The Insanity Of Faith: Paul’s Theological Use Of Isaiah In Romans 9:33 -- By: Dane C. Ortlund

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 30:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: The Insanity Of Faith: Paul’s Theological Use Of Isaiah In Romans 9:33
Author: Dane C. Ortlund

The Insanity Of Faith: Paul’s Theological Use Of Isaiah In Romans 9:33

Dane C. Ortlund

Dane C. Ortlund is a Ph.D. candidate in Biblical Theology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.

“They have stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Rom 9:32).1 So wrote Paul of his fellow Jews; yet the words could just as well serve as a prophetic foreshadowing of generations of post-Pauline interpreters over the apostle’s very statement. This essay considers Paul’s theological use of the OT in Rom 9:33, where he conflates Isa 8:14 and 28:16 in identifying this “stone of stumbling.” We will first examine both Isaianic texts in their original contexts. Second, we will consider the use of these two texts in intertestamental Judaism. This will lead, third, to a consideration of Rom 9:33 in its own context. All of this, fourth, will funnel into six theological implications.

The two emphases of this essay are sustained considerations of (1) the OT context from which Paul is drawing and (2) the specifically theological use of Isaiah. These two foci unite to suggest that Paul employs these Isaianic texts to explain the double-sided nature of the responses elicited by Christ—Jewish rejection and Gentile embrace—by quoting the OT in a way that is not only contextually responsible but hermeneutically illuminating and even salvation-historically required.

I. Isa 8:14 And 28:16 In Context

In order to make sense out of Paul’s conflation of Isa 8:14 and 28:16, we will examine these two texts in their own contexts, operating under the assumption that Rom 9:33 can be understood only as clearly as the passages Paul is citing are understood.2 Such an

approach is in contrast to many studies of Rom 9:33, which concentrate either on Paul’s own meaning (without due attention to the OT context from which Paul quotes) or on the pre-canonical background to Paul’s use of the OT—often in conjunction with 1 Pet 2:6-8, which quotes these same two Isaianic texts.3

A. Isa 8:14


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