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davidandgoliath

So I’m studying (and teaching) Romans and this is about how I feel.  Talk about being the underdog.  I’ve listened to good friends who are preachers talk about how they have taught Romans and about how fun it was and I must confess I’ve always been a bit envious.  I’ve been preaching for about a decade and have yet to tackle this book.  But my envy was trumped by my fear and trepidation.  This book downright scares me.  What is more, the fear that was either real or imagined has been thoroughly validated since beginning the study.  Any certainty I had about the book has only become more ambiguous since diving in.  Yet all is not lost.  I’m beginning to suspect that that is the beauty of the book.  The complexity of Romans is what has guaranteed it’s enduring value to the church.  It has had a word to speak to each generation.

N.T. Wright begins his commentary on Romans by saying,

Romans is neither a systematic theology nor a summary of Paul’s lifework, but it is by common consent his masterpiece. It dwarfs most of his other writings, an Alpine peak towering over hills and villages. Not all onlookers have viewed it in the same light or from the same angle, and their snapshots and paintings of it are sometimes remarkably unalike. Not all climbers have taken the same route up its sheer sides, and there is frequent disagreement on the best approach. What nobody doubts is that we are here dealing with a work of massive substance, presenting a formidable intellectual challenge while offering a breathtaking theological and spiritual vision. Perhaps, not surprisingly, it remains the case that anyone who claims to understand Romans fully is, almost by definition, mistaken…

I would agree. Yet again, the effort is well worth it. The payoff is incalculable. The wisdom is impenetrable. And the richness immeasurable. Nearly every imaginable topic and controversial subject surfaces during a study and discussion of this book.  So, if you are just following along, I hope you enjoy and benefit from the material that follows.  If you are a member of the East Peoria church I hope you will spend some extra time in reflection as it pertains to our Sunday evening class.  Also, for your benefit I will post this material in the EPCOC page for easier access.

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