Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Refreshed and Restored in Romans

Ok - here we go.

I have been diving into the Book of Romans for the last 4 weeks. This is in preparation for a class I will be teaching next spring called "Romans and Revelation". We will study Romans the first 9 weeks and Revelation the next 9 weeks.

I just finished a 3 year study of the Book of Revelation and taught it in 28 lessons to the "Armed and Encouraged" Sunday School class at my church.

Next week I will begin recording 25- 25 minute lessons on Revelation for the church. Be in prayer for that.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of the more interesting points from my study on Paul's Epistle to the Romans. I give great credit to many of my heroes who have taught me in the process. I start with the late James Montgomery Boice and his 4 volume commentary on Romans. It may be the most interesting, informative, and illustrated commentary in history! I also enjoyed commentaries by Ladd, Moo, Calvin (of course), and Charles Hodge.

The highlight was Dr. Knox Chamblin's Romans course found free on I-tunes U from Reformed Theological Seminary.

First comment: WHAT A BOOK! Oh my, each lesson in Romans just feeds meat to the weary soul. No wonder it has transformed so many lives. The Book of Romans caused Augustine to repent of his captive life to sin and sparked Martin Luther to stand firm in the birth of the Reformation.

I still want to investigate the controversial commentary by N.T. Wright and look at a few others: I have FF Bruce and the NIV and IVP commentary series.

I am most amazed at God's plan for the apostle Paul- he was born a Hebrew and a Roman citizen. As a young man under Gamaliel and as he progressed as a Pharisee, God was preparing a man to articulate the gospel like no other.

Rome was on Paul's prayers and in his heart. As Emperors changed throughout the course of his life, God was preparing a cross roads at Rome under Nero.

It seems very likely that Paul penned Romans while staying in Corinth. Later, as a prisoner of Rome he wrote some of the other great epistles that support the theme of justification of all men by faith alone.

I grew to see Paul's humanity captured very creatively by Walter Wangerin in his novel, Paul.

There is a lot of debate about whether the Roman church had more Jews or Gentiles. I don't think it matters, because Paul's ministry was bringing both under the grace of Christ.Paul was a pioneer at taking what Christ did at calary to pave the way for gospel expansion and the exploding kingdom of God. He finds several latch points of community and unity. His most dynamic ministry was being a catalyst to bring the conveted Jews and Gentiles into a harmony under the gospel of Christ.

His letter was preparing them for what he prayed would be a fruitful ministry with them. I do agree that he was planning to end up in Spain. But he did long to be with the Romans.

Why not take the center of the world to plant the power of God in the gospel?

I have also used this study to get back into greek. I praise God for the language of the New Testament. Oh My, it is so vivid, exact, and rich. You have to notice the verb tenses in Romans, and you must struggle with how the English translations have chosen some of the translation decisions.

But in the long run- it is a simple Book with complex doctrine. When Paul said he was eager to present the gospel to the learned and unlearned, cultured and uncultured, he was proclaiming the best news of all. Salvation is not just for the smart, the rich, the religious, the achiever. Salvation is revealed and accessible to all men through faith in the work of Jesus Christ!

What a Book! What a story! What a gospel! What a savior!

I hope you enjoy my sharing little tidbits with you!

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