Romans: A Theological and Pastoral Commentary
Romans: A Theological and Pastoral Commentary

Romans: A Theological and Pastoral Commentary

by Michael J. Gorman

4.95 Rank Score: 5.37 from 10 reviews, 0 featured collections, and 3 user libraries
Pages 350
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 3/3/2022
ISBN-13 9780802877628
This commentary engages the letter to the Romans as Christian scripture and highlights the Pauline themes for which Michael Gorman is best known—participation and transformation, cruciformity and new life, peace and justice, community and mission. With extensive introductions both to the apostle Paul and to the letter itself, Gorman provides the needed background on Paul’s first-century context before proceeding into the rich theological landscape of the biblical text. In line with Paul’s focus on Christian living, Gorman interprets Romans at a consistently practical level, highlighting the letter’s significance for Christian theology, for daily life, and for pastoral ministry. Questions for reflection and sidebars on important concepts make this especially useful for those preparing to preach or teach from Romans—the “epistle of life,” as Gorman calls it, for its extraordinary promise that, through faith, we “might walk in newness of life” with Christ.


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This commentary explicitly treats Paul’s letter to the Romans as Scripture, and it would work well in Romans classes on the undergraduate and seminary levels that are not based on the Greek text. Each section of the commentary, including the “Introducing Paul” and “Introducing Romans” halves of the introduction, concludes with “Spiritual, Pastoral, and Theological Reflections” and then “Questions for Those Who Read, Teach, and Preach.” Gorman has thus been very intentional in providing traction for his commentary in the lives of those who seek to live by this letter’s claims. At the same time, Gorman is thoroughly conversant with all the trends in the academic study of Romans and elegantly and understandably navigates his way through the sticky wickets in the letter with clear signals of his own exegetical path...
Wesley Thomas Davey (The Journal of Theological Studies) Wesley Thomas Davey (The Journal of Theological Studies) August 5, 2023
Romans may be a new genre for Michael Gorman, but one quickly discovers in it a convergence of the skills that have come to typify his scholarly work. It is illuminating in its exegesis, euphonic in its prose, attentive in its pedagogy, sagacious in its judgements, and pastoral in its bearing. Even the ‘vice’ of a shorter commentary yields an advantage: instead of refuting alternative positions, he does the constructive work of casting a vision for how the letter might be read. The church, the volume’s designated readership, will surely benefit from Gorman’s labours. Not only will it learn much about Paul and his letter to the early Christians in Rome, but it will gain insight into how theological interpretation ought to be done. [Full Review]
Horizons Journal: C. Clifton Black Horizons Journal: C. Clifton Black June 19, 2023
For its intended audience, this is the finest commentary on Romans I have ever read. For "pastors, students, and laypeople" (xvii), it's one of the finest commentaries I know on any biblical book. What qualifies this commentary as outstanding? First, its procedure is pedagogically sublime. Knotty issues of translation for the Greek-less are untied (109, 193, passim). When Paul employs diatribe to argue his points, Gorman inserts charts that parallel the rhetorical interlocutor with Paul's response (105, 187, 209-10). Lucid excursuses are dedicated to disputed topics: the meaning of righteousness (69-70), "the faith of Jesus Christ" (119), the identity of the "I" in 7:7-25 (182-84), and same-gender sexual relations (88-89, 91 on 1:24-27). [Full Review]
Corey Marsh (Religious Studies Review) Corey Marsh (Religious Studies Review) June 1, 2023
One of the world’s leading Pauline scholars offers a careful ex-position of Romans that shines exegetical acumen with theo-logical depth and pastoral sensitivity. Approaching the letter from a “participationist” perspective, Gorman views Romans as Christian Scripture stressing individual and community transformative participation “in Christ” as central to Pauline theology. Ultimately, Gorman views Romans as Paul’s “epistle of life” that teaches participation and transformation in Christ made possible by the Holy Spirit’s enablement. The commentary highlights Paul’s themes of justice, holiness, grace, and peace and teases them out in terms of cruciformity, participation, and mission (concepts for which Gorman is well known). [Full Review]
Englewood Review: Aaron Klink Englewood Review: Aaron Klink November 1, 2022
