Alicia Donathan

So, if “we” and “our” refers to Jews from at least as early as 3:5 (“our unrighteousness” = the Jews’ sin in putting Christ to death), then what’s wrong with continuing to take “our” to refer to Jews in 4:1? Abraham is “our forefather according to the flesh,” i.e., he is the biological father of the Jews. I read your blog post from a while back on the translation issues in 4:1, but I don’t see the problem with taking it to refer to Jews. Certainly, later in chapter 4 “our” is inclusive of Gentiles as Paul moves from speaking as a representative Jew to speaking as a Christian, but I don’t know why we can’t take him to still be speaking as a Jew in 4:1, since chapter and verse divisions are not original. Am I missing something?

Mark Horne Mark Horne

Well here is the passage:

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,
“That you may be justified in your words,
and prevail when you are judged.”
But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. (Romans 3:1-8 ESV)

I thought the reference to “the Jew” and “circumcision” told us who was speaking for “our unrighteousness”–that “our unrighteousness” was the same as “their unfaithfulness” earlier.

So I hadn’t seen any reason to follow further down the text with that idea. Maybe I should look at it again, but that is my initial reaction.

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