Rereading Romans from the Perspective of Paul's Gospel:
A Literary and Theological Commentary
(Eugene, OR: Resource Pubs., forthcoming 2019)
Yung Suk Kim
Preface | vii
Introduction | 1
1:1–17: Prologue to Romans | 4
1:1–4 Paul’s Calling for the Gospel of God Concerning His Son | 7
1:5–8 The Result of the Gospel | 10
1:9–15 Paul’s Passion for the Gospel | 11
1:16–17 Synopsis of The Gospel | 12
1:18–11:36: The Gospel of Faith that Does Not Reject
the Law or Israel | 16
1:18–3:20 The Problem of Unfaithfulness | 16
3:21–4:25 Righteousness through Christ’s Faithfulness | 27
5:1–21 New Life through Christ’s Act of Righteousness | 44
6:1–7:25 Maintenance of New Life: Dying to Sin and Dying to the Law | 54
8:1–39 New Life in the Spirit | 63
9:1–29 The Dilemma of Israel in the Gospel of God | 71
9:30–10:21 Righteousness for Jew and Gentile through Faith | 77
11:1–36 The Mystery of Salvation of Israel | 84
12:1–15:13: The Gospel’s Power of Transformation | 91
12:1–2 Introduction to Transformation | 93
12:3–21 Mandates for Transformative Ethics | 94
13:1–7 Dealing with the Governing Authorities | 97
13:8–10 Love is the Fulfilling of the Law | 98
13:11–14 Preparation for the Last Day | 98
14:1–23 Welcoming Those Who Are Weak in Faith | 99
15:1–13 Following the Way of Christ | 101
15:14–16:27: Concluding Matters | 102
15:14–24 Paul’s Desire to Proclaim the Gospel in Spain | 103
15:25–33 Delivering the Collection to the Poor at Jerusalem | 103
16:1–27 Conclusion | 104
Paul did not write a systematic theology or specific church doctrines when he wrote Romans. His audience was Roman Christians and his last will was to preach the gospel to all, especially Gentiles in Spain. Through this letter, Paul wants to pave the way for a visit to Rome and expects their support on his mission trip to Spain. The question is: What kind of the gospel he wants to share with them? Traditionally, the letter has been read from the perspective of forensic salvation that an individual justification occurs once and for all by faith in Christ. This view remains with the so-called New Perspective on Paul, and Christ’s faithfulness has not been explored. Rereading the letter with a renewed concept of the good news in the letter, this book challenges the traditional reading of Romans and explores Paul’s threefold gospel that features the gospel that is God-centered, Christ-exemplified, and Christian-imitated. His main concern is how Gentiles can become children of God as well as how Jews may live faithfully in Christ. In Romans, the good news is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith. It is not a set of knowledge about God or Jesus. Paul is eager to share this gospel of faith to the Roman Christians and to correct some misunderstandings about him since his gospel is viewed anti-Jewish or antinomian.
"Yung Suk Kim’s book on Romans is a helpful, gospel-oriented explanation of Romans that consistently keeps Paul’s apostolic mission in mind. Its advantages are that it takes seriously the faithfulness of Jesus, beginning with its explanation of Romans 3:22-26, its attention to Paul’s focus on Israel and its salvation, and its attention to 12:1–15:13 as integral to Paul’s argument. This book will work well to introduce undergraduate and seminary students to Paul’s letter to the Romans." --Mark Reasoner, Professor of Biblical Theology, Marian University
Paul did not write a systematic theology or specific church doctrines when he wrote Romans. His audience was Roman Christians and his last will was to preach the gospel to all, especially people in Spain. The question is: What kind of the gospel he wants to share with them? Traditionally, the letter has been read from the lens of “justification by faith,” but the letter is not about an individual justification from the perspective of forensic salvation. We need to reread the letter with a renewed concept of the good news in the letter. The main question for Paul in the letter is how Gentiles can become children of God as well as how Jews may live faithfully in Christ.
Indeed, the gospel is the grand theme of the letter, as he says he was “set apart for the gospel of God” (1:1). His apostleship is for this mission that he must proclaim the gospel of God. In this apostolic work, he follows Christ thoroughly. That is, he imitates Christ because of his faithful obedience to God. That is why Paul identifies himself as a slave of Christ (1:1), which means his obedient life to him. Paul thinks he is the last-day apostle who can bring Gentiles to Jerusalem. His job is not to destroy Judaism or Jerusalem Temple but to bring God’s good news to all through Jesus Christ, especially through his faithfulness.
In sum, in Paul’s gospel, God is the source of the good news, Jesus is the proclaimer of it, and Christians are those who share Jesus’s faithfulness and follow his spirit. Paul is confident about this gospel as he says in 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
In his gospel, faith does not overthrow the law (3:31). The problem is not the law per se but a zeal for the law. That is, all that is not done through faith is sin (14:22–23). The relation between faith and the law is a matter of priority (Rom 3–4). The law must be guided by faith and the grace of God. In his gospel, Rom 9–11 is also an important part of the gospel because, as he says in 1:16, the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone, including Jews. He rejects the claim that God abandoned his people (11:2). Even though they are unfaithful now, he believes that God will work out their salvation at an opportune time (11:25–32).
This book is not a typical, thoroughgoing commentary with verse by verse. It is a mixture of commentary and monograph with a thesis. It has a form of commentary in the way that it outlines the entire letter and comments on the entire text. The only difference is it goes with not verse by verse but with a literary unit by unit. This book has a form of a monograph in the sense that it has a thesis and the unified direction toward it, which is about the gospel. This mixture style of a book will be applied to my next book forthcoming: Rereading Galatians from the Perspective of Paul’s Gospel: A Literary and Theological Commentary (Cascade, 2019).
With the above book format, Romans will be reorganized with a theme of the “good news” and will be This should be “commented” critically and theologically. Rom 1:1–17 is considered a prologue to the entire letter. Here, Paul talks about why he writes a letter and what he tries to achieve with it. He states a few times that he is eager to share the gospel with all, especially the so-called barbarians and the foolish. Then, Rom 1:18–11:36 deals with the gospel of faith that does not reject the law or Israel. Within this section, the following divisions are made: 1:18–3:20 The Problem of Unfaithfulness; 3:21–4:25 Righteousness through Christ’s Faithfulness; 5:1–21 New Life through Christ’s Act of Righteousness; 6:1–7:25 Maintenance of New Life: Dying to Sin and Dying to the Law; 8:1–39 New Life in the Spirit; 9:1–29 The Dilemma of Israel in the Gospel of God; 9:30–10:21 Righteousness for Jew and Gentile through Faithfulness; 11:1–36 The Mystery of Salvation of Israel. Then Rom 12:1–15:13 deals with the gospel’s power of transformation to individuals and communities. Lastly, Rom 15:14–16:27 deals with concluding matters of the gospel.