Romans

Romans: The Theology of Salvation


Introduction. 

Paul is writing to the church in Rome. The date is about 57 A.D. The church in  Rome was not a congregation that Paul had planted nor had Paul yet been to Rome. He did have friends who were part of the church, and that is where he got his information about how the congregation was faring. 


Those are all important factors in understanding the message of his letter to these believers. But there is one more; the church at Rome included both Jewish and Gentile believers. (Gentiles are everyone except Jews.)


The gospel had evidently been introduced in Rome by Jews who had been at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit had come to fill believers at the preaching of Peter. It was, therefore, almost entirely Jewish at the beginning. And there seems to have been a continuing loyalty to Peter who was the first preacher of the gospel good news to them, for we find Peter in  Rome a few years after Paul wrote this letter (1st Peter 5:13). But in  the twenty-five years since the gospel was taken to Rome, Gentiles had been added to the church. However, in 49 A.D., give or take a few years, Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome. It was the third time. Evidently, all three times were due to the missionary efforts of the Jews. That left the church in Rome all Gentile for a period of time, probably until Claudius died in  54 A.D.


When the Jews began to return, the Christian Jews came back to the church but found the church was now a  Gentile congregation and different from the one they enjoyed five years earlier. The Jews found the Gentile believers were not observing any of the Jewish traditions and laws. The Gentiles, on the other hand, found the Jewish way of worship strange. It was not going smoothly. The remerging of the Jews and Gentiles into one church was one of the problems Paul wanted to solve. So,  Paul wrote to the church to help the Jews and Gentiles understand how to get along  and to help them understand their special places in  God’s plan for the future. 


Paul was also concerned that these believers be well-taught about salvation. Even though Pricilla and Aquila, a husband and wife team of  Jewish believers, had been in  Rome and had been able teachers in  the Christian community, they had been expelled from Rome as well. More than five years had gone by, and  Paul was not sure how well the Roman Christians understood the fundamentals of their faith. He wanted to make sure the church had a good theological foundation for the faith - and to have it in writing. The result is that Paul covered the theology of Christianity quite thoroughly. And that is what makes the book so valuable for us. 


Today, we consider theology on two levels, systematic theology (systematic theology is drawing together all the Bible says on a topic and harmonizing those biblical texts into one clear statement.)  and practical theology (practical theology applies those theological truths to life). Huge books have been written on both subjects. In Romans, Paul combines them masterfully in  a single short book. As he did in others of his letters, he begins with systematic theology in chapters 1 through 11 and moves to practical theology in  chapters 12 through 15. Romans, therefore, becomes a theological primer (beginning text) valuable for every believer.  


But because Paul is brief on many of the truths, students of the scriptures over the years have pondered how to fully understand what Paul had to say. That has led to many differences on points Paul did not develop fully. So, expect that as you read this guide to Romans, to find that your theological background and teaching will differ at times from mine and how I understand the truths Paul wrote about. Don’t be put off by that. Do the work of considering and comparing that every student of the scriptures must do as they come to a position on the truths Paul taught, one that satisfies the test of agreement and is a guide to experiencing the blessings and provisions we have in Christ Jesus. 


And trust the Holy Spirit, who is the final and true teacher, to lead you. 


Author's Preface

This guide is written for people with a bit more education in theological studies than the earlier guides. And it will be more focused on theological truths than the others. To make it readable to the average reader, I have color coded the comments. Blue is the more theological. 

The theological pieces will introduce the reader to theological terms that may require more background knowledge than the average reader has. Though many of the terms are explained, some readers unfamiliar with the terms and may need to search for the definitions online. 

The Greek text is important to understanding well the concepts Paul writes about. There are nuances in Greek gammar that do not translate easily in to English. I will explain some of these, but they may be more technical than some may want to wade through. These will be color coded in  Green.

The Bible version I use in this series is the New English Translation (NET) It is the version the links to Bible verses will take you on Biblegateway.com.  But there are other versions and many different languages. So, I recommend BibleGateway  as a Bible reading site and as a site where you will find many different study helps. 


The first section of Romans lays the groundwork of Chrisitan theology, in particular the theology that brings together the Jewish and Gentile believers. 

Romans Chapter 1

Introduction and Greetings

Chapter 1

Romans Chapter 1

Personal Remarks

Chapter 1

Romans Chapter 1

THE WRECKAGE OF SIN

Chapter 1 through 3

The History of Faith

The History of  Faith

Chapter 4

The Theology of Forgiveness

The Theology of Forgiveness

Chapter 5

Practical Righteousness

Practical Righteousness

Chapter 6-8

Did God Fail

Did God Fail?

Romans 9

Salvation for the Jews

Salvation for the Jews

Romans 10-11

The second section of Romans applies the theological truths of the first section to practical living.  

Romans 12-13

Romans  Chapters 12-13

Romans 14-15

Romans Chapters 14-15