Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

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rgprice
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Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by rgprice » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:18 am

Romans 10 is very confusing, and I've read it in many different ways over the years.

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15 But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? On the contrary:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”

19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous with those who are not a nation,
With a foolish nation I will anger you.”

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says,

“I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me.”

21 But as for Israel, He says, “I have spread out My hands all day long to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

This seems to be saying that the Jews don't know Yahweh/the Lord. I used to think this mean that the Jews didn't know of the recent incarnation called Jesus, but it really seems to be saying that the Jews don't know the Lord at all. How could Paul say this? This seems to be a pretty important statement. Paul is claiming that the Jews have no knowledge of the Lord. He goes on in Romans 11:

11 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? Far from it! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4 But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, since otherwise grace is no longer grace.

Is Paul comparing himself to Elijah here? Paul seems to be saying that just as in the time of Elijah, the Jews are worshiping a false god. There are only a few "elect" who know the Lord, all the rest have no knowledge of the Lord (or God?).

Romans 10-12 is all a bit confusing, but seems quite important. To make matters worse, many of the commentaries statement that these parts were missing from Marcion's Apostolikon, yet, they would seem to be somewhat Marcionite in nature. What are some good scholarly resources on these passages?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:41 am

rgprice wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:18 am
Romans 10 is very confusing, and I've read it in many different ways over the years.

12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? 15 But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

16 However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? On the contrary:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”

19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous with those who are not a nation,
With a foolish nation I will anger you.”

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says,

“I was found by those who did not seek Me,
I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me.”

21 But as for Israel, He says, “I have spread out My hands all day long to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

This seems to be saying that the Jews don't know Yahweh/the Lord.
In context (verse 9), the Lord is Jesus. Whatever else one may think "the Lord" means or ought to mean, it means Jesus at the very least. Paul is saying that the Jews do not know the Lord Jesus, which is not great because it is faith in the Lord Jesus which leads to salvation (verses 9 and 13).

ETA: In verse 2 Paul (if this is Paul) states outright that the Jews are zealous for God, but just not in accordance with knowledge. What they think they are doing (serving God) and what they are actually doing are two different things, according to Paul.
Is Paul comparing himself to Elijah here? Paul seems to be saying that just as in the time of Elijah, the Jews are worshiping a false god. There are only a few "elect" who know the Lord, all the rest have no knowledge of the Lord (or God?).
If the analogy forces us to accept that Paul is accusing the Jews of worshiping a false god, then it also forces us to accept that Paul is accusing the Jews of worshiping Ba'al. The truth is that it is an analogy, and the two sides have to line up only on the essential point or points the author is trying to convey. Fortunately, Paul tells us what this essential point is: the remnant. He is saying that, just as a remnant remained faithful to God by not worshiping Ba'al in the time of Elijah, so too a remnant is remaining faithful to God by obeying and believing the divine word about the Lord Jesus in the present day.
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:43 am

As for the Marcionite version: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1839&start=10.

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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by rgprice » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:51 am

But Paul is using the words of Moses and Isaiah, written, as Paul would believe, thousands of years prior. Certainly "Jesus" is "the Lord", but what does that mean? He is still accusing the Jews of not knowing the Lord, not simply of not knowing a person or not knowing the "incarnation of the Lord", but that they don't know "the Lord God".

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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:59 am

rgprice wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:51 am
But Paul is using the words of Moses and Isaiah, written, as Paul would believe, thousands of years prior. Certainly "Jesus" is "the Lord", but what does that mean? He is still accusing the Jews of not knowing the Lord, not simply of not knowing a person or not knowing the "incarnation of the Lord", but that they don't know "the Lord God".
I am not sure what you are saying here.

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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by rgprice » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:02 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:43 am
As for the Marcionite version: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1839&start=10.
What is so confusing, though, is where these passages come from? They don't appear to be anything that Marcion would have need to remove, indeed they would seem to support his case. They don't appear to be something that anti-Marcionites would add either. Is there some reason that these passages would be supported by anti-Marcionites?

I've long presumed that Romans existed in two versions: the version used by Marcion, and a longer version that circulated independently prior to Marcion. So, presumably this would have been in that longer version. But my assumption is that this is originally from Paul, in a version of the letter that Marcion didn't have, but would have no reason to redact if had been in his version.

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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by rgprice » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:04 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:59 am
rgprice wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:51 am
But Paul is using the words of Moses and Isaiah, written, as Paul would believe, thousands of years prior. Certainly "Jesus" is "the Lord", but what does that mean? He is still accusing the Jews of not knowing the Lord, not simply of not knowing a person or not knowing the "incarnation of the Lord", but that they don't know "the Lord God".
I am not sure what you are saying here.
I mean, Paul does not seem to be saying that the Jews don't know the Gospel Jesus, he's saying effectively that they don't know Yahweh.

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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:18 am

rgprice wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:04 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:59 am
rgprice wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:51 am
But Paul is using the words of Moses and Isaiah, written, as Paul would believe, thousands of years prior. Certainly "Jesus" is "the Lord", but what does that mean? He is still accusing the Jews of not knowing the Lord, not simply of not knowing a person or not knowing the "incarnation of the Lord", but that they don't know "the Lord God".
I am not sure what you are saying here.
I mean, Paul does not seem to be saying that the Jews don't know the Gospel Jesus, he's saying effectively that they don't know Yahweh.
In modern evangelical churches there are jokes and allegories in circulation which feature Jesus returning to earth, entering into a church, and then being rejected there for some reason (too poor, not "theologically correct" enough, or what have you). The whole point of these illustrations is that one can think one is serving Jesus but then not even recognize him when he shows up on one's doorstep. In other words, having an inaccurate picture (a picture "not in accordance with knowledge," as Romans 10.2 would put it) of Jesus can mean not recognizing Jesus.

Paul is doing something similar here. The Jews think they are serving the Lord, business as usual, but they do not recognize the Lord in the form of Jesus Christ. In other words, the Jews having zeal "not in accordance with knowledge" means that they do not recognize the very Lord they profess to serve.

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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by rgprice » Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:58 am

I suppose that makes sense. Also, do you have any further insight into v 8-9?

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

What does this really say? This does say "Jesus is the Lord", but does it mean that or something else? Is this really "Jesus as lord" meaning Jesus as 'master', or this is equating Jesus to Yahweh?

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Re: Romans 10: Jews don't know the Lord...

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:20 am

rgprice wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:58 am
I suppose that makes sense. Also, do you have any further insight into v 8-9?

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

What does this really say? This does say "Jesus is the Lord", but does it mean that or something else? Is this really "Jesus as lord" meaning Jesus as 'master', or this is equating Jesus to Yahweh?
Well, that is the million dollar question. Once one relieves the text of the burden of having to support an entire doctrine of the Holy Trinity, one is left to wonder what exactly Paul means in such passages. The debates are ongoing.

The view I have been testing for a while is that Paul regards Jesus as Yahweh (the how and why are separate issues), and every time Paul says "Lord," except in some scriptural quotes, he means Jesus precisely as Yahweh. But the whole issue is extremely complex, and I am not claiming certainty.

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