Romans 1-3

Chapter 1

The Good: sorry, I came up empty in this chapter. Not a good start…

The Bad: V 1-17. Typical boring Christianese sermon-speak. Zzzzz. V 14 – There’s that reference to Barbarians again, sanitized in modern bible interpretations.

The Ugly: V 16 – god picks favorites, and the Jews are obviously his favorite people, because he saves them first and everyone else comes after. Note, however, that in popular memes, that part of the verse is omitted.


V 18-19 – Paul endorses the vengeful and sadistic god of the OT, who condemns the people he himself created as ‘wicked’, and calls them ‘fools’. V 25 – see note in SAB. V 26-27 – make sure to actually read them. Apparently this is the only clear reference to lesbians in the bible. And the penalty for being gay is death. So the fundies are correct – the bible does condemn homosexuality. (As they say, if you don’t like your religion’s fundamentalists, maybe there is something wrong with your religion’s fundamentals.) But even that’s debatable – read this. V 28-32 is just a malicious rant. In the KJV, the word ‘reprobate’ appears in v 28. In Christian theology, that’s a sinner who is not of the elect and is predestined to damnation. In other words, Paul is sending everyone to hell.

Notable Quotes: The first part of v 16. The last part of v 17, which is in itself a quote from Habakkuk 2:4 (part of the ‘faith vs works’ debate).

Chapter 2

The Good: V 1 – Don’t be a hypocrite. V 21-22 – Practice what you preach.

The Bad: V 25-29 – Paul seems to be creating a hierarchy of esteem in god’s eyes. At the top are the circumcised Jews who keep the laws. Next would be an uncircumcised Gentile who keeps the law; in other words, keeping god’s laws takes precedence over circumcision. Below that, a circumcised Jew who doesn’t keep the laws, and at the bottom of the heap, the uncircumcised Gentiles. This seems a little sick.

The Ugly: V 5-8 – On Judgement Day, god will punish the wicked. There’s no room for forgiveness here. Fear of this kind of judgement is the basis of the Dies Irae, the plea for mercy found in the Roman Catholic funeral mass. It should be considered psychological torture. It makes for some beautiful music, though.

Quotes: nothing jumped out at me.

Chapter 3

The Good: nothing, again.

The Bad: Paul seems to have entered the ‘how many OT quotes and references can you fit into a single sermon’ contest popularized by the gospel writers. He manages to squish 8 into this chapter alone. I’m tired of looking these up, but most are familiar by now (and they’re all quoted out of context). V 2 – here we go again with the ‘Jews are special’ motif. To heck with everyone else.

The Ugly: V 9, 19-20, 23 – All people are sinners. This whole section of the chapter amounts to emotional abuse. V 22 – This is how axe-murders can claim salvation. V 24-31 – More boring Christianese sermon-speak. But these verses pretty much form the basis of church doctrine, so better read them. (This is the stuff I never bought into, even when I attended church. I used to doze, or doodle, when I heard it – which wasn’t often.)

Quotes: V 23-24.


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