Have you ever wrestled with Romans 7? Are you aware of the battleground that exists upon the soil of its meaning? Would you like a little help? This volume edited by Terry Wilder, and published by B & H Publishing, clearly defines the battle lines and gives us enough detail to form our own opinion. I can hardly think of a better approach than bringing 3 writers who each strongly hold to one of the main positions, and letting them write and engage with passion while maintaining Christian respect for each other.
Grant Osborne writes in favor of 7:14-25 representing Christian experience after salvation. Stephen Chester tackles the idea that those verses are Paul’s description of wrestling with sin prior to conversion. Mark Seifrid argues that it is not really autobiographical at all, but simply one standing before the Law. Finally, Chad Brand concludes the discussion by addressing how we might use this passage pastorally.
The value of this book is that instead of shouting out rhetoric, or worse, invectives, they dig into the text itself. That approach made them, in my opinion, worth listening to. They each shot a hole or two in the other’s arguments, and they were never careless.
I came into this book already adhering to Mr. Osborne’s position. I left it the same. While it might be disingenuous to say that I am only stronger in my position now, I was enriched by all three and had to interact on all the issues around the edges. In short, I feel much better about my position now and owe a debt to these authors for it. Mr. Brand’s conclusion was masterful too. I loved it.
I love this style of book as well as this approach to studying issues that are often debated. I highly recommend this volume.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
One thought on “Perspectives On Our Struggle With Sin: 3 Views Of Romans 7~Book Review”
Dare I give my perspective? I think the key to understanding this passage is found in reading all three chapters (6-8) together as a whole, with 6 describing the before and after state, 7 underscoring the failure of self, and 8 the victory in the Spirit. If you read the second half of ch. 7, underline every time you see the word “I”, or sentences where the subject is I, in the first person singular ( deal with a language that doesn’t need the subject, as it’s found in the verb). Next, contrast that with chapter 8, where I disappears as the subject, but the Spirit is what rules the chapter. The point of the two chapters is not whether or not it represents a pre or post salvation experience, or if it is autobiographical, or anything like. Paul is writing a treatise on salvation and its effects. The sad truth is, this part of chapter 7 can represent both a non-regenerate person attempting to fulfill the law, or a believer attempting to somehow “enhance” his salvation himself. When our focus is on ourselves–our sin, our efforts, etc. the result will be failure, because we are focused on the wrong thing. When we are truly allowing the Spirit to control, giving place to Him, the practical result is completely other. Of course, there are the same eternal benefits whether we try to “enhance” our spiritual life by our own efforts or not, which chapter 8 also covers, but the key difference is found in that simple grammatical difference between the “I” in ch. 7 and “Spirit” in ch. 8.
In a sense, I think the fullest understanding is to take all three views, and understand them as parts of the whole. But that’s just me, after devoting far too many hours reading the Book through over and over, and doing it in two languages. 😉
But this is a book review, so maybe I shouldn’t have commented. It’s just a subject very near my heart. 🙂