A number have asked why I have chosen the book of Romans. The simple answer is because I like it as a book of the New Testament. It is deep and has some interesting things to say. It is worthy of our attention. There are some deep theological issues Paul raises and they are worth thinking about. But let me add some other reasons why it is worth studying, Some say Romans is the fifth gospel. Martin Luther said “The Epistle of Paul to the Romans is the chief part of the New Testament and the clearest gospel of all. Every Christian ought to learn it by rote.” Romans is the only book of the New Testament where the gospel is fully defined and systematically outlined. There is no other gospel apart from Romans. When is a gospel not a gospel? When it disagrees with Romans.
Part of the reason I chose Romans is because Romans has made a significant difference in many people’s lives. Here are some of them:
Augustine experienced new birth through reading two verses in Romans. 13: 13 & 14.
Martin Luther was reborn through reading Romans.
John Wesley was reading Luther’s preface to the book of Romans and was radically challenged, then was reborn through reading Romans.
Chrysostum had Romans read to him twice a week; he thought it was so important.
Tyndale thought Romans was the “Principal & most excellent portion of the N. T.” and memorized it in Greek.
There are many deep truths of God in the book of Romans. A good understanding of the book of Romans is foundational to a good understanding of Christianity. For that reason I thought it was a good book for us to move on to next. I hope you agree with me when we are done. I love some of the things you, my readers, have been saying about how the Bible Gems have helped you with the Gospel of John. I trust the Gems on the book of Romans will help even more. It seems that many of you are getting turned on to the Word of God. That is exactly what I want to happen.
Some quotes from Martin Luther’s Preface to Romans which turned John Wesley on so much:
It is well worth a Christian's while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul.
It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.
In itself a bright light, almost bright enough to illumine the entire Scripture.
To begin with, we have to become familiar with the vocabulary of the letter and know what St. Paul means by the words law, sin, grace, faith, justice, flesh, spirit, etc. Otherwise there is no use in reading it.
We find in this letter, then, the richest possible teaching about what a Christian should know: the meaning of law, Gospel, sin, punishment, grace, faith, justice, Christ, God, good works, love, hope and the cross.
Therefore it seems that St. Paul, in writing this letter, wanted to compose a summary of the whole of Christian and evangelical teaching which would also be an introduction to the whole Old Testament.
Without doubt, whoever takes this letter to heart possesses the light and power of the Old Testament.
Therefore each and every Christian should make this letter the habitual and constant object of his study.
It seems I have to give more help to you all in using E-Sword which I will do. Don’t be afraid to give your input along the way as we move through the book. That happened to a degree in John and made me spend more time on certain sections or go back to something that I had skipped over because of “your” questions. So interact with me and let’s make this journey through Romans the best it can be - together. Selah.
I trust by now you are ready, having read Romans through at least one time in its entirety before we start.
Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we think up to hide them. F LaRochefoucauld