Biblical Studies Paul

Rhetorical Q&A in Romans 6-7

In Kostenberger, Kellum, and Quarles’ NT Introduction The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown, we find a list of Paul’s Rhetorical Questions and Answers in Romans 6-7. While we could find these ourselves, this short list is a helpful guide as to where these question are and what is being expressed. We should look to the references to see the fuller context and hopefully realize why this is important.

I. Romans 6.1-2

Rhetorical Question, v1

“What should we say then? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may multiply?”

Answer, v2

“Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

II. Romans 6.15-16

Rhetorical Question, v15a

“What then? Should we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?”

Answer, v15b-16

“Absolutely not! Do you not know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey?”

III. Rom 7.7

Rhetorical Question, v7a

“What should we say then? Is the law sin?”

Answer, v7b

“Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin if it were not for the law.”

IV. Rom 7.13

Rhetorical Question, v13a

“Therefore, did what is good cause my death?”

Answer, v13b

“Absolutely not! In the contrary, sin, in order to be recognized as sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment sin might become sinful beyond measure.”

In this list we can see some issues that Paul foresaw would arise in his preaching. Sin does not serve a positive purpose nor should it be continued. More sin doesn’t necessarily mean more grace to come. Rather, more sin leads to deeper slavery. A life of sin is inconsistent with our union with Christ. Sin is no longer our master, and we believers should offer ourselves as instruments for righteousness.

Hopefully in our teaching, in our preaching, and in our proclaiming the gospel we would be prepared for the questions that would arise, done with “gentleness and respect” (1 Pet 3.15).

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  1. Good stuff Spencer! I try to highlight this in my class this semester. I keep hammering in (for them and for me) that if the way we read Romans doesn’t lead us to ask those questions, then we’re probably misinterpreting it. I.e. Paul says something before we get to Romans 6:1 that, properly understood, would lead one to conclude we should keep sinning if 6:2ff didn’t exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lindsay! It’s a good thing Paul wrote those verses, for it would seem like that. I think we should be learning from Paul how to anticipate our audience and their questions (though I think we already do, knowing some of the questions they could ask).


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