Monday, April 08, 2013

The Greatest Letter


'This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian's while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.'

Martin Luther's Preface to his Commentary on Romans




A while back I wrote a post called 'The two greatest words in the NT' :

1. A Sabbatical: Ten years ago I spent a sabbatical from work travelling and fly-fishing and read Romans constantly. My 'call' came from my immersion in this great letter and the revelation of the gospel I gleaned from it. I was shown grace through this but I was called by reading Romans.

2. A Set of Sermons: John Piper has recently preached his final sermon to Bethlehem Baptist Church. This is a significant thing when you have spent a year with a man listening to most of his 11 years of sermons on Romans. I resolved to listen to one a day every morning and worked my way through almost every sermon.

3. A Book: My pal preached through Romans too and he has now turned these into a book which I am now reading the manuscript of. Martin Lloyd-Jones's commentaries are worth a look too and here is some advice on how to read them.

4. A Forty Days: Rick Warren has been on my heart and the hearts of many after news of his son's suicide. Reading 'The Purpose Driven Life' over forty days almost a decade ago was such a helpful thing for me. In this fascinating interview Rick Warren reveals that Romans 8:28 colours his whole theology and is the text that underpinned the whole book. Never more will this dear man and his wife need to cling to this great truth that he has held so dear for so long.

5. A Fresh Challenge: I have recently come across the blog of a wonderful woman called Ann Voskamp and amidst the many other things I like about it is the beautiful piano music that rings out as you read. I can't quite remember how I discovered Ann but I am glad I have. She has something called 'The Romans Project and with others is memorising Romans 1, 8 and 12. Do watch the video and read the post here and I am thinking of giving it a go. Voskamp on committing things to memory is beautiful writing and seduces and excites  me rather than guilts me to want to do it :


"Memorization isn’t for the saints who have made it. It’s for the sinners who want to make it.
Memorization is like learning to say your name, like learning where north is, like knowing your phone number home — it’s knowing who you are, where you are, Who He is. What the heart knows by heart is what the heart knows — how else can we know who we are? Memorization is 24/7 soul orientation."

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