PAUL'S USE OF THE
OLD TESTAMENT IN
JOHN A. BATTLE, JR.
A number of premillennial writers are now agreeing with amillen-
nialists that a literal
interpretation of OT prophecies concerning
is not justified. They claim that the NT interprets these prophecies in a
sense, applying them to the present church, and conclude that the OT provides
no proof of a future national conversion of
9. The background and contexts of the other OT passages cited in
Romans 9 confirm the suggested interpretation. It is concluded that
the literal interpretation of OT prophecy not only agrees with Paul’s
normal hermeneutics but helps greatly in the exegesis of this particular passage.
* * *
Today it is recognized more than ever that one's theology as a whole is closely related to one's hermeneutics. This fact especially comes to the fore in the study of eschatology. For decades the dictum has held true that amillennialism requires an allegorical or "spiritual" interpretation of biblical prophecy (especially in the OT), while premillennialism springs from a more literal interpretation of those prophecies.
Therefore, it comes as a surprise that a premillennial writer would favor a spiritualized interpretation of OT prophecy. Yet, several premillennialists have done this, the most prominent being George Eldon Ladd of Fuller Theological Seminary. In an interesting
116 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL
book on the millennium, in which four theologians debate each other,1 Ladd declares himself to be a premillennialist, but on the basis of only two NT passages, Rev 20: 1-6, and to a lesser extent, I Cor 15:23-26.2 Similarly, his belief in the future national conversion of Israel is founded on a single NT passage, Rom 11:26.3 To support his eschatology Ladd refuses to use the scores of OT passages dealing with the messianic kingdom and its blessings. He believes that literal interpretation of many of these passages may be possible, but that it is not required; he claims that in several cases the NT itself interprets OT prophecies in a nonliteral or "spiritualizing" sense. Ladd concludes that the OT cannot be used confidently to describe the future millennial kingdom, or even to prove its existence:4
The fact is that the New Testament frequently interprets Old Testament
prophecies in a way not suggested by the Old Testament context.
This clearly establishes the principle that the "literal hermeneutic" does
The Old Testament did not clearly foresee how its own prophecies were
to be fulfilled. They were fulfilled in ways quite unforeseen by the Old
Testament itself and unexpected by the Jews. With regard to the first
coming of Christ, the Old Testament is interpreted by the New Testament…..A nondispensational eschatology forms its theology from the explicit teaching of the New Testament. It confesses that it
cannot be sure how the Old Testament prophecies of the end are to be
THE ARGUMENT SURROUNDING ROM 9:25-26
To demonstrate that the NT handles the OT in a nonliteral
fashion, Ladd cites four primary examples: Hos 11: 1 in Matt ; Isa 53:4,7-8 in Matt and Acts 8:32-33; Hos and in Rom
-26; and Jer 31:31-34 in Heb 8:8-12.6 Of these four, Ladd singles
1The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views (ed. Robert G. Clouse; Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1977); the four scholars are G. E. Ladd (historic premillennialism), H. A. Hoyt (dispensational premillennialism), L. Boettner (postmillennialism), and A. A. Hoekema (amillennialism).
5Ibid., 20, 23, 27; italics his. It should be noted that many nondispensational
writers disagree with Ladd's position and seek to follow a grammatical-historical
approach to both the OT and the NT.
6Ibid., 20-27. Ladd could have cited also Amos 9:11-12, quoted in Acts 15:16-17, a key passage for those arguing for "spiritualized" exegesis; elsewhere he does apply it to the present age, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974) 355. For a more thorough discussion of this passage from the amillennial
out Rom -26 as "a most vivid illustration of this principle."7 In this
passage Paul quotes the OT: "Even as it says in Hosea, 'I will call
them my people who were not my people, and her beloved who was
not beloved; and it will be in the place where it was said to them,
"You are not my people," there they will be called sons of the living
The OT verses quoted by Paul, Hos and , predict the
future restoration of
of estrangement and judgment caused by
recognize that Hosea has literal, national
the ten northern tribes. Furthermore, the predicted blessings seem to fit
perfectly with the future millennium.
But in Rom 9:25-26 Paul quotes these verses in a surprising
manner. V 24 speaks of "us whom he has called, not from the Jews
only but also from the Gentiles," indicating Christians of his day.
