Introduction to Romans


Author, Recipients, and Date

The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome. He probably did this while he was in Corinth on his third missionary journey, in A.D. 57 (Acts 20:2–3).


In the cross of Christ, God judges sin and at the same time shows his saving mercy.


Paul wrote Romans to unite the Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome in the gospel. He also wanted the church in Rome to become the base of operations from which he could proclaim the gospel in Spain (15:22–24). The ultimate goal of preaching the gospel is the glory of God (11:33–36). Paul longs for the Gentiles to become obedient Christians for the sake of Christ’s name (1:5).

Key Themes

  1. All people are sinners and need to be saved from their sin (1:18–3:20; 5:12–19).
  2. The Mosaic law is good and holy, but only Christ can remove sin and overcome its power (2:12–29; 3:9–20; 5:20; 7:1–25; 9:30–10:8).
  3. Through the righteousness of God, sin is judged and salvation is provided (3:21–26; 5:12–19; 6:1–10; 7:1–6; 8:1–4).
  4. With the coming of Jesus Christ, a new age of redemptive history has begun (1:1–7; 3:21–26; 5:1–8:39).
  5. The atoning death of Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan of salvation (3:21–26; 4:23–25; 5:6–11, 15–19; 6:1–10; 7:4–6; 8:1–4).
  6. Justification is by faith alone (1:16–4:25; 9:30–10:21).
  7. Those who are in Christ Jesus have a sure hope of future glory (5:1–8:39).
  8. By the power of the Holy Spirit, those who have died with Christ live a new life (2:25–29; 6:1–7:6; 8:1–39).
  9. God is sovereign in salvation. He works all things according to his plan (9:1–11:36).
  10. God fulfills his promises to both Jews and Gentiles (1:18–4:25; 9:1–11:36; 14:1–15:13).
  11. Because of God’s grace, Christians should be morally pure, should show love to their neighbors, should be good citizens, and should welcome their fellow believers into fullest fellowship (12:1–15:7).


  1. The Gospel as the Revelation of God’s Righteousness (1:1–17)
  2. God’s Righteousness in His Wrath against Sinners (1:18–3:20)
  3. The Saving Righteousness of God (3:21–4:25)
  4. Hope as a Result of Righteousness by Faith (5:1–8:39)
  5. God’s Righteousness to Israel and to the Gentiles (9:1–11:36)
  6. God’s Righteousness in Everyday Life (12:1–15:13)
  7. The Extension of God’s Righteousness through Paul’s Mission (15:14–16:23)
  8. Final Summary of the Gospel of God’s Righteousness (16:25–27)

The Setting of Romans

c. A.D. 57

Paul probably wrote Romans from Corinth during his third missionary journey (Acts 20:2–3). Rome was the epicenter of the powerful Roman Empire, ruling over many of the great ancient centers of Western civilization. Paul had established the church at Corinth during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1–11).

The Setting of Romans