Imagine that you grew up your whole life only reading about the Elephant and imagining in your mind that it was creature about a foot tall and 2 feet long, green in color, had 4 short legs, 2 long ears and with a nose or a snout like a pig. But you never had a chance to see an actual Elephant until one day when you are an adult you encounter one in a zoo. Would you readily accept that this new creature you are seeing – the largest land mammal – was actually the Elephant that had been living in your imagination all these years? Probably not!
And this is exactly what happened with the Jews. They mostly expected their Messiah to be a certain way and fulfill certain requirements (mostly political) but when they encountered the real Messiah (who gave them something way more important than political freedom), they just weren’t ready to accept the shift in reality from what was in their imagination.
Now imagine if you grew up your own life not even knowing about the Elephant or any of his characteristics and then you encounter one for the first time an adult. How would you approach it? You probably would take it for what its worth, be curious to understand more about it and approach it without any preconceived notions or expectations.
And this would describe the non-Jews also known as gentiles. They had no prior expectations of a Messiah and so when they encountered Jesus and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, they had no previous paradigm for how things should be like and embraced the new.
Now can you imagine what it would have been like to have both these groups of people in the same church. Not only were they approaching their new found belief in Christ from different lenses but they also come from vastly opposing cultural mindset and practices.
This was the Roman church. The one to whom the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Romans is addressed.
And as we read this book of Romans, we will find that it contains one of the most in-depth theological treatises as Paul helps the Jews understand the Old Testament scriptures in light of the Gospel (Jesus’ life, death and resurrection) while also making sure the gentiles are fully included in the church.
So, let us get right to it. Let us do our best to immerse ourselves into the heart of what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us in this densely packed theological discourse by Apostle Paul.
The Roman church that is comprised of Jews and Gentiles are called to embrace God’s righteous justification by faith, walk in new life, in love and in unity.
Weekly Reading Plan
And now here is the weekly plan for you to read through this section.
If you want to dig deeper here are some of my suggestions:
- Use the above schedule to read through all of the text
- Re-read parts of Acts where we see Paul interacting with the Romans to get a better understanding of who they are.
- Look up a biblical commentary to understand more about some of the theologies brought by Paul in this book.
- Optional (if you want to really read through the Bible in a year): Read Psalms 112-114.
And that is it for week 39!
Happy Bible Learning!