What a delight to see the release of this book! S. Lewis Johnson was one of those rare scholars who was both a first-class exegete and a deeply informed theologian. His exegetical and expositional gifts were strikingly superior, as anyone who heard him preach or teach very quickly recognized, and listening to him expound God’s Word was always a treat.
I was first introduced to the ministry of S. Lewis Johnson in the early 1980s through the tape ministry of Believers’ Chapel in Dallas, and over the next many years his influence in my own ministry was profound. In his latter years he preached for us many times, and our personal fellowship in the Word of God is a treasured memory.
Lewis Johnson preached for our pastors’ conference many times. He was aging, and one year when I was inviting him to return (again!) he complained that he just wasn’t what he used to be. “The mind just doesn’t work as quickly as it used to, Fred.” But he agreed to come. And I distinctly recall as I sat there listening during one of his messages sensing the profound blessing of God’s Word ministered in the power of the Spirit, and being struck with the excellence of this exposition. He was preaching like a man in his prime, and he was preaching with the obvious blessing of God. And as I thought quickly of his earlier complaint I began to laugh almost out loud.
Please forgive this personal reflection, but it was just one moment that captures well the unusual gift Lewis Johnson was to so very many. You didn’t have to know him long before you realized that he loved the gospel. And you didn’t have to hear him preach very often before you realized that he loved the book of Romans – and that he had studied it at great length. Mike Abendroth – another of the many who profited from Johnson’s ministry – has culled from virtually all our mentor preached and wrote on Romans and has given us the commentary that Lewis Johnson might have written. I was delighted to hear of the work when it was in progress, and reading through the final product I could almost hear Dr. Johnson himself.
Discovering Romans displays Johnson’s exegetical precision and theological depth as well as his simplicity of style and passion of heart. It’s a commentary you can safely encourage anyone to read, and Christians of all levels of understanding will find its reading time well spent.
Here is the endorsement I gave the book:
With that remarkable and so very admirable combination of a deeply and widely learned theological mind and an always keen exegetical eye, S. Lewis Johnson was known as a scholar of rare abilities. This coupled with a heart warmly fervent for the gospel he was always a treat to hear and to read, and I cherish every memory of him. He loved Paul’s epistle to the Romans, and he wrote and taught and preached from it many times, always to distinct profit and blessing. Mike Abendroth, an avid student of Johnson, has done us a great service in collating Johnson’s thoughts on this greatest of Paul’s epistles.
Many thanks to Mike Abendroth for this gift!
Fred G. Zaspel