Romans: Gospel of God Hardcover – 16 Dec 1986
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About the Author
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was born in Wales. He was a dairyman's assistant, a political enthusiast, debater, and chief clinical assistant to Sir Thomas Harder, the King's Physician. But at the age of 27 he gave up a most promising medical career to become a preacher. He had a far-reaching influence through his ministry at Westminster Chapel in London, England from 1938-68. His published works have had an unprecedented circulation, selling in millions of copies.
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Romans 1 consists basically of two sections, a prolegomena in which the Apostle Paul introduces himself and his message to the Roman church (which he had not founded and where he had not been in person at the time of writing), then, from verse 16 to the end of the chapter, the beginning of a vast survey of what the Christian gospel is all about. After making a great statement about the principle of justification by faith, Paul goes on to demonstrate that the heathen world at this time was exposed to the wrath of God because of its rampant unrighteousness. This unrighteousness expressed itself both through religious deviation (idolatory) and moral corruption (Paul condemns, in particular, the open flaunting of homosexuality and lesbianism, but then adds a comprehensive list of other sins).
Lloyd-Jones does not spend a great deal of time on introductory questions of a theological nature, but launches rather straight into an exposition of the chapter, proceeding verse by verse, in many cases phrase by phrase. The first 19 sermons on the prolegomena of the Epistle are what many Christians would call "meaty". Lloyd-Jones abhorred superficiality and obviously enjoyed spending week by week meditating on the details of his text. These chapters include sections on such topics as the marks and authority of a true apostle, the impossibility of "apostolic succession", the role of the Holy Trinity in the Gospel dispensation, the relationship between the Old Covenant and the New, the centrality of Christ, the need of owning him as Lord as well as Saviour, etc., etc.
From chapter 20 onwards, Lloyd-Jones turns to the second section of the chapter and deals in rather less detail with the nature of the Gospel and with the wrath of God coming on all unrighteousness of man. He skips over the passages on sexual sin and only skims the list of other sins, presumably because he was a little squeamish about talking about some of these things in public (this was 1955/1956!).
Although the book has obviously not been so carefully edited as some of the later volumes in the series, it is an amazing compendium of Christian knowledge and exegesis which I can recommend wholeheartedly to any evangelical Christian who is willing to take his time over an extremely thorough study of Romans. Lloyd-Jones is always sound, never dull and only occasionally controversial. His art of preaching was such that a word-for-word transcription comes over as linguistically and stylistically more than acceptable, although one must, of course, make account for certain repetitions. Even those who disagree with Lloyd-Jones' Calvinistic and evangelical tenets will find a great deal here to challenge, to edify and to give pause for thought. The book is a Christian all-time classic. Perhaps I should add that it is finely bound, with a dust-jacket that emphasizes its serious religious content.
P.S. For those who are too busy to study such a comprehensive survey of Romans, I recommend John Stott's exposition, published by IVP in their "The Bible Speaks Today" series: The Message of Romans: God's Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today)
The way I was first introduced to this set was by reading the volume which dealt with Romans 3 first. It is the kind of stuff you could use in a reading group.
Everyone who is preaching through Romans, teaching it or studying it for a serious course (college or grad) should consult this series.