I'm Sorry, The Book Of Romans Doesn't "Begin" At Chapter 12 Verse 1!

Today Chris Rosebrough from Pirate Christian Radio posted on Facebook, "Dear Seeker-Driven Pastor: Repeat after me... The Book of Romans begins at chapter 1 verse 1. It does NOT begin at chapter 12 verse 1."  What did he mean by this?  

First of all, the book of Romans is an "Epistle." What does the word "Epistle" mean?  It means "letter."  That is right, the book of Romans in the New Testament is a letter that Paul wrote to the church in Rome.  

Second, where do we begin reading a letter from a friend or loved one?  We typically begin reading it at the beginning.  If for some reason we would like to read the letter starting at the center of the letter what would be important for use to consider?  Yes, that is also right... the context that came before it.

Unfortunately, many Christians and Pastors will jump right into Epistle of Romans and fixate their eyes on Romans 12:1.  "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship!"  Many pastors fixate on Romans 12-16 because that is where "good Biblical principles are found."  Now, chapter 12 is where Paul shifts the letter to application and principles... this is certainly true!  However, if we read Romans 12-16 without the slightest consideration of what was said in the previous 11 chapters we do a great injustice to Romans 12:1 and the verses that follow!  The Biblical principles of Romans 12-16 have a context, they have a foundation, they have a framework.  

Context, context, context!  That is so important to our interpretation and consideration of scripture!  If one is not careful in preaching and teaching Romans chapter 12-16, a person can lay forth doctrines and teachings without a foundation.  I will be so bold to say that teaching and pondering Romans 12-16 without the foundation of chapters 1-11 is like building a house upon sand, a house without a firm foundation.  Romans 12-16 must be set in the proper context of chapters 1-11.  Without setting Romans 12-16 in the context of Romans 1-11, the principles and application found in Romans 12-16 will become empty and the sermons and teachings of Romans 12-16 can easily turn into "moral lessons for better living" rather than "the Christian life being lived in the view and context of our merciful God who has blessed us with salvation, salvation accomplished by Christ for us."  


Anonymous said…
So true! Amen!