Paul’s letter to the Romans has proven difficult over the years for two reasons: first, it’s an intricate set of arguments involving knowledge of OT texts not always known and, second, the theological interpretation of Romans has formed into phalanxes of power.

To read it one way is to offend another point of view.

On top of that, it has become increasingly non-pastoral.

So non-pastoral many today don’t see anything in this letter but theological argument and debate.

In my Reading Romans Backwards I suggest we can find pastoral juice if we begin in the world of Paul, that is, in Romans 12-16 esp Romans 16 and Romans 14-15. There we meet two phalanxes of the 1st Century: the Weak and the Strong. There we also meet names in Rome that indicate a surprising number of women and almost certainly slaves and they all seem to be gathered around five different house churches.

Tension on the home front is what we find.

If we begin there we get a fresh angle on what Paul was saying in Romans 1-8 and in Romans 9-11 as well. Astonishingly fresh at times.

No kidding, this approach preaches.

I’m so glad Baylor University Press has offered to us a special sale. So here goes:

To get free shipping on Reading Romans Backwards at 20% off please use this code3:


This sale is value until Feb 28, 2021 and it applies also to the Study Guide by Becky Castle Miller.

The links to this special sale for Jesus Creed blog readers can be found