Issues, Etc.

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A Modern Linguistic Approach to Paul's Use
of the First Person Singular in Romans 7
By Michael Middendorf

While describing the letters of "our beloved brother Paul," the third chapter of Second Peter notes that some things in them are "hard to understand" (vv.15-16). One of the passages which has proven most difficult to comprehend is the seventh chapter of Romans. John A. T. Robinson summarizes the major issues of dispute as follows:

Quite apart from the details of exegesis, . . . two questions have agitated interpreters: (a) Does the use of the first person singular indicate genuine autobiography? -- or is it simply cast in the first person for vividness?, and (b) Does it refer to the Christian or to the pre-Christian state -- is the use of the present from verse 14 onwards again merely for vividness. 1

It is impossible to even begin to summarize the vast number of views on those questions. The purpose of this paper is, rather, to present a new method or, at least, now categories into which the differences can be placed and better understood. 2

There are three vital, but separate, aspects involved in interpreting the "I" of Romans 7. These are (1) the semantic content or meaning of the words in the text, (2) the referent (s) of the numerous first person singular forms, and (3) the pragmatic effect which Paul intends them to have. All three of these factors ought to be considered. At the same time, while integrally related to one another, they must be clearly distinguished.

First, semantics. It has been suggested that the text of Paul’s letters is not the place to begin an attempt to answer questions about his theology.3 However, if the purpose is, indeed, to determine Paul’s view on a given subject, the content of his words is certainly the proper starting point. This means beginning by investigating the sense or meaning of the words in the text within their context and Pauline usage in general. In modern linguistic terminology, this is the field of semantics.

"Semantics" describes the relationship between the form of signs and their content (meaning), Here the question is addressed: How should/must what is said be understood? What is that which is meant? 4

In Romans 7:7-25 various forms of the pronoun ego appear 24 times. The first person singular serves as the subject of verbs 23 times. There is little disagreement, however, as to the semantic content of these forms. That is to say, the sense or meaning conveyed by the first person singular is not greatly disputed. It denotes an individual, a single person, an "I."

This is not to say "details of exegesis" are unimportant for properly identifying the "I." Problems with semantics do arise in determining the precise meaning of words attributed to or descriptive of the "I." For example, in verse 7, how would the "I" not have "known" sin except through the Law? In what sense are the terms "living" and "died" applied to the "I" in verses 9-10? In verse 14 what does it mean for the "I" to be "sold under sin"? In what sense does the same "I" "agree with" and "delight in" the Law (vv. 16, 22)? What does the semantic content of the terms "will" and "inner man" indicate about the "I"? Finally, how is the term nomos, which interacts with the "I" throughout the chapter, to be understood?

A second, yet separate, factor involved in interpreting the first person singular forms in Romans 7 is the question of referent. The person generally credited with making a distinction between the semantic content or meaning of a word and its referent is Gottlob Frege.5 For example, one may speak of "Pluto" and of "the last planet in our solar system." While both statements express a different sense or meaning, they are readily understood as referring to the some celestial body. However, what if another planet is discovered beyond Pluto? While the sense conveyed by the two phrases still "mean" the exact same thing, the referent of the second phrase would have changed.

Paul uses ego, as well as the other first person singular forms, in Romans 7 to speak of an "I," but who does Paul intend his readers to identify as this "I"? To whom does the "I" refer? The issue of referent is a problem particularly prominent in verses 7-12. Here scholars have identified the following different referents: 6

The most natural way to understand the first person singular is that it is used by the author to refer to himself. If so, the referent of the "I" is Paul and "most commentators admit that prima facie the words of Romans 7 read like autobiography.7 Nevertheless, many have concluded it is "a mistake to treat the passage autobiographically and to look for matching stages in Paul’s own experience."8

A second referent which has been suggested is Adam. It is said, "There is nothing in the passage which does not fit Adam, and everything fits Adam alone.9

The "I" has also been identified as referring to Israel as a "collective body" in order to represent the "redemptive-historical experience of Israel with the Law.10

Finally, it has been concluded that the "I" does not actually refer to anyone in particular. Its referent is "no one or every one." 11 According to this rhetorical interpretation, the first person singular is utilized by Paul as a figure of speech to make his presentation more lively.

