Paul’s Approach To The Old Testament In Rom 10:6-8 -- By: Mark A. Seifrid

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 06:1 (Spring 1985)
Article: Paul’s Approach To The Old Testament In Rom 10:6-8
Author: Mark A. Seifrid


Paul’s Approach To The Old Testament
In Rom 10:6-8

Mark A. Seifrid

Princeton, N.J.

A. Introduction

As a reference to the records of the Marburg Colloquy quickly shows, “demonstrative” sentences have proved quite troublesome to exegetes. The threefold demonstrative (του̑τ͂ ἕστιν) dealt with in this study is less celebrated and perhaps less crucial than those discussed at Marburg in 1529. It is, nevertheless, not without importance, for it involves the apostle Paul’s understanding of the relation between Christ and the Mosaic law and his basic approach to the OT text. While the connection Paul makes between the text of Deuteronomy and the message of faith is startling indeed, we will argue that he by no means disregards the deuteronomic context. On the contrary, Paul perceives a profound theological correspondence between the giving of the law and the advent of Christ.

B. The Background of Rom 10:6-8

It is difficult to engage in the investigation of any passage in Romans 9–11 without treating the whole section in depth. For the sake of brevity, however, we will limit our discussion to those points that seem most crucial to the use Paul makes of the OT in Rom 10:6–8.

1. The OT References of Rom 9–11

If one concludes that chaps. 9–11 formed an independent work, i.e.,if chapters 9–11 or the OT textual exposition contained within them existed independently prior to the writing of the epistle, the exegete must attempt to offer an independent interpretation of these chapters (or OT citations) prior to understanding the manner in which Paul integrated them with the rest of the epistle. If chaps. 9–11 were composed along with the rest of the epistle, then similarities in style to diatribe, homily or midrash may inform us about Paul’s background and about early Christian exegesis, but they do not open the possibility of source criticism in the interpretation of this passage.

It is clear that the topic and tone of the epistle change dramatically at the beginning of chapter 9. Chapters 9–11 have frequently been viewed as an excursus within the epistle, so much so that C. H. Dodd suggested that 9–11

was an independent work later...

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