Lament in Romans: Promise, suffering, and the cry of distress
This dissertation examines Paul’s understanding of suffering in Romans by analyzing the OT lament language that he often cites, alludes to, and echoes. Chapter 1 introduces the history of interpretation, thesis, and aim of the dissertation.
Chapter 2 summarizes the OT lament language that Paul employs in Romans. Specifically, this chapter examines the form and function of lament language in various parts of the OT.
Chapter 3 examines Paul’s use of lament language in Romans 3:10–18. There is analysis of both the form and function of the language. The chapter considers how recognition of lament language in this portion of the letter impacts interpretation of the immediate context and the overall understanding of suffering in Romans.
Chapter 4 addresses the use of OT lament language in Romans 7:7–25. There is an analysis of both the form and function of the language. The chapter considers how the recognition of lament language in this portion of the letter impacts the interpretation of the immediate context and the overall understanding of suffering in Romans. Additionally, there is a discussion regarding the preference for an OT background to Romans 7:7–25 rather than a Greco-Roman one.
Chapter 5 examines the use of a lament language in Romans 8:18–39. It considers how Paul portrays the sons of God, creation, and the Holy Spirit as lamenters. Moreover, it looks at the impact of the citation from Psalm 44, a lament psalm, on the overall meaning of Romans 8:31–39. There is also a consideration of how the lament language in Romans 8:18–39 informs one’s understanding of suffering in Romans.
Chapter 6 looks at use of lament language in Romans 9–11. Special attention is given to the echo of Moses’ intercessory lament in Romans 9:1–5. The chapter considers how Romans 9:6–11:36 contains an answer to Paul’s intercessory lament. The findings are then brought to bear on the issue of suffering in Romans.
Chapter 7 is the conclusion to the work that summarizes the thesis and brings the weight of that thesis to bear on two issues germane to Pauline Studies. Specifically, Wright’s narrative reading of Romans is challenged, and Stendahl’s reading of Romans 7 is questioned. Finally, the chapter proposes a Sitz im Leben for Romans in light of the pervasive use of lament language in the letter.
The main thesis of this work is that Paul’s use of lament language in Romans simultaneously points to the depth of the suffering he addresses and the power of the gospel he preaches. By recognizing this language, one gains a better appreciation for the suffering of Paul and the Christians in Rome, as well as the hope they had in the midst of such profound pain.
0397: Pastoral Counseling