PARAGRAPH OUTLINE OF ROMANS
PART 1: AUTHOR’S PROLOGUE (1:1-17)
I. With the authority of an apostle, Paul wrote to the saints in Rome to make known the gospel about Jesus Christ and lead them to obedience of faith (1-6).
II. Paul’s view of those addressed was positive (7).
III. Paul wanted the Roman Christians to know that he was thankful for their good reputation and prayed for them at all times and wanted to visit them (8-10).
IV. He told the Romans that he had often planned to visit them and the Spirit had prevented him from coming to them (11-13).
V. Paul felt obligated to preach to all men, including those in Rome (14).
VI. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God to save through its message of a righteousness from God (15-16)
PART 2: RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD THROUGH FAITH (1:18-8:39).
THESIS: Although no one merits righteousness by his own works, God is able to save all who believe, both Jews and Gentile, through a righteousness given by God through Jesus Christ (1:16-17; cf. 3:21-26; 4:4-8; cf. 3:9-10, 23)
I. ALL MEN NEED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM GOD THAT COMES THRUGH FAITH, BOTH GENTILE AND JEW ALIKE, BECAUSE BOTH HAVE SINNED AND ARE WITHOUT A RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THEIR OWN All (1:18-3:20).
A. Gentiles need the righteousness from God because they have none of their own (1:18-32).
1. Gentiles are without excuse, because God made himself known to them, and they chose godlessness and wickedness (18-20).
2. Although they knew God, they refused to worship and glorify Him as God, but exchanged the glory of God for idols (21-23).
3. God gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts (24-25; cf. Eph. 2:3).
4. God gave them over to shameful lusts (26-27).
5. God gave them up to depraved minds (28-32).
B. The judgmental Jews are also sinners and need the righteousness that comes from God by faith (2:1-29).
1. “Israel” needs this righteousness from God that comes through faith because they commit the same sins the Gentiles commit (1-4).
2. Their stubbornness and impenitence demonstrates their lack of faith and places them under wrath (5-11).
3. Just having or hearing the law as the Jews had does not excuse them from the just judgment of God (2:12-16).
4. Just being called a Jew, having the law, and being a teacher is not enough to excuse anyone from the wrath of God that will be visited upon the disobedient (2:17-24).
5. Circumcision was of value only if the circumcised observed the law [perfectly] or were made righteous by God (2:25-27; cf. Gen. 17:9; Rom. 4:11).
6. A true Jew and true circumcised person is not one who is circumcised physically, but only one who has experienced the circumcision of the heart by the Spirit [whether circumcised or uncircumcised physically notwithstanding] (2:28, 29; cf. Phil. 3:3; Col. 2:11ff).
C. Since the Jews have been given the word of God, they have an advantage over the Gentiles, but not enough to be righteous without Christ (3:1-4).
D. God is not unjust in condemning sinners whose sins highlight the goodness of God (3:5-8; cf. 21-26).
E. Jews are not better than Gentiles in morals nor in their relationship to God, so Jew and Gentile alike are under sin and in need of righteousness (3:9-18).
F. The law says the above to those under the law–the Jews (19-20).
II. SINCE ALL MEN ARE SINNERS, THE ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS AVAILABLE IS FROM GOD THROUGH FAITH (I.E., NOT FROM YOURSELF OR BY KEEPING THE LAW), AND IT IS FOR ANYONE WHO COMES TO GOD THROUGH FAITH (3:21-5:21).
A. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but God is just in offering us righteousness through Christ as our atoning sacrifice (3:21-26).
D. Under the system of grace, we cannot boast about who we are [i.e., our racial origin] or about what we do [i.e., works that merit salvation] (3:27-31).
E. Abraham discovered that salvation is by faith and not by works (4:1-3).
F. David confirms that faith is credited as righteousness apart from works (4:4-8).
G. Abraham’s being saved by faith before he was circumcised is proof that the uncircumcised (i. e., non-Jew) can be saved by faith (4:9-12).
H. Salvation by the promise [i.e., through the seed] is not by law but by faith to Abraham and his spiritual children (4:13-15).
I. Therefore, the promised salvation is by faith so that it might be by grace and might be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offsprings (4:16-17).
J. Abraham’s case is proof that we must believe against that which seems natural and logical to man in order to be made righteous by faith (4:18-25).
K. Those who are justified by faith have peace, joy, and the love of God in our hearts (5:1-5)
L. Christ died for the powerless so that, if we believe, we could have power to overcome Satan (5:6-8).
M. Since we as believers have been justified by Christ’s blood, consider how much more we shall be saved from God’s wrath (5:9-11).
