I want to work my way through some books of the Bible, just giving a brief overview of each chapter and any highlights. The church is suffering from a lack of knowledge from the Bible. We know a Scripture here and a Scripture there, but we need to be able to know the context of a Scripture and the context of a book so we can study to show ourselves approved of God.
I am going to start with the book of Romans for two reasons. One, it has been divided into chapters exceptionally well. You may or may not know that the Bible was only divided into chapters in the 12th century and the verses were only added in the 16th century. Sometimes the chapter divides are arbitrary and do not match the topics of the chapters. Sometimes they cut up a train of thought.
But in Romans for the most part, the chapter breaks match the content of the book well.
Secondly, Romans deals with what is in my opinion the most important question for mankind to know the answer to: how can a human be righteous? So many religions – and so many churches – give an answer to this question which is unbiblical, unpractical and will leave you in hell on earth and in hell when you die. Studying Romans will give us the Bible answer to the question.
So before we examine Romans 1, I want to just give you a little information about when, how and why the book was penned.
Paul, the apostle of Christ Jesus, wrote Romans about 57AD. Most scholars consider Paul was in Corinth when he wrote Romans (cf. Romans 15.25-26 where Paul says he is keen to visit Jerusalem and Acts 19.21 and 20.1-3 where Paul is going to visit Jerusalem. If these two visits are the same then Paul wrote Romans from Corinth).
Romans is a letter that Paul wrote to a church that he did not visit. Paul intended to visit and use the church as a base for taking missionary journeys west into Spain and beyond. To those ends Paul wanted the church to know the answer to the foundational question: how can a person be righteous. The church in Rome had Jewish and Gentile Christians and there was often conflict between them about how someone can be righteous. Some people were suggesting that there were different ways of being righteous for the Jew and the Gentile, and Paul is determined to show that there is only way to achieve righteousness.
The letter was taken to Rome by Phoebe. Just as an aside – Paul was more than happy to send possibly the most important letter every written in all of history via a woman. He was not the misogynist some people claim he was!
The book of Romans has changed the world. Without this book, the entire Protestant Reformation would never have happened. It is unlikely that the charismatic move would ever have happened. Luther said “it is the chief part of the New Testament”, and I agree with him. I hope as we run through this book giving you an overview of each chapter that it inspires you to study it for yourself and to learn how the just shall live by faith.
I shall put the overview of the 1st chapter live either this evening or tomorrow evening.