For some time now I’ve told anyone who asks me that St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is my favorite book in the New Testament. It’s been said that the Bible is not a systematic theology text, but I think that Romans gets pretty close (as does Hebrews, in its own way).
Reading Romans today I was surprised at how closely the letter is mirrored by the Augsburg Confession, at least in terms of how the arguments are ordered and built upon one another.
Article I: Of God – Romans 1:18-20 ff.
Article II: Of Original Sin – Romans 1:21-3:20 (particularly 3:9-20)
Article III: Of the Son of God – Romans 3:21-26,
Article IV: Of Justification – Romans 3:21-5:21
After the first four articles there are some divergences in terms of order (Article V: Of the Ministry doesn’t really show up in any explicit sense until Romans 10:14-16, for instance), and some things that the AC addresses either aren’t mentioned directly (Paul knew nothing of the worship of the saints [Article XXI], for instance) or are covered in more depth in other places in Scripture (such as the Lord’s supper [Article X]). But even so, it’s amazing to see just how much of the ground covered in the confessions is likewise shared by Romans before it.
At any rate, I don’t know if that’s cool to anyone else, but I like it. Does anyone know if this was at all intentional on the part of the Confessors? Or is it more a function of them being soaked in the language and flow of Scripture that made the confessions naturally drift the same way?