Commentary Connoisseur: The Welsh & English

Here then are three resources on Romans - one from a Welshman and the other two from Englishmen.

If Lloyd-Jones is expansive and voluminous, Stott’s commentary is simple, stays on the line of Scripture, and is sermonically suggestive. That is, he clearly and simply breaks apart any given pericope according to how the text naturally falls apart, giving any would-be-preacher a quick but textually faithful sermon outline. It’s clear he is at once trying to be faithful to the logic and flow of the text while at the same time aiming to present the passage in sermonic form.

 

I don’t know if I have an absolute favorite commentary on Romans…at least not yet. I remember when serving as a youth pastor I spent about two years working through the book of Romans with all the high school students in our church. During that time I read through a large portion of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ “sermons” on the book and remember being greatly blessed by his insights, especially on Romans chapter 6. There’s tediousness to it just because there’s so much to read; he has an entire chapter on the word “therefore”! Nonetheless, I look back on that time with great fondness in how the Lord used those sermons to shape and form my own spiritual walk.

On the other end of the scale, I also remember benefiting from John Stott’s IVP commentary, “The Message of Romans”. If Lloyd-Jones is expansive and voluminous, Stott’s commentary is simple, stays on the line of Scripture, and is sermonically suggestive. That is, he clearly and simply breaks apart any given pericope according to how the text naturally falls apart, giving any would-be-preacher a quick but textually faithful sermon outline. It’s clear he is at once trying to be faithful to the logic and flow of the text while at the same time aiming to present the passage in sermonic form.

So, opening the commentary at random to Romans 3:21-26, Stott breaks apart this section in three titled points. First, “The Source of our Justification: God and His Grace” highlighting verse 24a. Second, “The Ground of our Justification: Christ and His Cross” looking at verses 24b-26. And then thirdly, “The Means of our Justification: Faith” zeroing in on what ties the whole passage together, the word “faith” in verses 22, 25, and 26.

Reading through that commentary as a young man helped me understand more and more the necessity of clear and simple preaching, presenting any given passage to the congregation in an easily digestible way. It should go without saying, but John Stott as a preacher was clearly gifted in that regard and his commentary on Romans highlights this well.

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