62RAMIFY: The Journal of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal ArtsChrist’s Obedient Slave:Paul’s use of Ethos inRomans 1:1–17Jared R. BrownFlannery O’Connor observes that “[t]he Judeao-Christian tradition hasformed us in the west; we are bound to it by ties which may often beinvisible, but which are there nevertheless.”1 St. Paul the Apostle is one ofthe great architects of this Judeo-Christian tradition, and by extension ofthe Western world, though he may not have set out to achieve this status.His influence has impacted so many realms of the West that many of “theinvisible bindings” we may sense are directly tied to the very words hewrote. One of his most important letters (perhaps the most important)is his letter to the Romans, which moved the hearts of such men as St.Augustine and Martin Luther. Paul understood that a rhetor is most ableto persuade when his audience trusts him; thus, Paul used the rhetoricalmeans of ethos in order to bring about his desired aims in writing his letterto the Romans.Rhetorical criticism provides a beneficial route for understandingPaul’s use of ethos. Paul writes Romans in order to establish a relationshipwith the members of the Roman church and to gain their trust throughestablishing his ethos. Paul establishes his ethos under the title of apostle,which is an ambassadorial ethos2 of both authority and humility; since hiscall to be an apostle comes from Christ, he has both authority and humilityin Christ. Paul also demonstrates the orthodoxy of his gospel throughestablishing its ethos, which entails the ethos of both God the Father andJesus. Furthermore, Paul confirms the ethos of the Roman church. His useof ethos will prove advantageous when he attempts to unify the Romanchurch, to prepare the way for his visit, and to ask for their aid in sendinghim to Spain. Paul does so by inventing (in the rhetorical sense) the phrase“the obedience of faith.” This paper will demonstrate Paul’s use of ethosfirst by giving a brief overview of ethos, second by outlining the rhetorical12O’Connor, Mystery and Manners, 155.Jewett, Romans, 101.
Christ’s Obedient Slave : BROWN63situation of the letter, third by discussing the rhetoric of obedience, andfourth by covering Paul’s three uses of ethos—his own, his gospel’s, andhis audience’s.EthosAristotle defines ethos as “the character of the speaker,”3 and he states that“character . . . is the most authoritative form of persuasion”.4 Moreover,Aristotle states that since it is the audience’s job to make judgments, therhetor not only is supposed to have persuasive arguments (logos), butalso, his duty is “to construct a view of himself as a certain kind of personand to prepare the judge” (2.1.2). In Rhetorica ad Herennium, the authorgives the following advice in regards to ethos and pathos:From the discussion of our own person we shall secure goodwill bypraising our services without arrogance and revealing also our pastconduct . . . likewise by setting forth our disabilities, need, loneliness,and misfortune, and pleading for our hearers’ aid, and at the same timeshowing that we have been unwilling to place our hope in anyone else.From the discussion of the person of our adversaries we shall securegoodwill by bringing them into hatred, unpopularity, or contempt.(I.v.8)Thus, the rhetor’s task is to first establish his own good intellectual andmoral ethos, and he may also seek to prove that his opponent has aquestionable ethos. In fact, the “winning of sympathy should run throughthe whole argument, but is especially important in the exordium (prooimion)and the peroratio (epilogos).”5 Paul’s aim of winning sympathy is clearlyevident in Rom. 1:1–17, which functions as a prooimion, or introduction.The Rhetorical Situation of RomansPaul writes his letter to the Romans in order to prepare the Roman churchto judge him. The best way to explore how Paul does this is to look at therhetorical situation,6 which consists of identifying the rhetor, the audience,the subject or issue, the means, and the ends. First, Paul is the rhetor,3Aristotle, On Rhetoric, 220.127.116.11Ibid., 1.2.3–6. According to Aristotle, rhetoric is “the ability in each situation to perceivethe available means of persuasion” (1.2.1). The means of persuasion are ethos, pathos,and logos. These means of persuasion are accomplished through the task of the rhetor ininvention, arrangement, memory (added by Cicero), style, and delivery. Thus, the task ofthe rhetor is to establish that he is trustworthy (ethos), to prove his case through variousproofs (logos) that move the audience through an emotional appeal (pathos).5du Toit, “Persuasion,” 202.6I am indebted to Dr. Scott Crider of the University of Dallas for this paradigm.
