The commentary is organized around the five-part epistolary structure that Paul developed for this fundamental letter, a structure that gives shape to its logically unfolding theological argument. Recognizing this structure is vital for interpreting the traditional sections of the body of the letter, as well as for understanding the placement of the problematic chapters 9–11 within Paul’s thought.
One of the primary means of development Paul uses within the letter is the diatribe style as a rhetorical device for shaping and presenting his argument. Through the insistent questions and responses of the diatribe, Paul opens up the major theological issues of the letter—human depravity, sin and works, justification and righteousness, reconciliation, life in the Spirit, and the role of Israel.
Stanley E. Porter is President and Dean, and Professor of New Testament, at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario.
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