A Brief Introduction to the Book of Romans


The church will be holding its joint-fellowship Bible Quiz on Oct. 9, and the subject is the Book of Romans. I would like to give the brothers and sisters a brief introduction here in the hope that we can all comprehend the word of God and live a life of faith according to the will of God.


The Book of Romans was written by Paul during his third missionary journey (compare 2 Corinthians chapters 8 & 9 with Romans 15:25, Acts 24:17; Acts 20:2-3). Paul had long wanted to go to Rome (Acts 19:21), but was hindered to that point from making the trip (Romans 1:13, 15:22). At that time, he had completed his missionary work in Asia and Macedonia, and was going to deliver donations from the Gentile churches to Jerusalem before he would head westwards through Rome to carve out new endeavors in Spain (Romans 1:11-12, 15:23-24). Back then, Spain’s was the farthest known civilization. In order to make the Roman church a base for new evangelical works, Paul dispatched letters before he arrived there to express the gospel truth that he preached. He expounded on the complete gospel in order that the church would understand and support his commission, and to fortify them against the besiegement on their religious faith at that time, such as from the heathen religions of the Romans and the difficulties Jews had in accepting Gentiles (issues of keeping the Law and circumcision). When he compiled the letter, he was a guest in the home of a disciple called Gaius (Romans 16:23), and this Gaius was a believer living in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14). So it is postulated that the Book of Romans was written in Corinth. The time of the writing would have been between 56-57 AD.  Phoebe was the person directed to deliver the letter (Romans 16:1).


This book contains the basic premise of Christian belief - from sin to salvation, from salvation to sanctification - it covers all of the stages of a believer’s life. Its main subject is the Theory of the Grace of Salvation. The first three chapters describe the necessity of saving grace. It first raises the theme that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, so that the righteous will live by faith (Romans 1:16-17). Then it points out that Gentiles and Jews alike have no power to save themselves. God will give to each person according to what he has done. There is only one path to salvation, and that is righteousness through faith. “The Gospel of Justification by Faith” is the premise of this book. Chapters four to eight talk about the way to righteousness and sanctification. Paul first explains that Abraham was justified not by works, but by faith. His faith was expressed in his trust in God’s promises. Paul continues then to clarify that we too can be justified by faith, because the Lord died for us while we were still sinners. His death saved us from the wrath of God. We can be justified through His blood and have peace with God. Just as Adam was a representation of man - because he sinned, sin entered the world - so too, Christ represents us in our reconciliation with God (chapter 5). Since justification is a gift from God, we must not deliberately sin in order that grace increases. We must be slaves to righteousness so as to be sanctified. We sin because of the weakness of our flesh, but we can live triumphant lives through the work of the Holy Spirit in believers (chapter 8). In chapters 9-11, Paul describes in detail the plan God has for Israel, pointing out that God has not forgotten the Jews. He has chosen them to be the remnant that will turn back to Christ. In the end, Paul praises God’s wisdom and authority. Chapters 12-16 discourse on the proper response believers should have towards God. We should offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Paul then presents more detailed instructions to believers regarding church, society, and inter-personal relationships.


The Book of Romans inspired some great spiritual leaders such as Augustine, Martin Luther, Paul Bunyan, John Wesley etc., and through them wrote the history of the Church. May the Lord also change our lives through this Epistle, and use His spirit to once again help us live triumphant, submissive lives of discipleship, love God and man more truthfully, and display the essence of faith in our lives so that the gospel may be more explicitly believed in by others.


By: Esther Hung