Romans Series (summary)


Paul’s letter to the Roman Churches has perhaps drawn more attention than any other writing in the Bible.  Many people will claim it as their favourite book in the Bible, yet at the same time acknowledge it is perhaps the most complex.

My goal in this series was not a detailed study, but a summary of what Paul was trying to say, interpreted for the average person.  There is a vast array of commentaries you can read for a detailed analysis.

The goal of this summary of the series is therefore a summary of a summary, so the recorded messages of the series are highly recommended – available here.  This summary of the series is to remind you of the key points (if you’ve listened to the series already), prepare you for the series, or if you don’t have time for all the talks.

Paul’s letter to the Roman churches was so well received by the wider church that the letter was edited and the Rome-specific opening and closing were removed and the letter circulated generally.  The tension between Jews and Gentiles in churches everywhere was an issue, so it makes sense.

Our understanding of the churches in Rome is that there was conflict between Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews).  In 49AD, the Emperor Claudius had expelled all Jews from Rome, and in 54AD the Emperor Nero had allowed them to return. In the 5 years or more of their absence, Gentiles had to take over the leadership, and after the Jews returned, there was conflict over the leadership.

Paul met Priscilla and Aquilla in Corinth on his second missionary journey, and they were Jews expelled from Rome.  They would have informed Paul well of the situation in the Roman churches, and they may have continued correspondence after they returned to Rome – of that we can’t be sure.

As always, we will try to understand the message to Rome first, and then consider the message to ourselves.


Our series actually started at Romans 4, and chapter 1-3 where introduced as background.  That is not to say that ch1-3 are unimportant; it was just the nature of our series.

Romans 1 opens with his personal introduction and opening summary statement:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith. (1:16-17)”

This is the the central thesis of the entire letter, and marks the beginning of his argument.

Chapters 1:18-3:20 serve the purpose of establishing that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile in the matter of sin.  The Jews had the Law of Moses, and everyone broke it.  Gentiles were lost from God and therefore helpless in regard to sin without the law.

1:18-32: Paul’s argument is that awareness of God is built into creation itself, so no one has any excuse. But having turned their back on God, they turned instead to worthless idols.  God in turn gave them over to all kinds of sinfulness.

2:1-16: Those who condemn others condemn themselves, as all are guilty.  Those who sin under the Law (Jews) are guilty under the Law; those who sin apart from the Law (Gentiles) will perish apart from the Law (2:12).

2:17-29: True circumcision is of the heart, and true Judaism is of the heart. Having the law is not enough, you have to live it, but alas no one does.

3:1-8: God is faithful, though all people are unfaithful in their actions.

3:9-20: This is Paul’s summary of the opening argument: there is therefore no difference between Jew or Gentile in this matter of sin.  All are guilty before God, and indeed the Law makes us more clearly aware of our sin.

3:21-31: Paul then prepares the way for his claim that salvation is by faith in Jesus, argued generally in chapter 4, and in detail through to chapter 8.


Chapter 4 is all about Abraham; specifically that Abraham believed God’s promise and it was credited to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).  This was both before circumcision (Genesis 17) and the Law (Moses, in Exodus/Deuteronomy).  This righteousness is by inward faith, not outward action or observance.

This righteousness by faith is available, not only to physical descendants of Abraham (Jews), but all:

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:20)

The summary statement that drives us ahead into chapter 5 is …

The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (4:23-25)


Romans 5 can be difficult to understand, because the argument tends to move in circles. It’s central content is quite simple but profound.

There are also some terms Paul used which can make it difficult to follow, so I’ve provided some short definitions that will hopefully help with that.

The opening statement strikes at the heart:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  (5:1-2a)

“Justified” (declared not guilty) stands neatly alongside “made righteous” (made right with God).  Chapter 4 established righteousness by faith, and this is now extended to “justified” by faith.

As Chapter 5 circles around and builds its argument, it makes a series of “this leads to that” statements. Those statements are …

All of this is building on the opening claim that we are justified through faith, which leads to peace with God, righteousness and eternal life.  Here is a diagram that lays out the essence of this …

The general idea of this diagram goes back to Rev Prof James Haire, and a similar diagram he used as he taught us on Romans-Galatians at Trinity Theological College (now Trinity College Queensland).

As you can see, “salvation” is the whole movement from the “kingdom of this world” to the “kingdom of God”, and our sole contribution to that movement is the faith in Jesus that we bring.  Maybe even that comes from God, but Paul insists that if we bring the faith in Jesus, God will do the rest – justified, righteous, peace with God and eternal life.

