Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


How Important is Romans?

posted by xscot mcknight

Just how important is Romans? Let me try to express it with a few choice theologians whose lives and thinking were deeply shaped by Romans. This will set the stage for a series this summer on Romans where I will especially focus on working through N.T. Wright’s commentary on “Romans” in The Interpreter’s Bible Commentary.
Augustine: “Take up and read, take up read” he heard from the chanting of a small boy or girl. And so he did — and it was to Romans he turned, specifically to Romans 13:13-14. And his conversion stuck.
Luther: as Professor at Wittenberg Luther expounded Romans in 1515-1516 and discovered, as if he were the first to learn it, the doctrine of justification by faith alone. He found himself reborn when discovering the joy of the “righteousness of God.”
John Wesley: when he was passing by on the Aldersgate Street in London, John Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed” when hearing someone read the introduction to Luther’s commentary on Romans.
Cornilescu: Dimitri was studying at the Orthodox seminary in Bucharest, Romania, and determined to translate the Bible, but it was the translation of Romans that he learned that God, through Christ, had done it all for him. His translation was published in 1921.
Barth: Karl Barth rocked the European theological establishment with a commentary on Romans. Maybe one of my readers will be similarly blessed. Here Barth began to work out the “Godness of God” that was at work in the gospel of Paul over against the sinfulness of humans.
These comments come from a lecture I give at NPU to my 1850 students, when time permits this introduction, but I believe I originally gleaned this stuff from John Stott’s exposition of Romans.
Please join me for a summer of pondering Romans.
The theme of my summer reflections on Romans will be “Grace on top of Grace: The Graces of Romans.”



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Cam West

posted May 15, 2006 at 7:23 am


Scot,
I look forward to a summer of posts on Romans. I’m just finishing a course on Romans and Pauline Theology, and was surprised that I had my own special moments of glimpsing God’s ‘grace upon grace’ in new ways.
Having – along with many who take part in the emergent conversation – recently ‘rediscovered’ the centrality of Jesus, I was wary of getting to excited about Paul. I’m glad my fears were unfounded, and look forward (like my hero Luke) to a new journey partner



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John Frye

posted May 15, 2006 at 7:32 am


Scot,
I, too, look forward to your e-commentary on Romans. In view of Cam’s comments above, the link between Jesus and Paul as Jewish allies and not adversaries is vital. Julie and I hope you and Kris have a great vacation to Italia.



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Brett Jordan

posted May 15, 2006 at 7:49 am


I have loved Romans ever since I first ‘properly’ studied it while doing a degree course at London Bible College. Can’t wait for the series Scot.



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Hugh Griffiths

posted May 15, 2006 at 8:40 am


This should be a rich summer read which I very much look forward to. It still seems to be the magnum opus of the (evangelical) Christian world.You have also posed a very good question – how important is Romans?
Without detracting from the value of Romans, I would personally like to see the book of Galatians receive a lot more attention. It seems that Paul’s message against legalism would be perhaps more timely. Romans provides vital truths restored to us during the reformation but Galatians seems ever more important as we seek to find true spiritual life and growth. Pharisees do not only exist in Judaism and religious legalism of a different flavour can still stunt and distort the true gospel.
Maybe I need to get your commentary …?



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Ron Fay

posted May 15, 2006 at 9:19 am


The only problem I have had with the major commentaries on Romans is how they overlook the audience. Too often everything is seen as a Jewish/Gentile divide, yet when it comes down to the analysis everybody ONLY looks at the Jewish perspective instead of the Roman one.
Paul was not just a Jew, he was also a Roman.
That said, I look forward to this series since my professional work is currently in Romans.



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Kent

posted May 15, 2006 at 9:48 am


How does Romans play in the emergent world, given the lack of narrative, the straight forward and almost passion conviction of Paul in this letter? From where I sit Romans is a more “modern” letter.



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Makeesha

posted May 15, 2006 at 9:50 am


oh I loooove Romans. I shall follow along.



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Scot McKnight

posted May 15, 2006 at 9:51 am


Hugh, I thought of doing Galatians, but I want to spend some time in Romans and I likely will never teach it.
Ron,
We can expect you to be carrying the banner for the Romans then.
Kent,
Actually, many are learning to read Romans as a narrative world rather than just theological statements and systematic theology.



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Kent

posted May 15, 2006 at 10:11 am


Has anyone ever thought of connecting Leviticus (one my personal favorite books of the Bible) with Romans. They seem to have a lot in common. They both clearly out the expectations of God, they are at times work to read through, and they both seem to point to the fact that establishing and maintaining a relationship with God is something you cannot skate through.



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Anonymous

posted May 15, 2006 at 10:25 am


SmartChristian.com » Blog Archive »

Party Evangelism
Scot McKnight has an interesting interview with an unchurched person who was affected by something called party evangelism. It’s good to hear stories about people coming to faith and getting connected to the body of Christ through some of the ideas th…—–
[…] […]



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Ted Gossard

posted May 15, 2006 at 11:08 am


Scot,
I’m looking forward to it!
I really am interested in N.T. Wright’s commentary on Romans as well, and from what I’ve seen of it, do wish to explore his thinking further.



