John Stott on Paul's letter to the house churches of Rome.

"Romans: God's Good News for the World," by John Stott (InterVarsity, 406 pp.; $19.99, hardcover). Reviewed by Mark Labberton, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, California.

When an ancient author and a modern commentator share kindred hearts and minds, the combination holds potential power. In John Stott's exposition of the apostle Paul's Epistle to the Romans, that power is effectively unleashed.

Anyone familiar with Stott's extensive writing expects his work to be balanced, measured, and finely chiseled. This commentary is no exception. Indeed, since Romans is Paul's most intricately argued letter, Stott's treatment matches that style with a dogged consistency. The density of Romans demands such patient exposition.

One gets the impression in this book of two exceedingly skilled workmen, each gifted with a particularly fine mind and an education to match, many years of experience, and great passion for God's glory and the grace found uniquely in Jesus Christ. Neither man wants to be an innovator. Both want to be faithful interpreters. Just as Paul sought as an apostle to unveil the divine logic of Creation, sin, and redemption, so Stott as a pastor vigorously unpacks that argument to make it plain for our understanding and contemporary for our application. These are the twin goals of the Bible Speaks Today series, and Stott, its New Testament editor, is its best exemplar.

A concise "Preliminary essay" surveys some of the critical debates that have shaped interpretation of Romans. Here and at several other junctures of the book, Stott acknowledges "new challenges to old traditions," most notably the views of E. P. Sanders, along with Krister Stendahl and ...

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