Recently a friend of mine sent me a text with only one word. The text read: “ROMANS!” I had a pretty good idea of what he was talking about, but just to make sure I asked for clarification. He went on to say of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, “Dude, I don’t know what else to say, it’s just so awesome.”
Reading those texts was like looking at pictures of someone I hadn’t seen for awhile. I was instantly transported back in time to almost four years ago pouring over the book of Romans like I was trying to unlock an ancient, hidden secret. Times when I was baffled by words or phrases and the times when the veils over those text were seemingly lifted off by someone other than myself; the times when I looked up from my bible in awe, not being able to read another word. Times that were as if I was the first one ever to understand the questions in Romans 6 or the connection between 4 and 11 or the gavel drop in chapter 3 or the unparalleled beauty of “the great 8.”
A pastor who has been so influential in my life calls Romans a Dear Old Friend. That is exactly what I felt when I read those texts. For the past few months I’ve been studying Hebrews, Acts, and have just started The Gospel of John–all three of which could qualify under the title of Dear Old Friend, but there’s something different for me about the Book of Romans. No many how many hundreds of times I read it, no matter how many sermons I’ve heard on the book, or no matter the fact that the cadence of Max McClean’s voice from an mp3 copy of the ESV Bible I have is permanently imprinted in my brain like an audio tattoo, whenever I read that book or it’s referenced in a conversation, I can’t help but reminisce.
This is all well and good, but I suppose I want to end this post with a few questions and a challenge. Do you have any Dear Old Friends? Have you invested sufficient time in getting to know a book of God’s Word that it has come alive to you as is now like a living being able to talk to you and you to it? Do you simply read your 3 chapters a day looking for something inspiring or convicting, or are you struggling to give yourself over to a book so you can be forever changed by what God has for you? If you don’t, I encourage you to be introduced to a book that might someday be to you a friend.
By the way, if you can’t figure out what book is going to be your Dear Old Friend, go ahead and take mine…there’s enough in Romans to be a friend to everyone!