Debate over the purpose of Paul's letter to the Romans constitutes one of the most lively areas of discussion in Pauline studies. This book argues that Paul seeks to defend himself against criticisms of his gospel by shaping a community of God's obedient, eschatological people in Rome. Such a community embraces God's eschatological will for a people drawn from all nations united in praise of God. They are therefore obedient when they "receive one another" across ethnic lines "just as Christ Jesus received you" (15:7). Such a united people provides Paul with his best defense precisely at the place where the Roman believers are vulnerable: at natural points of tension over the observance or non-observance of the Mosaic Law.
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