New Testament Congregations
Romans to Jude
Introduction to Romans
Robert Haldane says of it, “The great truths which are embodied and inculcated in every other part of the Bible, are here brought together in a condensed and comprehensive form. More especially, the glorious doctrine of justification by faith is clearly unfolded and exhibited in the strongest light.”
William Tyndale said, “Forasmuch as this epistle is the principal part and most excellent part of the New Testament and most pure Evangelion…and also a light and a way into the whole Scripture.”
Background: The Book of Romans was written by Tertuis for Paul (Rom. 16:22) from Corinth (Rom. 16:23) on his way to Jerusalem to deliver financial gifts for the poor (Rom. 16:5,10,11,14,15). Phebe a servant of the congregation at Cenchrea delivered the letter to the congregations in Rome (16:1,23,27; 16:5,10,11,14,15).
Purposes for Writing:
They were a Gentile congregation under his Apostleship – “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” – Rom. 15:15-16
To explain his absence – 1:13; 15:19-22
To request prayer – 15:31
To explain why we need to preach the gospel – 1:18-3:23
To explain why justification must be by faith without works – 3:20-5:20
To explain why Christians cannot live like the devil – 6:1-8:27
To explain God’s purpose of grace for Gentiles and Israel – chs. 8:28-12:1
To explain the relationship of the Christian to the congregation, to the government, to the lost and to the weak – Rom. 12-15
The Theme: The Righteousness of God. The term “righteousness” and its forms are found 43 times in Romans. The term “gospel” is found 13 times
Peter and the congregations at Rome.
• If he had been in Rome at the writing of this epistle Paul would have greeted him with all the rest.
• If Peter had been to Rome at the time of Paul’s first imprisonment he would have mentioned Peter in his prison epistles when he sends greetings from those in Rome.
• If Peter had been to Rome at the time of his final imprisonment in Rome he would not have said
all in Rome had forsaken him – 2 Tim. 4:16-17
• In the fourth century introduction to the book of Romans, Ambrosiaster claimed that no apostle
originated the congregation at Rome but rather certain
Jewish Christians. Romans 15:20-22 seem to indicate
that no other apostle had yet come to Rome.
• If another Apostle had founded the congregation
at Rome Paul would have never said what he tells them in Rom. 15:20-22
Rom 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
Rom 15:21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
Rom 15:22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
How are we to account for traditions that say Peter built it?
The earliest traditions equally give Paul as a founder as well:
Ireaneus says that the congregation was “founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul….” – Irenaeus Against Heresies, Vol. 1, chap. III, numb. 2, p. 415
Traditions have been tampered with by apostate Rome (e.g. False Decredals)
Most likely it was founded by unknown disciples who had been converted, immersed and trained on the day of Pentecost and sent back to Rome by the congregation in Jerusalem (Acts 2:10,41-42). Peter had been influential in the founding of the congregation at Rome through Pentecost sermon. Paul had been influential through his epistle and imprisonments at Rome.
The Revelation of God’s Gospel – Rom. 1:1-17
The Revelation of God’s Wrath – Rom. 1:18-3:21
The Revelation of God’s Righteousness – Rom. 3:22-8:27
The Revelation of God’s Purpose – Rom.8:28-15:33
Final instructions and Salutations– Rom. 16