Summary: Romans #1
A Life Changing Letter
Introduction to Romans
Today, we’re going to begin a study on what I consider to be one of the greatest letters ever written. Today, we begin a study of the book of Romans. It’s hard to overestimate the influence of this letter. It is probably the most powerful document ever written
Romans is the basic handbook for Christianity. It has influenced hundreds, thousands, millions of people. Augustine, who has had a large influence on the church since the 5th century, was converted after reading just a few verses of the 13th chapter of Romans. The phrase “the righteous shall live by faith” in the 16th verse of the very first chapter of Romans had such a great effect on Martin Luther that it led to the Reformation, the greatest awakening our world has seen since the days of the apostles. John Bunyan, while studying Romans in prison, was so taken by this book, that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress in the 1600s. On May 24, 1738, a discouraged missionary went, in his words, “very unwillingly” to a religious meeting in London. This missionary later wrote in his journal, “About a quarter to nine, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, in Christ alone, for salvation. And an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even, mine, and saved me from the law of sing and death.” That missionary was John Wesley. The message he heard that night was the preface to Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans. The result of that evening and his conversion was the beginning of Methodism and the start of the great Wesleyan Revival that swept England and transformed that country. Throughout history, God has used the book of Romans to influence people’s lives in ways you cannot imagine. And God is still using this book today, to transform people’s lives, just like it transformed people like Augustine, Martin Luther, John Bunyan and John Wesley.
Imagine! You and I can read and study the very same inspired letter that brought life and power to men like Martin Luther and John Wesley! And the very same Holy Spirit who taught them can teach us! You and I can experience revival in our lives, in our homes, in our church, in our community, if we allow the message of this letter to grip us as it has gripped men and women of faith who have gone before us.
I want us to pause right here at the very beginning and ask God to give us insight as we look into His Word to us. Let’s pray...
Heavenly Father, I feel so inadequate as we look at this book of the Bible.
I know that you have so much to say to us as we study your Word.
I pray that as we study Romans that You would change our lives.
Father, I pray that this would be a life changing letter. I pray that we would be better able to understand Your plan for our lives though it.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
When you study a book, you always want to ask questions. Questions like:
• Who wrote it?
• Where was it written from?
• To whom was it written?
• When was it written?
• Why was it written?
• What’s the main message?
This morning, I want to give you an introduction to this book and a basic overview of the book. We can’t understand this book without understanding some of these basic things.
1. Who wrote it?
When you get a letter, what’s the first thing you look for?
Who’s it from, right?
You want to find out who the letter’s from.
How you read the letter usually is affected by knowing who it’s from.
The Greeks always started out up front telling you who it’s from and who it’s to. Kind of like a memo. We know it was written from Paul (1:1) “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God”
Paul was the human author, but God is the real Author.
Actually it wasn’t written by Paul. It was authored by Paul, but the actual handwriting wasn’t done by Paul. The letter was actually written down by someone else. Look at Romans 16:22 "I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord."
Tertius wrote the book of Romans. He was Paul’s secretary. Paul didn’t write the letter down personally. He dictated it. Tertius wrote it.
Who is Paul anyway? Paul is probably the most influential man in history since Jesus Christ. There are over a billion Christians today in the world because Paul was the one who, under the direction of the Holy Spirit took the gospel all across the Roman empire and started churches all around the Mediterranean.