Monday, December 28, 2009

Romans 9-11 (Part 11)

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

There is a minor textual variant at the beginning of verse 13. The Textus Receptus has “gar” (for) and the Westcott and Hort has “de” (but). Gar carries the sense of additional rational for what was just discussed. De can be either continuative or disjunctive. If it’s continuative, the sense is basically the same as gar. If it’s disjunctive it typically enters a new, but related topic. Gar is witnessed in the Byzantine majority text as well as the Bezae Cantabrigiensis (approximately 500 AD) as well as the Vulgate and Cyrillic translations. So, since it has both a majority as well as ancient witness, and it fits the rest of the passage, a compelling case can be made for gar.

So gar indicates Paul’s provision of additional rational for his prior claim that God hardened the Jews, not to destroy them, but rather to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles and thereby provoke the Jews to jealousy. What is the reason? Paul’s ministry. God sent Paul to preach to the Gentiles so that the Jews would become jealous of their conversion to God and be saved themselves.

Paul in verse 15 affirms what he denied in verse 1, that the Jews are cast away. But he has already spelled out the differences. The Jews’ casting away is not complete, because there is a remnant, it’s not permanent because they will be restored, and it was not God’s intention to cast them away for the sake of destroying them.
Israel’s hardening did not put them past the reach of God’s saving arm. Paul strives that they may yet be saved. The resurrection is not a literal resurrection, but a demonstration of the power of God in breathing back spiritual life into a dead nation.

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