I mentioned earlier that I’m studying Romans, Biblical Greek, and the Law as my digital seminary topics for now. I thought I would share how I’m approaching each of these for anyone interested in doing something similar.
So to begin, here’s what I’m doing with Romans.
1. Doug Moo’s Lectures from BiblicalTraining
I’m up to Romans 2 and everything has been excellent so far. Moo is an excellent teacher and is very clear and easy to follow. He is not exhaustively teaching every verse but rather hitting the most important sections and concepts in Romans. The BiblicalTraining group have helpfully separated extended question/answer sections from the lectures themselves so one can avoid those if they want.
- Moo’s lectures on Romans are here.
I’m also working through three commentaries. I have tried to choose three excellent commentaries that serve different functions and represent different viewpoints.
Thomas Schreiner – Romans in the Baker Exegetical Commentary Series. The BECNT series is an excellent evangelical series that rather than taking a verse by verse approach, it instead attempts follow the flow of thought of a section. It’s a technical commentary, but puts most of the more dense material at the end of a section, making the commentary body easier to read and less exhausting. Schreiner is a very solid scholar and his commentary is a modern classic and he takes a Reformed Baptist stance on the book. This will be my primary in-depth commentary.
Osborne – Romans in the IVP New Testament Commentary Series. This is a much less technical commentary than Schreiner’s but Osborne is a world-class scholar also, so this is not lacking in quality by any means. The focus is simply a little more practical and pastoral while still being a substantial commentary (440ish pages). Osborne is a professing Arminian and takes Romans 9 to be about nations (rather than individuals) and privileges (rather than salvation), so his views will serve as a nice balance with Schreiner’s.
Craig Keener – Romans in the New Covenant Commentary Series. The NCC series is very new and focuses on giving a brief and simple engagement of the text also informed by the best scholarship today. Keener is another excellent scholar, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of nonbiblical ancient texts, which he brings to bear in this commentary. The size of this commentary makes it good for getting the broad picture before digging into the details and fits nicely in between the above two.
3. Arcing Romans
Arcing is an excellent tool for tracing the flow of through of a passage. I use it when I taught through Philippians and Colossians and I don’t think I could ever teach a NT epistle again without using this. In fact, once I had satisfactorily arced a passage, I had done about 80% of my study work.
Arcing helps you really grasp a passage through reading it slowly and thinking carefully about how a proposition connects to each other. My confidence about a passage radically changes before/after I’ve arced it. I often tell my students that if you understand arcing all you need is a printed-out arced passage and you can teach with confidence without any extra preparation! Of course, the tool is only a part of the study process, but for me it’s a central part. I’m sure having a good understanding of Greek only improves the usefulness of the tool.
I highly recommend arcing!
4. Repeatedly Reading Romans!
The benefit found from simply reading Romans again and again cannot be overemphasized. We can often think that commentaries or lectures can replace a prayerful and submissive reading of the Scriptures, but this must never be neglected.
So there you go, this is how I’m studying Romans. Any feedback or suggestions are more than welcome! Maybe this post will help others who want to do something similar to what I’m doing in studying Romans. Or maybe this can just serve as me recommending three commentaries!