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Reading Romans Backwards

A Gospel in Search of Peace in the Midst of the Empire

Reading Romans Backwards

A Gospel in Search of Peace in the Midst of the Empire

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Publisher: SCM Press
ISBN: 9780334058342
Number of Pages: 256
Published: 31/07/2019
Width: 14 cm
Height: 21.6 cm

As Paul's Epistle to the Romans comes to an end in Chapters 12-16, we are offered fascinating insights into the everyday life of the church to whom Paul writes, and essential contextual details which shed light on the rest of the epistle. But the rest of the letter is so notoriously dense that these vital details are often missed, and the earlier chapters are read is if they were merely written for theology lecturers to expound rather than for the local church to ingest.

In Reading Romans Backwards, renowned New Testament scholar Scot McKnight demonstrates that fresh light can be thrown on Chapters 1-11 by first taking a deep look at Chapters 12-16.

Reading the letter in this new way, McKnight explores how Romans offers a message of deep reconciliation and living in fellowship as siblings - a message of vital relevance to today's church.

Download and read the accompanying FREE studyguide Teaching Romans Backwards 



Introduction: Lived Theology 


A Community Needing Peace

Romans 12–16

 1. Phoebe—The Face of Romans 

 2. The Greetings and the House Churches of Rome 

 3. Strong and Weak 

 4. Zealotry 

 5. Christoformity—Paul’s Vision for a Lived Theology of Peace 

 6. Christoformity Is Embodied God Orientation 

 7. Christoformity Is Embodied Body-of-Christ Orientation 

 8. Christoformity Is Public Orientation 

 9. Know the Time Is Now 


A Narrative Leading to Peace Romans 9–11

 10. Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, Where We’re Headed 

 11. To the Weak 

 12. To the Strong 


A Torah That Disrupts Peace Romans 1–4

 13. The Opening to the Letter 

 14. The Rhetoric of Romans 1–2

 15. Reading Romans 2 after Romans 1 

 16. The First Question—Advantage

 17. The Second Question—Boasting in Advantage 

 18. The Third Question—Abraham, Faith, and Advantage 


A Spirit Creating Peace Romans 5–8

 19. All 

 20. You and We 

 21. I 

Conclusion: Reading Romans Forwards, in Brief 



Scripture Index 

Ancient Sources Index 

Scot McKnight

Dr Scot McKnight is the Julius R. Mantey Chair of New Testament at Northern Seminary, Illinois. A globally renowned authority on the historical Jesus, early Christianity, and the New Testament, he is the author of numerous books including The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, and The Letter to the Colossians in the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.

“Two things stand out from this fresh, creative reading of Paul’s greatest letter. Scot McKnight is a historian who grounds his exposition in messy, on-the-ground, first-century reality; and he loves the church and longs to see it attending not just to abstract theories about salvation but to the practical questions of how to embody the gospel in actual communities. Thus, whether or not you agree with all his interpretations, this book will compel all of us to think afresh about how Paul’s vivid theology challenges our often sleepy discipleship.” -- NT Wright, University of St Andrews

"Anyone who begins reading Romans at chapter 1 verse 1 may be forgiven for allowing their attention to slip by the time they have reached chapter 16. In this important reading of Romans Scott McKnight offers a different way of looking at the letter - starting at the end, with the lived experience of those to whom Paul writes, and working backwards. It is a fascinating exploration of this most important letter and brings it to life in new ways. Highly recommended!" -- Paula Gooder, Canon Chancellor, St Paul's Cathedral, London

"To read Romans backwards with Scot McKnight is to experience the epistle as a pastoral intervention directed toward believing communities under stress. Read backwards, Paul’s great insights concerning justification, grace, and faithfulness reveal themselves not as doctrines received from the sky but as Paul’s active work as a missionary theologian. Accessible to students and pastors, this book will provoke scholars to examine our assumptions about Romans as well." -- Greg Carey, Professor of New Testament, Lancaster Theological Seminary, USA