INTRODUCTION TO ROMANS
The major proposition being advanced and developed in Romans is found initially in chapter
1, verses 16 and 17.
An apt title describing a detailed study of Romans might be,
"... The gospel ... is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes ... For in
it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: 'But the
righteous man shall live by faith.'"
"The Righteousness of God Revealed",
for Romans unfolds to us many avenues through which God'srighteousness is revealed and what they mean to our lives. I have chosen to outline Romans
by enumerating these avenues of revelation as Paul develops them. The major parts of
Romans are outlined as follows:
I. The righteousness of God is revealed through the blood of Jesus Christ which justifies
sinners who believe. Romans 1:1 through 5:11.
As we study through Romans we are amazed to learn of the many influences which God brings
to bear on us, first to save us from our sins, and then to make us useful in a life of
service to Him. Paul finally sums up these influences with the statement which could very
well be called the Golden Text of Romans:
II. The righteousness of God is revealed through the death, burial, and resurrection of
Jesus Christ, which sanctifies the justified sinner to bear fruit for Christ despite the
sin principle that still dwells in him. Romans 5:12 through 8:39.
III. The righteousness of God is revealed in the history of God's dealings with the Jews. Romans 9:1 through 11:36.
IV. The righteousness of God is revealed in the transformed lives of Christians. Romans
12:1 through 15:14.
V. The righteousness of God is revealed in the transformed life of Paul. Romans 15:15
VI. The righteousness of God is revealed in Paul's salutations and benedictions. Romans
16:1 through 16:27.
God brings influence upon us through so many avenues, many of which appear paradoxical to
our worldly minds, Paul finally exclaims in amazement after unfolding the first 8 chapters
"God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are
called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28.
Then after enumerating in chapters 9, 10, and 11 how God caused all things to work
together for good during the history of His specially chosen Israelite people, Paul again
exclaims, echoing the prophets of old:
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? ... For in
all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." Romans 8:31-37.
Indeed, we might do well to outline our study of Romans with reference to the provisions
God supplies and the avenues of influence God brings upon us to save us, to purify us for
His use, and to carry out His purposes through us. Some major points of such an outline
might be as follows:
"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His
judgments and unfathomable His ways!" Romans 11:33.
I. God's provisions and influences to bring us to justification from our sins through all
time as mankind has and will dwell upon the earth. Romans 1:1 through 5:11.
As we read Paul's own introduction in the first few verses of Romans we see clearly that this is a letter concerning the "Son of God". As we study we
see emphasized in every chapter the part that God the Son, the Word who became flesh, has
played and continues to play in the carrying out of the purposes of the Godhead. In any
study of Romans emphasis must be placed on our Lord Jesus Christ.
II. God's provisions and influences to overcome the sin principle in us, sanctifying us to
make us fruitful servants through whom He can carry out His purposes on earth. Romans 5:12
III. God's provisions and influences throughout past history to bring the Israelite people
to salvation and to utilize them for His special purposes on earth. Romans 9:1 through 11:36.
IV. God's practical instructions to us to utilize our transformed lives for His purposes as we live
on earth. Romans 12:1 through 15:14.
V. How God has utilized the transformed life of Paul for His purposes on earth. Romans
15:15 through 15:27.
VI. God's influence through Paul's salutations and benedictions. Romans 16:1 through
As we study I propose that we also utilize the outline of Romans prepared a number of
years ago by the late Brother Edward J. Craddock in his "Christ Emphasis" outline of the
entire Bible. Its major points about the book of Romans are as follows:
I. JESUS CHRIST extends God's power unto salvation to the whole world, both Jew and Gentile, who
are lost in sin. Romans chapters 1 through 5.
The Roman letter may be outlined in many different ways because there are many different,
but related, themes interwoven throughout the letter. These themes of the Roman letter are woven onto a framework of the history of God's human creation beginning with the creation of mankind in the world
(Romans 1:19-20; 4:17) and ending, for some, with the wrath of God exercised in the
eternal judgment (Romans 1:18) or, for others, with overwhelming victory and glorification
forever as companions of God (Romans 8:30, 37). The Roman letter reveals an overall view
of human history through time on earth from God's perspective, a perspective from outside
our realm of time. All past as well as all future history of human beings on Earth is
portrayed on this framework of the Roman letter.
Chapter 1. The gospel of JESUS CHRIST is man's only hope.
