Romans #2

There are three divisions to Romans, the first of which is chapters 1-8 in which Paul establishes the doctrine that we are justified by faith and not by the works of the Law. The theme of the book is 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The first three of those eight chapters have as their specific aim, that, having stated that the gospel is God’s power unto salvation, the apostle clinches two points: there is a need for the gospel and until the gospel was provided, that need for salvation had never been met.

The second division is chapters 9-11 and grows out of the conclusion reached in the first section; that is, the gospel is God’s power to save and that Jews needed the gospel as badly as did Gentiles. With the point firmly and conclusively established, Jews would naturally ask, “What about the Jew, then? What role does Judaism play in Christ’s religion? Is the Jew cast off forever? What, if any, thing, does God have in mind for Abraham’s natural seed?” Paul deals with and answers each of these questions in this second section.

The third and final division of the book deals with a variety of subjects. Chapter twelve deals with the behavior incumbent upon those who have obeyed the gospel; chapter thirteen deals with the responsibility of Christians to civil government; chapter fourteen deals with the proper behavior between strong and weak Christians in matters of indifference; chapter fifteen continues partially with the responsibility of strong brethren to weaker ones and partially with Paul’s explanation of why he was going to Jerusalem; his apprehension about how he would be received there and intercession of Romans Christians to join in prayer for the proper reception of the gift from Gentiles and his own preservation from those who were disobedient. The final chapter contains largely personal greetings to brethren in Rome and the sending of greetings to them by those who were with him. A benediction closes with these words: “Now to him that is able to establish you according to my gospel … to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever. Amen.” (16:25-27).

Jim McDonald

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