Paul then continues, "as also it says in Hosea," and quotes these
verses. Many believe that here he equates the Christian church with
the promised restoration of
pretation of Hosea's prophecy. Such is Ladd's conclusion:
deliberately takes these two prophecies about the future of
and applies them to the church. The church, consisting of Jews and
Gentiles, has become the people of God. The prophecies of Hosea are
fulfilled in the Christian church. If this is a "spiritualizing hermeneutic" so be it. ...It is clearly what the New Testament does to the Old Testament prophecies.
Obviously, if Ladd's exegesis is correct, those who hold to a
consistent grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture must
modify their position. On the other hand, the exegesis of the Romans
passage itself must stand careful scrutiny, especially since issues of
hermeneutics and theology are involved. This writer believes that a
careful examination of both passages in their related contexts will
reveal a basic underlying unity and that a consistent literal interpretation of Hosea's prophecy is the key to understanding Paul's meaning in Romans 9.
viewpoint, see O. T. Allis, Prophecy and the Church (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1955) 145-50, and more recently, A. A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979) 209-10. For an excellent treatment favoring literal exegesis, see A. A. MacRae, "The Scientific Approach to the OT," BSac 110 (1953) 313-16.
7This passage is discussed by Ladd, Meaning of the Millennium, 23-24.
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VARIOUS APPROACHES TO ROM 9:25-26
Commentators and theologians who seriously discuss this passage tend to hold one of three opinions: (1) Paul actually changes
Hosea's meaning in its OT context to make the prophecy refer
directly and exclusively to his own times, (2) Paul only uses Hosea's
prophecy as an example or analogy, applying its principle to his own
times, or (3) Paul employs Hosea's prophecy literally, with the same
meaning as that evident in the OT context. Within each approach
there are several variations. Each of these approaches will be summarized below.
Changing Hosea’s meaning
Many look at the seeming discrepancy between Hosea and Paul,
"take the bull by the horns," and declare that Paul simply changed or
"transformed" Hosea's prophecy. On the critical side, commentators
often accuse Paul of misusing the OT for his own ends. For example,
C. H. Dodd has written:
The verses which follow are extremely difficult in the Greek. ...When
Paul, normally a clear thinker, becomes obscure, it usually means that
he is embarrassed by the position he has taken up. It is surely so here.
...It is rather strange that Paul has not observed that this prophecy
strange because it would have fitted so admirably the doctrine of the
particular prophecy is ill-chosen, it is certainly true that the prophets
did declare the calling of the Gentiles.8
Likewise Ernst Kasemann sees Paul disregarding the original sense of
As is his custom Paul understands the sayings as eschatologically
oriented oracles without considering their original sense. ...With
audacity he takes the promises to
Opposed to this cavalier treatment of Pauline exegesis, many
conservative writers still feel that Paul basically transforms or
"deepens" Hosea's meaning to refer to the church of his day.
Although, as mentioned above, G. E. Ladd takes this approach, it is
H. Dodd, The Epistle to the Romans
Brothers, 1932) 159-60.
Kasemann, Commentary on Romans, trans. and ed. from 4th
Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980) 274.
found most frequently among postmillennialists or amillennialists,
who naturally favor a more "spiritualizing" hermeneutic. H. N.
Ridderbos, for example, calls this passage "a transition in interpretation."10
A number of exegetical points in Romans 9 -11 lend support to
this approach; the following seem to be the most important:
1) The Gentiles are mentioned immediately before and after
Paul's quotations (vv 24, 30).
2) The xxxx at the beginning of v 27 could well contrast the status of Jews in v 27 with that of Gentiles in vv 25-26.
3) Peter paraphrases Hos 2:23, referring it to his Christian
readers (I Pet ).11
4) The "vessels of wrath" of v 22 seem to be unbelieving Jews,
while the "vessels of mercy" of v 23 are identified as believing Jews
and Gentiles. Such a contrast is carried out in Rom 9:30-10:4.
5) The structure citing blessings on the "non-people" in vv 25-26, followed by judgment against Israel in vv 27-29, is parallel to the
preference for the "non-nation" in 10:19-20, followed by the judgment
6) Paul, by the term "jealousy" in and ,14, links his
own ministry in the church to the eschatological promises made to
9-11 seems to presuppose its relevance for his own day.
