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Romans - Introduction

Romans - Introduction

By Ron Bedell


My sources:The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Talk Thru the Bible by Wilkinson and Boa, Thru the Bible by J Vernon McGee, Life Application Study Bible, The Grace New Testament Commentary – Volume 2, Easy English Romans


God’s righteousness comes by faith alone in Christ alone.


For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17


The Just shall live by faith


(Paraphrased: “The justified in the eyes of God, shall live eternally in Heaven, by their faith in Jesus Christ)


In most of Paul’s letters Paul addresses himself as “apostle” showing that he has authority from God to teach God’s doctrine.


Outline of Romans


(The following outline was taken from: Talk Thru The Bible, by Wilkinson and Boa. They did a great job on this outline.)


Part one: The revelation of the righteousness of God (Romans 1:1-8:39)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->I.                    <!--<endif>-->Introduction 1:1-17

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->The author: The apostle Paul (1:1)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->The subject matter: The Gospel (1:2-7)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->C.      <!--<endif>-->The recipients: The Roman Christians (1:8-15)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->D.      <!--<endif>-->The theme: The Gospel’s power delivers the justified (1:16-17)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->II.                  <!--<endif>-->The whole world is condemned and the need for God’s righteousness (1:18-3-20)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Guilt of the Gentile (1:18-32)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->The reason for Gentile guilt (1:18-23)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->2. Results of Gentile guilt (1:24-32)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->Guilt of the Jew (2:1-3:8)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Jews are judged according to truth (2:1-5)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Jews are judged by their works (2:6-10)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->Jews are judged with impartiality (2:11-16)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->4.       <!--<endif>-->Jews do not obey the Law (2:17-29)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->5.       <!--<endif>-->Jews do not believe the Oracles (3:1-8)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->C.      <!--<endif>-->Conclusion: All are guilty before God (3:9-20)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->III.                <!--<endif>-->Justification: The imputation of God’s righteousness (3:21-5:21)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Description of Righteousness (3:21-31)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->Illustration of Righteousness (4:1-25)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Abraham’s righteousness apart from works (4:1-8)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Abraham’s righteousness apart from circumcision (4:9-12)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->Abraham’s righteousness apart from the Law (4:13-15)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->4.       <!--<endif>-->Abraham’s righteousness was by faith (4:16-25)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->C.      <!--<endif>-->Benefits of God’s righteousness (5:1-11)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Peace with God (5:1-2)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Joy in tribulation (5:3-8)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->Salvation from God’s wrath (5:9-11)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->D.      <!--<endif>-->Contrast Righteousness and Condemnation (5:12-21)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->IV.                <!--<endif>-->Sanctification: The demonstration of God’s righteousness (6:1-8:39)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Sanctification and sin (6:1-23)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Believer’s death to sin in principle (6:1-14)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Believer’s death to sin in practice (6:15-23)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->Sanctification and the Law (7:1-25)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Death to the Law but alive to God (7:1-6)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Law cannot deliver from sin (7:7-25)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->C.      <!--<endif>-->Sanctification and the Spirit (8:1-39)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->The Spirit delivers from the power of the flesh (8:1-11)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->The Spirit gives Sonship (8:12-17)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->The Spirit assures of future glory (8:18-30)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->4.       <!--<endif>-->The Spirit assures of final victory (8:31-39)

Part two: The vindication of the righteousness of God (9:1-11:36)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->I.                    <!--<endif>-->Israel’s past: The election of God (9:1-29)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Paul’s sorrow (9:1-5)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->God’s sovereignty (9:6-29)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->II.                  <!--<endif>-->Israel’s present: The rejection of God (9:30-10-21)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Israel’s seeks righteousness by works (9:30-33)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->Israel rejects Christ (10:1-15)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->C.      <!--<endif>-->Israel rejects the prophets (10:16-21)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->III.                <!--<endif>-->Israel’s future: The restoration by God (11:1-36)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Israel’s rejection is not total (11:1-10)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->Israel’s rejection is not final (11:11-32)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->Purpose of Israel’s rejection (11:11-24)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->Promise of Israel’s restoration (11:25-32)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->C.      <!--<endif>-->Israel’s restoration: The occasion for glorifying God (11:33-36)

