Introduction to Romans
Theme: Romans presents God’s truth in its three categories (laws of establishment, gospel, and doctrine for growth). The core of this letter is the nature of God and the gospel that comes from God. This gospel is in Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The gospel message is that God’s righteousness is offered to mankind based on the work of Christ on the cross, and is received by faith in Christ. Romans demonstrates the effects of God’s truth (in the three categories) upon mankind. Author: Paul (Rom 1.1).
Date: Circa winter A.D. 56-57.
Paul wrote from: Corinth, on his third missionary trip ( Acts 20.1-16; Rom 15.22-29; 16.1,23; 1 Cor 16.1-9; 2 Cor 8-9;).
Paul wrote to: Believers in Rome (Rom 1.7).
Political background: The first century church was under Roman rule. God used Roman rule to protect, to consolidate, to extend, and to test His young church. The city itself was prosperous and growing. Working class, slaves, and aristocracy lived in Rome. Economic subsidies, wealth, poverty, entertainment, government, public buildings, parks, famous people, military, and intrigue filled the city. Nero was the emperor at this time. He ruled from A.D. 54-68. He became the emperor at age 17 and committed suicide at age 31. The first part of his reign was adequate. The severe excesses for which he is remembered did not come until later.
A guide to the content of Romans
Section 1: God’s Righteousness And Man’s Unrighteousness, Romans 1-3.
Section 2: God Gives His Righteousness Through Faith, Romans 4-5.
Section 3: The CWL (Christian Way Of Life) Is Possible, Romans 6-8.
Section 4: God And Israel, Romans 9-11.
Section 5: Day To Day CWL, Romans 12-16.
Section 1. God’s Righteousness And Man’s Unrighteousness
Chapter 1 Positive and negative volition at work
1. The apostle Paul works for God and God’s gospel (1.1-7).
2. Paul wants spiritual advancement for the Roman believers (1.8-17).
3. Negative volition at God consciousness can bring terrible results (1.18-32).
Chapter 2 Judging others is being self righteous
1. We are wrong to judge others because we all sin, and God is the only judge (2.1-16).
2. The self-righteous, arrogant, religious Jew is worse off than the Gentile that does not have God’s law but follows the law’s intention (2.17-29).
Chapter 3 All people are sinful
1. The Jewish nation is special because God decided to work through them (3.1-8).
2. The Jews are not naturally better than Gentiles; all people are sinful in comparison to God (3.9-20).
3. God gives His righteousness to unrighteous people through faith in Jesus Christ (3.21-31).
Section 2. God Gives His Righteousness Through Faith
Chapter 4 Righteousness is given through faith
1. Abraham and David illustrate the truth that God gives His righteousness to people through faith and not by works (4.1-9).
2. Neither ritual nor heritage will help mankind gain God’s righteousness (4.10-16).
3. Faith is believing what God has said; faith is not working in order to earn something (4.17-25).
Chapter 5 Justification gives many benefits
1. Because God has justified believers, believers now possess peace and hope (5.1-5).
2. God did the most for mankind when Jesus Christ died for sin and He will certainly complete what he started out to do (5.6-11).
3. The one sinful act of Adam caused all mankind to die and the one righteous act of Christ made it possible for God to give eternal life to anyone that believes (5.12-21).
Section 3. The CWL (Christian Way Of Life) Is Possible
Chapter 6 Union with Christ makes the CWL possible
1. The believer’s union with Christ makes it possible and practical to live the CWL now (6.1-11).
2. Believers should not allow sin to rule them because they are now alive with God and under grace (6.12-14).
3. Believers are slaves of God and this slavery should result in righteousness (6.15-23).
Chapter 7 The old sin nature inside
1. The believer’s union with Christ broke any tie to law and at the same time brought every believer into a new life with God (7.1-6).
2. Paul’s sin nature rebelled against the holy law and produced personal sins, and through this he learned what he was really like inside (7.7-20).
3. Two laws are at work inside the believer, the law of sin and the law of God (7.21-25).
Chapter 8 The Holy Spirit inside
1. Union with Christ places believers under the law of the Holy Spirit in fact and in practice, not under the law of sin and death (8.1-4).
