These are all of the chapters of the book of Romans. Clicking on a chapter will show you the text of that chapter of Romans in the Bible (New International Version).
Romans 1:1 identifies the Apostle Paul as the author of the Letter to the Romans. The early church universally accepted Paul’s authorship of this letter. And, according to Everett Harrison, in the NIV Bible Commentary, Volume 2, “From the post-apostolic church to the present, with almost no exception, this letter has been credited to Paul.”
The only issue with authorship concerns the uses of an amanuensis, or secretary, who did the actual writing of the letter. Sometimes an amanuensis would write from a general outline while other times they would take dictation. In Romans 16:21, Tertius is identified as the one who served as the actual writer, or amanuensis, of the letter. Douglas Moo, in “The Epistle to the Romans,” says that it is most likely that Tertius was taking dictation since the style of the writing is so close to that of Galatians and 1 Corinthians.
In Romans 1:7, 15, Paul identifies the audience of this letter as believers in Rome. Paul writes this letter to Rome, at least in part, as an introduction to them. He had never been in Rome but was hoping to stop there for a while on a future trip to Spain (Romans 15:23-24). According to Bill Mounce, in “The New American Commentary on Romans,” it is likely that he was looking for some support from this church as he ventured further and further to the west.
This letter would appear to have been written at the end of his third missionary journey. In Romans 15:25-29 he tells the Romans that he is one his way to Jerusalem with a gift from the believers in Greece and that once he finishes that he plans on heading to Rome and then Spain. It is commonly accepted, according to Moo, that Paul wrote this letter during the three months he was in Corinth, as recorded in Acts 20:2-3.
It is hard to know definitively what Paul’s purpose was in writing this letter. It likely was a combination of things that prompted its writing. Among these would be his upcoming trip to Spain. He was planning to pass through Rome on the way and seemed hopeful of support while there. And it may well be, as Mounce says, that he was looking for a longer-term relationship with them as he worked in Spain – a relationship like what he had enjoyed with Antioch while working in the eastern part of the empire.
In connection with a possible hope for support, Paul may well have been laying out the gospel he preached. There were many that Paul had contended with over the years who may have been spreading falsehood about him (see Rom. 3:8). So, this letter could have been at least in part to prove his orthodoxy. And, finally, chapters 14 and 15 also point to there being problems within the church that he was hoping to be able to correct.
The theme of Romans has been a topic of debate over the centuries. Some claim it to be justification by faith. Others feel that it primarily concerns union with Christ. And still others see the theme as incorporating Gentiles into God’s people within the continuity of salvation history.
Moo argues that the theme of Romans is the gospel. He also says that “The bulk of Romans focuses on how God has acted in Christ to bring the individual sinner into a new relationship with himself (chaps. 1-4), to provide for that individual’s eternal life in glory (chaps. 5-8), and to transform that individual’s life on earth now (12:1-15:13).”
While the culture of the first-century Roman world is different than today, what Paul has to say is still extremely relevant. Paul’s focus in Romans is on two aspects of salvation.
The first aspect concerns how we can be in right standing before God. Paul tells us that justification (being declared righteous) is by faith alone, apart from any action on our part (Rom. 3:28); that our faith is to be in Jesus (Rom. 3:26); and when one places their faith in Christ, the righteousness of God is imputed to their account (Rom. 3:21-22). Right standing, or justification, is a gracious gift of God, given to us through faith. It is not something we either earn or deserve.
The second aspect of salvation Paul discusses is frequently called sanctification. It is an ongoing walk with the Holy Spirit. He emphasizes the importance of this in chapter 8. And he provides practical instruction for how to walk with the Spirit in Romans 12:1-15:13.
Romans 1:20 – “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Romans 3:21-22a – “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
Romans 4:3 – “What does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’”
Romans 6:11 – “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus “
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 12:1-2 – “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 13:14 – “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Everett Harrison. Zondervan, Second Edition. 1995. Print.
The New American Commentary – Romans: Bill Mounce. Holman Reference, Book 27. 1995. Print.
The Epistle to the Romans: Douglas Moo. Eerdmans, Twelfth Impression edition. 1996. Print.
Ed Jarrett is a long-time follower of Jesus and a member of Sylvan Way Baptist Church. He has been a Bible teacher for over 40 years and regularly blogs at A Clay Jar. You can also follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Ed is married, the father of two, and grandfather of three. He is retired and currently enjoys his gardens and backpacking.