Romans Chapter 7 Interpretation

Romans Chapter 7 Interpretation

Dockery rom7 gtj 81

GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL the history of the church.This essay will seek to answer the

attempt to relate it to Paul's

theology.Romans 7 is thus seen as one of the pivotal passages in

Since the passage is located at the heart of Paul's explanation of

a tremendous impact upon one's theoloside sees too much bondage to sin for a Christian, and the other sees

A proper understanding

of the nature of indwelling sin will

In this section and the previous veextensive use of the personal pronoun "I." In vv 7-21, Pathe Greek text, the eight emphatic uses of the personal pronoun I

tion which must be answered is

In vv 14-25, Paul continues to speak in the first person singular,

but he leaves the past tense and ange has great bearing upon ones

What sounded like past testimony in vv 7-13 seems to be present state of being which is contemporaracterization of condition.The third problem is the meaninpsychological terms which are so frequently used, as well as the




(NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959) 256.


D.Moody, , in The Broadman Bible Commentary (12 vols., Nashville: Broadman, 1970) 10.207.



B.Cranfield in his commentary on Romans lists several suggestions which

have been proposed.

He concludes that it is an example of the general use of the first

person singular.He continues saying that this is due not, merely to a desire for

sense of personal involvement, his conscious- he is disclosing the truth about himself.

(ICC; Edinburgh: T.& T.

Clark, 1975) 1.343.

8.R.Y.K.Fung, The Impotence of the Law: Toward a Fresh Understanding of Romans 7: l4-25, in Eerdmans, 1978) 34.


The present tenses are sometimes taken as historical presents to describe the past in a vivid manner, but this is the exception and not the normal interpretation.GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL both the history and result are a

) One of the difficulties involveif actual deliverance has arrived in the preceding verses (14-25a).

ge in subject between v 24 (non- Christian) and v 25a (Christian).Bornkamm notes that there seems to be a growing consensus

of Paul, that of viewing his non- Christian experience through his presholds that Paul is writing in general about man under the law, man

e righteously by his own efforts.

He makes his account vivid, thereforthrough his own experience.The abovthough this does not rule out the

This perspective owes its revival in modern theoloof Romans 7 at the beginning

in contrast to Romans 8, which

There are some interpreters who understand the emphasis of the

it is "the experience of any man

who tries the experiment, whether he be regenerate or unregenerate
romans chapter 7 interpretation
The 7th chapter of Romans then becomes a description of the ministry of the Law. I ... No interpretation of Romans 7:7-25 can be complete (
Romans 7:14-25: Pauline Tension In The Christian Life
and was the dominant interpretation of Romans 7 at the beginning of this century. ... the chapter, but now for the first time with the present tense. Some (
#9- The I Of Romans 7
Contextual: Chapter 7 does not mesh with the polarity of ch. 6 or 8 if it ... Your interpretation of the ā€œIā€ in Romans 7:14-25 will effect how you use this text in a (
.describing "a man who is good and holy by his own efforts and is beaten back every time by the

14.Cf.G.Bornkamm, Early Christian Experience (2 vols., New York: Harper and

Row, 1969), I.93.The present tenses are viewed as historical presents.


0.Michel, Der Brief an die Romer (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht,

1955) 179.



Y.K.Fung, "The Impotence of the Law," 35.

17.Ibid.Also cf.J.Kurzinger, "Der Schlussel zum Verstandnis von Rom 7," 271,

who says that v 25b is the key to this interpretation.


W.H.Griffith Thomas, St.Pauls Epistle to the Romans (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1911) 42.



It must be stated in response to this view that the present tenses in these

20.Ibid., 44.


GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL the believer.In Romans 7, the old naRom 6:14 and Gal 5: 16-21).Thus, defeno spiritual victory under the law.

Concerning the inability of a Christian to live a successful

The child of God, in his inner nature, desires to obey the Mosaic

commandments, but his sin natu

intentions.The fault lies not with th important then to see

that the conflict of the believer in Romans 7

takes place under the law.

Likewise, Fung, with referenc the implication of the present pass Christian is not to live , submitting to the law of God as a

legal code and trying to keep

it by his own efforts, for neither these nor

God's law can enable him to overcome but that he is

to walk , who imparts that power which the law cannot

supply, and who alone can break the domination of sin and

flesh in the

Christian's life and enable him to fulfill the righteous requirements of

the law.These men agree that this is not spiritual victory and add that one

does not permanently remaRomans 8, which is a higher

He then adds, "How well many going through Romans viewed as the picture of a carnal believer or one on a lower plain of

can apply to all believers.


D.Toussaint, "The Contrast Between the Spiritual Conflict in Romans 7 and

123 (1966) 312.


28.Fung, "The Impotence of the Law, 45-46.

29.B.Ramm, "The Double and Romans 7,

15:14 (April 9,

1971) 18.

30.Ibid., 19.



GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL description of man's plight and contradiction as in Rom.7:7-25believer's death to the law.This is done by a somewhat imperfect

analogy with the husband and wife.The following verses demonstrate

oly, just and good." This is done

by expressing the character of the law transitional experience before his conversion (7:7-13).This can be

demonstrated primarily by the pastpresent tense in vv 14-25 isstruggle with sin as a believer.Vv 24 and 25 form a conclusion to this

There are three cycles that can be seen in the apostle's discussion

of the problem of indwelli
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