God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Identity Crisis: Romans for the 21st Century (#Rfor21stC)

Paul writing the letter to the Church in Rome. In my mind, Paul is always writing Romans.

The Letter from Paul to the Church in Rome, also called the Epistle to the Romans, has been my biblical residence for the past three years. I fell in love with the letter studying at Fuller and moved in completely when we relocated to Petaluma. Almost every theological discussion I have eventually includes this amazing book. I currently teach a series on Sunday nights in the book. After about 9 months of study We are only to chapter 9. What can I say - I love this book.

I decided to share here on this blog how God has challenged me through this book. This is to help me get back into writing and share what I believe are great challenges to traditional views of righteousness, salvation, the church and the role each plays in life. These challenges are much deeper than the usual “faith vs. works” dribble I read and hear. The letter to the Romans is deeper and richer than that simple duality. This richness and depth is what I want to share with you in the next few months.

Almost everything I write will come from my personal readings of the letter. Although I am not against using commentaries or scholarly books, I enjoy reading the scripture by itself more. Also, I feel most commentaries and sermons have unnecessary doctrinal agendas or biases when coming to the text. When all you discuss is “faith vs. works,” everything in scripture looks like a “faith vs. works” argument. They also tend to focus so much energy on harmonizing the other letters of Paul that they detract from the profound message Paul is conveying in this letter. Although everything Paul has written is harmonious, he did not expect them to hold up the letter to the Thessalonians and state, “Why yes, Dorcus, this is similar to what he wrote to the Thessalonians.” So I do not plan to, either.

Here’s how I hope to present Romans:

Each post will be around 500 words. This is not because I doubt my reader’s intellect or their ability to concentrate. It is because I don’t like reading 2000-3000-word posts. I get bored easily. Each post will center on a section of each chapter but will not follow a strict verse-for-verse commentary method. I may (and will) write more than one post on a certain section. I will reference different parts of the book as I go, reminding of what came before more often than foreshadowing what is to come. I hope to write and post two a week, maybe Mondays and Wednesdays. If someone asks an interesting question or I get side-tracked (this blog is called Random Thoughts from Graham after all) I’ll post something on a Friday. However, as Papa from The Shack says, “Nothing is a ritual.” Prepare for changes.

I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts and I look forward to being challenged along with you as we dive into the deep, rich pool that is the Letter to the Romans – starting Monday.