Grading Came Alive, and I Died

grading, teaching, education

People have long wrestled with the meaning of Romans 7. Is it talking about mature Christians, immature Christians, non-Christians, Jews under the Law, or someone else entirely? The options are legion.

Driving home today, with the end of the semester in the rearview mirror, and an imminent collision with tomorrow’s grade deadline looming in the windshield, I finally realized who Paul had in mind as he penned these famous verses. You just need to tweak the translation slightly.

This is for teachers everywhere.

Grading Came Alive, and I Died

I was once alive apart from teaching, but when the end of the semester came, grading came alive and I died.

The very job that promised life proved to be death to me.

For grading, seizing an opportunity through the teaching, deceived me and through it killed me.

So the teaching is holy, and the classroom is holy and righteous and good.

Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was grading, producing death in me through what is good, in order that grading might be shown to be sin, and through the classroom might become sinful beyond measure.

For we know that the teaching is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under grading.

Romans 7:9-14  VLT (very loose translation)

Romans 7 never made so much sense.




  1. Dwight Gingrich says

    Actually, I think that’s pretty close to what Paul had in mind. And just about anyone–sinner, saint, new believer, Gentile, Jew–can be foolish enough to voluntarily chose to be graded by the Law. Your post is spot on because the question Paul poses and then answers doesn’t say a word about who the “student” is, but asks about the nature and effect of “grading”–Law.

    But now I’m getting way too serious. Why don’t you just tell all your students “there is now no condemnation” and be done with it?


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