Summary: An expository,allitterated outline of section 1 (1 of 13) of Romans, with pertinent interpretation, application and illustration
Bible Studies for Home or Church- Romans
Copyright 2002 by Bob Marcaurelle
The Book of Romans in 13 Weeks Lesson 1
I. Introduction-Paul and the Church at Rome 1:1-17
THE DYNAMITE LETTER
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power to save all who believe.” (1:17)
The Greek word “power” is dunamis, from which we get the word dynamite. What Christ can do for you and me is dynamite.
The two greatest revivals in church history came from this verse and the dynamite gospel of salvation by grace it affirms. In 1517, Martil Luther, a slave to Roman Catholic legalsim, and self effort salvation, saw the light of God’s grace for sinners,saved by fatih, and marched into history as the one who gave birth to Protestant churches. Luther called Romans, “The true masterpiece of the New Testament- the purest gospel.”
The Church of England remained Catholic in its theology, and two hundred years after Luther, in the 1700’s, John Wesley, a Church of England pastor, came to the America to do missionary work. Preaching salvation by works,he had little peace. He wrote in his diary, “I came to America to convert the Indians; but who will convert me?” He was a good, moral, ethical man; but somehow he knew that did not make him right with God.
Discouraged back home in England, he half heartedly went to a little chapel service. The speaker read from Martin Luther’s preface to the Book of Romans and Wesley said, his heart was "strangely warmed". That’s putting it mildly. His conversion to salvation by grace through faith, exploded all over England and the Americas, as the Methodist church took up the torch for the gospel.
Augustine, who lived in the 300’s AD was the opposite of Wesley. He lived a horrible, sinful lifestyle of alcohol, extravagance and sexual pleasure.. One day in a garden he read one verse from Romans and became a Christian. He is perhaps the greatest Christian writer before the Reformation (1500’s). His writings, more than those of anyone else influenced John Calvin, the founder of the Presbyterian Church.
A. A DYNAMITE LETTER TO READ
I could fill ten sermons with quotes from the finest men in church history about the excellence of this letter. They say “Romans is:
Martin Luther- “The chief part of the NT, the perfect Gospel.” John Calvin- “A sure road opened to the understanding of the whole of Scripture.”
Bruce Metzer- "The constitution of universal Christianity.”
Herschel Hobbs- “The greatest letter of all time.”
Matthew Henry- "The Psalms of David and the Letters of Paul are stars; but Romans is the largest and fullest of all.”
F. W. Farrar- The most influential of all compositions ever written by the human pen.”
Deissman- “Fire, holy fire, glows between its lines.”
B. A DYNAMITE CHURCH TO REPRODUCE (1:5, 8, 16:1-6)
1. Its Setting- AD 58 (Acts 18-20)
Paul’s (v1) missionary journeys between AD 45 and 58 are found in Chapters 13-20 of Acts. In his letter to the Christians at Rome, he mentioned he was going to Jerusalem to take an offering he had collected for needy Christians there (Rom. 15:25-26). He left Corinth for Rome around AD 58 (Acts 19-20. A good guess, then, for the date of Romans is AD 57 or 58. T
2. Its Spiritual Purpose
Most of the NT letters, including Paul’s, were written to solve some problems, or meet some challenges in the churches. But Romans is the opposite.
1)It was Evangelistic- To Share the Christian Gospel
We see in this Gospel tract-
A CENTRAL LOCATION
Rome was the geographical and political capitol and center of the Roman world. It sat half way between Jerusalem in the East and England in the West, about the same distance as Dallas, Texas is between Tampa, Florida (Jerusalem) and Seattle Washington (England). “All roads lead to Rome” was a common saying.
A CORRUPT WORLD
It was also rotten to the core. The elite, led by the Emperors, practiced every kind of sexual immorality possible; and amused themselves watching gladiators fight wild animals and each other. Two out of every three people were slaves at the mercy of their masters who could torture or kill them at will.
Here, at the center of the civilized world, Paul wanted to leave a written statement of the Christian faith. Romans is an orderly summation of Christian belief (Ch. 1-11) and behavior (Ch 12-End) is. Calvin says if Romans was the only Book we had, we would know something about every essential belief in the Christian faith.
APPLICATION- The Church today has gone from go and tell the gospel (Matt. 28:18-12; Mk. 5:18-20) to come and hear the gospel.
A CONCERNED TEACHER (Acts 20)
Behind this desire may have been a fear. Paul’s life was constantly in danger, and when he left for Jerusalem, he told his fellow Pastors that suffering and imprisonment waited for him and that he would never see their face again ().