THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS

15/10/2015 16:08
THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS
56 AD 
The book is named after its first recipient: members of the Church of Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire (#Ro 1: 7).
Author and date Nobody disputes the fact that the apostle Paul wrote Romans. Like its namesake, the first king of Israel (Saul is the Hebrew name of Paul, Paul is a Greek name), Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin (#Ph 3: 5). He was also a Roman citizen (#AC 16: 37; #AC 22: 25). Born at about the same time as Jesus in Tarsus (#AC 9:11), a major city (#AC 21: 39) of the Roman province of Cilicia, located in Asia Minor (today's Turkey) he spent most of his youth in Jerusalem, studying with the famous rabbi Gamaliel (#AC 22: 3). Like his father before him, Paul was among the Pharisees (#AC 23: 6), the strictest Jewish party of the time (cf. #Ph 3: 5). From his miraculous conversion while on his way occurred to Damascus to arrest Christians in the city (about 33-34 A.D.), Paul began to proclaim the message of the Gospel (9 #AC : 20). Having narrowly escaped an ambush in Damascus (#AC 9: 23-25; # 2Co 11: 32-33), he left three years in Arabia to the south and east of the Dead Sea (# Gal 1: 17-18). It was during this period that he received most of his doctrine as direct revelation from the Lord (#Ga 1: 11-12). More than any other individual, Paul was the architect of the expansion of Christianity in the Roman Empire. He undertook three missionary journeys around the Mediterranean basin, tirelessly preaching the gospel he once had tried to wipe (#AC 26: 9). Returning to Jerusalem to entrust the Church an offering for the poor, he was falsely accused by some Jews (#AC 21: 27-29), brutally beaten by an angry mob (#AC 21: 30-31) and arrested by the Romans. Neither Herod Agrippa nor two Roman governors Felix and Festus, Paul judged not guilty of the crime, but, under pressure from the Jewish authorities, they held him in jail. After two years of imprisonment, the apostle used his right as a Roman citizen and appealed to the emperor. After a harrowing journey during which raged fortnight a violent storm which caused the sinking of the ship on which he was the apostle finally reached Rome (#AC 27: 1-28: 2). Released for a brief period during which he continued to exercise his ministry, Paul was later arrested again, and was martyred in Rome around 65-67 AD. AD (see # 2 Timothy 4: 6). The physical appearance of Paul was not particularly impressive (see # 2Co 10:10; #Ga 4:14), but he had the inner strength that the Holy Spirit gives (#Ph 4:13). God's grace was sufficient for all his needs (# 2Co 12: 9-10), making this noble servant of Christ able to successfully complete his spiritual race (# 2Ti 4: 7). Paul wrote to the Romans from Corinth, as indicated by the references to Phoebe (#Ro 16: 1, Cenchrea was the port of Corinth), to Gaius (#Ro 16: 23) and Erastus (#Ro 16: 23) all associated with this city. The apostle wrote this letter to the end of his third missionary journey (probably in 56 A.D.) as he prepared to make a donation to the believers of the Church of Jerusalem in need. Phoebe was given the responsibility to bring the letter to the Christians of Rome (#Ro 16: 1-2).
Context and background Rome was the capital and the largest city of the Roman Empire. Founded in 753 BC. BC, it is not mentioned in Scripture before the time of NT Rome is along the Tiber in a little over twenty kilometers of the Mediterranean. Before being constructed an artificial harbor near Ostia, the main port of Rome, Pozzuoli, stood at nearly 240 kilometers from the city. In the days of Paul, the city had more than one million people, including many slaves. Rome was proud of its magnificent buildings: the Emperor's palace, the Circus Maximus and the Forum. But her beauty was marred by numerous slums. Tradition holds that Paul martyred outside Rome, on the way to Ostia, during the reign of Nero (A.D.). They were probably Jewish converts at Pentecost who had founded the Church of Rome (cf. #AC 2:10). Paul had long wanted to visit but had been prevented (#Ro 1:13). It is thanks to this providential hindrance that the world has a masterpiece of Christian doctrine. Paul's main objective was to teach the great truths of the gospel of grace to believers who had never received apostolic teaching. The letter gave her the opportunity to present themselves to the Church, who did not know him. Now he wished to visit him for different reasons: to edify believers (#Ro 1:11), to preach the Gospel (#Ro 1:15) and to the knowledge of Roman Christians so they can encourage (#Ro 1:12; #Ro 15: 32), better pray for him (#Ro 15: 30) and help to the ministry he wished to perform in Spain (#Ro 15: 28). Unlike many of his epistles (p. Ex. 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians), Paul was not to correct aberrant theological conceptions or to reprimand the believers for their wicked behavior. The Church of Rome was doctrinally sound, but like any church, she needed the doctrinal and moral wealth that the letter was a carrier.
