…the good announcement from God, which he promised beforehand through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was made from the seed of David according to his physical lineage (τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα), who was appointed Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness from the resurrection of the dead, Jesus the Messiah, our Lord
The introductory poem of Romans 1 has always been one of my favourite passages out of all of Scripture. For not only does it tie in God’s faithfulness to his own word in sacred Scripture, but moreover it paints a lovely image of the dual birth of Paul’s Messiah Jesus. First, born from his human father and one from his heavenly Father through his resurrection; one from the womb of man, and one from the womb of the grave. Thus, Christ is indeed of Israel (Romans 9:5) but only in regards to one of his births. In regards to his second birth through the Spirit, he has become as much that of the Gentiles who have now share the same Spirit. A notion worth pondering.
As I was preparing a post on the topic of Resurrection-Christology for another blog of mine, I noticed a few interesting links between Romans 1:3-4 and 2 Samuel 7 that I never noticed before.
And it shall be whenever your days are fulfilled and you sleep with your fathers, and I will raise up (ἀναστήσω) your seed after you, who will be from out of your own body (ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας σου); and I will prepare his kingdom; he will build me a house in my name and I will restore his throne unto everlasting. I, I will be a Father to him, and he will be a Son to me. (2 Samuels/Basileion B, 7:12-14; my translation)
Note that both texts speak of David, and emphasize that the coming ruler will be of Davids own physical seed (literary, out of his own womb in 2 Samuels 7). But also, observe that it is the resurrected Jesus that is enthroned as the Son of God in power, and thus paralleling that God’s promise to David concerning his seed, will come about after God has raised it up. Then will God be a father to Davids seed, and the seed a son to God.
A pre-existent echo of Romans 1:3-4 one might say… depending upon one’s point of view. 😉 Could this be one of the main texts (along with Psalm 2) that Paul had in the back of his mind, when referring to the Gospel promised before hand through the prophets?
From the past, to the time after Romans has been written, turning our focus towards Ignatius of Antioch and his letter to the Smyrnaeans.
I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who in this way made us wise, for I understand you to having been made complete in an immovable faith, just as you having been nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in both flesh and in spirit, and having been established in love by the blood of Christ, having become convinced towards our Lord, who truly being from family of David according to his physical lineage (εκ γενους Δαυιδ κατα σαρκα), Son of God according to will and power, having truly been born out of the virgin, having been baptised by John so that all righteousness be fulfilled by him, truly having been nailed for us in the flesh during the time of Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, from whose fruit we are, from his godly blessed suffering, so that he might raise a sign unto the ages through his resurrection (δια της αναστασεως) unto his holy and faithful ones, whether among Jews, or whether among Gentiles in one body, namely his church. (To the Smyrnaeans 1; my translation)
Ignatius at other places in his corpus betrays his knowledge of (some) Paul’s epistles. Clearly, there are echoes of Romans 1 to be heard, expanded with language from Matthew’s gospels and perhaps even Colossians 1-2.
It is a marvellous thing to see this find traces of Paul’s thinking, and to see how then Paul’s own thoughts are uttered and reshaped once more in new contexts 50 – 60 years later.