Friday, January 4, 2013


I’m gearing up for Romans!

So far, I’ve amassed 16 commentaries and 8 sets of study notes for Romans. Some of these include works by Swindoll, Sproul, Stott, MacArthur, McGee, Moo, Carroll, Luther, Constable, and E.F. Harrison, to name a few. Tony (Providence Jeff. City campus pastor) and BP have got a few more that I will be able to share as well!  Online commentaries are a great resource, too. There I will likely tap into works by divines like Calvin, Wesley, Charles Hodge, and Schaff among others. Even early church guys like Chrysostom, Thomas Aquinas, and Augustine have commentaries on Romans that are available online! Awesome.
Sketch of Luther translating the
NT into German in Wartburg Castle

I’m also dusting off my Greek resources and tools. My desk is a heap! A big, beautiful heap. I just want to be kidnapped and confined in Wartburg Castle (that’s a Luther reference) with my Bibles & books so that I can marinate alone in all the truth! Yikes!...I’m shaking my head trying to wake up from the preacher-nerd trance. This is the kind of studying that I love most.

The actual desk where Luther worked.
Ahhhh... Romans. I’ve been scared and intimidated, but since going public that we’re going to do it, I’m becoming more and more excited. While I was in seminary John MacArthur came to speak and was asked during a Q&A about preaching through Romans. He quipped that a pastor should not attempt such a feat until he is at least 45 years old! It occurred to me last year when I was sensing God’s pleasure regarding us doing Romans that...that’s my age. Coincidence?
Wartburg Castle today
(and yes, that's where Wartburg,
Tennessee got its name)

Seriously, here’s the danger that many pastors fail to avoid: getting too caught up in delicious theological detail. Romans is to expositors what the Great Smokies are to botanists: a rich garden of interesting discoveries waiting to be found. I’ve been surveying how other pastors have led their congregations through Paul’s great letter. Most of them focused on doctrine and quoted lots of old theologians (see my list of commentators above!) and bored their people to death! What a shame!!! In the words of Young Life founder Jim Rayburn, “It is a sin to bore kids with the Gospel.” I would say it is also sinful to bore adults with the Gospel. And that’s what Romans is essentially about: The Good News—why we need it, how we get it, who makes it happen, and what happens to the lives of those who find it. Is it practical? Oh yes...yes it is.

And it offers our church many great opportunities to invite friends. Something that makes Providence different is our dogged commitment to creating an environment where new folks will feel at home. We do this in order to remove barriers so that people can hear the Good News. We’re going to work extra to make sure this is the case during Romans. Providence folks: build relationships and bring your friends. We’ll do our job. You do yours!

And God will do his.


Anonymous said...

When does Romans start?

Anonymous said...

When does the study of Romans begin?

Chad Sparks said...

Starts on the first Sunday in February!