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New Testament Survey

Romans



LOOKING AHEAD TO . . .

Romans

Key Verse(s):

Key Chapter(s):

Key Word(s) or Concept(s)

Consider:

"What is Justification in Paul’s view?

"Who is man with the Bible? Where is he described?

"Who is man without the Bible? Where is he described?

"What is the great promise to all who believe?

"What is the great struggle of the believer?

Suggested Reading beyond the Key Chapter(s):

Romans

If John is my favorite book, Romans is really the one I would pick if I were to be stranded in a remote location with access to only one book of the Bible. There is no single book of the New Testament (in my opinion) which pulls together all the theology of the Bible as well as Romans. It is Paul’s crowning achievement.

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Theology is nothing more than the study of God (theos in the Greek means God and is used in the New Testament as the designation of God the Father).

In Romans Paul covers all of the bases from who Jesus is, to why man needs a Savior, to how to get saved. Along the way the Apostle throws in how to walk the Christian life and discusses the struggle Christians have in the world of spiritual battles.

Theme and Purpose

FAITH

Paul desires to undertake a missionary trip to Spain (15:24,28). He plans to stop in Rome and visit the churches there (apparently five home churches -- 16:5,10,11,14,15; cf. 1:7). The Apostle had desired to make such a trip on many occasions, but, thus far, had been prevented from doing so (1:13; 15:22-24, 28-29; cf. Acts 19:21). These facts form the background of the letter, but in and of themselves do not clearly explain the purpose of Paul’s writing.

Paul clearly desires to make a spiritual impact on the Romans. This work sets forth a full statement of doctrine for the church to encourage and instruct them. There do not seem to be any problems within this church. It appears that Phoebe was traveling to Rome (16:1-2). She probably carried this letter and it may be that Paul simply seized this opportunity to instruct the Romans long-distance in the off chance that he would never make it to Rome. Chapters 12-15 may suggest practical difficulties with the church in Rome, but at the same time, these chapters may also just be the application chapters Paul so often places in his letters.

Never having visited this church, Paul clearly was not directly involved in its establishment. All of his contacts are “long distance.” This may help to explain the nature of this letter.

Accordingly, one needs to view Romans 1:16-17 as the purpose and theme of the book.

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16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

 

Author – Date

There is little concern in any critical study about Paul’s authorship of this letter.

Most likely the letter was written by Paul from Corinth, A.D. 56/57. This was during Paul’s third missionary journey. Paul expresses his current plans as being about to set forth for Jerusalem (15:25). The Apostle feels he has completed his missionary work in the east (15:19,23). The missionary journey in question is that recorded in Acts 20/21 which began in Corinth (cf. Acts 19:21; 20:1-3). This dates the letter with reasonable accuracy to the winter of 56/57.

Special Considerations

Chapters 1-8 of this letter cover the sinfulness of man and introduce the concept of justification by faith together with the ramifications of this doctrine. The doctrine itself relates to the purposes set forth in 1:16. Justification by faith is the “power of God unto salvation.” It is, in terms of our opening discussion, the answer to the question, HOW TO FIND GOD!

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Review verses 3-5 of this first chapter. Paul frequently compacts the Gospel message into a few short verses to present to his audience. We often have three minutes to give someone our personal testimony, but not a half-hour where we can draw it out. It is good practice to do what Paul has accomplished. Wouldn’t you like to be able to give a “full” sermon in three verses?

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3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

In reviewing this first section, these opening chapters break down as follows:

Justification

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Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3:25
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Justification is nothing more than a determination that one is “just” or “right’ before God. Since God views the believer who has accepted Christ through the shed blood of Jesus, justification is a legal determination on the part of God. The believer is seen as being not guilty!

Redemption is a deliverance brought about by the payment of a ransom. This is the price tag associated with Justification. Christ bought our redemption.

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For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45
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Propitiation means to appease or satisfy. Christ’s willing sacrifice on the Cross met the demands of and fully satisfied a righteous God. God is now able to accept the price paid for the redemption of mankind. This term is found but 3 times in Scripture (Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), although the Greek word is also found in Hebrews 9:5 where it is translated “mercy seat,” the Old Testament concept which approaches the idea of the propitiation.

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A related Old Testament concept is Atonement – At One-Ment with God. The Greek word translated as “atonement” in the Old Testament (in the Septuagint) is not used in the New Testament except in Hebrews 2:17 where it is translated as “reconciliation.” In the Old Testament it is the concept of appeasing God by making satisfaction for offenses. On the Day of Atonement (Ex. 32:30; Lev. 4:26; 5:16; Num. 6:11) the Nation of Israel would be represented by the High Priest before God Who sat on the mercy seat above the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle or Temple. This occurred once a year, so there was no permanent forgiveness.

 

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Salvation, from a Greek word meaning “to save,” is the umbrella under which all of the doctrines about the process are sheltered. Salvation is a term which defines the entire process of God bringing man back into fellowship with Him. It is the process which answers the question HOW TO FIND GOD!

In chapters 9 through 11, Paul returns to his roots and looks to the dealing of God with the Jewish nation, as well as to the relationship of the Jews and Gentiles. For Paul, the great personal desire is that the Jews would be saved and the Apostle looks forward to the day that the Jewish remnant as seen by the Prophets would be brought to glory by God. These chapters break down as follows:

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As is frequently the case, Paul closes this letter with admonitions for personal application and the ramifications of the Gospel message in daily life. These chapters (12-15:13) answer the question, HOW TO LIVE once you have found God. And, as with many of the letters, the closing verses (15:14-16:27) contain personal messages and a benediction from the Apostle.

For Paul, Christ is the Second Adam whose substitute death (His “propitiation”) provides the basis whereby all may be justified by faith.

Outline

I. Introduction and Greeting - 1:1-7

II. Thanksgiving, prayers, and purpose - 1:8-17

III. Gentiles guilty before God - 1:18-32

IV. Principles of Judgement - 2:1-16

V. Jews guilty before God - 2:17-3:8

VI. World guilty before God - 3:9-20

VII. Justification by faith - 3:21-31

VIII. Abraham saved by faith is the example - Chp 4

IX. Results of justification by faith - 5:1-11

X. Christ is the basis for salvation - 5:12-21

XI. Believers are dead to sin - 6:1-14

XII. Believers are slaves to righteousness - 6:15-23

XIII. Believers are married to Christ - 7:1-6

XIV. The Christian struggle - 7:7-25

XV. Life in the Spirit - 8:1-17

XVI. Future Glory for the believer 8:18-39

XVII. God’s righteousness and mercy - 9:1-29

XVIII. God’s dealing with the Jews - 9:30-10:21

XIX. Jewish remnant will be saved - Chp 11

XX. Christian conduct - Chp 12, 13

XXI. Discussion on the weak and strong - 14:1-15:21

XXII. Paul’s future plans - 15:22-33

XXIII. Commendations and greetings - Chp 16

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Using just Romans, how can you present the Gospel?

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The Romans Road

One of the great evangelistic tools is the use of specific verses of God’s Word to explain the salvation message. One such set is referred to as the Romans Road, for it is designed to present the Gospel message solely from the book of Romans. The Road goes like this:

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1:16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

2:4
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

10:9, 10
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

10:13
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

And, of course, the beauty of this approach is that one does not really need to even use all of the above verses to get to the “bottom line.”

 

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