As one moves on to verses 14-25, the debate more often focuses on when these verses are to be applied to a specific referent. Behind this issue lies the debate over the spiritual state of the "I."

Once the issue of referent has been addressed, one can move on to consider how the content of these verses is intended to function. In so doing, one engages the third or "pragmatic" aspect of Romans 7.

Pragmatics describes the relationship between the signs and the people as users of signs. Here the question is addressed: What is to be accomplished with what is said? What is intended?12

Pragmatics recognizes that the same linguistic form, in this case the first person singular, is both able and consciously intended to perform a variety of different functions in a variety of different settings.13 The field of pragmatics seeks to determine the impact which an author or speaker aims to have upon his audience by using a particular expression.14 For example, picture a parent telling a young child preoccupied in a toy store, "I am leaving now." The statement is intended to "count as" more than a sharing of information. It functions as something like, "It is time to go and if you do not want to be left alone in the store, come with me now!"

I would suggest it is only proper methodologically to deal with the pragmatics of Romans 7 after the referent of the "I" has been determined.15 This has not always been the case and much of the confusion surrounding Romans 7 stems from a failure to distinguish between them. For example, when Werner Kümmel approaches Romans 7 as an objective defense of the Law, he has begun with a pragmatic act.16 This leads him to advocate a rhetorical interpretation of the "I", which virtually eliminates the issue of referent from consideration entirely. Similarity, when the "I" is identified as Paul, Israel, or Adam, and then also identified with the experience of other people, past or present, one has made a significant jump from the text itself. A number of different referents have been combined in an effort to apply what Paul is saying and to explain his purpose.

What is the answer to the referent question? Semantics provides one valid method to pursue --compare the sense or content of what Paul says about the "I" in Romans 7:7-25 with what he says elsewhere about the various referents which have been proposed. Another approach would be to examine Paul’s use of the first person singular throughout his letters with the question of referent specifically in mind. The letter method reveals that in the vast majority of cases, the intended referent is Paul.17 At times, he does use the first person singular to refer to someone other than himself, but when he does so, the intended referent is clearly indicated in the context.18I do not believe Paul ever utilizes it to speak of "no one or every one," that is, without any referent at all.19

As a result, I contend the first person singular forms throughout Romans 7 refer to Paul himself.20 Verses 7-12 describe his pro-Christian experience with the Law as viewed from his present Christian vantage point. Verses 14-25 offer a unique, but valid, portrayal of one aspect of Paul’s ongoing Christian life. While many disagree with these conclusions, I know where they disagree. It is on the question of referent.

How, then, does Paul intend his statements of and about the "I" to function? In the vast majority of cases in which Paul uses the first person singular, he is revealing some information about himself. Yet, at the same time, he intends these personal statements to have a given effect. In pragmatic terms, they are to function or "count as" something more.

A number of passages in which Paul utilizes the first person singular and explicitly states his purpose in the context illustrate this. For instance, Paul often intends the references he makes to himself to function as an example or model. In the first 14 verses of Philippians 3, Paul refers to himself in the first person singular again and again. At the end of the section Paul tells the Philippians how he intends these statements to function. "Therefore as many as are mature, let us think this way" (3:15; see also v.17).

1 Corinthians 11:1 shows that Paul’s statements in the concluding verses of chapter 10 (vv. 29-33) are by no means merely rhetorical.21 Rather, they reflect Paul’s personal convictions about the eating of meat offered to idols. He indicates the reason why he states them in 11:1: "Be imitators of me just as I also [am] of Christ." Paul’s own resolution of the issue is to function as a model for the Corinthians to follow.

In other passages Paul explicitly reveals that he is using the first person singular in order to perform other functions.22 In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 9, Paul writes about his freedom, his apostolic calling, and his relationship with the Corinthians (vv.1-2). Why? In verse 3 Paul reveals his purpose: "This is my defense to those who are accusing me."

