This is the final post surveying Romans 7. This series has helped me in shaping my own view of the passage. I’m still working it out, but have a few thoughts that I’ll share on this post.
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We have looked at the three views presented in Perspectives of Our Struggle with Sin but that book doesn’t exhaust all the options. I just picked up William Dumbrell’s hard-to-get Romans commentary (available only in Australia; thanks to my cousin for sending it over!) and thought I should share his view. Dumbrell argues that Paul’s focus is squarely on national Israel in the past and present.
Perhaps Romans 7 is not about believers or unbelievers after all; what if Paul is trying to say something entirely different? In Perspectives of Our Struggle with Sin, Mark Seifrid argues that Paul’s focus is on the human being confronted with the Law.
In Perspectives of Our Struggle with Sin, Stephen J. Chester argues for a “Retrospective View” of Romans 7. That is, Paul is reflecting on his experience as a Pharisaical Jew before he placed his faith in Christ.
Does Romans 7 describe the experience of the believer? This is a very popular reading of the passage and also what Grant Osborne argues for in Perspectives of Our Struggle with Sin.
Romans chapter 7 is a treasured section of a treasured letter. The depiction of Paul in turmoil, struggling to honor God’s Law stands as a comforting testament to the plight that every believer faces. Or does it? What if this is not the correct interpretation? In teaching through Romans, I get the twisted joy of ruining this passage for my students! Not really; in fact, that’s exactly what I try to avoid doing to them. However, it’s unavoidable that they would be unsettled a little when a beloved text is challenged. What is really going on here? In the next few posts, we will use B&H’s Perspectives of Our Struggle with Sin as our guide to interpretations of this knotty chapter. In this post, I will introduce the options and the scholars that argue for them.