Our last Forced Choice asked you to vote on your favorite part of the NT. And I guess we shouldn’t be terribly surprised that the gospels won by a fair margin (48%). Paul made a respectable showing (33%), but couldn’t close the gap. And the rest of the NT barely got a nod. Apparently we really like Jesus around here.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a new Forced Choice, and this one comes as a special request from someone who would be interested in knowing what we think. Who is Paul talking about in Romans 7? If you don’t recall off the top of your head, this is the chapter where Paul is lamenting the power of sin in a person’s life, making them do things they don’t want to. People have long debated Paul’s meaning in this chapter and I’m sure I could include more options than these. But, for the sake of simplicity, these are your choices.
Paul is referring to:
- A Non-Christian Jew: This could be autobiographical (i.e. Paul’s own experience before conversion) or more general (i.e. the experience of all Jews). Either way, it’s a description of a Jewish person struggling to obey the Law but unable to do so.
- Any Unconverted Person: This is similar to the first one, but makes the referent even more general. Here the person in view is any unconverted person struggling to do what they know they should, but unable to do so.
- A “Carnal” Christian: This chapter describes the experience of the person who has been converted, but does not yet experience the full power of salvation. Paul could be describing his own experience or a more general Christian experience.
- A “Mature” Christians: Paul is describing the experience of every Christian, even mature ones. This struggle won’t end until Christ returns. Again, this could be autobiographical or general.
- Adam: This chapter describes the experience of Adam falling under the power of sin.
If you have a favorite way of reading this chapter that I haven’t included, go ahead and vote for the option that is closest to yours. But let us know in the comments what you think is a better approach.
Use the poll in the sidebar to vote. Let me know what you think!