Thursday, August 7, 2014

An Introduction to the New Testament (Session 8 - Paul’s Letter to the Romans)

You may listen to a podcast of this session at PodBean.

During this session, we considered Paul letter to the Romans.

Considering Paul’s Letter to the Romans 

Paul probably wrote this letter about A.D. 57 to a congregation that he was planning to visit in the future.

The Roman congregation would seem to be gentile that was having to deal with an influx of Jews and Jewish Christians into the city. Mention the following and ask the related questions:
  • Emperor Claudius expelled Jewish from Rome in AD 40s.
  • Nero lifts the ban after Claudius dies in AD 54.
The thesis of Romans is 1:14-15, which is explained in this material that follows. Remember, Paul used γαρ/for to provide answers to implied questions.
  • 1:14-15:  I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish—hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 
  • 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 
  • 1:17: For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” 
  • 1:18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 
  • 1:19: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 
  • 1:20-23: [For] ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
Outside of an opening and ending, the letter can be divided into two parts:
  • Theology (“what”) – The Human Condition (1:24–3:20); God’s Response to the Human Condition (3:21–8:39); How the Response Relates to the Jews and the Gentiles (9:1–11:36)
  • Ethic (“so what”) - 12:1–15:13
In explaining God’s response, Paul will define some concepts important in his theology. They include the following:
  • The nature of righteousness and salvation
  • The meaning of the cross
  • The role of the Holy Spirit

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