To prepare us for chapter 6, let me be clear: in chapter 5 Paul is dealing with our guilt caused by the sins we commit – hence “not guilty” by the blood of Jesus on the cross is the key to our transformation.


Chapter 6 opens with a question that it seeks to answer, however unsatisfactorily, and that question stays alive through chapter 7:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? (6:1)

But it is not the main point that we take from chapter 6.  Rather, the argument he folllows introduces us to new insight into our salvation.  Let me cheat on the opening question: his answer is essentially “surely we wouldn’t want to continue sinning, since we have been given such wonders of grace by God.”

The main point I want you to take from Romans 6 is this:

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (6:3-4)

This is a spiritual claim, as Romans 7 makes clear, but here Paul tells us that we have been spiritually placed into Jesus, and therefore into both his death on the cross and his resurrection.  The effect of this is profound.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (6:6-7)

There are two things here:

  1. This new idea of sin (as against “sins”), which is a power at work in the world pulling away from God and causing us to commit sins.  The distinction is clear in Paul’s argument.
  2. Anyone who dies has been set free from the power of sin – that is, the power of sin can only reach to the grave and not beyond.  Therefore the only way to be free from the power of sin is to die.  But since we have been crucified with Christ (spiritually), then we have (spiritually) been taken beyond the reach of the power of sin.

So also we are included in Jesus’ resurrection, which is beyond the reach of sin.  So spiritually our reborn selves are beyond the reach of sin.  Paul wants us to to be absolutely convinced of this truth, and says to us:

In the same way (as Jesus), count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  (6:11)

“Count” here is an accounting term – reckon, or account.  That is, mark it in the ledger as an indisputable fact: you are (spiritually) dead to sin, but alive to God.

So, reaching back to his opening question, Paul immediately exhorts us to live our physical lives as people taken beyond the reach of sin:

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.  (6:12-13)

From 6:14, Paul unceremoniously switches his language.  He was saying “not under the power of sin” but suddenly says “not under the law”.  It is a bit of a reach at this point, but the first part of chapter 7 is going to pursue this claim.  However he finishes chapter 6 with the well known statement:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (6:23)

The progression of Paul’s argument through chapter 6 lead to a revised diagram, showing what God has done:

The adjustments are:

  1. We now naturally identify ourselves 2 ways: first as a sinner, and second as one who is under the power of sin.
  2. The cross works on us a second way.  The first was justification, and the second identification (means identified with Jesus, or placed into Jesus on the cross).
  3. The result of being placed into Jesus on the cross is that we have spiritually (died to sin, and) been raised to new life.

You might know of Jesus teaching to Nicodemus (John 3) that we need to be born again of the Holy Spirit.  This seems to equate to what Paul is writing about in Romans 6.


Romans 7 is often avoided, mostly because of the awkward way Paul writes in 7:14-20.  Thankfully the meaning of Romans 7 is not so complex, and it is important.

Paul pursues discussion about the law of Moses.  Firstly, that it reaches only to the grave (the example of marriage), and then whether the law is evil.

Why would the law be thought of as evil?  Because the law condemns me as a sinner.  But the law is holy, and serves a holy purpose: I wouldn’t have known myself a sinner apart from the law, and that knowledge drives me to God’s solution which is Jesus.  It takes a lot of words to get there, but this is the essence of it.

So then Paul reaches the awkward bit: 7:14-20.  essentially he knows what he wants to do, which is serve God and live to the Spirit.  But he finds himself continuing to sin.  What he wants to do he can’t, but instead he does the very things he doesn’t want to do.

Some argue this is a pre-conversion throw-back, but I can’t see that.  It is instead the battle that continues in every one of Jesus’ followers in this world.  We have been spiritually raised to new life in Jesus, but our physical selves (sarx) remain.

This Greek word “sarx” which Paul uses refers to the flesh or the body, but Paul uses it to refer to our fleshly selves and our natural human nature which is opposed to God.  Our sarx continues, so there is a battle between this and our reborn spiritual selves.  “What a retched man I am!” he wrote.  “Who will deliver me?” he asked.

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (7:25a)

And by way of summary, he closes chapter 7:

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature (sarx) a slave to the law of sin. (7:25b)


The question from chapter 7 hangs in the air: Who will deliver me …?  Because although he answered the question, he didn’t explain how Jesus delivers him from this battle.

