Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Year of Reading (and living) Romans

As I mentioned yesterday, I plan to read Paul's Epistle to the Romans once a week for all of 2010. This morning was my first read-through. I have read the epistle often enough, but usually focusing on the middle chapters, five through eight, which have always seemed to me to be sort of the highest peaks in the range. This year, though, is the year of reading (and living) Romans.

The plan will work this way. On Saturday mornings I'll read the whole book, start to finish. Between the Saturdays, I'll focus on discrete passages, prayerfully meditating on and journaling through the verses. Since I will have recently re-read the whole book, the larger context of Paul's argument will never be far from my mind and act a a guide in my thinking and journaling.

Well, that's the plan. It is fundamentally a devotional endeavor. I chose to do this with Romans and not some other book because of its length and content, and because it has always been a book that has ignited faith in its readers, from Martin Luther to John Wesley and many others. I do plan to occasionally read what others have said about a passage, in commentaries and the like, but always remembering that this is to be a devotional practice, not theological research.

Now, if Romans were 12 chapters long it would be easy to decide at what pace to read from day to day: one chapter per month. But it is 16 chapters, which means in my daily devotional journaling I will need to cover about one and a third chapters per month. Being a bit of a geek about such things, I decided to look more carefully at the matter. There are 433 verses in Romans. That means I should maintain about a 37 verse per month rate in order not to fall behind. This may seem a little obsessive, but here's how it might break down. In each month, I will devotionally read and meditate on the following passages of Romans, taking me through the entire book in the course of a year. I have tried to divide the monthly passages in a way that doesn't divide a paragraph or argument.

January Rom 1:1-2:11
February Rom. 2:12-3:20
March Rom. 3:21-4:25
April Rom. 5:1-6:14
May Rom. 6:15-7:24
June Rom. 8
July Rom. 9:1-10:4
August Rom. 10:5-11:24
September Rom. 11:25-12:21
October Romans 13 & 14
November Rom. 15
December Rom. 16


The Journeyman said...

I'm going to be interested to read your comments as you go through Romans.

Have you read NT Wright's book on justification? I'd like to hear if you think he is right or not on his interpretations of the relevant passages in Romans.

Bob said...

I have read and loved some of Wright's shorter books, but not his controversial work on justification. Don't really want to go there just yet, and I don't really understand the issues, to tell you the truth. I emphasize the devotional nature of this reading project, steeping myself in the letter itself, rather than taking sides in the intellectual debates of contemporary Bible scholars, etc. Hope that doesn't disappoint you, my friend!

nAncY said...

a little obsessive...or a really good plan.

you have laid it out very well, i would say.

Eric said...

Found you via Nancy & Twitter -

Looking forward to following you on this much so that I would like to read along with you in this endeavor. Prayers for guidance and wisdom for you as you undergo this intentional devotional time...