A special thanks to Jay Street for all the hard study that led to this video!
This video was adapted from his 6-part podcast series on Romans 7:7 - 8:4.
Check out this series on Bible Crux as well as all his other good content!
If you would like to study this issue from a more technical point of view, you can read Jay Street's article for the Master's Seminary Journal.
A special thanks to Sam Yang for making the intro music!
Check out his YouTube channel, Jungi Geetah!
"Getting Ready" by Sam Yang
WallDeca: Dry-Erase Thick Fine Line Markers
INTRODUCTION: THE QUESTION WE FACE AND THE APPROACH WE'LL TAKE
It’s hard to find a more complicated, controversial passage of the Bible in evangelical Christianity than Romans 7, especially verses 14–25. This is the chapter where the Apostle Paul describes what looks like a personal, intense back-and-forth struggle with sin. To some, he sounds like a backsliding Christian: It’s the darkest moment after conversion every believer can face. To others, he sounds like an unbeliever, because surely no Christian can struggle with sin as mightily as Paul does in Romans 7 while being saved.
But not only is Romans 7 challenging to understand; for many, it is deeply personal. This is especially true for those who believe that Paul is speaking as a Christian, because Paul’s struggle can sound a lot like our daily struggle with sin. It is both conflicting and frustrating. And so, it is a passage that is often viewed as a refuge of comfort for the sin-burdened soul. A Christian may reason, “If Paul struggled so strongly with sin, then I know that my struggle with sin is not so unusual.”
But, in order to come to an accurate and full understanding of Romans 7, we need to put aside our emotional biases toward the text. Let me be clear: I’m not saying that a Christian does not struggle with sin. Galatians 5:16–26, Ephesians 6:10–20, and 2 Peter 1:3–11 all remind us that we battle daily with the flesh. But we also have to account for the fact that, outside of Romans 7, never has any biblical writer expressed such a defeating and hopeless condition when characterizing the Christian’s battle with sin.
So, the question we face is whether Paul is talking about a Christian experience in Romans 7 or not. This is what we are going to address in this article. I have chosen to break this subject up into 10 parts, because there are a lot of topics to cover. In the next 8 parts, I will ask 8 key questions about Romans 7 that will help us understand some of the toughest and most important issues about the passage. At the end, in Part 10, we will be able to answer the ultimate question: Is Romans 7 about a Christian struggling with sin? There, I will also conclude with several implications and applications about what we’ve learned from Romans 7.