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A Thought

Romans 9:21-23: "Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory to the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory..."

2 Timothy 2:20-22: "In any great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for noble use, some for ignoble. If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work. So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart."

It seems that the second text precludes interpreting the first in the manner of Calvinists. For if St. Paul means to put forward the metaphor to describe a salvation that is only passively received, why does he suggest that a person could go from one kind of vessel to another in the latter text?


I think that the two uses certainly can contribute an understanding to each other, but contextually, they are very different texts. It isn't necessary that Paul intends every use of a "vessel" metaphor to be exactly the same -- just as Jesus's parables didn't always use the same components in exactly the same way.
Anonymous said…
Thus we see the hazard of letting Scripture interpret Scripture: it is always done according to some tradition or other. It is merely a question of which tradition, and why it is deemed authoritative.
Nick said…
This post deals with Romans 9, and I think Jason's argument has merit and should be given preference given the Scripture-interprets-Scripture rule of thumb is well attested to in the Church Fathers.

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