Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ROMANS AND PAUL’S CREDENTIALS IN VERSE 1
Paul spent the winter of A.D. 56-57 in Corinth. There he wrote the Epistle to the Romans and sent it by Phoebe (16:1-2) to the Roman church
PURPOSES FOR WRITING THE BOOK
Paul wrote this epistle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for several reasons. He wanted to prepare the way for his intended visit to the church (15:22-24). He evidently hoped that Rome would become a base of operations and support for his pioneer missionary work in Spain and the western portions of the empire that he had not yet evangelized. His full exposition of the gospel in this letter would have provided a solid foundation for their participation in this mission.
As Paul looked forward to returning to Jerusalem between his departure from Corinth and his arrival in Rome, he was aware of the danger he faced (15:31). He may have written the exhaustive exposition of the gospel that we have in Romans to set forth his teaching in case he did not reach Rome. From Rome his doctrine could then go out to the rest of the empire as others preached it. Paul may have viewed Romans as his legacy to the church, his last will and testament.
Another reason for writing Romans was undoubtedly Paul's desire to minister to the spiritual needs of the Christians in Rome even though they were in good spiritual condition (15:14-16). The common problems of all the early churches were dangers to the Roman church as well. These difficulties included internal conflicts, mainly between Jewish and Gentile believers, and external threats from false teachers. Paul gave both of these potential problems attention in this epistle (15:1-8; 16:17-20).
Paul also wrote Romans as he did because he was at a transition point in his ministry, as he mentioned at the end of chapter 15. His ministry in the Aegean region was solid enough that he planned to leave it and move farther west into new virgin missionary territory. Before he did that, he planned to visit Jerusalem, where he realized he would be in danger. Probably, therefore, Paul wrote Romans as he did to leave a full exposition of the gospel in good hands if his ministry ended prematurely in Jerusalem.
The great contribution of this letter to the body of New Testament inspired revelation is its reasoned explanation of how God's righteousness can become man's possession
The Epistle to the Romans is, by popular consent, the greatest of Paul's writings. William Tyndale, the great English reformer and translator, referred to Romans as "the principle and most excellent part of the New Testament." He went on to say the following in his prologue to Romans that he wrote in the 1534 edition of his English New Testament.
"No man verily can read it too oft or study it too well; for the more it is studied the easier it is, the more it is chewed the pleasanter it is, and the more deeply it is searched the preciouser things are found in it, so great treasures of spiritual things lieth hid therein."
Martin Luther wrote the following commendation of this epistle. "[Romans] is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes."
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To be impressed with the all-sufficiency of the gospel
This first sentence (vv. 1-7) implicitly sets forth the most fundamental facts of Christianity. In particular, it shows that the main facts of the gospel fulfill Old Testament predictions.
2) To see how God's wrath may be directed toward our society today
Outline of the Book of Romans
Righteousness of God Revealed or Doctrinal Section Chapters 1-8
Chapters 1-2 Condemnation
Chapters 3-5 Justification
Chapters 6-8 Sanctification
Righteousness of God Vindicated Chapters 9-11 or National Section – Israel
Chapters 9- Election
Chapters 10- Reason for Rejection
Chapters 11- Future Restoration
Gods Righteousness Applied or the Practical Section Chapters 12-16
Chapters 12 - Spiritual gifts
Chapters 13- Relationship to Government
Chapters 14-15 - Gray Areas or Doubtful Areas
Chapters 16 - Closing
It is Free