Now it is time to go back and have a backwards look in overview or review of what we have done so far. Go back and read Romans 1 – 4 again. Think about the input I have given you already and what you have seen for yourself. Hey what about sharing with me some of the insights you have seen along the way. I don’t know it all and never will. God’s word is too deep for that. Take note of how the pieces connect together. Paul isn’t a writer or thinker who thinks in discrete little boxes, who finishes one topic and then moves on to the next one. No, Paul’s thought is all connected together. Sometimes it is convoluted but is heading in the one direction. Look for the ways in which the parts we have dissected go together. As you read, look at the logical connections between the parts. Connect the dots people.
Remember Paul is a man with a mind like a lawyer and he presents his argument in a very reasoned and well thought out way. So it is not wise just to pick apart the pieces of Paul’s writing without putting it back together again in the big picture. So this is your moment to do that for the first four chapters. Always remember to operate on the micro level with the small details at the same time you work on the macro level with the big picture. What helps is for you to read it again and put in the section headings that you think are appropriate. Don’t worry about what others have decided the title of a section is. You do it and call it what you think summarises what is happening. Then when you have finished put all of your headings in a list and think about how the pieces go together.
Another good thing to do is to use Eugene Peterson’s Message Version from the first few editions where he did not put in the verses numbers. That makes the text flow on and forces you to do the thinking about where the breaks come. Remember what I have told you before: the early Greek and Hebrew texts were not broken into sections and chapters. That came later. The words breaks were not in the text; the text all ran together without spaces between the words. Imagine that.
Ok time for you to go to work and for me to stop interrupting you. Go do it.
Sometimes faith is an instrument of change; at other times it’s a means of survival.Bob Gass