N. Sin and death entered the world and passed upon all through one man, Adam (5:12-14).
O. The gift of God by grace is much more than able to overcome the curse that entered by Adam’s sin (5:15-17).
P. Just as through the trespass of one man all were made sinners, through the obedience of Christ many will be made righteous (5:18-19).
Q. Although sin increased through the law, eternal life came through Christ and his grace (5:20-21).
III. THOSE MADE RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH SHOULD NOT CONTINUE IN SIN, BECAUSE AT BAPTISM WE WERE FREED FROM SLAVERY TO SIN, SET FREE FROM LEGAL SALVATION, AND GIVEN THE HOLY SPIRIT TO ENABLE US TO LIVE FOR GOD (6:1-8:39).
A. The righteousness from God requires that we no longer live in sin (6:1-23).
1. Christians should not go on sinning because they died to sin at baptism (6:1-4).
2. Christians are united with Christ in His death to sin and in His resurrection to life for God (6:5-7).
3. Since Christians have died with Christ, we should also live with [for] Him (6:8-10).
4. Christians should not let sin reign in our mortal bodies by using our bodies for sinful activity (6:11-14).
5. Since we are not under law but under grace, Christians should not live in sin (6:15-18).
6. If we serve Satan, we will reap the wage of death, but if we serve God, we will be given the free gift of eternal life (19-23).
B. Since law [i.e., a legal system of salvation] gives power to sin, we are dead to law [not under a legal system] so that we can be free from sin (7:1-25).
1. The law has authority over a man only as long as he lives (1-3).
2. Sin takes occasion and gains its strength through law; therefore, since Christians are free from the law, we are now free from the power of sin and able to live in the new way of the Spirit (7:4-6).
3. Although sin takes occasion through the law, the law is holy, righteous, and good; so sin is the enemy, not the law (7:7-12).
4. The law functioned to help sinful man to recognize sin and our need for Christ (7:13).
5. Because of the power of sin as a slave-master over those under law [a legal system], we sin without our consent and cannot be made righteous by law (7:14-20).
6. In man without Christ, the law of sin is so powerful that we cannot do what we want to do and do what we hate (7:21-25).
C. By the Holy Spirit that dwells in Christians, we are given power to overcome sin and live a life characterized by godliness (8:1-39). (Not only is sin weakened in its power because Christians are dead to the law (cf. ch. 7), but also the Christian are given power to overcome sin through the Holy Spirit that dwells in them.)
1. Since the law of the Spirit of life has set those in Christ free from the law of sin and death, there is no condemnation for those in Christ (8:1-4)
2. Those who are in the flesh (i.e., the ones not Christians or Christians who live in sin) cannot please God (8:5-8).
3. Through the in-dwelling Spirit, the Christian is made alive (8:9-11).
4. The Christian has an obligation to the Spirit, to live according to Him, but no obligation to the flesh, to live according to it (8:12-13).
5. Those led by the Spirit are the sons of God and heirs of God (8:14-17).
6. Our present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that we will experience when the whole creation and we are liberated from bondage to trouble (18-21).
7. The Spirit not only helps us with the internal struggle against sin, but also helps us with the external struggles caused by Satan (8:22-27).
8. Through the help of God, Christians are super victors over all that troubles us through the Christ who loved us (8:31-39).
PART 3: OBJECTIONS TO RIGHTEOUSNESS THROUGH CHRIST (9:1-11:36)
IV. IN ANSWER TO SOME OBJECTIONS OF THE JEWS ABOUT THE SALVATION OF SOME GENTILES AND THE REJECTION OF SOME JEWS, PAUL ARGUES THAT GOD IS NOT UNJUST, THE SCRIPTURE HAS NOT FAILED, AND JEWS CAN STILL BE SAVED IF THEY TURN TO GOD THROUGH CHRIST (9:1-11:36).
A. God has been true to His word and just toward the Jews; He has fulfilled His promise to save “Israel” (i.e., spiritual Israel or Christians), saving some Gentiles who believed and rejecting some Jews who did not (9:1-33).
1. Paul cared about his brothers in the flesh and had sorrow and anguish over lost Jews (9:1-5).
2. God had promised to bless Abraham’s children [“Israel” v. 4], but “not all who are descended from Israel are “Israel,” but “it is the children of the promise that are regarded as Abraham’s offsprings” (9:6-13).
3. Even if Jews could claim to be better than the Gentiles, both Jew and Gentile have sinned (3:10, 23). Therefore, since the Jews are equally sinners with the Gentiles, there is no injustice in God’s saving believing Gentiles as well as Jews by His mercy, and rejecting unbelieving Jews as well as unbelieving Gentiles (9:14-18; cf. vv. 30-32; 10:9-21).
