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  • The Letter of Paul to the Romans Introduction


    The letter of the Apostle Paul to the saints of the church of Rome


    The Author

    The author is, without a doubt and this being confirmed by the introduction of the letter written, Paul ROMANS 1:1.. In fact, Paul declares himself to be the Apostle. This letter he most likely wrote as many others he wrote in cooperation with others who would write while he would dictate what to write, see ROMANS 16:22. It is very likely that Paul suffered with an eye infirmity GALATIANS 4:13-15 so he needed help in writing, for this he would use others to whom he would dictate the content of his letters and such was this one.

    The Period and the Place

    The year or period in which this letter was written is most likely around the spring of the year 58 A.D. Paul wrote this letter from Corinth. We can deduce this by two specific things. The first one is that Paul in chapter 16 verse 1 recommends Phoebe, a deaconess of the church in Cencerea, this being a province of Corinth. The second reason for which we deduce Paul wrote from Corinth is also found in ROMANS 16:23 as Paul mentions to be a guest in the home of Gaius an elder of the church in Corinth 1 CORINTHIANS 1:14. Therefore, this letter was written during Paul’s third missionary journey when Paul stopped in Corinth for the duration of three months ACTS 20:1-3 .

    The first thing we can glean from this letter is from the title itself, it is indeed addressed to the church in Rome.

    Romans 1:7 To all of you who are in Rome, beloved of God, called saints; grace and peace from God our Father anf from the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The second thing by consequence is that the church of Rome already existed when Paul wrote this letter. This begs the question, did this church have Pauline origins or other origins?


    The Origins of the Church in Rome

    Already from the text of this letter we can understand that this church was not founded by Paul. In fact, we understand by the text that up to that point Paul never had been to Rome ROMANS 1:8-10.

    Romans 15:20-25 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation, 21 but as it is written: “To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.”

    22 For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. 23 But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, 24 whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. 25 But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. See Acts 20-21

    The fact is that Paul mentions that he was hindered from going to them because he had a work of evangelism and foundation well defined to fulfill in other places, and he also mentions the fact that it was not his intention to evangelize and to build on another man’s foundation. Many say that it was Peter, the founder of the Roman church.However, there is absolutely no documentation that Peter had even ever been to Rome, and therefore, very unlikely he was the Apostle and founder of this church.

    There are precise indications, in fact, that with all probability the Christian community in Rome was founded by Hebrew believers who were converted by Peter’s famous sermon the day of Pentecost. In that sense only it was Peter with his preaching that began the work in Rome, but not that he journeyed to Rome to evangelize there and to be the head of the church in Rome. We will see when we arrive at that part of the letter that in Rome there were, in fact, believers who were in the Lord much longer than Paul. This would indicate that their origins were in the first conversions of the church ACTS 2:5-11.

    In addition, Paul, who made references to Peter in his letters, does not at all mention him in this epistle and surely in the context of the foundation of the church he would have mentioned Peter if Peter was involved in Rome. Paul, however, claimed that Peter was the Apostle to the circumcision and this gives us the idea that he was instrumental in the conversions of the Hebrew people who later returned to Rome from Jerusalem and spread the faith there. However, a specific evangelist in Rome is not ever mentioned. If not Paul himself, after he finally arrived there, but the Christian community was already present in Rome as this letter preceded him there ACTS 28:14-31.

    The Roman church then surely was born from Hebrew converts and later on increased in number of Gentile converts, in other words pagans. That this was a mixed ethnic church is evidenced by two things.

    The first thing is that Paul addresses certain sections of the letter to the Romans specifically to both ethnic groups and makes certain distinctions between the two, although he always reunites them in the church.

    The second thing is the mention of the Gentiles in determined circumstances and leads us to understand that the majority of the believers at this point, in other words, when he is writing, are Gentiles see Romans 1:5,13; 9:3-4; 10:1, see also all of Paul’s discourse between chapters 9-11.


    Theme and Subdivision of the Letter

    Surely this is Paul’s masterpiece, rather it is the Holy Spirit’s masterpiece, and the most complete in doctrine and most complex letter written in the NT. It’s a treasure of Theology and doctrine. This is the letter that illumined, transformed and launched Martin Luther into the Reformation of the church. Yes, surely a powerful letter, with the power of God to change the lives of those who diligently and with great effort study it.

    The letter to the Romans is the most complete and intense letter ever written together with Revelation. In it we find a real treasure and wealth of Christian doctrine. In fact, it practically contains the explanation in its fullness of all that a Christian is and how a Christian should live as well as much Theology.

    It’s complete in Christian doctrine and filled with practical Christian living.

    It probably was the most complete letter written because the Roman believers most likely never received great Apostolic instructions. This also gives evidence to the lack of regular Apostolic figures in Rome, so it was the will of the Holy Spirit to communicate through Paul all these doctrinal truths that probably were made known in other churches as oral doctrines or traditions.

    The majority of the letter is in a Doctrinal and Theological theme, the principal theme is the Gospel, the power of God for all those who believe, the Jews and the Gentiles. The Gospel and all that is born out of it.

    The letter is divided into3 parts. DOCTRINAL AND THEOLOGIC (1)-RELATIONAL (2) AND PRACTICAL(3)

    The first section from Chapter 1 to Chapter 8 is DOCTRINALPaul explains the need of the justification and salvation, the Christian doctrine in detail from salvation to glorification.

    The second section from Chapter 9 to Chapter 11 Paul explains the RELATION to God of Israel and the Church, the differences and continues in chapter 9 the subject to the end of the section, This includes election and predestination of people as ethnic groups as individuals

    The third section from Chapter 12 to Chapter 16 is PRACTICAL Here Paul explains the behavior of the beleiever in sanctification, how the believer must live.

    Themes of the Chapters

    Chapter 1 Personal Introductions of Paul-The Gospel the Power of God for all who Believe- Just Wrath and Judgment of God – The Universality of Sin-Idolatry-Abandonment of God to SinBeginning with the Pagans

    Chapter 2 Universality of Sin continuing with the Jews – Hypocrisy of the Jews- Conscience of Man

    Chapter 3 Jews and Gentiles ALL guilty before God – Justification by Faith in Christ’s Work Only

    Chapter 4 Justification Through Faith, Abraham’s Faith and Believers in Christ

    Chapter 5 Reconciliation Through Faith – Adam- Sin – Death – Christ

    Chapter 6 Spiritual Victory – Liberation – Sanctification of the Believer

    Chapter 7 Victory over the Law in ChristSinSill Present in the Born-Again Believer – The Law of Sin in the Flesh

    Chapter 8 Complete Victory in Christ – Victory Over Sin and Flesh-Belonging to God through the Holy Spirit

    Chapter 9 The Temporary Abandonment of Israel – Doctrine of Election in Salvation

    Chapter 10 Salvation of the Jews and the Gentiles Through the Gospel

    Chapter 11 Future Salvation and Reconciliation of Israel and the Relationship with Gentiles

    Chapter 12 Living Sacrifices-Renewing the Mind and Transformtion-The Practice of Christian Living

    Chapter 13 Submission to Authorities

    Chapter 14 Liberty in Christ and the Proper Behavior Toward Weak Faith

    Chapter 15 Paul’s Exhortations and Encouragement to the Roman Church

    Chapter 16 Paul’s Salutations and Last Instructions