My pastor at First McKinney has led us through the book of Romans almost weekly for over a year. (We’re currently taking a short break to celebrate our 150th church anniversary.) His expositional speaking style has exposed our church family to an unusual (for Baptists) preaching strategy of going through even longer books of the Bible from start to finish. Of course, none is usually as long as Romans has been, but from the beginning, he explained why the exercise was worth the time and effort.
Romans is just that important to the Christian’s daily life. When we know the orthodoxy of chapters 1–11 and are ready to embody the orthopraxy of chapters 12–16, we are living “our best Christian life.”
Over halfway through the series, Bible Study Magazine sent me a list of more books to review. When I saw Michael Gorman’s new commentary, it seemed timely. As I read through it with enthusiasm, I emailed my pastor to recommend it for his remaining studying in the sermon series.
Below is my review of Romans: A Theological & Pastoral Commentary by Michael J. Gorman. It appeared in the Sept/Oct 2022 issue of Bible Study Magazine:
“If John is the Gospel of life, Romans is the epistle of life” (p 23). Michael Gorman’s commentary on Romans argues that, for the apostle Paul, the good news of Jesus Christ is meant for more than mere belief—it should result in a transformed life. The deep theology of chapters 1–11 motivates and empowers the cruciform, Spirit-led life in multicultural communities characterized by peace and justice.
The beauty of Gorman’s commentary is found not only in its expert analysis but also in its organization and accessibility. Asserting that Romans demonstrates that “Paul’s theology always has a pastoral function” (p 26), Gorman, recognized Pauline scholar and chair of the Biblical Studies and Theology Department at St. Mary’s Seminary & University, structures his new Eerdmans’ release as an ideal resource for pastors and teachers. He opens with an extended background section on Paul himself, analyzing what motivated Paul’s focus on transformative faith. He also includes a thorough review of Paul’s historical/cultural context. From there he moves into a section-by-section commentary of the text itself.
Gorman obviously wants his commentary to be accessible to non-professionals, the believers who study scripture as part of their regular faith journey. But he also designed it to be practical and useable for preachers and teachers. Two helpful elements stand out: First, he includes reflection questions at the conclusion of his comments on each section of scripture—one set for readers and a separate set for pastors and teachers. Second, he ends each section with separate book lists “for further reading and study”—one meant to be widely accessible and the others more scholarly. The result is a scholarly yet readable commentary that believers across the spectrum, particularly those who teach, will find valuable and useful.
Reprinted with permission.