Taken together, these arguments give a powerful impetus to
many theologians, who conclude that Paul in some way changes the
meaning of Hosea's prophecy from that which is apparent in its
original context. Of
course, the major drawback of this viewpoint is its conclusion regarding hermeneutics:
while the NT is to be interpreted (more or less) literally, the OT is not. Many
amillennialists expand this principle to all OT prophecy and thereby deny any
future fulfilment of these prophecies for the nation of
An argument from analogy
Many commentators, desiring to maintain the integrity of Hosea's meaning, and yet convinced that Paul is speaking of Gentiles, see in this passage an application of Hosea's prophecy, but not its total
Fulfilment. Charles Hodge expresses this view well:
10H. Ridderbos, Paul, An Outline of His Theology, trans. J. R. de Witt (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975) 340.
11On the other hand, Kasemann, Commentary on Romans, 274, contrasts Rom 9:25 with Jub 2: 19, "Behold, I will separate unto Myself a people from among all the peoples, ...and I will sanctify them unto Myself as My people, and will bless
120 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL
The difficulty with regard to this passage is, that in Hosea it evidently
has reference not to the heathen, but to the ten tribes. Whereas, Paul
refers it to the Gentiles. ...This difficulty is sometimes gotten over by
giving a different view of the apostle's object in the citation, and
making it refer to the restoration of the Jews. But this interpretation is
obviously at variance with the context. It is more satisfactory to say,
that the ten tribes were in a heathenish state, relapsed into idolatry,
and, therefore, what was said of them, is of course applicable to others in like circumstances, or of like character. ...This method of
interpreting and applying Scripture is both common and correct. A
general truth, stated in reference to a particular class of persons, is to
be considered as intended to apply to all those whose character and
circumstances are the same, though the form or words of the original
enunciation may not be applicable to all embraced within the scope of
the general sentiment.12
Sanday and Headlam say that "
those who were previously cut off from it, to the calling of the
Gentiles.”13 This approach is followed by Herman A. Hoyt in his
reply to Ladd’s argument:
In passage after passage Ladd insists that the New Testament is
interpreting the Old when the New Testament is simply applying a
principle found in the Old Testament (Hos. 11:1 with Mt. ; Hos.
references identify the church and
purpose of explaining something that is true of both.14
This approach to Rom 9:25-26 certainly has its advantages. It
strives to do justice to Hosea's prophecy in its context, and it also
recognizes the apparent force of the context in Romans concerning
the conversion of Gentiles. In addition, the introductory formula,
"even as (w[j) it says in Hosea," fits well with an illustration or analogy and does not demand that it be the strict fulfillment of the prophecy.
them; ...and they shall be My people and I will be their God." The Jubilees passage
refers exclusively to national
109 and 105 B.C., APOT (1913) 2, 6.
12C. Hodge, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (rev. ed., 1886; reprinted;
13W. Sanday and A. C. Headlam, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on
the Epistle to the Romans (ICC; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1902) 264; similarly,
J. Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965) 38.
14Meaning of the Millennium, 42-43.
In spite of its attraction, however, the argument for analogy has
some drawbacks. For one thing, Paul normally interprets OT prophecies literally, as will be discussed later in this article. The few examples of his analogical use of scripture normally come from non-predictive portions (as Ps 19:4 in Rom , or Deut 25:4 in 1 Tim ).
There remains a greater difficulty with this interpretation. The
analogy between the ten tribes and the Gentiles breaks down at a
critical point. Hodge mentioned that an analogy is appropriate for
"all those whose character and circumstances are the same." Certainly
one could identify the "character" of the idolatrous ten tribes with
that of the Gentiles. Paul no doubt was amazed by God's mercy
revealed both in God's
promises for adulterous
saving the heathen. But the "circumstances" of the two groups are
quite different. Romans 1-2 describes the Gentiles' relation to God as
founded upon creation and conscience, whereas Romans 2-3 describes
the Jews' relation to God as also one of promise and covenant. The
covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have placed even the
unbelieving Jews in a unique position in the world (cf. Rom ). It
because of these covenants that the OT predicts
(e.g., Lev 26:40-45; Deut 4:29-31). And Paul himself in Romans 9-11
stresses that this restoration stems from God's special mercy and
this major respect Paul does not view the present salvation of
as analogous to the promised future salvation of national
Identity of meaning
As quoted above, Charles Hodge has said, "This difficulty is
sometimes gotten over by giving a different view of the apostle's
object in the citation, and making it refer to the restoration of the
Jews." Actually, very few commentators have proposed this solution;
as Hodge went on to say, "This interpretation is obviously at variance
with the context," Nevertheless, one who has ventured this approach
is Alva J, McClain, who says in his popular commentary:
A lot of folks think that this passage refers to the Gentiles. It does
not. They think Paul made a mistake and quoted from the Old
Testament something that belonged to Jews and applied it to the
Gentiles. He is talking about
was not my people." God cast
15A. J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of
God’s Grace (ed. H. A. Hoyt;
122 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL
Unfortunately, the brief and popular style of McClain's book prevents
a clarification and defense of this statement. Its major difficulty, as
Hodge has noted, is the context in Romans 9, which seems to be
speaking about the present, largely Gentile church. Yet this approach
has the distinct asset of taking Hosea's prophecy at face value and
maintaining complete harmony between Hosea and Paul. This writer
believes that the context in Romans 9 can, and indeed does, fit
together best with this interpretation.