64RAMIFY: The Journal of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Artsbut he is not a rhetor speaking on his own behalf. Rather, he is God’sapostle and slave. God has set Paul apart to preach the gospel, and he hasappointed Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles/nations (Gal. 1:16, 2:9;Rom. 15:15–16). Even though he did not found the Roman church (15:20),Paul believes that its members are under his jurisdiction by God’s callingupon him (1:13). Thus, according to Paul, the rhetor is God, who speaksthrough Paul.Second, the audience is the Roman church, which is in discordbetween the Gentile Christians and the Jewish Christians.7 The reason forthe discord is not specifically stated in the letter, though chapter 14 suggeststhat the Gentile Christians (“the strong”) and the Jewish Christians (“theweak”) disagree over individual conscience and purity, as evidenced inthe concerns about the appropriateness of certain foods and drinks. Paulunderstands that it is his duty as the apostle to the Gentiles to re-unite thefeuding sects within the church, and he also desires to seek their supportfor his mission to Spain.Yet Paul is most likely known to them in a negative light. Ambrosiaster,who writes a commentary on Romans around 375 AD, states that “theRoman church received the faith although with a Jewish bent.”8 Thiscomment identifies that the Roman church was probably first started bymissionaries from Jerusalem. If this is the case, then the church in Romealmost certainly would have had strong communication with the churchin Jerusalem and may even have been warned about a certain apostlepreaching a “law-free” gospel in Galatia. Thus, Paul would need to bediplomatic and subtle in his letter to the Romans if he was to gain theirsupport. Paul could only achieve this by correcting their misconceptionabout him, and his most promising approach for accomplishing this is byestablishing his ethos.Third, the subject—or issue—is two-fold. The first issue is7The occasion of the letter has been a hotly debated topic. Karl Donfried, in “FalsePresuppositions in the Study of Romans,” divides the scholarship into two groups. Thefirst group, following Wiefel, assumes that the occasion of the letter arises from the conflictbetween Jewish Christians (the weak) and the Gentile Christians (the strong), which is dueto the lifting of Claudius’s edict to expel the Jews in AD 49. Claudius’s death in AD 54canceled the edict allowing Jews to re-enter Rome. When the Jewish Christians re-enteredRome, the Gentile Christians had established the church in at least one of their homes. Sincethe Synagogues were closed in AD 49, Jewish Christians had few, if any, options for worship.The second group assumes that the occasion is “non-historical,” meaning that Paul hadno real knowledge of the historical situation of the Roman church, but that he was merelywriting his letter to address multiple congregations. This second group interprets chapter14 in light of 2 Cor. 8–10, which may be an integral part of Paul’s gospel, or posits thatPaul is still thinking about the situation in Corinth and is simply rehashing his statement.8Quoted in Brown, An Introduction, 562.
