five of these instances the pronoun is used to refer to the person speaking or writing. In 11:19and 3:7 Paul uses the pronoun rhetorically and the context of each one makes it clear that this isthe case.
The other five times that Paul uses
he is making a clear personal reference tohimself.
Outside of Romans Paul uses
84 times and of those 84 Paul uses it to refer tohimself 77 times.
The contexts of the other seven make it clear that Paul is not the subject.
Theevidence weights heavily in favor of understanding
in chapter 7, as a personal reference toPaul. There is nothing in 7:13-25 or even in all of Paul’s epistles that would allow an interpreter to make
refer to anyone but Paul.Starting in verse 14 Paul begins to use the present tense and uses it for the rest of thechapter.
Some commentators see Paul switching to the present for emphasis and argue that the present should be understood as a sort of historical present. Generally those who argue this alsoargue that Paul is speaking of his time as a Jew that is as a non-Christian.
The other main viewis to take the present tense as a typical present tense and that Paul is describing his currentsituation as a Christian. As Daniel Wallace points out, the use of the first person pronoun alongwith the present tense mitigates against this being the use of the historical present.
Not onlydoes the syntax itself not allow for the present tense to be taken as a historical present, there isalso no indication anywhere in the context that Paul is using the historical present. The
See Middendorf, 150 for a more detailed argument of taking these rhetorically.
9:3; 11:1; 11:13; 15:14; 16:3-4. See Middendorf, 151.
I Cor. 1:12; 3:4; 2 Cor. 6:17.
This will be a very brief overview and only cover two of the more prominent views.
See for example Douglas J. Moo,
NICNT: The Epistle to the Romans,
(Grand Rapids: William B. EerdmansPublishing Company, 1996), 447-448. However, Thomas R. Schreiner,
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Romans
(Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998), 390ff, actually argues Paul is applying this to both non-Christians and Christians .
Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics,
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 531. Also see Cranfied, 344ff. Thehistorical present only occurs in the third person (singular and plural) in the NT (Wallace 528).