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Romans Introduction

  1. Who wrote this book?
    • There is overwhelming agreement among scholars that the apostle Paul wrote this foundational New Testament book.
    • The vocabulary, style, logic, and theological development are consistent with Paul’s other epistles.
      • Romans 1:1 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
    • Paul dictated the letter to a secretary named Tertius (Rom 16:22), who was allowed to add his own greeting.
      • Rom 16:22 - I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord.
  2. To whom it was written?
    • To the Roman believers or to all the believers who live in Rome (Rom 1:7) which includes both Jews and Gentiles.
      • Rom 1:7 - To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • (WW) There were both Jews and Gentiles in these fellowships, because Paul addresses both in this letter. (Jews: Rom. 2:17-29; 4:1; 7:1. Gentiles: Rom. 1:13; 11:13-24; 15:15-21.)
  3. What is the title of this book?
    • The Greek title for this book is "Pros Romaious" which means "To The Romans"
    • Since this is written by Paul it is called as The Epistle of Paul the apostle to the Romans.
  4. When it was written?
    • The epistle is to be dated AD 56-57 at the end of Paul's third missionary journey.
  5. From where it is written?
    • Paul might have written this epistle from the place called Corinth. Following details provides evidence:
      • During Paul's third missionary journey he engaged Corinthians in the collection of a fund for the church in Jerusalem. When he wrote 2 Corinthians, traveling from Ephesus to Corinth, the collection was still incomplete (2 Cor. 8:1–9). Paul motivates/urges the Corinthians to give by referring how Macedonians gave whole heartedly even though they are poor.
        • 2 Cor. 8:1–9 - 1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us--see that you abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
      • At the time he wrote to the church at Rome, this collection seems to have been completed (Rom 15:26–28). Therefore, we assume Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans from Corinth where he stayed for three months in A.D. 57 at the end of his third missionary journey, before he traveled to Jerusalem (Rom 15:25; Acts 20:2, 3).
        • Rom 15:24,25 - 24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. 25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 26 For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia* to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. 27 It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things. 28 Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain. 29 But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
        • Note: Macedonia is northern and Achaia is southern region of Greece. The major cities of Achaia were Corinth, Athens and Sparta.
  6. Is Paul addressing to one specific Church or many churches in Rome?
    • Based on Paul's introduction in Rom 1:7 and benediction in Romans 16:5, 10-11, 14 Paul is addressing many churches in Rome.
    • (WW) There were probably several assemblies of believers in Rome and not just one church, since in Romans 16 Paul greets a number of "home church" groups (Rom. 16:5, 10-11, 14).
      • Rom 1:7 - To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
      • Rom 16:3-15 - 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ. 6 Greet Mary, who labored much for us. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
  7. Who establish these churches?
    • Did Paul visit Rome?
      • Yes
    • When did Paul visit Rome?
      • Paul visited Rome around AD 60 for the trial after he wrote this epistle to the Romans around AD 57.
      • Paul himself had not yet visited Rome at the time this epistle was written.  It is apparent in Romans 1:13.
        • Rom 1:10,13 - 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established-- 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.
    • Is it established by Peter or any other apostles?
      • (WW) The churches in Rome were not founded by Peter or any other apostle. If they had been, Paul would not have planned to visit Rome, because his policy was to minister only where no other apostle had gone (Rom. 15:20-21).
        • Rom 15:20-21 - 20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation, 21 but as it is written: "To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand." 22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. 23 But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you,
    • Who oversees this church?
      • Based on Romans 1:8,9,11; 16:17-20 Paul oversees these Churches in Rome. He monitors their growth in Christ and issues. He keep praying, giving advise for them and thank everyone by name for their responsibilities. He knows this church in detail.
        • Rom 1:8,9,11 - 7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, 10 making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established
        • Rom 16:17-20 - 17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
    • But based on above facts Paul has established these churches by sending fellow workers such as Priscilla and Aquila and others periodically similar to how he sends sister Phoebe in Romans 16:1,2.
