The epistle to the Romans is Paul’s greatest work. There is nowhere to be found a more complete revelation of Christian doctrines as revealed in Romans. The fact of Christianity is centered in Jesus Christ and the four gospels present the historical account of His life. The force of the gospel is recorded in the book of Acts. It is followed by Epistles and Revelation. The Christian faith without inspired interpretation can be misunderstood. The book of Romans is the inspired interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, Romans has rightly been known as the “Constitution of Christianity,” and “The Christian Manifesto ''. It is the complete revelation of Christian doctrines. Romans record the doctrines of the revelation of God in nature, the fall of man, the total depravity of sinners, the doctrine of justification, the doctrine of sanctification, the preservation of the saints, the divine election and many more. It explains the Gospel as the most powerful transforming force in human history and differentiates Christianity from all other religions. Religions may offer moralism, but Christianity offers the message of forgiveness. The gospels reveal Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. The importance of the epistle of Romans cannot be overstated. It is the gateway to New Testament theology like the brazen altar in the Tabernacle of the Old Testament. The study of the epistle of Romans was instrumental in the conversion of great men like Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley. All great spiritual revivals started as the result of the study of this book. The book of Romans is the basic training manual for Christians.
Authorship and the Church at Rome:
The epistle of Romans was written by Apostle Paul at the end of his third missionary journey from Corinth. Paul claims to be the author of Romans (Romans 1:1). He wrote seven epistles to New Testament Churches, and this is his sixth epistle. Most likely Paul wrote to the Romans between A.D 57-58 from Corinth. It is impossible to determine with certainty who founded the Church in Rome. It is evident that Paul did not establish this Church (Romans 1:10,11,13). Peter must be ruled out as well because he was a leader of the Church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9). Paul did not want to preach the gospel and build upon another man’s foundation (Romans 15:20). Then how was the Church in Rome founded? There are two possibilities. It was possible that believers at Pentecost carried their new faith in Christ to Rome and started this Church (Acts 2:9-11). Another possibility is that migrated believers from the Churches established by Paul were instrumental in founding the Church in Rome. This Church was made up of both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 4:1; 1:5).
Purpose of Writing:
Paul already spent almost twenty years evangelizing and establishing churches in Asia Minor. Now he is looking forward to visiting Jerusalem to hand over the gift received from the Gentile Churches (Romans 15:25-28). Once that mission was completed, he wanted to go to new places where no one has labored (Romans 15:20). His choice was to visit Spain. On his way Paul wanted to visit Rome and spend some time with the believers there, which was his lifelong desire. The purpose of visiting Rome was to enlist the support of the Church for the missionary campaign in Spain and to request their prayer support. Since Paul was the Apostle to Gentiles, he wanted to add validity to the church at Rome by his visit. The Roman church was in need of apostolic validation. Also, Paul wanted to deposit a written text of Christian faith to this Church to spare believers from doctrinal errors. The gospel is not only sufficient to save sinners but also is the daily food for spiritual growth.
1. Introduction. 1:1-17
2. The World is guilty before God and in need of Righteousness. 1:18- 3:20.
3. Righteousness is provided through Faith in Christ. 3:21-5:21.
4. Sanctification is through union with Christ. 6-8
5. God’s Sovereign Wisdom and Grace towards Israel. 9-11.
6. Practical Exhortations. 12-15:13.
7. Conclusion. 15:14-16:27