Written by Paul to friends around 58AD from Corinth – not a teaching exercise. Because it is a letter we see only one side of the dialogue. We can only deduce what the circumstances were by the letter. His letters were written to answer questions that had been asked and were dictated to a secretary, who, in this case, was Tertius (16:22). Paul does sign his name at the end of the book. Paul had not founded the Roman church and had no personal contact with them. In the letter he is sharing his faith and beliefs. Rome was the capital of the greatest empire in the world.
Paul had never been there but wanted to go. (1:11) He wanted to warn the church of trouble in beliefs – that the best protection from false teaching was the Truth. (1:15) He is eager to preach to them. Why he wrote them: 1. Needed them to pray for him as he collected funds for the poor in Jerusalem 2. Wanted to go to Spain and needed Rome as his base of operations (15:28) Outline Ch. 1-8 deals with the problem of righteousness; a right relationship with God. The Jews sought to solve this by meticulous obedience to the law, which causes frustration and defeat.
Paul’s way was thru trust and yielding to God. This does not free us from the obligations or doing what we like – we do what we do because we love God. Ch 9-11 deals with the problem of the Jews – a real Jew is not flesh and blood of Abraham but those who yield to God as Abraham did Ch. 12-15 deals with the questions of practical life and living – some thought faith depended on externals; Paul thought those who are stronger in the faith have liberated themselves from external rules; he cautions against hurting the conscious of weaker brothers.
We are not to do things to make it hard for someone else to be a Christian. Christian liberty should never be used in such a way to hurt another’s life or conscious. Chapter 1 Begins by giving Paul’s credentials: 1. Slave of Jesus – often called Jesus Lord – the opposite of a lord is a slave – shows an obligation of love 2. Called to be an apostle- thought he was given a task – did not consider it an honor 3. Set apart to serve Good News – by God and the leaders of the Church Vs. He received 2 things: Grace (unearned favor) and a task (responsibility). Also give an outline: Jesus became what we are to make us what He is ( incarnation); Jesus lives (resurrection) 8-15 here he breaks down the barrier of suspicion and strangeness. He complimented them for their faith that all the world knew – he believes in them. (Get more out of people when you praise them) He wants to see them so they can encourage each other. Something has always hindered him from coming.
When Paul mentions Greeks and barbarians he is saying he has a duty to preach to all men. Greeks refer to those who know the culture and mind of Greece. Barbarians are those who speak slang – poor language skills. 16-17 Paul considers it a privilege to preach the Gospel. There are three pillars to Paul’s belief system: 1. Salvation – philosophy had been studied for years. The idea was to build defenses against a chaotic world. Men were seeking for something philosophy did not fill. It entailed salvation from: Physical illness – Matt 9:21
Danger – Matt. 8:25 ( not from danger itself but security of the soul) Life’s infections Acts 2:40 ( being infected by the world) Being lost – Matt. 18:11 (puts one on the right way) Sin – Matt. 1:21 Wrath of God – Rom. 5:9 2. Faith – Faith marks the Christian – II Thess. 1:4 (loyalty) Belief – Believe the truth – I Cor. 15:17 Christian religion – holding faith – II Cor. 13:5 Indestructible hope – II Cor. 5:7 Total acceptance/ absolute trust 3. Justification – God treats the sinner like he was not a sinner