One of the blessings of being a lecturer of Scripture is that you see the growth of students over time. As they learn more to interpret the Bible with diligence, they discover more about the God they love and serve.
I was grading an undergraduate exegetical paper yesterday, and the following is a nice reflection by a student [with minor corrections] after she has worked on Romans 5:1–11.
This passage is at complete disparity with the contemporary culture. Paul’s concept of perseverance and endurance of suffering resulting in character and hope is inconceivable to the current society; a society that avoids suffering at all costs. Paul’s teaching reveals a pathway to knowing, understanding and depending upon God. It is through suffering that an individual is made aware of the corruption of humankind, the frivolousness of life apart from God and the complete lack of control they have over their lives. It is through this realization and grasping of God’s truth that character is formed. Paul’s teaching in Romans 5:1-11 could be described as a transformative understanding of suffering. (Used with permission)
One may debate the fine details of her theology. But her reflection calls all of us to reconsider what it means to be followers of Jesus in our world today.