Many Christians have declared Romans to be the finest book of the Bible, the high peak of Scripture. J.I. Packer echoes many pastors and theologians when he says, “All roads in the Bible lead to Romans, and all views afforded by the Bible are seen most clearly from Romans, and when the message of Romans gets into a person’s heart there is no telling what may happen.” He goes on to give 4 reasons that we ought to read, study, and know the book of Romans.
Romans is a book of doctrine. Romans is a book of truth about God taught by God. “You will find that Romans gives you all the main themes integrated together: God, man, sin, law, judgment, faith, works, grace, creation, redemption, justification, sanctification, the plan of salvation, election, reprobation, the person and work of Christ, the work of the Spirit, the Christian hope, the nature of the church, the place of Jew and Gentile in God’s purpose, the philosophy of church and world history, the meaning and message of the Old Testament, the significance of baptism, the principles of personal piety and ethics, the duties of Christian citizenship — et cetera!”
Romans is a book of life. It shows “by exposition and example what it means to serve God and not to serve him, to find him, and to lose him in actual human experience. What has Romans to offer here? The answer is: the fullest cross-section of the life of sin and the life of grace, and the deepest analysis of the way of faith, that the Bibles gives anywhere.”
Romans is a book of the church. In Romans “the God-given faith and self-understanding of the believing fellowship is voiced. From this standpoint, Romans, just because it is the classic statement of the gospel by which the church lives, is also the classic account of the church’s identity. What is the church? It is the true seed of faithful Abraham, Jew and non-Jew together, chosen by God, justified through faith, and free from sin for a new life of personal righteousness and mutual ministry. It is the family of a loving heavenly Father, living in hope of inheriting his entire fortune. It is the community of the resurrection, in which the powers of Christ’s historic death and present heavenly life are already at work.”
Romans is a personal letter. Romans is a personal letter from God to each one of his spiritual children. “Read Romans this way, and you will find that it has unique power to search out and deal with things that are so much part of you that ordinarily you do not give them a thought—your sinful habits and attitudes; your instinct for hypocrisy; your natural self-righteousness and self-reliance; your constant unbelief; your moral frivolity, and shallowness in repentance; your half-heartedness, worldliness, fearfulness, despondency; your spiritual conceit and insensitiveness. And you will also find that this shattering letter has unique power to evoke the joy, assurance, boldness, liberty, and ardour of spirit which God both requires of and gives to those who love him.”
Interested in learning more about Romans? Here are a few suggested resources:
- Romans For You by Tim Keller: Chapters 1-7, Chapters 8-16
- Romans Bible Study with Dr. Michael Kruger (21 lectures)
- The Best Commentaries on Romans
- Romans: The Greatest Letter Ever Written by John Piper (225 sermons)
Thanks to all who read the book Knowing God with me as part of Reading Classics Together. This brings us to the end of the book.
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