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Conquerors Not Captives: Reframing Romans 7 for the Christian Life

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Is the Christian battle against sin a long defeat?

In Conquerors Not Captives, Joseph R. Dodson and Mattie Mae Motl challenge the popular view that Romans 7:14–25 describes the typical Christian battle against sin. The “wretched man” of Romans 7 seems unable to do what God’s law demands and, for many Christians, his inner conflict and turmoil seem all too relatable. But are we impotent before sin and powerless to do good? When we reexamine Romans 7 in light of Paul’s writings elsewhere and his interpreters throughout church history, we encounter better news.

Conquerors Not Captives is an accessible and thoughtful study that rebukes our gloomy expectations and invites us to take seriously the Bible’s assurances that the Holy Spirit frees us from sin’s power.

Praise for Conquerors Not Captives

Dodson and Motl’s book covers the complicated ground of Romans 7 in a winsome and pastoral way, arguing that Christians are not captives but conquerors. This is the best short summary of Romans 7 that I have read. It includes the history of interpretation, the larger context, and careful exegesis of the passage itself. Those who disagree must reckon with the arguments in this book.

—Patrick Schreiner, associate professor of New Testament and biblical theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of The Visual Word, The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross, and The Ascension of Christ

On the hot topic of the ‘I’ of Romans 7, Dodson and Motl model expert exegesis: attentive to historical context, insightful reading of Romans as a whole, and inspiring in terms of understanding Pauline theology and biblical theology more widely. Concise, well-written—and convincing!

—Nijay K. Gupta, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

Here is a fantastic start on a chapter of the Bible that is crucial for the spiritual health of the Christian. My hunch is that this will become one of those books that you want to put in the hands of all your friends.

—Osvaldo Padilla, professor, Beeson Divinity School

In Conquerors Not Captives, Joseph Dodson and Mattie Motl combine scholarship and wit in a way that brings about new clarity to Romans 7 and gives life to our relationship with God. Simply put, they deliver eminent scholarship with a pastoral heart.

—Robert Gelinas, lead pastor, Colorado Community Church

  • Foreword by Preston Sprinkle
  • Introduction: It Is No Longer I
  • Not Paul at All: The Wretch Is Someone Else
  • Totally Paul: The Wretch Is Paul as a Christian
  • The I of the Storm: A Walk-Through of Romans 5–8
  • The Eye behind the I: A Brief Exposition of 7:14–25
  • Here Ego Again: A Brief Exposition of Other Relevant Passages
  • “But What About?”: Objections to the Not Paul View (Part 1)
  • “But What About?”: Objections to the Not Paul View (Part 2)
  • The I’s Have It: Alternative Identities for the Ego
  • Conclusion: The Purpose of the Ego
  • Afterword: Conquerors, Not Captives: Romans 7 in the Life of the Believer
  • Title: Conquerors Not Captives: Reframing Romans 7 for the Christian Life
  • Authors: Joseph R. Dodson with Mattie Mae Motl
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Pages: 200
  • Format: Logos Digital, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 5x8
  • ISBN: 9781683597704

Joseph R. Dodson is Dr. Craig L. Blomberg Endowed Chair of New Testament at Denver Seminary and associate pastor at New Denver Church.

Mattie Mae Motl is a graduate of Denver Seminary and pastoral resident at Denver Community Church.


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  1. Ryan Matherly

    Ryan Matherly


    This Book Was Incredible. I cannot believe how much hope and joy I found in this view of Romans 7. It will impact not only my preaching, but my entire Christian life. Every pastor and every follower of Christ should definitely read this book!


Print list price: $16.99
Save $5.00 (29%)