What is the “good news” of Jesus Christ? Why do people need to hear it? How can they experience it? What will it mean for their future? And what does the good news have to do with everyday life? These large and basic questions form Paul’s agenda in Romans—an agenda dictated by a combination of audiences, circumstances and purposes.
Last year we started into the book of Romans and worked our way–verse by verse–through the opening two chapters. This year, we pick up where we left off and keep moving forward.
As Luther said:
[Romans] is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes”
Romans ch1-2 Recap - Jeremy Duncan
Paul has a history as a fundamentalist zealot Pharisee who has a radical encounter with the story of Jesus that changes everything for him. This same Jesus reveals the faithfulness of God - that God never for a moment intended to leave us on our own. And that because he loves us so deeply he is fiercely committed to the destruction of all that destroys us.
Romans 3:1-8 - Scott Wall
Paul starts chapter three with a few rhetorical questions. The first inquires what advantage there is in being Jewish given that everyone has a capacity for grace…and everyone thinks he’s going to say ‘Nothing!’ But he doesn’t. He asserts that the Jews have every advantage because they’ve received the oracles of God… that God has long been revealing himself. And this idea should give us pause, and encourage us to reflect on how God has been at work in our stories. How we have encountered His persistent and yet tender pressing into our lives.
Romans 3:9-20 - Jeremy Duncan
In these verses, Paul weaves together some poetry from the Psalms about the sinfulness of all of us and that inevitably every embarrassing thing we allow out of our mouths started in our throat, was formed with our tongue, was passed through our lips, and at every moment along the way - we could have stopped it…
Romans 3:21-26 - Jeremy Duncan
For Paul, salvation is not just a transaction between you and God - where you believe the right things and he saves you because of it. No, for Paul salvation is a dynamic relationship where you come to understand that God is faithful to you and you learn to trust him or believe in him because of that faithfulness.
Romans 3:27-31 - Jeremy Duncan
The whole jewish story is not that God gave them some rules and they followed them really well and God loved them for it. In fact most of the Jewish story is about how they were terrible at following the rules and they kept getting themselves in trouble and they kept crying out… and God still kept rescuing them. The entire national story of Israel was “God loved us first; that’s why we follow him. And now Paul is saying that because Jesus has come and finally been faithful to the story of God in a way that no Israelite was ever able to do - even to the point of giving his life for others - that the Old Testament story has been completed and expanded to all peoples the way it was always meant to be.
Romans 4 - Jeremy Duncan
Paul uses the story of Abraham from Genesis to make a series of arguments that help make his point. It is fascinating to see how Paul thinks, especially when he reads the Hebrew scriptures, because Paul is going to make 5 argument for why the story of Abraham was always meant to point to Jesus.