The Readings: Joshua 4:19–5:1, 10-15; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 26:17-25
Today’s Romans text, an extended series of exhortations. As such, not a bad resource for preparing to make one’s confession.
The following are perhaps worth noticing:
- Grammatically, after an independent phrase, vv.9-13 consists of a string of participles: “Genuine love: hating what is evil, being devoted to…” We might take it as a working definition of genuine love. (Just as vv.3-21 provide a first approximation of “reasonable worship” [v.1]. Re the last point, the plentiful words describing emotions check misunderstanding “reasonable” as contrasting with “emotional.”)
- “Heap burning coals on their heads” (v.20, part of the citation of Prov 25:21-22). Commentators cite an Egyptian text as evidence that the Proverbs text can be understood as inducing “a burning shame leading to repentance” (Dunn). Perhaps. Or perhaps—in the spirit of “Do not be too righteous” (Eccl 7:16)—Paul, aware of the multiple ways the Proverbs text might be interpreted, simply lets the citation run, so that whatever the motivation at least the enemies will get the right treatment.