil when the people entrusted with the covenant have failed and been unfaithful. The answer is that “the covenant faithfulness of the creator of the world is revealed through the faithfulness of Jesus, the Miessiah, for the benefit of all, Jew and Gentile alike, who believe (99)”.

Reflections on Justification

What has happened to Israel is not an accident:

What has happened to Israel is not an accident (its god simply lost controle of the situation, or changed his mind in mid-plan because of its recalcitrance), nor is it a sign that the covenant god has obliterated Jews from his purpose forever. ISrael’s rejection of the gospel and its ‘rejection’ by the covenant god are to be seen, as the cross is to be seen, as the strange outworking of the divine plan to deal with the evil of the world; and if that is so, Jews can and must be welcomed back into the covenant family at any time when they believe the gospel, and such a return must be celebrated as a sign of resurrection. (104)

Christ as the last Adam (by being the last Israel):

Israle’s obedience/faithfulness should have been the means of undoing the problem of Adam, of humanity as a whole (2.17-24; 3.2f); as we saw, the death of Christ… functions as the ture obedience/faithfulness of Israel through which this purpose is achieved…Christ has offered not merely Adam’s ovedience, but Israel’s, the ‘ovedience’ that was to begin where the ‘many trespasses’ of Adam left off (5.16). Christ, in other words, did not start where Adam started, but where Adam (and ISrael) finished. COming into the reign of death, he reinstated the divinely intended reign of life. (107)

Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the glory of Israel:

The glory is regained by the Jewish route, though not by the Jewush means. Adam’s race, like Israel itself, has been in exile; Jesus has drawn that exile onto himself. In offering to the covenant god the ovedience that should have characterized Israel (3.22; 5.15-17), he has become the means of Adam’s rescue. Thus, to look ahead to the rest of chapters 5-8, JEsus is the means of Adam’s exodus (chapter 6); he is the means of Adam’s Sinai, Pentecost (8.1-11); he is the means of Adam’s entering at last upon his promised land (8.17ff). All through Paul is telling the Jewish story as the true-Adam story, in such as way as to undercut the stories of both paganism and of non-Christian Judaism. (108)

In discussing his view of Romans 7.14-25, which he argues is depicting Israel under the law, he makes the intriguing point that Paul’s rhetoric parallels the pagan moralists describing the puzzle of virtuous people unable to live virtuously, and offers the suggestion that Paul’s depiction puts Israel under the law in the same place as ordinary sinful pagan humanity. Reminds me of a thread of argument in [[ Leithart-Delivered from the Elements of the World ]]

On the rhetorical force of Romans 9-11:

As a result, the rhetorical force of the entire exposition of the failure of Israel is not to give gentile Christians a sense of smugness or self-satisfaction at their contrasting success, but to highlight and emphasize the fact that they owe the Israelites a huge debt of gratitutude…[Romans 9.1-5 and 10.1-2] are indications of the attitude Paul wishes his readers to adopt as they come to understand and appreciate the strange covenant plan… If I am right, the whole apparently negative emphasis of Romans 9 and 10 is to be read as an appeal for a sympathetic understanding on the part of the gentile church in Rome, of the plight of the Jews…Paul, as in 7.7-25, sees ‘his flesh’ in rebellion against the gospel and understands that rebellion in terms of the strange, but ultimately positive, saving plan of the covenant god, which will deal with Israel’s unwilling and ignorant sin and so bring it, too, to salvation.

8 Two Radical Jews: A Review Article of Daniel Boyarin (1996)

9 The Law in Romans 2 (1996)

In which he argues thst the gentiles in Romans 2.27 are “by nature outside of the law” but “do the things of the law” and the righteous gentiles in view are Christians.

Summary of the flow of logic for the chapter:

The chapter then works like this: (a) (2.1-11) the general statement of coming judgment upon all humans, Jew and gentile alike; (b) (2.12-16) Torah will not affect the fairness of this judgment, since those who have it will be judged by it, and those who do not, will not. However, there is a strange category of people who ‘do the things of the law,’ in a sense yet to be explained, even though by birth they do not possess it; they will find themselves surprisingly vindicated at the judgment. (c) (2.17-24) Surely Israel is the solution to this problem of universal sin? Is she not the creator’s means of bringing light into his dark world? Yes; but alas, Israel has so far brought only darkness. The nation that was to lighten the pagan world has herself succumbed to pagan darkness, and the Torah, so far from alleviating the problem, instead intensified it. (d) (2.25-29) Nevertheless, YHWH is renewing the covenant, and the Torah is finding a strange fulfilment. There is now in existence an Israel created by the Spirit, finding its validatation from the creator god himself. (150)

10 Paul, Arabia, and Elijah

Paul’s description in Galatians of going to Arabia and “returning again to Damascus” is actually a parallel with the prophet Elijah. He was zealous like Elijah, and like Elijah was put in his place by God’s challenge.

