The book of Romans is a very popular book in the New Testament. However, many of us don’t take the time to learn the philosophy behind it. Questions like, “Who is the author?”, “Who is it written to?”, and “What is the purpose of the book?” The book of Romans has impacted many of our lives, but also many lives from the past. A few examples are Martin Luther and John Calvin. It’s clear that this book has not just effected one person, but many people.
To answer that first question, the book of Romans was written by Paul (Romans 1:1-7). Now the question is who is Paul? Paul was a servant of Jesus Christ as well as an apostle (Acts 9:1-19). Paul was a man under authority. He was “the sent one”. God chose Paul to go out into the world and do good works for Him. God was his master. Paul was “called” to be an apostle so that he would be “set apart for the gospel of God”. His mission was to spread the gospel (good news).
Next, the question is “who is Paul writing to?” Romans 1:7 says “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” Paul is writing to the Church in Rome. He’s writing to them because their “faith is proclaimed in all the world” as stated in Romans 1:8. The Church of Rome was known for their great faith and Paul wants to be involved with it. This shows us two purposes for writing to the Church of Rome. #1 is to encourage as well as be encouraged himself. In Romans 1:11-12 Paul says he wants to impact them through God’s word and wants to be impacted as well. We should use this as an example for our lives. If Paul was so close to God that He chose him to be an apostle and he still needed encouragement from other believers, then shouldn’t we as well? We should never leave church, having spent time surrounded by beloved, distinctive people of faith, without feeling encouraged. #2 is to evangelize. He wishes to reap a harvest inside and outside of the Roman Church. In Romans 1:14, Paul claims that he is “obligated” to preach the gospel to all, not just those in the church or those outside the church. We should also be “obligated” to share the gospel to those in and outside the church. Our faith should not be limited to once a week at church, but rather 24/7.
This brings me to the third question: “What is the Gospel?” Paul uses the word “Gospel” several times throughout the book of Romans. Such as in Romans 1:1 he was “set apart for the Gospel of God”. For starters, the Gospel is an announcement or declaration. It’s not just advice, but rather something that has to be done, just like a law. It declares Jesus’ victory and the good news of the cross. Secondly, the Gospel is God’s promise. Romans 1:2 says “which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy scriptures”. It’s not something that just came about. All Old Testament scriptures point to it. They are what God has called Paul to teach. Lastly, the Gospel’s content is Jesus. Romans 1:1b-4 tells us that the Gospel is about the Son of God and His Resurrection from the dead.
There are several qualities about Jesus that we can learn from this passage as well. We conclude that Jesus is fully human (v.3), He is the one who fulfilled the promises of Scripture (v.3), and He is divine (v.4).
One thing that may strike you as interesting is why Paul wasn’t ashamed to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those in the Roman Church as well as those outside the Roman church. We should use his reasons as an example in our own lives and not be ashamed to share the Gospel like God has commanded us to do as well. Pastor Aaron Taylor shares why Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel in the summer series at Painesville Assembly of God, “Romans, Part 1: Understanding the Gospel”. Check out our podcast for the complete message at: http://painesvilleag.com/a-study-in-romans
Let the truth of Romans enlighten you, as well as encourage and strengthen you in your faith.