The Romans Challenge


About 2 weeks ago, Nickie and I began a “Romans challenge” where we are reading Romans 1-8 every day for 50 days. This was recommended to us by a friend who did this as a new Christian (when he was in his 20’s). It had such a dramatic effect on his walk with Christ and understanding of the gospel that he’s been an advocate of this plan ever since.

Romans builds in a systematic way, so it is helpful to read those chapters all together to grasp the flow of the argument being made. It establishes an understanding of the whole context: starting with creation, God’s wrath toward sin, and our hopelessness, and then dives into the amazing news of Jesus’ perfect life, sacrificial death and resurrection—and what all of this means for us as believers!

It takes most people about 45-60 minutes to read chapters 1-8, depending on how fast you read. But the goal is not speed, it’s comprehension. [smile]

So … WHY read Romans this much? When we saturate our minds, day after day, with God’s magnificent explanation of the gospel in Romans, we develop a greater understanding of the depth and beauty of the gospel. The greater our understanding of it, the greater our delight in it! Gospel truths will then overflow to others in our conversations as we both edify believers and evangelize the lost.

Today was my 14th day, and I definitely have a much stronger grasp of Romans than I did before. It keeps getting better the more I read it! I have been e-mailing some friends (especially girls who helped with our overseas Bright Lights conferences) and many have been interested in joining. As of yesterday, there were about 50 of us reading Romans 1-8 every day! But in the last 24 hrs, 34 more people have joined the plan! (Sarah sent an e-mail about it to all the leaders of Bright Lights groups.)

I am filled with joy about this … especially because many of these friends have also expressed their desire to witness more. What greater witnessing training could any of us receive than to thoroughly know Romans?!

SO (did you guess I was getting to this? [smile] ) if anyone else would like to join, please let me know! I would be happy to add you to my e-mail list. I’m sending out weekly e-mails with tips and ideas. If you don’t have my e-mail, please leave a comment and I will get in touch with you.

This afternoon, I received this e-mail from a friend:

“Already God has used this Romans reading to prepare me for something He was going to use me for! Yesterday I flew to Alaska from Boston, and by God’s providence, traveled the whole day with a “stranger friend.” The young woman I sat next to on the plane was friendly and talkative. We began chatting right away, and continued to for almost the entire 5 ½ hour flight, got Hot Dogs together at our layover, and stood in the cold at 1am waiting for the shuttle where we finally parted ways! As we began chatting and getting to know each other, I began praying that the Lord would help to turn the conversation to spiritual things. Sure enough, the lady asked me about a book I was reading (it was a Lamplighter book, “Stephen, Soldier of the Cross”). “There it is! Thank you Lord!” I thought as I began to explain the plot of the book and the life of Stephen, a martyr for Christ. We continued to talk about God, the Bible, Jesus Christ, and other matters … She calls herself a “Christian” but did not have a salvation testimony. Many of the things she believes are based on her personal feelings, though she prays often and is seeking God’s will for her life. Continually, I brought her back to the Bible, and almost all the topics we covered, were in Romans 1-8! Though I am only on day 5 of the 50, I was familiar enough with the chapters already to find the pertinent verses! It was such a blessing to be prepared to wield my sword! Praise the Lord, I look forward to seeing how He will continue to use this long-term reading of Romans 1-8!”

I really appreciated that note from Jordan, because she brought out a true point I wanted to make anyway: Studying Romans helps to both strengthen our confidence in our knowledge of the gospel and increases our eagerness to share it.

I have also been encouraged by all the other testimonies I’ve been receiving! Here’s a sampling:

“I’ve been understanding these passages more than I ever have before … it really helps reading it all together as one ‘thought,’ rather than as separate ‘thoughts.’” – Bailey, BL Leader in Arkansas

“God has used this to reveal so much to me, and I am so excited about His Word!” – Katrina, Canada

“… I’m only on day 12, but it’s been a really neat thing so far! I am understanding those chapters like I never have before.” – Kristin Youngblood (BL leader in Texas)

“… we have grown so much for the Lord!! You can learn so much reading it every day!! I love it!” –Michailia, BL Leader in Alaska

“I am going to totally do it and I am going to mention it in our meeting tomorrow. I would like to see if the other girls might be interested in trying it too.” – Sarah, BL Leader in Nebraska

“I am enjoying it so much! Today is my third day … and I am also coping the book of Romans into a notebook during my study!” Janessa, BL Leader in Texas

“I got through all chapters in 45 min! I’m so excited, not so much about the short amount of time (although hehe that is exciting too, since I have been taking 2 hours), but also because of what I’ve gained. Keeping in mind what you said about reading it all as a whole and ignoring chapter breaks, I changed my reading approach. Usually I read detailed-ly, stopping after each chapter if there’s some insight to journal about… So today I tried ignoring chapter breaks and title breaks (my Bible has a lot of titles), going straight from one chapter/section to the next. I also didn’t journal till the end. It was so great. I got distracted much less, and it was exciting to start to see how the passages all fit together!! I know it is good to be detailed at times, but I am beginning to see that it is also very beneficial to read the Bible as a whole and learn to see the bigger picture and how it all fits together!! …I’m really excited and I just wanted to share it with you!!” –Judith, Australia

