Bits and Pieces of My Thesis—Introduction

In this new series of posts I would like to write about some of my work I have done in order to fulfill the requirement of the M.A. New Testament at Trinity International University (Deerfield, USA)—my thesis. The title of this thesis is:

Love is the fulfillment of the Law”—Towards an Understanding of Paul’s Use of Torah for His Paraklesis in the New Testament Church: A Study on Romans 13:8-10

Here the abstract of the thesis:

The topic of Paul and the Law is a tremendously significant study as it shows the relationship of the New Testament (NT) believer to Torah. In this work we will pay specific attention to ethical admonitions in order to see the relationship of Paul and the Law in a non-soteriological pericope—i.e., Romans 13:8-10.

It is of special interest to observe both positive and negative statements which the apostle to the Gentiles makes in regard to the Law and how we are to understand these statements in relation to his ethical construction. That is, why can Paul claim on the one hand that we are not “under the Law” (or that we have been set free from the Law) and yet exhort the NT believer to behave a certain way “because the Law says so”? As my focal point is Rom 13:8-10, specific attention will be paid to the role and meaning of the Law in Romans (e.g. its salvation-historical significance) and its importance in Paul’s moral reasoning. My purpose is to investigate Rom 13:8-10 to show Paul’s view of Torah and its continuing validity for the NT believer. Further, I will clarify Paul’s “contradictory” statements about the Law and solve the question: “Why does Paul use Torah in his paraklesis if he tells the believer that she is free from the Law?” This can be answered in two ways. One, Paul sees that “love fulfills the law” and a second, he does so, because he sees a continuing validity of Torah in the believer’s life—not as law (or regulation) but as instruction.

These posts as well as the thesis is dedicated to my precious wife Daniela; without your support and prayer the last six years of studying in a foreign country would not have been possible.

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