Before proceeding to defend this approach, it would be good to
note another variation of it. Some commentators believe that Paul
used Hosea in the original sense, but that the original sense of Hosea
included the salvation of Gentiles. George N. H. Peters, on one hand,
believing Gentiles as incorporated into the
While Romans 11 certainly supports this approach, it seems that the
contexts of Romans 9 and of Hosea 1-2 refer more directly to
national Israel-largely unbelieving. On the other hand, several writers
have seen the Gentile conversion already foretold in Hosea itself,
from the standpoint of OT exegesis. William Kelly sees Gentile
salvation in Hos 1:10, on the analogy of Isa 65:1-2.17 J. Barton Payne
notes that, in the OT, "believing Gentiles may be identified simply as
Israelites, inseparable from God's people," citing Isa 44:5; 56:3, along
with Hos ; 2:23.18 The view of Kelly and Payne agrees with OT
exegesis and theology, but seems out of harmony with the context of
Hosea, where the woman who was restored is the same woman who
married and who went astray-i.e., national
This writer does not claim to prove dogmatically that Paul is
that this interpretation is a viable option which deserves serious
consideration. Several weighty arguments favor a literal use of prophecy in these verses.
N. H. Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom
(3 vols.; 1884; reprinted;
Kelly, Notes on the Epistle of Paul. the
Apostle, to the Romans (1873; reprinted;
18 J. B. Payne, The Theology of the Older Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan,1962) 477-78.
Paul’s normal hermeneutics
Recently Paul's epistles have been subjected to increased study,
since the advent of the
now is thought that Paul's hermeneutics resembles that of Palestinian
much more than that of Hellenistic Judaism. Richard Longenecker
.has put it this way:
Midrashic exegetical methods are prominent in the Pauline letters. In fact, it is midrashic exegesis more than pesher or allegorical exegesis that characterizes the apostle's hermeneutical procedures.19
Longenecker would not conclude that Paul never "Christianizes" the
OT, yet for him Paul's starting-point is midrashic exegesis.
In the majority of his Old Testament citations, Paul adheres to the
original sense of the passage. Or, if he extends it, it is possible to
understand his rationale if we grant him the Jewish presuppositions of
"corporate solidarity" and "historical correspondences" and the
Christian presuppositions of "eschatological fulfillment" and
Those who favor the spiritualizing approach in Rom 9:25-26 will say
that here Paul uses the Christian presupposition of "eschatological
fulfillment," while those who favor the argument from analogy might
he is using the Jewish presupposition of "historical
correspondences." On the other hand, his usual method is to "adhere
to the original sense of the passage"-in this case, seeing
Within midrashic exegesis there is a variety of possible interpretations. The so-called seven rules of Hillel21 would allow one to interpret the OT as an analogy (Rule 5, "general and particular": a particular rule may be expanded into a general principle)22, as well as with the
20Ibid., 121. Cf. his earlier book Paul, Apostle of Liberty (New York: Harper & Row, 1964) 63, where he sees Paul employing “charismatic interpretation,” ie., “the letter as interpreted by Christ through the Spirit."
Exegesis, 32-38; for a more technical treatment, see
F. Millar, and M. Black (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1979), 2. 343-45.
22However, this rule was used more with legal texts than with prophecies.
124 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL
“grammatical-historical” method (e.g., Rule 7, “context”: the meaning is established by its context). In this regard, it should be noted that
Paul often cites the OT with its own context in view (e.g., Rom 4:3,9-
11; 9:7-9; ). Such an approach in Rom 9:25-26, if not otherwise
ruled out by context, would be in harmony with Paul's normal
exegesis of the OT.