However, in the majority of instances in which Paul makes reference to himself, he does not specifically indicate the effect he intends to have.23 Romans 7:7-25 belongs in this group. Can Paul’s intention there be determined?

Generally, it is possible to discern Paul’s purpose even when he does not explicitly reveal it. It is indicated by the context of the passage and by what we know of Paul’s relationship with the addressees.24 For example, in 1 Corinthians 6 Paul says, "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not beneficial" (1 Cor. 6:12). In so doing, Paul indirectly affirms that the Corinthians, too, are free in Christ. Yet, as Paul notes in the verses to follow, all things are not beneficial for them either (1 Cor. 6:13-20).

In short, the pragmatic possibilities open to Paul when he uses the first person singular in reference to himself are almost endless.25 Yet they can be placed into two general categories. These type of actions or response are (1) to inform and (2) to command, that is, to eliminate type of action or response.

How are the statements of and about the "I" in Romans 7 intended to function? Is Paul giving information in order to relate in an indirect manner some facts which are also true of the Roman Christians? Is Paul utilizing these statements in order to effect a change in their beliefs or actions?

Paul announces and briefly describes the Gospel he proclaims throughout Romans in the seventeenth verse of chapter one. This Gospel is the one in which "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith" (Rom. 1: 17). 26 What purpose do the "I" statements in chapter 7 serve in Paul’s exposition of this topic?

In Paul and Palestinian Judaism, E. P. Sanders defines the essence or function of a religion in terms of "how getting in and staying in are understood."27 Sanders applies this definition to first-century Judaism which, he contends, was characterized by "covenantal nomism."28 By this Sanders means that the predominant belief among the Jews of the time was that salvation was granted to them freely by God’s election and that submitting to the commands of his Law was viewed as the required response or the means of "staying in" the covenant.29

I would suggest Paul uses Romans 7 to exclude the possibility of anyone attempting either to become righteous or to maintain a righteous standing before God by observing the Law. All those who are under the Law’s lordship (7:1) or who rely upon the Low before God (2:17) are, rather, condemned by the Law. This is because God’s Law requires man’s "doing"30 and no one, not even the believer, not even Paul, is able to fulfill the Law to the extent God requires." 31 Romans 7:7-25 vividly and very effectively illustrate why this is so from the experience of Paul’s own life. The Law’s command had no positive role in his attainment of righteousness (vv. 7-11); neither was Paul’s continued justified status a matter of first faith and then obedience to the Law (vv. 14-25).

Why does Paul address this issue while writing to the Christians in Rome? Verses 7-13 are certainly applicable to those Jews characterized throughout the Epistle as relying on the Law (2:17-3:18; 9-11). Paul’s words in verses 14-25 serves to rebuke any Christian who tries to maintain or complete his or her salvation through works of the Law. So also, if first-century Judaism did regard obedience to the Law's commands as the means to "stay in" God’s covenant, Paul similarly rejects that view. Paul’s crucial point in Romans 7 is that because of sin it is "impossible" (8:3) for himself or anyone else to use their performance of the Law as a means either to earn or maintain a righteous standing before God. Both are received through faith (1:17).

Again, many of you may not agree with this interpretation. However, you can now specifically identify the point (s) at which you differ. Is it a matter of semantics, the defined content or meaning of the words? Or of referent, do you contend the first person singular forms refer to someone other than Paul? Or do we disagree about the pragmatic function which Paul intends Romans 7 to serve?

It is hoped that distinguishing the various aspects involved in Paul’s use of the first person singular in Romans 7 can lead to a more precise dialogue on this important text. It may also serve as a model for discussing other problematic areas of interpretation.

Dr. Michael Middendorf is assistant professor of Religion & Biblical Languages assistant professor of Religion & Biblical Languages at Concordia University-Austin.


1. John A. T. Robinson, Wrestling with Romans, (Philadelphia: the Westminster Press, 1979), p. 82.

2. If Romans 7 is, indeed, "foundational for an understanding of Paul's theology as a whole," as Douglas Milne, "Romans 7:7-12, Paul's Pre-Conversion Experience," The Reformed Theological Review 43 (1984):9, contends, evaluating this issue as insignificant is unwise. So also, to conclude that this question is capable of accommodating a variety of exegetical opinions may be a critical error for interpreting Paul. As Ernst Käsemann, Commentary on Romans, tr. and ed. G. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1980), 196, responds, "This would mean dropping any understanding of a text which is obviously of supreme importance for Paul himself."

