02 Nov

Romans – A Brief Overview of the Big Picture

First, I am again sorry for the huge delay in posting. However, that also means you had an entire month (and more) to read through the entire epistle! Right?

While not yet at 100%, my desktop is once again working and yes, better than ever. I guess my Zok (this computer has a first name…) needed a laxative. On a technical note-everyone should do a complete re-install at least once a year… but remember back-up Back-up BACK UP!

OK so let’s get into the “book” of Romans…

As I said last time, more than any other book of the Bible it has determined the course of Christian thought. Consider how it changed Luther and as a result of his “95 Theses” changed the Church and brought about the Reformation. It is one of those sections of scripture that each and every believer should really dig into, feed on, and digest thoroughly! Mastering the teachings found within it is to be truly grounded and settled in the faith. A lifelong pursuit if there ever was one!

As the time of its writing, the Gospel had been preached all over the Roman world for about 25 years (written around 56 A.D.) and there were now many communities of believers. As Christianity grew, so too did some pretty deep questions. Things like God’s righteousness if sinners were also pardoned by His grace? The relationship between the Law of Moses and the Gospel. And how about those Gentiles having the same privilege as those of Jews? And accountability? And Israel? Many Jewish believers may have felt their very heritage as God’s chosen people was being blown away…. and the controversial questions go on and on!

On these points and many others, Paul was uniquely qualified to tell what he had himself learned. As a Pharisee he had been trained in all things Jewish…and as an apostle, called by Jesus Himself, equipped in all Jesus had preached! To say that it cost him is putting it lightly.

-Structure & Message-
I am trusting that you have read Romans in its entirety a few times by now. So after you’ve read Paul’s mail… let’s break it down just a little by a  more familiar notation-chapters.
Chapters 1-8: This might be considered “Doctrinal”and tells how the Gospel saves the sinner and expands on the basics of Jesus teachings.
Chapters 9-11: Paul gets down to some specifics points; “National”; and how the Gospel relates to Israel and the Jews
Chapters 12-16: Last but not least is Pauls “Practical” section. This tells of how the Gospel relates to the character and conduct of all who believe. One might say this is the “to do” list for believers and how to apply the teachings to living the Christian life.

You might also break these sections into exposition, explanation and application.

-Some interesting points-
Each of the three parts end with a prayer of praise to God! (Romans 8:38-39 , Romans 11:33-36, Romans 16:25-27 )
The “theme verse” of the entire letter is Paul first talking about himself! (Romans 1:16-17) and touches on all the ideas he plans to write about: The Gospel-power of God-Salvation-everyone-believes-righteousness

I’ve prepared a more detailed description of these three sections available in .pdf format. You can view it here: Romans Overview-Section Analysis

Now, how about a brief quiz?

1. What are the three primary parts of Romans and what are the three sub-divisions?

2. What is the key verse? What are the leading doctrines and the developing truth in Romans 1-8 ?

3. Where is the Israel section in Romans? Why is this subject included in the letter?

I’d love to hear about something new you discovered in reading Romans! Please share in the comments!!

You can answer in the comments section.. or … ?

Assignment for next time…
Read Romans 5-7 and Romans 9-11
Having discovered the main structure and important points we’ll take a walk through some of the reliable general direction and guidance found within. We’ll take a deeper look at some of the brilliant highlights of these readings as well as a little history about Rome, the Church and Paul himself!

If you’re just joining in, the first post in this series can be found here.

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