He does present a good case, but a few of his points are a bit weak, to me. First, he equates sarkinos with non-Christian. However, how does that jive with verses 15 and 16:Turgonian wrote:I see...thank you for your response.
But what of the linguistic evidence which among others Mr Brooks cites?
- 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
Now, this "I" is supposed to reprsent the Jew trying to fulfill the Law by works. And, as Brooks notes himself, no Jew could say this, for "this statement reflects a truth which is hopelessly invisible to the person outside of Christ." This is well demonstrated by the RYR and the Pharisees in general. These Jews thought that they were fulfilling the Law, and were thus earning eternal life. Their plight was truly invisible to them. That seems hard to hold, to me, though, because the entire thought seems to present that whoever the "I" is, is actually aware of this struggle. Besides, why wouldn't Paul have just said "legalistic Jews"? Further, where in the preceding chapters has Paul discussed the Jewish fallacy? The last place I can recall off the top of my head is in chapter 2. And how would that go along with the general purpose of the book? There seems to be no indication that the Roman Christians, Jewish or otherwise, were having trouble with Judaizers. And besides all THAT, the entire argument is based on Paul's use of sarkinos in Corinthians. Can we assume that those readers would have been aware of that letter and Paul's usage of the term there? If they were not, and there seems to be no reason to assume that to be the case, then doesn't it make sense that they would have read "I" just as you and I read "I"? To make matters worse, Paul only uses the actual word "I" one time in the Greek. Everywhere else it is part of the verb. Now, that is absolutey standard in Greek, just as it is in most languages. When Paul writes out "I," it is for emphasis. And what is the only place Paul uses "I"? When he says, "I am fleshly sarkinos." It is as if he is saying, "The law, not that is spiritual, but me, I'm fleshly!" That becomes the basis for explanation of the trouble that he faces daily as a Christian plagued with sin.It is not that "I" do not understand what "I" am doing; "I" don't even know what "I" am doing. In "my" striving to fulfill the law "I" am completely oblivious to the fact that "I" am failing to do what "I" in fact want to do, which is to fulfill the law by coming to faith in Christ. "I" end up doing what "I" hate without even realizing it. "I" am not misinformed; "I" am blind.
Anyway, Paul certainly considered himself "spiritual" and thus "mature." He certainly considered "fleshly" Christians as immature. But the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. Words have ranges of meanings, and there is no reason to assume that sarkinos is a technical, theological expression of immature. Basically, if Brooks is right, the Paul--and no mature believer, for that matter, would have no struggle with sin. But that is contradicted everywhere by Scripture. Take Gal. 6:1-5, for instance. There, Paul tells mature believers to help the fallen believer get back on track, but he warns these same mature believers to watch themselves, lest they fall into sin themselves. If, though, mature believers didn't struggle with sin, such a warning would be superfluous and actually a slap at the Holy Spirit. And what about Peter? Paul rebuked him publically for his association with the Judaizers. Was he not a mature believer?
So, again, while the case is well built, I think the linguistic foundation it is laid on is shaky. There are too many assumptions that cannot be made. There simply seems to be no reason not to take this at face value - Paul struggled with sin, but praise be to God, someday Christ would free him of that. That is the perfect bridge for chapters six and eight, and it deals with the issues the Romans would have been facing at the time.
I missed your comments. I absolutely agree with what you've said - I just wasn't nearly as concise as you in my explanation. Good deal, and welcome to the boards!