11 New Exodus, New Inheritance: The Narrative Substructure of Romans 3-8

We could summarize the narrative sequence as follows: those who were enslaved in the ‘Egypt’ of sin, an enslavement which the law only exacerbated, have been set free by the ‘Red Sea’ event of baptism, since in baptism they are joined to the Messiah, whose death and resurrection are accounted as theirs. They are now given as their guide, not indeed the law, which, although given by God, is unsable to do more than condemn them for their sin, but the Spirit, so that the Mosaic covenant is replaced, as Jeremiah and Ezekiel said it would be, with the covenant written on the hearts of God’s people by God’s own Spirit. At this point 7.4-6 and 8.1-11 look back, within the larger logic of the letter, to 2.25-29. (163)

12 Paul’s Gospel and Caesar’s Empire

The appropriate response to the gospel is both belief (God raised him from the dead) and obedience (forsake all other allegiances and follow Jesus). Or, as Paul puts it, the obedience of faith.

He also argues that the primary force of “son of God” language in Paul is Messiah of Israel language. (176)

The every knee shall bow reference in Isa 45.23 applies exclusive loyalty to YHWH on Jesus.

Judaism without Christ has essentially subjected itself to the same critique as paganism.

From Paul’s Christian point of view, those JEws who do not embrace Jesus as their Messiah are thereby embracing instrad an identity marked out by blood and soil, by ancestry and territory, in other words, by the flesh. They are, therefore, subject to the same critique as paganism. (184)

Christ is the only real Judaism for Paul:

There can be no doubt that here Paul is denying, in the strongest terms, that membership in the eschatological people of God can be demarcated by the regular boundary markers of non-Christian Judaism - he does not even say true Judaism or fulfilled Judaism (cf. Romans 2.29) - is now defined in terms of the Messiah, Jesus. This is clearly a classic piece of Second Temple Jewish self-definition, claiming the high ground of the true fulfillment of God’s purposes and denying that ground to all others. (187)

13 The Letter to the Galatians: Exegesis and Theology (2000)

On Messiahship interpreted through Galatians 2.17-21:

The Messiah represents his people, so that what is true of him becomes true of them. His death becomes their death, and they find their new life within his. Underlying this, and I believe foundational for Paul’s thinking about what we call ‘atonement’ theology, is the belief that what God does for Israel is done not for Israel only, but for the whole world. Israel’s Messiah is the world’s Lord; the crucified, saving Messiah who brings Jews out of their real exile is the crucified Lord who by the same means rescues pagans from their bondage to nongods. (200)

On the transformation of Israel in Christ:

[D]espite the extravagant claims of some, there is no biblical warrant whatsoever for the suggestion that the reestablishment of state of Israel in the 1940s constituted the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and that, as such, it should be supported by right thinking Christians. Galatians is one of the biblical books that most strongly gives the lie to this. Paul is at pains throughout to distance himself from any geographical or territorial claim; these things are done away with in Christ. ‘The present Jerusalem is in bondage with her children; but the JErusalem that is above is free, and she is the mother of us all’ (4.25-26). Nor is this a mere assertion. Paul’s whole argument is that the ‘Israel of God’ (6.16) consists of all those, Jew and gentile alike, who believe in Jesus the Messiah. (208)

Paul embodied the message of Jesus, and this is our calling as well, such that our lives and the fruit of the Spirit manifest in them are a powerful testimony in a cynical age.

14 The Shape of Justification (2001)

Justified by believing in Jesus and not by believing in Justification by Faith:

By ‘the gospel’ Paul does not mean ‘justification by faith’ itself, He means the announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus is Lord. To believe the message, to give believing allegiance to Jesus as Messiah and Lord, is to be justified in the present by faith (whether or not one has even heard of justification by faith). Justification by faith itself is a second-order doctrine to believe it is both to have assurance (believing that one will be vindicated on the last day [Romans 5.1-5]) and to know that one belongs in the single family of God, called to share table-fellowship without distinction with all other believers (Galatians 2.11-21). But one is not justified by faith by believing in justification by faith (this, I think, is what Newman thought Protestants believed), but by believing in Jesus. (218)

The golden thread of Romans 8 and what it reveals about justification:

God foreknew, foreordained, called, justified, and glorified. The sequence is very interesting. The ‘call’ for Paul, is what happens when the gospel is preached: God’s word in that gospel works powerfully upon the hearts and minds, and people find that they believe it - the crucified Jesus really is Israel’s Messiah, the world’s Lord! But - and this is my central point here, an execgetical point with large theological implications - Paul does not call this even ‘justification’. ‘Justification’ is the declaration which God at once makes, that all who share this faith belong to Christ, to his sin-forgiven family, the one family of believing Jews and believing gentiles together, and are assured of final glorification. (221)

15 Coming Home to St Paul? Reading Romans a Hundred Years after Charles Gore (2002)

Paul plants the seeds of future revolutionary Christian social teaching.

