The major proposition being advanced and developed in Romans is found initially in chapter 1, verses 16 and 17.

  • "... 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.'"
An apt title describing a detailed study of Romans might be,

    "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.

    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 through 15:27.

    VI. The righteousness of God is revealed in Paul's salutations and benedictions. Romans 16:1 through 16:27.
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:

  • "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.
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 to us:

  • "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.
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:

  • "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.
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:

    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.

    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 through 8:39.

    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 16:27.
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.

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.

      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 God. The fruit is the church, the brotherhood of individual CHRISTIANS serving the LORD CHRIST.
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.

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).

(This was taken from the book, "God's Righteousness Revealed," a commentary on the Roman Letter, by F. M. Perry.)

© 2002, F. M. Perry