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A Paper Presented to Dr. Daniel B. Wallace Dallas Theological Seminary


In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course NT105 Exegesis of Romans


by Richard Bradley Morris November 2012 Box #1024

PAULS THEOLOGY OF ASSOCIATION Introduction As one reads through Romans in the Greek New Testament, she notices the rich theological concepts the apostle Paul conveyed to a group of believers he had never met (Rom 1.10-13). Is it by coincidence or by design that su,n- words (words that are prefixed with the preposition su,n) are heavily concentrated at three particular places within the epistle? The purpose of this paper is to examine each cluster of the with language of Romans 6, 8 and 16. In order to accomplish this task the paper has been divided into four sections. The first three sections examine the various su,n- words of Romans 6, 8, and 16. The fourth section provides some ethical implications for Pauls understanding of Christian association with God and with other believers. Throughout this paper we will see the doctrines of justification, salvation, and sanctification in dialogue with one another since these are all present within the Pauline concept of with Christ. Section One: Forensic and Organic in Chapter 6 The first time we encounter a heavy concentration of su,n- prefixed words is in Romans 6.48. These verses sit comfortably within Pauls central idea in vv. 1-11namely, the reason believers should live their new life apart from sins power is because they have a thoroughgoing understanding of their union with Christs death and resurrected life. We will first expound Pauls central idea by examining how Paul unfolds his argument within vv. 1-11. We will then narrow in on the su,n- language in vv. 4-8. Finally, we will consider the theological implications of believers union with Christ. The central idea of vv. 1-11 unfolds in four careful steps. First, Paul poses four rapid-fire rhetorical questions in vv. 1-3. These questions are Pauls pedagogical way of uncovering the moral

obligation the Christian has to live a new life apart from sin.1 These questions culminate in the imagery of baptism where a persons union to Christs death and resurrection are symbolically apparent. 2 Second, Paul then infers from baptism the believers identification with Christs death and appropriation of Christs raised-life in v. 4.3 Third, Paul asserts that the condition upon which the believers new life depends is the believers identification with Christs death in vv. 5-10.4 Fourth, Paul concludes with a command which calls for believers to consider themselves as simultaneously dead to the power of sin and alive for service to God in v. 11. As we have demonstrated above, Pauls argument in these eleven verses is easy to follow. It can be further reduced to three simple phrases: we died to sin; we died with Christ; Christ died to sin (Moo, 354 fn. 12). It is at the middle point in his argumentwe died with Christthat Paul used five su,n- words in order to express believers union to Christ. We will direct our attention to these words presently. The five su,n- words Paul used are: sunqa,ptw (buried with in v. 4); su,mfutoj (grown together with or united with in v. 5); sustauro,w (co-crucified in v. 6); the preposition su,n (with Christ in v. 8); and suza,w (living with in v. 8). None of these words are coined by Paul and yet all of these words create vivid and theologically rich imagery for the minds eye. 5 What images may come to mind as one reads, We were buried with him? Or, what might a person imagine when she learns that

The verb evpime,nwmen in v. 1 is a deliberative subjunctive (ExSyn, 467). The deliberative subjunctive often carries with it a sense of ought-ness. Also, Pauls purpose at this point is pedagogical and not polemical (Moo, 356). We understand the referent for baptism in vv. 3-4 to be the ritual of baptism with all its adjunct theological meaningnamely, the justification experience (Cranfield, 1.299 fn. 1; Moo). Two other popular opinions are as follows: (1) Paul refers exclusively to the Christian ritual/event of water baptism (Beasley-Murray, Baptism, 128ff); (2) Paul refers exclusively to the spiritual and mystical union a believer has with Christ (Dunn, Baptism 2010, 140ff).
2 3

For the inferential function of ou=n see BDAG, s.v. 1.

Paul used two first class conditions, one at v. 5 and one at v. 8. The internal argument of vv. 5-7 is that the believer died with Christ. The internal argument of vv. 8-10 is that Christ died to sin. It is therefore only logical that believers have also died to sin (v. 2).

