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The dust jackets for Dr. James M. Boice’s four-volume work on Paul’s epistle to the Romans describe the series as “An Expositional Commentary.” That’s an apt description, for the books are a fruit of the great pulpit ministry Boice exercised for more than 30 years as pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia until his death in 2000. But other descriptions would work well, too.

The books are a commentary, and a very good one at that. Boice was a highly educated Bible scholar, and he is able to break down Greek word meanings and unravel Paul’s sometimes knotted phraseology to get at his true meaning. Bible students looking for help in understanding a passage will find it here.

However, Boice has an uncanny ability to remain behind the line that separates useful facts from esoterica. In other words, you won’t get bogged down in a flood of highly technical historical/grammatical data. The books are actually very readable. Each chapter in the series (239 across the four volumes) is of roughly equal length (about seven pages) and reads like the sermon it once was. Thus, a Christian could spend the better part of a year reading this commentary as a devotional, one chapter each weekday.

The series also comes across as something of a pastoral letter. Yes, Boice tells his readers what’s going on in a passage, but he always tells them what the passage means for them, too. And he isn’t afraid to dart off down a rabbit trail for a message or two if he sees the subject as one about which the body of Christ needs to hear. For instance, he takes time while exegeting Romans 1:13 to teach about unanswered prayer, and he spends a chapter showing how God used Romans 1:17 in the life of Martin Luther.

Tabletalk will be using this series of commentaries to guide our year-long study in Romans in 2002. If you’re intrigued by what you read here, consider investing in Boice’s series, published by Baker Books. We recommend it highly.

The Way of Sacrifice

Those Chapters

Keep Reading To the Church at Rome ... The Book of Romans

From the January 2002 Issue
Jan 2002 Issue