Anyway, Romans 8 is much celebrated as the most wonderful declaration of faith in the Bible.  However it cannot be understood without first having a grasp of Romans 1-7.  Romans 8 is much quoted, but sadly also very much out of context.  Neverthless, Romans 8 is quote wonderful.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (8:1-2)

This is the beginning of the answer, to restate what we already know.  Despite the battle, you have been set free from the “law” of sin and death.  This is not a written law, but a natural law: sin leads to (spiritual) death.  You have been set free from this law, into the law of the Spirit: faith in Jesus leads to justification and new and eternal life.  We learned this through chapter 5 and 6, but it is restated here to ensure we understand that the battle of chapter 7 has not overturned it.

8:5-13 are dense, and they points to the heart of the chapter 7 battle:

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (8:5-13)

There are two ways to live, even having come to faith and new spiritual life in Jesus: you can live according to your human nature (flesh/sarx), or you can live towards the Holy Spirit.  This is a choice you make all the way through the rest of your life.  The danger is that if you live according to your human nature, you will yet die.  This claim is not pursued by Paul.  Instead he pursues the obligation we have to live towards the Spirit.

There is a sentence within those verses that goes a long way towards answering the problem from chapter 7:

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Up until now we have talked about spiritual death and rebirth, but here for the first time is reference to God living life to our mortal bodies, that is, if we are living towards the Spirit.  This sounds quite similar to Paul’s fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-25.  And it stands as the best answer we get to the spirit/flesh conflict in Romans 7.

He then pursues in multiple ways the wonders of what God has done for us:

  • that we have been adopted into his family, and we are heirs of Christ, despite the difficulties of the journey (8:14-25)
  • that God helps us in our weakness, and despite our difficulties, works through us to complete his plan of salvation in this world. (8:26-30)

This last section includes Paul’s much debated comments about those God “foreknew” and “predestined”, and I have entirely avoided the debate in this series.  Much of what Paul says exhorts us to make choices, the very thing that fights the idea of predestination.  I encourage you to make choices, and leave the invisible mysteries to God.

Then we have the grand summary that culminates all the work of Romans 1-8, which I will leave to speak for itself:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (8:31-39)


Romans 9-11 are specifically written to the Jews in the Roman Churches, addressing concerns about God’s covenant with Abraham.  Essentially, has God’s covenant with Israel failed.  The answer, of course, is no, but not as briefly as that.

I assume that Paul met with this question everywhere he went in his travels, as he worked to bring Jews and Gentiles together in the churches.  I can’t see how it could have been otherwise.

Chapters 9 and 10 are quite short, so I’m taking them together.

Both chapters open with Paul declaring his love and desire for his people, the Jews, that they might all turn to Jesus and be saved.

Chapter 9 then turns to God’s word not failing.  The main argument here is that …

not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. (9:6b-7)

This is true historically, as not all of Abraham’s children were chosen, but only Isaac (9:9), not all of Isaac and Rebekah’s children were chosen (10-13).  So God made choices about the line through which the covenant with Abraham would be pursued.

Some find 9:14-21 problematic, because it seems as though God is playing games with us – choosing some and rejecting others.  But these verses specifically relate to who is being selected to carry forward the covenant promise with Abraham.  Paul recognised the problem and addressed it in 9:22-19, though we might have liked it to be clearer.  I think Paul is differentiating between the lineage of the covenant and the general population: the former is a matter of election by God, the latter a matter of patience as God waits to see who will respond by faith, which may be Jew or Gentile.

Chapter 9 concludes with the Law of Moses being called the stumbling stone, over which the Jews have stumbled. They have pursued righteousness by the law instead of by faith, and missed it.  But the Gentiles never had the law and never pursued righteousness, but they have acquired righteousness by faith in Jesus.

Chapter 10 pursues God’s continuing purpose for Israel, first by continuing to prosecute the ineffectiveness of the law, and the effectiveness of faith for righteousness (initially 10:2-4).

Then within verses 5-13 there is a section that many people find difficult:

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10:6-9)

It is not too complex. Let’s be clear: the righteousness that is by faith says “Jesus is Messiah, Saviour and Lord”.  So there is no need for anyone to go to heaven to bring down the Messiah, he has already come. And there is no need to go and fetch him from the grave, because he is risen, and more than that he is with us.  All that is needed is to believe in him – that is faith – which leads to righteousness.

Then in 14-15 Paul asks about sharing the good news about Jesus.  Who will go and share it?  It is inferred (how beautiful are the feet …) that it is first of all a job for the Jews, because the Messiah has come from them.  But not all the Jews are believing, so the good news must go beyond them to the Gentiles.  The Jews have a big part yet to play, if they will accept the job.


