It's only in my 6th year as a full-time lecturer that I dared to venture into Paul's theology and offer an elective, beginning July 2013. Not that I had not planned to offer Paul's Romans earlier or lack the love for this great theologian. As a young Christian, I have always been drawn to Paul, even before John. Galatians and Romans were the two most memorable letters in the early months as a new-born babe in Christ and then comes the Gospel of John. My favourite verse then was Romans 5:5, "the love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us."
Even as a subject of academic study, I have started reading commentaries on Galatians and Romans in the mid-1980s. A few classics come to mind. John Murray, FF Bruce, and then James Dunn on Romans in the Word Biblical Commentaries series were read with relish before I pursued my first theological degree in 1993. It happened that Romans was the first subject I enrolled in when I entered University of Auckland as a first year student.. It was a second year subject and none was allowed to do before completing Introduction to the NT in the second semester of the first year. But by God's miraculous power, I prayed and I persuaded the Dean to allow me to take up Romans straight away. I managed to convince him that I knew enough of Romans by relating how I read Dunn's Romans 1-8 commentary.