Paul did not suggest to the Romans, a tiny and fragmented church in a huge pagan capital, that they should begin to campaign for better laws and more effective justice. He might as well have told them what sort of aeroplanes they should be bulding for the next stage of his mission. But just as elsewhere he laid the foundation for revolutions yet to come, so in his subversive, almost cheeky upstaging of Caesar’s claims with those of Jesus, I believe he lad the foundations for a fully integrated and theologically coherent Christian social agenda which we today ignore at our peril. Just as justification by faith and the life of the church are held together with Paul’s

[[ Reflections on Justification#The transforming power of Justification ]]

16 Paul and Caesar: A New Reading of Romans (2002)

Six points on Romans 13:

  1. The need to spell it out implies the possibility of taking the rest subversively
  2. Caesar is subject to the Jewish God
  3. Ruler is to take the place of personal vengeance
  4. Victory of God is not won by revolution

    God did not intend that the church should be the means og causing anarchy, of redusing normal civic responsibilities; anarchy simply replaces the tyranny of the officially poerful with the tyranny of the unofficially powerful, the bullies and the rich. The real overthrow of pagan power comes by other means. (253)

  5. Seeking to avoid civic strife
  6. Living in the tensian of the present and the future

17 Communion and Koinonia: Pauline Reflections on Tolerance and Boundaries

We have allowed ourselves to say ‘I feel’ when we mean ‘I think’, collapsing serious thought into knee-jerk reactions. We have become tolerant of everything excep intolerance, about which we ourselves are extremely intolerant. If someone thinks through an issue and, irrespective of his or her feelings on the subject, reaches a considered judgment that doing X is right and doing Y is wrong, they no sooner come out and say so than someon else will accuse them of phobia. (262)

III Durham

18 New Perspectives on Paul (2003)

19 Redemption from the New Perspective? Towards a multi-layered Pauline Theology of the Cross (2004)

20 Paul as Preacher: The Gospel Then and Now (2007)

Parallels with Paul’s cultural milieu call for preaching as he did:

Since today’s western world is in fact looking more and more like the Graeco-Roman wolrld of the first and second centuries, we should shrug our shoulders and get on with doing and saying the kinds of things Paul and his contemporaries found themselves doing and saying, and take the consequences. (326)

Likewise, expect the opposition that Jesus saw:

If Jesus’ message caused many of his followers to turn back, we shouldn’t be surprised if the message about him does the same. But those who seek to embody and express the truth that he is the world’s true Lord, rather than the pagan gods and goddesses of Mammon, Mars, and Aphrodite - all of whome are of course big business right now - must expect to have to do it the same way that Paul did, by prayer, and fear and trembling, by seizing every opportunity but also by facing puzzing problems and obstacles. (327)

21 4QMMT and Paul: Justification, ‘Works’ and Eschatology (2006)

22 Reading Paul, THinking Scripture: ‘Atonement’ as a Special Study (2007)

23 ‘Christ in You, the Hope of Glory’ (Colossians 1:27): Eschatology in St. Paul (2008)

24 Romans 9-11 and the ‘New Perspective’ (2009)

25 Whence and WHither Pauline Stufies in the Life of the Church (2010)

Christians are the real people of the renewed covenant, as anticipated in Deuteronomy (412)

26 Justification: Yesterday, Today, and Forever (2010)

27 Paul and Empire (2010)

IV St. Andrews

28 Mind, Spirit, Soul and Body: All for One and One for All - Reflections on Paul’s Anthropoligy in His Complex Contexts (2011)

29 Paul in Current Anglophone Scholarship (2012)

30 Romans 2:17-3:9: A Hidden Clue to the Meaning of Romans? (2012)

On the question of God’s faithfulness in Romans 3:3:

