Recently my personal Bible reading took me through the book of Romans. What a remarkable book! So much rich doctrine! So much practical advice!
Martin Luther offered high praise for the book of Romans when he wrote, “It is the chief part of the New Testament and the perfect gospel.”
John Calvin agreed, writing this, “When anyone understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture.”
Any student of the Bible knows the treasure of doctrine that is found on the pages of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. However, Romans also contains a remarkable amount of personal correspondence. While our theological formulations may come from the doctrinal portions of the book, Paul’s personal correspondence offers a beautiful description of Christian ministry.
Consider the following snapshots of Christian ministry, all taken from Romans 1:8-15.
- Christian ministry should be filled with thanksgiving (1:8).
- Christian ministry should celebrate the global church (1:8).
- Christian ministry must be genuine, serving from one’s spirit (1:9).
- Christian ministry should always be prayerful (1:9-10).
- Christian ministry should edify and strengthen the church (1:11).
- Christian ministry ought to be marked by mutual dependency (1:12).
- Christian ministry is at times frustrating and discouraging (1:13).
- Christian ministry is always optimistic, seeking a harvest (1:13).
- Christian ministry focuses on all classes of people (1:14).
- Christian ministry is a God-given obligation (1:14).
- Christian ministry is marked by eagerness to serve (1:15).
Regular pastors, take heart! Paul’s description of Christian ministry says nothing about success or victory. Nothing about size or numbers. Nothing about celebrity or recognition. Whatever your calling and wherever your place, your ministry can be marked by these snapshots.