The Ten Most Absurd Statements in the Book of Romans

In NT Greek, there are many ways to say that something is untrue, but none so emphatic as the expression me genoito. This formula literally means, “May it not be,” but it is translated in a variety of ways:  

  • “God forbid!”
  • “Of course not!”
  • “May it never be!”
  • “By no means!”
  • “Away with the notion!”
  • “Perish the thought!”

As you read the NT, you find that the apostle Paul uses this formula a total of 14 times in his epistles, and always after a rhetorical question. In doing so, his point is to say that the idea expressed in that question is absolutely unthinkable, even abhorrent. In other words, this is the kind of thing that is so absurd that it shouldn’t even enter the believer’s mind as a possibility, and so it is repudiated by Paul in the strongest possible terms: me genoito! 

This got me wondering what kinds of things were so outrageous to the apostle Paul that they are not even worthy of serious consideration. What I found were these, the ten most absurd statements in the book of Romans. According to Paul, the following ten assertions are so absurd that we shouldn’t even entertain the possibility that they are true:  

  1. The fact that so many Jews have refused to believe in the Messiah shows that God was not faithful to keep His promises to His chosen people (Rom 3:3-4).
  2. God’s punishment of the wicked is a grand demonstration that He is unrighteous (Rom 3:5-6).
  3. The fact that both Jews and Gentiles are justified through faith alone means that the Law is nullified (Rom 3:31).
  4. Since grace abounds all the more where sin is committed, believers should continue in their sin in order to experience even more grace from God (Rom 6:1-2).
  5. Being under grace (rather than under law) should motivate us to lighten up in our pursuit of holiness and help us feel comfortable to sin from time to time (Rom 6:15).
  6. Because it arouses sinful passions, the Law itself is evil and sinful (Rom 7:7).
  7. Because it arouses sinful passions, the Law itself is to blame for the sinner’s death (Rom 7:13).
  8. God’s sovereign choice to set His love upon one individual and His hatred upon another (and before either of them were born!) is proof positive that He is not a righteous and just God (Rom 9:13-14).
  9. The current unbelief of the majority of ethnic Jews is evidence that God has rejected His chosen people Israel (Rom 11:1). 
  10. Israel’s rejection of the Messiah means that the nation has permanently forfeited the covenant promises of Yahweh (Rom 11:11).
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5 responses to this post.

  1. Should people miss this blog post?

    me genoito!

  2. […] Rightly Dividing, websites and blogs. trackback The guys at Expository Thoughts have compiled a list of statements in Romans which provoked Paul to exclaim, “me genoito!” or, for those who […]

  3. Funny!!
    There are a few Christians (otherwise theologically astute) that would deny that number 8 and 10 in your list actually exist. I always wonder how reformed theologians can be so right on some key doctrines but blow it on #10?

  4. I realize that reformed believers (covenantal theology) would say that the Church is having that covenant fulfilled. Then, why would Paul mention Israel? (clearly he references the church as distinct in other places)

  5. Posted by Scott Christensen on February 27, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Pastor Steve,
    Covenant theologians retort that God’s covenant promises are not irrevocable, just transferable. Its kind of like God signed Israel’s title away to the Church. Too bad for Israel.

    The more biblical view of course is God now adds the Church’s name to Israel’s title deed so that we are no longer “strangers to the covenants of promise” (Eph. 2:12).

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