NTS009 Romans (Part 2)

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We have finished up the gospels and history books of the New Testament.
We will now begin our study of the 21 (or 22) epistles.
“Epistle” means letter.
13 or the 21 epistles were written by Paul (sort of)

A review of the five categories of literature found in the New Testament.

1. Gospels

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

2. History


3. Pauline Epistles

Prison Epistles
Pastoral Epistles
(Paul’s General Epistles)
You can also divide them as:
Written to churches (Romans -2 Thessalonians)
Written to people (1 Tim to Philemon)

4. General Epistles

The epistles Paul didn’t write.

5. Prophecy

We could argue that this is an epistle as well.
Revelation 1:4 ESV
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

The chronological order of Paul’s writing.

First missionary journey.

No books written.

Second missionary journey.

1 Thessalonians | 52 A.D. | in Corinth
2 Thessalonians | 53 A.D. | in Corinth

Third missionary journey.

1 Corinthians | Spring, 57 A.D. | in Ephesus
2 Corinthians | Fall, 57 A.D. | in Macedonia
Galatians | Winter, 57 A.D. | in Greece
Romans | Spring 58, A.D. | in Corinth

First Roman imprisonment.

Philemon | 62 A.D. | in Rome
Colossians | 62 A.D. | in Rome
Ephesians | 62 A.D. | in Rome
Philippians | 62 A.D. | in Rome

Between imprisonments.

1 Timothy | 67 A.D. | in Macedonia
Titus | 67 A.D. | in Ephesus

Second Roman imprisonment.

2 Timothy | 68 A.D. | in Rome

Author: Paul

Unlike some of the other authors, we know quite a bit. Maybe even more than any other author.

A Jew

Philippians 3:5–6 ESV
5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

A Pharisee

Also the son of a Pharisee
Acts 23:6 ESV
6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”

A zealous man

Taught by Gamaliel

Acts 22:3 ESV
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.
Known to be one of the greatest Rabbi’s or teachers at the time.
Paul was one of the brightest minds of the time.
Remember the 3 phases of Jewish education.

A tent maker

Acts 18:1–4 ESV
1 After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, 3 and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

A missionary

An apostle

Not just an apostle, but an apostle to the Gentiles
Romans 11:13 ESV
13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry
He met Jesus personally.
God chose him to be an Apostle.

Carried two names

We often link the name change from Saul to Paul to his conversion.
That is not true.
Even after his time of seclusion and teaching, God told Ananias to find Saul.
Act 9 he was growing in Christ and still called Saul.
Saul was his Hebrew name.
Paul was his Roman name
He used Paul to reach gentiles.

A Roman citizen

Paul was born a citizen
Acts 16:37 ESV
37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.”
The Emperor Pompey make Cilicia a Roman province in 64 B.C.
Its capital was Tarsus

Understood that God made him the man he was for the purpose God had for him.

Galatians 1:15 ESV
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
Acts 9:15 ESV
15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

Did not immediately jump into significant ministry.

Instead, took three years to learn.
Galatians 1:17–18 ESV
17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.
This is not a solid argument for Bible College
He had catching up to do and to learn new things not yet revealed.

Audience: Church in Rome

Rome was a thriving metropolis.
It was a full of sin.
Living with an alternate life-style was rampant.
Many of their emperors practiced the same sinful life-style.
The depravity of man was clearly seen and it is reflected in Paul’s writing.
Not much is known about the beginning of the church in Rome.
When we are introduced to it, it seems to just be there.
It probably started at pentecost.
Acts 2:10 ESV
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome,
If so, it would be about 30 years old at the time of Paul’s letter.
However, the church would have experienced a huge disruption when Claudius through all the Jews out of Rome in 49 A.D.
The non-Christian Jews were being violent against the Christian Jews and they all got thrown out.
By the time Paul wrote they had been allowed back in.
If Paul was writing around 58 A.D. they hadn’t been back long.
However, it was well known and probably large.
Their faith was known around the world.
Unlike the other epistle, Paul had not visited them at the time of writing.
Romans 1:8–13 ESV
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
Though Paul had not visited them, he knew them well.
In Romans 16 he mentions 26 people by name.

