A perennial question in the interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Romans is what testimony the letter bears on the issue of predestination.

Especially in the last few decades, the identity of the letter’s implied audience has also become more of a live question.

Discussing These Difficulties

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Chris Jones, of the Illuminated Word podcast, to discuss both of these issues.

There was a lot more that could have been said than we were able to fit in the time we had.

And for me, the exact contours of Romans’s testimony on each of these issues is still very much an open question—and, therefore, the subject of projects in various stages.

But it was delightful to have the opportunity to chat with Chris through a kind of “interim report” on some of the work I’ve been doing in the letter.

You can listen to our discussion here below or in your favorite podcast player.

In particular, on the issue of

  • Romans’s implied audience, the use of the τε … καί construction in Romans has been discussed. But the regularity of this usage is particularly helpful for understanding the letter’s implied audience (e.g., in 1:13–15).
  • Predestination, there’s quite a lot of exegetical gridlock in the arguments and counterarguments between different positions. But an often overlooked question is “In advance of what (pre-) does this ‘destination’ or ‘appointment’ occur?” (e.g., in 8:28–29). And if we ask this question, Romans might have a surprising answer.

A Resource for Readers

Toward the end of the episode, Chris and I also discuss a free reading guide I created especially for

  • English readers who want to read their Bibles more carefully and
  • Teachers of English Bible readers who want to help their students read more carefully.

The discipline of reading the Bible in its original languages can certainly be invaluable. But that journey’s not for everyone.

So, this guide helps English Bible readers by providing a framework for considering more closely how the English text works.

Get the guide for free, and help encourage closer and more careful Bible reading.

Header image provided by Alex Suprun

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