I find chapter 11 difficult to understand, and certainly difficult to write on here in summary.  Paul is writing about the low numbers of Jews accepting God’s salvation through Jesus, their Messiah.  The argument goes something like this:

  1. God has always maintained a remnant, even when things were at their worst (11:1-10)
  2. Because of Israel’s failure, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
  3. Since Israel’s loss meant riches for the world (Gentiles), how much greater riches will Israel’s full inclusion be?

Points 2 and 3 are 11:11-16, and repeated within 11:22-24.

There is the discussion of grafting branches on an olive tree, and a warning to the Gentiles not to be proud.  The root is of Israel and they are like wild olive branches in-grafted.  What has been grafted in can be cut off if they are arrogant or unfaithful.  Likewise what has been cut off (Jews rejecting Jesus) can be grafted back in.

This last point is pursued by Paul to the end of the chapter, of Israel’s full inclusion, and he rightly calls it a mystery.  His claim is that after the full number of Gentiles has come to Jesus, all of Israel will be saved.

This section seems strangely disconnected to me.  He has earlier said that not all of Israel is truly Israel, because being truly Israel is a spiritual matter.  Which Israel is he referring to?  And he has said that relying on law for righteousness brings condemnation and death, yet now they will all be saved.  Paul doesn’t say enough here for me to shed light on anything except the questions it raises.  He calls it a mystery, and a mystery it shall remain.


Chapter 12 is much quoted (after 1 Corinthians 12-13) in relation to spiritual gifts, unity in Christ and the love of God.  1 Corinthians was written during Paul’s 3 year stay in Ephesus during his third missionary journey.  After Ephesus, Paul travelled up to Macedonia and down to Achaia, finishing in Corinth.  During his stay in Corinth he wrote this letter to the Roman churches.

It is quite reasonable to assume that the letter to the Corinthians was still in his mind when he wrote to the Romans, and also quite reasonable to surmise that this is Paul’s standard advice on dealing with the inevitable diversity that exists in any church:

  • You ARE one in Jesus – that is a fact.  Each person is “in Christ” (see Romans 6), and if so, then we are together in him.  There is an indisputable unity in Jesus. (12:4-5)
  • You are diversely gifted, and each person should faithfully exercise those gifts they have been given. (12:6-8)
  • The reality of that unity does not equate directly to conduct.  Given the diversity of gifts (and personalities, etc), the only way to hold the church together and visibly express the unity in Jesus is living by the love of God (agape). (12:9-21)

This is the meaning of Romans 12 – profound but simple.

Many have difficulty with with this …

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (12:19-20)

The difficulty is with the burning coals, a quote from Proverbs 25:21-22.  Apart from that, it comes straight out of Jesus’ playbook.  Coals/ashes on the head are a sign of repentance, and that is the only way this verse makes sense alongside everything else Paul writes.  Repay evil with good, and it gives the offender the best chance to see something better and repent.


Chapter 13 is short and the first part is strange and problematic; strange because it is the only section in the entire letter dealing with an outside issue, and problematic because it can be used to authenticate terrible governments, and indeed it has been.

The first section deals with governments, and I’ll come back to that.

The second section (13:8-10) returns to the subject of love.  “(Agape) Love fulfils the law” is a new twist on “Jesus fulfils the law” that we have already met (10:4), but it is unlikely to surprise us.  After all, Jesus was content that “love the Lord your God …” and “love your neighbour …” summed up all of the Law.

The third section tells us that the time has come for us to wake from our slumber, and I should hope (if you’re read this far) that you need no explanation or defense of this.

So we’re left with the strange section on “governing authorities” (13:1-7).  It has no introduction, but dives straight in.  Let’s be clear:

  1. Paul meant Roman authorities, and everyone in the Roman churches would have immediately understood that.
  2. People in the Roman churches would have had all sorts of problems with Roman authorities, so you have to wonder what this advice is all about.
  3. There is no problem applying Paul’s advice to governments in general – God is a God of order (that is what the 10 commandments and the Law of Moses did in early days), bringing order out of civil chaos.  So anarchy is out, but that does explain this advice in regard to corrupt, unjust or plain dangerous governments.

I wondered if perhaps this was written so that it would allay any concerns if the letter fell into the hands of Roman authorities.  13:1-7 would define Paul as a supporter of the empire.  It is guesswork, because no hint is given.

