Lecture 27: Epistles - Part 2 | Free Online Biblical Library

Lecture 27: Epistles - Part 2

Course: Biblical Hermeneutics

Lecture: Epistles - Part 2

Now after we understand the specific meaning of words, we want to know how they are together to be understood as a statement or a proposition.  Now you can’t isolate this completely.  And the very process of trying to understand the specific meaning of the word – you are wrestling with how that word is used in that particular sentence in this context.

What I am simply saying here is that – in the focus on the word, we are focusing more on the individual meaning of the word, no so much the entire statement. Here now we are going beyond the understanding of individual words and trying to understand the statement as a whole.

Now the key tool for understanding statements involves a grammar.  If we are talking about how to go from the norms of language found in a dictionary to the norms of an utterance, a lexicon is most helpful here. When we are trying to understand statements, now it is the grammar of the language that is most helpful and here we are talking about grammars – Greek grammars for Greek, Hebrew for Hebrew, English for English.

Grammars of different languages involve different syntax structures.  For instance in English, when you try to put a statement together, the position of words is all important.

For instance:
Bob loves Joan.
Bob, Joan loves.
Joan loves Bob.
Joan, Bob loves.
Loves, Joan, Bob.
Loves, Bob, Joan.

The words are identical. There is not a single difference between the words. All three of them have the same words. The meaning is completely dependent on the order of words in the english language.

But that’s not true in other languages for instance in Greek, its different here. It is the way words end that is most important. The endings on words.

So you have for you Greek:

Bobus agape Joanien
Joanien Bobus agape
agape Joanien Bobus
Bobus agape Joanien
Joanien Bobus agape
agape Joanien Bobus

Bob loves Joan in all three of those.

Well you say, “The order is different.”

Yes. But notice the endings are the same. It’s the endings that matter.

One of the screwy things about Greek is that the order is irrelevant and it drives you crazy.  German is somewhat similar to. German language always puts the verb at the end.  That’s why Germans are so neurotic. They keep waiting for the verb. When is it going to come up? Sometimes the sentences are so long, you have to look at the next month’s edition to get to the verb.

And over here, Joan loves Bob – same thing. No matter what the word order is, what we have are the endings that determine this.

Now, when we get to the Greek language we want to know how these words relate and clauses relate by little phrases that we tend to ignore and I think part of our English language is not interested in precision as to relationship of words.

For instance if you have the words, “The battle was lost - ________ the general died.”

You have all sorts of words that can change the meaning of this.  For instance if you put
“The battle was lost – after the general died,” now you have a relationship with the battle having taken place and being lost after the general died, but there is not necessarily a causal relationship.  This is just a matter of fact.  It is interesting to note that it was after the general had died and the battle was lost.  There was no relationship between the battle being lost and the general dying but that happened in time.

“The battle was lost –even as the general died.”

Now they are taking place at the same time.   Now when you say,

“The battle was lost –when as the general died.”

Now you have more than just a temporal relationship. You are talking about somehow, the general’s death being intimately involved in the battle being lost.

“The battle was lost –while the general died.”

Very much the same as “even as”.

“The battle was lost - so that the general died.”

Now the battle is lost and the result of the battle being lost is the death of the general.

“The battle was lost – for the general died.”

Now the battle’s being lost is determined as being grounded on the general’s death. If he hadn’t died the battle might not have been lost. 

“The battle was lost – and the general died.”

Two separate facts that are just related.

“The battle was lost – if the general died.”

Now you talk about – “I don’t know the outcome yet but if the general died, then the battle would have been lost because he was essential for victory.”

“The battle was lost – then the general died.”

You have a temporal ..

“The battle was lost – because the general died.”

It was the general’s death that is the cause of the battle being lost.  Then you have since, before, therefore, and you have all sorts of words like this.

And the one thing that we very seldom do in English and grade school and so forth, is to interact with – how do these clauses relate to one another.  And in our chapter on the epistles, the genre of the epistles, I give a lot of examples of relationship of clauses that talk about temporal, causal, instrumental and the like.

Now let me give a very famous passage in Scripture and we will talk about some of the clausal relationships. Its Ephesians 2:8-9.  Paul writes:

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of
God — 9 not the result of works, so that no one
may boast.

