Devotional using only Romans

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Milkman | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Jan 28 2016 1:33 PM

Does FL carry a devotional dedicated to the Book or Romans?


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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 1:42 PM

I didn't find any with my quick look, but there is a Vyrso resource: 

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 1:56 PM

I don't know of one classed as a devotional.  

I know I am a weird duck, but I found reading through Cranfield's ICC commentary on Romans to be a stunning bringer of joy.

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

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Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 2:11 PM

Thanks to both.

I read the Amazon reviews on Boice's 40 day devotional and I think I'll probably use his commentaries instead. I could use Martyn Lloyd-Jones as well, but alas not electronic copies.

Cranfield? Not gonna happen. A little too much for this milkman at this time. I'm going through Dallimore's two volume on Whitefield while trying to make it through Bavinck's Dogmatics.

Thanks both again Yes



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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 3:08 PM

I would recommend Barnhouse's commentary on Romans to you as well.

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Sue McIntyre | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 3:50 PM

You may like to consider the 'For Everyone' series a helpful adjunct to devotional reading.  I am really appreciating it. 

It is easy to read and pitched at a level that gives me some background as well as plenty to think about and reflect upon. I can then follow up later in more detail from other resources.

There are two volumes on Romans 

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 5:03 PM

Sue McIntyre:
You may like to consider the 'For Everyone' series a helpful adjunct to devotional reading.  I am really appreciating it. 


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Paul C | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 5:13 PM

I don't know of a Romans devotional. However, I think the work that inspired me to dig deeper into Romans is; "Preface to Romans" by Luther. It is important to know that Luther was studying Romans when he was moved to point out some of the errors in the Catholic church. If you don't have it in Logos, you can find it via a quick Google search. Highly recommended.

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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 8:12 PM

What resource is that in Paul?

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Paul C | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 8:24 PM 

I do believe it's available in Logos,  In a Luther collection.

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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 28 2016 8:25 PM

A search in Life works didn't turn it up.  Was hoping you had easy link.  I did find it on ccel.

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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 29 2016 8:08 AM

I actually found it.  It's in Luther's Works, Vol 35, Page 365.  And I agree it is helpful in understanding Romans better.

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 29 2016 11:09 AM

Everett Headley:
A search in Life works didn't turn it up.  Was hoping you had easy link.

How to find a work by Martin Luther? Mikko Paavola from Finland has built a great PB for that, which gets updated in the Files forum as more Works from Luther become available in Logos.

See the latest version here -  The preface to Romans is found e.g. in the comparison tables:

As you found out, page 365 in LW 35 (plus the reference in the St. Louis edition and - for those reading German or using the standard citation - the Weimarer Ausgabe).

The PB features clickable links directly to LW (thanks Mikko!) and other works carrying Luther-authored material:


non-owners of LW thus get a chance to find the stuff in their libraries (Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings for me) and even a link to the Luther Reading Challenge on the web.

Running Logos 8 latest beta version on Win 10

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 29 2016 12:16 PM

Sue McIntyre:

You may like to consider the 'For Everyone' series a helpful adjunct to devotional reading.  I am really appreciating it. 

It is easy to read and pitched at a level that gives me some background as well as plenty to think about and reflect upon. I can then follow up later in more detail from other resources.

There are two volumes on Romans 

Similar to Wright is Barclay...

The New Daily Study Bible: The Letter to the Romans by William Barclay

Here is a sample of each:


Romans 4:13–17

It was not through law that there came to Abraham or to his seed the promise that he would inherit the earth, but it came through that right relationship with God which has its origin in faith. If they who are vassals of the law are heirs, then faith is drained of its meaning, and the promise is rendered inoperative; for the law produces wrath, but where law does not exist, neither can transgression exist. So, then, the whole process depends on faith, in order that it may be a matter of grace, so that the promise should be guaranteed to all Abraham’s descendants, not only to those who belong to the tradition of the law, but also to those who are of Abraham’s family in virtue of faith. Abraham who is the father of us all—as it stands written, ‘I have appointed you a father of many nations’—in the sight of that God in whom he believed, that God who calls the dead into life, and who calls into being even things which do not exist.

To Abraham, God made a very great and wonderful promise. He promised that he would become a great nation, and that in him all families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:2–3). In truth, the earth would be given to him as his inheritance. Now, that promise came to Abraham because of the faith that he showed towards God. It did not come because he piled up merit by doing works of the law. It was the outgoing of God’s generous grace in answer to Abraham’s absolute faith. The promise, as Paul saw it, was dependent on two things and two things only—the free grace of God and the perfect faith of Abraham.