Background of the quotations
Paul's argument throughout Romans 9 is built on the OT. In
vv 6-13 Paul draws from Genesis and Malachi to trace out God's
Exodus to demonstrate the sovereignty of that election and the role
of the non-elect in relation to the elect in God's program. In the rest
of the chapter Paul quotes several times from the prophets Isaiah and
Hosea, with perhaps an allusion to Jeremiah, to show the results of
The remarkable thing about these quotations from the prophets
is that, with the one exception of Isa 45:9,23 every quotation comes
the same period in
Assyrian conquest. This conquest came in three major stages: Tiglath-
pileser III in 732 B.C., Shalmaneser V and Sargon II in 722 B.C. These
quotations are charted below:
verse in Romans 9 passage quoted
20 Isa 29:16; 45:9
25 Hos 2:23
26 Hos 1:10
27-28 Isa 10:22-23
29 Isa 1:9
33 Isa 8:14; 28:16
It is more significant that in each case the Assyrian judgment of
Isa 29:16 appears to be looking forward to the Assyrian siege of
Throughout all these prophecies runs the same theme:
against the Lord; God raises up
the passages quoted in vv 25-26 and 27-29 follow this pattern in their
23Conservatives usually date the writing of Isaiah 40-66 between 701 and 686 B.C.
own context; note especially Hos 1:6-11; 2:9-14, 19-23; 3:4-5; Isa 1:5-9; -30; -20; 8:4; 10:5-27. With this background in view, it
appears that the quotations in Rom -29 are describing the same
the present but temporary status of
largely unbelieving, disenfranchised, and under judgment by foreign nations. In this light vv 25-26 emphasize neither Israel's future restoration nor the Gentiles' place in the church, but rather the prophetic forecast of Israel's present state in God's program-“not having received mercy,” “not my people.”
Similarly, the quotations in v 33 fit beautifully with Paul's
In Isaiah 8 Judah falls before
principle, which is still at work in his nation.
present state because she trusted in her own plots and schemes, rather
than in God's mercy and deliverance (Isa 8:6, 12; 28:15). For this
God judged her by means of
13, 16-17; 28:16-19). Not only in Rom -26, but throughout the
chapter the OT context provides valuable direction in elucidating
of wrath" as
It is often assumed that the “vessels of wrath” in v 22 are the
unbelieving Jews as in vv 6 and 31, while the “vessels of mercy” in
v 23 are believers in the church. While v 24 does include believing
Jews and Gentiles among the “vessels of mercy,” one should not jump
to the conclusion that the rest of the Jews are the “vessels of wrath.”
While Paul certainly considered individual unbelieving Jews as recipients of God's wrath and judgment (e.g. 1 Thess -16), he held a more optimistic view of his nation's future as a whole. (Rom , 15, 23-24, 26-29; cf. 2 Cor. 3:16).
Yet there is another way to understand this designation, one
which is in harmony with the immediate context and suggested by the
OT usage. It is suggested that “vessels of wrath” in v 22 is Paul’s
for the heathen nations God uses to judge
The preceding context in vv 17-21 lends weight to this identification. To defend the sovereignty of God’s election, Paul takes the example of Pharaoh. Quoting Exod , Paul shows that God
ordained Pharaoh’s power and his stubborn resistance in order to
his own greater power in the deliverance of
of Exodus justifies Paul’s approach (Exod -20; ; 7:3-5, 13-14,
22-23; 8:15, 32; 9:7, 12, 16, 34-35; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:4-5,8, 17-
18, 30-31). And indeed, God was glorified in Pharaoh’s final defeat
126 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL
(cf. Moses’ song in Exod 15:1-19). But the Egyptian oppression and
also had its purposes in
family went down into
redeemed from bondage by the Lord. Pharaoh was a “vessel of
an instrument used to oppress
himself the final recipient of God’s wrath in judgment.
The immediate context of vv 22-24 also favors this understanding. There is only one independent verb in this sentence: “What if ...God bore with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted for destruction?” Several clauses modify this main verb: “desiring to show his wrath,” “[desiring] to make known his power,” “that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy. ...” Note that these three purposes, to show his wrath, power, and riches of glory, are met by the single action of the verb. If the “vessels of wrath” are the unbelieving Jews, it is difficult to account for the expression Paul
uses: God bears with much longsuffering unbelieving Jews, who are
fitted for destruction. How does this patience toward the Jews display
God’s wrath and power? Would not it be better to say: he judges,
punishes, or oppresses vessels of wrath? On the other hand, if
oppressors are the “vessels of wrath,” the statement makes perfect
sense: God bears with much longsuffering heathen, godless nations,
allowing them to rule over
might use them as instruments to convey his wrath and power against
nations. In other words, these verses would equate God’s longsuffering
toward “vessels of wrath” with the state of Gentile supremacy over
Finally, the following context of vv 25-33 supports the identity
of the “vessels of wrath” as
The term “vessel” in the Greek NT and in the LXX is skeu?oj (in the
LXX it normally represents yliK;), a word which designates not only
dishes and household utensils,. but a great variety of implements,
including weapons (e.g., Deut ; Judg ).24 In Isa 13:5 the
are God’s weapons to destroy
term yliK; is translated in the LXX by the related word o!plon,
“weapon.” It is striking that Paul quotes Isa 10:22-23, which occurs in
24See the discussion of LXX usage in C. Maurer, "skeu?oj" TDNT 7 (1971) 359-60.