2. Believers have the option of living through the Holy Spirit or through the sin nature (8.5-7).
3. The Holy Spirit option is only true for those whom the Holy Spirit indwells (8.8-11).
4. It then follows that believers are to live day to day like heirs of God should live, by the Holy Spirit (8.12-17).
5. Creation may suffer now, but the future inheritance is much greater than any present suffering (8.18-25).
6. God’s plan guarantees that each believer is secure now in life and will be secure forever (8.26-39).
Section 4. God And Israel
Chapter 9 God’s promise and Israel
1. Paul is sorry that God’s chosen nation, Israel, has rejected Christ (9.1-5).
2. Now this Israel has descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and these three are related to God through promise (9.6-13).
3. God has the right to select Israel based on believed promise(9.14-23).
4. God will always have people that believe His promise (9.24-29).
5. People that believe God’s promise are given God’s righteousness (9.30-33).
Chapter 10 Israel needs faith righteousness
1. Paul wants Israel to believe in Christ so that the nation will be given God’s righteousness and then possess salvation (10.1-4).
2. Faith righteousness [God’s righteousness given to mankind through faith] is always superior to law righteousness [mankind’s own righteousness that is based on keeping the law] (10.5-10).
3. Faith righteousness is for anyone that wants it, but they must first hear and believe God’s gospel (10.11-15).
4. However, Israel illustrates for us that not everyone who hears God’s gospel will believe it (10.16-21).
Chapter 11 There is always a grace remnant
1. God always has a grace remnant [a small number of people who understand grace and accept salvation through faith] among Israel (11.1-10).
2. Israel was temporarily set aside because of her unbelief and during this time Gentiles were joined to God’s kingdom through faith (11.11-24).
3. God will restore Israel to prominence after He completes His plan with the Gentiles (11.25-32).
4. God and His works are infinite (11.33-36).
Section 5. Day To Day CWL
Chapter 12 A new kind of priesthood
1. God’s plan makes all believers into priests and as priests they no longer sacrifice animals, but instead give themselves to God while at the same time they are progressively being changed inside (12.1-2).
2. Believer-priests are individual members of the body of Christ and should serve God in the body according to their spiritual gifts (12.3-8).
3. Believer-priests should live within the mental attitude and power of love (12.9-21).
Chapter 13 Authority orientation and the CWL
1. God delegates authority to certain people and this authority gives freedom, order, and protection (13.1-7).
2. Believers only owe love to others and those who love correctly are oriented to authority (13.8-10).
3. Time is passing so get on with daily spiritual growth which makes you the kind of person that Jesus Christ is (13.11-14).
Chapter 14 Give freedom instead of judgments and obstacles
1. Believers are supposed to allow each other (and especially the weak believer) to live his own life for the Lord instead of judging each other and showing contempt for each other (14.1-12).
2. Believers have freedom to live life, but should use this freedom for building people up and not for tearing them down (14.13-23).
Chapter 15 Onward and upward
1. The strong believer should help the weak believer so that the weaker and stronger may grow and glorify God (15.1-6).
2. Jewish and Gentile believers are to accept each other (15.7-13).
3. Paul’s ministry does not reflect what Paul has done, but what Christ has accomplished through Paul (15.14-21).
4. Paul plans on visiting the Romans on his way to Spain, but he must first take a contribution to Jerusalem (15.22-29).
5. Paul asks the Romans to pray for his Jerusalem trip and for his trip to Rome (15.30-33).
Chapter 16 Personal notes and greetings
1. Paul recommends Phoebe, a serving lady, and asks that the Romans help her in whatever and whenever she needs help (16.1-2).
2. Paul sends personal notes to many of the Roman believers (16.3-16).
3. Paul warns them to beware of the troublemakers, specifically those that live by their emotions and smooth talk people and work against the doctrine that has been taught (16.17-21).
4. Some of the men with Paul also send personal greetings to the Romans (16.21-24).
5. God, who stabilizes believers, has all glory (16.25-27).
by Tod M. Kennedy
Computers for Christ – Chicago