Brendan McGrath, Syn Words in Saint Paul, Catholic Biblical Quarterly 14, n. 3(1952): 225.

she and other believers have been grown together into the death and resurrection of Christ (cf. BDAG, s.v. su,mfutoj)? The five su,n- words in vv. 4-8 put believers in union with the historical event of Christs death and resurrection in an unparalleled manner. At every juncture, from the crucifixion to the resurrection, the believer joins Christ in Christs passion. Perhaps one of the greatest difficulties in determining the theological significance of the with language of chapter six is Pauls conflation of forensic righteousness and organic connectivity. On the one hand, Paul can conclude the believer was crucified with, died with, was buried with, and will ultimately live with Christ because the believer is so closely associated by God with the person of Jesus Christ. Put differently: present within these verses is the reality that God saves people by associating them with the work of his Son (forensic righteousness).6 On the other hand, the salvation event becomes the paradigm and place of enablement where believers begin to appropriate the benefits of Christs passion for their daily walk (v. 4c). We would therefore be nave to forsake scholars who see the believers mystical participation in Christs death and life also present in these verses (Dunn, Moo; cf. TDNT 7:781-94). Therefore, identification and participation, justification and organic connection walk hand in hand with Pauls word choice in vv. 4-8.7 As a result of our foregoing reflection on 6.4-8, we believe the su,n- language summarizes the unfelt Christian experience. Paul invited the Roman believers to cognitively grasp the reality of who they were in 6.11. It appears that it is possible for the Christian to fall out of consciousness concerning who she is as one associated with the death and life of Christ. Thus the Christian does not always feel her justification or connection to Christ. Nevertheless, it is within the context of with Christ that believers move from becoming identified with the death and life of Christ at the point of their justification, to becoming participants in the death and life of Christ for their sanctification.
6 Terrence Callan, Dying and Rising with Christ: The Theology of Paul the Apostle (New York: Paulist Press, 207), 91-98. Callan explains that a believers union with Christ is the means of salvation. One wonders if this is merely an update or reworking of Robert Tannehills Dying and Rising with Christ: A Study in Pauline Theology (Berlin: Verlag Alfred Topelmann, 1967). 7 Daniel B. Wallace, Romans 6.1-14, unpublished class notes for NT 105 (Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall Semester, 2012), 6.

Section Two: The Organic Emerges in Chapter 8 The second cluster of su,n-prefixed is in Romans 8. This chapter highlights the work of the Holy Spirit and this is evidenced by Pauls use of pneu/ma (spirit) twenty-one times.8 Similar to the first section, we will begin with an overview of chapter eight. We will then examine the list of su,nprefixed words concentrated in vv. 17-29. After examining these words, we will consider how Romans 8 contributes to the su,n- words of Romans 6. Romans 8 divides neatly into four sections signaled by conjunctions: (1) in 8.1 the inferential conjunction a;ra (so) closes down the previous discussion in Rom 7 and introduces the Holy Spiritand not the Lawas the one who brings life to believers (vv. 1-11); (2) in 8.12 the conjunctions a;ra ou=n (so then BDAG s.v. a;ra 2.b) infer from vv. 1-11 and transition to the discussion of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of adoptionthe believers security of her paternal relationship to the Father and her organic connection to the Son (vv. 12-17); (3) in 8.17 the coordinating conjunction ga,r (for) begins Pauls explanation of the believers state before glorification and the Spirits role in the already but not yet (vv. 18-30); (4) in 8.31 the conjunction ou=n, which is sandwiched within the first of several rhetorical questions, transitions into the hymn of assurance (vv. 31-39).9 Three of the eight su,n-prefixed words we wish to examine appear in 8.17. In v. 16 we learn that the Spirit bears witness to the reality that believers are children of God. 10 This reality becomes the grounds for the conclusion that believers are co-heirs with Christ (sugklhrono,moi Cristou/; see ExSyn, 683). To be a sugklhrono,moj (fellow heir) means that a person receives a possession together with

Two of these appearances clearly do not refer to the Holy Spirit (vv. 15a, 16b) while one is disputed (v. 10b; cp. Godet, Moo). The overview/outline of this section was greatly helped by several commentatorsnamely, Cranfield, Dunn, Godet Schreiner, Stott, and Moo.

