For all of you theologues and bibliophiles out there, I have a recommendation for you. The latest issue of The Southern Baptist Jouranl of Theology is comprised of a variety of studies on the book of Romans, and the essays are written by some of the leading evangelical specialists on Paul. Contributors include Douglas Moo, Mark Seifrid, Robert Yarbrough, Tom Schreiner, and more. I am thoroughly enjoying this issue, and I highly recommend your picking one up. Here is the table of contents:
The Epistle to the Romans
Vol. 11, No. 3, Fall 2007
Stephen J. Wellum, “Learning from the Epistle to the Romans”
John Polhill, “The Setting of Romans in the Ministry of Paul”
Benjamin L. Merkle, “Is Romans Really the Greatest Letter Ever Written?“
A. B. Caneday, “‘They Exchanged the Glory of God for the Likeness of an Image’: Idolatrous Adam and Israel as Representatives in Paul’s Letter to the Romans”
Robert W. Yarbrough, “The Theology of Romans in Future Tense”
Douglas Moo, “Paul’s Universalizing Hermeneutic in Romans”
Mark A. Seifrid, “The Gospel as the Revelation of Mystery: The Witness of the Scriptures to Christ in Romans”
Thomas R. Schreiner, “Sermon: Loving One Another Fulfills the Law: Romans 13:8-10″
It looks like an interesting journal. I was surprised to see no real controversial issues in there. I read some of the article about whether Romans was the greatest letter ever written. It was crazy seeing how long some have preached through Romans, which I guess is still understandable. I remember as a youth pastor I was preaching through the book of Mark and months later I was still in the first chapter. It became a joke after a while (“Turn to Mark. Guess what chapter.”)
Anyway concerning Roman’s as the greatest letter ever written, N.T. Wright says this in his commentary concerning the purpose Paul might have had for writing the letter of Romans which was that he had Spain in his sights which he wanted to missionize and he was trying to get the Roman churches on board with him to support him in that effort. And Wright goes on to talk about how even though that likely was his purpose how it ended up playing out in end and in the grand scheme of things..
“He had Spain in his sights; but with Jerusalem to face before he could turn westward he was not altogether sanguine about the prospects.
That was just as well. According to Acts, Jerusalem was a near-disaster, the trip to Rome happened two years late and under armed guard, and the sea might easily have swallowed Paul and his companions before they ever got to see the Seven Hills. Likewise, we do not know if Paul ever made it to Spain at all, and in the absence of evidence that he did most scholars prefer to play safe and suggest that he probably did not.
If there is a lesson to be drawn from this it is that of Prov 19:21: human minds devise
many plans, but it is YHWHâ€™s purpose that will be established. Paul would have heartily agreed, even when the human mind in question is that of an apostle guided and equipped by Godâ€™s Spirit. But this should not lead to a shoulder-shrugging fatalism. On the contrary. One of the most important lessons in Romans 15 might be put thus: God
allowed Paul to dream of Spain in order that he might write Romans. No matter that Paul
probably never reached Spain. What mattered was that he wrote this letter, which has
been far more powerful and influential than any missionary visit, even by Paul himself,
could ever have been. Perhaps (that word again) half our great plans, the dreams we
dream for our churches and our world, and even for ourselves, are dreams God allows us
to dream in order that, on the way there, we may accomplish, almost without realizing it,
the crucial thing God intends us to do.”
I think that is an interesting thought considering how great the letter of Romans is and what it’s influence has been through history.
I’m in Robert Yarbrough’s class right now and he just prayed for you guys in San Diego. This brought your blog to mind. I checked it and the first article suggests I read the new SBJT, which according to you, has a good article by Robert Yarbrough. Oooooooooo!