I recently had a discussion with a friend about how the book of Romans is presented to the Christian community. Our discussion noted that most Bible teachers have a tendency to focus on the opening chapters and leave the final chapters untouched. Why do contemporary teachers follow this practice? I do not know if I can speak for the dominate portion of these teachers. However, I have noted that the opening chapters of Romans make little or NO sense without reading, interpreting the final chapters of the book (letter). How much sense would it make to receive a letter and only read the opening pages? Before we can fully understand Shaul’s letter to the Romans we must read, study and interpret the entire letter.
Marcion again, Marcion still.
Marcion (Μαρκίων) held some rather abstract Gnostic view of Yeshua and his role in the “Gospel.” He created havoc in the early Believing community selecting only letters and documents that purported his contorted ideology. This gross misrepresentation of the Gospel” used only the Gospel of Yochanan (John) and selected passages from the Shaul’s letter to the Romans. What were his selections from Shaul’s Letter? Marcion selections were primarily from the opening chapters of Shaul’s letter, leaving out any mention of Yisrael and their place in the redemptive theme and future history.
Contemporary Bible teachers unwittingly follow Marcion practice not realizing the result of their unhinged Gospel. Their Marcion practices actually remove the Gospel from the Gospel, notwithstanding, the truth they remove from their homily. Truth must have balance. The Hebrew alphabet illustrates this idea. The opening letter of the alef-bet is the Hebrew letter א “alef.” The middle letter of the Hebrew alef-bet is the מ “mem.” The final letter of the Hebrew alef-bet is the ת “tav.” These letters combined spell אמת “emet,” truth. The idea as purported by the Hebrew alef-bet is that the truth is the WHOLE story not a lopsided misrepresentation of details. Therefore, if we are to learn the TRUTH of Shaul’s letter to the Romans we must learn the WHOLE truth or story.
In our coming posts we will delve into the WHOLE story behind Shaul’s letter to the Romans.