Paul's Letter to the Romans
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.
Introduction | Outline
| Themes | Questions | Bibliography
An Outline of Paul's Letter to the Romans:
- Greeting (1:1-7)
- Thanksgiving: Paul's desire to preach in Rome (1:8-15)
- Thesis: God's salvation comes through faith for both Jew and Gentile (1:16-17)
- Salvation through faith in Christ as God's response to the sinfulness of humanity
- Abraham as the ancestor of all believers (4:1-25)
- As Adam's sin brought death to all, so Christ's sacrifice brings reconciliation
with God and life for all (5:1-21)
- The free gift of righteousness in Christ creates freedom, not increased sin (6:1-23)
- Baptism is sharing in Christ's death so that we will share life with
- "Dying" in baptism means dying to the passions which made us slaves of
- The law could not bring righteousness and life (7:1-25)
- Human example: The law only binds those who are alive, not the Christian
who has died with Christ and now lives by the Spirit (7:1-6)
- Sin was able to pervert the law to awaken passions that led to death [Adam
story implied] (7:1-12)
- The law itself is good but the "fleshly" nature of humans makes it possible
for sin to enslave us even when we want what is good [Paul reflecting on his story]
- Christ has freed us from bondage by making life in the Spirit possible (8:1-38)
- Freedom is life in Christ/the Spirit and is opposed to the slavery of
sin which works through the flesh (8:1-11)
- Baptism is our adoption as children of God/Abba in the Spirit (8:12-17)
- The Spirit helps us live in this world of creation waiting for its final
redemption when we will have the image of Christ (8:18-30)
- Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (8:31-39)
- Though Israel is rejecting Christ now, God may still bring the people of promises
and covenants to salvation (9:1-11:26)
- Ethical instructions on mutual love, service and tolerance in the Christian community
- Paul's mission and plans to come to Rome (15:14-33)
- Recommendation for Phoebe and greetings to fellow workers (16:1-16)
- Final warning and greetings from Paul's associates (16:17-23)
- [Doxology missing from many early manuscripts (16:25-27)]
Questions for Review and Discussion:
For Further Reading and Study:
- Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York:
Doubleday, 1997. - "Letter to the Romans" (pp. 559-584).
- Byrne, Brendan. Romans. Sacra Pagina, 6. Collegeville, MN: The
Liturgical Press, 1996.
- Fitzmyer, Joseph A. Romans. Anchor Bible, 33. New York: Doubleday, 1993.
- Kasemann, Ernst. Commentary on Romans. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980.
- Cranfield, Charles E. B. A Critical and Exigetical Commentary on the
Epistle to the Romans. International Critical Commentary. 2 vols. Edinburgh:
Clark, 1975, 1979.
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