Gorman’s commentary is substantive, sophisticated, and accessible. Additionally, it employs Gorman’s key concepts of participation, mission, cruciformity and resurrectional cruciformity which are more fully defended and elucidated than in his other books. Those familiar with Gorman’s corpus will have an easier time following this commentary. However, this is a minor issue. Because of Gorman’s knowledge of Paul, and his ability to have an ecumenical vision that’s deeper than that which comes from simply parroting “Protestant” or “Roman Catholic” readings of Romans, Gorman manages to exegete the text seemingly free of pre-set denominational commitments. This book deserves a place on the shelves of pastors who preach on Romans, and in church libraries that assist readers in understanding Paul’s account of God’s work, so that believers can respond to that same grace, as Christ in the world. [Full Review]
Christian Century Christian Century November 1, 2022
Romans commentaries are legion, but this one breaks the mold. Written for teachers and preachers, it is ready-made for a classroom setting. Immensely readable and practical, it features built-in reflection strategies, key points for staying connected to the letter’s overarching argument and flow, sections devoted to deeper understanding of key terms and difficult ideas, and an introductory chapter that situates the letter within the larger scope of Paul’s mission. This is not a commentary that hovers over every word or phrase. Plenty of others have accomplished that well. It is a theological and pastoral commentary that will edify the church and stimulate the classroom. [Full Review]
Interpretation Journal: Interpretation Journal: September 26, 2022
This volume is for all who have ever embarked on a study of Paul's magisterial letter only to be confounded by particular phrases and lost in its pages. An experienced teacher, Gorman takes readers by the hand and assumes that they want to engage this text as Christian Scripture and thus as a living Word, intended to edify the faith community. This theological and pastoral commentary demonstrates what is possible when academic study is placed in service of the church. As Gorman succinctly states at the beginning, "Above all, Romans is a letter about Spirit-enabled participation and transformation in Christ and his story, and thus in the life and mission of God in the world" (p. xix). [Full Review]
Bible Study Magazine: Kelley Matthew Bible Study Magazine: Kelley Matthew August 26, 2022
The beauty of Gorman’s commentary is found not only in its expert analysis but also in its organization and accessibility. Asserting that Romans demonstrates that “Paul’s theology always has a pastoral function” (p 26), Gorman, recognized Pauline scholar and chair of the Biblical Studies and Theology Department at St. Mary’s Seminary & University, structures his new Eerdmans’ release as an ideal resource for pastors and teachers. He opens with an extended background section on Paul himself, analyzing what motivated Paul’s focus on transformative faith. He also includes a thorough review of Paul’s historical/cultural context. From there he moves into a section-by-section commentary of the text itself. [Full Review]
Phillip J. Long Phillip J. Long June 28, 2022
Gorman explains in his preface that the subtitle to his new Romans commentary, “a theological and pastoral commentary,” means he engages Romans as Christian Scripture. His goal is to consider the spiritual and practical application of Paul’s theology as presented in Romans in a contemporary Christian context. This does not imply Gorman ignores Paul’s message to the original audience because Paul is a pastoral theologian. In fact, he states several times in the book, “if John is the Gospel of Life, Romans is the epistle of life” (50)... Unlike many recent commentaries on Romans, Gorman does not interact much with other scholarship. As he explains, “this commentary comments on the text, not on other commentaries” (xviii). He intentionally treats the English text using the NRSV (although with comparison to other modern translations and occasionally his own)... Conclusion: Gorman’s commentary on Romans is a pleasure to read and will serve pastors and teachers well as they prepare to present Paul’s dense theology to their congregations. If you are planning to preach through the book of Romans, buy this commentary. [Full Review]
Catalyst: Joel B. Green Catalyst: Joel B. Green April 22, 2022
Students and pastors will be drawn to this commentary. The entire book centers on Gorman’s sustained interpretation of the book—that is, it is a commentary on Romans, not a commentary on the scholarly discussion of Romans. Of course, Gorman is conversant with the panoply of scholarly debate on this letter, but his engagement with that debate lies beneath the surface of his commentary. (We get the tip of the iceberg, but there is no doubt that, just out of sight, the bulk of the iceberg rumbles.) Although this work does not shy away from difficult exegetical questions, its focus is on the theological and pastoral significance of the letter... I can imagine groups of Christian leaders gathering around Romans for a season—Paul’s letter in one hand, this faithful interpretation of Paul’s letter in the other. It is the sort of book I would put in the hands of those in the classroom, whether in a seminary or undergraduate context or in an adult education class at a local church. [Full Review]