I’ve been going to my hometown church for four years now, and I’ve loved every minute of being a part of such a wonderful family. However, there has always been one burning question in the back of my mind: why does it take my pastor so long to get through one book in the Bible? I’ve been blessed to be engaged in sermons that go verse by verse through a book, but each of those books seems to take multiple months to finish in our church. This isn’t a bad thing; just an observation. With my independent-learning project in Romans, I finally understand why. In the last semester (fourteen weeks to be exact) I’ve posted nine times (including two bonus blogs) in regards to my independent learning project. Out of those I covered two and one-third chapters in Romans, a couple verses in Ecclesiastes, and some background on hermeneutics. For the record, the majority of these posts were 1,000+ words. I now realize how huge of an undertaking studying God’s word is, especially to those who are teaching others. The painstaking care to go word by word through each passage in order to ensure accuracy is crucial, and I appreciate the responsibility. God allowed me to learn and then entrusted me to teach this small chunk of His word to you all in this class, and I am very grateful. This opportunity given to me to glorify Him has taught me three major things.
1.) I am a Sinner
One last time, let’s be reminded of the hermeneutics of the book of Romans. The author is Paul, the audience is the Jews and Greeks of the Roman church, and the purpose is Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith.” The book of Romans was written to the Jews and Greeks of the Roman church but it was written for all Christians to come. Therefore, I know that I am as much a dirty, rotten, filthy, stinking, stupid sinner as anyone that walked before me. I didn’t get the opportunity to write about this section, but Romans 3:10-18 explicitly states this. I am not righteous, I do not understand, I do not seek for God, I have turned aside and become worthless, I do not do good, my throat is an open grave and I deceive, my mouth is bitter, my feet shed blood, in my path I leave ruin and misery, I have not known the peace of God, and I do not fear Him.
2.) God is Sovereign
But (that glorious, glorious word) as I learned through the Romans Road, despite all this blackness, I am saved through the gospel. The gospel, which can also be found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, is “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures”. Before the foundation of the world, God chose me, set me apart, sanctified me that I would be saved through the sacrifice of His son. What a savior. There are no words to express my thankfulness. Through the spreading of His gospel, the only gospel, my sincerest hope is that you, too, might know this joy.
3.) Independent-Learning Projects are Cool Beans
Finally, I loved being able to take part in an independent-learning project. I had never heard of this learning approach before, but can honestly say I am so glad I’ve become acquainted with it through this class. My favorite part about my independent-learning project is how it let me learn in a way that felt completely my own. Being able to pick my focus, decide how I would go about studying it, and choose what I would write about was a freeing experience (particularly in college where “playing the game” is a requirement). Because I felt so empowered (and the fact that my learning was all about God’s word), I found that I never once dreaded to complete a blog post when it came to my independent-learning project. That is not something I can say about much (if not all) of the rest of my homework in my college career. Due to my fantastic experience, I most definitely plan to incorporate ILPs into my future English classroom. If my students enjoy having learner-autonomy half as much as I did, my classroom will be on the right track.
Again, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to take part in such a refreshing study. I may not have covered as much ground blogging as I wanted to, but Romans has reminded me that God is sovereign and He has put me exactly where I need to be in this moment. Thank you to all who have read my Romans posts throughout the semester; I pray that through the words He has given me, God’s light has shined bright to each of you. I’m also glad that my question has been answered. I now have gotten a tiny taste of the time, effort, and study my pastor puts into his sermons each week. Isn’t it delightful how when God teaches, He provides answers to even the smallest of questions? God is in control, God is in control, God is in control. 🙂