|St. Paul writing in prison by Rembrandt
I have a copy of this in my office
I uttered a sentence I never thought would come forth from my mouth today, “I’m going to Bible Study; St. Paul will make me happy.” And you know what, I was happy. There are twenty-four people in the class and we are studying Romans. Last week they wanted to revolt, this week “I finally understood” at chapter six. I will say this, as a quasi feminist ( maybe but then again maybe not), St. Paul has not been a favorite of mine. But as I read and study it all makes so much sense. A few things to point out, Paul had a group of people he worked in ministry with, many of whom were women. His style of writing, diatribe, can be difficult and off-putting. It is as if he is yelling at you! However, this was a common style used at that time.
Paul certainly speaks for me when he writes “What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15).
I am learning over and over that grace is necessary to overcome sin and to call upon God and ask for the grace to be whom he calls us to be. He wants to give it to us. Sin has been discussed frequently in chapters one to seven, along with our fallen nature and inclination to sin. This has led me to a new favorite word, concupiscence.
We are using The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible series. I also use The Writings of the New Testament by Luke Timothy Johnson, The New Testament by Stephen Harris and Seven Pauline Letters by Peter F. Ellis to give more information to the class.
If you have a chance, study some of St. Paul. You will gain a new appreciation for him and a better understanding of scripture.