      • Rom 16:1,2 - 1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea, 2 that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
      • Rom 16:3-15 - 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
  8. What is the theme of this book?
    • Romans is theologically the most important of all the epistles written by Paul, and it contains his most comprehensive and logical presentation of the gospel.
    • The key phrase of this epistle is found in 1:17: “the righteousness of God.” This phrase encapsulates the very heart of the epistle. Romans is written, therefore, to show how sinful men and women can receive the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
    • In his sweeping presentation of God’s plan of salvation, Paul moves from condemnation to glorification and from theological truth to practical behavior.
    • Key words, such as righteousness, faith, law, all, and sin, each appear at least sixty times in this epistle.
  9. List the outline of this book:
    • The theme of divine righteousness that runs through the book is reflected in the following outline:
      1. The revelation of the righteousness of God (Romans. 1–8)
        • Within the context of his overarching theme of the righteousness of God, Paul discusses the need of sinful humanity for God’s righteousness (1:18–3:20),
        • the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to sinful human beings in justification (3:21–5:21), and
        • the sanctification of the redeemed (Romans 6:1–8:39).
      2. The justification/vindication of the righteousness of God (Romans 9–11)
        • God’s righteousness as revealed in His faithfulness to His covenant promises to Israel (Romans 9:1–11:36)
      3. The application of the righteousness of God (Romans 12–16).
        • the righteousness that Christians are to display before each other and before the world (Romans12:1–16:27).
    • (WW) Key theme: The righteousness of God, Key verse: Romans 1:17
      1. INTRODUCTION—1:1-17
      2. SIN—RIGHTEOUSNESS DEMANDED—1:18-3:20
        1. The Gentiles guilty—1:18-32
        2. The Jews guilty—2:1-3:8
        3. The whole world guilty—3:9-20
      3. SALVATION—RIGHTEOUSNESS DECLARED—3:21-5:21
        1. Justification stated—3:21-31
        2. Justification illustrated in Abraham—4
        3. Justification explained in Adam—5
      4. SANCTIFICATION—RIGHTEOUS-NESS DEFENDED—chapters 6-8
        1. Victory—the flesh—6
        2. Liberty—the Law—7
        3. Security—the Spirit—8
      5. SOVEREIGNTY—RIGHTEOUS-NESS DECLINED—chapters 9-11
        1.  Israel's past riches—9
        2. Israel's present rejection—10
        3. Israel's future restoration—11
      6. SERVICE—RIGHTEOUSNESS DEMONSTRATED—12:1-15:7
        1. In the church body—12
        2. In society—13
        3. Toward the weaker believer— 14:1-15:7
      7. CONCLUSION—15:8-16:27
  10. List few great testimonies that shows how this book of Romans impacted believers in Christ:
    The book of Romans has repeatedly played important roles through out the history of the church and still doing the same now.
    • (JC) In the early days of the church, John Chrysostom—so named because “Chrysostom” means “golden throat”—was an incredible orator. His preaching was so powerful that in the middle of his sermons, the congregation would burst out in applause time and time again. Embarrassed by the applause, one day John gave a sermon on why people shouldn’t clap in the middle of his sermons. So persuasive and incredible was the sermon, however, that the congregation responded with a resounding ovation! John Chrysostom began his ministry by reading the Book of Romans and went on to read Romans in its entirety once a week for eighteen years.
    • Augustine, a theologian of the fourth century, was converted by reading Romans.
    • Similarly, in the sixteenth century the book of Romans inspired Martin Luther when he discovered in it the truth of justification by faith. He praised the Book of Romans: “It is the chief part of the New Testament and the perfect gospel . . . the absolute epitome of the gospel.”
    • Philip Melancthon called Romans, “The compendium of Christian doctrine.”
    • John Calvin said of Romans, “When any one understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture.”
    • Samuel Coleridge, English poet and literary critic said Paul’s letter to the Romans is “The most profound work in existence.”
    • Frederick Godet, 19th Century Swiss theologian called the Book of Romans “The cathedral of the Christian faith.”
