I fully intended to read through the Bible in 2009. And then start over again in 2010. It’s not a difficult task at all – I’ve done it before – but this time I hit a wall of sorts. About a third of the way through Acts, I was well on track to finish by Dec 31 and be ready to start Genesis on Jan 1. But, I realized that I was missing so much. Yes, I wanted to read the entire Bible again, but I also wanted to truly study. I was so close to making it through the Bible in a year, and in my haste to get through I wasn’t really processing like I hungered to process.
So, I ditched the plan. The new plan became to read through the Bible, however long it took, and then start all over. Next year I might join Doug in his endeavor to listen through the Bible each year while reading more slowly, but for now, I’m just taking my time. And, after nearly four months, I finally finished Acts.
Which brings me to the first six verses of Romans, and the true purpose of this post.
Romans 1:1-6 is Paul’s introduction of himself to the church in Rome. What struck me as interesting was the content of this introduction. When one introduces himself, he is supposed to speak of himself. And, in a beautiful way, that is what Paul has done – in a way that makes me so hungry to introduce myself in the same way.
You see, the introduction isn’t really about Paul. It’s about Christ. And it’s beautiful.
In verse one, Paul does talk about himself. But, very quickly it becomes obvious that even when talking about himself, it’s wrapped up in his relationship with Christ.
He is a bond-servant of Christ. Bond-servants were either slaves for life or servants who desired to serve their masters so greatly that they submitted themselves to permanent bondage to their masters. Either way, Paul is committed for life. Permanently. With no rights to himself.
He is an apostle. This term gives him some leverage – apostles were a big deal. They had authority on issues of the gospel. But, the interesting thing about this point of identification is that it is sandwiched between the bond-servant description before and the description that comes next. His apostleship is important in his relationship to those to whom he ministers, but it is always held in context with who he is in his relationship to Jesus Christ.
He is set apart for the gospel. He doesn’t set himself apart – he has been set apart by God for this work. In other words, Paul didn’t get to choose his occupation. It was chosen for him by Almighty God.
And that’s only the beginning!
(In other words, come back for part two!)