The Centrality of the Gospel in Preaching 2
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1.16-17 ESV).
One of the most significant epistles the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write was the Epistle to the Romans. It has been a noteworthy influence throughout the history of the church. One of the most significant reasons for this is that Romans emphasizes the gospel of Jesus Christ from beginning to end, from first to last. The gospel is its central theme.
Martin Luther, in his preface to his commentary on Romans, writes, “This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.”
Luther is not alone in his fondness for the Book of Romans and the gospel it contains. The centrality of the gospel in Romans had a similar impact in bringing to saving faith such notable students of the Word of God as Augustine and John Wesley.
John Calvin wrote, “When one gains knowledge of this epistle, he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture” (Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans 1).
William Tyndale wrote, “Forasmuch as this epistle is the principal and most part of the New Testament and most pure evangelion that is to say glad tidings and that we call gospel is a light and a way unto the whole scripture; I think it meet that every Christian man not only know it, by without the book, but also exercise himself therein continually, as with the daily bread of the soul. No man verily can read it too oft, or study it too well for it is studied, the easier it is; the more it is chewed, the pleasanter it is and the more groundly it is searched, the preciouser things are found in it, so great treasure of things lieth hid therein” (Doctrinal Treatises and Introductions to Different Portions of the Holy Scriptures 484)
May we today have the same affection for God’s Word in general, and the Book of Romans, as did these blessed fathers of the faith.