Justification By Grace Through Faith
Some interesting aspects of Romans:
• Length: Sixteen chapters written by the apostle Paul in the mid to late 50’s (56-58 CE)
• The Christian church in Rome was founded many years prior to Paul’s letter. At the time of the writing, there were 1 million people living in Rome. There were somewhere between 20 and 50 thousand Jews, but maybe only 100+ or so Christians.
• Paul wrote Romans in advance of his first visit there, eager to meet them and share the
gospel with them.
• There were several possible reasons that Paul wrote this letter:
To introduce himself to the Roman Christian community prior to his arrival.
To garner support for his planned mission to Spain, and to use Rome as his “base
To defend his version of the gospel and his ministry to the Gentiles.
To address conflict between Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome.
• This writing is the closest thing we have to a systematic theology of Paul, but we must remember that it is still an occasional letter, written to a specific audience and addressing a specific situation.
• Luther called Romans “the chief book of the New Testament, the purest gospel.”
• In Romans, the word “God” occurs with greater frequency than any other Pauline writing. In other words, its all about God. Romans is about God’s righteousness, God’s faithfulness, God’s love, and God’s justice
• We are not saved by our believing in the doctrine of justification, we are saved by God!
“But God proves his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
• Faith, for Paul, did not mean intellectual assent, but rather it meant a trusting and wholehearted acceptance of God’s act of salvation through the suffering, crucifixion, and death of Jesus.
• Paul emphasizes the importance of the Hebrew scriptures as a story of God’s covenant faithfulness. There are approximately 90 references to the Hebrew Bible in Paul’s letters, and 50 of these references are in Romans!
• New Testament scholar N.T. Wright offered the following outline in his 2002 commentary on Romans:
I) Romans 1:1- 4:25 The Faithfulness of God
II) Romans 5:1– 8:39 God’s People in Christ as the True Humanity
III) Romans 9:1-11:36 God’s Promises and God’s Faithfulness
IV) Romans 12:1-16:27 God’s Call to Worship, Holiness, and Unity