I wrote a term paper on Romans this semester. In preparation I reread the first two chapters of Ben Witherington III’s The Problem of Evangelical Theology (p. 7). He addressed how often Rom. 7 is misread writing the following:

There is no text more commented on in the entire Bible than Romans, and within the text of Romans, there is no text more commented on than Romans 7. One would think with all the ink spilt on this text that we could get it right. Yet there are almost as many views of this text as there are major commentaries and dissertations on it. Oddly enough, one of the most fundamental problems in Evangelical exegesis of Romans is the failure to read Romans cumulatively, rather than sound-byting it. This failure manifest itself when Romans 7 is read as if it has little or not connection with Romans 5. But the story told in Romans 5:12-20 is the very short story that underlies and undergirds Romans 7…”

Amen! I might add that what we find in 5.12-20 doesn’t impact chapter 7 alone, but the entire epistle. If we do not read Romans with the Adam-Christ contrast in mind we may miss important points from chapter 1 all the way to 16. Well said, Witherington!