The Book Of Romans And Old Testament Theology
Romans has often been described as an exposition of the Old Testament in view of the Gospel of Christ; this is certainly an accurate description in view of the pattern that emerges. The Gospel of Christ tells how sinful people can find access into the heavenlies through sacrificial atonement. It is clear that this also was the focus of Israels sacrificial system. It is little wonder that the book draws upon the pattern of those ancient sacrifices.
There were three main types or groups of sacrifices in ancient Israels worship: those that made Expiation or atonement , those that were for Celebration , and those that were for Dedication . But essentially there was the forgiveness and acceptance by God through atoning sacrifices, the celebration of being at peace with God in the fellowship or peace offering, and the dedication to worship and serve God through the dedication or meal offering.
The Book of Romans employs this basic theological pattern of Atonement by God, Peace with God, and Dedication to God, as it weaves a theological argument from the beginning of Gods work until the end. The following overview will show how the argument of the book unfolds:
1. In chapter 1 after giving the introduction and purpose of the book, Paul surveys natural revelation via creation, noting that the creation rejected the Creator for the satisfaction of baser instincts. This section is an exposition on the early part of Genesis.
Tell Us About That Historical Context What Do We Know About The Churches Paul Was Writing To In Rome
I think there are four major aspects to the context.
The first is that there are probably five house churches in Rome, evidently comprised of mostly slaves with a clear presence of female leaders. So we know the social context. The churches were made up of perhaps 100 mostly poor people.
Second, Phoebe is the letter courier. It is unlikely that Paul hired a professional reader from Rome to read to a group of poor Christians in Rome, so it is highly likely that Phoebe read the letter aloud at least five times, once for each house church. Furthermore, a letter-readers responsibility was not just to read, but to perform, to ad-lib and to answer questions.
Third, in the Book of Romans we see the most emphasis on the churchs division of any letter Paul wrote. Theres a chapter and a half of discussion and exhortation to the strong and the weak. Strong does not mean theologically brilliant; it means having high social status. And Weak does not mean being theologically unengaged, but socially having a low status.
So Paul spends a lot of time talking about the tension between the high- and low-status believers in Rome, who are almost certainly divided between gentile believers and Jewish believers . The Strong thought Torah observance was passé, while the Weak thought the Strongs disregard for the Bibles teaching was disobedience.
Proper Thinking About Others
Paul extends his reasoning about thinking properly about ourselves in relation to how we think of others. One body has many members and those members do not perform the same function. In the same way, Christians are many but belong to one body in Christ. Pauls immediate context comes back into play again because Jewish Christians and Gentiles Christians must realize they are united in one body. There are not two bodies. The point is driven home more forcefully with the rest of verse 7. Individually we are members of one another. We are not only members in the body of Christ but we also belong to each other. Knowing the direction Paul is going concerning fellowship in chapter 14 it becomes clear that Paul is laying the foundation about how to think about other Christians. Do not think more highly than you ought. Think appropriately in light of the common faith and grace that we have. Even though we are many, there is only body and we belong to each other.
Paul reminds us that we must have a kingdom vision. We must have a vision of being individuals in the body of Christ. It is easy to be focused upon just the few. But there is only one body and there are many members in that body. We want Christians to be successful all over the earth. Paul is setting up for us that there is diversity within this body.
If prophecy, use it according to the standard of faith.
Read Also: How Many Books Are In The King James Bible
C Why Man Must Be Justified By Faith: The Guilt Of The Human Race In General
1. The greatest peril facing the human race: the wrath of God.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
a. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven: The idea is simple but sobering Gods wrath is revealed from heaven against the human race, and the human race deserves the wrath of God.
b. The wrath of God: We sometimes object to the idea of the wrath of God because we equate it with human anger, which is motivated by selfish personal reasons or by a desire for revenge. We must not forget that the wrath of God is completely righteous in character.
i. It is unnecessary, and it weakens the biblical concept of the wrath of God, to deprive it of its emotional and affective character to construe Gods wrath as simply in his purpose to punish sin or to secure the connection between sin and misery is to equate wrath with its effects and virtually eliminate wrath as a movement within the mind of God. Wrath is the holy revulsion of Gods being against that which is the contradiction of his holiness.
ii. In Romans 1:16, Paul spoke of salvation but what are we saved from? First and foremost we are saved from the wrath of God that we righteously deserve. Unless there is something to be saved from, there is no point in talking about salvation.
c. The wrath of God: In this portion of the letter , Pauls goal is not to proclaim the good news, but to demonstrate the absolute necessity of the good news of salvation from Gods righteous wrath.
