I will be making my order for the commentary soon and will be looking forward to interacting with Longenecker and also benefitting from his wisdom and insights on Romans. I am certain Longenecker's exegesis will challenge some of my own understanding and interpretation of Romans. Much of what I will learn from this commentary will certainly make its way to the course on Romans I will be offering at the Bible College of Malaysia later this year and at Seminari Theoloji Malaysia next year.
As a teaser, Eerdmans publishes Longenecker's 6 major theses for Romans, and I have taken the liberty to reproduce the summary here below:
Believers in Jesus at Rome in Paul’s Day Looked to the Mother Church at Jerusalem for their Christian theology, piety, and ethics.
Paul had at least five purposes in writing to the believers in Jesus at Rome: To give to the believers in Jesus at Rome what he calls in 1:11 his “spiritual gift.”; To seek the assistance of the Christians at Rome for the extension of his Gentile mission to Spain (cf. 1:13; 15:24); To defend himself against certain criticisms of his person and various misrepresentations of his message that the Christians at Rome seem to have heard from others (and possibly somewhat believed); To counsel regarding a certain dispute that had arisen among the Christians at Rome, who evidently, on one side of the dispute, called themselves “the Strong,” while on the other side of this dispute there were other Christians who were being called “the Weak”; To counsel regarding certain attitudes of the Christians at Rome with respect to the city’s governmental authorities and the responsibilities of believers in Jesus to pay their city’s taxes and revenues.
Paul writes to the Christians at Rome in a manner that rather closely corresponds to a “Logos Protreptikos” form of ancient philosophical letter writing (that is, a “Word [or, ‘Speech’] of Exhortation”).
Paul sets out for his readers (1) three major “Body Middle” Sections (i.e., 2:16–4:25; 5:1–8:39; 9:1–11:36), each of which sets out the Gospel for three somewhat different types of people (Jews, pagan Gentiles, and a body of Jewish and Gentile believers) all of which is followed by (2) a fourth major “Body Middle” Section (i.e., 12:1–15:33) consisting of general Christian ethical exhortations that the apostle had evidently proclaimed in his earlier Christian mission to pagan Gentiles — together with a further section of exhortations having to do with how believers in Jesus should live together in their respective Christian congregations.
In the four sections of the apostle’s “Word/Speech of Exhortation” in the “Body Middle” of Romans 1:16-4:25, 5:1-8:39, 9:1-11:36, and 12:1-15:33 Paul uses material that he had previously preached (1) to Jews (in 1:16–4:25), (2) to Gentiles without any Jewish contacts or instruction (in 5:1–8:39), and (3) to mixed congregations of both Jewish and Gentile backgrounds at Syrian Antioch (in 9:1–11:36) — as well as in the fourth ethical section of the letter (I.e., 12:1–15:33) he contextualizes the Christian Gospel both generally and then quite specifically.
In these contextualizations of the apostle’s letter to first century Christians at Rome, Paul is both (1) encouraging believers in Jesus today to do likewise in their Christian thinking, lives, and ministries, and (2) setting out paradigms for our doing similar in our own philosophical and cultural situations today.