For by grace. Here is the Greek here:

And by grace here is a … instrumental case.  What we have is a particular instrumental of cause. You are saved because of grace. The cause of salvation is grace. Because of grace. By grace you have been saved. 

Now you have through faith and that would be an ablative of means.  The means through which salvation comes is faith. Not the cause … the means.

You say, “What is the difference?”  Quite clear that cause and means are very very different in the relationship here. By grace through faith.

If someone says I am saved because I believe.  It is a very erroneous kind of statement.  You are not saved because you believe.  “Well. Sure I am saved because I believe. Bible says if you have faith, you will be saved and you are saved because you believe.”

No. You are not saved because you believe. 

Have the greatest faith in the world.  Eliminate Good Friday and Easter from history.  You are lost.  You are not saved because you believe.  The cause of our salvation is the death of Jesus Christ for our sins and His resurrection from the dead.  This gracious act of God, this grace is the cause of salvation.

You can have all the faith in the world, just remove it and it shows. No. You are not saved.  The means by which that grace is appropriated is faith.  Faith is not the cause. Faith is the means by which that cause brings about our salvation.

Let me give a… maybe not a great example, but one that is sometimes helpful.

You are dying in the hospital of a form of pneumonia and the doctor comes in and he has a vial of ampicillin and he says “This stuff will save you.”

The cause of your being saved will be that ampicillin.  But somehow there has to be means by which this is appropriated in the body. So you get a hypodermic needle and a syringe and you fill it with ampicillin and through the hypodermic needle the ampicillin, the saving medicine enters your body and you were saved.

Now what saves you?

It was the hypodermic needle which also saves you! No. You could be stuck with that all day and it won’t help you.  You just jab people with the hypodermic and it doesn’t do anything.  It is the means by which the cure – the ampicillin – enters in and brings about healing. It is not the cause of your healing.

When we talk about what saves us. It is Jesus’ death on Calvary that saves us.  Not our faith! And I think there is a sense in which we are insulting the grace of God and the death of Jesus on our behalf when we talk like that.

“Uh… Um… I am saved because I believe.”

You are saved because Jesus died for you. Your faith is the means – the hypodermic needle – through which God’s healing salvation, Jesus, the ampicillin comes into your life. It is by grace. It is because of grace.  It is through faith, but it is because of grace and all the faith in the world won’t save us apart from God’s remedy, His grace in Jesus Christ.

And I think we need to make sure that when we talk about people, we don’t emphasize our personal faith, but the grace of God that brings about that salvation.  By grace, the instrument, cause, if you want to use another word. By grace, because of grace; the instrument being the grace of God that saves us.

The means through faith.

Then he talks about, you have been saved, ok. We could talk a little about this being a perfect.  And that you have been saved and indicates something has happened that brought you in a state of salvation and state continues on, but lets not worry about that.

But then he goes on and says, “this is not your own doing” – touto (or τοῦτο ( = this))  – “this is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Now, what is not of our own doing?  There have been people who have said, “Well, faith”.  That faith is a gift of God and that apart from God giving us this gift of faith we couldn’t never enter into the Kingdom of God. Well that may be true theologically, but that’s not what Paul is saying here.

Now we know that because this is feminine – grace. Faith is feminine. And this is neuter.  Now if this is referring to an antecedent, a specific one, it has to take on the same gender is what it is referring to.  It doesn’t take on the gender of faith or the gender of grace, so its not referring to that. Its not saying that “this faith saves you”.  It’s not saying that “this grace saves you.”  He says this whole thing is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.

So the causal relationships here of these phrases towards one another – you who are learning Greek – you have an opportunity to be able for the rest of your life to read Paul’s actual letters.  To read what Luke says.  To read what Mark says, without translation.  I know languages are not easy and you just can’t let them sit there … unlike good cheese and good wine, they just don’t get better with age. You got to use it. Work on it.  But use the opportunity. There is something exciting for Dr. Stein being able to preach from the pulpit as a young pastor.  It was not a cockiness.  It was not an arrogance. But I had known that I had studied the text in the original language and I was able to share that – not telling the congregation my work.  I didn’t try to impress upon them that I can read Greek and they can’t or something like that.

But there is a confidence in the pulpit that comes about and therefore make use of it.