Christ’s Obedient Slave : BROWN65socio-ecclesial. Paul exhorts the church to unity (15:7),9 and he preparesthe church to receive him with the aim of sending him off to preach inSpain (15:23–32). The second issue is theological. Paul instructs theRoman church by explicating the dialectic between God’s righteousness(God’s own ethos), as revealed in the gospel and displayed in Christ’sfaithfulness (Christ’s ethos),10 and the church’s responsibility to faithfulobedience through the rubric of “the obedience of faith” (the audience’sethos) (1:5, 16:26). The phrase “obedience of faith” will be discussed indetail below.Fourth, the means that Paul uses is a letter of introduction in whichhe aims to establish both his ethos and that of his gospel. There have beenmany attempts to identify further the letter type of Romans in light ofGreco-Roman epistolography, and there are three groups that bear themost fruit. The first group, represented by Stanley Stowers and DavidAune, understands the form and function of Romans as a protreptic letter.11Stowers notes that the major functions of a protreptic letter are “to convertto a way of life, join a school, or accept a set of teachings as normativefor the reader’s life.”12 Moreover, some Christians wrote “longerprotreptic letters that not only exhort their audience to the life which theyadvocate, but also introduce them to their teachings and beliefs in a morecomprehensive way.”13 Finally, an author of a protreptic letter might alsoattempt to persuade the audience away from other teachings or refute hisopponents.The second group identifies Romans as a “letter-essay.”14 There arethree major characteristics that distinguish a letter as a “letter-essay.”First, the letter functions as a supplement, or even an abbreviated form,of the author’s instruction. Second, it has the intention of instructingthe audience. Third, the letter has a public character that sets up atriangular relationship among the author, the receiver, and the extendedpublic audience.The third group argues that Romans is best understood as an“ambassadorial letter.”15 The major characteristic of the ambassadorial9See Miller, Obedience of Faith, 61–95.10 Rom. 3:21–26, 5:12–21. See Johnson, “Rom 3:21–26,” 87–90.11 Stowers, Letter Writing, 113; Aune, “Romans as a Logos Protreptikos,” 278–296.12 Stowers, Letter Writing, 113.13 Ibid., 113.14 See Stirewalt, Paul; Fitzmyer, Romans; Donfried, “False Presuppositions,” 102–127.15 Jewett, “Romans as an Ambassadorial Letter,” 5–20; Jewett, “Following the Argumentof Romans,” 265–277; Jewett, Romans. For criticism on this classification see Weddenburn,The Reason, 10; Witherington and Hyatt, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 19–20; and Witherington,New Testament Rhetoric, 14–15.
66RAMIFY: The Journal of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Artsletter is that its “aim is to reinforce some aspect of the ethos of theaudience.”16 (One example of an ambassadorial letter that Jewett gives isof Alexandria’s Embassy to Gaius.17)Romans seems best to fit the description of a protreptic letter, yet withambassadorial undertones. M. Luther Stirewalt, who identifies Romans asa letter-essay, argues that one dissimilarity between Romans and the letteressay is that Paul writes “in a more rhetorically conceived and stylizedmanner than the letter-essayists wrote.”18 One example of this is Paul’s useof diatribe, which helps identify it as a protreptic letter. The diatribe wasan effective rhetorical tool that authors, especially letter writers in the firstcentury, could use both to persuade and to dissuade.19 The diatribe stemsfrom the rhetorical genre of dialogical argumentation, and it is a figure ofthought belonging to invention. The author uses diatribe by setting up a“fake” opponent in order to have a “pseudo-conversation,” whereby theauthor raises and refutes the objections to his argument.20 Most Paulinescholars, if not all, recognize that Paul is employing diatribe throughoutRomans 1–11.21In regard to the ambassadorial undertone, there are a number ofexamples within Paul’s own letters that demonstrate that he had someconception of being an ambassador for Christ. This is most clearly seen in2 Corinthians 5:20, where Paul legitimizes his apostolic calling and officeby stating, “[W]e are ambassadors for Christ.” Moreover, Jewett arguesthat the title of “Apostle” has ambassadorial undertones, a point of viewsupported by Paul’s sense of vocation as the Apostle to the Gentiles.22Paul’s ethos as an ambassador of God is thus established by his obedienceof faith in carrying out this calling, which is also established by hisobedience to God’s will (1:10).The final element of the rhetorical situation is Paul’s ends. Paulwrites a protreptic letter introducing himself in order to unify the JewishChristian and Gentile Christian groups and to correct any misconceptions16 Jewett, “Following the Argument of Romans,” 266.17 Jewett, “Romans as an Ambassadorial Letter,” 9.18 Stirewalt, Paul, 108.19 Stowers, Letter Writing, 113–114.20 Aune, “Diatribe,” 127–129.21 See Stowers, The Diatribe and Paul’s Letter to the Romans.22 Jewett, “Romans as an Ambassadorial Letter,” 10–12. This is seen in Paul’s comments inRomans 10:8–10 about the nature of faith as being a response by believing with one’s heartand confessing with one’s mouth after hearing the gospel (see Gal. 3:2, 4). The implicationis that no one would come to faith without the preaching of the gospel, and no one wouldpreach the gospel unless apostles are sent (Rom. 10:14–15). Finally, Paul’s sense of callingas a missionary of Christ to the unreached nations is to preach this message given to himby God (Gal. 1:11–12; Rom. 15:18–20).
