THEOLOGICAL CENTRE FOR ASIA
AN EXEGETICAL PAPER SUBMITTED TO
DR CHUL WOO LEE
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF
THE REQUIREMENTS OF
BNT524 CONTEMPORARY HERMENEUTICS
JOSEPH TAN TIAN LENG
30 NOVEMBER 2004
OVERVIEW OF ROMANS 9-11
TRANSLATION OF ROMANS 9:6-13
Repetitive Texture and Pattern
Opening-Middle-Closing Texture and Pattern
FOCUS: TRUE ISRAEL AND ELECTION
This exegetical paper will be dealing on Rom 9:6-13. In order to understand this passage, an overview of chapters 9 to 11 will be considered as it forms part of Paul's discussion (although it is possible take into consideration the entire epistle, it is not necessary to discuss beyond the context). Next, a proposed translation of the text is done highlighting the variants that exists in the passage. Then, a socio-rhetorical analysis using inner texture and intertexture will be used to draw out a clearer understanding of the passage. Finally, with the help of the analysis, the meaning of true Israel and the understanding of sovereign election will be discussed. This understanding of this focus is fundamental in correcting, if any, the misinterpretation of God's promises by the Jews and believers at Rome, and as well as for us today. OVERVIEW OF ROMANS 9-11
Romans chapter 8 ends in a most glorious and victorious statement. Paul says that he is convinced that nothing is able to separate him and the believers from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39). However, he begins in chapter 9 with great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart (9:2). It would seem strange to see a sudden shift in Paul's attitude in the beginning of chapter 9. The relation of chapters 9 to 11 to their context as well as, of course, their purpose has been the subject of a great deal of scholarly discussion. At first glance, the discontinuity of this portion of the epistle and its length makes it difficult to unravel. On closer examination, Paul has not finished what he has said and now continues to develop his thesis in Rom 1:16-17. If this section is missing, there would be a hiatus leaving us with unanswered questions and the corresponding perplexity. Chapters 9 to 11 comprise of "a carefully composed and rounded unit with a clear beginning (9:1-5) and end (11:33-36)." Paul begins on a personal note, expressing his concern for his own people. He is fraught over their condition. Next, he gives a positive assertion: "it is not as though the word of God has failed" (9:6). This states a possible implication from what Paul had written in verses 1-5. Paul, who has written so stridently on the justification of sinners, now turns to write on the justification (vindication) of God himself (cf. 3:3, 4). He reminds them that the God is free and sovereign in what he does. In chapter 10, he turns the discussion to the Jews' mistake in trying to establish their own righteousness before God in terms of meritorious obedience to the law instead of responding to the gospel of Christ by faith. God had not set Israel aside arbitrarily. In chapter 11, Paul writes about Israel's rejection being not complete, for there was a believing remnant and a mass conversion of Israel will occur. In addition, during this temporary rejection, God continues his work of grace by saving many Gentiles. The figure of the olive tree emphasizes that Gentile salvation is dependent on Israel's covenant relationship to God. Gentiles have to be grafted into the olive tree (11:17-21). God is found faithful to his covenant promises in spite of the unfaithfulness of Israel. In closing (11:33-36), Paul, despite his burden for the Israel of his day, is able to lift his heart in indulgent praise to God. Therefore, Rom 9:6-13 and Rom 9:24-29 contain the brunt of Paul's argument, while Rom 9:14-23 form an excursus in which...
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