What is the hope that Paul presents in this text – and are there any limits to it? We might wonder about this as we are studying Romans 10:5-17 for Sunday, August 1. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions we might ask ourselves, or want to discuss in class:
In verses 5-13, Paul interprets scripture in a way that supports his presentation of Christ as the “end” – that is, the goal or fulfillment – of “the law,” with the implication that salvation based on faith in God’s righteousness is available to Gentiles and Jews alike. His method of interpreting scripture is different from the historical-critical and contextual method we are familiar with from contemporary Bible studies. What are the implications of this for our own reading of scripture, or for our understanding of this particular scriptural text, do we think? Why do we think that?
In verses 9-10, Paul presents a summary formula for salvation. Do we hear it as a hopeful formulation? Why, or why not? Do we have any questions for Paul? What are they? Why do we think we have those questions?
Who are “they” in verses 14-15, do we think? Why do we think that? What are the options? Where are “we” in relation to these verses?
What do we think Paul means by “hearing” in verse 17? [For instance: does this mean simply whatever sound waves strike our nervous systems? Does it mean something different, something more “interior”? Does it mean what really “sinks in” to a person’s understanding? Or – what?] Why do we think that?
[More personal] Do we find this particular scripture comforting? Why? Do we have other personal responses to it? What are they? Again – why, do we think?
[Still more personal] What are the implications in this scripture for our own behavior, do we think?
Overall, it seems to make sense to think about how we, ourselves, are being addressed by this part of Paul’s message. Does it work as a reassurance for us, a call to action, a confusing argument, something we have reservations about – or what?
Image: “Christ and the Samaritan woman at the Well,” [crop] John Linnell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons