January Blogging - Romans

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Another one of my difficult books of the Bible is Romans, so I've decided to attack it head-on right off this year. Rather than attempting to dig through it in one month, I'm going to spread this out through January and February.

Paul was writing to Christians who were living in Rome. In the middle part of the first century, there were approximately 40,000 - 50,000 Jews who lived there. Inscriptions from Jewish catacombs tell of possibly ten to thirteen synagogues from the first century. Christians would have come from these Jewish communities since they had yet to split away from Judaism and were still considered a Jewish sect. Paul also wrote this letter to the Gentile Christians who lived there, as evidenced by several things he said. For instance, in the opening of his letter, he writes, "Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:5-6).

There are two purposes for the letter. The first is to offer a better understanding of the Gospel. This letter is an apologetic letter ... it explains the Gospel itself, not the person of the Gospel. The second purpose comes from Romans 15:18-24, 28. This letter is about being a missionary to the Gentiles. He believed that Christ had already accomplished great things through him in leading Gentiles to God and that the next steps would be even greater. There is every probability this letter was sent to Rome to encourage them to act as a base and support for the mission that would "preach the gospel where Christ was not known" (Romans 15:20).

I will dig into Romans 1-8 during the month of January and then finish Roman 9-16 in February. I look forward to learning what God has to teach through this letter.