And it has been exciting to see how the Lord has prepared peoples’ hearts for this:

“Hi Grace! Ok, true story here… I’m working on memorizing Romans right now, and as I was reviewing chapter 5 this morning I realized it’s still quite rough and that I don’t have the ‘flow’ of the previous chapters down as much as I’d like. It occurred to me that, in addition to working with the flashcards I’ve made and working on one section at a time, I also should starting reading through all the chapters regularly- yes, it would take extra time, but probably worth it, right? Still pondering this, I put aside my Bible and checked my e-mail, and read yours first! I would love to join you ….” -Kea, Alaska

“God is so neat in how He weaves everything I’m studying together. Even the set 5 lessons are going right along with what I’m studying in Romans. Our adult SS classes at church just started studying the book of Romans in January, and I started trying to memorize chapter one, so reading through chapters 1-8 every day goes right along with it!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think that is so neat and was smiling very big when I read your e-mail last night.” – Kim, BL Leader in Indiana

“I would love to take on this challenge in my own life, and am planning to start today. I have such an acute desire to delve into Word in a deeper way, so I am very excited to embark on this study. It’s quite amazing to me how God works; for a while I’ve been working on memorizing Romans 8. I’m only in the beginning of the chapter so far, but this is such a powerful chapter to read/recite! So to know that there are other young people who are studying these passages at the very time that God laid Romans 8 on my heart just thrills me! What a beautiful thing this is…this journey on the set-apart Narrow Way.” – Amber, BL Leader in Virginia

“I would be thrilled to join you in reading this passage of Scripture. I just finished reading “Morning Star of the Reformation” – the book about John Wycliffe – and it really made me think about how much we take for granted having the Word of God so readily available to us. It just makes me long to read it even more!” – Danielle, BL Leader in Maine


  1. This is awesome! Praise The Lord. I just did this challenge, but did it differently I read Romans 1-8 for 90 days (October 1st-December 31st 2012). I am now reading romans 9-16 ( Jan 1st-March 31st). I have learned so much about witnessing, and what we believe and why just reading Romans.

  2. Grace,
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful idea! I am encouraged by it and think I will take up the challenge as well. I have never thought of how important and influential this could be to read Romans repeatedly, for indeed it is a great book of the Bible to study and comprehend.
    Enjoy your blog posts, Grace, and think of you often!
    Blessings in Jesus,
    Psalm 84:11

  3. What a grand plan and I will be joining the Roman’s journey with all of you. Thank you for the idea, it what I need to get me back into gear. Please be sure to send me the emails concerning Romans.

    Thank you and God Bless,
    C Dale

  4. Great post, Grace! It’s fun to hear everyone else’s thoughts.

    Today is day thirteen for me. Last night I was over a friends house and explained the challenge to them. We were already planning reading the Bible together, so the five of us took turns reading a chapter each from Romans. After five chapters, we decided to finish up the eight. It was fun to read it with other young people who were excited about what we were reading. Everyone wanted to be the one to read chapter eight. 🙂

  5. Hello Grace,
    I am so happy to read your email for I know it is the Lord encouraging our family in the study of Romans. In January as I was reading Romans 10, and it was “so good” I decided to read it aloud to my 16 & 14 year old, and we realized that we should start at the beginning! We began to read a chapter a day together but I have been sidetracked with some back injuries and our lessons have been the bare minimum… Your email was the confirmation I needed to jump back into Romans and I am excited to do so! I read it through this morning and I know it will be a great blessing in my walk with the Lord and also as you said, it will overflow as I engage with others in my “world”. I will be sharing your email with my kids and hope this will be something we do together.
    Grace and Peace to you and yours,

    My daughter and I have read through all 8 Bright Light sets and have seen growth in both our lives. Last Fall I lead 9 young ladies, 6-11th grade, in our homeschool group through Set 1. It was again a great blessing!

  6. I have been doing something similar this past month. Only I have committed to reading only two chapters of Romans each month so that I can spend more time in each chapter. Last month I read Romans 1 and 2 each day and this month I have started with 3 and 4. Romans is truly a life changing book and has helped me greatly in my study of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Thank you for sharing this.

  7. The B Family got together and decided we would like to do this study of Romans during our Family Bible Time. Thank you for the challenge and encouragement!
    Blessings in Grace,
    Mrs. B

  8. I really need to get back into the Word, and i think this Romans Challenge will help me immensely in drawing closer to God thru Scripture reading! I would love to begin this challenge tomorrow (Sunday) and would appreciate any tips/ideas you could email me, Grace! Thanks so much!

  9. I joined! I have been looking around for another “challange” that would last a few months, as I like having a reading plan, and this will be perfect :)!…
    I would just like to add that the LORD has used your family to be such a blessing to me :)!