Now if you don’t have use of the language, well, then you are always translating, not the Greek of Paul, but the English of the translators.  So now when you get to study of Ephesians 2:8, “by grace you are saved through faith,” you have to say, “Now what do English translators mean by the word “by” and “grace” and so forth.  So you are a step removed. Now, compared to the rest of the world, we have a wonderful surplus of translations. And you have commentaries and others that can help you, but there is something exciting and wonderful about being able to work on biblical text in the original languages and I recommend that to you.

Lets look at a couple of others.  Turn with me to Romans 12:2. We are looking at how words are related in a sentence to one another. Here you have:

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,
which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may
prove what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and

Now when Paul says, “Be not conformed to this world, you will not that it is an imperative, the present imperative of negation.  Usually that implies, you should stop doing what you are doing.  And you might be able to translate this, “I appeal to you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God, which is your reason to worship.

Stop being conformed to this world!

Now, Paul is assuming, that Roman Christians, even without television, without the media, without CDs, the movies were being conformed by this world in its own image. And Paul says “Stop allowing this to take place.”

If that was true of the Christian church in Rome, think about whats happening to us today: being bombarded with the media all the time.

And perish the thought that anybody should drive a car without a radio on.  Or that they could jog without earphones.  I think we are scared of silence. I think we are going to go crazy if it gets silent or something like that.

But much of this non-silence that we are hearing is not necessarily edifying.  Much of it may be of this world and conforming us, shaping us into its own image. Paul says, “Stop doing that. Stop allowing that to happen to you.”

On the other hand, be transformed – metamorphosis is the word that we get there.  And now the question is “How are we going to be transformed?” And Paul gives us this expression, “By the renewal of our minds.” By the renewal of the mind.

The way we stop allowing ourselves to be conformed and start to be transformed, Paul says is the renewal of your mind.  Now Paul didn’t go further than that but he does say, that’s the answer. Our minds have to be renewed. Elsewhere he uses that very word renewal and talks about the Holy Spirit trying to renew us.  But I think there is more involved than this. And I would say that if we want to help our people to be transformed and no longer conforming, how do we help them get a renewal of the mind.

What are we going to fill their minds with?

When was the last time any of you read a missionary biography? Last year.  If you want to be transformed start reading missionary biographies.  Very challenging. Very challenging.  You begin to think differently.  You start filling your mind with different things.  You need to have in your church a book of the month club, where you emphasize a good missionary biography of some Christian work that will help them to think differently and to be transformed and so forth. Well Anyhow.  Lets go to another one.

Philippians 2:12-13

Now, we have looked at this verse from the perspective of trying to understand the meaning of terms and coming to the norms of utterance.

12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only
in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling;

“Work out” doesn’t mean earn but to earn, merit, but to demonstrate, manifest, carry out your salvation with fear and trembling.  But we didn’t look at verse 13. And there is an intimate connection between them. Paul says,

13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to
will and to work for his good pleasure.

We are not being asked to work out our salvation in order that God would be at work in us.  He is talking to Christians – because God is at work in you.  Therefore manifest the salvation that you have with fear and trembling.

So verse 13 is the ground and cause of the exhortation.  We are never told to do certain commands so that God will work in our hearts. But because God is at work in our hearts as Christians therefore we have the exhortation.  The exhortation is built on our standing in Christ. The exhortations are never given in order to achieve a standing with Christ.  We already have that.  And because God is at work in you. Because you were His children. Because you came to faith in Him.  Therefore – work out – manifest that salvation with fear and trembling.  With reverence and care.

Alright. Thats about the only ones I had in mind to share with you in that way.  Anything here that you want to comment on before we go on to the next ?

Alright, the next kind of thing that we want to look at is going from understanding a proposition, a simple statement to following an argument.  And I am going to trace with you a very carefully worked out argument by the apostle Paul in Romans 13:1-7.  Whats nice about this passage is that there is no intimate, needed connection with what precedes or what follows. It follows a general list of exhortations that Paul gives here.

