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