Romans – Introduction – Romans is a book about gospel

Brief Intro to Romans

Scriptures: 1:1,1:7,1:16-17,16:1-2,16:25-27

Romans is a letter, written by apostle Paul, to the church in Rome.

In NT, the 4 Gospels record the life of Jesus Christ, from His birth, teaching, and redemption on the cross, resurrection and ascension.

Acts records Jesus ascension, the coming of Holy Spirit, the ministry of the disciples, the spread of gospel, the beginning of the church, the formation of local churches in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Antioch, Ephesus, Colossae, Philipi, Corinth, Athens and Rome.

Because they are new believers, they are sometimes confuse, do not have strong foundation of the truth, not sure about the future of the church, thus God raised up the apostles to write the NT letters to the churches.

Epistles Explain The Gospel

In acts we see the examples of early church life and ministries. It is in the epistles that the truth of the gospel is revealed. The result of gospel is to bring people to God, through the body of Christ, Christ headship and glory are revealed to the world.

3 sets of Epistles:

  1. Romans to 2 Thessalonians – 9 epistles – to 7 churches – author: Paul
  2. 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon – 4 epistles – 3 saints – author: Paul
  3. Hebrew to Revelation – 9 epistles – churches – authors: other apostles

Comparison of 1st and 3rd set of Epistles:

  1st Set 3rd Set Similarity
1st Epistles Romans Hebrew Long
9th Epistles 2 Thessalonians Revelation Eng times, return of Christ

1st Set of Epistles

Romans,1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians The Redemption Work for Christ on the Cross Past
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians God’s works in church Present
1 & 2 Thessalonians Christ’s return Future

Romans is a Gospel Epistle

Paul’s systematic way to present the completeness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ch 1 Sins
Ch 2 Judgment
Ch 3 – Ch 5 Salvation
Ch 6 – Ch 8 Sanctification
Ch 9 – Ch 11 Israel
Ch 12 – Ch 16 Application

Author – Paul

Paul is the slave, Jesus Christ is his Lord (v1).

He is an apostle (person sent), he was called to spread the gospel of God (v1).

He received apostleship from Christ, to bring the obedience of faith to nations for Christ (v5).

He is under obligation to preach the gospel to all people(v14)

He is a Jew (9:3)

He is a minister of Christ Jesus to carry out priestly service of the gospel of God. (15:16)

He is a prisoner (16:7)

He has many coworkers (16:3, 16:21)

When, Where and Whom Romans was written

  • Written in AD57, in Corinth (Act 18:8, Act 20:2-3, Romans16:23, 1 Corinthians 1:14,), on Paul 3rd missionary trip, before he went to Jerusalem to bring offerings of the believers to the Jerusalem church (Ch15)
  • Carried by Phoebe (16:1) to believers in Rome (1:7)
  • Rome believers probably heard the gospel in Jerusalem during Pentecost (Act 2:10)

Purpose of Epistle of Romans

  • Jews believers had conflicts with gentiles believers regarding the roles of Jews laws, including circumcision to salvation. So Paul wrote the letter to help them.
  • Paul wrote Romans so that he and believers in Rome may be mutually encouraged by each others faith. (1:12)
  • Paul’s systematic way to explain the complete gospel of Jesus Christ
    • Men are sinners
    • Righteous God judgment on sinners
    • Redemption of Jesus Christ
    • Save by faith
    • Righteousness of God revealed in us
    • We are in peace with God
    • We became children of God
    • Holy Spirit works in us
    • We are mold into the image of Jesus Christ
    • God’s children enter into the glory of God

Romans and 3 saint in church history

  • St. Augustine (City of God, Confessions)
    • AD386 in Milan, he overheard a child singing “take up and read”. So he picked up a bible and read Romans 13:12-14, as a result he became one of the most influential christian in early church. .
  • Martin Luther (Reformation)
    • He was a monk in the Romans Catholic church, trying very hard to be a good person so God could forgive his sins and let him enter heaven.
    • He was confused and frighten after his visit to Rome
    • People told him”Luther, God is not mad at you. You are mad at God.”
    • One day Luther visited his friend and teacher Johann von Strauss, who told him to read Romans.
    • Romans 1:16, 3:22 opened Luther’s eyes. In AD1516, he was saved by reading Romans
  • John Wesley (founder of Methodist Movement)
    • Brought up as a religious family. He worked very hard to study new testament in Greek but was not saved.
    • Went to America to convert Indians but failed.
    • In AD1738, when he was depressed, a brother brought him to Aldersgate St. to have a fellowship. When he heard Luther’s preface on Romans, Wesley understood the gospel – one can only be saved by faith in Christ alone. “I felt my heart strangely warmed”

Discussions and Questions

  1. What new thing did you learned today about Romans?
  2. Romans is a
    1. letter to the Roman Emperor to convert him to christianity
    2. letter about the gospel of Jesus Christ
    3. commentary written by the Pope of Roman Catholic church
    4. peter writing about his journey to Rome
  3. The purpose of Romans is NOT
    1. to convict people that all men are sinners and fall short in the glory of God
    2. to explain that Jesus Christ is the only say to salvation
    3. to tell people that they need to follow the bible and perform good works in order to do to heaven
    4. to tell people that the wages of sins is death

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