The Jews were still asking: ‘How can anyone enter into the right relationship with God in order to inherit this great promise also?’ Their answer was: ‘This can be done by acquiring merit in the sight of God through doing works which the law prescribes.’ That is to say, people must do it by their own efforts. Paul saw with absolute clearness that this Jewish attitude had completely destroyed the promise. It had done so for this reason: no one can fully keep the law; therefore, if the promise depends on keeping the law, it can never be fulfilled.

Paul saw things in terms of black and white. He saw two mutually exclusive ways of trying to get into a right relationship with God. On the one hand, there was dependence on human effort; on the other, dependence on divine grace. On the one hand, there was the constant losing battle to obey an impossible law; on the other, there was the faith which simply takes God at his word.

On each side, there were three things to be noted.

(1) On the one side, there is God’s promise. There are two Greek words which mean promise. Huposchesis means a promise which is entered into upon conditions. ‘I promise to do this if you promise to do that.’ Epaggelia means a promise made out of the goodness of someone’s heart quite unconditionally. It is epaggelia that Paul uses of the promise of God. It is as if he is saying: ‘God is like a human father; he promises to love his children no matter what they do.’ True, he will love some of us with a love that makes him glad, and he will love some of us with a love that makes him sad; but in either case it is a love which will never let us go. It is dependent not on our merit but only on God’s own generous heart.

(2) There is faith. Faith is the certainty that God is indeed like that. It is staking everything on his love.

(3) There is grace. A gift of grace is always something which is unearned and undeserved. The truth is that we can never earn the love of God. We must always find that glory not in what we can do for God but in what God has done for us.

(1) On the other side, there is law. The trouble about law has always been that it can diagnose the fault but cannot bring about a cure. Law shows people where they are going wrong, but does not help them to avoid going wrong. There is, in fact, as Paul will later stress, a kind of terrible paradox in law. It is human nature that, when a thing is forbidden, it has a tendency to become desirable. ‘Stolen fruits are sweetest.’ Law, therefore, can actually move people to desire the very thing which it forbids. The essential complement of law is judgment, and, as long as men and women live in a religion whose dominant thought is law, they cannot see themselves as anything other than condemned criminals awaiting God’s justice.

(2) There is transgression. Whenever law is introduced, transgression follows. No one can break a law which does not exist; and we cannot be condemned for breaking a law of whose existence we were ignorant. If we introduce law and stop there, if we make religion solely a matter of obeying law, life consists of one long series of transgressions waiting to be punished.

(3) There is wrath. Think of law, think of transgression, and inevitably the next thought is wrath. Think of God in terms of law, and the only way to think of him is in terms of outraged justice. Think of human beings in terms of law, and the only way to think of them is as destined for the condemnation of God.

So, Paul sets before the Romans two ways. The one is a way in which men and women seek a right relationship with God through their own efforts. It is doomed to failure. The other is a way in which men and women enter by faith into a relationship with God, which by God’s grace already exists for them to come into in trust.

 William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans, 3rd ed. fully rev. & updated, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 78–81.

ROMANS 4:13–17

Abraham Is the Father of All Believers

13 The promise, you see, didn’t come to Abraham or to his family through the law—the promise, that is, that he would inherit the world. It came through the covenant justice of faith. 14 For if those who belong to the law are going to inherit, then faith is empty, and the promise has been abolished. 15 For the law stirs up God’s anger; but where there is no law, there is no lawbreaking.

16 That’s why it’s ‘by faith’: so that it can be in accordance with grace, and so that the promise can thereby be validated for the entire family—not simply those who are from the law, but those who share the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all, 17 just as the Bible says, ‘I have made you the father of many nations.’ This happened in the presence of the God in whom he believed, the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence things that do not exist.

I had an angry email today from a Jewish Christian who objected strongly to something I had said, very cautiously, about the current problems in the Middle East. (I lived and worked in Jerusalem some years ago, and I still have friends in various parts of the bewildering mixture of ethnic and religious groups.) The main point my correspondent was making was that God gave the land to Israel, and that this promise had been reaffirmed in our own day. Nothing should therefore stand in the way of Israel’s security and, by implication, the expansion of its territory to include all the occupied West Bank of the Jordan.

This is obviously a hot topic, and it looks set to continue that way (alas) for some time. But I raise it here because it relates directly to what Paul is doing in verse 13 (to which I directed my correspondent in my reply). The promise to Abraham and his family, Paul says, was that he would inherit—the world! This is breathtaking. Again and again in Genesis the writer declares that God promised Abraham the piece of territory then known as the land of Canaan, roughly the ‘holy land’ as we know it now. Later writings sometimes expanded this to include everything between the Red Sea and the River Euphrates, far away to the north-east; but Canaan remained the focus. Even when writers much nearer Paul’s time expanded the idea of a ‘holy land’ still further, it was still centred on the original promised territory.