  10. Hi Grace,
    This looks like an amazing idea!! I am currently reading through the Bible…so I don’t think I could do it right away, but I would love to be added to your email list! I enjoy seeing what God is doing in you and your families lives on your blog. God bless!
    With joy,

  11. I have been looking for a good Biblical study, and this just what I need. The Lord knew just what I needed. Please send me emails. And thank You for this blessing

  12. Hi Grace. =)
    I would like to take this challenge as well, so would you please add me to your email list? I’ve never met you or your family before, but I’ve read some of your books and they were a great blessing to me.

  13. Hi Grace!

    That is a great challenge! I would like to do it too. 🙂 2 of my friends and I are studying the book of Romans right now, and I kind of got stuck on those first chapters because they are SO good! It is such a good explanation of the gospel. I love it! I am looking forward to how much more I am going to learn from it. 🙂 Please add me to the list…


  14. Hello Grace,

    I just came across your blog and am very interested in joining you, and I have three sisters who are wanting to do the same! This sounds very interesting, challanging, encouraging and inspirational, and I am looking forward to starting the journey through Romans 1-8 for 50 days starting tomorrow! Thank you for posting this, and I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

    ~ Anna

  15. Hello Grace,

    I would like to join the Romans Challenge. Thank you for organizing this!


  16. Hello from Transylvania,
    I’ve asked God what part to read from the Bible in this season of my life and He didn’t answer immediately, but only after a few hours when I opened my inbox I read a newsletter in which I read about the “Romans reader”. I think it’s something great… I want to join in this journey and I hope the Holy Spirit will teach me deep lessons for my whole life ^_^


  17. Hi Grace,

    I am excited to join this challenge, please add me to your list. I have been looking for something to study in my quiet time with the Lord. Reading in Romans daily will also equip and encourage me to witness to others more. Thanks for sharing.

    Your sister in Christ,

  18. Hi Grace,

    Reading Romans daily is such an exciting challenge! Have also been encouraged by the testimonies of others of their reading. I would like to join. (:

  19. I am so thankful you shared this! I have only been doing this challenge for about a week, but the Lord has been showing me so much already, it’s amazing!

  20. Hey Grace!

    I am sooo excited about this! thankyou so much for the idea!
    I am day 3 into this challenge and wow!!! I have learnt so much already! There has been so many verses from Romans that have just popped into my head as I go through my day… and they have been exactly what I needed for encouragement, a challenge or ministering to others! I am praying that the Lord will continue to reveal to, bless and encourage all who participate – may this be a tool for the furtherance of the Good News – the Gospel of our Precious Saviour!!!!

    God bless you!

    Love in Christ,
    Emily Grace Messner

  21. Hey, this is a great idea! My Mom mentioned to me that you were doing this a while ago, but I forgot about it, until today 🙂
    So can you add me on?
    I can’t wait to start and see what the Lord will show me.

  22. I meant to mention this before, but it seems I always forgot when I was online :P… A friend of mine is participating, also :).
    Thank you for the challenge Grace! I have really enjoyed it so far, and it is helping me greatly :)!

  23. Hi Grace,
    Last week I started reading Romans. This has been a good challenge for me because in my Bible reading I would usually only read about 2 chapters a day. It also goes along with a class my parents and I have been going to on Romans, and even before I read about the challenge I had been memorizing Romans 1. It would be great if you sent me your e-mails!


  24. This is really encouraging to read. We have a common friend. He alerted me to this post. Thanks for equipping and motivating the saints in this. His Word is powerful and equips for all that we need. I’m praying the testimonies to that above spread far and wide so that others experience from God(s Word) what we have.

  25. Dear Grace,

    I would love to join you on your September Romans Reading! I love the book of Romans, but so often struggle with fitting it all together. Definitely looking forward to this!

  26. Hello Grace,
    I would like to take part in the Romans Challenge! Also , I wanted to thank you and your sister both for still going for God and not quitting even though you both are still single (I assume.) To just read the work that God has let you guys become a part of is amazing. Not all of us can do as you guys can… but we can all do as God wants us to !
    Thank you for all you do, Megan

  27. yes!! I’d love to join!!

    P.S- (I’ve been in a Bright Lights group for 2 years now, thank you so much for writing the curriculum!! it’s been amazing!!)

  28. Please include me in the Romans challenge for September!! Another GREAT idea Grace!! Thanks.

  29. Yes, Grace, I would like to join you in the Romans challenge and would like to get the emails. Thank you for leading out in this.

  30. Hi Grace!
    I’d love to join in on this challenge! Thank you so very much for this wonderful opportunity!

  31. Hi Grace,
    I would love to join the Romans Challenge. I have done this before, only for 16 or 17 days though, and it is wonderful to see how the Lord challenges you.
    Thank you so much.

  32. I’d like to join the challenge in September~thank you! I am currently studying Romans and would love to get a better grasp and deeper understanding. May the Lord work in mighty ways through His Word!

  33. I’d like to give it a try. I have been praying for a deeper understanding of the gospel. Please include me with your emails.

  34. I would love to join!! And the emails would be greatly appreciated. I’ll be praying for everyone as we go through this challange for deeper understanding than we can imagine and for God to lay on each of our hearts what it is He wants us to take from this.

Comments are closed.