The study addresses one basic question: How does the contrast between the Law and the Spirit in Pauline theology provide the proper theological background for interpreting Romans 7? In answering this question, this study will summarize Paul’s understanding of the Law and the Spirit and then seek to apply that understanding to what Paul says in Romans 7.
The study does not intend to exhaust Paul’s thinking on either the Law or the Spirit. Such an effort would not only be far outside the scope of a single study but would add nothing new to the plethora of literature already available on the subjects. Furthermore, separate studies on the Law and the Spirit in Pauline theology would not be well suited to address the problem of Rom 7:13-25. Of greater interest is the contrast that Paul makes between the ministry of the Law and the ministry of the Spirit. This contrast, as we shall see, is critical to a right understanding of the passage.