very context of a lengthy passage describing
“the rod of my anger,” “the club of my wrath,” “the ax,” “the saw”
5, 15, NIV).
to Assyria and uses it to punish
proud against God (vv 7-14), God destroys
This pattern fits exactly with that of Rom 9:22-God’s patience
towards vessels of wrath used to display God’s judgment and then his
merciful deliverance of his people.
It might be tempting at this point to interpret “vessels of wrath”
in Rom as “vessels which bring wrath.” “Of wrath” is certainly a
genitive of quality, “vessels characterized by wrath,”25 but in Paul’s
context the thought predominates that these vessels will receive God’s
wrath, just as the “vessels of mercy” will receive his mercy. So it is
best to take this designation as referring to the planned destruction of
these vessels (cf. “son of destruction” in 2 Thess 2:3). This is the same
A PROPOSED SOLUTION
In view of the evidence presented to support national
the object of Rom 9:25-26, the six arguments mentioned earlier
favoring a Gentile application can be answered adequately.
1) Paul’s mention of Gentile believers in v 24 does not contradict
the interpretation suggested here. Paul obviously includes them among God’s “vessels
of mercy” and often states that they will share in the blessings promised to
restoration. The prophecies cited in vv 27-29 continue that theme,
while the nature of Gentile belief, introduced by Paul in v 24, is
picked up in v 30.
25Nigel Turner, Syntax, Vol. 3 of J. H. Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963) 213.
128 GRACE THEOLOGICAL JOURNAL
2) The de< in v 27 is not a strong adversative and certainly does not demand a change of subject. The NIV leaves it untranslated. If
there is any contrast indicated, it is simply between two different
3) I Pet was addressed primarily to Jewish believers
I Pet 1:1; Gal 2:9); and in any case, all recognize that only true
believers can ever be members of God’s promised kingdom (John 3:3).
4) The argument concerning “vessels of wrath” is expanded in
the previous section.
5) All three quotations in Rom -21 (quoting Deut 32:21;
Isa 65:1-2) prove the same point: God revealed himself more than
de< in vv 20, 21 are again not strongly adversative. The "non-nation"
19 is, according to Deuteronomy, one of
is favored by God only in this: he gives the "non-nation" power to
6) In Rom
Paul speaks of
because of Gentile supremacy in the world (cf. Rom -24); with a
play on words in Rom 11:11, 14, Paul seeks the same reaction by
announcing Gentile supremacy in the church. Obviously, the believing Gentiles of Romans 11 are not the oppressing powers of Deut
32:21 and Rom ; but in this dispensation, the two coincide in
time. The "times of the Gentiles," in contrast to the OT period and
the future millennial kingdom, witness Gentile supremacy in both the
world and the church (Luke ; Rom ). The OT does have
relevance for Paul's entire argument: it provides proof that, before
belief, disenfranchisement, and subjugation to Gentile power, but that
through these trials, and by means of them, God will bring her to
repentance and restoration, thus fulfilling the covenants and promises
, "in this
defines God's unchangeable election (Rom 9:6; 11:1,28-29), defines
his own ministry as it relates to that election (Rom -32), and
declares the wondrous way God reveals his various attributes in this
route leading to
22-23; , 32-36).
With this understanding of Paul's argument, one could expand
and paraphrase Rom 9:22-26 as follows:
if God exercises his sovereignty over
to deal with his own people. As they oppress
destroy them and deliver his people, granting them repentance and
he will thereby reveal the riches of his glory to that nation. Yes,
This interpretation of Rom 9:25-26 maintains a consistent hermeneu-
tic for the OT and NT and fits very well with Paul's exact terminology
and development of argument in Romans 9-11.
Grace Theological Seminary
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