Sunday, November 16, 2008

ROMANS 11.33-36

The breakdown in Romans is chapters 1-4, 5-8, 9-11, and 12-16. All are distinct sections. All are thick and thorough. As you know, 9-11 is likely the toughest. However, thick thinking for Paul doesn't lead to theological restlessness or apathy or anything of the sort. In Paul's heart and from Paul's pen, deep thinking about God's plan leads to elaborate praise. For Paul theology leads to doxology. It must be the same for us.

Let's look at how he closes ch 11. Rom 11.33-36 gets more intense the more I muse over it. Here's a fun way to remember it: 2, 2, 3, 3

Paul lauds the great depth of WISDOM OF GOD and the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. That's your first 2.

He then asks, "how UNSEARCHABLE ARE HIS JUDGMENTS and how UNFATHOMABLE ARE HIS WAYS?" There's your second 2. 

Both of Paul's sets of three begin with the word "for" [NASB]. In Greek, this simply means that he is explaining something or continuing his train of thought. So, in 11.34-35 Paul asks three "who" questions. 
  • WHO has known the mind of the Lord
  • WHO has become His counselor
  • WHO has first given to Him...
This is your first 3.

Lastly, Paul chooses three prepositional phrases to depict why glory will eternally and rightfully be to God. 11.36 reads, "For FROM Him and THROUGH Him and TO Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen." This is your second 3.

So, in Rom 11.33-36 we have two exclamatory couplets that lead to two explanatory triplets, but that are all under one consuming goal - the fame of God.

Just this structure is enough to make me delight in God's wisdom and beauty. Now go read Rom 9-11 and see His mercy and it the will be greater grounds for glorying in and rejoicing in His goodness.

No comments: