Romans: On Approaching the “Greatest” Letter Ever Written

There is no single greater letter in Scripture than the apostle Paul’s letter to Romans. There may not be a greater letter written given its ability to change lives. It was Romans that was responsible for the conversion of St. Augustine to Christianity. It was Romans that was responsible for the transformation of Martin Luther. It was Romans that was responsible for the turnaround of John Wesley.  

Preparing to communicate Romans to the beautiful community that chooses to allow me to be their pastor, I have been reflecting on how to approach Romans. Here are my conclusions with three weeks to go before the first sermon from  Romans:

1) I now see that one does not master Romans; one is mastered by Romans.  This letter is not just to be read; this letter will read you.

2) One cannot rush through Romans anymore than one can rush a feast. Romans is to be eaten, bite by bite, taking time to savor the savory aromas and nuances of thengospel meal that is Romans. Martin Lloyd-Jones, arguably the greatest expositor of the last century, preached for 13 years from Romans. I have been studying Romans for two years to get ready for this series. This slow marination process has convinced me Romans is to great to rush.

3) I intend to do all I can to get Romans into the bones, brain cells, muscles and bloodstream of the beautiful community I get to pastor. Karl Barth is associated with Romans more than any person other than Paul. He believed that the church had blended faith and culture to the detriment of faith. Romans challenges that blending and calls for a faith formed more and more by scripture and less and less by culture. I am approaching this document as if the only goal is to come under the influence of Romans so as to be genuinely full of the faith that Paul so comprehsively outlines.