For our gathering this Tuesday, please read Romans 9-11. This passage is one complete argument of Paul and should be discussed as a whole. Within this passage, Paul wrestles with the reason why his Jewish brethren have not recognized Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Paul believes that Jesus is the answer to the promise God made to Abraham, and therefore his death and resurrection have transformed Judaism into something new. Paul is still Jewish but attempts to reason out why God has hardened the hearts of other Jews to the Gospel proclamation in Romans 1:3-4. Where ever Paul journeyed, he first went to the synagogues, See, Acts 13:5, 13:14, 14:1, 17:2, 17:10, 17:17, 18:4, 18:19, 19:8. Sometimes he was successful, sometimes he was tolerated, and sometimes he was beaten. Eventually, it was the Jewish leaders who had him arrested which resulted in his martyrdom in Rome under Nero. Acts 21:33. But for Paul the question remained as to why his Jewish audience insisted upon obtaining their righteousness through obedience to God’s law and not the Messiah. Why was it that the good morally upright Jews rejected his message, whereas the pagan Gentiles were receptive? This is the problem Paul works out in this discussion.
Paul’s central argument concerns God’s sovereignty over the human will. Paul doesn’t come to the argument on his own. Rather, the issues of predestination, election, and free will were a common discussion in the contemporary Pharisaic Judaism in which Paul was trained. In his Socio-Rhetorical Commentary, Witherington has a good discussion about the different Jewish views on predestination that were common during Paul’s time. Essentially Witherington argues that Paul is taking a common Jewish argument about predestination and applying it to his Jewish audience. If you have time, please read “A Closer Look” on pages 246-249. Another short article on the early Rabbinic understanding of predestination from the Jewish Encyclopedia is HERE.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is carnitas. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. . . .For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.Romans 11:29, 32