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JohnH

posted May 15, 2006 at 11:32 am


Romans “modern.” LOL
The boys over at White Horse Inn (www.whitehorseinn.org) are doing a series this year on the Romans revolution. Personally, I’m finding it transformational. I highly recommend it. What I’m learning primarily from it is that much of the American evangelical church has lost touch with the gospel.



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Danny

posted May 15, 2006 at 11:55 am


Hi Scott,
gibt es einen Römer-Kommentar, den du besonders empfehlen würdest? Wie findest du den Barth-Kommentar?
Greetings emergent Germany,
Danny



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Justin D

posted May 15, 2006 at 12:27 pm


In Deutch, order eine andere Sprache? Oder es mach nichts?



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Scot McKnight

posted May 15, 2006 at 12:35 pm


Danny and Justin D,
Meine Beobachtungen wird im Interaktion mit N.T. Wright geformt, aber auch man konnte U. Wilckens oder O. Michel (auf Deutsch)lesen.
Auf Englisch: J.D.G. Dunn, D.J. Moo.



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Justin D

posted May 15, 2006 at 1:53 pm


Liesest du den neuen Kommentar auf Leander Keck?



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Jim Martin

posted May 15, 2006 at 2:59 pm


Scot,
I look forward to a summer of posts on Romans. This should be a very good read.
I’m also glad to know N.T. Wright did Romans in the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary. I had no idea!
Jim



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Todd Hessel

posted May 15, 2006 at 3:08 pm


I agree with Makeesha; I like Romans as well. This should be an enlightening series.
And I like to pad your ‘comment’ numbers with quasi-relevant banter.



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Becky

posted May 15, 2006 at 3:31 pm


Romans and 1John still can raise a bit of reactionary fear. In 1975 I decided christianity wasn’t true because my reading of Romans and 1John said we were to be perfect and we can’t be perfect. I take someone with me when I go through those books of the Bible. Our church just went through Romans, so it will be interesting to see what comes of it here. The person who taught Romans in our church, focused on the grace of God showing through in it. Not something I’d ever seen in it.



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Scot McKnight

posted May 15, 2006 at 11:56 pm


Haven’t seen Leander Keck, and it is 11pm in Colorado, where I’m speaking for Mark Oestreicher’s group, and that means it is really midnight, which is too late.
So, no time even to look it up.



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Ron Fay

posted May 17, 2006 at 10:58 am


Scot,
I highly recommend Schreiner (BECNT) as the best all-around commentary on Romans. Moo is too uneven, Wilckens is too focused on eschatology (not that it is a bad thng to be focused on, it just blinds him to some issues), and Cranfield is all about the grammar which does not appeal to msot people (though it does to me).
Cranfield, though, has some wordful essays at the end of his second volume. I also really like Dunn, but he focuses too much on Judaism, Adam Christology (which he finds everywhere), and New Perspective issues. If I had to pick a top three, I think I would go with Schreiner, Cranfield, and Dunn, with Wilckens and Moo close behind. Michel is too dated (IMO) as is Lagrange. Byrne has some good points of reflection, but his commentary is overly selective with respect to the issues he tackles.



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Scot McKnight

posted May 17, 2006 at 11:12 am


Ron,
Just three years away from TEDS and you’re now calling my friend’s, Doug Moo’s, commentary “uneven”? I don’t have Schreiner. I figure 3 feet of commentaries on Romans is enough.



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Ron Fay

posted May 17, 2006 at 10:07 pm


Come on, Scot, I am at 24 volumes and counting. Though I must admit that is only 2 feet and 8 inches (I had to check after you said that).
Woops, I forgot that I bought two more off of ebay, including Kasemann. I guess I am just about at 3 feet also.
Honestly, I think Moo’s commentary is overrated for the simple reason that he concentrates so much on the “main themes” of chapters that he overlooks some of the finer points of Paul’s argument plus he will spend a page dealing with a minute grammatical issue that is non-controversial while making bald, undefended statements on things which are controversial. Thus, I consider Moo’s commentary uneven.
Schreiner does a wonderful job of looking at grammar while also thinking pastorally. I must say, I am really impressed by the BECNT so far. I am looking forward to Yarbrough’s Johannine Epistles commentary.



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Anonymous

posted May 22, 2006 at 9:51 am


Baggas’ Blog – Paul’s blog on life, medicine, faith, technology and much more… » Reading, Romans, and a Milestone

[…] To be fair though, two of those books are just different versions of the same thing (commentaries on Romans) and one of those is nearly finished. I decided in April that I’d spend the month of May delving into Romans – a task that looks like it’s going to continue well into June if not further. And coincidentally, in the last week or so Scot McKnight? has commenced a blog series on Romans as well, loosely based on Wright’s commentary in the New Interpreter’s Bible, which I’d just started reading myself anyway. Amazing how things just seem to fit together like that, almost providentially… […]



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Anonymous

posted June 6, 2006 at 2:16 am


Mr. Aston.org » How Important is Romans? – from Jesus Creed

[…] How Important is Romans?: […]



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