Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 04:1 (Spring 1991)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“The Obedience of Faith in the Letter to the Romans. Part I: The Meaning of hypakoē pisteōs (Rom 1:5; 16:26),” D. B. Garlington, Westminster Theological Journal 52, 1990, pp. 201–24.

This is the first of two articles on the implications of the phrase hypakoē pisteōs (“the obedience of faith”)in Romans. The article is divided into three main sections. First, the context of Rom 1:5 and 16:26 is rehearsed. The phrase in both verses falls within a discussion of Paul’s missionary design. In other words it helps to state the goal of Paul’s call as an apostle to the Gentiles. In the second section, the grammatical options are examined. Eight possible nuances are condensed into four grammatical categories and evaluated. The objective genitive (“obedience to the [Christian] faith”) is rejected since the Greek definite article is absent, and the word pistis (“faith”) does not appear elsewhere in Romans in the sense of a body of doctrine. But the subjective genitive (“the obedience which faith produces”) handled together with the genitive of source, the genitive of apposition (“the obedience which is faith,” i.e., believing the Gospel), and the adjectival genitive (“believing obedience”) are all left for further discussion in the last major unit.

It is assumed from the start that Romans has two central purposes. First, Paul writes an apologetic for his Gospel, arguing that Jews are no longer a superior and distinct people, but a part of a new corporate identity with the Gentiles. Second, Paul also writes in order to clarify the nature of faith in his Gospel (pp. 201–202). The Greek phrase, “believing obedience,” nicely summarizes these two purposes. By using the word “faith” in the phrase, any Jewish superiority within the new people of God is denied. By stressing the “obedience” (a Jewish covenant word) in that faith, Paul outlines the ethical-social concerns lest Gentiles live without law. So, the unity of Jew and Gentile in the church is illustrated in the inviolable unity of faith and works.

In the final section, the author demonstrates that “the obedience of faith” does include at least the initial act of faith in the Gospel (genitive of apposition). Several parallel texts from Romans are cited which are commonly recognized as identifying faith in Christ as an act of obedience. Of foremost importance are Rom 1:8 (“your faith is being proclaimed throughout the w...

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