READING THE BOOK OF ROMANS OUT LOUD IN ONE SITTING. (Orignally posted on Martin Zender’s MZTV youtube channel.)

I JUST read the book of Romans last night aloud.
Took a couple of hours. Maybe three.
But what I note this morning is this:

  1. There is nothing to be afraid of… the dang thing is English for heaven’s sake… it’s not braille, or mystic code. Of course it was written originally in Greek, but it’s now been translated in to English by those friendly, neighborhood Concordant Literal New Testament dudes.
  2. Paul was the Martin Zender of his day. Meaning that, he (Paul) had really studied the Hebrew scriptures and was quoting them left and right. Like a machine gun. Pow, pow, pow.
  3. What I learn from the letter to Rome was: WE’VE STUMBLED ON TO SOMETHING BIG… I MEAN REAL BIG. So BIG it was a “secret” for a while. And Paul shows with great detail that this was in the works for a long time.
  4. I was also struck that Paul says ALL CREATION IS GROANING, waiting for what we have just tiptoed into. Like, this is just the warm up, type of thing.
  5. I was also struck by his NON-FREEWILL language. It’s all over his letter. Even the opening words were “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus”… Now what “freewill Christian” would open a letter BRAGGING he was a SLAVE????
  6. I know that Paul is really clear about the salvation of all in Ephesians, Colossians, and I Timothy. But ROMANS is also broadbrushed with that idea. “all Israel” saved, all creation, God all”… Paul’s language is very “universal”.

— opps, the coffee is ready, maybe I’ll jot down more thoughts later. Grace to you Brother Martin, And to your peeps. Of whom, I am one.

(… why would Paul brag on being a slave, in the opening words of Romans… if “slavery” is so wrong? … more to the point…If “freewill” is such a big thing to many “christians” out there… why would Paul in Romans, be chatting about slavery all over the place. “Paul a slave of Christ”… slave of flesh, slave of sin, slave of law, slave to God, slave of the spirit… etc. Now mind you… I NEVER heard all that “slave language” at the evangelical churches I used to attend. but it’s all over Pauls letter to Romans.)

Going off memory from last night:

  1. The “evangel of God” is “concerning His son”… and yet, “the evangel of Christ” is about God… it’s like they have a love affair with each other. And we’re just a part of the whole love affair. And the “we” is all creation.
  2. Speaking of this “slave” language… check this out – slave of sin, slave of law, slave of God, slaving for you, etc.
  3. In reading about a “wife being bound to her husband” and the taxation notes… I got the feeling he was dismissing those things quickly as the real point was THE WORK OF GOD from ancient times till now. So, he wanted to get back to the main point.
  4. He really did blast the idea that we can live up to any standard imaginable. In fact, we’re meant to fall flat on our face.
  5. Paul did give a few “commands” and talked a bit about “obedience” but it was more like common sense things. Not like our eternal destiny depended on it… in fact the “eternal destiny” language was all about the destiny of the love affair between God and Christ.
  6. I found myself underlining, many, many little things which prove that “freewillers” are out to lunch, and don’t really know anything about God operations in Christ and his including the nations as a big, big deal in the scope of it all.
  7. If you had to defend “universal salvation” you could do with it the book of Romans alone. Just look at what he says about “creation” altogether.
  8. If you remember Paul’s first venture into the pagan world in Acts 17, he starts out by telling those pagans: “God gives life and breath and all, to all”. That was his opening line. I point this out because evangelicals start out by convincing you of your own sinful nature, as if we need reminding. But not Paul, he says, basically “all is of God”… and in Romans 11:35-36 it’s like the climax of all he is saying.
  9. And when he winds up the letter, he’s got to say “HI” to a bunch of the saints in Rome, and who doesn’t want to be acknowledged for sweeping the floor, supporting the saints, showing hospitality, etc.
  10. And then some brother named Terticius, (his secretary?) says HI. And it gives a real feel … like a connection to the early church.
  11. I’m guessing that Paul sent them all to Rome, from some of the ecclesias he had started elsewhere, so I’m guessing they had heard much of this message all before. But THIS is his grand reminder, his manifesto, to keep them on track. So they would not forget that we’re on to something big. Don’t lose faith brethren. God is doing it all. We’re just lucky to be part of it, so behave yourselves.

Just thinking’

Modern movie-makers know that you can keep them watching a movie for about 2, max, 3 hours.
Years ago, I read the book of Revelation out loud, to myself once and once again to the ecclesia I was in, in Santa Barbara.
Like a modern movie, it seems each book in the Bible, like Revelation and the book of Romans is a 2, max 3-hour read if you do it out loud. I guess God knew we needed to go pee and get more pop corn.
By the way… when I (and later we) read the book of Revelation aloud… at one sitting… it was amazingly like a action-packed, futuristic, sci-fi, drama.
I think everyone would benefit, including small home-churches, to sit down and read Paul’s letters out loud-at one sitting.
Paul is actually a clever writer–as far a literary skills. Shakespeare has nothing on him.
Paul’s sense of balance, inversions, ellipsis, cadence, etc. are very poetic.
As I see it, I Corinthians 15:20-28 is to be memorized, and is as good as any Shakespeareian sonnet. Even sonnet 29.

So, my word for the day… READ THE LETTERS OF PAUL aloud, to yourself and the your ecclesia. And do yourself a favor… don’t listen to any more preachers’ talks on the book of Revelation until you read it aloud to yourself AT ONE SITTING. It’s awesome.

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