Problematic Pauline Passages: Romans 1:18–32


In this Sunday’s message (Feb. 11, 2024), Brother Dave addresses one of Paul’s problematic passages, Romans 1:18–32, concluding that it contains some theologically and ethically problematic content, but Paul’s purpose is not to endorse that content but to lampoon it by, first, ironically putting it into the mouth of an imaginary interlocutor (speech-in-character) and, second, attacking his interlocutor directly (diatribe) in the verses that immediately follow (Rom. 2:1–4). We are not called to affirm the details of Romans 1:18–32 but to see how Paul is setting up an argument against arrogantly judging and condemning others and thereby refusing to appreciate God’s wonderful kindness, tolerance, and patience shown toward all people, including those who are self-righteous.

Les Bridgeman, “Ancient Rhetoric in Romans 1:18–3:20?” Bible Bridge (blog post)

Beverly Gaventa, When in Romans: An Invitation to Linger with the Gospel according to Paul (book)

Aidan Kimel, “Ruminating Romans: Was Paul a Diatribalist?” Eclectic Orthodoxy (blog post)


Matthew Thiessen, A Jewish Paul: The Messiah’s Herald to the Gentiles (book)