3. For example, F. J. Bottorff, "The Relation of Justification and Ethics in Pauline Epistles,," Scottish Journal of Theology 26 (1973):421, contends: "Any theologian who deludes himself into believing that he may begin studying a topic purely on the basis of the Greek text is almost surely doomed to repetition of past theological mistakes."

4. Wolfgang Schenk, Die Philipperbriete des Paulus (Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer, 1984), 19, "Semantik beschreibt die Relation zwischen Zeichengestalt und Zeichengehalt (Bedeutung): R (Z, B). Hier wird auf die Frage geantwortet Wie sollte/müßbte das Gesagte verstanden werden? Was ist das Gemeinte?" The foundational study in the field of semantics is James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language (London: Oxford University Press, 1961); see also Anthony Thiselton,, "Semantics and New Testament Interpretation," chap. four in New Testament Interpretation, ed. I. Marshall (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1977), 75-104.

5. See Translations from the Philosophical - writings of Gottlob Frege, eds. and trs. P. Geach and M. Black (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1952), especially 56-78 which comprises an essay first published in 1892 entitled, "On Sense and Reference."

6. The crucial importance of identifying the referent in verses 7-12 is underscored by the fact that the conclusions which are reached about the "I', in verses 14-25 are in large part determined by how the "I" is identified in these earlier verses. For example, Werner Kümmel Römer 7 und die Bekehrung des Paulus (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1929); reprinted in Römer 7 und das Bild des Menschen: Zwei Studien, Theologische Bücherei, Neues Testament Band 53 (Munich: Christian Kaiser Verlag, 1974), 117, gives four reasons for the identity of the "I", he establishes in verses 14-25. Two of these are directly dependent upon Verses 7-12.

7. Milne, 12; also Kümmel, 90, 124.

8. James Dunn, Romans 1-8, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 38a,, eds. R. Martin, D. Hubbard, and G. Barker (Dallas: Word Books, 1988), 382. Kümmel, Römer 7, 78, contends that if this is attempted,, an identification of the time in Paul's life in which these experiences should be placed is left up to the "fantasy of the scholar" ("Phantasie der Forscher"); see also the discussion of Franz Leenhardt The Epistle to the Romans, tr. H. Knight (London: Lutterworth Press, 1961), 181-84. As a result, Hans Conzelmann, An Outline of the Theology of the New Testament, The New Testament Library, tr. J. Bowden (London: SCM Press, 1969), 233, concludes that every attempt at biography, psychology, or the linking of Paul's description with any empirical data is to be opposed. John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, 2 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1965), 1:251, in essence agrees but with quite different conclusions.

9. Käsemnn, 196.

10. Douglas Moo, "Israel and Paul in Romans 7:7-12", New Testament Studies 32 (1986): 128, 123.

11. Kümmel 132, "niemand oder jedermann ist Subjekt."

12. Schenk, 19,, "Pragmatik beschreibt die Relation zwischen den Zeichen und den Menschen also Zeichenbenutzern: R (Z, M). Hier wird auf die Frage geantwortet: was sollte mit dem Gesagten erreicht werden? Was ist das Intendierte?"

13. For example, James Voelz, "Biblical Hermeneutics: Where are We Now? Where are We Going? in Light for Our World, ed. J. Klotz (St. Louis: Concordia Seminary, 1989), 239-40, points out, "Thus, the question ‘You are going to do that again, aren't you?’, given a certain setting, may count as a statement expressing amazement, a question eliciting information, a musing or thinking out loud, a rebuke, and more." See also Kevin Vanhoozer., in "The Semantics of Biblical Literature," chap. two in Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon, eds. D. Carson and J. Woodbridge (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1986), 85-104.