Part three: The application of righteousness of God (12:1-16:27)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->I.                    <!--<endif>-->Righteousness of God demonstrated in Christian duties (12:1-13-14)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Responsibilities toward God (12:1-2)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->Responsibilities toward society (12:3-21)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->C.      <!--<endif>-->Responsibilities toward higher powers (13:1-7)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->D.      <!--<endif>-->Responsibilities toward neighbors (13:8-14)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->II.                  <!--<endif>-->Righteousness of God demonstrated in Christian liberties (14:1-15-13)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Principles of Christian liberty (14:1-23)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->Practices of Christian liberty (15:1-13)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->III.                <!--<endif>-->Conclusion (15:14-16-27)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->A.      <!--<endif>-->Paul’s purpose for writing (15:14-21)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->B.      <!--<endif>-->Paul’s for traveling (15:22-33)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->C.      <!--<endif>-->Paul’s praise and greetings (16:1-27)


Introduction to Romans

This most systematic of all the epistles traces the story of the Gospel from condemnation to justification to sanctification to glorification. It explains God’s program for Jews and Gentiles and concludes with practical exhortation for the outworking of righteousness among believers.


Romans, Paul’s magnum opus, is placed first among his thirteen epistles in the New Testament. The four Gospels present the words, works, and ministry of Jesus Christ; Acts presents the ministry of God the Holy Spirit through the lives of the New Testament believers (Pentecost to Rapture); Romans explores the significant of the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Using a question and answer format, Paul records the most systematic presentation of doctrine in the Bible. But Romans is more than a book of theology; it is also a book of practical exhortations. The good news of Jesus Christ is more than facts to be believed; it is also a life to be lived—a life of righteousness befitting the person “justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).


About the first Christians in Rome


Rome was the most important city in the world at the time of Paul. It had a vast army. That army controlled all the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea. So the rulers of Rome were extremely powerful and wealthy. They employed many people. Many slaves had to work in Rome. And Rome was also an important city for trade.


Paul had not visited Rome at the time when he wrote this letter. Paul wrote most of his letters to churches that he himself had established. But the church at Rome was different. There were already many Christians in Rome long before Paul arrived there.


The Bible and other ancient records help us to understand the history of this important church:


<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->About 30 *A.D.. The first Christian church began in Jerusalem, on the day called *Pentecost. On that day, Peter *preached to many visitors to Jerusalem. Among them were ‘visitors from Rome, both *Jews and *Gentiles who believed the *Jewish religion’. Some of these were probably among the 3000 that became Christians (Acts 2:9-11; 2:41). They carried the *gospel to Rome.

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->49 *A.D.. The *Emperor Claudius ordered *Jews to leave Rome. There had been some trouble among the *Jews. A *Roman called Suetonius wrote that someone called ‘Chrestus’ had caused the trouble. Chrestus may have been a *Jew who caused the trouble. But ‘Chrestus’ may be the same as ‘Christus’ (that is, *Christ). *Jews opposed those who *preached the message about *Christ. So the trouble might have begun at that time.

<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->Aquila and Priscilla from Rome were probably Christians before they met Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:1-3). Later they probably returned to Rome, after they worked in Corinth and Ephesus. Christians used to gather in their home (Romans 16:3-5).

<!--<if !supportLists>-->4.       <!--<endif>-->57 *A.D.. Paul probably wrote this letter about 57 *A.D.. He had not yet visited Rome. But he knew many people in the church at Rome. Many *Gentile as well as *Jewish Christians were already members of the church there. In his letter, Paul says that *Gentile Christians must not consider themselves more important than the *Jewish Christian *brothers (Romans 11:18-20).

<!--<if !supportLists>-->5.       <!--<endif>-->60 *A.D.. Paul reached Rome as a prisoner. Christians from Rome met him on the Appian road to go with him to Rome (Acts 28:14-16). Paul spent two years in Rome. Although he was a prisoner, he was able to *preach and to teach (Acts 28:30-31). His plan was to visit Spain (Romans 15:24). But we do not know whether he was able to do this.

