This highly anticipated commentary on the Greek text of Romans by veteran New Testament scholar Richard Longenecker provides solid scholarship and innovative solutions to long-standing interpretive problems. Critical, exegetical, and constructive, yet pastoral in its application, Longenecker’s monumental work on Romans sets a course for the future that will promote a better understanding of this most famous of Paul’s letters and a more relevant contextualization of its message.
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“This remarkable ‘metamorphosis’ that Paul speaks of here is not some pattern of external decorum or form of outward expression that believers in Jesus are to accept by way of a makeover of their lives and practices. Rather, it is a complete inner change of thought, will, and desires that Christians are to allow God by means of the ministry of his Holy Spirit to bring about in their lives, resulting in a recognizable external change of actions and conduct.” (Page 923)
“Contextually, the understanding of λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν as ‘your rational worship’ (rather than ‘your spiritual worship’) corresponds well with the apostle’s appeal in 12:2 that believers in Jesus be transformed ‘by the renewing of your minds’ (τῇ ἀνακεινώσει τοῦ νοός). So for both linguistic and contextual reasons, it seems best to understand Paul’s statement here in 12:1 as follows: that it is eminently reasonable, both intellectually and spiritually, for believers in Jesus, because they experienced ‘the [aforestated] mercies of God,’ to dedicate themselves wholly to God—in fact, ‘this is your proper act of worship as rational people.’” (Page 921)
“It seems best, therefore, to understand Paul’s words in 5:12 as speaking of such a twofold understanding of (1) inherited depravity, which stems from one man’s sin and the resultant experience of death that has permeated all human history, and (2) actual sins of every person down through the course of history, which are the inevitable expressions of people’s inherited depravity and add by accumulation to the weight of that depravity.” (Page 591)
Paul’s letter to the Romans is like Mount Everest in its grandeur and beauty. How fitting it is, then, for one of the deans of New Testament scholarship, Richard Longenecker, to present his interpretation of the letter in this magisterial commentary. All the virtues of Longenecker’s work are evident here: in-depth exegesis, careful evaluation of the literary and historical setting of the letter, and consideration of the letter’s message for readers today. Interpreters of Romans are indebted to Longenecker and will want to consult his work regularly.
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and professor of biblical theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
With characteristic care, thoroughness, and insight, Richard Longenecker delivers what he promises: appreciative interaction with the interpretation of Romans over the centuries; critical, exegetical, and pastorally sensitive analysis of the text; and contextual reflections on this most influential of Paul’s letters in contemporary terms. All serious students of Paul would do well to read this commentary; it will become a standard resource and guide for many years to come.
—Susan Eastman, Associate Research Professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School
In every generation two or three commentaries on Romans appear that define the discussion for years to come. This commentary by Richard Longenecker is just such a work. It is clearly and judiciously written and comprehensive in scope. In addition to dealing with all of the relevant ancient and modern literature on Romans, it provides a close reading of the Greek text without losing the reader’s attention. Most importantly, it highlights the theological content and continuing importance of Romans for the church today. I enthusiastically recommend Longenecker’s work for those who want to engage Romans seriously on an exegetical and theological level.
—Frank J. Matera, Pastor at St. Mary’s Church, professor, Catholic University of America
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