Practicum Paper: Romans 12:1-2

The third passage for my practicum paper was the easiest. While I may not score as high, I know this genuinely reflects how I approach this text.

I'm pretty sure I used some words that aren't really words. Oh well.

3.1. What is the theological basis of the “therefore”? What major theological points have been made to reach this conclusion? Justification by faith, circumcision, the status of Israel, etc.
3.2. What is the best imagery/translation for the word “beseech” (Παρακαλῶ)? How does this facilitate the urgency of application to modern listeners?
3.3. What unique connotations does the word Παρακαλῶ tell us about the fact that Paul was calling them to behave as him? How does this correspond or contrast with Paul’s other letters (1 Cor 4:6, Phi 3:16-18)?
3.4. Does Paul’s freedom (not yet in jail) affect the symbolism here? Instead of calling to faithful endurance (mildly in 5:1-5) does Paul have a more missional/free worship application for his readers? Is Paul’s urging simply a subset of Jesus and Peter’s call to endure persecution?
3.5. How does the personal relationship implied by ἀδελφοί provide insight to the need for a close community in our churches? Does this keep us from presenting this urgency to non-believers?
3.6. Why is Paul’s urgent petition based upon God’s “mercy” (οἰκτιρμῶν) and not on a commandment? Does this have to do with not living “under law” but “under grace” (Rom 6:14)?
3.7. Is this the same mercy Paul has just concluded speaking about (Rom 11:31-32)? Is this a general or specific mercy? Is it necessarily a salvific mercy?
3.8. What word play is being provoked through Paul by using the word “living” (ζῶσαν) and “sacrifice” (θυσίαν)? How does the imagery of a slaughtered sacrifice co-exist with the idea of living?
3.9. What cultural presuppositions may have led to Paul using this language? Speaking to a Gentile church in the capital of “Babylon”, what pagan concepts might have impacted Paul’s symbolism choices?
3.10. With what regularity do NT authors incorporate Jewish worship rituals into their teaching? Paul speaks of being “the temple of God” only within the context of pagan worship. Can we understand sacrificial language in a purely Jewish sense?
3.11. How does Paul’s reference in Galatians to being “crucified” and “Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:19-20) shed light on the theological nature of Paul’s call to the church at Rome to be sacrifices? Is this similar to Paul’s language about himself being a “drink offering”?
3.12. Do these two passages work together with Paul’s teaching that he “dies daily” (1 Cor 15:31) to emphasize the importance of putting to death the flesh as “sacrifice”?
3.13. Why do these “sacrifice” passages not contradict Jesus and the prophets who says God “wants mercy, not sacrifice” (Matt 9:13)? Is it purely because they are symbolic and are speaking on a spiritual level?
3.14. Is any rectification of Paul and Jesus’ words found from the insight of David (Psa 51:16-17)? Is it fair to answer that sacrifice and mercy are not opposed to each other accept in the proud as opposed to the “broken hearted”?
3.15. How does Paul’s commandment for a sacrifice fitting with Christ’s teaching to obey the “greatest commandment” (Mark 12:33)? How does covenant faithfulness fit in the context of Paul’s urging in Romans?
3.16. Is it pertinent that the “faith” focus of Paul earlier in the book seem to have disappeared within this discussion? How does Paul’s reintroduction of faith (Rom 14:1) after this section prompt us to think about the relationship between obedience and faith?
3.17. How can the practical link between “worship” and “service” (λατρείαν) be explained without promoting legalism? Can the lip service of Herod seeking to “worship” Jesus be used to highlight the difference?
3.18. What insight do the LXX uses of the word λατρείαν provide in terms of true and false worship? How is the word used in reference to idolatry?
3.19. Is Paul’s emphasis on “service” primarily society focused or God focused? Paul eventually speaks concerning our social ethics (Rom 12-14) but is that principally what he is referring to here? How does this correlate to the next topic on Spiritual gifts within this very chapter?
3.20. How do the word συσχηματίζω and μεταμορφόω contrast each other? How does this passage parallel Paul’s use of the word μεταμορφόω in describing our transformation to look like Christ Jesus (2 Cor 3:18)?
3.21. What Biblical characters could be used to exemplify this “transformation”? Daniel, Isaiah, Christ, Peter, etc.?
3.22. How is this transformation different from the final transformation before the judgment day (1 Cor 15:51; 1 John 3:2)? What differences are taught to the church between sanctification and glorification?
3.23. Is it significant that Paul uses the word “age” (αἰών) and not “world” (κόσμος)? What cultural and material concepts might be in Paul’s mind? How can we present this fluid concept of “age” without being relativistic?
3.24. How does Paul’s use of this word αἰών interact with the many uses of it in the gospels? In particular the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24:3)?
3.25. How does Paul link the rule and activity of Satan to this αἰών (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:1-2)? What then follows in application that Christ reigns in this αἰών (Eph 1:21)?
3.26. What is the definitional scope of θέλημα in the passage? How in contrast does Paul use it in Ephesians (Eph 1)? What portion of God’s “will” is Paul referring to here in Romans?
3.27. How literally can Paul’s application of “testing …the will of God” be taken? Can the point be retained without causing confusion when God’s will is “unknown”?
3.28. What is the contextual meaning of the word δοκιμάζω within the book of Romans (Rom 1:28; 2:18; 14:22)? Can any set of contrasts be drawn to the pagan and law based uses of the word?
3.29. Is it permissible to conclude that those not being transformed are incapable of determining the will of God since they know not “what is good and acceptable and perfect”?
3.30. Would this application consistent with Paul in Ephesians where we are to be “imitators of God” (Eph 5:1) and to try to “discern His will” (Eph 5:10)?

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