Romans seems to have two kinds of responses today: either it is the book of all books, the book that brought Luther back to life and therefore the book for us, or it is the book to end all books — boring, dusty old piece of theology. If you are in the latter group, I’ve got a book for you. (And if you are in the former group, then this book is also for you — of course, you love all things Romans!)
Romans is one of the most significant books in the history of the Church and probably Paul’s most potent statement of his gospel. Yet, its familiarity — or should I say our familiarity with a system of thought — has deprived many of the real, living, interactive theology at work in this letter of Paul’s. So, I’m glad we have a book that has one design: to give this letter back to lay people and to hear it again as if for the first time.
Now another one: How many times have we thought about studying Romans only to open up some commentary to discover the debates are so numerous and so different that we get discouraged? This book will give the book back to you.
Reta Halteman Finger writes Roman House Churches in order to give lay people a guide to the book of Romans they can act out and then debrief for today. It’s a clever book.
Here’s my question today: What have you done to help bring the Bible to life for those who are either tired of the “same old, same old” or who need to awaken to the social and historical conditions at work in a passage or in a book?
Reta Finger decides to examine Romans through the lens of the house churches in Rome (cf. Romans 16). She examines it through the lens of the books’ reader — Phoebe.
She gives us assignments — clever ones too. A brief sketch of life in Rome and religions at work in 1st Century Rome — not too technical. Just right. She sketches the Christians of 1st Century Rome. Then we go through Romans in 10 chapters. Her perspective is a little social and not just spiritual; it’s got a little new perspective to it. Some Anabaptism as well (thank you Reta).