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30-day devotional – Romans 5-8

By John R. W. Stott
October 2019 | Review by Matthew Cox
  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: 978-1-78359-718-5
  • Pages: 112
  • Price: £4.99
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Book Review

My hopes were high: a much-loved author on much-loved chapters. But I was disappointed.

First, because of the book’s brevity. Each of its 30 daily readings is compressed into two small pages, with room for only a fleeting half-thought which barely scratches the surface.

Second, the content is organised unevenly. Elizabeth McQuoid has reworked John Stott’s 1965 Keswick messages, adding quotes from more recent authors. It is hard to tell how accurately it reflects Stott’s original teaching, and how much has been abridged. But Scriptures are not always covered in order, and some key verses skipped over altogether. The discontinuity makes for something of a jumble.

Finally, Stott takes a strikingly pessimistic view with regards to progressive sanctification. He takes the much-debated Romans 7:14-25 as a description of the believer’s lifelong experience; then he presses it hard. The Christian remains ‘a slave of sin… [in] captivity and bondage’ (p.55). He never ‘passes once and for all out of Romans 7 and into Romans 8, out of the cry of despair and into the cry of victory’ (p.58). So the triumph of the cross over the power of sin is seriously downplayed.

Unfortunately, readers seeking depth, teaching and inspiration will not find it here.

Matthew Cox

Bethersden, Kent

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