And this letter is among the most articulate descriptions of the gospel, salvation, and Christ’s work ever written.
Paul explains the gospel: the good news of Jesus Christ, and he unpacks its implications for everyone:
- All humanity, whose sin makes us enemies of God
- Jesus, who died to satisfy God’s justice and bring us back to Him
- The Holy Spirit, who transitions us from sinners to adopted sons of God
- Jews, who were exposed to God’s standards through the Law of Moses
- God the Father, who is glorified in Christ’s sacrifice, the Spirit’s work, and the salvation of Jews and Gentiles
Paul also takes care to explain the Christian’s proper response to the gospel: to serve and honor God (Ro 12:1–2). The rest of the letter describes what this looks like in real life: serving in church, persevering under affliction, interacting with human governments, and loving one another.
Theme verse of Romans
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Ro 1:16–17)
Why Romans was written
Romans is the first of Paul’s letters. Of the 27 New Testament books, Paul wrote 13. Nine of these book are letters to local churches (like the one in Rome).
Paul had wanted to visit the church at Rome for many years when he wrote this letter (Ro 15:23) Because it would still be a while before he was able to make the trip to Rome, he wrote them a letter with a twofold purpose:
- To establish them in the faith by explaining the gospel (Ro 1:8–15)
- To encourage and remind them how they should act as a church (Ro 15:14–15)
Paul (and his company) also use this letter to send along greetings to Christians in Rome.
Quick outline of Romans
- Greeting from Paul (Ro 1:1–17)
- The gospel (Ro 1:18–11:36)
- How our sin makes us enemies of God (Ro 1:18–3:20)
- How Jesus reconciled us with God (Ro 3:21–5:21)
- How the Spirit changes us from sinners to sons of God (Ro 6–8)
- How God glorifies Himself in salvation (Ro 9–11)
- Our response to the gospel (Ro 12–15)
- Greetings to specific Christians in Rome (Ro 16)
More pages related to Romans
- Pauline epistles
- 1 Corinthians (next book of the Bible)
- Acts (previous)
- Galatians (Paul addresses many of the same issues he does in Romans)
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Bible verse art by Laura Kranz.