According to New Testament scholar Dr Haley Goranson Jacob, the popular inspirational verse Romans 8:28 which says, “All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose”, should be significantly retranslated. She makes the case in her wonderful book Conformed to the Image of his Son: Reconsidering Paul’s Theology of Glory in Romans (IVP 2018) that it is rather “God works all things for good with those who love God, who are called according to his purpose”. So instead of a subjective reading that it is a personal assurance that God will make things work out for me, she explains “the good that is done is not for the believer but is done by God and the believer on behalf of “all things.”” (p. 249) Continue reading “Working with God”
Larry Hurtado comments on Paula Fredriksen’s interesting insights on why Paul was completely opposed to Gentile circumcision: Continue reading “Circumcision and the Gentile Mission”
In the ecclesiastical calendar, 25 January (this Friday) marks the “Conversion of St. Paul.” Over the last several decades, however, scholars have differed over whether “conversion” is the right term to describe Paul’s change from fierce opponent of the young Jesus-movement to one of the most well-known advocates.
In general usage, a “conversion” marks a change from one religion to another. At the time of Paul’s experience (a scant couple of years after Jesus’ crucifixion), the Jesus-movement wasn’t what we know and think of as a self-standing “religion.” It was more a rather exclusive new sect or movement within the larger Jewish tradition. (And it must be emphasized that Paul’s “persecution” of Jesus-followers was not directed at “Christians” but solely at fellow Jews whom he must have regarded as having seriously problematic in their beliefs and practices.)
More significantly, Paul refers to that experience that prompted his shift in direction…
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“Christ’s biggest issue is not found on the platforms of modern political parties. Instead, Jesus calls the entire world to give allegiance to him above country, company, or any other community.” Continue reading “Jesus Politics”