Paulís Letter to the Romans

 

The Prescript

 

1:1-7

The Thanksgiving

 

1:8-15

 

The Body of the Letter

 

1:16-15:13

Closing Remarks

 

15:14-33

A Letter of Commendation

 

16:1-24

 

 

Reasons for Romans

  • Paul plans to visit Rome soon (Rom. 15:22-24).In this sense, Romans is a kind of introductory letter.
  • In this light, Paul wants to set the record straight with regard to his gospel.He wants to correct slander against his teaching (e.g., Rom. 3:8) and boldly make the truth of the gospel clear (e.g., Rom. 15:15).Romans is thus Paulís understanding of the gospel.It is his defense and presentation of how the gospel of Jesus Christ is nothing short of the revelation of the righteousness of God (cf. Rom. 1:17).
  • The issue that defined Paul in relation to his Jewish opposition was the inclusion of the Gentiles within the people of God.In this sense, Romans is a defense of Paulís preaching with special reference to the Gentile issue.While the Roman church included Jewish Christians (cf. Rom. 2:17; 15:7), the main recipients of this letter seem to be Gentiles (cf. Rom. 1:13; 11:13; 15:16, 18).
  • Paul plans to use Rome as a launching point for a ministry into Spain (cf. Rom. 15:24).In this sense Romans hopes to secure support for Paulís future ministry there.

 

Overall Patterns and Themes

  • We can see the prescript as a kind of introduction that prepares us for the letter.
  • The thanksgiving plays a similar role of introduction and preparation.It also gives us some background information on some of the causes behind the letter.
  • The closing remarks similarly give us some background information on the letter, some of the causes behind its writing.There are some important general statements here that give us a good perspective on how Paul viewed his ministry.In particular, we find out that he saw himself as a ďchurch planterĒ who did not work in fields started by others (e.g., Rom. 15:20).He also saw himself as an apostle to the Gentiles rather than to the Jews (15:16; cf. 1:13).