“Time and again, in the course of Christian history, Romans has liberated the minds of women and men, brought them back to the understanding of the essential Gospel of Christ and started spiritual revolutions.” F. F. Bruce
“When anyone gains a knowledge of (Romans), he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture.” John Calvin
For 18 weeks beginning this Sunday with the first Sunday of Advent and ending the Sunday before Holy Week, my congregation and I are will be taking a journey through what is widely considered the greatest book of the New Testament, Paul’s letter to the Romans. The title of the Series is “Good News For All the Earth” and I will be teaching it as Paul’s “gospel”.
Around 55 A.D, Paul finished his northeastern Mediterranean ministry and decided to begin a new realm of missionary activity in what is now Spain. He was intending to visit the Roman churches and through this letter articulates the “gospel” he proclaims with the hope that they will become partners and supporters in his ministry. Paul is looking for a new “home base” in Rome that will further the mission of the Kingdom of Christ into the west and this is his introduction.
At the time of his writing to the Roman Christians, there were considerable amounts of ethnic tension between Jews and Greeks. Paul, writing to mostly Gentile Christians, as “the apostle to the Gentiles” wanted to insure that the Roman churches understood that any work of the Kingdom would include the Jews, indeed, the gospel FIRST included the Jews and so demands that all churches be a reflection of the One God’s intention to save the world through a new people, a new family, a new humanity of “every tribe and nation”, and most especially Jews and Gentiles together.
The key passage of the whole text is found in Romans 1:16-17:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed.” That’s what this letter is all about: Revealing the “good news” of God’s righteous, loving character to world that has gone wrong.
As we look out at the world around us, we can ask, like a fledgling church in the middle of the Roman Empire in a turbulent time: What in the world is God doing to restore his fallen creation? What did God actually accomplish in Jesus Christ? And what does that have to do with you and me?
In the weeks ahead, mostly as a resource for the members of my church, I will be posting sums themes and thoughts every Thursday or Friday on Romans. I will also be offering a Romans reading plan (See below) for working our way through the text. Feel free to join us.
December 1-3 Romans 1:1-17
December 4-10 Romans 1:18-3:20
December 11-17 Romans 3:21-4:25
December 18-24 Romans 5
December 25-January 7 Re-read all of Romans 1-5
January 8-14 Romans 6
January 15-21 Romans 7
January 22-28 Romans 8
January 29-February 4 Romans 9
February 5-18 Re-read all of Romans 6-11
February 19-25 Romans 12
February 26-March 4 Romans 13
March 5-11 Romans 14
March 12-18 Romans 15
March 19-25 Romans 16