What Were People Feeling
As Paul didnt know the Roman Christians, it is hard to read anything about how they were feeling from the letter he wrote.
There will be lots of names you will not know, dont worry if you cant place them all.;The key ones are given below.
Don’t Miss: What Does Bible Say About Vaccines
Beloved Verses From Romans 8
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
It would be easy to select just about any verse from chapter 8 to be on the list. However, here are some of the most loved verses. Leave a comment with your favorite verse if it is not listed here.
Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Romans 8:15-17 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:; And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:33; Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods elect? It is God that justifieth.
Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
The Place And Date Of Romans
Based on the material from Acts and the Corinthian epistles, the Book of Romans clearly indicates that it was written from Corinth on Pauls third missionary journey. Paul had never visited Rome; but after fulfilling his mission of mercy to Jerusalem, he hoped to go to Rome en route to Spain . At any rate, the date of the book is probably 60 A.D.
The chronological order of the Pauline epistles is about as follows: First and Second Thessalonians, Galatians, First and Second Corinthians, Romans, Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon, First Timothy, Titus, and Second Timothy. Romans is placed first among Pauls letters in the New Testament not only because it is his longest work, but because it also furnishes a massive and basic theological frame-work for the whole collection of the apostles writings.
Don’t Miss: What Does The Bible Say About Purity
Week : The Saving Righteousness Of God
Every good gospel presentation must tell us the bad news before it tells us the good news. This is what makes the good news so good. There is something terribly wrong with us and with the world. Thus far in Pauls letter to the church in Rome, he has been explaining just what that problem is: the rebellious transgression of Gods righteousness revealed generally in creation, universally in our consciences , and especially and specifically in the Scriptures. Paul has revealed and reaffirmed that we are sinners, following our perverted instincts into more and more death. The only justifiable response to our sin against Gods righteousness is his right and just wrath. But that is the bad news; the gospel means good news. In Romans 3:214:25, Paul articulates the heart of this great news of the gospel: Gods remarkable and gracious response to our sin, and also how this response does not diminish or contravene, but rather upholds his righteousness.
Take a moment to ask for the Lords blessing and help as you continue in this study of Romans. And take a moment also to look back through this unit of study, reflecting on some key things that the Lord may be teaching you.
Romans: A 12-Week Study;© 2013 by Jared C. Wilson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Week : Living In Light Of The Gospel
Where have we been so far in Pauls letter to the Roman church? First, he revealed the righteousness of God against the sin of all mankind. Then he revealed the implications of this truth for Jews and Gentiles. Next, he revealed the righteousness of God found in the gospel of the grace of Christ, along with the implications of that truth for Jews and Gentiles. All people, both Jew and Gentile, are unified in our common need for salvation. And so the antidote for this problem is the same for us all: Jesus Christ. Paul also has explained how God has been faithful to his promises to Israel. Now in Romans 12, Paul begins his practical instructions for holy living. Romans 12:113:14 is the then to the preceding chapters if. If this glorious gospel is true, then here is how believers should live in glad response. This structure is a pattern in Pauls other letters, too.
Romans 12:113:14 reveals what life in the Spirit looks like for the justified in their relationships with others, both in the church and in the government.
Read through the complete passage for this study, Romans 12:113:14. Then review the listed passages and write your own notes on the following questions.
The umbrella exhortation
The overarching exhortation for Romans 12:113:14 is given in the first two verses. These verses are the umbrella under which all that follows is included. What does Paul mean by a living sacrifice ?
Relating to Government
The Law and Love
How does love sum up the entire law?
