This week we will be studying Romans 12. In preparing for Tuesday, please also read chapter 13 to get a fuller sense of Paul’s argument. Paul is telling us what our new life in Christ looks like in three steps. First, in verses 12:1-2, Paul speaks of an inner transformation from the “I” towards God. This is a total metamorphosis (v.2) away from how the world measures a person to how God (who is love) measures a person. In verses 3-13, Paul shows how this metamorphosis demonstrates itself within the community of believers which overcomes all divisions through humility and mutual respect culminating in a zealous love for one another. In the final stage in verses 14-21, Paul tells us how this love for those within the community lays the groundwork for how we interact with those outside of the community – bless those who persecute you, live in harmony, and overcome evil with good. This is the template for the Christian life.
I have attached the excerpt from Engberg-Pedersen’s Paul and the Stoics on this chapter. pp.265-271. This excerpt is a fairly short read and does a magnificent job of discussing Paul’s argument. I have also attached Witherington’s overview of the chapter found in his Romans- A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. pp.297-303. This excerpt looks at the overall teaching of this chapter and brings in the thoughts of various Christian writers from John Chrysostom to Henri Nouwen. Finally, if you do have time this weekend, please also read 1 Corinthians 12-13 where Paul will make similar arguments concerning the unique gifts of each person and the centrality of love in the community.
SCHEDULE – We should be wrapping up Romans in the next 3-4 weeks. For something completely different and based upon someone’s suggestion, we will be looking at hymns. If you have a favorite hymn, please let me know. We can cover anything from the Song of Moses in Exodus 15 to the newest release by Skillet. The idea is the look at the writer, the purpose of the hymn, and the theology and biblical background of the hymn. If you provide me with a suggestion, I may ask (not require) you to tell us why this is one of your favorites or I’ll be happy to allow you to lead the entire discussion. Anna Grace has volunteered to play for us so that we can sing the hymns together.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is kielbasa, sauerkraut, and perogies. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here. And please remember, you don’t have to have read anything to join us.
Love is by itself is not enough; there must also be zeal as well. For zeal also comes out of loving and gives it warmth, so that the one confirms that other. For there are many who have love in their mind but do not stretch out their hand. This is why Paul calls on every means he knows to build up love.John Chrysostom (349-407), Homily 21 on Romans.