Skip to main content

Romans 1-7 For You by Timothy Keller

Romans 1 - 7 For You

Romans 1-7 For You by Timothy J. Keller

This expository guide through the first half of Romans by Pastor Tim Keller is a helpful synthesis of Paul’s Epistle with an eye toward the pastoral and practical implications of the gospel.  Though not a technical commentary nor devotional guide, Romans 1-7 For You is designed to allow the gospel to break through to the one reading with clarity and power.  The result of this focus on the gospel is a clear reminder of the life, work, and ministry of Jesus Christ in the lives of every believer from beginning to end.  Tim Keller is no stranger to gospel preaching and teaching, for he been in the midst of gospel empowered ministry as the Senior Pastor of Redeemer PCA in the heart of New York City. 

Keller opens up his expository guide with a focus on the gospel.  He writes, “Unsurprisingly the beginning of the letter is all about the gospel.” (11) He then fills out the meaning of the gospel with respect to Romans 1 by signaling that the good news changes heart, minds, lives and relationships, including bringing to us salvation and a place with the King (20).  The beneficial aim that Keller describes is a salvation that is all of God through Christ but that is firmly situated in the world through a fully changed attitude accompanied with action.  Contrasting the dead religions of moralism and legalism, the gospel is able to produce churches and believers that commend God to others because they are not beset with pride, arrogance, and smugness but humility with mercy (59).  The very nature of moralism is a distancing oneself from the mass of humanity based upon the following of prescriptive laws.  Yet, in the gospel, believers realize that we are all in the same boat and deserve the wrath of God save the goodness of God to send Christ on our behalf.  The relentless quest for finding out who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong is less important than an embrace of the grace of God. 

Charting the path of the difference between slavery to sin and slavery to God is an important concept in Romans 6.  Keller writes, “So, in summary, slavery to sin begins at our birth.  Slavery to God begins at our new birth, when God’s grace enables us to embrace the gospel in the heart (changing our motives and our “bottom lines”), resulting in a total change of life.” (152)  Why is this important?  For one, we need to know from what depths of sin we have been saved from in order to appreciate the cost of the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf.  Furthermore,   it is the grace of God given to us that changes our motives.  No, for Tim Keller this is not prevenient grace but full on transformative grace.   Keller really excels at bringing home the power of the gospel for believers in the throes of the deadening weight of both moralism and legalism that we can become enamored with.  Rather, his expository guide is replete with examples of living by grace that is at the heart of the message of Paul’s letter to the Romans.

I think this is a great guide to those studying the first half of Romans.  The only deficit I see is that at times I want more background insight on the situation at Rome but the guide is more geared to preachers looking toward the practical application of the gospel message found in the book of Romans. 

Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and The Good Book Company for the copy of this book in exchange for review. 


Popular posts from this blog

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.: A Journey Through Loss with Art and Color

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes by Roger Hutchison

Taking a look at the digital copy of this book allowed me to look at the striking art inside the book, and its connection to the words of the page that were focusing on loss.  Looking at the physical copy of the book even brings to life more the staggering similarity that the words and pain have together on the page.  The focus here is how certain colors express the sentiments of those who have lost a loved one.  I did not think that I would relate too well to this book until two days ago, as we lost our little boy, who was only 17 weeks old.  The pain is palpable and yet the pages of this book give me good reason to think of my son with a sense of pride and hope.

Roger writes, "You are a shooting star. Your light trails across the heavens.  I blinked and you were gone."  We were full of anticipation at the first and second ultrasounds, and there was the picture of our little boy Jackson, his developing face and little …

The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor
A profound simplicity of thought, a penetrating vision of what it means to be human, Flannery O’Connor embodies the spirit of bringing fictional stories to life.  Others might call her fiction ‘grotesque’ in a rather unflattering manner, but O’Connor was not content to live up to their criticisms.  In this short book of collected essay and lectures, Mystery and Manners, editors and friends of Flannery, Robert and Sally Fitzgerald have given us a glimpse into the vision of her faith, style and life as a writer.   A lifelong Catholic, Flannery O’Connor sought to wed together the moral integrity of her faith with the character of her craft in writing.  Specifically, fiction for her was an exploration in imitation.
In a rather illuminating statement in the chapter entitled, “A Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South, “ O’Connor writes,
“I am specifically concerned with fiction because that is what I write.  There is a certain em…