The opposite, of course, is also true. James Voelz, "Some Things Old, Some Things New: A Response to Wolfgang Schenk, Die Philipperbriefe des Paulus," Semeia 48 (1989); Reader Perspectives on the New Testament, 192, points out that "quite different forms may express quite the same function"; citing Thiselton, 77.

14. Vanhoozer, 86, defines this pragmatic aspect as "what we bring about or achieve by saying something, such as convincing, persuading." Voelz,, "Biblical Hermeneutics," 239, states, "According to the speech-act theory, language has not only a 'locutionary force' (=the meaning of the words), but also an 'illocutionary force,’ often defined as 'what the words "count as".’" Ibid.,254, n.28, further identifies the "per locutionary force" as the actual effect which the words have upon the reader. This may or may not coincide with what the speaker/author intends. Vanhoozer and Voelz both make reference to the work in speech-act theory by John L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975) and by John R. Searle, Speech Acts (London: Cambridge University Press, 1969).

15. For the author it may work in the opposite way. Paul has an intended goal and decides to make reference to himself in order to accomplish it. However, it is necessary for the interpreter to proceed in the other direction. The answer to the question of referent is foundational for discerning the author's purpose.

16. Kümmel, 9, 10, 11, 56.

17. For example, Rom. 9:3; 11:1,13; 15:14; 16:3-4; 1 Cor. 6:12; 14:15,18; etc.

18. For example, in Rom. 11:19 the referent is a boastful Gentile; in Rom. 16:22, it is Tertius. In 1 Cor. 1:12 and 3:4, it is the person who are claiming to belong to one party or another. In 2 Cor. 6:17 it is the Lord. One possible exception is Rom. 3:7. However, even here the referent is not "no one or every one." Rather, it is specifically that person, real or imaginary, who would make such a suggestion.

19. As Kümmel contends; see above, note 11. For example in 1 Cor. 13:1-2 and 11-12, Paul certainly intends the "I" to function as something more than a revelation of his personal experience. But, one cannot thereby legitimately bypass the issue of referent. Nothing in the text excludes Paul from being the intended referent. In fact, the universal character of the section supports identifying Paul as the referent.

See also Gerd Theissen, Psychological Aspects of Pauline Theology (tr. J. Galvin (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1997), 191-200, who investigates the eleven passages cited by Kümmel as providing parallels. His study reveals that four of them occur in interrogative sentences (Rom. 3:7; 1 Cor. 6:15; 1 Cor. 10:29b,30) and four more occur in conditional sentences (1 Cor. 11:31-32; 14:11,14-15, Gal. 2:18).

20. Nothing in the text indicates the referent of the "I" changes in the midst of the chapter. John M. Espy,"Paul's 'Robust Conscience’ Re-Examined," New Testament Studies 31 (1985):173, makes the "rather obvious point that the ‘I’ [in verses 14-25] is the same as the ‘I’ of vv. 7-12"; Kümmel, agrees, 97, 110.

21. Paul is not to be excluded as the referent of the first person singular as Kümmel, 121,122, contends by his rhetorical interpretation of this passage. On the contrary, the context and especially 11:1 require that the "I" be Paul. Unfortunately, the chapter division between 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 clouds the close relationship between the first verse of chapter eleven and what precedes.

22. The first two verses of Colossians 2 offer another example. In verse one Paul refers to the great struggles he is enduring on behalf of believers. Why does he mention them here? What effect does he intend for his statement to have? Paul tells his addressees in verse two. It is "in order that your hearts might be encouraged."

23. Vanhoozer, 89, stresses that proper interpretation "involves understanding not merely the meaning of the sentence but the force with which that meaning is to be taken." See also Thiselton, 76-78 and 95-98. In the latter section Thiselton discusses "transformational grammar on the basis of the work of Noam Chomsky, Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (Cambridge, MA: 1965). Thiselton, 97, defines transformational grammar as an aspect of interpretation which "often seeks to make explicit elements of meaning which are implied,, but not expressed, in a sentence"; see also Voelz, "Biblical Hermeneutics Where are We Now? Where are We Going?," 240-44.

