There are several ways a person can go about parsing any given passage. I will note a few, but then I will share how I went about it in this book.
Some commentators focus on original language and roots. This provides an intriguing literary guide for some, but others do not have much interest in. In this commentary, I only brought in the original language when I thought it necessary to understand the real meaning.
Some commentators are very concise while they delve into every verse. They try to find the substance in every possible thought the writer might have had. They go into history, other resources, context, characters, and so on to give the reader the full picture. These commentaries are like a five-course meal, and for many they are treasures. I attempted to provide a more simple look at this book. I am attempting to find that fine line where I do not want to give you too much, but I don’t want to give you too little either.
Some commentators write in a very casual manner and provide a devotional like book. These commentaries are very heartfelt and help readers on a day-to-day bases, but sometimes they lack depth. While these commentaries are great for many, others want more than a devotional. I attempt to write in a casual manner, but I want to add the depth that one needs to walk away with an understanding of the book of Romans.
So, how did I write this commentary. I wrote it topically, trying to relay the main point of the given passage for the average person in which it was intended when it was first written. This is why I do not want to write for scholars (even if I could), because the letter was not intended for scholars. I want to write to the average person, some Christians, some perhaps not. I want to write at a level that brings understanding. In this commentary, I take a given passage, and I try to sift out the point while not getting bogged by the other details that might not matter as much. For an example, take the following statement:
My wife and I took my boys across the street to go for a bike ride. We made sure we grabbed our phones. I had to tie a wrench to Jesse’s bike in case I had to adjust the boy’s handlebars. I had to carry the water because Jesse’s bike doesn’t have a water holder yet. The boys got on their bikes—both are getting too big for them. We are going to have to do something about that soon. But nonetheless, we went on a bike ride. We had a great time. We got home and had a snack.
There are so many ways you could comment on this passage. What do you want your readers to see and understand? What does it mean to you? Do you comment on bike styles or family practices? Maybe you look into tools and bike adjustments. Maybe you could comment on family life in a Christian home. For me, I see a family that enjoyed a bike ride. It seems so simple, but isn’t that what happened? This is my approach in the book of Romans.
At the end of this commentary will be a list of commentaries that might be of interest for further reading.