bible christianity theology

rosner’s latest

Enjoying Brian Rosner’s latest JSNT article on Paul and the Law ((Rosner, Brian S.Paul and the Law: What he Does not Say“, JSNT, 32(4): (2010), 405-419.)), which draws interesting insights from the differences between how, particularly in Romans (though elsewhere in the Pauline corpus as well), Paul speaks of the Law in relation to Jews and the absence of such speech about the Law in relation to Christians.  In sum, for Paul, Christ does for Christians what the Law does for Jews.

But among the more salient observations I appreciated was how (p. 409-10) Romans 12:2 follows on from and develops what has been described in 2:18.

  • 2:18 on Jews knowing God’s will through being instructed out of the Law; καὶ γινώσκεις τὸ θέλημα, καὶ δοκιμάζεις (dokimazeis – ‘test/approve’) τὰ διαφέροντα (diapheronta – ‘superior/better’), κατηχούμενος ἐκ τοῦ νόμου…
  • 12:2 on Christians knowing God’s will through the renewal of the mind; εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν (dokimazein – ‘test/approve’) ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον (to agathon kai euareston kai teleion – ‘the good and acceptable and perfect/complete’).

For me, the contrasting descriptions of what is ‘known’ (Jews know what is ‘superior’, and Christians know what is ‘good, acceptable and complete’) may well hint that Paul is highlighting Jewish tendency to see Jews as ‘superior’ to Gentiles, whereas Christians (whether Jew or Gentile) are progressively made and remade/renewed into the likeness of Christ, the personification of and reference point for what is ‘good, acceptable and complete’.