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is
no authority except from God, and those that exist have
been instituted by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authority resists
what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have
no fear of Him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will
receive his approval; 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you
do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain!
He is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the
wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid
God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For the same reason
you ought to pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, 
attending to this very thing. 7 Pay all of them their dues, — taxes
to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to
whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

Now I am not implying in the least, that you should be able to work out what I am going to  show you here. What I am saying is that, I want you to see there are times when you have a very carefully constructed argument and the more you understand the argument, the more rich it becomes for you and the better you are in being able to preach and teach it.

Now let us follow this verse by verse.

13:1 – A general exhortation – let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  Now he then goes on and gives the theological ground for this. For why should I? I don’t like it. Why should I Paul? Be subject to the governing authorities?

For Paul says, there is no authority except from God and those that exist have been instituted from God.  What Paul is saying is that – this governmental authority that we have above us – is a gift of God - a gift of common grace which God has ordained for the well-being of His creation.

This authority that the state has comes from God Himself.  And when you don’t like a President or you don’t like a governor, we don’t have a choice of saying “we are not going to pay attention to them.” Paul says to be subject to the governing authorities.  Their authority ultimately comes from God and therefore when you disobey them, there will be consequences.

So you have a theological ground.  Notice the “for” - the cause. Why should we obey and be subject to the governing authorities? For there is no authority except from God and those that exist have been instituted by God. Now the result of this theological argument is as follows:

“Therefore or so that he who resists the authorities, resists what God has appointed. And as a consequence of that, those who resist will incur judgment.  So you have a general exhortation about being subject to the governing authorities.  And you have the ground for that – the authority comes from God.  And consequently the result is, if you resist them, you will incur judgment. 

Now, second argument. A practical ground.  Notice the “for” in 13a. Here you have another one. A positive example. 

“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” In other words, the reason you should obey government is because they are for our good. They are helpful. They are good for us. If you obey the law, you don’t have to worry about them.  They are a real blessing.

“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.”And the explanation for that:

“Would you have no fear of Him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will
receive his approval; 4 for he is God's servant for your good.”

On the other hand, if you do badly, if you do wrong, then be afraid. For, he does not bear the sword in vain.  The idea of the sword here is the symbol of the power of life and death over the citizenry.  In Roman literature there is an example of one of the emperors who resigned and handed over his sword.   And the person describing this said, “In so doing he showed that he was surrendering the right of life and death over the citizenry and giving that up.”

“He does not bear the sword in vain.”

If you are looking for a proof text for capital punishment, I think that this is a good one. This is what Paul is saying, that he doesn’t bear the sword in vain.

“He is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.”

And you have the explanation of why he bears the sword. 

He is God’s servant to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.

If someone were to say to Paul, “By what right does the state have to punish people who are evil, the answer is – if they don’t – they are not doing what God has ordained them to do. They are to punish the wrongdoer.”

So you have the ground, the result and you have the practical ground and argument, the positive one and a negative one.  Now beginning at 13:5, you have a summary, a chiasmic summary. Chiasmic is A-B-B-A.

5 Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid
God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Now in 3 and 4, we had reference to the wrath of – 
he is God's servant for … if you
do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain!
He is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the
wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid
God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Now conscience hasn’t shown up anywhere in this passage so far.  Its unlikely that Paul would just pull out of the hat another reason that he hasn’t dealt with in some ways so my understanding that goes back to his argument that all authority comes from God, those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore if you resist the authorities, you resist what God has appointed. You violate your conscience, because God has given them authority and if you don’t obey them you violate your conscience, because you know that it is right to do so.

Then you have an argument from Christian practice.

6 For the same reason you ought to pay taxes,

Dr. Stein: Think a minute, you Roman Christians. You pay taxes. Now why do you pay taxes? Why do you think the Roman Christians paid their taxes?  What?

Student: They didn’t want to go to jail.

Dr. Stein: Alright. You have the danger of punishment. But why else? The Christians?

Student: {hard to hear}

Dr. Stein:  Yeah. The things that are God’s.  I think this is an allusion to this.  I would word it maybe something like ‘That’s why Jesus’ told you to pay your taxes, because these authorities are ministers of God attending to this very thing. That’s why we pay our taxes, Jesus said.  Because they are God’s servants and they are there to issue wrath and conscience.’

Then you have a concluding exhortation.  We begin with a general one and it concludes with a concluding one. Different ways of referring to a structure where, the beginning and the end look alike. Some taller ring kind of style and the like.

