I heard NT Wright speak for the second time this year. As he opened his lecture “The Roman Road: Through the Dark Valley,” he spoke about his joy of reading scripture. A prolific author of over 80 books including 2 commentaries on Romans, Wright rejoiced, as well as any Anglican Brit can, that he was always finding new things as he reads and studies Romans. He said,
“There are worse things to do with an enquirer than to point them to Paul’s letter to Romans. It’s actually a very good place to start for anything. I celebrate how God moves in many mysterious ways and uses many strange paths to bring people to faith and ultimately to salvation. If God waited until we got our theology and our exegesis all right, there wouldn’t be many Christians left around.
If God waited until we got our theology and our exegesis all right, there wouldn’t be many Christians left around.
But as Luther found five centuries ago and more recently Karl Barth found a hundred or so years ago, once Romans gets its teeth into you, there will always be more to discover, and then more, and more, and more again. I began serious study of Romans about 50 years ago. It sounds very odd to say that, but it is true. I possess about 120 commentaries on Romans, and I’ve written two myself, plus dozens of articles and sections in other books, but I am still finding more and more. Though actually what it feels like is that Romans is still finding me, probing my life and my teaching, and alerting me to huge themes and small details that I’d missed.
Though actually what it feels like is that Romans is still finding me, probing my life and my teaching, and alerting me to huge themes and small details that I’d missed.
Saying that reminds me of what happened when I wrote my little book Simply Jesus which I guess was about 10-15 years ago, I’m not sure when. And Maggie, my wife, said to me, “So what are you writing?” I said, “I’m writing a book on Jesus.” She said, “You’ve already written a book on Jesus. In fact, I think you’ve written two books on Jesus already.” And I said, “Yes.” And she said, “Well, has Jesus changed?” And my response was, “Well, no, but maybe I have.”
And she said, “Well, has Jesus changed?” And my response was, “Well, no, but maybe I have.”
And I think that’s what’s going on with Romans still. And, I’m one of the lucky ones. I know a lot of academics who by the time they’re my age are bored with their subject, with standing in front of students and going through the same stuff again and again. I have to say in all honesty, and those of you who know me personally will know this to be true, I am as excited by this text now in my early 70s as I was in my early 20s. The text has that kind of a power and a grip.”
To view the entire lecture, visit Lanier Theological Library’s YouTube Channel
As I reflect on NT Wright’s words and his heart for the Word of God and his desire to be transformed, I see a reflection of myself. Because when I open scripture and dive in, I always find God. His love and goodness and truth are waiting. All we have to do is open the Word and expect God to show up. He always does and we are never the same because of it!