N T Wright has a similar thought, that with the Jewish history of uprisings, Paul may have wanted to advise the Roman Christians that the way of revolt was agape love, not militant action.  Rome was highly skilled at putting down revolts; the outcome for the churches would have been catastrophic.  Again, it is conjecture, but placed within material calling them to love their enemies, it is not an outrageous suggestion.

Romans 13:1-7 was used in Germany during the rise of Hitler, in order to authenticate his government in the eyes of the Lutheran Church.  It was largely successful, and warns us to look below the covers for Paul’s intent in these verses.


We’re getting near the end of the letter now, and Paul shifts to arguments about what is acceptable and unacceptable.  The two examples given are eating meat and observing special days.

Opinions are divided over whether he is talking about Kosher food, or about meat that may have been sacrificed to the pagan gods and excess sent to the markets.

Opinions are likewise divided over whether he is referring to Jewish special days (Sabbath and other festival days) or Roman cultural days of celebration.

Because he keeps his comments so general, I wonder if he is talking about all of the above.  It seems reasonable to me.

In any case, it is pointing at disputable matters – things that are not central to following Jesus and walking in the Spirit.  Paul’s advice is that the unity of the church is more important than winning fights over disputable matters.  Look after each other, and do not let your opinion on these things become a stumbling block for the faith of others.  It reminds me that sometimes our conduct can make us wrong, even when we are right.

The real difficulty, not addressed by Paul, is when we can’t even agree if a disagreement is a core matter or a disputable matter.  So long as any party believes it is a core matter, there will not be grace in the disagreement.  Indeed if we agree to disagree on core matters, what gospel will we preach?  For this we would have to refer to Paul’s teaching elsewhere on false teachers and false teachings.


Chapter 15 is Paul’s concluding content, with the final chapter reserved for greetings.  The discussion about those of strong and weak faith continues briefly.

The main addition to Paul’s previous comments about being gracious to one another on disputable matters is the comparison to Jesus.  That is, Jesus looked not to his own needs but to the needs of others, and we should learn from this and apply it ourselves.  We should accept others as Jesus has accepted us (15:7).

Again, supporting the extension of God’s mission to the Gentiles:

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews[b] on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. (15:8-9a)

[b] Jews: more accurately, circumcision.  Jesus has become a servant of the Law – the Son of God submitted to living life here as a Jew – in order to fulfil the promises of God, but also so that salvation might reach the Gentiles.

He then quotes multiple Scriptural references that foretell of the Gentiles being included, followed by a brief blessing.

He then writes of his ministry to the Gentiles, and then his intention to come and visit, having been prevented up to this time … then another brief blessing.

The irony, of course, is that he does come to Rome after Jerusalem, but via years in a Caesarea prison, and in chains.


Chapter 16 is kept for greetings, and a short but interesting warning.

Firstly, Phoebe is commended to them – she is to deliver the letter.  Then there are greetings for a long list of people in Rome who Paul knows from his various journeys and escapades.

Then there is a warning about shunning those who would teach falsely or lead them astray, which is an answer to our earlier question of what to do if there is disagreement over core matters (ch14).  The remaining missing link is who decides, and how they decide, what is core and what is disputable.

Then we have greetings from people at Paul’s end, which tells us a few things, including Tertius, the name of the person who actually transcribed the letter for Paul.

There are numerous reasons why it is believed this letter was written from Corinth around 57AD, during Paul’s third missionary journey.  Among them, that the deliverer is Phoebe from Cenchrae (Corinth’s eastern seaport), and Gaius (1 Cor 1:14) and Erastus (Acts 19:22, 2 Tim 4:20).

There is some history about chapters 15 and 16.  It is generally thought that the original letter included chapter 16, but at some point it was removed when the letter was edited for general circulation. At that point a brief blessing was added to the end of chapter 15.  When the edit was later discovered, chapter 16 was added back, but the blessing at the end of ch15 remained.  Hence there is the awkward appearance of a final blessing followed by chapter 16 – an interesting bit of reasonably attested history.


Yes, the letter to the Romans is huge.  Yes, it is densely packed and takes some effort to uncover its meaning.

But when the work is done we have wonderful insight into the salvation offered to the world through Jesus Christ.  Elsewhere in Paul’s writing we see bits of this repeated, but nowhere else do we have it so carefully and systematically presented.

Romans really is the goldmine of the New Testament epistles, and well deserves its “favourite” label for so many.

I hope this summary of our series has been of value, and again commend the full recordings, found here.