24. At times, the limited amount of information we have about the relationship between Paul and his addressees makes this difficult. In these cases,, it can be assumed that the original recipients were more accurately and immediately able to determine Paul's intention. This is the case in the letter to the Romans. While Paul has not yet visited Rome (Rom. 1:11-13; 15:22-25), chapter 16 makes it clear that he is personally acquainted with a substantial number of the Christians residing there and that his reputation is well known and regarded.

25. The frequency with which Paul employs the first person singular is, in part, explained by the numerous functions these statements are able to perform. Certainly the nature of the documents as personal, written correspondence also contributes to this. In addition, it seems Paul often has more than one purpose in mind, or, more likely, intends one effect to move his readers toward another. This is indicated below by a parenthetical note to the letter of the other category or categories to which the statement may also be directed.

Paul's intended function or purpose in referring to himself in the cited passages is to:

A. Explain/give information, particularly about

1. His apostleship and Conduct Acts 20:18-27, 33-35(E); 22:3-21(C); 24:10-21(C); Rom. 1:l3-17; 15:22-29(M); 1 Cor. 3:10; 9:15-23; 11:34; 15:8-11(C); 16:5-8; 2 Cor. 1:17-24(C); 2:l2-13; Gal. 1:18-2:14(C); Col. 1:24-29; 2 Tim. 2:11-12; Tit. 1:3; 3:12-13.

2. His own opinion on an issue: 1 Cor. 7:10, 12, 28, 40; Cor. 8:8, l0(M).

3. The Christian life: 1 Cor. 9:26-27(D); 10:29-33(E); Phil. 1:18b-26(D), 3:12-14; 4:11-13(E); 2 Tim. 3:10-12(K); 2 Tim. 4:6-8(D), 16-18(D).

B. Testify to the Gospel's power in his own life in order to proclaim its message: Acts 26:12-23(C); Rom. 8:18, 39; 1 Cor. 15:8-10; Gal. 1:13-16(C); 2:18-21; 6:14 (D); Phil. 3:7-11; 1 Tim. 1:12-16; 2 Tim. 1:12.

C. Defend

1. His apostleship: Acts. 26:4-23(B); I Cor. 4:3-5(?); 9:1-6(L); 2 Cor. 1:17-24(A); 10:1-2, 8; 11:1-33(L); 12:11-18(L); Gal. 6:17; Eph. 3:2-4.

2. The Gospel he preaches: Acts 22:3-21; 24:14-16; 26:22-23; 28:l7-20; 1 Cor. 11:23; 15:1-3, 8-11(L); Gal. 1:10, 11-24; 2:7-10; 5:11; Col. 1:23; 1 Tim. l:ll; 2 Tim. 2:8-13.

D. Express his personal

1. Feelings about a matter: Rom. 9:1-3; 2 Cor. 2:1-4; 7:3-9(K); Gal. l:6(I); 4:ll(I), 19-20(I); 5:20(L); 1 Thess. 3:5(K).

2. Confession/revelation: Acts 21:l3; 1 Cor. 9:26-27(A); 2 Cor. 12:l-10(L); Phil. 1::l8b-26(A); 2 Tim. 4:6-8(A), 16-18(A).

E. Set himself forth as an example

1. Universally: 1 Cor. 13:l-3, 11-12.

2. To be imitated by believers: 1 Cor. 4:3-4(?), 6, 16; 5:l2; 6:12, 14, 15 (hypothetical); 7:7-8; 8:13; l0:29-11:1; 14:6 (hypothetical), 11 (hypothetical), 14-15, 18-19; 2 Cor. 6:13; Gal. 6:14(G); Phil. 3:3-15(I, J), 17; 4:9, 11-13; 1 Tim. 1.-12-16(K); 2 Tim. 3:10-12(K).

F. Identify with his audience: Acts. 22:3; 23:1,6.

G. Direct attention away from himself: I Cor. 1:14-17; 2:2-5; Gal. 6:14.

H. Raise awareness/appreciation: Acts 22:21; 26:16-18; Rom. 11:13-14; 15:15-20(M); Gal. 1:13-17(C); Eph. 3:1-4, 7-9(C); Phil. 3:4-6(I, J); 1 Tim. 2:7(L).

