Well, having hauled my brain off strike after it had its week off, I have managed to get myself organized for the research paper for my independent study. Since what I’m really interested in is how Paul is perceived and preached differently in different Christian traditions, I decided to pick out a few key passages in Romans (since the Reformed and Lutheran traditions, at least, hold Romans up as the jewel of the gospel, and it is the primary scriptural foundation for the understanding of justification by faith alone) that looked likely to be interpreted differently by Catholics and Protestants.
I first thought I’d compare citations to Romans in the Council of Trent’s Decree on Justification and the article on justification from the Augsburg Confession, since they seem to be documents of similar confessional weight. But Trent is far more detailed in its citations than Augsburg. So, following a footnote in Michael Horton’s View on justification, I turned to the sections of Calvin’s Institutes that treat the subject. I also checked out the Catholic Catechism and my notes from the reading I’ve been doing.
So here are the passages I’d like to look at:
– 5:1-5: The Tridentine Decree on Justification Canon 11 cites 5:5 in its anathema.
– 6:13-22: Trent cites 6:13-19 in chapter 10, in the context of faith cooperating with good works. The Catechism cites 6:19, 22 in paragraph 1995 on justification and sanctification.
– 8:28-34: Calvin identifies 8:33 as a key text establishing the forensic nature of the term justification, and 8:30-33 was cited several times by Reformed authors in my reading.
– 10:3-9: Calvin cites 10:5-9, and Trent cites 10:3
I’m also going to look at 4:23-25, because Frank Macchia, in his response to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification from a Pentecostal perspective, emphasized 4:25 as missing from the Traditional Reformed view of justification as he encountered it in seminary.
Realistically, I probably have to narrow this down some, and I think the passages from chapters 6 and 8 are likely to be most productive.
The other part of the project is to identify contemporary commentaries from a variety of confessional/denominational perspectives. I set out to find commentaries that were academically informed, but intended for preachers and bible studies rather than for theologians, so I can get a feel for what the people in the pews might be hearing from the pulpit. And I’m particularly looking for commentaries that articulate their ecclesial tradition’s distinctive interpretive stance on these passages in particular and Romans in general.
I haven’t got all these in hand yet, but I’m looking to include commentaries from the Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Reformed, Wesleyan, Baptist, Anabaptist, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Black Church traditions.
(See, this is why I have to limit the number of passages..!)
So… what’s your favorite Romans commentary, and within what ecclesial tradition do you study or preach? If you went to a denominational seminary, what commentaries did you use there?