Thursday, April 25, 2013

Interview with the Author of 'Argument of Romans'

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We are lucky to have with us today Philip, author of the forthcoming book 'Argument of Romans.' Thanks for coming on Phil.

It's my pleasure.

Alright so if I understand right you did this to help the lay reader get a good grasp on Romans.

That's right, this book is one of my favorites, and so I wanted people to read it and understand it, particularly people in my old denomination, the Churches of Christ. I'm convinced that if they just spend more time in the Bible, particularly a book like Romans, their doctrines are going to be corrected.

So let me ask the question that everyone is thinking: another commentary on Romans? We already have Luther, Calvin, Barnes, Moo, Beeza, MacArthur, Sproul, Stott, to name a few. Do you think that this work can stand next to Stott?

Good gracious no. My aim is not to surpass or supplant them. Nor do I really bring anything novel to the discussion, but it's like what C.S. Lewis said, the aim of the Christian teacher is not to bring new teachings, but to remind us of the old ones. I'd highly recommend still using those in depth commentaries.

What's different about it then?

One of the things I hate when reading a commentary, is seeing a verse referenced, then having to look it up. I know that sounds stupid, but I really do. It causes me to lose my focus on the original verse as I consider the reference. So when I did my own I made sure to spell the verses out. The other thing is that I wanted to stay out of the commentary as much as possible, it was my goal to be invisible. I tried to arrange breaks in the text and bring in other Scriptures to explain the point, rather than explain at length my own thoughts on it.

Any challenges you had while writing it that stand out in your mind?

Oh, small stuff like it took me a few hours to figure out that on Amazon sizes fonts relatively. So if you have some font that's size 8 and others that are size 12, it won't shrink very small. Another thing was that on the Kindle there is a very limited amount of space available, so I had to somewhat rephrase Paul's answer to jog the readers memory. Oh, and the best one was that I got rejected by the ESV permissions board because the format was too risky. I don't blame them for that one.

Okay, I have to ask about the format, where did you come up with the idea to break the text apart like that, into a debate?

You're not going to believe this, but I was reading a very mediocre book called World War Z, and, can I digress for a moment here? I know what you are thinking, but don't you judge me for loving the zombie genre, particularly Zombie Romantic Comedy. Anyway, it's a narrative, an interview about the zombie pandemic, and I was reading it right at the time I was studying Romans, and it came to me that you could probably do the same to Romans. So I did.

Most proud of?

Couple of things, one was getting the format to be easy on the eye. I wanted the commentary to be invisible, optional. I finally settled on a different color, which I thought was pretty good. The other thing was picking out the right verses to match the Romans text. For example the text in Romans 9 lends itself to people getting angry at grace, so I picked up the parable in Matthew about the laborers in the vineyard getting angry at the owners grace and put them together.

Alright that's all the time we have, thanks for coming to share this with us Phil.


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