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Book Review: Romans 8-16 For You (Tim Keller)

Timothy Keller. Romans 8-16 For You. The Good Book Company, 2015. 224 pp. $22.99.

Rom 8-16The God’s Word For You series from The Good Book Company is one of the best biblical resources for the Church. Whether used by students and scholars for devotional reading, consulted by ministry leaders for preaching and teaching, or used as an expository guide into deeper Bible study for the person in the pew, this series consistently combines solid exposition with helpful quotes and illustrates in a way that deepens one’s knowledge of the biblical text, stirs one’s heart with biblical truths, and facilitates gospel-centered application and life-change. For the typical church-goer, the volumes in this series are excellent and must-have guides to the respective biblical books.

Ever since I read Tim Keller’s Romans 1-7 For You from this series (my review here) last year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second installment. Romans has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible, and I never get tired of it. As I wrote in the introduction to my review of Romans 1-7 for you,

While all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, it’s hard to deny that in a sense there is something extra-special about the Epistle to the Romans. It is, as Luther wrote in his commentary on the book, the “purest gospel.” No other section of the Bible takes us to such devastating lows in confronting us with our depravity, and no other section of the Bible takes us to such soaring heights with the reality of our justification and union with Christ. And through the Spirit of God this marvelous book has been the explosive catalyst in the lives of giants in the faith like Augustine and Luther, whose effects are still felt in the Church today.

I must confess that I’m much more familiar with the first half of Romans than the second (save for, perhaps, chapters 9-11). This is probably due to my Reformational understanding of the gospel – for in the first half of the letter is where we find the heart of the doctrine of justification by faith. The second half of Romans is more practical, focusing on how the gospel changes us in real life. Romans 8-16 is classic Tim Keller – sound, gospel-centered exposition of Scripture that’s at the same time winsome and relevant, with both rich theological quotes (e.g. Owen, Lloyd-Jones, etc.) as well as helpful illustrations and real-life stories. Because the second half of Romans contains some texts that are controversial in the evangelical world (e.g. Romans 9-11 and the topics of election as well as Israel and the Church, Romans 13 and the topic of how Christians relate to the state), in these chapters of Romans 8-16 for You readers may find themselves disagreeing with Keller’s perspective. These topics are outside the scope of an expository guide to cover in depth; but thankfully, Keller does address election and the sovereignty of God in an appendix.

I highly recommend both Keller’s two-volume set on Romans from the God’s Word for You series. It’s especially valuable for laypeople as a guide to studying the book of Romans, but is also a helpful aid (alongside technical commentaries) for those preparing to teach or preach from Romans.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

I’m not sure how long this price will last, but on the publisher’s website the two-volume set is a bit cheaper than buying them individually.

I received a free copy from the publisher via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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