UNDERSTANDING THE LAW IN ROM. 7:1-6: AN ENTHYMEMIC ANALYSIS

Chul Woo Lee

Abstract


Rom. 7:1-6 is an important passage for describing the relationship between believers
and the law, but contains various hermeneutical problems that cause
difficulty in understanding. This article first argues that Paul is speaking to a mixed
audience of Roman Christians rather than to purely Jewish or Gentile believers.
Secondly, the literary genre of Rom. 7:1-3 is argued as analogy. A seemingly
difference between the analogy proper and its conclusion is easily understood when
we recognize Paul’s worldview, i.e., Paul as a Jew could never conceive of the law
of God as being discarded. Furthermore, Earnshaw’s interpretation that the
analogy must be viewed from the perspective of the two-staged marriage relationship
between the believers and Christ is refuted. The view is also put forward that
the marriage system Paul employs here comes from his Jewish worldview; thus it
does not belong to the wider Greco-Roman system. On the grounds of these
considerations I proceed to interpret our text using an enthymemic analysis, an
important tool for unravelling Paul’s rhetoric in persuading his audience. The law
here certainly has a wider concept than the Mosaic Law and the best option is the
law of God mentioned in v. 22.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/88-0-999

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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