Paul, AD 57, from Corinth as Paul prepared to visit Jerusalem
Paul has never been to Rome (he knows 26+ people there); he hopes to on his way to Spain. There is debate as to whether the church at Rome was mostly Jewish or Gentile. They are significantly segregated – maybe even in different house churches.
Rome was the governing center for the world – they were the key shapers of all area of life: culture, politics, entertainment, morals, etc… The church at Rome was readily exposed to Paganism at its finest.
To prepare them for a visit of mutual support on his way to Spain. To settle Jew/Gentile tension/division – all are one through saving faith in Jesus, the law convicts instead of unites. Arguably the most influential book of the Bible and the history of Western civilization. No other book explains salvation in such detail.
How to Read it
Don’t be intimidated by all the questions that need answering – feel free to do a “walk-through” approach and then go back to wrestle with key questions later. Don’t see any one chapter as a complete gospel presentation – the whole book develops the presentation. Be thankful for everything you read – Stuart Briscoe often recommends that seekers read Romans 1-11… if they are not moved to thankfulness before God, what’s left to move their heart?
I. Salvation by Faith (1-4) - we need to learn how bad we are before we can understand how great our salvation is.
a. Everyone’s Sin & God’s Wrath (1.1-3.20) – read 1.20-21,28 Gentile sin, 2.12-13 Jewish sin, 3.10-12 Everyone’s sin
b. Righteousness Received by Faith Alone (3.21-4) – read 3.22-24 salvation by faith alone for all, 4.13 Abraham illustration – this hit home with the Jewish audience
II. Freedom by Faith (5-8)
a. Free from Guilt (5) – read 5.19 death for all through Adam, life for all through Jesus
b. Free from Slavery to Sin (6) – read 6.5-7 sinful life died with Jesus, righteous life resurrected with Jesus
c. Free from the Law (7) – read 7.6 live by Spirit leadings – not law, 7.18-20 struggling between sinful nature leadings and the Spirit leadings
d. Free to Live by the Spirit (8) – read 8.5 overpowering sin is a winning battle, 8.23-26 we have the first fruits of the Spirit yet grown for the remainder – our salvation is “already” but “not yet,” the Spirit prays for us
III. God’s Purposes for Jews and Gentiles (9-11)
a. Israel’s Unbelief is not God’s failure (9) – read 9.6 “Jew” by faith, 9.18 election
b. Current Jew/Gentile Salvation Status (10) – read 10.20-21 Gentiles believed, Israel did not
c. Future Jew/Gentile Salvation Plan (11) – read 11.1,11,25b-27 provoked to envy, hardening until full number of Gentiles included, restored to point role in redemption’s story
IV. Practicing Righteousness (12-15)
a. In the Church (12) – read 12.4-5,18 need each other, create peace
b. In the World (13) – read 13.2 obey authorities – this was difficult considering the corrupt character of Rome’s leaders, 13.9 love neighbor
c. Amongst Weak Believers (14-15) – read 14.1 accept disputable variance even if your stance is firm – but don’t compromise the gospel
V. Closing (15.14-16.27) – read 15.24 plan to visit
Romans presents the most detailed account of how Jesus gives and lives salvation in us. Great for anyone and any situation.