For Paul, however, and indeed for the whole New Testament, the idea of a holy land, in terms of one strip of territory over against all others, has simply vanished. In its place are the beginnings of a completely transformed idea of land: that the whole world—in Romans 8 the entire creation—is claimed by God as ‘holy land’, and is promised to Abraham and his family as their ‘inheritance’. This is one of the most breathtaking revisions of standard Jewish thinking we can imagine. It is certainly as important as the decision not to require circumcision from Gentile converts. It is of course closely cognate with that dramatic revision of Jewish expectations. The privilege of geography, as of birth, counts for nothing in the new world ruled over by the crucified and risen Messiah.

Within the argument of Romans, this revised promise looks ahead, as I just mentioned, to Romans 8 in particular, and, with that, looks wider to one of the main themes of the entire letter. God’s covenant justice was always designed to put the whole world to rights; certainly, as the world’s creator and judge, God is under self-imposed obligation to do just that. So it should come as no surprise that in this chapter, when Paul is explaining how Abraham’s family has been transformed into a multiethnic entity, he should also insist that God’s real intention, in promising Abraham the land of Canaan, was to claim, rule and renew the whole world. The Holy Land was, it seems, a kind of advance metaphor for that larger aim and promise.

The main point of verses 13, 14 and 15 is that if the promises were not made on the basis of circumcision, as we saw in the previous paragraph, nor were they made on the basis of the Jewish law. Abraham did not possess the law. It hadn’t been given at that stage. But Paul doesn’t use this argument here, as he does in Galatians 3. Instead, he warns of something darker. If you introduce the law into the equation, you will end up with nobody inheriting at all.

What does he mean? It will take several more references to the same problem (5:20; 6:14; and then, decisively, 7:1–8:11) before we can put together a complete picture of what Paul is saying about the law. Even then there is more to come, especially in 9:30–10:13. But we can make a start, building on what has gone before in 2:17–29, 3:19–20 and 3:27–31.

The main problem with the law, it seems, is that its function is to show up sin and deal with it—and there is quite a lot of sin to show up and deal with, not least within the covenant people themselves. Thus, if the law were to be a defining characteristic of God’s people, God would quite simply not have a ‘people’ at all. ‘Through the law comes the knowledge of sin,’ as Paul put it in 3:20; or, as here in verse 15, ‘the law stirs up God’s anger’. If there is to be a renewed people of God, there must be (in that sense) a law-free zone for them to live and flourish within. Otherwise (verse 14) faith—Abraham’s faith in particular—would be useless, and the promise God made to him would in effect be abolished.

More particularly, once more, if Gentiles are to come in and belong to God’s people on equal terms, there must be space for them to do so, space which is not defined by the Jewish law. The promise must be valid for the whole family, not just for one part of it (verse 16). That is why, as Paul says if we translate it literally, ‘therefore “by faith”, in order that “according to grace” ’. This means, as in 3:27–30, that Gentiles can come in on an equal footing with Jews. And all this is to give Abraham the multi-ethnic family God promised him in the first place. The end of verse 16 and the start of verse 17 are the real answer to the question of verse 1. God says ‘I have made you the father of many nations’ (Genesis 17:5). Paul takes this to mean that the ultimate family promised to Abraham was never meant to be simply from one nation, but drawn from all peoples. He is ‘the father of us all’.

How does this come about? Picking up earlier hints, Paul declares that it is all down to the creative power of God himself. God gives life to the dead, and calls things into existence when they did not exist before. Perhaps Paul thinks here of the way in which Jews like himself, in one sense covenant members already, were ‘children of wrath like the rest of humankind’ (Ephesians 2:3), and needed to be made alive in a new way (compare 11:15); and, on the other hand, of the way in which Gentiles were right outside the covenant altogether (Ephesians 2:12) and were brought in from nowhere. Jewish conversion means ‘life from the dead’ (11:15); Gentile conversion means ‘fresh creation’. That is how God the creator, the life-giver, has called into being a new family for Abraham, formed of believing Jews and believing Gentiles on equal terms.

Not many Christians, in my experience, make much of the fact of being children of Abraham. We are often content to leave that to Jews, and perhaps Muslims too. Yet the idea of Abraham’s multi-ethnic family is important in the New Testament (see, e.g., Matthew 3:8). Is it not time to get this theme out of the cupboard, dust it down and put it to good use once more?

 Tom Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans Part 1: Chapters 1-8 (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004), 72–75.


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