dispensationalism hermeneutics

Words and Romans

Way back I noted that words are important but especially within their context; they are intended to communicate immediate meaning to the reader. Literary methods are also used as vehicles for this meaning: markers that unite ideas (structure) are accentuated with repetition (patterns) and are all used for carrying through the overall idea (the flow of thought).

We realized that these things are discovered by reading the passage as it stands—not by jumping to another (later) passage and this was in keeping with my Unifying Principle. We realized these things are discovered by the immediate context, one sentence in relation to a paragraph in relation to its structural divider in relation to the rest of the book in which it resides. By that I don’t mean The Bible, I mean the books that make up the collection called The Bible.

One should then be able to look at any given book and relate the reason the author wrote the book and how he goes about arguing his point in the book.

For example the Book of Romans is not merely a book about The Gospel. It’s not even technically a book about Judaism versus Christianity. In spite of some people saying that the Book of Romans is Paul’s justification of gentiles being honorary Jews, the book is actually Paul’s explanation of the Righteousness of God currently revealed in God’s Gospel. Paul is setting the ground work for his visit. He discusses the righteousness of God in four major movements: the Righteousness of God revealed in light of God’s wrath, the righteousness of God revealed in relation to mankind’s dilemma, the righteousness of God revealed in His dealings with Israel and the righteousness of God revealed in God’s community.

The first movement reveals a crisis of God’s wrath ensuring the destruction of both Jew and Gentile (removing categorical distinctions) but it culminates with the love of God in the sacrifice of His own Son for the dealing of that wrath ensuring that He is both righteous and the justifier of the ungodly. The second movement reveals a crisis of mankind’s condition (especially in their current unrighteous state even though God has justified them) and culminates with the love of God altogether on the side of those who believe molding them in the image of His Son. The third movement reveals a crisis of God’s dealings with Israel potentially besmirching his righteousness but culminates in God’s wisdom in securing a way that He must be approached not by righteous works but by faith. The fourth movement reveals a crisis of a community that acts unrighteously but now is motivated by the righteousness of God as revealed in the Gospel culminating once again in the wisdom of God.

So the entire book can be summarized as the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. But you wouldn’t get there if you didn’t first look at the book and examine those things that Paul repeats or the places where Paul shifts gears or note how Paul culminates the solutions of the Gospel revealing the righteousness of God in any given situation. One wouldn’t understand that in Romans 12 when Paul speaks of the transforming of the mind and the sacrificing of the body as an obvious action of The Justified is in direct opposition to the people who knew God (in their Mind) and refused to give thanks to God and their Minds were darkened and their Bodies followed suit (Romans 1).

So why cover any of this? Because I’m going to start dealing specifically with texts to show God’s dealings with Mankind, how it is invariably tied to His dealings with a specific people and how God’s promises remain sure. I want to show how Paul’s mind is still distinctively Jewish and why he wouldn’t be shifting gears to get rid of the Jewish promises. I wanted people to see how I’m planning to use the context to support my points in regard to Dispensationalism.

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