CLAIM: Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 30 twice in this small section (v.6 and v.8), which refers to the law. In this context, however, Paul is referring to receiving Christ as Savior—apart from the law. Is Paul quoting this verse out of context?
RESPONSE: Paul’s point is this: God’s message in the OT (Deut. 30) and his message in the NT (Rom. 10) are not too difficult for the Jewish people to understand.
In Deuteronomy 30, Moses explains that the law is not difficult for the Jews to understand. Moses writes, “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach.” In the next verse, he says, “It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’” (Deut. 30:12 NLT) Then, Moses writes, “It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’ 14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it” (Deut. 30:13-14 NLT). Paul quotes this section to show that the law was easy to comprehend.
From this, Paul argues, “If the law was easy to comprehend, then how much easier is the gospel to understand?” If the law ultimately points to Christ (v.4), then the message of Christ should be easy for a person to comprehend. The purpose of the law was not to “establish their own… righteousness” (Rom. 10:3). Instead, it was to bring us to faith in Christ. As Moo writes, “Just as Israel could not plead the excuse that she did not know God’s will, so now, Paul says, neither Jew nor Gentile can plead ignorance of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.”
“To bring Christ down.” Ascending into heaven would’ve been a good excuse for the Jewish people to hold for not following God’s commands. However, Paul’s point is simply that God has already come down to Earth through the person and work of Jesus. Moo writes, “As the Israelite did not need to ‘ascend into heaven’ to find God’s commandment, so, Paul suggests, there is no need to ascend into heaven to ‘bring down Christ.’ For in the incarnation, the Messiah, God’s Son, has been truly ‘brought down’ already.”
“To bring Christ up from the dead.” Similarly, descending into the “abyss” would seem impossible, but Someone already did this for us—namely, Jesus. Again, Moo comments, “As he could use the fact of the incarnation to suggest the foolishness of ‘going into heaven’ to bring Christ down, so now he can use the fact of the resurrection to deny any need to ‘go down to the abyss’ to bring Christ up from ‘the realm of the dead.’”
 Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 653.
 Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 655.
 Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1996), 656.