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Running Romans: What is Bible Society’s new course actually like?

Author: Abbie Doyle, 21 March 2024

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Discovery Church Central in Swindon has run The Romans Course across four of its small groups and used the Sunday resources. Here’s how they got on.

Myles Asota (35) took the course online

It’s given me confidence in sharing and talking about the Letter to the Romans but also the Bible in general. I was looking for scriptural enlightenment and empowerment – so if I’m asked questions about the Bible by a nonbeliever, I’m able to answer with confidence and enlighten them in the same way that I was enlightened.

Also, it’s changed my perspective on the Romans as a people. When I hear ‘Romans’, I think they’re the bad guys, but this has made me think differently and have more of an open ear and mind.

I would recommend The Romans Course one hundred per cent – especially for people who learn more practically. It’s opening up the sights and sounds of the place and linking that with the words in the book. That brings a different dimension to learning about Scripture. It’s dynamic. Not that I’m knocking the Scriptures, but when you read the Bible it can be hard to imagine what it was like. This course helps us see it come to life, and to see the historical sites.  

I’ve gained a deeper understanding of what sin means. Other places in the Bible connect sin with shame and iniquity. But Romans tells us we don’t need to identify with our sins. It’s the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is, ‘I’ve done something wrong’, but shame is, ‘I am wrong’. Romans shows us that God doesn’t want us to be ashamed. Just knowing when you have done something wrong is a step in the right direction.

Isaac Mullaliu (22) led the course in person with the church’s younger men

Something like The Romans Course gets the younger members of the group thinking more than you’d expect. They really take it in and bring it to other conversations. We have a joke in the group that’s like, ‘How often do you think about The Roman Empire throughout the day?’

Our group has been meeting for four years – between six and 12 of us. We have snacks, prayer, and we talk a lot afterwards about what we’ve watched. The Romans Course works well for our group. We like the structure of the session with the videos and pausing to discuss. We use the questions on the screen and then pray at the end. We integrate the prayer point on the last discussion page with our own general prayers.

The first two weeks of the course changed my view on the Book of Romans because understanding the context was really helpful. And it’s good for people who don’t connect with the Bible as much – people who want to know about the history and the hard facts. It reaches people who care about historical context.

I was actually recommending The Romans Course to a friend last night because it shows you what people receiving the letter would’ve been like, and it describes how it’s still relevant today. The problems we have now are the same as they had back then. Nothing has changed since, apart maybe from social media, but they had their own version of that. 

We have quite a diverse church. We have refugees and people from everywhere. So we’re like one of the churches in Rome. It’s all relevant. 

Genti Mullaliu (50) is the pastor at Discovery Central

We have around 60 members, and we’ve done The Romans Course with four small groups. We had really good uptake from people. And I preached through the letter on Sundays, so I used some of the sermon notes. With the groups doing the course concurrently, the challenge for me was to not just repeat the sessions. I looked at the Sunday resources and made them fit our church.

One of my other leaders brought the course to me. He is responsible for organising our church curriculum throughout the year. He was excited about the course and when I looked into it, I agreed we should do it. Romans is a great book. It’s really good to start there.

We did a base-line quiz on people’s knowledge of Romans before we started the course, and it wasn’t great. Now, the vast majority now knows how many chapters there are, who wrote it, what the purpose of it is. So that’s great from a teaching point of view. It’s building confidence in Bible knowledge, and we can encourage each other because we are all doing it together.  

The videos are great. The structure of the sessions is good and works for us. We keep the main outlines but there is space for us to adjust and make it more appropriate for our church. 

If you think about what is happening in this day and age, there is a lot of division, war, questions around equality and diversity. The world keeps trying to find remedies for these things, but there is no remedy for sin. Romans has a strong message that there is hope, there is good news and there is a way out. Romans tells us that we can be united, irrespective of our background, gender, academic attainment, or anything like that. That reflects our church here. We serve a multicultural community, and what we are saying through the book of Romans is that actually the gospel is the answer for all our communities when it comes to sin.

Will The Romans Course work for your church? Preview Session One for free right now.

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