NTiR: Thank God, this letter is OVER! (Romans 14-16)
[Quick note: There will not be a new entry on July 5th in celebration of Independence Day. The next article will be published on July 8th. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!]
Well, I did it. I made it to the end of this book. I don’t know how, but I survived. Let me get an AMEN!!!
Umm… So… hmmm… I don’t know what the hell Paul is trying to get at here. There’s a lot of talk about eating and not criticizing each other and not destroying god’s work for the sake of food? I don’t know. It’s a mess. I can only take a guess that Paul was really hungry when he got to this part of the letter?
Paul starts out by explaining why he is exempt from the “be humble” rule he stated earlier. He apparently believes that the Holy Spirit made him a priest by god’s grace. Since he is a priest, he can boast about what he is doing. See, it is this kind of stuff that makes me think Paul used Jesus’s name and story to build his own church. Paulianity instead of Christianity, if you get my meaning. Paul seems to allow himself a lot of indulgences. Do as he says, not as he does!
The end of this chapter starts to feel like a letter again. Paul gives his travel plans (Jerusalem, Rome, Spain).
Hey, Paul didn’t write this letter! He dictated it, and Tertius transcribed it. Of course, that doesn’t matter in the slightest. Paul finishes off the chapter by acquainting the Romans with a bunch of members of his church.
Paul also speaks of divisions among the church. Apparently there are others who are also preaching a new religion based on Jesus Christ. Paul says that these others are serving their own desires, and not Christ. Which is interesting, as this sounds exactly like what Paul is doing. Paul warns people to watch for smooth talk and flattering words. Hmmm…
Hey, it’s the end! Can you all join me in saying: “THANKS BE TO GOD!!!!” That was one long, grueling book. It was actually worse than I thought it was going to be. That is saying a lot, because I feared it was going to be very bad. Those of you who are of the Christian faith will find a lot of your church’s dogma in this letter. Paul lays the dogma down pretty straight, and many Christian sects are based completely on Paul’s letters.
For those of us who aren’t Christians? It seems like Paul took a lot of liberties with the legend of Jesus Christ, and used that to craft a religion that Paul wanted to see? I don’t see a lot of Christ’s teachings here in Paul’s epistle (aside from Chapter 12, which echoes Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount). I don’t know, and that topic is out of the scope of this project. It’s just something that I’ll keep in the back of my mind: do people nowadays practice Christianity or Paulianity?
Up next: Another letter? EGAH!
New installments of The New Testament In Review will be posted each Monday and Thursday. The new posts will always be on my blog, http://biffster.org. The entire series is accessible via http://biffster.org/ntir. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you can get an advance preview on my Facebook page. You can also follow me (@biffster) on Twitter to be alerted to new posts.