Monday, June 17, 2019

[New Book] Rereading Romans from the Perspective of Paul's Gospel

Rereading Romans from the Perspective of Paul's Gospel:
A Literary and Theological Commentary
(Eugene, OR: Resource Pubs., forthcoming 2019)
Yung Suk Kim


Contents

Preface | vii
Introduction | 1

SECTION I
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

SECTION II
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

SECTION III
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

SECTION IV
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.

Endorsement
"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

Preface
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.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Speaking at 2019 UMC Western PA Annual Conference

I spoke at 2019 UMC Western PA Annual Conference, held in Grove City College, Grove City, PA. It was held from June 6 through June 8. The text was Luke 5:1-11. I taught the conference attendees (about 1,500) three mornings. Here are videos created and edited by the Conference Team. Thanks to them.









Sunday, June 2, 2019

Apathy in literature from other cultures

Why do people have apathy in literature different from theirs? Many people talk about Socrates and Aristotle as if they were their disciples. Intellectual imperialism is so prevalent in most of the academic studies. How can we study who we are and where we will be without depending on one tradition or one thinking? This book of mine is a resistance to the dominant readings of Jesus's parables.

Reading Jesus' Parables with Dao De Jing



Thursday, May 30, 2019

Robert Mueller, Interpretation, and Politics

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's statement involves matters of interpretation. He seems clear on most of the times but a bit ambiguous or even political on some matters. For example, he is crystal-clear about the Russian interference in the election and warned Americans that they must have attention to this matter. But when it comes to the issue of Trump, his language turns a bit evasive, saying: "If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime." What does this mean? On the one hand, obviously, he does not clear Trump, but on the other hand, he does not state clearly Trump committed a crime, either. His conclusion is "no decision" about this.

My point is not that he could not indict him even if he found Trump guilty. Even though he was not allowed to indict the sitting president due to the DOJ policy, he could have said something like this if he wanted to say: "We found sufficient evidence that Trump was involved. But we could not charge him because of protocol or policy stuff." He must be incisive about his findings of Trump regardless of the possibility of a further indictment. Doing so must be a genuine public service to people. Interestingly, even the legal language is often nuanced and ambiguous.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

My postmodern, anti-Cartesian statement

My postmodern, anti-Cartesian statement is so true to my soul:
"I exist; therefore, I think and feel. I accept my existence as it is; therefore, I rest secured and breathe smoothly. I am what I feel; therefore, I exist. I must listen to the voice and feeling of my soul." --Yung Suk Kim 



Sunday, May 26, 2019

How important it is to focus on self!


I love golf. For me, living-room putting practice is more than golf. It’s kind of mental, spiritual practice that focuses on myself and ball. Nothing more or nothing less. That’s it. 

When I focus on myself, knowing how weak I am, I feel relieved from unnecessary worries about myself and others. Focusing on myself and the ball at the same time, I can enjoy putting regardless of how I did well or not. Accepting all things inside of me gives me a sense of peace. That is a good starting point for my work and living. It is not always easy. This also I accept. Whatever I do or what I may feel about others, I need to keep focusing on myself and accept my feelings, be they good or bad. 


I have to accept what I am, including good and bad. This is important. I don't need to ruin my soul. I don't try or pretend to be more than what I am. I am that I am. I am good and bad. I don't need to compete with others; I will go with my own rhythm and color.  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

New book released: Reimagining the Body of Christ in Paul's Letters

This book questions all familiar readings of “the body of Christ” in Paul’s letters and helps readers rethink the context and the purpose of this phrase. Against the view that Paul’s body of Christ metaphor mainly has to do with a metaphorical organism that emphasizes unity, Kim argues that the body of Christ metaphor has more to do with the embodiment of God’s gospel through Christ. While Deutero-Pauline Letters and Pastoral Letters use this body metaphor mainly as an organism, Paul’s undisputed letters, in particular, 1 Corinthians and Romans, treat it differently with a focus on Christic embodiment. Reexamining the diverse use of “the body of Christ” in Paul’s undisputed letters, this book argues that Paul’s body of Christ metaphor has to do with the proclamation of God’s gospel.

“Concisely describing how ‘the body of Christ’ must be reimagined as ‘the Christic body,’ Kim’s argumentation has wide-reaching implications for those of us who fight for liberation and justice within church and society. Providing a launching point that will allow scholars and pastors to teach and model ‘soft-union’ in Christ while uplifting particularity in communion, Kim’s interpretation of Pauline theology and ethics will enliven conversations in the classroom and the church for years to come.
—Angela Parker, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology


“Yung Suk Kim offers fresh insight into the heart of Paul’s theology: the body of Christ. Interestingly, Kim challenges the reader by reconstructing Christ’s body as a union in solidarity with those on the margins, especially in the hierarchical systems prevalent in the Roman imperial society and culture. No doubt, his theological reimagination can empower today’s Christians to resist unity without diversity in the so-called post-truth era of Trump. This little but powerful book thus holds onto hope for embodying Paul’s teaching in a more responsible manner.”
—Sung Uk Lim, Assistant Professor of New Testament, College of Theology & United Graduate School of Theology, Yonsei University


"With illuminating analysis of key texts, Kim offers a concise and timely understanding of the body of Christ in Paul's letters that challenges hegemonic models and reminds us that care for the poor and pursuing justice for the weak of society are at the heart of the gospel and Christian living." 
—Timothy Milinovich, Associate Professor & Chair of Theology, Director of Catholic Studies, Dominican University