Christ’s Obedient Slave : BROWN67that they might have about Paul or his gospel. The Gentile Christians hadestablished themselves in at least one house church, and the re-entry ofthe Jewish Christians (who wanted to hold on to what made them distinct)into Rome possibly led to divisions and to “anti-Semitic” behavior fromthe Gentile Christians. Paul attempts to unify the two groups with hisargument for the obedience of faith in that they are to accept one anotheras Christ has accepted them (15:7). He also needs to correct the arroganceof the Gentile Christians and their contempt for the Jewish Christians bydemonstrating that Gentile Christians are indebted to the Jews (Rom.9–11).Moreover, Paul intends for the church to share in “the spiritualfruits” (1:13) of gospel ministry by sending him off to Spain.23 In this way,Paul extends his ambassadorial role and priestly duty of bringing Gentilesto the obedience of faith (15:15–19). The effect that these ends will haveis the ultimate end of building up the church by instructing its memberson “the obedience of faith.” By building up the church Paul will fulfill hisduty as Apostle to the Gentiles because, as he brings more Gentiles to theobedience of faith, he will present an acceptable and sanctified offeringto God (15:16). Thus, Paul’s rhetorical aim is his need to go to Spain, andthe Roman church’s obligation as a church of the nations is to support hismission.The Rhetoric of ObediencePaul uses the phrase “the obedience of faith” to frame his letter (1:5,16:26),24 forming an inclusio,25 which gives the phrase central importance forunderstanding Paul’s rhetorical ends. There is much debate surroundingthe genitival relationship of this phrase, eivj u pakoh.n pi,stewj (“unto theobedience of faith”). There are three proposals that carry the most weight.First, faith may be understood as an adjectival genitive meaning “faith’sobedience” or “the obedience characterized by faith.”26 Second, and themajority view, is that this is a genitive of apposition, “the obedience whichconsists in faith.”27 A third option is a subjective genitive, “obedience23 Jewett, Romans, 130.24 There is much debate surrounding the Pauline authorship of the Doxology (16:25–27). Iam following those who believe it to be Pauline. See Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 936–941;Miller, The Obedience of Faith, 181–186; Longenecker, Introducing Romans, 34–38; Hurtado,“The Doxology,” 185–199.25 An inclusio is a framing device used by the author either to give great importance toa theme or to resume an argument after regressing.26 Garlington, Faith, Obedience, and Perseverance, 30.27 Cranfield, An Exegetical and Critical Commentary, I.66 no. 3; Miller, The Obedience ofFaith, 42–49.
