In his Romans commentary, F. F. Bruce gives the following, sound advice for those who want to understand Paul better:
We may agree or disagree with Paul, but we must do him the justice of letting him hold and teach his own beliefs, and not distort his beliefs into conformity with what we should prefer him to have said (136).
Of course, determining what exactly Paul believed is a task that inevitably involves readers and those readers’ preunderstandings, but still the adage holds: “if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time” (cf. Hermeneutics and “the Near”).
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