Arminian Today

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Arminian Commentaries on Romans

Romans is by far one of the most popular books in the New Testament for commentaries along with the book of Revelation.  Romans is called the magnum opus of Paul the Apostle.  It is the closest thing we have to a systematic theology text from Paul.  Romans, in just 11 chapters, builds a case for Christianity as a fulfillment of God’s promises to His people Israel and establishes what this new life brings in Christ.  No wonder it would be a popular book then to write a commentary.

There are many good Calvinist commentaries on the book of Romans so I don’t want to take away from my brethren of the work that they have done in seeking to write biblical commentaries on Romans.  That said, I want to post some Arminian commentaries on the book of Romans.  When it comes to Arminian commentaries, Arminians historically have written much on Romans and Hebrews.  One writer at has put together a list of Arminian commentaries on Romans.  You can find the link here.

A couple of comments about the list.  First, my personal favorite Arminian commentary on the book of Romans is by Vic Reasoner.  You can find his introduction about his book here.  The book is a complete analysis of Romans.  Dr. Reasoner deals with the texts and while he does interact with Calvinism here and there as he needs to, his point is not to build a case for Arminians but to simply teach the Scriptures.  I rejoice in that!  How important it is that biblical truth go forth and not just Arminianism or Calvinism.  May Jesus always be exalted above all others!

One title I do not have but plan to get is by Dr. Jack Cottrell.  His commentary on Romans use to be two-volumes but now is one volume from College Press.  Cottrell is an excellent writer who writes from an Arminian but Restoration perspective.  This would be played out especially in passages such as Romans 5:12-18 or 6:1-4.  I appreciate Dr. Cottrell’s emphasis, like Reasoner’s, on the Bible being our main text and focus instead of Arminianism or other groups.

One final point is that it is interesting to read Arminian commentaries on Romans 7:14-25.  Some Arminians argue along with Arminius that Romans 7 pictures a lost man.  Others argue that Romans 7 is a struggling man.  Robert Picirilli would represent this view whereas his friend F. Leroy Forlines would represent the view of Arminius.  Interesting to say the least.  I hold to the view of Arminius regarding Romans 7, that the person is lost and does not describe the normal behavior of a believer.  I have heard so many abuses from Romans 7:14-25 to justify living in sin and living below the victory that God has called us to in Christ Jesus that He gives us in Romans 8.

Sorry for the ramble.  Enjoy the commentaries!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/16/2012 at 10:04 PM

8 Responses

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  1. I was never exposed growing up in “moderate Arminian” circles to the view of Romans 7 tha Arminius held to. Lately as I have spent some time re-considering the Romans 7-8 issue, one of the things that bothers me about the view of Arminius is the issue of the mind, seeing what is said about the mind in both chapters. Most specifically, in Ch 8 the major contrast is that unsaved people mind fleshly things, while saved people mind spiritual things. It seems that the “unsaved man” of Romans 7 is hardly minding fleshly things. The focus of the Romans 7 man is that he does “with his mind serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” That very statement is the “where” fore of the declaration of no condemnation in 8:1. These things push me towards Pricilli and other “moderate Arminians” and “free will baptists” that the Romans 7 man is a saved man. In any case, the key of my observation is that Romans 7 & 8 are not so separate as we make them, especially the first 10-12 verses of Ch 8. Really, I would suggest that Romans 7:12-8:10 or so are really discuss the same thing,or at least they are very closely connected. 7:24-25 is really the main chain link that brings them both together in a coherent fashion.

    Perhaps these observations have already been considered and dealt with by scholars on both sides, and maybe I’m just naive as if nobody’s ever noticed them. I can’t say I’ve read any real commentaries in depth on either view, though.

    • Thanks brother for your thoughts. Romans 7 is no easy chapter. I saw recently that a new counterpoint book on the man of Romans 7 is coming out. The debate no doubt continues.

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Great post. For me, Paul states in Romans 6 that we are no longer slaves to sin, but rather have been set free, and in Romans 8 Paul goes into great detail of being set free by the Holy Spirit. Now if chapter 7 is a man that is saved, then Paul would be talking in circles. Romans 7 Paul talks about the 10th commandment being the nail in the coffin for his life before Christ.
    “7What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” 8But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead.”

    Then Paul goes on to explain through the rest of 7 what it’s like to be under the law.

    I heard Leonard Ravenhill preach on Romans 7-8 focusing on the word Holy Spirit. It’s very helpful I thought. The following is a link to the text version.



    03/19/2012 at 12:00 PM

    • Thanks Russ. Very helpful comments and thanks for the link to Ravenhill. What a man of God he was!

  3. Seeking disciple. Congrats on being a Christian for 20 years now! A few years ago you introduced me to Robert Picirilli’s commentary on Romans. It really helped me with some theological concepts that I was grappling with, in particularly Romans 9. I ran into a book by Roger Olson and was wondering what you thought of him as an arminian theologian? The book is entitled: Against Calvinism: Rescuing God’s Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology. Any thoughts on his work?

    Joshua Cook

    03/19/2012 at 9:46 PM

    • Thanks Josh! Olson is a good writer and I tend to agree with much of what he writes in his book. His blog, that is a different story. It seems to me that Olson is good when he thinks things out and words them correctly. He tends to jump to conclusions that I don’t hold to on his blog such as rejecting inerrancy. I do think he is a good theologian and enjoy his books much.

      I too have read Robert Picirilli’s book. A good book. Ironically he and Forlines are good friends but disagree over Romans 7.

      • Thanks again. Do you have any suggestions for good commentaries on Ephesians and the Gospel of John as well? God Bless.

        Joshua Cook

        03/21/2012 at 11:34 PM

      • Dr. William Klein is Arminian and he did the notes for Ephesians in the Apologetics Study Bible (HCSB). I believe he wrote a commentary on Ephesians as well.

        I don’t know right off any on the gospel of John other than Beacon Hill Press and College Press both have commentaries on John’s Gospel that are Arminian. I don’t know who wrote them though.

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