Survey of RomansBook Type: The first Pauline Epistle; the sixth book of the New Testament; the forty-fifth book of the Bible.
Author: Paul, specifically named in Romans 1:1.
Audience: Paul wrote to Christians living in Rome who were primarily Gentiles. They met in house churches, practicing their faith as a minority in a pagan culture of many deities as well as the cult of emperor worship. These believers were likely well educated, in comparison with some of Paul's other letter recipients. The contents of Romans, especially chapters 1—11, feature some of the most complex writing Paul provides in the New Testament.
Date: Romans was written in approximately AD 56—58, most likely at the end of Paul's third missionary journey in AD 56.
Overview: Romans provides the Bible its first book of "systematic theology," offering explanations of many aspects of the faith. These sixteen chapters can be divided into seven major sections. The first section includes Paul's introduction, and a statement of the book's theme. Paul's goal is to present salvation to Jews and Gentiles (Romans 1:16–17).
The second section addresses the unrighteousness of all people (Romans 1:18—3:20). This includes his Roman Gentile readers (Romans 1:18–32), Jews (Romans 2:1—3:8), and all people on the face of the earth (Romans 3:9—20).
The third section emphasizes God's provision of salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21—5:21). Jesus is the source of all righteousness (3:21–31), making faith, as characterized by Abraham, our means of realizing this provision (Romans 4). Christ blesses people with sharing His righteousness (Romans 5).
The fourth section emphasizes sanctification, or holy living, which comes through Christ (Romans 6:1—8:39). There is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1). Paul concludes the section with the teaching that nothing can separate the believer from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37–39).
The fifth section deals with Israel (Romans 9:1—11:36). Paul desires the salvation of his own people, yet most were hardened at that time.
The sixth section focuses on the application of Christian living (Romans 12:1—15:13). Believers are called to be different and live differently, in personal life (Romans 12), in relation to government (Romans 13), and in debatable matters (Romans 14:1—15:13).
The seventh, final section provides a conclusion regarding his teaching, Paul's future plans to visit Rome, a closing blessing from Paul and those with him to the many believers he already knew by name in the city, and a doxology (Romans 15:14—16:27).
Key Verses (ESV):
Romans 1:16: "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."
Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 5:8: "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:28: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:37–39: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 10:9–10: "Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."
Romans 12:1: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."
Romans 12:19: "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'"