Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rummaging through Romans-Stats

Wouldn't you love to have an entry window into Paul's world? This 'apostle to the Gentiles' lived a life of raw honesty. Did he know he was writing letters that would one day be regarded as the holy text? The miles of desolated travel, fierce loneliness that opened hours of demonic bombardments at night and the weight of dramatic gospel advancements with poor theology and false teachings that ravaged the early church, loaded him daily. It makes my daily groans seem like whispers in a raging wind storm.

I know that there is so philosophizing and conjecture around apostles today. Yet much of what I hear seems more reflective of a sociological conversation around cultural leadership than this most noble humble office. The book of Romans has been my vacation musing. Oh Lord what a wondrous gift. Paul was a man of many words and certainly not easy words. Yet his pain for these new believers as well as for his Jewish brothers rampages through these pages.

Here are some interesting stats about this amazing letter, that was written to a church that faced the weighty challenges of urban church planting in the prevailing civilization of the day:
  • Written around AD 57 [ESV study]
  • 16 chapters,
  • mentions of the kingdom x 1,
  • of signs and wonders x 1
  • God's wrath x 10,
  • the gospel x 11,
  • justified x 11,
  • grace x 17,
  • righteousness x 41,
  • the law [in all its forms] x 75.
Isn't that just WOW? One must always be very wary of reading too much into stats. This is one of the letters that Paul wrote. To get a more complete Pauline theology one obviously needs to study all his writings. However it is widely regarded that this epistle is the yardstick for all theology. May I draw attention to these propositions:
  • The apostle's primary task is to see the gospel proclaimed toward salvation,
  • To let this gospel then establish believers in the faith,
  • To lay solid gospel centered Christological foundations,
  • Defending and guarding truth / doctrine,
  • All other parts of his mandate do fall behind these matters.
More musings to come...

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