For most people who are not scholars or serious students of the Bible, Romans is one of its most intimidating books. At least some of the reason for this is that they have heard over and over from those who do study it in depth that it is so thick with theology. This means that many average Christians do not attempt to understand Romans. This is unfortunate since Romans has been influential in the history of the church (for example, as the book which prompted Martin Luther’s theses) and so crucial to our understanding of the message of the Bible as a whole.
In his small volume Introducing Romans, Paul Jeon, prompted by a pastor’s desire to help his people understand the book, provides a very helpful outline of Romans using the name of the letter as an acronym. This six-part summary is a helpful tool for getting a grasp of Paul’s exposition of the gospel: Revelation of God’s Wrath; Only Way to Become Righteous; Made Alive in Christ; Adopted for Glory; New Lifestyle; and Salvation According to God’s Mercy. While this structure requires the “N” and “S” sections out of order relative to the text, the value of the mnemonic device makes it worth this break in the flow of the letter.
Each chapter is organized into three sections: Reflections on the Bible; Reflections on Church; and Reflections on Culture. This approach provides helpful guidance for understanding the text and applying its message to two real life arenas. Each chapter includes suggested discussion questions to facilitate the use of the book for group study. He also provides several recommended resources for taking the next step in studying Romans.
One critical note about the book is that it contains a number of typographical errors that should have been corrected by modern spelling and grammar checking software. Despite this minor problem, I highly recommend this book.