The New Covenant and Paul’s Quotations from Hosea in Romans 9:25–26 -- By: Paul Tanner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 162:645 (Jan 2005)
Article: The New Covenant and Paul’s Quotations from Hosea in Romans 9:25–26
Author: Paul Tanner

The New Covenant and Paul’s Quotations from Hosea in Romans 9:25–26

J. Paul Tanner

J. Paul Tanner is Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies, Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, Amman, Jordan.

One of the crucial issues in biblical hermeneutics is the question of how to view Israel as the people of God. Closely related to this is the matter of interpreting the Old Testament promises to Israel. Has the church replaced Israel (a view sometimes referred to as replacement theology)?1 Did Israel by her disobedience and especially her rejection of Jesus as Messiah forfeit her place in God’s plan? Is the church a totally distinct entity with a separate mission?

These questions are especially pertinent to Old Testament quotations in the New Testament. No verse states that Israel has forfeited her role and been permanently cast off by God. And no verse states that the church has replaced Israel. Yet one is still left with the challenge of explaining how certain Old Testament verses originally addressed to Israel are “used” in the New Testament in relation to Gentiles and the church. This article considers Paul’s use of verses from Hosea 1–2 in Romans 9. How does his use of these verses contribute to understanding Israel and what it means to be “the people of God”?

The Context of Romans 9: The “True Israel”

In Romans 9–11 the apostle Paul, having carefully developed the doctrines of justification and sanctification in the earlier part of this epistle, then explained how these truths relate to Israel as God’s people. Since righteousness is not gained by keeping the

Mosaic Law (3:20) and since one can be declared righteous before God only by faith in Jesus Christ (vv. 28–30), what does this say about Israel, whom God told to keep the Law?

In 9:6 Paul wrote, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.” His comments at this point have nothing to do with those who are Gentiles, as though “God’s Israel” were a people composed of Jews and Gentiles. Paul was clearly referring to the Jewish people. This relates to what he said earlier in 2:28–29. “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he...

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