When I first began to read and study the book of Romans, I was amazed at the run-on sentence abilities of the Apostle Paul. I don’t mean this negatively – it just blew me away how so much could be stuffed into a sentence, a paragraph, or a chapter.
Romans has been an anchor for me as I have grown in my life of translating the deep truths of God into helpful strategies for living. This is the approach I would like to take as we go through this powerful book. 1) what exactly is communicated as this letter unfolds and 2) what was the impact upon the original audience and 3) how do I bring each principle into my own attempts to experience and build Christ’s Kingdom through my own life.
As we begin to read I am struck by what had brought Paul to the place of understanding these complex, yet simple issues, which form the story of the book of Romans: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows — was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). A tough life with incredible highs and devastating lows.
Welcome to a letter which brings it all together: Ancient human and Hebrew roots, people frailties, and the beauty of what it means to encounter Christ and His Kingdom.
“… according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.
Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.” – Philippians 1:20-26
There is also a Romans 1.2. Place it in the search box and you will be in!