Historical and theological topics Being primarily a doctrinal statement, Romans contains some historical elements. Paul illustrates his words with familiar characters from the AT as Abraham, David (#Ro 4: 6-8) (4 #Ro ch.), Adam (#Ro 5: 12-21), Sara (#Ro 9: 9) Rebecca (#Ro 9:10), Jacob and Esau (#Ro 9: 10-13) and Pharaoh (#Ro 9:17). He also recalled certain events in the history of Israel (ch #Ro. 9: 1-11: 2). Chapter 16 gives us a glimpse of the nature and character of the first century church and its members. The general theme of Romans is the righteousness of God, the glorious truth that says that God justifies by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone, and condemned the guilty sinners. Chapters 1-11 present the central truths of that doctrine while chapters 12-16 in detail the practical application in the lives of believers and that of the Church. There are specific theological topics such as principles of spiritual behavior (#Ro 1: 8-15), God's wrath against fallen humanity (#Ro 1: 18-32), the principles of divine judgment (# Ro 2: 1-16), the universality of sin (#Ro 3: 9-20), a presentation and a defense of justification by faith alone (#Ro 3: 21-4: 25), insurance of salvation (#Ro 5: 1-11), the universal result of Adam's sin (#Ro 5: 12-21), sanctification (ch #Ro 6-8.), the sovereignty of the election (ch . #Ro 9) God's plan for Israel (ch. #Ro 11), spiritual gifts and practical instructions in piety (ch. #Ro 12), the responsibility of the believer to the government of men (c. # Ro 13) and the principles of Christian freedom (#Ro 14: 1-15: 12).
Questions of Interpretation As set forth doctrinal Central NT, Romans naturally contains a number of difficult passages. The development of Paul on the perpetuation of Adam's sin (#Ro 5: 12-21) is one of the most profound theological texts of all Scripture. The nature of the union of humanity in Adam and how his sin was transferred to the human race have always been the subject of intense debate. Scripture commentators are not unanimous on the passage 7: 7-25. Is it Paul's experience as a believer, as a non-believer, or is it a literary rhetoric that has no pretension autobiographical? The doctrines of election (#Ro 8: 28-30) and the sovereignty of God (#Ro 9: 6-29), very close to one another, troubled many Christians. Some wonder whether the 9-11 chapters teach that God has a future plan for the nation of Israel. Many rejected the submission of the believer to the civil authority (#Ro 13: 1-7) in the name of Christian activism, while others have used it to defend a blind obedience to a totalitarian regime. All these issues are discussed in the notes to the relevant passages.
Plan
I. Greetings and introduction (1: 1-15)
II. Theme (1: 16-17)
III. Conviction: our need for God's righteousness (1: 18-3: 20)
A. Guilt non-Jews (1: 18-32)
B. The guilt of the Jews (2: 1-3: 8)
C. The guilt of humanity (3: 9-20)
IV. Justification: The resources of the justice of God (3: 21-5: 21)
A. The source of justice (3: 21-31)
B. Examples of justice (4: 1-25)
C. The blessings of Justice (5: 1-11)
D. The imputation of righteousness (5: 12-21)
V. Sanctification: the demonstration of God's righteousness (6: 1-8: 39)
VI. Restoration: the welcome of Israel to the righteousness of God (9: 1-11: 36)
VII. Application: behavior consistent with the justice of God (12: 1-15: 13)
VIII. Conclusion, greetings and blessings (15: 14-16: 27)
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