The reader may be wondering why our examination of the co - language begins in v. 17 rather than v. 16. The preposition su,n often connotes association and accompaniment (BDAG, s.v. su,n, 1; see especially 1.b.g), yet there are times when the su,n- preposition only intensifies the root of a word without carrying the overtones of accompaniment. This is the case with summarture,w in v. 16. Please see this words treatment in Daniel B. Wallaces chapter The Witness of the Spirit in Romans 8:16: Interpretation an Implications, in Whos Afraid of the Holy Spirit? (Dallas: Biblical Studies Press, 2005), 42-44.


someone else (L-N 57.134; cf. EDNT 3:283; TDNT 7:787). While the exact nature of the inheritance is not specified here, the believer is placed right beside Christ in the eschaton what Christ receives will be the inheritance of the believer as well. But there is a condition to the inheritance ( ei;per; if indeed).11 The condition is that the believer must first suffer with (sumpa,scomen) Christ in order to be glorified with (sundoxasqw/men) Christ. In our estimation, the suffering in view in v. 17 is expounded in vv. 18-23. Thus the suffering in view is human participation in the wearied waiting of the whole world for Gods complete redemption and restoration (Moo). To endure this with the help of the Spirit results in the believers eschatological participation in Christs divine glory ( TDNT 2:250). The next four su,n-prefixed words inform what happens in the meantime between salvation and glorification; a brief survey will be sufficient. (1-2) Paul wrote that the whole created order both sustena,zw (sighs together) and sunwdi,nw (suffers agony together) in v. 22. The two verbs probably form a hendiadys. And the force of the su,n-preposition on both refers to the entirety of creation groaning with itself rather than suggesting that creation sighs and suffers with the believer association with humans is not in view (EDNT 3:311, 313). (3) In v. 26 we learn that the same Spirit who confirms believers status as children of God also helps believers by joining believers in the activity of prayer to the Father (sunantilamba,nomai; joining with to help, L-N 35.5). In the already but not yet the believer is still vulnerable to human weaknesses and she needs help with even the most basic of spiritual disciplines. (4) Finally, in v. 28 we learn that all things work (sunergei/) for the benefit of the believer.12 The final word we will look at in this section is su,mmorfoj (conformity or similar in likeness) in v. 29. It is clear here as in other places we have examined: the believer is inseparably united to the Son of God and will be like the Son in some form in the eschaton. The careful
11 Paul is not communicating that there is a possibility a believer will not be a co-heir with Christ in the eschaton. Both the hymn of assurance in vv. 31-39 and the fact that it is the Spirits responsibility to confirm the believers adoption (v. 16) guarantee the believer will become a co-heir. Moo calls it the eschatological reservation (505): the believer has a certain standing before God but that standing is yet to be fully realized. 12 Once again, the associative force may not be present in the prepositional prefix. For this and other details concerning how to understand this verse, please see Moo, 528ff.

demonstrated by the repetition of the relative pronoun and demonstrative pronoun in v. 30 transition from predestination to glorification cause us to see the conformity of v. 29 as conformity to the Son in the Sons resurrected glory; thus harkening back to v. 17. Not to mention that the believers groaning in v. 23 is tied to the redemption of the body. In many ways Romans 8 fills out the believers organic connection to Christ begun in Romans 6. Not only is the believer united with the death and resurrected-life of Christ (6.4-8), but she also shares in Christs inheritance (8.17d), Christs glory (8.17e), and a resurrected body similar to Christs (8.29). And while the believer waits for the coming day, she expe riences the suffering inherent to a fallen world (v. 17e), but the Spirit comes to her assistance (v. 26). Therefore, from the decree of God before the world began to the consummation of human history, in the apostles mind the believer is with Christ. Those two words encompass the totality of Christian experience (TDNT 7:792). Section Three: Organic Friendship in Chapter 16 The final cluster of su,n-prefixed words is found in Romans 16. In this section we will focus on the three words which Paul used in order to describe his companions: sunergo,j; suggenh,j; and sunaicma,lwtoj. We relied heavily upon the wider context of Pauls argument within the two sections above. In this section we will rely upon the corpus Paulinum since Paul used these terms without much explanation in Rom 16. After we examine the meaning of each word, we will deal with how Pauls theology of association extended to his work. Our first term of study is sunergo,j (fellow-worker or coworker). The plain meaning of the word is one who works together with someone else and this meaning is undisputed (see L-N; BDAG; M-M; EDNT; TDNT). The plain meaning becomes more vibrant and nuanced when one analyzes the various ways Paul modified the term throughout his letters. First, Paul used coworker of both men and womenhis task did not discriminate by gender (Rom 16.3; Phil 4.3). Second, Paul often provided the term coworker with a genitive pronoun in order to mark the persons association with himself and others (cf. ExSyn, 129-30; Rom 16.3, 9, 21; Phil 2.25, 4.3; Phlm 1, 24). Third, Paul indicated that he and his coworkers worked in the sphere of

