Book of the Week 45: Romans


Author: Paul                                                                         

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 16

Basic Facts

  1. Romans the forty-fifth book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, the book of Romans is classified as an epistle, or letter.
  3. While Paul wrote Romans, the letter was entrusted to a woman named Phoebe who delivered the letter to the church[es] in Rome.
  4. The Greek name for the book of Romans is PROS ROMAIOUS, which means “to the Romans” or “for the benefit of the Romans.”
  5. The faith of the Roman believers was exceptionally important because it was being proclaimed around the world from the Capitol city of the Roman Empire (Romans 1:8).

Story of the Book

Romans is a letter written by Paul to the believers in Rome. Paul begins his letter by greeting believers in Rome and assuring them that he is praying for them. Paul also assures the church in Rome of his desire to visit them in person. Paul teaches that church that God has revealed Himself to the world and that He is going to judge the world on account if its sins. Paul emphasizes that everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23) but that Christ died to save all sinners who are justified through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul uses the example of Abraham being justified by faith to demonstrate that people are justified not by obedience to Torah law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul then goes through a lengthy and complex explanation of how people are justified by faith in Christ and not through works, arguing that the ethnic people of Israel have no special standing; only those who come to Christ through faith do. Paul argues that God is sovereignly in control of all things. The rest of Paul’s letter is spent giving advice to believers on how to live their lives in light of God’s mercy including offering themselves as living sacrifices, being renewed in mind, loving one another with sincerity, blessing those who persecute them, submitting to governing authorities in the Lord, and showing mercy to those who are weak in faith. Paul finishes his letter with a lengthy list of personal greetings to the believers in Rome, often resorting to personal greetings on a first-name basis to express his caring for them. 

Jesus Revealed in Romans

Paul reveals Jesus by explaining to his audience that the way of salvation is not through righteous acts of obedience to the Law of Moses, but rather by faith through Jesus Christ. In Romans, Paul reveals that all have sinned (Romans 3:23), yet Jesus is one who justifies sinners by faith (Romans 5:1). Jesus is the one who died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8) and who fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law in order that we who have faith in Him and might also live according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1), and all who confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead will be saved (Romans 10:9). Paul reveals Jesus as the Messiah through whom this salvation by faith, apart from the works of the Law, is made possible. Jesus is the one through whom salvation is offered not only to Jews, but also to the gentiles so that anyone who has faith in Christ is offered the free gift of salvation that is found exclusively in Him. Paul seeks to strengthen the faith of believers in Rome through proper instruction on the way of salvation, encouraging believers to live self-sacrificially in light of the mercy of God given to them freely in Christ.