The works of John H. Elliott and David A. deSilva have demonstrated the value of reading Paul’s positive utterances on the topic of Christian suffering (e.g., Phil 1:29) as embedded in an honor discourse. In his letters, Paul uses the rhetoric of “divine reversal,” in which the shame of Christians—their suffering as victims of discrimination—is transformed into the opposite: honor. Continuing in this direction, this article examines Paul’s honor discourse in Rom 8:12–39, where much of the suffering does not seem to occur “for Christ’s sake.” It argues that experiences of suffering in Romans 8 are linked to notions of mortality and sin and therefore not characterized as honorable. Comparing Romans 8 to Paul’s honor discourse in Philippians leads the author to conclude that Paul’s positive evaluation of the harsh reality of suffering does not apply to all kinds of suffering. Moreover, this article argues that we need to find more nuanced ways to speak about Paul’s positive stance on Christian suffering.

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