Also Check: What God Wants From Us Bible Verses
The Structure Of The Book Of Romans
The book falls neatly into an introduction , a doctrinal section on justification , a doctrinal section on sanctification , a parenthetical section on Israel , a practical application section ; and then a conclusion . A simple outline of this structure looks like this:
I. Introduction: The Revelation of Righteousness
A. The Salutation
II. Justification, or the Imputation of Righteousness
A. Condemnation, or the Universal Need of Righteousness
B. Manifestation, or the Universal Provision of Righteousness
C. Harmonization, or Justification and the Purpose of the Law
D. Illustration, or Justification and the Old Testament
E. Exultation, or the Certainty of Salvation
III. Life in Christ, or Union With and Ultimate Conformation to the Righteous One
A. The Reign of Sin and the Reign of Grace
B. The New Relationship in Life
C. The New Principle in Life
D. The New Freedom in Life
E. The New Power in Life
F. The New Hope in Life
IV. Vindication, or Gods Righteousness in His Relationship with Israel
A. The Consideration of Israels Rejection
B. The Explanation of Israels Rejection
C. The Consolation of Israels Rejection
V. Application, or Gods Righteousness at Work
A. Application in the Assembly
B. Application in the State
C. Application in Doubtful Things
VI. Conclusion, or Purpose, Plans, and Praise in Connection with the Dissemination of Righteousness
The Epistle To The Romans
Background and Setting
The Epistle to the Romans was written to Christians residing in the city of Rome . Rome was the center of the Empire and was ethnically diverse. In the first century AD it had a population of around one million people in an area less than ten square miles. Of this large population, it is estimated that there was between 40,000 and 50,000 Jews in the city. The Jewish population dates back to the second century BC as part of the Diaspora. In AD 64 there was a large fire in Rome that led Nero to expulse the Jews. This also resulted in the first major persecution of the Church.
Of course the city of Rome was predominately populated by Gentiles and so it is expected that the church was comprised of both Jewish and Gentile believers . Paul addresses both groups in this epistle.
The letter itself claims Pauline authorship and there has not been much controversy over this. Early church tradition affirms Pauline authorship. According to Geisler and Nix, it was either cited or alluded to by Clement of Rome , Polycarp , the Didache , Justin Martyr , Tertullian , and Origen . It has been named as authentic by Irenaeus , Clement of Alexandria , Cyril of Jerusalem , Eusebius , Jerome , and Augustine . And it was included in the canons of Marcion , Muratorian , Barococcio , Apostolic , Cheltenham , and Athanasius .
Date and Location of Composition
Themes and Theology
Read Also: How To Interpret The Bible For Yourself
Why Do People Get Cremated
The key reasons why so many people are choosing cremation are: Separation of family across the U.S. Increasing acceptance of the cremation process in our culture. Eco-consciousness tendencies in consumers (dont want to take up precious land space with a traditional burial in a cemetery
Proper Thinking About Ourselves
As we begin it is important to notice who Paul is speaking to at this point. In verse 3 he says he is speaking to everyone among them. Paul is not writing only to the Christian leaders. Nor is Paul speaking only to Christians who have miraculous spiritual gifts. Paul is writing to every Roman Christian, whether a Jewish Christian or a Gentile Christian. Pauls command is to not think more highly than one ought to think. Dont be proud. Dont be arrogant. Lets not remove ourselves from Pauls context as we look at this command. Recall that chapter 11 warned the Gentile Christians about being arrogant toward the Jewish Christians . The Gentile Christians were to watch themselves about having pride, not to falsely think that they were someone important. Just because we are in the kingdom of God does not make room for arrogance against anyone, especially other Christians. Remember that we do not support the root, but the root supports us. We are able to stand because of Gods grace. This is the thought that Paul uses to kick off his exhortation. “By the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” We must think properly about ourselves because it is by Gods grace that we are in Gods kingdom receiving Gods blessings.
Recommended Reading: Who Is Isaac In The Bible
Why Should We Read Romans Backward
Romans is the most significant theological text in the New Testament for the development of Christian theology, and yet today its a network of arguments and problems. In reading Romans over the years, I became convinced that the book became abstract theology, if not systematic theology, and it totally lost connection with its historical context.
And heres why: Its a lot of work to read Romans 1 through 8. When you add Romans 9 to 11, its even more work. By the time people get to Romans 12, theyre exhausted, and they skim over it. They make a pledge that next time, they will just use Galatians! Its the Readers Digest version of Romans.
So what is the most important social and church context for understanding Romans namely chapters 12 through 16 is often ignored when people only read Romans 1 through 11. And yet this letter, like all of Pauls letters, is addressed to a specific context and a particular set of people. So ignoring 12-16 flattens the reading of the book and misses the historical context.