by Ted Dekker

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How does Romans 7:19 relate to Thr3e?

Quick answer:

In Thr3e, Romans 7:19 stands at the heart of Kevin's need to come to terms with evil and sin and at the heart of the internal split in Kevin's personality.

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Ted Dekker's novel Thr3e is a thriller with a surprise ending. The novel centers around the main character, Kevin Parson. As he is driving home one day, Kevin receives a phone call from a Richard Slater, who tells Kevin to confess his sin, or he will blow up Kevin's car. Kevin has no idea what Slater is talking about, and he manages to escape his car just in time.

Kevin continues to get phone calls from Slater with demands and riddles, and he turns to his childhood friend Samantha and FBI agent Jennifer Peters for help. As Kevin's history appears throughout the novel, readers discover that he has a love-hate relationship with his aunt Belinda, who raised him yet kept him sheltered from the world and from other children. Kevin feels a deep resentment about this.

Kevin also recalls how he once saved himself and Samantha from a bully by locking the other boy in a warehouse and leaving him there. Kevin has never known what happened to the boy, but now he thinks that Slater might well be that bully.

As Kevin is dealing with the riddles, the bombs, and the mystery of his past, he also has to come to terms with the nature of evil and sin and how he himself has been affected by both. Here is where Romans 7:19 comes into the story. The NIV translation of this verse reads,

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Kevin, because of his sheltered life, has very little experience with evil, and he must learn about it in both himself and others to be able to deal with the situation in which he now finds himself.

However, the verse becomes even more important in the major reveal at the end of the novel. The verse speaks about an internal split within a person. The person (originally St. Paul) knows what is right and good and wants to do it but finds himself caught in a pattern in which he behaves in the exact opposite way, doing the evil he does not want to do. The same is true of Kevin in an even more dramatic way, for Kevin is very much split. Samantha and Slater both turn out to be aspects of himself, one good and one evil.

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