Survey of the Bible - Romans

Text: Romans 3:19-26


I.         After Acts, the next major section of the Bible are Paul’s letters

            A.        These are further divided into Paul’s letters to the churches, Paul’s letters to individuals, and then Hebrews because there is a dispute over whether it is Paul’s work.

                        1.         The fourteen letters, including Hebrews, were in circulation among the early churches.

            B.        The letters are not in chronological order

                        1.         The Corpus Paulinum was in various orders with Hebrews being moved most often. It wasn’t always placed at the end.

                        2.         The order in our Bibles is by relative length, within the groupings, with letters to the same place or person kept together.

                        3.         This is why Hebrews was sometimes put after Romans.

            C.        The oldest copy of Romans is in a Corpus Paulinum labeled P46. It is generally dated about A.D. 200 though there is at least one scholar who has made strong arguments that it should be dated around A.D. 90. []

            D.        The letter is written by Paul - Romans 1:1

                        1.         Tertius was the scribe - Romans 16:22

            E.        Dating

                        1.         Paul was staying in Gaius’ home - Romans 16:23

                                    a.         Gaius lived in Corinth - I Corinthians 1:14

                                    b.         Paul mentions Erastus.

                                                (1)       There is an inscription found in Corinth that says, “Erastus, the commissioner of public works, laid this pavement at his own expense.”

                        2.         Phoebe was asked to deliver the letter - Romans 16:1-2

                                    a.         She is from Cenchrea, a small suburb of Corinth

                        3.         Written after Paul taught in Asia - Romans 15:19

                        4.         Thus, it was written after II Corinthians when Paul stayed in Corinth for three months - Acts 20:2-3

                        5.         The collection for the saints was completed and ready to be delivered - Romans 15:25-26, 30-32

                        6.         Typically dated to AD 57, at the end of Paul’s third journey.

            F.        A note about chapter 16

                        1.         There are a few manuscripts missing chapter 16. It is believed that some didn’t bother copying the greetings, thinking the information wasn’t important.

                        2.         That has led to some claiming that it was tacked on later. Why send greetings to some place Paul has never been?

                        3.         It should be noted that the one other place where so many greetings are given is at the end of Colossians, another place Paul has not been.

                        4.         The greetings serve as verification that this was from Paul and that he is aware of what is happening because they have so many mutual acquaintences.

II.        Paul’s writing style

            A.        Paul can be difficult to understand, even Peter says so - II Peter 3:15-16

            B.        Paul tackles difficult subjects

            C.        He does speak about subjects as people expect

                        1.         People are so sure Paul could not have said what he plainly did say that they search form more complex explanations

                        2.         Many build elaborate teachings on what Paul didn’t say. Difficulties could be avoided if people stuck to what Paul did say.

            D.        People have charged Paul with being wordy: “There seems to be unanimous agreement among scholars that the style of Paul is exceedingly verbose and repetitious, and that his sentences are loosely put together and hence difficult to understand.” [Nils W. Lund, “Chiasmus in the New Testament”, p. 141]

                        1.         People also note that Paul has “a species of digression, which may be properly denominated going off at a word. It is turning aside from the subject upon the occurrence of some particular word, forsaking the trend of thought then in hand, and entering upon a parenthetic sentence in which that word is the prevailing term” [William Paley, Horae Paulinae, VI:III].

                        2.         The problem is that people are looking at Paul to be making arguments using a Greek style of presentation – after all, he is writing in Greek.

                        3.         But Paul is a Jew and his writing style follows the Hebrew poetic style.

                                    a.         Ideas are nested one inside another, often with the key point being in the center or after the nesting.

                                    b.         Or series given with a key point at the end

                                    c.         Romans 11:33-36

O the depth of riches

            and of wisdom

                        and knowledge of God!

                                    How unsearchable His judgments

                                    And untraceable His ways!

                        For who has known the mind of the Lord?

            Or who became his counselor?

Or who first gave to Him and it shall be recompensed to him?

For of Him

And through Him

And unto Him

Are all things.

To Him be the glory for ever. Amen.


III.       The Purpose

            A.        To show God’s justice or righteousness in show in saving Jews and Gentiles through the Gospel on the basis of faith - Romans 1:16-17

            B.        Paul starts and ends talking about the obedience of faith - Romans 1:5; 16:26

                        1.         Obedience (or works) is not contrary to faith but an outgrowth of faith

                        2.         There is great emphasis on faith because Paul is countering the Jews reluctance to let go of the Law of Moses. They wanted to do works without trust or faith in what God has done through Christ.

                        3.         To read that Paul is talking about faith alone is to ignore the simple fact that faith is seen is works - James 2:18. 24, 26

            C.        The righteousness (or justice) of God is seen in a faith available to all people through Jesus Christ - Romans 3:22

            D.        God gave salvation and redemption from sin as a gift to demonstrate His righteousness - Romans 3:24-26

IV.      Outline

            A.        Salutations - Romans 1:1-15

            B.        The righteousness of God - Romans 1:16-8:27

                        1.         The condemnation of mankind - Romans 1:18-3:20

                                    a.         The sins of the Greeks - Romans 1:18-32

                                    b.         God’s impartiality - Romans 2:1-16

                                    c.         The sins of the Jews - Romans 2:17-3:8

                                    d.         All have sinned - Romans 3:9-20

                        2.         Justification - Romans 3:21-5:11

                        3.         Sin versus Righteousness - Romans 5:12-21

                        4.         Dead to sin - Romans 6

                        5.         The Law binds sin to the sinner - Romans 7

                        6.         The Spirit frees the sinner from sin - Romans 8:1-27

            C.        According to the plan of God - Romans 8:27-11:36

                        1.         Victory! - Romans 8:27-39

                        2.         Israel’s rebellion was planned - Romans 9:1-22

                        3.         The saving of the Gentiles was planned - Romans 9:23-33

                        4.         It must be according to God’s righteousness - Romans 10:1-21

                        5.         Israel still can be saved - Romans 11:1-16

                        6.         The Gentiles still can be lost - Romans 11:17-24

                        7.         The rich blessing of God’s Plan - Romans 11:25-36

            D.        Applying righteousness to our lives - Romans 12:1-15:13

                        1.         Service to God - Romans 12:1-2

                        2.         Service to brethren - Romans 12:3-13

                        3.         Service to enemies - Romans 12:14-21

                        4.         Service to government - Romans 13:1-7

                        5.         Service to neighbors - Romans 13:8-10

                        6.         A changed life - Romans 13:11-14

                        7.         Dealing with growing Christians - Romans 14:1-15:7

                        8.         Jews and Gentiles can praise God - Romans 15:8-13

            E.        Concluding Remarks

                        1.         Paul’s Purpose - Romans 15:14-21

                        2.         Paul’s Plans - Romans 15:22-33

                        3.         Greetings - Romans 16:1-24

                        4.         Benedictions - Romans 16:25-27

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