Skip to content

Paul’s priestly ministry in Romans 15: a fulfilment of Isaiah 60-61

In my book, I argue that Paul’s description of his “priestly” ministry in Romans 15:14-33 is drawn from Isaiah 60-61, which describes Israel’s eschatological priestly role toward the nations. This reinforces Paul’s depiction of his apostolic ministry as an eschatological Jew-Gentile dynamic.

Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul's Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to RomansPaul’s cultic terminology, like his self-description as the Isaianic Servant [in Rom 1:1], serves to locate his own apostolic ministry within the sphere of Jewish eschatological expectations concerning Israel’s distinct vocation towards the nations. Paul portrays himself as the first-person gospel-preacher of Isa 61:1, whose ministry is the catalyst for a more general “priestly” Jew-Gentile dynamic. Through Paul’s own apostolic ministry to the nations, Israel’s pre-eminent role as the source of God’s revelation to the world is restored. Thus Paul’s proclamation of the divine gospel is a metaphorical “priesthood” which fulfils and enables Israel’s own distinct priestly role in bringing divine revelation to the world. As we shall see when we examine the Rom 2:17–29 (ch. 5) and Rom 9–11 (ch. 6),  Paul believes that these eschatological expectations can only be achieved through a thorough-going, radical redefinition of Jewish identity. Nevertheless, in the outer frame of Romans [Rom 1:1-15, 15:14-33], Paul deliberately presents his apostolic ministry in relatively straightforward terms, as the fulfilment of Israel’s vocation.

The full details of the argument and further references may be found in chapter 4 of the book (pp. 114-119). The chapter is available from the publisher in electronic format:

Windsor, Lionel J. Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul’s Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans. BZNW 205. Berlin / Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2014.

Published inIsaiahPaulRomans

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • Iso-chats: Theology

All posts

Recent blog posts

  • The powerful Christian life: according to Ephesians
    What do we do when we feel weak in the face of powerful people? Here are seven key reflections on power from Ephesians.
  • Liturgy Song – Moore College Revue 2020
    Here's a tribute to our online chapel experience in mid-2020 at Moore College, in the full spirit of parody. I wrote it for our Moore College Revue, and had much fun performing it with Jordan Smith and Monique New.
  • My grandfather’s part in a WWII mission over Modane
    A journey of discovery of some of my family history. My maternal grandfather, Allan Fisher DFC, flew a mission over a rail yard in Modane.
  • Youth praying, Finchale PrioryWhat can we learn about prayer from Ephesians?
    Prayer: What are you doing when you pray? Who are you praying to? Why does it matter? Here are three reflections on prayer from my series on Paul's letter to the Ephesians. #liftyoureyes
  • Salvation in Ephesians
    Here are the key reflections on the topic of salvation in Ephesians in my series Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians
  • Photo by Bruno Aguirre on UnsplashWho are “the saints” in Ephesians?
    Who are "the saints" in Ephesians? Only Jewish believers in Christ? Or all believers in Christ? Here's my answer.
  • Ministry and mission in Ephesians
    Here are the key reflections on the topic of ministry and mission in Ephesians in my series Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians
  • This GodThe doctrine of God in Ephesians
    Here are the key reflections on the topic of The doctrine of God in Ephesians in my series Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians
  • Humility in Ministry #3 (Romans 11)
    God achieves his purposes through the gospel—with you and without you. A sermon on Romans 11 at Moore College chapel.
  • Humility in Ministry #2 (Romans 10)
    Since the gospel is about believing not achieving, Christian ministry is about speaking not achieving. A sermon on Romans 10 at Moore College chapel.

On this site

All content copyright Lionel Windsor