Let’s learn the beginning of one of the best books ever. . .
This post is day 32 in a 366 day series, but even newcomers may find this a good place to start.
Technically this blog began with one of the greatest chapters in the whole Bible: Romans chapter 8. If you haven’t read where we started, I’d encourage you to check out the post below:
I felt it was important to start with the best chapter, because I know that, like New Year’s diet plans, many of us may lose our determination after about a month. If you’re only going to memorize one chapter of the Bible, it may as well be Romans 8. That being the case, we’re about to dive into another powerful chapter of the Bible: Romans chapter 1. For the whole of February, we will dig deep into Romans 1. I don’t want to give it away, but we will be applying a workhorse type technique to memorize this chapter, I’ll call it “simple” tomorrow (see day 33), but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. In fact, we’ll have our nose in the Bible just as I have my nose in Sherlock Holmes in the picture above.
As you’ll see, the new technique is borne out of partial frustration with the process from last month. Although it was effective for memory, it wasn’t super effective for growing in a personal relationship with Christ.
Ok, enough about the plan that we’ll unleash tomorrow. For now, please simply read Romans chapter 1, and soak in it. You might notice it is quite a doozy. In fact, please indulge me while I simply include the entire text of Chapter 1 below (NIV, per
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[d] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[e] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[f]
God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
What do you notice?
My first observation: this chapter is quite a bit shorter than Romans 8, praise God! But second, wow, this chapter is tough on us–it’s tough on us because it is tough on sin. Batten down the hatches, this month, friends, because if you have unexposed sin in your life, Paul may strip your mask away. But before you go–if that is the case for you–please let me tell you how good it can feel to drop the hypocrisy. It’s a little bit lie the cliched band-aid ripping off, but once it’s off, it feels so good. Please give it a try.
I’ve got a good feeling about this month.