68RAMIFY: The Journal of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Artswhich faith works,” or a genitive of source, “the obedience which springsfrom faith.”28 Paul’s phrase is ambiguous and multi-faceted. Because ofthe great importance that Paul places on the phrase in his letter, one ofthese options should not be chosen over any of the others. The phrase is“programmatic”29 and rhetorical in the sense that Paul uses it as a catchphrase for the argument of his letter. In other words, the phrase should beread with all three renderings of the genitive in mind. Douglas Moo states:[W]e understand the words “obedience” and “faith” to be mutuallyinterpreting: obedience always involves faith, and faith alwaysinvolves obedience. They should not be equated, compartmentalized,or made into separate stages of the Christian experience . . . the phrasecaptures the full dimension of Paul’s apostolic task.30The obedience that Paul seeks to win is characterized by, consists in, andsprings from faith. Through the obedience of faith one participates inChrist, and this participation is made evident by following the “law offaith,” as it is contrasted to “the works of the law” (3:27–28). The worksof the law are the sociological and theological boundary markers offirst century Judaism, such as circumcision, dietary laws, the Sabbath,the Temple, and monotheism.31 Moreover, the law of faith (3:27) is tobe observed because it appropriately reveals the righteousness of God.Therefore, it is crucial to the ethos of Paul’s gospel because the law wasalways understood to disclose the righteousness of God. Paul’s argumentis that God’s righteousness is not bound to the law, but rather, it belongsto the faithfulness of Christ. This is not to set the law against the gospel,but merely to demonstrate the eschatological function of the law in that itanticipates Christ and is fulfilled by Christ (10:4). According to Paul, thegospel does not nullify the law, but rather fulfills the law (3:31). What thelaw lacked was power, but the law of faith (3:27) has the power to savebecause of the person and work of Christ (8:1–2). Therefore, through therubric of the obedience of faith, Paul establishes the ethos of his gospelas the law of faith, which opposes the works of the law in that it is theappropriate means to righteousness, and the gospel fully reveals God’srighteousness (i.e., God’s ethos).For Paul, faith is the great equalizer because Gentiles become28 Davies, Faith and Obedience, 27–29; Nanos, The Mystery of Romans, 218–226; Jewett,Romans, 110.29 Garlington, The Obedience of Faith, 1.30 Moo, Romans, 52–53.31 See Dunn, Romans 1-8, I.lxiii–lxxii.
Christ’s Obedient Slave : BROWN69participants in the covenant community by faith in Christ. Thus, Paul isnot setting up a new legal system, but rather he understands that the futurepromise of Gentile inclusion will one day be realized as the restoration ofIsrael.32 Paul’s personal ethos and the ethos of his gospel are tied to hiseschatology because he is called by God to be the apostle to the Gentilesin order to bring them to the obedience of faith with a gospel that is God’spower to save. According to Paul, God is fulfilling his promises to restoreIsrael through the gospel, and he is doing so through Gentile inclusion onthe basis of faith in Christ. Thus, God’s own ethos is established by Paulthrough the motif of the righteousness of God, which is God’s faithfulnessto his covenantal promises. In order to demonstrate this, Paul “invents”(in the rhetorical sense) two important rhetorical paradigms.33First, Paul “invents” Abraham as a paradigm for the obedience offaith (Rom. 4) of the Gentile believer who is deemed righteous on thebasis of faith and not Torah observance (Gal. 3:17–18). Thus, Paul’s useof Abraham would be important to both Gentile and Jewish Christiansbecause both groups considered themselves to be children of Abraham.Furthermore, this rhetorical paradigm also grounds Paul’s argument inthe scriptures of the Old Testament (a “non-artistic” proof).Second, Paul “invents” Jesus as the paradigm par excellence forexhorting the Roman church to the obedience of faith, providing another“non-artistic” proof. Paul argues in Rom. 3:21–26 that God’s righteousnesshas been revealed apart from the law, though being witnessed by the lawand the prophets, through Jesus’s faithful obedience unto his death,34 andChrist’s faithful obedience is the public display of God’s righteousness(i.e., God’s ethos). Moreover, Jesus’s faithfulness is further explicated inRom. 5:12–21, when his obedience (th/j u pakoh/j) is contrasted with thedisobedience (th/j parakoh/j) of Adam (5:19).35These two paradigms are central to Paul’s argument in Romans,which is the display of God’s righteousness in Christ and humanity’sduty to respond in the obedience of faith. The audience’s responsibilityto respond in faith is twofold: first, they are to respond by putting theirfaith in Christ (3:22b),36 by which God justifies them as he did Abrahamwhen Abraham put his faith in God (4:3); second, they are to participate32 See Isa. 54:3, 55:5, 56:6–8, 60:10–14, 61:11, 62; Hos. 2:23; Zeph. 3:9–13.33 A rhetorical paradigm is “a story that provides a pattern or example to be eitherimitated or avoided” (Aune, Dictionary, 334).34 Here reading, dia. pi,stewj VIhsou/ Cristou/, as a subjective genitive. See Campbell,Rhetoric of Righteousness.35 Johnson, “Rom 3:21–26,” 85–90.36 Here "faith" is understood as both intellectual assent and trust.
