The way these games are played is I would be asked, if stranded on a deserted island, with only one thing to read, what would it be? My answer is simple, maybe predictable: Paul’s epistle to the Romans. I can even take it further and tell you that chapter 8 is my favorite section of my favorite letter. As it has been observed, it starts with “no condemnation” and ends with “no separation”. Thus the glory of a Gospel that saves, and keeps saving.
A pastoral guide to the second part of Paul’s magnum opus has been authored by Pastor Tim Keller, of Manhattan’s ‘Redeemer Presbyterian Church’, a companion volume to his 2014 release on the first part. Combined, they make for an amazing resource for those looking to know more, but may not desire more traditional, or even exegetical resources. Pastor Keller has developed the themes of the epistle’s latter chapters in a way that makes the text come to life. He provides color, if you will, to the black and white pages of Scripture.
The book is highly quotable, both in the primary text and in the quotes that Pastor Keller incorporates from previous preachers (especially Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Stott). His comments on the critical passage in Romans 13, regarding the nature of the Christian’s relationship to the state, were poignant and helpful: “Paul’s radical principle is: we obey our government out of our Christian conscience, out of our obedience to God alone. This is radical, for it cuts two ways. On the one hand, we will obey the state even when there are no civil consequences, because our motivation is obedience to the God who established the state. On the other hand, we can never submit uncritically to what the state tells us. If it requires us to violate our conscience, we must disobey.”
Each chapter ends with discussion questions, which can be very helpful for small groups and further individual contemplation. The book also ends with a helpful appendix on “The Doctrines of God’s Sovereignty and Election” which will provide the reader with a very helpful, Biblical perspective on these vital doctrines.
This is an easy recommendation for all Bible students, pastors, teachers, or anybody that simply desires to know Romans better.