Chapter 2. God will judge the Jew and the Gentile by JESUS CHRIST.
Chapter 3. God saves Jews and Gentiles, alike, through CHRIST JESUS.
Chapter 4. Abraham is the father of all believers in God, through CHRIST JESUS.
Chapter 5. CHRISTIANS are justified from sin by the grace of God, and by faith in the
atonement of the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
II. JESUS CHRIST declares that the responsibility of God's children, saved by grace, is to serve in
the SPIRIT. Romans chapters 6 through 8.
Chapter 6. Shall CHRISTIANS, saved by God's grace, continue in sin?
Chapter 7. Why salvation is of CHRIST, and not of the law.
Chapter 8. There is no condemnation to people living by the SPIRIT, in CHRIST JESUS.
III. JESUS CHRIST declares God's righteousness in history. HE declares ultimate justice and mercy
to the Jew and to the Gentile. Romans chapters 9 through 11.
Chapter 9. Why Israel in the flesh failed to attain unto salvation in CHRIST.
Chapter 10. Israel's salvation in CHRIST depends on hearing God's word.
Chapter 11. Has God banished Israel to a CHRIST-LESS future?
IV. JESUS CHRIST declares in the gospel message the new life of brotherhood in the kingdom
of God. Romans chapters 12 through 16.
Chapter 12. A transformed life in CHRIST is consistent with the will of God.
Chapter 13. The CHRISTIAN'S attitude toward civil government and his fellow man.
Chapter 14. CHRISTIAN brethren should not divide over opinions and customs.
Chapter 15. God has established the hope of salvation, according to the Scriptures, in the
apostolic gospel of JESUS CHRIST for Jews and Gentiles.
Chapter 16. The apostolic gospel of JESUS CHRIST, when preached to all nations, glorifies
The fruit is the church, the brotherhood of individual CHRISTIANS serving the LORD CHRIST.
Careful attention to the Roman letter's framework of human history, past and future, gives
us a good basic understanding of God's plan, a plan set in motion as God launched humanity
into the dimension of time. As we study through Romans we note references along the time
dimension to provisions which God introduced, provisions designed to cause all things to
work together for the ultimate salvation of those who love God and are called according to
His purpose (Romans 8:28).
An attempt has been made in the following diagram to outline the Roman Letter with reference to these momentous provisions as God has introduced them along the
time line of human history. The line stretching from left to right across the middle of
the diagram represents time which God has allotted to mankind on earth, from the left
border representing the beginning or "creation of the world" (Romans 1:19-20) to the right
border representing the end of time, "the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous
judgment of God" (Romans 2:5).
In the space below this horizontal time line is portrayed sinful, fallen mankind since the
time of Adam when "many were made sinners" (Romans 5:18). In the space above the
horizontal time line is portrayed those who, throughout all time, through "obedience of
faith" (Romans 1:5; 16:26) have been saved for glorification with God (Romans 8:30). While
Adam is named as an example of all sinful, fallen men (shown below the time line on the
diagram), Abraham and David are mentioned as examples of Old Testament people (shown above
the time line) as saved through "obedience of faith" (Romans 4:3, 6, 16). Of course, a
prime purpose of Romans is to show that all who have lived in any age have sinned (Romans
3:23) but can be among those saved through "obedience of faith." This includes people who
lived on earth before the Christian age as well as those of us living in these last days
under "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2). The diagram shows all
people of all ages living first as sinful, lost, and fallen beings (portrayed below the
time line). But the diagram seeks to portray the message of Romans that anyone living today can
through belief, repentance, and the symbolic death and burial of baptism, die and be buried with respect to the sinful world, and rise to
walk (portrayed above the time line) in a new life conceived and led by the Holy Spirit to
be a sanctified and fruitful life in God's service, a life in which anyone "can
overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).
Below the horizontal time line of the diagram is portrayed the fact that, because all have
sinned, death reigns (Romans 5:17,21). To mankind under the sentence of death God has
delivered one of His most powerful implements to bring mankind to repentance and the way of salvation. God's law has been delivered to mankind, law written in the hearts of all
men since the creation (Romans 1:19-20; 2:15), and the special Law of Moses for a special
people, the Jews. Romans makes clear that God has given law to all people for purposes
which will lead them to salvation; i.e., to make them helpless (Romans 5:6), to bring all
to a knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20), and to shut up all in disobedience that He might show
mercy to all (Romans 11:32).