Romans 7 Does Describe Your Christian Experience

John Piper | January 19, 2016

Editors’ note: This is the second installment in a special three-part “Perplexing Passages” forum examining the long-debated Pauline passage, Romans 7:13–25. In part one, Tom Schreiner defended the view that Paul was speaking of his struggle with sin before his conversion. The final part will offer a third view from Martyn Lloyd-Jones. A version of this article appeared originally at and has been revised by the author for The Gospel Coalition.


When I teach on Romans 7, I expect there may be pushback to my argument that Romans 7:14–25 refers to Paul’s—and thus to our—Christian experience. Good friends, like Tom Schreiner, think that when Paul says “I delight in the law of God, in my inner being (esō anthrōpon)” (Rom. 7:22), or when he says “I, my very self (autos egō) serve the law of God with my mind” (Rom. 7:25), he is expressing his pre-Christian experience.

This is because Paul also says, “I am of the flesh, sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14); “I do the very thing I hate” (Rom…

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