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A CLASSIC STUDY OF ROMANS FOR HEAD AND HEART

11/01/2018

REVIEW OF ROMANS BY J.V. FESKO
THE LECTIO CONTINUA EXPOSITORY COMMENTARY SERIES
REFORMATION HERITAGE BOOKS

THE LECTIO CONTINUA EXPOSITORY COMMENTARY SERIES is meant to fill a vacuum among commentaries on the Bible. The editors tell us what they are seeking to accomplish:

“The greatest need of the church today is the recovery of sound biblical preaching. We need
preaching that faithfully explains and applies the text, courageously confronts sin, and boldly
trumpets the sovereign majesty, law and gospel promises of God.”

REFORMATION HERITAGE BOOKS is to be congratulated for this new series seeking to capture the content and tone of the best of Bible preaching. Before he died in 2017, R. C. Sproul said that the greatest need of America was to understand who God is. And he then said that the greatest need of the American
churches was to know who God is. He believed both the nation and the churches to be woefully ignorant of the basic biblical teachings on the nature and purposes of the Triune God.

This new volume on Paul’s letter to the Romans by pastor-theologian John Fesko goes a along way in helping to meet this need. Dr. Fesko pastored in north Atlanta for a decade before he took up his current position of Academic Dean and Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Seminary California. He knows God, God’s Word and people. These qualification are right for anyone seeking to open up the riches of Romans. As Romans has been the great book to spark conversions and spiritual awakenings (think here of Augustne in the 4th century, Luther and the Reformation in the 16th century, Wesley and the evangelical awakenings of the 18th century and many, many others along the way), may the Lord of the churches use this volume to spark spiritual renewal and awakenings at the beginning of the 21st century.

In his Preface Fesko explains that he is no Martyn Lloyd-Jones (who preached through Romans over 14 years and 14 volumes of printed sermons). That sermon series and the man behind it are justly famous. K
But Fesko did not try to be Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The concept behind the LECTIO CONTINUA series is to emulate the early church which often had the continuous reading of books of the Bible followed by a continuous preaching of these same Scriptures. Lloyd-Jones purposes in London in the 1950’s and 60’s was not that of Dr. Fesko or this series. As such it is much more user friendly to laymen as well as busy pastors.

In 50 chapters the entire book of Romans is preached, stopping to cover a verse or two of signal importance and sometimes (e.g. Romans 7) covering most or all of a chapter in one fell swoop. To laymen who want to learn the thought and experience the power of Romans, this is a great place to start. For busy pastors who want to learn the same things as well as learn how to preach biblical books like Romans, this book is a treasure. If I was starting out in the ministry again (I actually began in 1970), this book would have been one of my first and most referenced commentaries on Romans (or any biblical book). Tolle lege—“pick it up and read”. It will do you good. And pastors, preach Romans to your church !
Bible study leaders, buy and master this book as you study Romans. Unlike so many “devotional” works that are most sawdust with a few M & M’s thrown in, this book is deliciously prepared meat for the soul.
Laymen, pray for your soul and your church and savor this book as you read it—it’s that important.

Steve Martin
Dean of Students
IRBS Theological Seminary in Texas

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