Some years ago, there was an exhibition in Canberra of rare and historically significant books. It’s an incredible experience, to see these documents which changed the course of history – the so called Guttenberg Bible, which is the first Bible every printed on a printing press; the actual bit of paper that Einstein first wrote e=mc squared; the original handwritten copy of Darwin’s Origin of the Species.
Those are impressive documents, but even more impressive is the document we are about to cast our eyes over, arguably among the most historically significant ever written, and we have the privilege of carrying it around in the bottom of our bags getting crinkled, or as an app on a phone.
It was the letter to the Romans that ignited Martin Luther and the 16th century Reformation, which changed the course of the spread of the gospel; it was the letter to the Romans that ignited John Wesley and the Evangelical Awakening in 18th century England and America, applying the blowtorch to the belly of a church that had gone to sleep and become feeble; and it was the letter to the Romans that ignited Karl Barth early in the 20th century, halting the progress of the watery liberalism that had seduced the church then.
I suspect God has used this letter more than any other part of the Scriptures. And our joy over the next few weeks is to allow it to do its work on us. And to get started, here’s a video overview!