    • G. Campbell Morgan said Romans was “The most pessimistic page of literature upon which your eyes ever rested” and at the same time, “the most optimistic poem to which your ears ever listened.”
    • Richard Lenski wrote Romans is “Beyond question the most dynamic of all New Testament letters even as it was written at the climax of Paul’s apostolic career.”
    • Centuries later, John Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed” when he heard Luther’s preface to this epistle read aloud. John Wesley was saved as he understood at last that the price for his sin was paid and that the work of salvation was complete.
    • (JC) Truly, the road to revival leads through this book. While Chuck Smith was teaching through Romans in a Foursquare Church, realizing he could throw off the yoke of religion, his life was changed. He went on to pastor a little twenty-five-member church called Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, which today numbers in the tens of thousands and is one of the fastest-growing evangelistic movements in the world today. It is not the result of any attempt at organization. It’s just revival.
    • (JC) John Courson life was changed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, I went to Calvary Chapel and heard Chuck teach through Romans. I heard for the first time that I didn’t have to pray more, study more, or witness more; that the Lord loved me regardless of what I did because the price was paid completely. The result? I couldn’t wait to pray more, study more, and talk to everyone I met about the glorious grace and goodness of God.

Application:

  1. How Paul's obey Jesus Christ when He didn't permit Paul to Rome before he writes this epistle of Romans?
    Describe Paul's obedience to Jesus Christ when Jesus didn't permit Paul to Rome before he writes this epistle of Romans
    :
    Paul's Obedience to Jesus Christ Blesses All.
    • Praise God for not permitting Paul to Rome even though he earnestly requested God to visit Rome. This made Paul not to address their specific issues of Roman believers like how he addressed in other epistles such as 1st & 2nd Corinthians. Instead as per the Holy Spirit's leading Paul ends up with theologically the most important comprehensive and logical presentation of the gospel.
    • Paul was not stubborn by just clinking to what he deeply desired ie visiting to Rome. Even though God didn't permit him to visit Rome after his repeated requests, he understands this and started to write this epistle to all Roman believers as per God's desire.
      • Ps 37:23 - The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.
      • (JC) Although his plan was strategically brilliant, he was unable to get there. But instead of feeling defeated by what he couldn’t do, Paul grabbed parchment and pen, and did what he could do.
        • That’s what David did. After becoming king of Israel, David said, “Why should I dwell in this palace, while God lives in a tent?” (see 2 Samuel 7:2). “I want to build God a temple.”
          “All that’s in your heart, do,” Nathan replied (see 2 Samuel 7:3).
          But that night the Lord said to Nathan in a dream, “You spoke too quickly. David can’t build Me a temple. He’s a man of war, and the temple must be a place of peace” (see 1 Chronicles 22:8).
          So what did David do? Did he pout? No. Did he vegetate? No.
          He drew plans, gathered materials, and lined up laborers so that when his son, Solomon, ascended the throne, everything was ready for him to begin construction (1 Chronicles 22:1–5).
          David wasn’t hung up by what he couldn’t do. Rather he asked, “What can I do?”
        • Unable to go to Rome, Paul instead penned a letter to the Romans and, because he had never been to Rome, he was able to concentrate solely on life-changing, impacting, revolutionary theology. You see, in his other epistles, Paul addressed the problems and personalities unique to the cities to which he wrote. Not so with the Book of Romans.
          Paul did what he could do, and I’m so glad, because, just as all roads lead to Rome, truly, the road to revival leads through the Book of Romans.
    • Paul denied him self/desire and take up the cross and followed whatever Jesus want him to do.
      • Luke 9:23,24 - 23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
    • God as per His plan and in His own time took Paul to Rome few years after writing this epistle.
      • Ecc 3:1 - To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven
    • This Paul's obedience to Jesus blesses not only Romans but also all the believers in Christ. We can see this in the Great testimonies that shows how this book of Romans impacted believers in Christ.
  2. How Paul's obedience to Jesus Christ helps you?
    • We as a believers in Christ need to follow this example.
    • Just obey as per the leading of Jesus Christ through Holy Spirit.
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