The focus of this study is to discover the identity of the emphatic “I” of Rom 7 with the added purpose of attempting to “draw” a spiritual portrait of a mature Christian believer. To accomplish this purpose, the process is as follows: An examination of Rom 7, within its context, is conducted. This examination is followed by an attempt at determining the experience of the emphatic “I” found within Rom 7. The next step in the process is to compare the experience of the emphatic “I” of Rom 7, as found within its context of Rom 1-8 with what Paul wrote elsewhere on the experience of new life in Christ for Christian believers. The purpose of this comparison is to discover if Paul had a “consistent” portrait of spirituality and Christian maturity. The final step is to compare the experience described by Paul, both in Rom 7 and in the wider Pauline Corpus, with the experience which John Wesley called “perfection”, and with the Mystical experience called the “spiritual marriage”. The study of Romans, Wesley, and the Mystics, coupled with the wider study of the secondary literature showed that there is a remarkable consistency in the teaching and understanding that the closer a Christian believer gets to God, the more this Christian believer is aware of his or her own sinfulness. Paul, in describing the experience of the emphatic “I”, is describing a person who is becoming more and more aware of his or her own sinfulness. The conclusion to be drawn from this study is that the identity of the empathic “I” is of a regenerate Christian believer, one who is growing ever closer and closer to God and at the same time is in “pain” over the remaining effects of sin.
Thesis (PhD (New Testament Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2007.