70RAMIFY: The Journal of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Artsin Christ by imitating him.37 Therefore, the obedience characterized byfaith is founded upon and rooted in Jesus’s faithful obedience as oneparticipates in Christ; it is animated by the Holy Spirit (6:12, 16–17, notePaul’s rhetoric of obedience), given power in the gospel—which revealsGod’s righteousness (1:16–17) established and displayed in Christ’sfaithful obedience unto death—and finally manifested in the daily lives ofthe Roman church by being a living sacrifice (12:1) and mutual receptionof one another as Christ has received each one of them (15:7). In this wayPaul instructs the Roman church to live out the obedience of faith.Paul’s Three Uses of EthosPaul’s EthosPaul opens his letter in his typical fashion in order to identify himselfas the author and to establish his ethos. As noted above, Romans 1:1–17 functions as the prooemium,38 which introduces the author and putsthe audience in a position of goodwill towards him. It was also shownthat Paul establishes his ethos as a humble and authoritative servant ofChrist through the titles he uses to characterize himself. George Kennedyrecognizes the subtly with which Paul does this:It is interesting that he does not make an effort at the outset to establishhis personal ethos, perhaps by a narrative of his conversion. He assertsand illustrates, but does not justify his claim to be an apostle until theepilogue. This could be regarded as a subtle appeal to the Romans;they are assumed to take an ecumenical view suitable for the capitalof the world.39Paul subtly establishes his ethos by calling himself “a slave of Christ.” Aslave was the lowest and most shameful “member” of the Greco-Romansociety. By calling himself “a slave of Christ,” Paul is denoting that heis a willing servant of Christ and that he is reversing the current socialstructure characterized by honor and shame. Robert Jewett aptly notes theconnection to the obedience of faith: “Paul’s qualification of ‘obedience’by ‘faith’ removes the stigma of slavishness and inserts a large measureof honor, because the gospel to which one has freely responded in faithcenters in the grace of God offered to the formerly shamed through37 Furnish states, “For it is precisely the obedience character of faith which makes itthe means of the believer’s participation in Christ’s death and resurrection” (Theology andEthics, 184–185). See also Hay, “Paul’s Understanding of Faith,” 52–57.38 See Aristotle, Art of Rhetoric, 3.14.39 Kennedy, New Testament Interpretation, 152–153. See also du Toit, “Persuasion,” 204–206.
Christ’s Obedient Slave : BROWN71Christ’s death and resurrection in their behalf.”40 Thus, for Paul, humilityin submission to Christ restores the honor intended for the imago Dei.Roman culture was principally structured on patron-clientrelationships. Caesar was the principal patron of the empire, and everycitizen was a client. The patron would do “favors” for a client that wouldindebt the client to the patron, whereby the client would give honor to thepatron for his benevolence. Moreover, different levels of honor were alsobestowed upon clients who had elite patrons because this relationshipconnected the client to a higher position on the social pyramid.41 Thepatron-client paradigm was imitated throughout the social structurewithin smaller patron-client relationships.42 In this light, it is clear thatPaul establishes his ethos as a humble servant to his patron, Jesus Christ,by calling himself a slave of Christ. This designation also functionsrhetorically as a paradigm for the obedience of faith by which Paul cancall his audience to imitate him. Paul does so by explicating his apostolicagenda and duty in 1:9–15 as an obedient slave of Christ who obeysGod’s will (1:10) and fulfills his obligation to God (1:14)43 for the purposeof bringing about the obedience of faith amongst the Roman church andother Gentiles. Paul Minear notes the importance of obligation to Paul’sgospel: “Obligation to him who died produces obligation to those forwhom he died. . . . Thus faith in Christ inevitably creates a mutuality ofindebtedness.”44Paul further establishes his ethos by stating that he is “called to bean apostle” (1:1). In verses 1:1–7, Paul uses the