A note on Paul’s recipients.

Paul wrote to churches.
The church in Rome.
The church in Corinth.
The church in Philippi.
The church in Colossi.
The church in Thessalonica.
Paul wrote to individuals.

Theme: the gospel for Jews and Gentiles.

You could also say “the righteousness of God”.


1. Reveal Paul’s plan to visit Rome.

The reason for Paul’s desire to go to Rome.
He most likely saw it as a strategic base of operations.
Paul had successfully planted self-supporting churches in every major area in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Paul was not wetting his sights further West.
Jerusalem was the first base of operations.
Acts 11:20–22 ESV
20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
Antioch became a second base of operations.
Jerusalem was willing to make a sacrifice.
The payoff was unimaginable.
Yet, Antioch is far from Spain
Rome would be the next logical base of operations.

2. Affirm his theology and gain the support of the church by presenting a detailed gospel message.

Paul’s plan was to pass through on the way to Spain.
The letter was to serve as a forerunner to Paul.

3. Answer questions that arose about Jewish and Gentile christians to bring unity to the church.

Things like: what about the law? Are the Jews still special or useful to God?

Place of writing: Corinth

Romans 16:23 ESV
23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
He was staying with Gaius.
Scholars believe Paul probably led him to the Lord earlier.

Key Verses: 1:16-17 / 12:1

Romans 1:16–17 ESV
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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Paul explains the doctrine of justification by faith in a systematic way.
Romans 12:1 ESV
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.
Interesting story: Martin Luther found 1:17 while reading
Romans 1:17 ESV
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
“The righteous shall live by FAITH
It started the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

Six Key words found more than any other book:

Law (76 times)
Sin (43 times)
Righteousness (39 times)
Faith (38 times)
Grace (22 times)
Justified (10 times)

The use of a scribe.

All letters in Paul’s time were written this way.

There are two scribes mentioned in scripture.

Tertius (Romans)

Silvanus (1 Peter)

If a letter sender was illiterate they would give the scribe ideas.
If they were literate like Paul there would be more dictation.
The scribe would take notes.
There would be several drafts before it was finalized.
Once finalized, it would be signed by the sender A POST SCRIPT was usually added, then it was sent out.
1 Corinthians 16:21–24 ESV
21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Colossians 4:18 ESV
18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
Romans 16:21–23 ESV
21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. 22 I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.
This explains some of the differences in Paul’s writings as the scribe’s personality could be seen in a letter as well.
Due to the cost of papyrus, letters would initially be written on a wooden slab or a slab of ivory that was covered in wax.
Once finalized it was neatly written on papyrus.

Writing letters during Paul’s time was time consuming and costly.

The process involved dictation, writing, revision, review, and finally approval. All while paying a scribe. Finally it would be delivered by hand.

Due to the cost of a scribe, it is believed that many of Paul’s letters were written by a Christian scribe who volunteered his time.
The letter would then be delivered by a friend or associate. Sometimes a traveler found going in that direction.
The imperial post carried only official government letters.
There were travel cost involved as well.
Romans 16:1–2 ESV
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, 2 that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.

According to calculations, Romans with 979 manuscript lines would have cost around $3600. Philemon with only 44 manuscript lines would have cost around $160 today.

A bit of context.
Over 14,000 letters from Roman times have been found.
A typical letter ranges from 20-200 words.
A letter from Cicero was 2,500 words.
Seneca wrote a letter totaling 4,000 words.
Paul’s letters averaged 1,300 words.
Romans is over 7,000 words.

The use of a scribe and the lengthy process that happened during letter writing may help us understand why Paul was not great orator but seemed to be a great writer.

1. Paul himself claimed he was not a great public speaker.

2 Corinthians 11:6 ESV
6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
Paul listed his credentials. If speaking was one of them, he would have mentioned it.
Paul exercises humility in this area.
Not by downplaying his ability but by recognizing and admitting a weakness.

2. The people claimed Paul was not a great public speaker.

2 Corinthians 10:10 ESV
10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.”
Imagine reading one of Paul’s letters then going to hear him speak.
It wasn’t just his speech but his presence.
This was spoke of in a way that Paul heard it.
Another thought… how was Paul so murderous and dangerous?
Acts 7:58 ESV
58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
Acts 22:20 ESV
20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’
This meant that he was the leader.
Paul probably the mind and the zeal behind a bunch of henchmen.