I. Draw forth repentance: 2 Cor. 12:20-21; Gal. 1:6-9; 4:11,21; Phil. 3:4-6(H, J).

J. Warn: Rom. 16:17; 1 Cor. 4:14, 18-21; Gal. 5:2-3; Phil. 1:17; 3:2-6(H, J); Col. 2:4-5(K).

K. Encourage/comfort believers: Rom. 8:18, 38; 15:14; 16:19; 1 Cor. 1:4; 7:29-35; 11:2(L); 2 Cor. 2:1-4; 7:3-9, 12-13, 16; Gal. 4:12-14(L); Eph. 1:15-17; 3:12, 14-19; 4:14-18; Phil. l:3-8, 12-14, 27-30; 2:12-13, 16-18; 4:1, 15-20; Col. 1:24; 2:1-3(J); 1 Tim. 1:12-16; 2 Tim. 1:3-5,12; 4:6-8; Philemon 4-7.

L. Obtain acceptance of and obedience to his instruction: Rom. 11:1; 12:1, 3; 14:14; 15:15; 1 Cor. 1:10; 3:1-3; 4:15; 5:3; 6:12; 7:17; 9:1-2; 10:14-15, 29-33(A); 11:2-3, 17-18, 34; 12:1-3, 31; 14:5; 2 Cor. 2:2-11; 7:12; 10:1-2, 8; 11:1-12:9; 13:3-4, 10; Gal. 4:19-20; 5:2-4(J), 16; 6:17; Eph. 4:1; Phil. l:27; 2:12-16; 3:17-18; 4:9; Col. 4:18; 1 Thess. 5:27; 2 Thess. 3:17; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2:8, 9, 12; 5:21; 6:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:6-7; 2:1-2; 4:1; Tit. 1:5; 3:8; Philemon 8-15, 17-22.

M. Obtain support for his missionary work (money, prayers, and so forth): Rom. 1:8-12; 15:16b-19, 30-32; 2 Cor. 8:8, 10; 9:1-5; Eph. 6:19-20; Col. 4:3-4.

N. Commend others so that they might be received and respected: Rom.16: 1, 4, 21; 1 Cor. 4:17; 16:3-4, 10-11; Eph. 6:21-22; Phil. 2:.19-24, 25-30; 4:2; Col. 4:7-9.

0. Hypothetically assume the role of another: Rom. 3:7; 11:19; 1 Cor. 1:12-13; 3:4; 12:15-16, 21.

26. Precisely what Paul means by that phrase is a matter of great dispute. C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, 2 vols., The International Critical Commentary, vol. 32, 6th ed. (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975, 1979), 1:99-100, gives his usual thorough treatment of the options. He concludes, 100, that this phrase most probably has "much the same effect as the 'sola’, of 'sola fide'." Compare the interesting use a similar phrase in 2 Cor. 2:16.

27. E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress press, 1977), 17.

28. According to ibid., 75, "Covenantal nomism is the view that one's place in God's plan is established on the basis of the covenant and that the covenant requires as the proper response of man his obedience to its commandments, while providing means of atonement for transgression." He later adds, 420, "Obedience maintains one's position in the covenant, but does not earn God's grace as such.."

29. Ibid., 141, 146-147. He asserts, 420, that statements which "sound like" legalism are not to be taken as doctrine but as exhortations toward obedience which "maintains one’s position in the covenant."

Whether Sanders’s analysis of first-century Judaism is correct or not is a matter of dispute. See, for example, James Dunn, "The New Perspective on Paul," The John Rylands University Library Bulletin 65 (1982-83):95-122; Jacob Neusner, "Comparing Judaisms," History of Religions 18 (1978):177-91; A .J. M. Wedderburn, "Paul and the Law," Scottish Journal of Theology 38 (1985):613-22.

30. Rom. 2:13, 25; 10:5 citing Lev. 18:5; see also Gal. 3:10-12, citing Deut. 27:26 and Lev. 18:5.

31. Rom. 3:19-20; 7:14-25; Gal. 2:16; 3:11.

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