Romans is a meaty book, and one that would be better grasped at a clip of a few verses a day, rather than a few chapters a day. Yet, if you find yourself bogged down in discussions about Jews vs. Gentiles, Adam vs. Jesus, faith vs. law, do not despair! Paul gives his summary statement at the beginning of the book, and if you keep this in mind, you may catch the big ideas.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of every who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith'."
It is easy to be ashamed of the gospel by human terms. Easy because the gospel presumes that we are all sinners and in need of help completely beyond our reach or on our own strength. It proclaims that we cannot "earn" merit or favor with God, but rather that salvation is a free gift. It confesses that God became man and died for sinners.
Yes, there are elements that we wouldn't have chosen if we were piecing together a gospel that we could be proud of before all men. But God, in his sovereign wisdom, chose this way to save sinners, and only in this way is there power to save sinners. And for that reason alone I can boast in the gospel, boast in the cross, boast in Christ crucified.
Hints for Romans: Take detailed notes. Ask questions of your community group leaders, even days before group meets if you like. Or simply leave a question here or over at the Redeemer Church facebook page!
There is a wealth of beauty in this book if you are willing to put in the time and effort!