A little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to review Tim Keller’s Romans 1-7 For You. Tim Keller is one of my favorite pastor-theologians and where I don’t always agree with him, I am always grateful for the way he presents his theological convictions with grace and respect. In Romans 1-7 For You, Keller walked readers through the first seven chapters of Romans, making the case for the universal need for salvation through Jesus Christ and how the just live by faith. But the real treasure in Romans begins after these introductory chapters.
Romans 8 unfolds the mystery of life in the Spirit, our adoption as sons and how in Christ we are more than conquerors, Romans 9-11 unpack the mystery of predestination and Israel’s hope, chapter 12 tells us how to live in light of the gospel in community, chapter 13, as citizens of the state, and chapter 14-15 describe further how to care for one another and fulfill God’s mission in our world. The final chapter has a list of names of Paul’s coworkers, many of them women.
In Romans 8-16 For You, Keller explores these texts from the second half of Romans. Almost a full third of this commentary is devoted to Romans 8 (a beautiful chapter to camp in). However, Keller honors the shape of the biblical text and walks readers through each section of the text, pulling out points of interest.
Keller is more pastor than scholar and he draws heavily on such evangelical luminaries as Leon Morris, John Stott, F.F. Bruce and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. As to be expected, this is a Evangelical Reformed take on Romans, but it is written at an accessible level for pastors and lay people alike (one of goals of the series). I am especially grateful for the stress that Keller puts on Paul’s anguish for his people when he turns to his discussion on election (58). He also does a good job of emphasizing the diversity of Paul’s coworkers in Romans 16. Not being quite as Calvinist as Keller, I do have sections that I quibble with but I appreciate Keller’s attention to the text. I also favor a more Anabaptist reading of Romans 13, but probably need to dig deeper in personal study before I commit to a view.
On the whole like this volume. Serious students of Romans would want to go deeper and may make use of the commentaries he lists in his bibliography. Yet for many of us Romans, as a whole, remains opaque to us. We love to quote passages and put isolated verses to work in our evangelism, but have a difficult time tracking Paul’s argument from beginning to end. If that describes you, I commend this volume (and Keller’s early volume) to you. After all, Romans 8-16 is for you. I give this commentary four stars.
Notice of material connection: I received this book from the Good Book Company and Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for this honest review.
I give this commentary 4 stars