Friday, June 5, 2015

NT: Romans 11 - 16

Paul continues his preachifying to the Romans in Chapter 11, citing Elias - presumably in the Old Testament, which gives him cause to mention Baal. Wonder if Baal is still a thing in the first century? It's not clear when Paul mentions the word "Lord" who he's referring to, but it appears that he speaks of God, because Jesus and Christ are not mentioned at all. I bet this is Paul's Jewish roots showing.

Romans Chapter 12 is some inspiring stuff ... Paul is exhorting those that are brothers and sisters in Christ to do good and to be of charitable nature. It is most definitely worth reading word-for-word.
12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Chapter 13 begins with admonishments on obeying the ministers of the church...
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
He thens proscribes adultery ... again ... and invokes Jesus' name at the end of the chapter as a way of saying "we're all in this together". Reading between the lines, you can sense that there are problems in the Roman congregation(s) ... disobeying the ministers, bumping their uglies indiscriminately ... and Paul appears to be trying to refocus them.

Rom 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Rom 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
...and he apparently believes salvation is at hand.

Chapter 14 is interesting for the way that Paul uses "the parable of meat" to say that the congregants should not be offended by the small stuff, that offense is in the eye of the person feeling the offense, God doesn't care about this petty stuff. Nicely said!

Chapter 15 appears to be a long closing section, where Paul tells the Roman congregation of his plans to see them soon, and Chapter 16 finds him saying a few good words about his associates Phebe, Priscilla and Aquila ... apparently to pave the way for them to join the Roman church members. He does this for many more, then closes with an Amen.


I’ve read Romans in NT order, but my interest is really in how the Jesus story evolved. Depending on who you read, one of Paul’s authentic Epistles was written first (Galatians? 1 Thessalonians?) or James. I even recall seeing one listing showing Mark to have been coincident with an Epistle. This was probably done by the author to establish Mark as plausibly independent of Paul. One of the things that these lists don't focus on, but should at least mention, is that there are ranges of dates for each book. In some cases, Matthew for instance, historians can establish “no later than" dates into the 2nd century. These generally are thought to be unlikely, but it illustrates how imprecise NT dating is.

So: I know with a reasonable certainty that Romans was not Paul’s earliest Epistle, but its order in the King James version of the New Testament led me to read it after Acts. I will switch up and read Galatians next, but first, my next NT post will reflect on Romans, and what Paul had to report about the living Jesus.

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