J.V. Fesko – Romans Commentary – Q & A

romans bible commentary fesko coverJ.V. Fesko is the author of the Romans commentary in the Lectio Continua series. Dr. Fesko graduated from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK, with an earned Ph.D. in theology. His interests include systematic theology, applied soteriology (union with Christ, justification and sanctification, and the ordo salutis), sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed dogmatics, as well as the integration of biblical and systematic theology.

Dr. Fesko was the pastor of Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian church from 1998 to 2009. He is now presently the Academic Dean and Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California. He is also an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Fesko’s publications include, Death in Adam, Life in Christ, Spirit of the Age, The Trinity and the Covenant of Redemption, The Covenant of Redemption, The Theology of the Westminster Standards, Songs of a Suffering King, and Beyond Calvin: Union with Christ and Justification in Early Modern Reformed Theology. His scholarly essays have appeared in various books and journals including Perichoresis, Reformed Theological Review, Journal of Reformed Theology, Church History and Religious Culture, Calvin Theological Journal, Trinity Journal, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Westminster Theological Journal.

Dr. Fesko and his wife, Anneke, have three children and reside in Escondido.

7 Question on Romans in the Lectio Continua Commentary Series

Recently, Dr. Fesko graciously answered my questions about his Romans commentary. Readers will learn how this commentary came to be, what is unique about it among Romans commentaries, and how the project edified him personally.

1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on Romans?

From the earliest days of my seminary studies I’ve always had a great interest in Romans. For many Christians throughout the ages, the book has been a key point of interest and I was no different. Early in my pastorate I decided I wanted to preach through the book because I wanted to have a better understanding of Paul’s most famous letter. If John Calvin said it was the key to unlocking all of Scripture, then I figured it’d be a good place to start with my own pulpit ministry.

2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?

The series editors have intended this commentary for the person in the pew and for pastors who are preparing sermons, as they have shaped the series to be richly exegetical, intensely theological, and imminently practical. Since the series is expositional, however, I believe that any person regardless of their level of theological education can profit from the book.

3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to studies of Romans?

This commentary was forged on the anvil of the pulpit and thus strives to make Paul’s deep and rich truths accessible to the average person. Since the commentary series is dedicated to homiletical exposition, I hope that it contributes to the very growing body of Romans commentaries by modeling exegetical fidelity, theological depth, and pastoral applicability.

4. What section or passage of this commentary was particularly memorable to research and write? Why?

There are many passages that come to mind, but for me Paul’s words about God’s justification of “ungodly” Abraham have a special place in my heart and mind. Romans 4 gives me hope for my own standing before the divine bar.

5. What personally edified you in writing this commentary, increasing your affections for Christ?

Any time I pick up one of Paul’s letters he constantly reminds me about the wedding of theology and piety. The distinction between the gospel indicatives (who we are in Christ), which stand out prominently in Romans 1-11 have an unbreakable link with the gospel imperatives (how we are to live) in Romans 12-16. The gospel of Christ leads Christians to live holy and consecrated lives. I pray that in my own life, my own study of Romans has fueled my zeal and devotion to Christ so that I revel in the indicatives and live out the imperatives with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on Romans?

There are three that stand out, Robert Haldane’s Romans, Charles Hodge’s Romans, and Douglas Moo’s commentary on Romans in the New International Commentary on the New Testament series by Eerdmans. All three are good in their own ways. Another commentary that I’m looking forward to seeing in a second revised edition is Tom Schreiner’s Romans in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

7. What is next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?

Right now I’m working on completing a doctrinal book on the covenant of works (the original relationship between God and Adam in the pre-fall world) as a part of a three-volume covenant theology. I also have a few other projects in various stages of completion. Your readers can follow my work and ministry through my personal website, www.jvfesko.com, where I provide updates on my labors.

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