When we take a step back from books in the Bible to look at the whole book, we often see things that stand out.
The book of Romans makes this especially clear. In Romans, the first 11 chapters give us some of the richest, deepest, and thickest theology in the entire Bible. Paul deals with many things in the first 11 chapters which we ought to give long attention to. If we look at Romans as a whole we see something that stands out at the end of chapter 11, something that acts as a bridge.
After writing this glorious treasure of theology in Romans 1-11 Paul explodes into praise and says this, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the LORD, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
This praise from Paul has often been called the bridge in Romans because of where it comes from and where it leads to. I say where it comes from because before the bridge we have such rich theology; and I say where it leads to because after this praise chapter 12 begins the last section of Romans that deals primarily with application. Why is this important? Is it any surprise that theology leads to praise, and praise then leads to application of theology? No, at least it shouldn’t surprise us. Imagine Paul writing this as a boiling pot of water getting hotter and hotter to the boiling point as he is finishing chapter 11. He then explodes in praise, because that is what the theology has led him to. The praise then leads Paul to describe how the theology affects our everyday relationships including other believers, our authorities, and weaker brothers.
Notice that this means, contrary to popular opinion, that theology leads to the praise of God. So many people have given up on deep thinking about the things of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and in doing so they have given up the very thing that will lead them to white-hot worship. I do not know whoever began saying that seminaries should be called cemetaries, but they obviously did not see this pattern in Romans. If you’re a deep thinker of God and love deep theology, this is for you. If you feel you can only scratch the surface of Paul’s thought, this is for you. No matter if you dive in over your head, or jump in the shallow end of theology, it should lead you to praise, and that praise should lead to a practical out working of the great truths you have learned.
Romans 1-11 (Theology) = Romans 11:33-36 (Worship) = Romans 12-15 (Application)