A Basic Structure for Romans

This term our church is in it’s 4th year of taking 10 weeks (term 2) to slowly move through Romans. So, for our first bible study, rather than picking up in Romans 13 straight away, we did a basic overview of the whole book.

It seemed to work pretty well. I’ve taken a certain view of Romans that assumes Paul has got two audiences in mind (See P.Barnett’s “Why Paul Wrote Romans” RTR 2003). And therefore, each chunk of Romans makes the same point for everyone at Rome, before explaining it again with particular reference for the Jews in Rome.

  • Romans 1:1-17 : Introduction: the Gospel as the Power of God
  • Romans 1:18-3:19 : No-one is Righteous
    • 1:18-2:16 No-one is Righteous… Not the Gentiles
    • 2:17-3:20 No-one is Righteous… Not even the Jews
  • Romans 3:21-4:25 : God Righteously Forgives through Faith in Christ
    • 3:21-31 God Righteously Forgives All through Faith
    • 4:1-25 God Righteously Forgives even the Jews through Faith
  • Romans 5 : God’s Salvation is Certain and Assured
    • 5:1-11 Salvation from sin’s punishment (for all)
    • 5:12-21 Salvation from the law’s punishment (for the sake of the Jews)
  • Romans 6-7 : Jesus is the new Lord in our Salvation
    • 6:1-23 Jesus is our new Lord over life and death (for all)
    • 7:1-25 Jesus replaces the law of sin and death (for the Jew)
  • Romans 8-11 : Nothing will stop God’s Promise to Save his Elect
    • 8:1-39 Nothing will stop God’s plans (for all)
    • 9:1-11:36 Nothing will stop God’s plans (for the Jews)
  • Romans 12-15:13 : God’s Mercy calls for new lives
    • 12:1-13:14 God’s Grace calls his people to love all people
    • 14:1-15:13 God’s Grace calls his people to love – even to love the Jews
  • Romans 15:14-16:27 : Final Greetings and Instructions






Groundhog Day Christians – reliving the same Christian questions over and over again

This was an idea that came up as we looked through Romans 12. Paul describes Christians as those who, through offering their lives and being transformed by the renewing of their mind, they would know God’s will.
Some Christians though, never seem to plod their way towards this (aren’t we all plodding towards this?!) There are some who are still thinking though the same issues they were thinking through years ago. They are still making the same silly mistakes they made at uni. Again and again they fall into the trap of taking on a new career, just because the pay was good, and now they’re realising that it’s taking more time away from ministry and family and evangelism. They commit to things with their kids, and only realise later that it means they need to cut their growth group attendance – just like they did when they were at uni – and they vowed never to make that mistake again.
It’s like they’re baby Christians making baby Christians decisions year after year after year. They still haven’t made efforts to tell their non-Christian friends about Jesus, they still haven’t started giving, they still haven’t made personal bible reading a priority.
So, we keep teaching the bible, prayerfully. Hoping the spirit will transform their mind and help them be living sacrifices who know their father’s will.