Romans is one of the apostle Paul’s letters, which was written to the Christians in Rome. Paul has not yet been to Rome, and wants to encourage the church and remind them of the things they believe. So he writes them a letter.
And this letter is among the most articulate descriptions of the gospel, salvation, and Christ’s work ever written.
Paul explains the gospel: the good news of Jesus Christ, and he unpacks its implications for everyone:
All humanity, whose sin makes us enemies of God
Jesus, who died to satisfy God’s justice and bring us back to Him
The Holy Spirit, who transitions us from sinners to adopted sons of God
Jews, who were exposed to God’s standards through the Law of Moses
God the Father, who is glorified in Christ’s sacrifice, the Spirit’s work, and the salvation of Jews and Gentiles
Paul also takes care to explain the Christian’s proper response to the gospel: to serve and honor God (Ro 12:1–2). The rest of the letter describes what this looks like in real life: serving in church, persevering under affliction, interacting with human governments, and loving one another.
Theme verse of Romans
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Ro 1:16–17)
Why Romans was written
Paul had wanted to visit the church at Rome for many years when he wrote this letter (Ro 15:23) Because it would still be a while before he was able to make the trip to Rome, he wrote them a letter with a twofold purpose:
To establish them in the faith by explaining the gospel (Ro 1:8–15)
To encourage and remind them how they should act as a church (Ro 15:14–15)
Paul (and his company) also use this letter to send along greetings to Christians in Rome.
Quick outline of Romans
1. Greeting from Paul (Ro 1:1–17)
2. The gospel (Ro 1:18–11:36)
a. How our sin makes us enemies of God (Ro 1:18–3:20)
b. How Jesus reconciled us with God (Ro 3:21–5:21)
c. How the Spirit changes us from sinners to sons of God (Ro 6–8)
d. How God glorifies Himself in salvation (Ro 9–11)
3. Our response to the gospel (Ro 12–15)
4. Greetings to specific Christians in Rome (Ro 16)
Learn more: What is Romans about?
Paul addresses many of the same issues he does in Romans in his letter to the Galatians