Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Insights into Paul's Gospel: Craig Keener

Today we will begin a series on 'Insights into Paul's Gospel'. As I read various writings on the apostle I will be quoting writers commenting on the gospel Paul proclaimed. Today we will hear from Craig Keener. The quote comes from his commentary on Romans in the New Covenant Commentary Series (Cascade Books, 2009); Keener is commenting on the content of Romans 1:1-7. I will be leaving out scripture references (there are many).

"The Good News Paul proclaims is just what the prophets announced...In the Prophets proper, the 'good news' is especially the promise that God would establish peace and blessing for his people, and Paul proclaims that this ancient promise is now being fulfilled in Jesus.

What is the content of the good news foretold by the prophets? The prophets associated their good news of Israel's restoration with the coming of the promised Davidic king and the hope of resurrection. In 1:3-4 Paul declares that his good news concerns God's 'Son.' As a descendant of David, Jesus could be rightful heir to Israel's throne, but once a king was enthroned, he was adopted by God. Jesus was not only descended from David, but attested as God's Son by the Spirit, who raised him from the dead and hence exalted him as Lord. Of course, Jesus is not God's 'Son' only in the ordinary royal sense, but the good news that God has established a king, and hence his kingdom, sets Paul's preaching of Jesus squarely in the context of the [Old Testament] promises.

Many Judeans regularly praised God for his power that would one day be expressed in raising the dead; Paul likewise treats the resurrection as the ultimate display of God's power. Jesus' followers, however, recognize this resurrection as not merely a theoretical hope for the future, but a future reality already initiated in history: Paul speaks literally here of Jesus' resurrection 'from among the dead ones,' implying that Jesus' resurrection is the first installment of the future promise of resurrection for the righteous...The same Spirit who raised Jesus will also raise all believers. Paul stresses Jesus' resurrection as a prominent element of the good news."

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