Starting next Sunday, during our regularly scheduled weekly gathering, we’re going to begin studying Paul’s letter to the Romans together. That morning, we’ll read through the whole book. Yes, all 16 chapters. It will probably take just over an hour to read through the whole letter.
We won’t talk about Romans next week. That will be a good chance for us to hear the entire book in one sitting, listening for the themes and connections and divisions in Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome. I think this is a very important (and often overlooked) part of studying a book together.
We’ve done this several times before. The last time was a few weeks ago (last fall) when we started studying Ephesians together. Of course, Ephesians is quite a bit shorter.
As far as I can remember, this will be the first time that we’ve read a longer book (like Romans) on a Sunday morning. Usually, when we read through a longer book, we’ll get together at a different time, like a Saturday night. We’ve read through all four Gospels and a couple of other books like that.
Then, the following week – about two weeks from now – we’ll begin studying Romans together, always trying to keep the entire letter in mind while we discuss different parts.
While we’ve studied many books of the New Testament and Old Testament together, we’ve never studied Romans. But, a few weeks ago one of our sisters in Christ asked if we could study Romans, and everyone agreed. I think it will be a great study for all of us!
The hard part, of course, will be to try to listen to what Paul actually wrote instead of just listening to what we’ve already been told that it means. Now, some of what we’ve been told that it means is true and good. But, we can’t count on that… no one should ever count on that.
Instead, we will read and study and discuss carefully, trying to understand this important letter and what God wants us to know and do in response.
By the way, I assume that we’ll get some thing wrong… that we’ll disagree about some things… that we’ll be confused at parts. But, that’s ok. We can trust God to help us grow in maturity in spite of this… and we know that he will use this letter and the words of our brothers and sisters in Christ to accomplish this.
So, we’ll read and study and discuss, and we’ll listen to one another, and we’ll seek to discern what God wants to teach us and how he wants to change us through this time together.
Have you ever read through Romans (or any other book in Scripture) at one time with a group of brothers and sisters in Christ? What did you think about that experience?