Douglas Moo is a veteran and respected commentator, particularly in the area of Paul’s epistles. Having written the esteemed Romans commentary in the NICNT series, he is a natural choice for a guide to this most sweeping of Paul’s letters. I had the pleasure to read the second edition of Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey in the Encountering Biblical Studies series from Baker, and now it’s my privileged to review it.
Encountering the Book of Romans is laid out like a textbook, with an attractive layout, wide margins, and tables, illustrations and maps. Each chapter begins with an outline and objectives, and ends with a few study questions for retention and to consider the information further. Throughout each chapter are inserts that either pursue a rabbit trail of sorts or develop a point in more detail. There are 26 vocabulary words (such as diatribe or corporate solidarity) that appear throughout the book in bold font and with the word repeated in the margin to draw attention to the fact that a definition is in the back. This helps expose students to new concepts without burying them in scholarly lingo.
Moo introduces the reader to Romans in 16 pages over two chapters. The first chapter familiarizes the reader with ancient letters and a brief history of how Romans has been understood, particularly by the Reformation and New Perspective readings and their key players. Moo does an admirable job of boiling down the debate in two pages. Fundamentally, critics of the Reformation view find fault in an individualistic reading and in the portrayal of first-century Judaism as legalistic. Moo accepts these criticism as “somewhat justified” and proceeds to take a “modified Reformation approach” (p9) throughout this book.
The majority of the book is then devoted to surveying the sub-units of Romans. Moo breaks the letter down into 7 parts (all beginning with “encountering” in the title), fowling a fairly standard structure. Within each part are a few chapters averaging to 12 pages each. Each chapter is like a mini-introduction/commentary on the unit, summarizing and explaining the contents.
Please follow the link to continue reading Lindsay’s review. Also looking forward towards his carnival!