7 Pay all of them their dues, — taxes to whom
taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to
whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

And then we have the complete argument. It begins with the general exhortation and it ends with a concluding exhortation. The general exhortation is followed by a ground, a theological ground that authority comes from God with the result that if you don’t obey them, you resist them, you resist whom God has appointed and you will get … experience God’s judgment for doing so. Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad – if you don’t want to fear those in authority, then do what is good. They are God’s servant however to endear{?} the sword as His servant to execute wrath, therefore, conclusion and you have the argument from Christian practice.

Now the next step having understood what Paul is talking about is the question, “Is this universally true?”  A lot of the Christians for instance in Nazi Germany were wrestling with “Should we obey our government?”  And the government, being in a quote “Christian state”, frequently passed out Christian propaganda and emphasized Romans 13. Obey the authorities. Obey the Furher. He is God’s anointed leader. 

I think the way I would wrestle with this would be, what kind of government, does Paul say, comes from God?  And is the government I am talking about like that government?  Notice that the government that Paul refers to is coming from God and is having divine authority are a terror to good conduct but to bad conduct.

In verse 4, they are God’s servant for a good. If you do wrong, they punish to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. But if you do good, you don’t have to worry.  But it is evident that sometimes you are under a government that that doesn’t seem to square. There are governments that punish good and reward evil.  And then I think you are saying that this is not the kind of government which Paul is talking about here and I think that a lot of the Christians in Nazi Germany said, this is not the kind of government that Paul is talking about.  The Nazi government is not this kind of a government. It is an illegitimate government. It doesn’t have divine authority because they don’t punish evil and reward good.

Therefore you can’t simply blanketly obey them in everything they say. It is not a legitimate government in that way.  The Christians during the Reformation had a real problem with what to do when you have an evil government. Calvin said, if you have an evil government, you have two things you can do: “Flee and pray!”

The Lutherans, said, “No. If there is an evil government, you can defend yourself against an evil government.”  And that was worked out in a city that was surrounded by a Roman Catholic army trying to destroy them.  I think that might have influenced their views somewhat.  Then who is the Presbyterian? John Knox up in Scotland, went further and he said Christians are obligated not only to resist and evil government, but to seek to overthrow them.  They had all sorts of different … uh… we don’t have a clear example of what to do here.

However, I remember as a young pastor during the Vietnam years, where a lot of material was being passed on to pastors and we were being urged not to obey the government in this war. We were being urged to not pay our taxes and so forth and so on.  I remember working my way through this passage and I simply said “Well. Let me think for a minute. Is the government Paul talking about in Romans – Was this a better government than the government that I am presently under?”  And you know I had a hard time thinking that the Romans were really a very noble military machine.  You say “Well. What were they using their taxes for?” It wasn’t for social welfare of the poor and their conquered territories. It was to maintain their legions.  And I thought “Well. You know, in some ways my government may not be the best but I think it is better than that government and Paul says, to his Roman Christians that they should obey the Roman authorities, then how much more should it follow that I carry it over and obey my government?” Now, the time might come when I think my government would be worse than this? But at the present time, I didn’t think they were, so I did continue to pay my taxes and to get involved in some of that.

Now, lastly for tonight, what we want to do is to look at the genre of letters and let me put up here – the form of ancient letters – there is a lot being done today on this area.  I will do some very simple, maybe superficial books at this.

The Form of an Ancient Letter
An ancient letter usually begins with a greeting.  You have the greeting as generally a secular kind of greeting.  Acts 15:23, 23, 26 James 1:1 all involve this kind of secular greeting. 

Let me read Acts 15:23 to you.

“The Brethren, both the apostles and the elders,
To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:

So you have (A) the writer to (B) the recipient with a greeting. That would be a very secular kind of greeting or salutation as it is called.

Now, if you were Jewish, what kind of greeting would you give?