<!--<if !supportLists>-->6.       <!--<endif>-->64 *A.D.. Christians received the blame for the great fire that the *Emperor Nero himself may have started. The writer Tacitus spoke about great numbers of Christians. He called them ‘enemies of the human family of people’.

<!--<if !supportLists>-->7.       <!--<endif>-->There is evidence of Christian graves in the catacombs (underground graves in Rome) before 100 *A.D.


Paul’s letter


1. Paul dictated his letter to Tertius (Romans 16:22). Paul wrote it during his stay in Corinth, probably about 57 *A.D.

2. Paul established churches in many cities. But he was careful not to upset anyone else’s work (Romans 15:20). However, the church in Rome was not the result of the work of any one particular person. So Paul would not be upsetting anyone’s work if he visited Rome. And for many years, Paul had wanted to visit the Christians in Rome. He had completed his work in the east. There were elders (leaders in the church) to take care of the new churches. Paul wanted to visit Rome on his way to Spain (Romans 15:23-24).

3. There were several reasons for the letter:

a) to prepare the church in Rome for his visit.

b) to give a clear explanation of the *gospel.

c) to give the truth about the Christian *faith to any Christians in Rome who had false ideas about it.

d) to give practical advice about how Christians should behave towards each other (chapters 14-15).

e) to give practical advice about how Christians should behave towards their rulers (Romans 13:1-7).

f) to unite *Jewish and *Gentile Christians. In many churches, there had been serious arguments between *Jewish Christians and *Gentile Christians. The *Jewish Christians said that God had given his law in the Bible. So they told the *Gentile Christians to obey it. But the *Gentile Christians said that God had given them freedom. So, they did not want to obey any *Jewish rules or traditions.

g) to urge the Christians in Rome to help Paul in his work. He might need their help in order to continue his journey to Spain (Romans 15:24). And he needed the Christians in Rome to support and to encourage him by their prayers (Romans 15:30-32).”




All critical schools agree on the Pauline authorship (1:1) of this foundational book. The vocabulary, style, logic, and theological development are consistent with Paul’s other epistles. Paul dictated this letter to a secretary named Tertius (Romans 16:22), who was allowed to add his own greeting.


Date and setting


Paul did not found the church at Rome. It is possible that it began when some of the Jews and Gentiles who became believers in Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10) returned to Rome. However, it is more likely that Christians from churches established by Paul in Asia, Macedonia, and Greece settled in Rome and led others to Christ. According to this epistle, Gentile believers were predominant in the church at Rome (1:13; 11:13; 11:28-31; 15:15-16), but there were also Jewish believers there as well (2:17-3:8; 3:21-4:1; 7:1-14; 14:1-15:12).


Rome was founded in 753 B.C. and by the time of Paul it was the greatest city in the world with well over one million inhabitants (Rome could have had a population of about four million). It was full magnificent building but the majority of people were slaves.


Paul wrote Romans from Corinth, as Paul was preparing for his visit to Jerusalem.


Theme and purpose


The theme of Romans is found in Romans 1:16-17:


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”


Paul did not write Romans to address specific problems in the church but to prepare the believers in Roman for his long-awaited visit to that strategic church (15:22-24).


Romans can be divided three ways:


<!--<if !supportLists>-->1.       <!--<endif>-->God’s sovereign plan of salvation (chapters 1-8)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->2.       <!--<endif>-->To show how Jews and Gentiles fit into that plan (chapters 9-11)

<!--<if !supportLists>-->3.       <!--<endif>-->To exhort believers (Jews and Gentiles) to live righteous and harmonious lives (chapters 12-16)


To whom written


Romans was written to the Christians (Jews and Gentiles believers) in Rome and believers everywhere.


Important verse


“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Romans 5:1


Key people


Paul and Phoebe


Special features


Paul wrote Romans as an authorized and carefully presented statement of his faith—it does not have the form of a typical letter. Paul does, however spend considerable time greeting people in Rome at the end of the letter.

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