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Strolling Through the Book of Romans November 22, 2010

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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I’ve recently started reading through the Epistle of Paul to the Romans with the aid of a commentary by Charles Hodge. I should note that I’ve previously read through Romans at least twice. This time, I hope to comprehend the book as a whole (and not as a collection of individual verses/chapters) while delving into its structure, grasping the flow of Paul’s arguments and reinforcing my understanding of the fundamentals of Christian faith and practice.

I plan to blog about this experience as I read through both the epistle and Hodge’s commentary. Each post will correspond to a specific section in the NIV translation.

For starters, here are my thoughts on Romans 1:1-7.

Summary: In this passage, Paul introduces himself to the church in Rome. He states both his name and his office in relation to the church – namely, that he has been called by God as an apostle and sent forth to spread the Good News concerning salvation through Jesus Christ. He then lays out some of the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith, including:

  • the Good News of salvation through Jesus can be found in the Old Testament prophecies
  • Jesus Christ was fully human and came from the royal line of David
  • the resurrection event is the conclusive evidence for the divine nature of Jesus Christ

Paul also notes that all Gentiles have been called to hold to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, and he asserts that the church in Rome falls under this category. He concludes by pronouncing a blessing over them in the name of both God the Father and God the Son.

Thoughts: It was common for a Jew during Biblical times to change their name after a life-changing event. Apparently, it was also common for Jews during the New Testament era to have two names if they had extensive interactions with Greeks and to go by a particular name based on the company in which they found themselves. Both of these factors essentially converged in a perfect storm in Acts 13, which led to Saul being referred to subsequently as Paul.

J.I. Packer notes in the introduction to Hodge’s commentary that Romans “…has been regarded as the high peak of the Bible.” While this may be difficult to comprehend, at least initially, we do see that that Paul presents the three above-mentioned fundamental beliefs of Christianity. Indeed, we have only made our way through seven verses of the first chapter of Romans, yet we can already see the building blocks of our faith being assembled.

In verse 7 we see that “saints” is not a designation that is reserved for only “very special and holy” Christians. In fact, all Christians are called to be “saints,” since by pledging our allegiance to Christ and submitting to His authority over our lives, we have been separated from the world and freed from automatic submission to the principles that worldly people adhere to. Of course, being a “saint” is a difficult calling that necessarily entails sacrifices and (apparent) losses as we follow Christ and His will for our lives. We also see in verse 7, though, that “saints” are meant to receive abundant blessings from God, which is an encouraging reminder of God’s promises in the midst of difficulties and setbacks.

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1. Final Greetings « Ringing In - September 6, 2012

[…] was rather enjoyable; it even served as a welcome break from my relatively in-depth strolls through Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Ephesians. To understand why many believers have delighted in reading […]


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