Christ and Christs gospel (Rom 16.3, 9; 1 Thes 3.2). Fourth, the presence and work of Pauls coworkers benefited various house churches and also the apostle (2 Cor 1.24, 8.23; Col 4.11). Fifth, Paul and his coworkers belonged to God in their common task (1 Cor 3.9; see ExSyn, 130). These are just five observations among others! The apostle evidently had men and women in his life with whom he shared a common task for the gospel and a common identity in Christ, and with whom he lived in mutual dependence. The second term that we will examine is suggenh,j (relative). The noun is formed from su,n and ge,noj (TDNT 7:736). Paul used this word in order to describe Andronicus, Junia, Herodion, Lucius, Jason and Sosipater in Rom 16.7, 11, 21. It is plausible that these men and women are extended family members of Paul (Murray). However, Paul uses the same term to designate all of Israels unbelieving men and women earlier in his letter (9.3). Without any further evidence to understand these people as blood relatives of Paul, we understand them to be fellowthough believingJews (Moo, Cranfield). It is no small matter that Paul wished himself anathema from Christ for the sake of his fellow unbelieving Jews (Rom 9.3). If human salvation was found in connection to Christ (refer to Section One), then eternal damnation could be the only result of a person being removed from Christ. Paul is willing to put his salvation on the line for the sake of Israels salvation; that is how important his people were to him. The fact that Paul was joined in his work by these believing Jewish men and women likely encouraged him a great deal and kept his spirits up in the face of Jewish opposition wherever he went (e.g. Acts 18.6). Lastly, the noun sunaicma,lwtoj (fellow-captive/prisoner) is used to describe both Andronicus and Junia in Rom 16.7. It is employed twice more by Paul about Aristarchus and Epaphras in Colossians 4.10 and Philemon 23 respectively. It is likely that Paul coined the expression himself (Deissmann, Paul: A Study 1972, 240). While the gloss for sunaicma,lwtoj, fellow-prisoner or fellow prisoner of war is undisputed, the terms sense can be taken two ways. First, Paul could have in mind his companions past or present literal imprisonment in the battle for the gospel (EDNT 3:297). Or, second, Paul could have in mind a purely figurative captivity with reference to battles, persecution and