3. Eloquent speech was not part of Paul’s strategy.

Paul had a clear understanding of his mission.
He knew what it was and what is was and what it was not.
He lived life accordingly.
1 Corinthians 1:17 ESV
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
This is unlike Apollos.
Acts 18:24 ESV
24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.
Could this be part of the division that formed in the church?
Paul did not condemn Apollos, rather commended him.
Thus we see that God uses different people for different things.

Letters being read aloud was common practice.

Especially letters to groups of people.
Colossians 4:16 ESV
16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea.
Because of this they generally followed a certain format.

1. An opening that identified the sender and any coauthors as well as the recipient.

1 Thessalonians 1:1 ESV
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2. The opening was often followed by a prayer for health or a thanksgiving to the gods.

Christian writers, especially Paul, often extended this section. He would also include extended prayers.
These are so routine for Paul that his astonishment or anger is evident in Galatians when he leaves this out.

3. Next is the body of the letter.

Shorter letters were pretty simple but longer letters like Paul’s often followed a specific structure.
Paul followed the pattern of Classical philosophers.
This included a section of teaching.
Followed by exhortation.
Paul’s letters can be divided into distinct parts.
We call it doctrine and application or theology and practice.
I’m pretty sure that is where our saying started.
The two distinct parts Paul would use can be referred to as the:
Pauline Indicative - teaching
Pauline Imperative - exhortation
This is incredibly important for us.
Good teaching is never enough.
We need good application.
Sometimes people will focus on Paul’s theology and miss the practice.
They ignore half the book.
We should always be looking for application!
While these divisions were important for the readers understanding, Paul understanding of proper argument brought a greater level of success to his writing.

Classical writing included what is called “the are of persuasion”. Using the proper mix of language that is to both be understood and remembered, as well as the use of a proper argument.

Three uses of argumentation that Paul used:
Forensic - intended to defend a certain position.
Deliberative - intended to persuade the audience to make practical decisions.
Demonstrative - intended to inspire, praise, or affirm common beliefs, and gain support.
Galatians defends Paul’s teaching and authority.
1 Corinthians is written to correct wrong behavior.
Romans is written to affirm Paul’s theology and gain support.
Some have said Romans is the first Systematic Theology book.
Because of this, Romans is often considered Paul’s greatest work or his “Magnum Opus”
This also has to do with the size of the 7,000+ word letter.

4. Lastly is the conclusion of the letter.

Paul significantly developed this further than secular writers.
Rather than a simple note affection or wish for health, Paul often includes a final blessing and/or greetings to various people.

Old Testament people mentioned:



(from Bible.org)
1. Introduction (1:1-17)
2. Condemnation: The Need of Righteousness Because of Sin in All (1:18–3:20)
3. Justification: The Imputation of God’s Righteousness Through Christ (3:21–5:21)
4. Sanctification: Righteousness Imparted and Demonstrated (6:1–8:39)
5. Vindication: Jew and Gentile, the Scope of God’s Righteousness (9:1–11:36)
6. Application: the Practice of Righteousness in Service (12:1–15:13)
7. Personal Messages and Benediction (15:14–16:27)
Concluding thoughts...
Romans provides us with some deep doctrinal truths.
Romans makes it clear that the human race is totally depraved, yet without excuse.
William Tyndale in his prologue to his translation of the Book of Romans into English, quoted from Martin Luther: "This Epistle is the principle and most excellent part of the New Testament and most Evangelion, that is to say glad tidings and what we call the Gospel and also a light and a way into the whole Scripture… the sum and whole cause of the writings of this Epistle is to prove that a man is justified by faith alone; which proposition, whoso deneith, to him is not only this Epistle and all that Paul, writeth, but also the whole Scripture, so locked up that he shall never understand it to his soul's health. And to bring a man to the understanding and feeling that faith alone justifies, Paul proves that the whole nature of man is so poisoned and so corrupt, yea and so dead concerning Godly living, or Godly thinking, that it is impossible for him to keep the Law in the sight of God."
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