This week, I am working through Romans, chapters 9-13.
- Verse 1- Paul seems keen to assert his integrity here. Perhaps I'm just cynical, but in the modern world, I'm perhaps more likely to think someone who asserts "I am not lying" is more likely to be lying than someone who just makes his case and leaves it at that.
- Verses 14-15 - I could ask for better argumentation from Paul than we're getting. If we were talking about anyone other than God, quoting that person as saying "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, " etc., would seem to be the very proof of them being unjust!
- Verse 20 - And, of course, this would be the rebuttal. My point still stands.
- Verses 6-7 - This seems to be as clear a statement as any that we shouldn't be concerning ourselves with the "status" of others. Perhaps it's just human nature that we seem unable to avoid it. Or perhaps it's the difficulty of following the command to evangelize without assuming some status or another in regard to other people's salvation....
- Verse 21 - Evangelism is often a thankless task, to say nothing of often having high cost for the one doing the evangelism. Yet we still are called to offer the good news. Whatever we might suggest about "method" and "attitude" and "assumptions," the call remains.
- Verses 2-4 - Paul is referencing a tale that comes from I Kings 19. I am often reminded that this complaint of Elijah, and the fear that it comes from, takes place right after a tale of one of Elijah's greatest victories (of course, God did the action, but the point remains that Elijah was there to see it happen) in the previous chapter. Even those who have seen God's work up close need to be reminded of God's faithfulness.
- Verses 13-21 - It really is a horrible crime that so much antisemitism has taken place at the hands of Christians over the centuries. We're really not following our own teachings at times....
- Verse 2 - I think we shouldn't be too quick to assume what Paul means by "do not conform to the pattern of this world." I suspect that both liberals and conservatives alike would accuse the other of "conforming" while practicing the very acts that "the other" believes are being faithful to God (perhaps, even, they would argue that such actions are faithful to the "renewing of your mind" clause that Paul prescribes as an antidote!).
- Verses 4-8 - Paul will expand further on this analogy of a body with many parts when we get to I Corinthians (also chapter 12, coincidentally).
- Verse 13: "Practice hospitality" - I don't want to push this too hard, but I know some who would argue that practicing hospitality is a central commandment, out of which all (or, at least, most) other commands naturally flow. One who is not hospitable is not worshiping God aright.
- Verse 1 - Such an interesting command, especially when one considers that Paul offers it as instruction to Christians to follow a non-Christian government! Not just "secular," but one that actively didn't understand (if, indeed, wasn't actively hostile to) Christians.
- Verse 8 - This verse is really more about love than about debt, but it reminds me of something I read recently, pointing out that Biblical commands against "usury" were intended (at that time) to refer to ANY interest on a loan, not just "excessive" interest. Either way, debt is to be avoided if possible. That said, I do think that some debt (and, indeed, some charging of interest) is acceptable in today's world. One must remember that the Bible is NOT a "rule book," even if it has "rules" within it. Acknowledging the context of time, place, genre, and "story" is important.