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About Reading Romans Backwards.
Why read Romans backwards?
Romans - Depth - Time - Romans - Letter
First, since most who read Romans are swamped by the theological depth and debates about it, by the time they get to Romans 9 they may be exhausted and even more if they get to Romans 12. If we don’t read it first we may never get to it, and if we never get to it we will not be reading the letter in its own, fuller context.
Second, our readings of Romans, many of which are profound, will lack social realities if we ignore Romans 12-16. Here we encounter the mission of Paul to go to Spain, and Robert Jewett made (too?) much of this. Here we encounter the names of those in the house churches in Rome (16:3-16), and these names have been studied intensely by Peter Lampe and Jewett, revealing both a high proportion of slaves and the prominence of women. Here we encounter Phoebe, and I think she was a leader in a church next to Corinth and was a benefactor of Paul and others.
Weak - Strong - Debates - Sides - Chapters
Most importantly here we encounter the Weak and the Strong. There are debates here, and I took sides, but whichever view one takes there are almost two chapters addressing them (and the same terms are used in 1 Cor, leading some to think the problems are not that different).
How can we read Romans well if we ignore these social realities? I’ve read many studies of Romans who...
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