Today I sat down and began my Masters thesis. I will need to find 20’000 words over the next 12 months. I will be comparing and contrasting the views of N.T. Wright and Douglas Moo on Romans 2:13 and then discussing how their reading of the text would work itself out in an applied pastoral context (still to be determined). How does that sound?
Today I started my exegesis of Romans 2:12-16 and became lost almost immediately. As I began my journey I wondered if anyone had any advice for me. Practical is best. For instance, how did you ‘literally’ begin? How did you sustain the passion through words 3001 and 19’002? How do you exegete a text? I am open to any help!
I began by reading DeSilva’s introduction to Romans in An Introduction to the New Testament : Contexts, Methods and Ministry Formation (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2004). I found this quote most interesting given the many battles which have been fought over this disputed territory. I especially liked his acknowledgment of the ironies of such battles in the face of Paul’s call for unity…
“Philip Melanchthon, one of the great theological minds of the Reformation, described Romans as “an outline and compendium of all Christian doctrine”, and its interpretation has often been driven by theological interests and debates. Indeed, until recently Romans has been read primarily as an essay in propositional theology, and interpreters have often lost sight of the concrete and specific set of circumstances and interests that called this letter into existence. Attempting to abstract the timeless theology of Romans, Christians have repeatedly broken off fellowship with other Christians over the interpretation of minute aspects of this letter, for example, the question of predestination versus free will, the degree of human depravity, the nature of “saving” faith and so forth. A tragic irony emerges when we consider that in Romans, Paul provides his fullest treatment of the way God has brought together people of diverse heritage and practice into the one body of the church, and he also gives several chapters of practical advice for preserving unity in the midst of this diversity.”
[David Arthur deSilva, 2004, p.598.]