I think I got it

Monday, July 03, 2006

I was again trying to work out Romans 6, knowing that I really need a break in order to recover that feeling of excitement and motivation in doing a theological/biblical assignment and I think I just might have found it. In reference to the diagram I was working on several days ago, I noticed the repetition of the word know, albeit in three different Greek root words: αγνοειτε (a negative particle, not know), γινοσκω (to know, to perceive) and οιδα (to know). I took a close look and felt that the entire Romans 6:1-14 could be an argument in chiastic form.

- A’ in respond to A
- B’ in respond to B
- C’ in respond to C
- D carries the epitome of argument in the entire passage.

A. What then, should we remain in sin so grace may increase? God forbid.

.....B. We who have died to sin, how can we live in it?

..........C. Do you know
...............we are baptised into Christ
...............we are buried with him
...............we are united with him in death and resurrection

.................D. Knowing this
......................the old man was crucified and brought to nothing
......................he who has died has been justified
......................if we died with Christ, we shall also live with him

..........C’. We know
...............Christ is raised from the dead
...............Christ will never die again
...............Christ died to sin once and for all, he live to God

.....B’. So you must consider yourself dead to sin but alive to God

A’. For sin have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Paul’s argument can be seen in the following:

- The affirmation (A A’): God forbid!
- The requirement (B B’): We have died to sin, so …
- The reasoning (C C’): do you not know … we know
...notice the we, we, we and the Christ, Christ, Christ?
- The crux (D): knowing this

I don't know. I certainly hope I will finally settle down to complete the paper. Thankfully, I do have one more week to do it.

Working into the chiastic sections, I am doing the C C' right now and I am totally blown away with this discovery. Utterly amazing, the way Paul writes, and more so the inspiration of God. It really looks too good to be true, I am beginning to wonder if I am seeing things. A chiasm within a chiasm?

The reasoning (C C’): do you not know … we know
This section presents the heart of the argument, where Paul reasons: “do you not know” because “we know”.

A chiasm is clearly and amazingly seen in these 2 sections: the 3 “we are” statements in contrast with the 3 statements on Christ. Placed in juxtaposition:

1. The believers who have been baptised into Christ Jesus have been baptised into his death (v.3) and this Christ has been raised from the dead (v.9)

2. We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father in the same way we too in newness of life might walk (v.4) and he will never die again for death no longer has dominion over him (v.9)

3. For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death in the same way also we shall be united in the likeness of his resurrection (v.5) for that he died he died to sin, once for all, but that he lives he lives to God (v10)

Picture by Witek Burkiewicz

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4 comment(s)

  1. Maeghan,

    Nice insight. I'll have to study this some more to really understand it.

    As usual, thanks for sharing from your cool classes.

    God Bless

  2. :) Hope you will ... I really think I bumped into something really interesting though it will be only until next week to hear out how my lecturer would think about it.

  3. Maeghan,

    I really like this a lot. I had to go to wiki to look up chiastic: nice word.

    I'm sure it went well in your class.

    God Bless

  4. Hi Doug,
    The word chiasm is also used sometimes. Anyway, my class is only this coming Tues, (i managed to get one more week at it. Thankfully everyone was understanding to allow me that).Will let you know what happens next week :)