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Romans and Revelation

April 20, 2009

I have been impressed lately with the way Romans and Revelation seem to top the list of those book most Christians would agree are significant; yet simultaneously they sit together atop the list of those biblical books we assume are least likely to be understood. It does not have to be this way, however, since both books, I have noticed lately in reading their “prologues”, hang a massively important interpretive key right by the front door. 

Romans opens this way: “Paul…set apart for the Gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son.” So this message that Paul is communicating is God’s good news about His Son! Romans is, and must be read, therefore as a book about Christ – meaning that any interpretation that does moor itself to this rock is bound to lose its bearings and drift into misinterpretation. Christ is the cornerstone, captstone, and primary consideration of Romans. 

Similarly, Revelation opens with these words, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants the things which must soon take place.” It perhaps goes without saying…but entering the book through this door means the material we encounter inside is not primarily about us, or evil figures, or events on the earth at the end of world history – except as the Father subpoenas any of that to reveal His Son. So we should come to this book to find and fasted our eyes on Jesus, trusting that in this way our heart will be held steadfast in love with Him through whatever tribulation may come. 

Perhaps this stated centrality of their focus on Christ is part of why Romans and Revelation are recognized as both magisterial and multi-faceted – such is the nature and the beauty of the One they are written to reveal. May they both fulfill their divinely intended function in our lives and lead our hearts to worship Him.


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  1. brAdy permalink

    The interesting thing about both books (of course, beside what you’ve already stated) is the meta-physical content often times leaves the created mind adrift between sheer, immovable faces of truth. The mining of them seems impossible; survival is a more suitable attitude. I know personally, Revelation inspired my imaginings & Romans confounded me. Very little was able to be added to, because–honestly–the knowledge never took in understanding.

    You’ve elevated a good pillar of grace: the necessity of growing up underneath Christ–“such is the nature and the beauty of the One they are written to reveal.” By placing Christ at the center of the room, the Light by which we see, we learn to function & move about by not only what is revealed as truth, but Who is being revealed before our eyes. Again, the complete agreement with scripture is basket-woven with a removal of blindness. If indeed, “The entrance of Your words brings light; it brings understanding to the simple”, then our simplicity & need are safely invested & richly returned; in new Light, we hide & grow within the cleft(s) of truth that formerly ruined us in weariness or cornered us with colorful fables of escapist “interpretation.”

    Good key.

    • brushep permalink

      like the imagery of Christ being placed in the center of the room and your conclusion about the entrance of His word bringing light and unloading the burden of weariness…got me thinking and turned into another entry (4-21).

  2. ashleyrobi permalink

    So glad you have already posted a second item. I’m hoping you’ll become a daily blogger!
    This short post makes me want to feast on these two books. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. Bruburg permalink

    The Scripture seems to constantly draw me back to exactly what you have pinpointed – that this is all about Him! Your thoughts bring a large sigh of relief in my spirit. It’s almost as if I were sitting in a class, trying to figure out what the teacher might put on the test. Then, she says, “This will be on the test.” Everyone comes to attention in their seats and makes their asterisk in the notes. The truth is obviously much greater and the impact is far-reaching, but it is good to know that there is One answer to the test. 🙂

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