The Epistles Analyzed: Romans

1. The SEQUENCE of Paul’s Letters

The grouping of Paul’s Epistles:

Chronologic – the order they were written:

Preaching Epistles –

Acts – The Details and Determination of the early church

Galatians – The Defense of the gospel

1 & 2 Thessalonians – The Difference the gospel introduces

Romans – The Definition and Declaration of the gospel

1 & 2 Corinthians – The Distinctiveness and Development of Assembly Testimony

Prison Epistles – Rome

Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon

Pastoral Epistles – 

1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Doctrinal – the progress of truth revealed:

Romans is the basis for all the other epistles.


There is almost universal agreement that Paul is the penman. It was written from Corinth about A.D. 57 or 58. Perhaps the visit of Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18 had an influence. From chapter 16, it is likely that there were at least three assemblies if not more in Rome to whom this letter was intended. The assembly was composed of both Jew and Gentile although it is difficult to say if one was in the majority or the other. At least there were a substantial number of each present in the churches in Rome.

3. The SOCIETY into which it came

The Background

a. Politically: The republic was born in 509 B.C. and ended in the sack of Rome in A.D. 410. In 27 B.C. Octavian became the first Augustus, or first Emperor. Nero came to the throne in A.D. 41. It was then a major force in world politics. Its Pax Romanawas widespread. The efficient highway system and road system facilitated the spread of Roman power and, later, the gospel.

b. Culturally: It was a class society. At the highest level were the members of the Roman senate who were wealthy. Perhaps one third of the population were slaves. At the time Paul wrote, Rome had 1.5 million people. Wealth, power, peace, and aggression all were part of the Roman way. These words – wealth, power, peace – will all play a major part in the Roman letter.

c. Religiously: Astrology, emperor worship, and mystery religions were part of Roman life. There was also a colony of Jews in Rome (Acts 28).

d. Morally: It was marked by immorality, abortion, liberalized divorce, and infanticide, as well as other moral evils.

4. The SUBJECT of the epistle

The Gospel of God

The Righteousness of God is the great theme of the epistle and is the background for the clear declaration of the gospel.

5. The SNARES the assemblies faced

Necessity for Clear Doctrine ch 1-11

Ethnic Diversity ch 14

Specific Difficulties ch 14 & 15

Danger of Division ch 16:17

6. The SIGNIFICANT words in the book

Justify – 15x of 60 in the NT

Mercy – 11x

Transgression – 9x of 19

Righteousness – 35x of 92

Unrighteous – 7x of 25

Nullify – 6x of 27

Just – 7x

Hope – 13x

Faith – 40x

Believe – 19x

Sin – 45x

Peace – 12x

7. The STRUCTURE – Linked with the Pentateuch

1:16-3:20 Genesis – Ruin without excuse; Righteousness needed – Required

3:21-5:21 Exodus – Redemption by Blood; Righteousness imputed – Reckoned

6-8 Leviticus – Access and Fellowship – Righteousness Produced – Wrought

9-11 (Parenthesis) Righteousness Refused

12-15 Numbers – Service Levites – Righteousness Outworked – Righteousness Reproduced

16 Deuteronomy – Remembrance and Reflection – Righteousness Rehearsed – Rewarded

Also …

Ch 1-8 God’s Righteousness re sin – Doctrinal

Ch 9-11 God’s Righteousness re Israel – Dispensational

Ch 12-16 God’s Righteousness re believer – Devotional

8. The SECTIONS of the epistle

Ch 1-1:17 Introductions

Ch 1:18-3:20 Righteousness Required and Lacking

Ch 3:21-5:21 Righteousness Reckoned thru Calvary

Ch 6-8 Righteousness Realized by Believers

Ch 9-11 Righteousness Resisted by Israel

Ch 12-15 Righteousness Reproduced in Saints

Ch 16 Righteousness Rewarded in Believers