Reading Romans Backwards
To read Romans from beginning to end, from letter opening to final doxology, is to retrace the steps of Paul. To read Romans front to back was what Paul certainly intended. But to read Romans forward may have kept the full message of Romans from being perceived. Reading forward has led readers to classify Romans as abstract and systematic theology, as a letter unstained by real pastoral concerns. Reading Romans Backwards places lived theology in the front room of every Roman house church. It focuses all of Romans—Paul’s apostleship, God’s faithfulness, and Christ’s transformation of humanity—on achieving grace and peace among all people, both strong and weak. McKnight shows that Paul’s letter to the Romans offers a sustained lesson on peace, teaching applicable to all divided churches, ancient or modern.