Friday, March 2, 2012

An Adventure In Romans, Part 1 - Introduction

In January, 2011 I began the task of reading through some of the commentaries I have on Paul's Epistle to The Romans. The general plan was to read a section at a time in all of the commentaries and be completed with the task in 2011. Well, it's now February, 2012 and I'm just finishing up through chapter 8 (of the 16 chapters). So I'm hoping to now complete this by the end of 2012. I'm not discouraged with my progress, since I have been reading other things (see some previous posts I made at this blog) and Jen and I have also begun teaching Sunday School for the 7th grade class. It's been good to steadily plug along through the commentaries.

As Martin Luther once said, "We find in [Romans], then, the richest possible teaching about what a Christian should know."

In this first post, I would like to introduce you to the commentaries I've been reading. Then the following posts I will make will be of quotes I kept track of (and posted to Facebook along the way) during my reading with a post by each author. I plan on having 6 subsequent posts of these quotes by posting 3 from the first half of Romans and 3 from the second half.

The first is a standalone volume by WH Griffith Thomas. This is a gem of a commentary from the mid-20th Century. It is labeled as a "devotional commentary" and it is great to read. I picked up a 1956 edition many years ago and have really enjoyed reading it. I had never heard of Thomas, but basically he was an Anglican Dispensationalist who was also one of the founders of Dallas Theological Seminary. There is not a lot of emphasis on linguistics in this commentary. While it is easy to read and Thomas does have a lot of devotional/application material, it also does provide good depth into Romans.

The second is part of the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series by FF Bruce. This is truly a wonderful volume. Bruce may perhaps be my favorite author. He was a professor at University of Manchester and was aligned with the Plymouth Brethren denomination. I have read a lot of books that he has written, and this commentary on Romans is really good. It's laid out a little differently than many other commentaries I've read in that Bruce will often provide his own translation/paraphrase of a section of the scripture followed by a walk-through that may include some information about the Greek as well as references to other ancient writings (such as Dead Sea Scrolls, etc...) and then he will follow it with short comments on individual verses.

The third is from the Crossway Classic Commentaries series by Charles Hodge. Hodge, the great Presbyterian Princeton Preacher. This is by far the most technical commentary I'm reading out of the three. There really is a lot of information that Hodge provides. In some cases, such as with Romans 3:20 and the topic of our justification, he will spend 6 or more pages on a theme from that single verse.

Here are links to all the posts in the series:
Part 2: WH Griffith Thomas on Chapters 1-8
Part 3: FF Bruce on Chapters 1-8
Part 4: Charles Hodge on Chapters 1-8 
Part 5: WH Griffith Thomas on Chapters 9-12
Part 6: Charles Hodge on Chapters 9-12