call motif to establish bothhis ethos and the Roman church’s ethos as faithful servants (1:5).45 K.L.Schmidt, noting the importance of the call motif for Paul, states that “[t]heresponse of the man who is called can only be pisteu,ein [“to believe”] in thesense of u pakou,ein [“to obey”].”46 Thus, being called by God is connected tothe obedience of faith.Paul’s ethos as faithful servant to God is further established byhis “having been set apart to the gospel of God” (1:1). Jewett notes that40 Jewett, Romans, 110–11.41 Jewett notes this dynamic amongst the slaves of Caesar who were the most influentialof the slaves and proudly associated themselves as “slave of Caesar” (Romans, 100–101).42 See Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord, 4–6.43 Paul’s rhetoric of obligation is subtle. In 1:14, he speaks of his own obligation asapostle to the Gentiles. In 15:26–27, Paul speaks to the Roman church’s obligation to supportthe apostolic mission to the Gentiles by using the example of the churches’ support inMacedonia and Achaia.44 Minear, Obedience of Faith, 104.45 klhto,j ("called") is used 10 times in the New Testament, and three of the occurrencesare in Rom. 1:1, 6, 7. Two of the occurrences are in reference to the Roman church (1:6, 7).46 K.L. Schmidt, “kale,w” Theological Dictionary, III.489 (bracketed translations mine).
72RAMIFY: The Journal of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Artsthe reference that the gospel is God’s gospel is a “reference to God asthe commissioner and thus the source of Paul’s message” and that itemphasizes the unifying character of the gospel of God, who is theGod of both the Jews and the Gentiles. This unifying character of thegospel further serves Paul’s rhetorical ends (see 15:7).47 Central to Paul’sunderstanding of himself and his vocational aim is that he is the apostle tothe Gentiles (Gal. 2:9; Rom. 15:16). Paul has the authority to speak God’sword and the responsibility to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Paulappeals to this authority and responsibility in order to establish his ethosas a slave of Christ (1:1) who is obedient to God’s will (1:10). In verse 5,Paul states that he has received grace, which characterizes his mission andapostleship from the Lord. Finally, the goal of Paul’s apostleship to theGentiles is to bring them to “the obedience of faith.”The Ethos of the GospelClosely related to Paul’s ethos is the ethos of his own gospel. If the Romanchurch is to receive Paul as trustworthy, it will judge him based upon theethos and logos of his message. In the letter’s opening, Paul establishes hisgospel’s ethos by claiming that it came from God.48 Therefore, Paul subtlyimplies that if one questions or disagrees with his gospel, that personis actually questioning and disagreeing with God.49 In other words, theethos of Paul’s gospel is intimately tied to the ethos of God himself, sinceGod is the one who called him and gave him the gospel.Paul creates this link in two different ways in the letter’s opening.First, in verse 2, he states that the gospel of God “was proclaimedbeforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning hisson.” Here Paul claims that his gospel, which was given to him by God,is the eschatological continuance of the gospel of the Hebrew Scriptures.The gospel is the culmination and climax of all that was said beforehandin the Hebrew Scriptures. Furthermore, the gospel is about Jesus, God’sown son. God’s ethos is fully realized in his son since he fully establishesGod’s ethos. Paul furthers his argument by quoting an early Christiancreed or hymn in verses 3 and 4.50 Paul’s aim in quoting this creed/hymnis not just to use a “non-artistic” proof to gain the church’s trust in his47 Jewett, Romans, 102.48 According to Paul, there is no difference between the gospel of God (Rom. 1:1, Gal.1:1), the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:12), and his own gospel (
6 I am indebted to Dr. Scott Crider of the University of Dallas for this paradigm. 64 RAMIFY: . The first group, represented by Stanley Stowers and David Aune, understands the form and function of Romans as a protreptic letter. 11 Stowers notes that the major functions of a protreptic letter are "to convert to a way of life, join a school .