Page 3 of 17circumstance, where Isaiah cries, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”
Specifically,how should a man act in regards to the various authority figures, which he encounters in hisindividual life’s circumstances? Is Paul’s admonition imperative? Is it an absolute requirementalong the lines of, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved”
Or, are there any distinctcircumstances where Paul’s admonitions might not apply? This paper will address thesequestions through a contextual and historical analysis of Paul’s narrative.
Historical & Cultural BackgroundTime Period
Scholars place the writing of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans easily within the first thirtyyears of the early church’s development. The most common time frame for reference would be ator about A.D. 57. Biblical authors, along with Paul, never actually provide dates for any eventsthey record, but they often refer to historical situations and personalities that appear within thecultural context of their narratives. Scholars use this data to weave the various timeframereferences that are found in the New Testament literature with external written andarchaeological material. Most New Testament timeframes are conversational references (“theyspent considerable time”, “after some days”)
verses precise and rigorous time references that themodern historian would prefer. However, there are occasional elements (“a year in Antioch”,“three months in Greece”, “two years in Rome”)
that provide considerable help in creatingreasonable estimates for the travels and writings of any given author. In this regard, “By far the
cf. Isaiah 5:20 (NIV). Quotations designated (NIV) are from the Holy Bible, New International Version,Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
cf. Acts 16:31 (NET). Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible®copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. www.bible.org. All rights reserved.
cf. Acts 14:3; Acts 14:28; Acts 15:36
cf. Acts 11:26; Acts 20:3; Acts 28:30