"I" of the Lesson This passage is one of the most autobiographical pieces
in the Pauline corpus. Is this "I" Pauls account of how he once, as a
youth, was alive to the law until he became a "Son of the Commandment" at about
age thirteen at which time he assumed responsibility before the law and at that point sin
reared its ugly head and the innocent self died? 
- The Quandary Paul speaks to us about his honest quandary"I do not
understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I
hate." Sounds like our quandary, too! Something compels usthe Jewish rabbis
call it "the evil impulse,"to break rules, overindulge, hurt our neighbor.
- Try Harder? The problem Paul speaks of is behavioral in type and suggests
circular reasoning: "I want to do good," "But sin keeps me from
accomplishing the good," "so I end up doing the thing that I dont want to
do," "I want to do good," "But sin keeps me . . . "
- Non-Christian Experience? " . . . what Paul describes in this passage is not what
sensitive non-Christians feel about life apart from Christ . . . what it represents is
non-Christian life under the law seen from a Christian perspective . . . Paul is probably
drawing to some extent at least on his own life as a Pharisee in this discussion. 
When you were growing up, what was
one of your biggest struggles?
- What would your autobiographical account look like from a behaviorialist perspective?
- What makes your New Years resolution list every year?
- From reading this passage, what is your impression about Paul?
- What can you give thanks to God for despite the struggles you have?
Please see this weeks homily
based on this passage, "It Just Dont Add Up," in this week's resources
(year A: 7th Sunday after Pentecost).
 Paul Achtemeier, Interpretation Series: Romans (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1985), page
 Diane Jacobson, New Proclamation 2002 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001), page 124.
 Achtemeier, p. 122-123.