How to study the book of Romans
Romans is one of the most well-known books of the Bible.
You’ve probably heard a hundred sermons from the book of Romans. You might list Romans 8 as one of your favorite passages. You might be aware that Romans contains some of the key passages on predestination, the doctrine of justification, the doctrine of sanctification, and other core doctrines of the church. And you probably know the role a verse from Romans played in Martin Luther’s articulation of the 95 theses that launched the Reformation.
Romans has had a life-changing impact on the lives of millions of people. It’s not hard to argue that this short letter written to a group of Christians two thousand years ago has changed world history.
So whether you know it or not, you have probably been influenced by the book of Romans.
What the Bible says about predestination
In any conversation about predestination, election, and God’s will in the act of salvation, two verses from Romans 8 are usually cited:
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:29–30)
These two verses are some of the most scrutinized in the Bible, so let’s take a moment to unpack them in more detail to see what they tell us about predestination.
See what Douglas Moo says about Paul’s understanding of predestination:
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Advice on studying Romans from Douglas Moo
We recently sat down with Douglas Moo to talk about some challenges students face when studying Romans. Take a look at what he says.
And be sure to check out his new online course, The Book of Romans: History, Meaning, and Application.
I’ve talked to Christians over the years who say, “Oh, I’m not ready to study Romans yet, that’s too heavy for me.”
You’ve probably heard it taught maybe from the pulpit, maybe you’ve taken a Sunday school class on it. You’ve read it. You’ve studied it perhaps even in Bible study.
Romans is a book that addresses many of those fundamental worldview issues. What does it mean to be a Christian? What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? How is it relevant to me and to my church?
I think some of the reasons we therefore…
What is justification?
In Romans 1:17, Paul writes: “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
This does not refer, in so many words, to “justification by faith.” However, the idea is clearly expressed: God’s righteousness is “by faith from first to last.” It is the one who is “righteous by faith” who will gain spiritual life.
What does this mean? Douglas Moo explains:
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Doug Moo’s Insights into the Nature and Philosophy of Bible Translation
(Can’t see the video? Watch it here)
“We still don’t get it,” writes Doug Moo, critiquing the relationship between evangelicals and Bible translation — specifically, the evangelical emphasis on “literal” translation. Watch the video above for more of Dr. Moo’s insightful perspective.
The video reveals a special presentation from Doug Moo, current chair of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), on the nature and philosophy of Bible translations. Dr. Moo delivered his paper, entitled “We Still Don’t Get It: Evangelical and Bible Translation Fifty Years After James Barr,” at a special event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the New International Version. The special event occurred at the 66th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in San Diego, CA, in 2014.
Fortunately for those of us…
Douglas J. Moo on Words and Where Meaning Lies
Last month, at the 66th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Zondervan held a special event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the NIV. That evening, Doug Moo, current chair of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), reflected on not only the impact of the NIV, but also the nature and philosophy of Bible translations. We shared a link to the BibleGateway live-blog, as well as some highlights of Moo’s insights.
Fortunately for those of us who couldn’t attend, Moo’s impassioned and insightful presentation was packaged as a free small booklet and PDF download, called “We Still Don’t Get It: Evangelicals and Bible Translation Fifty Years After James Barr.”
Not only is it a fascinating glimpse into the translation philosophy of the CBT, which stewards the NIV, it’s also a challenging, insightful read…
Jonathan Moo Reflects on His Father & Pauline Parent Metaphors — An Excerpt from “Studies in the Pauline Epistles”
Through a blend of sixteen former students, colleagues, and prominent Pauline scholars, Studies in the Pauline Epistles honors the contributions of a man by contributing to the ongoing scholarship in the two areas that most define Moo’s work: Bible translation and Pauline studies. Sections include: Exegeting Paul; Paul’s Use of Scripture and the Jesus Tradition; Pauline Scholarship and His Contemporary Significance.
Below we’ve excerpted a special essay by Moo’s son Jonathan. In it he reflects on Paul’s use of parent metaphors to describe his relationship with the churches he “fathered,” while reflecting on his own father’s relationship with his family.
Enjoy these reflections by…
Linguistics Is Not Prescriptive, Says Doug Moo
At the 66th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Zondervan held a special event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the NIV. That evening , Doug Moo, current chair of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), gave an impassioned presentation and reflection on not only the impact of the NIV, but also the relationship between evangelicals and Bible translations. We shared a link to the BibleGateway live-blog, as well as some highlights of Moo’s insights.
While most of us couldn’t attend the event and listen to Moo’s presentation, fortunately it was packaged as a small booklet and PDF download, called “We Still Don’t Get It: Evangelicals and Bible Translation Fifty Years After James Barr.”
Not only is it a fascinating glimpse into the translation philosophy of the CBT, which…
Pauline Studies: A Festschrift in Honor of Doug Moo
What’s the first clear message of Studies in the Pauline Epistles, the new festschrift in honor of Doug Moo?
Moo isn’t just a scholar. He’s also a gentleman.
In introducing the book, editors Matthew S. Harmon and Jay E. Smith quote 1 Cor. 4:1-2, where Paul outlines two categories he wants believers to use when thinking about ministers of the gospel: servants and stewards. “Doug Moo has proved himself to be a faithful servant of Christ and steward of God’s mysteries.” (16)
Harmon and Smith go on to list the countless ways he has proved himself: he has “prepared countless men and women for gospel ministry;” he is a “terrific mentor;” he “always push[es] his students to base their conclusions on solid evidence;” and Moo’s teaching and writing is distinguished by “the effort to present opposing…
Evangelicals and Bible Translations 50 Years After the NIV
At a special event celebrating this anniversary at the 66th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Doug Moo, current chair of the CBT, gave an impassioned presentation and reflection on not only the impact of the NIV, but also the relationship between evangelicals and Bible translations. He also gave some interesting insights into the CBT’s specific translation philosophy and Bible translating more broadly.
You can go here to see the whole live-blog, but below we’ve highlighted some of Moo’s insights:
One of Moo’s more insightful comments was in regards to principles of modern linguistics: A major principle is that “meaning is found not in individual words, as vital as they are, but in larger…
My Advice to Students — What Does Doug Moo Regret? It May Surprise You!
Whether biblical Greek and Hebrew, ancient Latin, or modern German, languages form an important bedrock to your program. What you may not fully realize it, they will continue to play a pivotal role in your on-going professional journey, whether in the academy or the church.
I’m learning that now as a pastor, regretting not taking my study of Greek and Hebrew more seriously as I work through the text for Sunday morning sermons. Surprisingly Doug Moo, author of An Introduction to the New Testament, has similar…