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:

  1. Greeting (1:1-7)
  2. Thanksgiving: Paul's desire to preach in Rome (1:8-15)
  3. Thesis: God's salvation comes through faith for both Jew and Gentile (1:16-17)
  4. Salvation through faith in Christ as God's response to the sinfulness of humanity (1:18-3:31)
  5. Abraham as the ancestor of all believers (4:1-25)
  6. As Adam's sin brought death to all, so Christ's sacrifice brings reconciliation with God and life for all (5:1-21)
  7. The free gift of righteousness in Christ creates freedom, not increased sin (6:1-23)
    1. Baptism is sharing in Christ's death so that we will share life with God (6:1-11)
    2. "Dying" in baptism means dying to the passions which made us slaves of sin (6:12-23)
  8. The law could not bring righteousness and life (7:1-25)
    1. 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)
    2. Sin was able to pervert the law to awaken passions that led to death [Adam story implied] (7:1-12)
    3. 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] (7:13-25)
  9. Christ has freed us from bondage by making life in the Spirit possible (8:1-38)
    1. Freedom is life in Christ/the Spirit and is opposed to the slavery of sin which works through the flesh (8:1-11)
    2. Baptism is our adoption as children of God/Abba in the Spirit (8:12-17)
    3. 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)
    4. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (8:31-39)
  10. Though Israel is rejecting Christ now, God may still bring the people of promises and covenants to salvation (9:1-11:26)
  11. Ethical instructions on mutual love, service and tolerance in the Christian community (12:1-15:13)
  12. Paul's mission and plans to come to Rome (15:14-33)
  13. Recommendation for Phoebe and greetings to fellow workers (16:1-16)
  14. Final warning and greetings from Paul's associates (16:17-23)
  15. [Doxology missing from many early manuscripts (16:25-27)]

Major Themes 

Questions for Review and Discussion:

For Further Reading and Study 

Electronic New Testament Educational Resources

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