Saturday, September 17, 2016

Crash Writing 1: Paul and the Law

Going to try to write the better part of a chapter today. The first section of the chapter is called "Paul and the Law." Here is the outline to fill in over the next five hours or so:

6.1.1 Paul's Many Uses of Nomos
  • The default reference of Paul's use of the word "law" (nomos) was to the Jewish Law... what else would it be?
  • It is true that Paul does some word games with the word nomos especially in Romans to mean something like "rule."
  • When Paul referenced the Law, he sometimes had different parts of the Law in view.
  • When Paul used the phrase, "works of Law," for example, he especially had in view those parts of the Law that served as ethnic boundaries between Jew and Gentile. 
  • At other times, such as when Paul spoke of upholding "law" (Rom. 3:31) or Gentiles keeping the Law (Rom. 2:14), he had something like the essence of the Law in view, which for him largely amounted to the love command (Rom. 13:10), which "fulfilled" the Law and was more or less what he meant by being "enlawed of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:21).
  • When Paul spoke of previously being "blameless" in relation to the "righteousnessness in the Law," he largely referred to the performance of "works of law" to the expected Pharisaic standard.
  • When Paul spoke in Romans 7 of not being able to keep the Law he referred more to the essence of the Law mentioned above, and he picks the one of the Ten Commandments that is often understood "internally."
6.1.2 Paul's Application of the Law
  • For Paul Gentiles were not "under the Law" but he expected them to live out the essence of the Law, love. The Holy Spirit empowered them to do such. 
  • He worked out these arguments in practice. So in 1 Corinthians, his approach is that "all things are lawful for me, but not everything is beneficial" (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23). In 9:21 it is that he is "enlawed of Christ" although not technically under the Law.
  • But the bottom line remained. If you do not show appropriate works on the Day of the Lord, you simply will not make it (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Believers would be judged according to their works when they die (2 Cor. 5:10). We can work out a system, but it is not entirely clear that Paul did.
  • Did he expect Jews to continue to keep the Law? I suspect he more or less anticipated that they would and that he more or less did. However, he did not consider himself to be under the Law (1 Cor. 9:20) and argued strictly for justification by faith apart from works of Law (Rom. 3:28). 
  • The real problem for him was when "works of Law" came into conflict with the full inclusion of the Gentiles, such as happened at Antioch. When there was any conflict of this sort, especially one that threatened the unity of the body of Christ, the Law was out the window.

1 comment:

Martin LaBar said...

This is helpful. Thank you.