Paul is universally accepted as the author of the letter to the Romans. Throughout the entire letter it is easy to see Paul's sincerity, his unique insights in the teachings about God, the Jews, about Jesus, and salvation to all mankind. Most scholars believe Paul wrote the letter around AD 58 from the city of Corinth.
Outline of the Book of Romans
Chapters 1-8 address Doctrine and Theology – In these chapters, Paul explains the fundamentals and foundations of the Christian faith (Rom.6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”). This is the Gospel Message, which all believers are commanded to share with the entire world.
Chapters 9-11 address God's Plan for Israel – Here, Paul explains God’s sovereignty over salvation. He also spells out how an individual may come into a right relationship with God (Rom. 10:10 - “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”).
Chapters 12-16 address The New Life in Christ - In these chapters, Paul gives instructions for all Christians about how to live a holy lifestyle (Rom.12:1-2 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”
Romans 1:1-13 Paul Introduces Himself and The Gospel
He identified himself in verse 1 as:
(1) A servant of Christ Jesus: indicating his allegiance and commitment; (2) Called to be an apostle: indicating his divine commission; and (3) Set apart for the Gospel of God: indicating his mandate.
Verses 1b – 3a & 9: Paul Introduces the Gospel
(1) That it is “the Gospel of God”: This teaches us that the Gospel originated from God. (2) That it was “promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures”: Not only was (and is) the Gospel God's Gospel, it has always been God's intention from the onset. And (3) It is about “His Son”: Here the whole content of God's good news is encapsulated in two words: 'His Son'.
Verse 3-4: Paul Introduces Jesus Christ
(1) He is God's Son, (2) He is, according to His human nature, a descendant of David, (3) He is 'Christ'. The 'Messiah'. the Anointed One, who came to save and lead God's people and (4) He is 'our Lord'.
Verse 5: Paul Introduces His Ministry
Paul saw Jesus Christ as the source, origin, goal and purpose of his ministry. His ministry was not to make a name for himself, but it was a Christ-focused, and Christ-centred ministry.
Verse 6-8: Paul Identifies His Readers as Believers
They were already loved by God. They were already “saints” - set apart by God, for God, and they already had faith.
Verse 8-13: Paul Introduces His Priorities in Relation to The Romans
That he may impart them with some spiritual gift to make them strong, and that they and him may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Romans 1: 14-17: The Power of the Gospel
In verses 14-16a we learnt of Paul’s attitude towards the Gospel.
He saw it as an obligation and he was clearly eager to preach it
He also mentioned that he was not ashamed of it
In verse 16b, He said that the Gospel was the power of God onto salvation. The power that . . .
Takes away the penalty of sin.
Rom 6: 23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
Destroys the power of sin.
Eph. 2:5 “When we were dead in our transgressions God made us alive together with Christ… and raised us up with Him”.
Creates new life.
2Cor 5:17 says: “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away, behold, new things have come”.
Finally, in verse 17, The Gospel Reveals the Righteousness of God.
Romans 1:18-23 The Reason Why God was angry against Humanity
In this study, we looked at the two main reasons God became angry against humanity:
We saw in Verses 18-20, that God was angry because man rejected His revelation by suppressing the truth. For instance, by EVOLUTION - denying God as the Sovereign Creator, or PHILOSOPHY - speculating that we cannot really know God at all, or PSYCHOLOGY - telling us that we are not responsible for the problems we face as a result of the choices we make.
Then in Verses 21-23, We learnt that God was angry because man rejected His glory and honour. People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they ended up trivializing themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives.
Finally, we learnt that one of the most difficult topics for people to understand; believers and unbelievers alike, is that of “THE WRATH OF GOD”. It is hard to reconcile for most people, that God who is a LOVING GOD is also a WRATHFUL GOD; You cannot have a complete, prefect, holy and just God without love and mercy as well as His wrath and anger.
In this study, we learnt that all unrighteous comes with its own consequencesandwithout genuine repentance, God can also deliberately withdraw His presence from such people. This means a person or persons may face the consequences of their unrighteousness which may eventually lead to eternal damnation.
In verse 24: The first consequence we learnt was that God withdrew His grace from them and gave them up to a reprobate mind (to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves)
In verses 25-27: The second consequence was for those who “edit” the truth of God’s word to suit themselves. People who abandon the truth of God’s word end up accepting the lies of the world, substituting the place of God with earthly things. They also become addicted to doing terrible and shameful things without any remorse; and they consequently suffer the penalty they deserve.
In this study, we considered the driving force behind man’s disobedience. Verse 28 tells us that it was the absence of the Knowledge of God. Actually, what happened was that they did not approve to have God in their knowledge. Men and women tested the idea of God and concluded that He would destroy their freedom and made the conscious choice to dispel Him from their thinking. But since we are instinctively religious, it is impossible for us to go from God to nothing. And so, they went from God to idols.
In verses 29-31, Paul listed the Products of such Depraved Minds
1. All unrighteousness, 2. Sexual immorality, 3. Wickedness, 4. Covetousness, 5. Maliciousness, 6. Full of envy, 7. Murder, 8. Strife, 9. Deceit, 10. Evil-mindedness, 11. Whisperers, 12. Backbiters, 13. Haters of God, 14. Violent, 15. Proud, 16. Boasters, 17. Inventors of evil things, 18. Disobedient to parents, 19. Undiscerning, 20. Untrustworthy, 21. Unloving, 22. Unforgiving, 23. Unmerciful
Finally, in verse 32, we considered those who support and promote evil. Even though people know such moral vices are wrong, they not only practice them, but congratulate others who do so also. Paul says these people are deserving of death.