Shalom. Ok A to B. Shalom. Which would be Hebrew. Peace is our English translation of that, so in the New Testament letters however, peace is often times part of that Greeting, but also grace is frequently one, which makes these greetings - the salutation much more Christianized in that way.  It seemed very early that Christians had this common greeting to one another and salutation and not just a secular greeting.  Shalom might still stay there, but grace is most important. Sometimes grace, mercy and peace. Sometimes just grace and peace. Sometimes … let us see …
Romans, “Grace to you and peace…”
1 Corinthians “Grace to you and peace…”
2 Corinthians “Grace to you and peace…”
Galatians, “Grace to you and peace…”
Ephesians “Grace to you and peace…”
Philippians “Grace to you and peace…”
Colossians “Grace to you and peace…”
1 Thessalonians “Grace to you and peace…”
2 Thessalonians “Grace to you and peace…”   

Looks like grace and peace is the common one. Ok. After the salutation, there usually was a thanksgiving or a prayer of some sort. 

“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.”
“I give thanks to God upon you.”
“We give thanks to God.”
“I pray for you unceasingly.”

And something of this nature. So you have a normal form.  “I thank my God through Jesus Christ.” After the salutation which includes  the A to B greeting and grace and peace usually, there is a thanksgiving end or a prayer.

After this, there would be a - the body of the letter itself. In Romans, the body of the letter is rather lengthy.  Galatians as well.  1 Corinthians, not quite as long as you might expect.  Then you have after the body of the letter, some exhortation or instruction.  Notice in Romans that the exhortation and instruction is essentially four chapters, whereas the body is eleven.

Galatians and 1 Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians, the exhortation and instruction is much larger and beginning with chapter 7, he answers a lot of questions that they have had.

“Now concerning what you have written.  Now concerning things offered to idols.  Now concerning … now concerning and so forth.”

Now this is then followed by a conclusion which is very diverse, a wish for peace, a greeting, a holy kiss, a concluding autograph, a benediction of some sort or another.  There is no standard kind of conclusion of this nature.  That tends to be the normal form of a New Testament letter, following the normal form of most other letters – secular letter.

You start with the date on the left side.  The address to a business corporation, then dear so and so in the body of the letter and then you have Yours Truly, Sincerely, His always, In Christ love or something like that and the name that follows.  So it’s a standard form, we follow as well. 

Now in this kind of a letter, one of the things that we note is that when Paul introduces a letter, he frequently has a very heavy and pregnant introduction, especially the churches that he has not founded.  This is a clue as to what is about to occur in the letter.  Let me show you here Romans 1:1-7, a very lengthy introduction.

1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle,
set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised
beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David
according to the flesh and designated the Son of God
4 and was designated the Son of God in power according
to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead,
Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received
grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith
for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including
you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

7To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Very very lengthy. 

1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at
Philippi, with the bishops
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,  
To the church of the Thessalonians
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.

Very short compared to this.  I think that indicates something. I think the reason he writes such a long introduction is that he is writing to a church he has not founded.

On what basis are you writing to us Paul? Who gave you authority to write us and to tell us what to do? And here Paul introduces what he will later argue in the letter. Notice verse 2.

“The Gospel which He promised beforehand
through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 
the Gospel 3 concerning his Son, who was
descended from David according to the flesh”.

We will deal with that at great length, but when we get down here to the Son of God having been raised from the dead, in verse 5 now he begins to give this rationale as to why he writes this letter.

5 through whom we have received grace and
apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith
for the sake of his name among all the nations

That includes you.  Paul has received grace and apostleship to bring obedience of faith for the sake of His name among all the nations and that includes you. That’s why I am writing you. I have never visited you. I didn’t found the church there, but I write to you because God has given me grace and apostleship to be in charge of bringing about obedience and faith among all the nations.

Now he will then bring that up more and more clearly as we go on.  Let me read to you in Chapter 15 of Romans as he gets to the end of the letter, he now writes more and more specific about that grace and apostleship.

Chapter 15, verse 8:

“For I tell you that Christ became a
Servant to the circumcised to show God’s
truthfulness in order to confirm the promises
given to the Patriarchs, in order that the
Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.
As it is written and so forth…”

“I myself am satisfied…” Verse 14, “about you brethren”
“that you yourselves are full of goodness.

“But on some points I have written to you very
boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace
given to me by God

... to bring about obedience, through whom we
have received grace and apostleship to bring
about obedience of faith ...

I have written to you very boldly by way of
reminder, because of the grace given to me by
God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the
Gentiles in the priestly service of God ...
of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the
Gentiles may be found acceptable.