God’s faithfulness is not simply his faithfulness to Israel, as many assume (or, in more general terms, his reliability in keeping promises once made ). It is his faithfulness to the promise to bless the world through Israel - a harder concept to grasp, it seems, but absolutely central to the argument of this passage and, in a measure, the whole letter. If God decides to do things differently now, to bless the world in a way which bypasses Israel, then he stands convicted of unfaithfulness: unfaithfulness, we stress again, not in relation to his promises to Israel, but to his promises through Idrael for the world; promises to bless the world by this means rather than some other. (492)

Other passages can be read this way or that, but 3.2 ought to stand like a granite boulder in the way of the rushing stream of normal Western Christian thought (‘all sinned, God sent Jesus, problem solved’). For Paul, all sinned, God called Israel … problem complexified. The solution unveiled in 3.21—4.25 is the solution to that complex problem, not simply to the one normally imagined. — location: 12349 ^ref-31728

A better reading of Romans 2-3:

God’s purpose for Israel always was that they should be ‘a light to the nations’, with the nations coming to share their status as God’s people. That was what God promised to ‘the fathers’; and that, Paul has argued throughout the letter, is what is accomplished in the messianic events concerning Jesus. ‘The inclusion of gentiles is precisely one of the central patriarchal promises Paul highlights, not least in chapter 4.’62 Once we allow 15.7–9 to be seen as a deliberate summing up of the theology of the letter, the link with 3.1–9, and particularly with the Israel-vocation now fulfilled in the Messiah, offers striking confirmation of the proposal advanced earlier, namely that 3.1–9 and 2.17–24, read in the way I have suggested, do indeed provide a normally hidden clue to the meaning of Romans as a whole. Israel was called to be God’s means of rescuing and blessing the world, but Israel itself needed rescuing for this to happen, and Israel’s representative Messiah has come to be the ‘servant’ for Israel in order that Israel, in and through him, might be the means of bringing God’s mercy to the wider world. — location: 12662 ^ref-10471

31 Messiahship in Galatians? (2012)

#galatians #messiah On the seed vs. seeds in Galatians 3:

Paul is well aware of, and intends, the collective meaning of sperma, and lines it up precisely with the incorporative meaning of Christos. But if that collective meaning is ‘family’, it can also of course have its own plural, ‘families’. This offers a straightforward reading of 3.16: the promises did not say ‘your families’, as though referring to two or more families, but to one, ‘to your family’ - hos estin Christon, which is Christos. THe end of the chapter should leave us in no doubt that this does not mean ‘which is the single person Jesus,’ but rather ‘which is the single Christos in whom the poeple are now incorporated.’ (530)

32 Israel’s Scriptures in Paul’s Narrative Theology (2012)

#justification That Genesis 15 speaks of God justifying the Gentiles (expounding Romans 4):

God says to Abraham, don’t be afraid; your reward (misthos) will be very great. What is this reward? THe context makes it clear: the ‘reward’ is the massive, uncountable, worldwide family. The promise which Abraham believed, as Paul indicates in 4.18, was not ‘I will justify you even though you are ungodly’, but ‘I will give you a great family.’ The ungodly state is presupposed with Babel; the promise speaks of the family in which Babel is reversed. Abraham thus believes ‘in the God who justifies the ungodly’, not in the sense that he is believing in his own ‘justification without works,’ but in the sense that he is believing that God will justify the gentiles. Get the story right, and the scriptural quotations will make sense. (550)

33 Paul and the Patriarch: The Role(s) of Abraham in Galatians and Romans (2013)

#galatians Paul’s retelling of the Abraham story in Galatians 3:

(a) 3.6: Abraham believed God; very well (3.7), those of faith are Abraham’s children. (this obviously makes a ‘circle’ with 3.29) <p> (b) 3.8: scripture promised that GOd would bless all nations in Abraham; very well (3.9), those of faith (we are left to understand this this includes people of every nation) are blessed with faithful Abraham. <p> (c) The complex argument of 3.10-14 intrudes on this happy scene, as Torah does in the narrative as a whole. But the conclusion, in verse 14, makes it clear: Paul is affirming the Abrahamic promises, and explaining that they continue, and are being fulfulled, in the creation of a multi-ethnic family characterized by pistis. <p> (d) THis continues with the promises and the kleronomia in 3.16-22, as we have just seen, and again the point is unfailingly positive. Paul is affirming the entire Abrahamic package as he sees it. <p> (e) The final dense paragraph (3.23-29) might look as though it had left Abraham behind, but when it gets to the end we discover what has been true all along: if you belong to the Messiah, you are Abraham’s sperma (the single ‘seed’, not a plurality of families divided by the regulations of Torah), and, in accordance with the promise, you are kleronomoi. (577)

The promise to Abraham was widened to the whole world through the Messianic promise of Psalm 2.