XVIII. Romans: Back Down to Ground Level

Big deal, right? I’ve just illustrated the comparisons and
contrasts in the different movements in the book of Romans—what’s the big deal.
I mean, sure it all winds up proving (somewhat) interesting and I had some pretty
architectural illustration as well as a pic of Beethoven’s ninth—but what does
it matter? Rey, are you saying the verses in Romans have no value when they’re on their own?

Of course not. {{John 3:16}}
says what it means and means what it says—but when you see the context around
{{John 3:16}} you see why it says it and
how powerful a statement it is. It’s not a hypothetical statement or linguistic
gymnastics—it forms part of a greater whole which states a fundamental truth in
Scripture: Whosoever believes will live, or, The Just Shall Live By Faith
(Habakkuk; {{Rom 1:17}}; {{Gal 3:11}}, {{Heb 10:38}}).

So it is when we look at a verse in Romans which says
“Abraham believed and it was accounted to him as righteousness” ({{Gen 15:6}}; {{Rom
4:3}}) we can take it at what it says but we can also look at the context and see
how it applies to us. Not only that, when we see where it is placed in the
book—we find out exactly what problem righteousness accounted due to belief

Same thing with reckoning oneself dead ({{Rom 6}})—we might take
it to mean one thing which can stand on it’s own…but when we see the context
and which movement it is located in—we discover the core of the problem and the
solution it is giving.

Or is it that these sayings are random questions that may or
may not come up in a believer’s discussion with an unbeliever? You know no real
connection in thought—just a list of the top 66 questions that will be fired at
you from unbelievers. Or maybe, a good apologetic for the presentation of the

You might take it as either of those, but its power resides
when we see how one word connects to the other, one verse to the other, one
chapter to the next and so forth. Very often, if I am to offer a rebuttal to a
proof-text I am forced to go into the literary context—not the context of the

Oh sure, I may consider the context of the day near the end,
but if arguing from Scripture it is best to remain in what the Scriptures are
saying. It is, after all, the inspired Word of God—perfect for the tasks that
the Lord has designated for it ({{2 Ti 3:16}}).
To ignore how the Sovereign God has dictated its presentation of thought is to
ignore the very message God wants us to retain.

Connection of thought, structure, patterns—all of them put
there by God to get the point across. He used men, surely, and those men
employed those methods which best suited their purpose. But as they worked with
the pen, God worked in the mind—so let’s be vigilant in our studies, strict and
steadfast and always astounded at God’s overwhelming organization and
presentation of His self revelation.

I heard an excellent teacher borrow the words of 1
Corinthians 13 when admonishing us on our study methods “And now abideth
structure, patterns and thought-flow…these three. But the greatest of these
three is…thought-flow.”

Why I don’t do systematic studies anymore and also an example of proof-texting.

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