Now he says, verse 22 of that chapter:

This is the reason why I have so often been
hindered from coming to you. But now, since
I no longer have any room for work in these regions,
and since I have longed for many years to come to
you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain,
and to be sped on my journey there by you, once
I have enjoyed your company for a little while.
At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem...

So Paul is talking about his gift of apostleship. The grace given to him for apostleship.  He picks that up also in Galatians when he writes then, and this is why he writes to the church in Rome. He believes that he is in charge of that church and is responsible for it and therefore he writes to them.

In Chapter 1, verse 9 after this:

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit
in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention
you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by
God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.
For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some
spiritual gift to strengthen you — that is, that we may
be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both
yours and mine.

I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended
to come to you (but thus far have been prevented),

… I am in obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians,
both to wise and foolish so I am eager to preach the
Gospel to you also who are in Rome …

So right here in the salutation, Paul introduces the reason for writing his letter and this becomes a clue for us.  If you want to understand Romans, you have to understand why he writes in Romans 1:1-7, he gives that overview in regard to the letter.

One other thing I want to comment on in that and then we will conclude.  I mentioned that after every salutation in all of Paul’s letters, we have what is known as a thanksgiving or prayer.  After the salutation in Romans,

“First I thank my God through Jesus Christ
for all of you.  Because you faith is proclaimed
in all the world… “

He goes on and elaborates.  In 1 Corinthians after the introduction, he says,

“I give thanks to God always for you because
of the grace of God which is given to you in
Christ Jesus.”

2 Corinthians:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies, and God
of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ in
every spiritual blessing.”

“I thank my God and all my remembrance of
you always in every prayer of mine.”

1 Thessalonians:
“We give thanks to God always for you,
constantly mentioning you in our prayers.”

“We are bound to give thanks to God
always for you as it is fitting.”

Do you get a sense of we thank you God for everything. Every person who had a letter written to them expects a salutation and a word of blessing and comfort.
Here is Paul in Galatians.

“1Paul, an apostle— not from men nor through man,
but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who
raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers
who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins
to deliver us from the present evil age, according to
the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the
glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Now what are you expecting?

Blessed? We thank God? Here is what is written here:

“6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting
Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are
turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another
one, but there are some who trouble you and want to
pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel
from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to
that which we preached to you, let him be accursed”

– anathema.  And just as you are about to gain your breath again, he says,

9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone
is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you
received, let him be accursed.

Every letter, even the one in which they had drunk at Communion, there is a God always or Blessed be the God but not this church. So when you see this normal order, if this is missing, it says a lot about the letter. If it is there that’s what you would expect. It is not as clearly important to us because you expect that.  This being out, it shows, there is real trouble in that church.

The lack of a thanksgiving and prayer in Galatians reveals probably more about that letter than all the words what we read in between and so forth.  So when you look now at the form of the letter, this is very helpful.

Today, there is a lot of talk and a lot of discussion as to becoming more exacting on the forms of the letter, whether this is an apologetic letter, whether this is a defense letter and so forth and so on. I think that’s far too specific, I think.  I think its making something into a genre that becomes too complicated and most of Paul’s readers would not have followed it.

Alright it is 9:30. We are a little early. Do you have any questions so far on what we have covered?  My voice is just about…

Student: ???

Dr. Stein: I am not going to give you an exam question on describe the difference between an instrumental of means or an instrumental of cause or things of that nature. I put them in the book to show you that these are the kinds of things that you need to be aware of as a possibility.   I gave you examples that are helpful.

When you learn Greek syntax. You start looking about Hina clauses as a purpose clause. You look at the different…  you were taught that there were only cases to worry about.  The nominative, there was the genitive, there was the dative, there was the accusative, and there was the vocative.

I remember I felt that somebody had lied to me after I realized that there were really eight of them.  And that those had sub-meanings and so forth.  Those are simply the questions that you have to ask.  This is a dative instrumental, locative kind of ending.  Is it more emphasizing the location, the means of something … with the indirect object, and when you talk about the different kinds of instrumental cause, means of… those questions help you to think about what kind of possibility you have here.

And essentially that is something you work on in Greek exegesis as you go on. But no I am not asking you to memorize all those kinds of clausal relationships in the chapter on epistles.