Romans 2:1-7 Part 1 of God's Righteous Judgement
In chapter two of the book of Romans, Paul addressed the topic of judgement. Why we should be careful about judging others, How God’s judgement differs from Man’s, and How the nature of God influences His judgement.
We learnt that the word “judgement” should not only be viewed from a negative stand point because after a judgement not everyone is condemned. Some are acquitted and “commended” too.
In verse 1, we learnt that we should never “judge” [from a position of arrogance or self-righteousness] or a position of hypocrisy. For when you judge another from these stand points, you condemn yourself too.
In verses 2-3, we learnt that it is only God that can truly judge righteously because He is all-knowing
In verses 4-5, we considered the goodness (kindness), forbearance (tolerance), and longsuffering (patience) of God and that this knowledge should bring us to a position of humble repentance instead of an attitude of superiority and condemning others.
In verses 6-7, we considered an awesome and fearful thought that God will render to each one according to their deeds
And finally, to judge isn’t in itself a bad thing unless we are condemning others.
Romans 2:8-16 Part 2 of God's Righteous Judgment
In this study we learnt that God will judge according to the result of obedience or the lack of obedience to truth (God’s Words) in a person's life. (Verses 8-10):
We learnt that God will judge everyone according to . . .
His Impartiality (Verse 10): The wrath of God is coming upon all those who do evil; none will be free of this judgment. No person who does evil can plead innocence; all will know themselves to be guilty.
Opportunity Given (Verses 11-13):God will judge everyone for sinning against “the light” they were given. The Gentile who sinned without the Law will be judged without the Law. The Jew who sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law.
HisOmniscience (Verse 16) Whether a person had God’s Law or not, he will stand guilty before God on that day if they are not in obedience to God’s truth. There will be a certain day of judgment. God has fixed the day (Acts 17:31). If we believe that, we’d better be ready! And if you don’t believe it, that does not mean that it will not happen!
God doesn’t just look at our outward deeds. We can put on a pretty good show towards others. We can impress people with our knowledge of the Bible or our prayers or religiosity. But God sees and knows the true contents of our hearts.
Romans 2:17-24 The Jews and the Law - The Consequence of Hypocrisy
We learnt in this study that whether you are a Gentile or a Jew, whether without the Law or with the Law, whether you have never heard the Gospel or whether you have heard the Gospel, all people are under divine condemnation and in desperate need of the salvation that God gives in Christ Jesus.
We also learnt that we must be wary of hypocrisy - saying one thing and doing another! Paul’s argument was that if we do not act upon the knowledge and belief we have in Jesus Christ, then, in reality, we are worse-off than those without the knowledge of the Gospel. There will be a greater judgment for those who have the light of the truth but do not act upon it.
In verses 17-18, Paul began with a bit of sarcasm listing four privileges the Jews were taking for granted. That, (1) They Received the Law (given through Moses), (2) They Boast in God (3) They Know His Will in the Law, and (4) They Approve the Law.
We also learnt the five main purposes of the moral law (1) It reveals the character and attributes of God, (2) It reveals the sinfulness of man, (3) It is a tutor to lead the sinner to Christ (Galatians 3:24), (4) It is a restraint to evil in society & (5) It reveals the will of God
Verses 19-20, Paul lists four practices that gave false assurance to the Jew using sarcasm once more, (as if he was prodding and shaming them): (1) A guide to the blind, (2) A Light to those in the Darkness (3) A Corrector of the Foolish (4) A Teacher of the Childish (Immature) He accosted them with this because although they claimed to practice these, they were not.
Then in Verses 21-22, Paul brings four charges against the Jews. He is aggressive in exposing sin. Unlike most preaching today that pull back from this kind of exposure. Most witnessing today also pulls back from exposing sin in the lives of people. So he asked.
“well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal [in ways that are discrete, but just as sinful]? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob [pagan] temples [of valuable idols and offerings]?”
Finally, in Verse 24 we learnt that when our lives don’t line up with the Gospel we preach and teach, we bring shame to God’s name.
Romans 2: 25-29 The Jews and The Law- Understanding The Complexities
In this study, we looked at spiritual circumcision and learnt how best we can please God moving from the condemnation of the Law to a life of Grace.
In Verse 25:(We considered the Intricacies) - We learnt that circumcision is: valuable if you practice the Law; It becomes hypocritical and futile if you habitually break the Law. And therefore, meaningless in the sight of God. Grace demands circumcision of the heart and not the flesh.
In Verse 26(We considered the Complexities) – Here, Paul asked rhetorically: “So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded [by God] as circumcision?” According to Paul, he will certainly be regarded as such
In Verse 27, (We considered the Standard) – And concluded that obedience to God’s word is the key. And our obedience in keeping to His word must be perfected.
Finally, in verses 28-29 we learnt that circumcision cannot offer anyone a ticket to heaven, and that it is of no value to the Jew, if not attended by faithful practice of the Law. Paul says there is a reason for circumcision, but by itself guarantees nothing. This is because true religion is first and foremost- and as a matter of fact, always a matter of the heart.
This first major section of the book of Romans reveals mankind’s need for the Gospel. We see Paul laying a massive foundation upon which he will build our towering salvation. The taller the skyscraper, the deeper the foundation must be. Paul’s plan is to teach about the Gospel, that will soar to the heights of heaven, but first he must lay a firm base. You have to know the bad news before you can appreciate the good news.No one can be saved until they know their true need for the Gospel.