The Epistle to the Romans is the sixth book of the New Testament. Written by Apostle Paul during the winter of 57–58 AD, this letter represents one of 13 letters or Pauline Epistles written during his travels in spreading the Word of God. Transcribed by Tertius, Paul wrote this letter marking the third stop of his first missionary journey. Having already received contributions from mission churches in Macedonia and Achaia, Paul was staying in Corinth at the home of Gaius in Corinth, Greece prior to heading back to Jerusalem with offerings for poverty-stricken believers.
Addressing the people of the church at Rome (Romans 1:7) who were predominantly Gentile, Paul wrote this letter to prepare the church for his upcoming visit to Rome and his proposed mission to Spain (Romans 1:10-15; 15:22-29). The goal of this letter was to present the basic system of salvation to a church that had not previously received Jesus’ teaching from an apostle. Through this letter, Paul sought to explain the relationship between the Jews and the Gentiles in God’s overall plan of redemption. It was critical that he convey this message to the Romans as the larger group of Gentiles within the church were rejecting Jewish Christians (Romans 14:1). Their rationale? Jewish believers were constrained by dietary laws and sacred days observed under the old law (Romans 14:2-6).
Considered his most important theological legacy or “magnum opus”, it reads more like an essay than a letter, emphasizing Christian doctrine such as sin and death, salvation, grace, faith, righteousness, justification, sanctification, redemption, resurrection and glorification with widespread references to the Old Testament. At the heart of the letter is a beautiful reminder that resonates to this very day… salvation is offered to all of us, not to a select few, through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Introduction (Romans 1:1-15)
- Righteousness from God (Romans 1:16-17)
- The Unrighteousness of All People (Romans 1:18 – 3:20)
- Justification for Righteousness (Romans 3:21 – 5:21)
- Righteousness Imparted and Sanctified (Romans 6 – 8)
- God’s Righteousness Vindicated: The Justice of His Way with Israel (Romans 9 – 11)
- Righteousness Practiced (Romans 12:1 – 15:13)
- Conclusion (Romans 15:14-33)
- Commendation, Greetings, and Doxology (Romans 16)
Map of Apostle Paul’s Greatest Missionary Work (Source: Bible.org)
The area of Paul’s greatest missionary work centers around the lands found near the Aegean Sea. Visiting cities including Miletus, Ephesus, Neapolis, Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth and many others, the Biblical irony is that Apostle Paul wanted to first preach the gospel in other areas and that it took a special miracle to bring him to the continent of Europe!
What does salvation mean to you?
Interesting synopsis of the epistle. What are your chief influences?
Good morning David. Thank you for your recent comment. By “interesting”, I hope in a good sense☺ As for influences, there have been many along my spiritual journey. Raised Catholic, I was only familiar with select portions of the Bible. After divorce 20 yrs ago, I left the church and sought to learn more about other faiths. Coming full circle, I was reborn 8 years ago and subsequently baptized locally in a Christian church. From my perspective, I still consider myself a young Christian at heart and have a lot of questions new believers have. While some long time believers may take issue with my very basic study of Paul’s very rich writings, my goal is to distill a common thread that both believers and non-believers can relate to as an invitation to read the book and learn more. Again many thanks for your comment. I hope it marks the beginning of an ongoing conversation. Have a blessed day.
“The goal of this letter was to present the basic system of salvation to a church that had not previously received Jesus’ teaching from an apostle. Through this letter, Paul sought to explain the relationship between the Jews and the Gentiles in God’s overall plan of redemption.” I agree with this statement. It’s an insightful observation that is not always present in the analysis of many people. Many people work from the default position that Paul no longer recognizes “Jew nor Greek” but instead teaches the “One New Man” concept. But I think you are right to recognize that there are distinctions between the two groups even in Messiah, which, if I understood you correctly, you seem to acknowledge.