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Paul’s epistle to the Roman church is considered by many to be one of his most difficult works, particularly because of the arguments in chapters 9–11. Other scholars consider this to be the greatest of all his letters. In reality, this book holds the most systematic and complete record of Paul’s theology, covering the broadest scope of the doctrines of redemption and eternal salvation proclaimed by the gospel message. When the scope of the whole book is kept in mind as we progress through it, and the broad outline is followed, many of the questions and problems found in those “difficult chapters” (9–11) seem to resolve themselves as a very necessary and essential part of the overall goal of Paul’s teaching. We simply cannot present the New Covenant plan of God for the Church without answering the questions which are first brought up in chapter three, “has God forsaken Israel?” and, “If not, what does the future hold for Israel?” These questions are answered clearly and simply in chapters 9–11 if we do not attempt to impose later theological systems upon them. The great over-arching theme of the book is introduced in Romans 1:16–17, being the revelation of the righteousness and justice of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by the universal offer of the gift of eternal life to all who will receive it by faith. May God grant that these notes, imperfect though they may be, help students gain a greater love and appreciation for what many consider “passages too difficult to understand.”
Romans Outline A
“The Gospel of God …” Romans 1:1b
1. The Gospel—good news for the world (Rom. 1:1–17)
2. Condemnation—God’s wrath against sin (Rom. 1:18–3:20)
3. Justification—Salvation by grace through faith (Rom. 3:21–5:21)
4. Sanctification—The power and the path of spiritual growth (Rom. 6:1–8:39)
5. Dispensation—The past, present, and future of Israel (Rom. 9:1–11:36)
6. Transformation—being conformed to Christ’s likeness (Rom. 12:1–15:13)
7. Conclusion and greetings—Paul’s plans and friends (Rom. 15:14–16:27)
Romans Outline B
“For in it [the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed…” Romans 1:17
1. God’s righteousness in the condemnation of sin (Rom. 1:1–3:20)
2. God’s righteousness imputed to believers through salvation (Rom. 3:21–5:21)
3. God’s righteousness imparted to believers through sanctification (Rom. 6:1–8:39)
4. God’s righteousness in dealing with unbelieving Israel (Romans 9–11)
5. God’s righteousness demonstrated in conformity to Christ (Romans 12–16)
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