The Story of Romans: A Narrative Defense of God's Righteousness
Reed, David A., Anglican Theological Review
The Story of Romans: A Narrative Defense of God's Righteousness. By A. Katherine Grieb. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. xxiv + 167 pp. $24.95 (paper).
Albert Einstein once said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." In The Story of Romans A. Katherine Grieb gives us a clear, coherent, simple, modern, and relevant reading of Romans without dumbing down in order to appease the masses.
The key to Grieb's book is stated up front: Romans is a sustained argument for the righteousness of God that is identified with and demonstrated by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, understood primarily as his willing obedience to suffer death on the cross (p. ix). Against Luther, Grieb believes that Romans is best read as "the continuous story of what God has done in Jesus Christ and what God continues to do in the lives of those who are baptized into Christ Jesus" (p. 35). Thus, "story" is an important element in Grieb's work. As she notes, we all have stories, as did Paul. In her opinion, we can find Paul's story in his letter to the Romans.
To best convey her narrative argument, Grieb draws upon and synthesizes the complex arguments of the giants in the field of Pauline studies. Mainly, she draws upon the works of James D. G. Dunn, Richard B. Hays, and N. T. Wright. Pauline scholars familiar with these works will find little new in Grieb's book, for often she echoes what those before her have already said. However, one of the beauties of Grieb's work is that she explains modern scholarship on Paul in simple terms that just about anyone can understand.
To aid readers in this process, Grieb provides reflection questions at the end of each chapter. Certainly these questions were designed with the undergraduate student, first year seminarian, or churchgoer in mind. …