In this meditation on the Book of Romans you will see not only the forest, but also the trees. That is, as you spend time, day by day you will gain a good grasp on the flow of Paul’s letter, the major themes and practical applications; and you will enjoy the details along the way. Each day will bring new reasons for praising God who is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26)
The Day by Day series fills a gap between the typical daily devotional readings (very brief) and in-depth commentaries (very long). It provides expositional devotionals in bite size amounts for the busy Christian.
This particular volume will take you through one year of reading in Paul’s letter to the Romans, one or two verses at a time. You will notice these expositions are divided to suit a typical five-day work week. We recommend you conclude each reading with a few minutes in conversation with the Lord, using the prayer at the end of each day’s meditation as a springboard to adding your own thoughts to God.
From the preface:
Many books and commentaries have been written on Paul’s letter to the Romans. Probably one of the best is by recognized scholar and New Testament historian, F.F. Bruce, “Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free.” While this present volume makes no pretense at joining the ranks of such in-depth studies, we are deeply indebted to the gift God has given through the great writers and commentators like Bruce who have plumbed the depths and shared the blessing through their works.
Our goal here is different, and that is to lay out the book of Romans in a daily reading format, to help make it more accessible. Recognizing that many have difficulty staying focused on long, theologically and scholarly saturated tomes, we want to help the reader come to grips in short, day by day portions, with time to meditate on the smaller portions and not get lost in the large topics and doctrines. In other words this approach to the word of God will help you see the “trees” and not get lost in the “forest.” At the end, the reader will have a fairly good grasp on the flow of the book, the major themes and practical applications, and yet enjoy the details along the way. Hopefully, each day will bring new reasons for praising God for the wonderful truth of Justification.
Some have called Paul’s letter to the Romans his ultimate theological thesis, his Magnum Opus. All agree it is his complete presentation of a core doctrine of Christian faith. To be sure the deity of Christ is central, along with monotheism and the unity of the Godhead (and Paul wrote clearly on those doctrines). But Paul championed justification by grace through faith as the proverbial hill on which he planted his flag. This was his go-to-the-wall issue, as is clearly seen in Galatians 1.
Paul wrote his letter prior to departing the eastern Mediterranean area for good. Upon completing three missionary tours, he set his eyes on Spain, with the plan to stop first in Jerusalem to deliver a benevolence care package to believers in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25, 28), then visiting Rome to encourage the believers there. His “stop off” in Jerusalem took a little longer than expected (Acts 21-26), and his method of getting to Rome was not quite as he expected (Acts 27-28), and it is debated whether he ever made it to Spain. At any rate, He was hoping the Roman believers could help him on his way to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28).
Apparently in preparation for his brief visit the apostle gave some time to lay out a carefully written, tightly argued presentation of how one can become right with God. It is at once philosophy at its finest and theology at its deepest. Whereas his letter to the Galatians was apologetic, in the sense of defending the doctrine of justification against the legalisms of the Judaizers, the letter to the Romans is better seen as a polemic, a presentation of the truth of justification on the offensive. He is not arguing against false doctrine, he is simply presenting right doctrine in all its glory.
Profound is not a word that would exaggerate a description of this letter. The first eleven chapters present the doctrine in propositional manner, showing the need of justification, the meaning of justification and how to attain justification. The last five chapters of the letter lay out the ramifications of a life built on the truth of justification. We might call the first part of the book the “what” of justification and the second part the “so what” of justification. The pivotal spot of the book, as many have observed, is the word “therefore” in Romans 1. If that doctrine is in fact true, then what difference will it make in our lives? My prayer for the reader is that you will be encouraged, built up and blessed as you slowly meditate your way through Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Like all previous Day by Day volumes, this present one is designed to be read devotionally, one page per day