"Paul’s epistle to the Romans is still transforming people’s lives, just the way it transformed Martin Luther and John Wesley. The one Scripture above all others that brought Luther out of mere religion into the joy of salvation by grace, through faith, was Romans 1:17: “The just shall live by faith.” The Protestant Reformation and the Wesleyan Revival were both the fruit of this wonderful letter written by Paul from Corinth about the year AD 56." Warren W. Wiersbe - Be Right with God, yourself and others, Page 17
What is the theme of Romans?
"People everywhere can enjoy peace and fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, and who gives them the desire and the strength to gladly obey the Lord." From NKJV Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible
"The overarching theme of Romans is the righteousness that comes from God: the glorious truth that God justifies the guilty, condemned sinners by grace alone through faith in Christ alone." From NKJV MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition
Who wrote this book?
"The apostle Paul, who wrote about grace from both experience (Acts 9:1-19) and his training and education (Acts 22:3)." From the NIV Quest Study Bible Notes
Some background on the Apostle Paul
"No one disputes that the apostle Paul wrote Romans. Like his namesake, Israel’s first king (Saul was Paul’s Hebrew name; Paul his Greek name), Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin (Phil. 3:5). He was also a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37; 22:25). Paul was born about the time of Christ’s birth in Tarsus (Acts 9:11), an important city (Acts 21:39) in the Roman province of Cilicia, located in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). He spent much of his early life in Jerusalem as a student of the celebrated rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Like his father before him, Paul was a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), a member of the strictest Jewish sect (cf. Phil. 3:5).
Miraculously converted while on his way to Damascus (ca. A.D. 33–34) to arrest Christians in that city, Paul immediately began proclaiming the gospel message (Acts 9:20). After narrowly escaping from Damascus with his life (Acts 9:23–25; 2 Cor. 11:32, 33), Paul spent 3 years in Nabatean Arabia, south and east of the Dead Sea (Gal. 1:17, 18). During that time, he received much of his doctrine as direct revelation from the Lord (Gal. 1:11, 12).
More than any other individual, Paul was responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. He made 3 missionary journeys through much of the Mediterranean world, tirelessly preaching the gospel he had once sought to destroy (Acts 26:9). After he returned to Jerusalem bearing an offering for the needy in the church there, he was falsely accused by some Jews (Acts 21:27–29), savagely beaten by an angry mob (Acts 21:30, 31), and arrested by the Romans. Though two Roman governors, Felix and Festus, as well as Herod Agrippa, did not find him guilty of any crime, pressure from the Jewish leaders kept Paul in Roman custody. After two years, the apostle exercised his right as a Roman citizen and appealed his case to Caesar. After a harrowing trip (Acts 27, 28), including a violent, two-week storm at sea that culminated in a shipwreck, Paul reached Rome. Eventually released for a brief period of ministry, he was arrested again and suffered martyrdom at Rome in ca. A.D. 65–67 (cf. 2 Tim. 4:6)."
Why was it written?
- To introduce himself to the believers in Rome and enlist their help in spreading the gospel.
- To develop and defend the truth of the gospel message he had been preaching
- To encourage the Roman believers to rely solely on God’s grace for their salvation, helping them understand how people can be made righteous and live transformed lives through Christ.
From the NIV Quest Study Bible Notes
How is Paul's letter to the Romans structured?
The first section (chapters 1-8) expresses what has been called “the gospel according to Paul,” meaning that the only way to fellowship with God is by grace through faith in the risen Jesus Christ.
The second section (chapters 9-11) expounds Paul’s expectation that the Jews, who have largely refused this teaching, will one day accept it.
The final section (chapter 12-16) describes how people saved by grace through faith in Christ should live and behave.
What are some of the life principles explained in Romans?
- Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees (Romans 4:13-25)
- Peace with God is the fruit of oneness with God (Romans 5:1)
- As children of a sovereign God, we are never victims of our circumstances (Romans 8:18-25)
- No Christian has even been called to “go it alone” in his or her walk of faith. (Romans 13:8-10)
What do those words means?
The Righteousness of God
People are made right with God (“justified”) by faith alone apart from human effort, a salvation available to all regardless of ethnic identity. From the Essential Bible Companion
God sees me “Just as if I had never sinned”
Paul’s theme in the second section of his letter was salvation–righteousness declared. He proved that all people are sinners; so his next goal was to explain how sinners can be saved. The theological term for this salvation is justification by faith. Justification is the act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Christ on the basis of the finished work of Christ on the cross. Each part of this definition is important, so we must consider it carefully.
To begin with, justification is an act, not a process. There are no degrees of justification; each believer has the same right standing before God. Also, justification is something God does, not man. No sinner can justify himself before God. Most important, justification does not mean that God makes us righteous, but that He declares us righteous. Justification is a legal matter. God puts the righteousness of Christ on our record in the place of our own sinfulness. And nobody can change this record.
Do not confuse justification and sanctification. Sanctification is the process whereby God makes the believer more and more like Christ. Sanctification may change from day to day. Justification never changes. When the sinner trusts Christ, God declares him righteous, and that declaration will never be repealed. God looks on us and deals with us as though we had never sinned at all!
But how can the holy God declare sinners righteous? Is justification merely a fictional idea that has no real foundation? In this section of Romans, Paul answered these questions in two ways. First, he explained justification by faith (Rom. 3:21-31); then he illustrated justification by faith from the life of Abraham (Rom. 4:1-25).
The image below is from Harvest Bible Chapel … Here I Stand: on Salvation (Soteriology)