opposition of a spiritual, or even mental, kind (TDNT 1:197). Other lexical works provide only the gloss without explanation either way (BDAG; M-M; cf. L-N 37.118). An argument against the first sense (literal imprisonment) is that while Paul was in prison, he consistently referred to himself as a de,smioj (prisoner; Eph 3.1, 4.1; 2 Tim 2.18; Phlm 1, 9). Thus, if Paul wished to describe the literal imprisonment of his fellows, then he could have coined a term like sunde,smioj or sundesmw,thj (TDNT 1:197). Another argument against the first sense is that Paul used the verb aivcmalwti,zw (the verbal root of our term of study) on three occasions and on each occasion mental or moral captivity was in view (Rom 7.23; 2 Cor 10.5; 2 Tim 3.6; cf. Eph 4.8). The primary argument against the second sense (figurative captivity) is the difficulty of determining a precise referent for the term. In other words: one would have to interpret how the apostle and his friends considered themselves people in spiritual, moral or mental captivity within war-like conditions. And since Paul uses sunaicma,lwtoj of only a few individuals, one wonders how these warlike conditions differed from what all believers experienced. It is likely that neither sense should be pushed to the exclusion of the other. Therefore, Pauls past imprisonment along with the imprisonment of his gospel-friends was part and parcel of the spiritual warfare currently being waged. Furthermore, it is important to note that Paul uses sunaicma,lwtoj sparingly (only 3 times for 4 people). It does not apply to every believer it seems to apply to those of a special pedigree. Andronicus and Junia in Rom 16.7 were people who had unique experiences beside the apostle or faced similar circumstances in the continuance of the apostles ministry. Perhaps these experiences were so unique that when Paul used the term only they knew exactly what he meant. Now that we have examined sunergo,j, suggenh,j, and sunaicma,lwtoj, it is time to consider how Pauls theology of association extended to his work. We saw in the previous two sections how Paul demonstrated the intimate relationship (organic connection) that the believer has with Christ in Romans 6 and 8. The believer is so closely identified with Christ that she begins to participate in Christs passion, death, resurrection, and glorification. Therefore, the su,n- language of chapters six and eight

summarizes the totality of the Christians experience from foreknowledge to glorification in the eschaton. We believe a similar concept is present with Pauls use of su,n- words in Romans 16. In other words: these with words encompass the totality of the ministry experienced by Paul and his friends. Paul is so closely associated with these people through his work that it resulted in him seeing each person as a participant in his very life. Pauls coworkers were people enveloped in Pauls ministry. Pauls fellow Jews were people who shared the apostles ethnicity and his mission. And Pauls fellow war captives were people who had been imprisoned and who had faced opposition for Pauls message. Thus, each in their own way had become closely associated with the apostle, even to the point of sharing in the responsibility of the apostle to the gentiles. Pauls concept of association among people moves beyond modern ideas of networking, superficial acquaintanceship, and doing life together. His concept moves toward mutual self-giving in a shared cause. Section Four: Experience and the Framework for Ethics Now that we have surveyed the with language in Romans 6, 8, and 16, it is time to reflect upon the ethical implications derived from Christian association with Christ and with one another. First, we see an overarching imperative from the with language of Romans 6 and 8namely, Become now what you already are and yet will be. The Christian is intimately related to Christ and th at reality should inform her thinking, behavior and actions. And if the Christian is so closely related to Christ, then the Christian has no room for a relationship with the power of sin. And if the Christian eagerly awaits her glorification with Christ, resurrected body like Christs, and her inheritance with Christ, this too will inform her appetites and reasoning by elongating them toward the eschaton. Second, we also see an overarching affirmation of perseverance from the with language from Romans 8. There is a significant part of the Christian experience yet to be experienced a vast majority of the believers organic connection to Christ is unfelt (justification and glorification). But at this place where one recognizes that her identification with Christ does not yet match her experience, there is help from the Spirit, unseen hope, and eager anticipation.

Third and finally, we also see from the with language of Romans 16 the sort of friendships possible before the end of the age. The driven apostle had close friends. His close friends were those people who believed in his cause for Christs gospel to the gentiles. There are certainly other ways that a believer can make a friend, but the kind of participation and close association like Paul had with Andronicus and Junia seem to be reserved to those who participate in gospel ministry together. Conclusion In this paper we have examined the clusters of su,n- words within Romans 6, 8 and 16. We saw in Romans 6 how the with language summarized the believers unfelt but very real association with Jesus Christ. We saw in Romans 8 how the with language captures the entirety of the Christian experience from the believers predestination to her glorification at the end of time. We saw in Romans 16 that the with language captured believers close relationship to one another in the work of the gospel. All in all, the su,n- words for the apostle represent partially how a person is saved but also the organic connection that the believer has with Jesus Christ and other believers after salvation. In the fourth section of the paper we briefly analyzed how these organic connections could inform and condition the believers whole person (sanctification). There is certainly more work that can be done on this topic. Specifically, it might be helpful to see whether other prepositional phrases (e.g. in Christ) share conceptual overlap with with Christ. This paper represents one attempt at trying to synthesize Pauls understanding of Christian associations with God and fellow believers.

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