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Tag: Paul

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.

When Paul used the word “Judaism” in Galatians 1:13-14, what was he talking about?

In my book, I argue that the rare word Ἰουδαϊσμός–which is usually translated “Judaism” in our Bibles (Gal 1:13-14)–doesn’t mean “Judaism” in the modern sense of a system of religious thought. Rather, it should be understood in a vocational sense.

“We are the circumcision” (Philippians 3:3) is a reference to Jewish preachers (i.e. Paul and Timothy), not to all Christians

In my book, I argue that the phrase “we are the circumcision” in Phil 3:3 should be understood as a reference to Paul and Timothy, as Jewish teachers of Gentiles. Paul is using the term “circumcision” in order to claim a status for himself and Timothy as true (Jewish) teachers of Gentiles, in direct opposition to rival Jewish teachers.

Does the metaphor of the olive tree (Romans 11:17-24) undermine the notion of Jewish distinctiveness in Paul’s thought?

A number of interpreters regard Paul’s metaphor of the olive tree in Rom 11:17–24 as evidence that Paul is seeking to include Gentiles within a redefined Israel. I contend that this understanding is not consistent with the meaning and purpose of this passage.

PhD thesis: approved and now available online (Paul and the Vocation of Israel)

This dissertation argues that Paul’s apostolic mission to the Gentiles was the definitive expression of his divine vocation as an Israelite, and thus of his Jewish identity. For many of Paul’s Jewish contemporaries, Israel’s divine vocation was to keep and to teach the precepts of the Law of Moses as an exemplary witness to God’s power and wisdom. For Paul, however, Jewish identity was expressed primarily by preaching the gospel of Christ, as the fulfilment of the Law of Moses, to the Gentiles. This is seen most clearly in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Recent blog posts

  • Photo by Ben White on UnsplashThe gospel for criminals (Ephesians 4:28)
    Paul preaches the gospel to thieves. God’s grace gives us a new identity. That means we have work to do: not so we can take, but so we can give.
  • Sun setting on ruinsGrace and anger (Ephesians 4:26–27)
    Whether our anger is right or wrong, we can’t deny it’s there. But because we belong to Christ, we must make it a priority to deal with anger. How?
  • Is God Green? By Lionel WindsorIs God Green? Audio/video links
    Here are some links to audio and video for events I've spoken at recently based on my book: Is God Green?
  • Donald Robinson Selected Works volumes 3 and 4Donald Robinson on the Origins of the Anglican Church League
    History matters. It makes us question things we take for granted, it helps us to understand who we are, and it gives us a broader perspective on the issues we face today. One example – relevant for evangelical Anglicans, especially in Sydney – is an essay in Donald Robinson Selected Works, volume 4 (recently published by the Australian Church Record and Moore College). The essay is called “The Origins of the Anglican Church League” (pp. 125–52). It’s a republication of a paper given in 1976 by Donald Robinson (1922–2018), former Moore College Vice-Principal and later Archbishop of Sydney. In the paper, Robinson traces some of the currents and issues that led to the formation of the Anglican Church League in the early twentieth century. The essay is classic Donald Robinson: full of surprises, yet definitely still worth reading today to help us gain perspective on issues for evangelical Anglicans past and present.
  • Busts with shadowsTelling the truth (Ephesians 4:25)
    Truth is a rare commodity in our world. But Christians are people of the truth. The gospel of Christ demands that we value and speak the truth in every situation.
  • Boy reaching for the sky. Photo by Samuel Zeller on UnsplashBecome who you are (Ephesians 4:22–24)
    The gospel teaches us to change—to put off the old and put on the new. This change doesn’t save us, but it matters. It’s all about becoming who we are.
  • Ducks learning in a circleLearning Christ (Ephesians 4:20–21)
    Christian communities are places of learning and teaching. This isn’t just about transmitting information: Christians are people who “learn Christ”.
  • Ampelmann, BerlinTurn around and walk the other way (Ephesians 4:17–19)
    Darkness, futility, and desire: this is the way the world walks. Paul doesn’t write these things so that we can gloat or judge. He writes so we can repent, and live.
  • Photo by Kira auf der Heide on UnsplashPlaying your part (Ephesians 4:16)
    Paul’s vision for Christ’s body is unity in diversity. It’s not just flat uniformity, nor is it just diversity for the sake of diversity. It’s diversity for a common purpose.
  • Photo by Ben White on UnsplashThe truth in love: A key principle for church growth (Ephesians 4:14–15)
    Paul’s principle for the growth of Christ’s body isn’t about presentation or organisation. It’s more fundamental: “speaking the truth in love”.

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