4. The fact that God chooses to save Christians as He wills (and condemn those not Christians) does not take away man’s responsibility for being lost, because man makes the choice to be Christian or not (9:19-21).
5. God’s patience with the “objects of his wrath,” even Gentiles, shows His glory, patience, and mercy (24-26).
6. Isaiah also said that some of Israel would be lost (27-29).
a. He said that only a “remnant” of Israel would be saved (27-28).
b. He also said that if the Lord had not left descendants all Israel would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah (29).
7. The conclusion of the matter is that God acted justly and in harmony with His word when He saved the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness by their own merit, but obtained it by faith, and when He condemned the Jews who pursued a law of righteousness but did not obtain salvation because they did not pursue it by faith, but by their imperfect works (30-33).
B. Non-Christian Jews themselves are to blame for their rejection, not God nor Paul (10:1-21).
1. Neither God nor Paul caused Jews to be lost, but they rejected God’s plan of salvation by faith and sought to establish their own righteousness (10:1-4).
2. Having heard and understood the gospel message, the Jews Believed that the Messiah had not yet come and that Jesus had not been resurrected, the Jews depended on righteousness by the law and rejected Jesus and remained obstinate and disobedient (5-21).
C. Although God rejected unbelieving Jews; the rejection of Jews is neither total nor unchangeable (11:1-36).
1. Paul is a descendant of Abraham and is part of the remnant that God promised He would save, so God has not totally rejected His people, the Jews (11:1-6).
2. If salvation were by works, it could not be by grace; therefore, what Israel sought so earnestly (by works) and did not obtain, the elect (believers) did obtain (7-10).
3. The Jews did not fall beyond recovery, but God chose not to save them by the merit of being Jews so that the alternate plan of grace and faith could save non-Jews also (11-16).
4. Seeing that the pride of the Jews causes them to be cast off and Gentiles grafted in, the Gentiles were warned against pride and boasting (17-21).
5. God is both kind in extending mercy and grace to the faithful and stern in rejecting the unbelievers (22-24).
6. Just as Gentiles are saved by faith, “so all Israel” who are saved shall be saved by the same plan as Gentiles, Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins (25-27).
7. It is God’s plan that all men, Jew and Gentile, should be saved by His mercy; therefore, He bound all men over to disobedience so He could have mercy on them all (28-32).
8. God is worthy of glory forever because of the great and unsearchable wisdom He demonstrated in His plan for bringing both Gentiles and Jews to salvation through Christ (33-36).
PART 4: LIVING AS PEOPLE MADE RIGHTEOUS BY CHRIST (12:1-15:22)
V. GOD EXPECTS THOSE MADE RIGHTEOUS THROUGH FAITH TO LIVE SACRIFICIAL, HUMBLE, SUBMISSIVE, LAW-ABIDING, PEACE-LOVING, AND AND FAITHFUL LIVES (12:1-15:22).
A. Those made righteous through Christ are to live sacrificial, loving, godly, and serving lives (12:1-21).
1. In view of God’s mercy, it is reasonable for Christians to give ourselves as living sacrifices to God and not conform to the world (12:1-2).
2. Since our abilities are gifts from God, Christians should not be proud, but humble enough to use our gifts for God and respect others (3-8).
3. Love must be proven sincere by clinging to good, hating evil, honoring one another, and doing the work of God (9-16).
4. Instead of letting evil overcome us and cause us to seek vengeance, we should help our enemies in ways that it will cause our enemies to be converted (17-21).
B. A righteous person who walks in the Spirit obeys God ordained government and treats his neighbor well (13:1-14).
1. Christians must submit to government that operates according to God ordained standards of government (13:1-5).
2. Christians should pay taxes to support government [pay for government services] and give to everyone what he/she is due, even honor and respect (6-7).
3. We should let no debt remain unpaid, but the command to love comprehends all other commands, so we could never pay in full our debt to love (8-10).
4. Christians need to awake from slumber, set aside deeds of darkness, forsake sinful activities, and clothe ourselves with Jesus (11-14).
C. Since Christ, our only Lord, accepts us and makes us stand, Christians should remain united in spite of difficult and controversial matters: don’t condemn one another; don’t do anything that might cause others to stumble, and don’t do what you are convinced in your heart is wrong (14:1-23).
1. Brethren should not condemn and reject each other over disputable matters such as whether to eat meat or not (1-4).
2. Since we belong to the Lord and live and die unto Him, we should each be fully convinced in his/her own mind and not reject each other over special days (5-8).
3. We, the servants of God, must not presume to sit in judgment over other servants of God because each will answer to God (9-12).
4. We should be more concerned about not grieving or causing one another to stumble than about exercising our rights (13-18).
5. Christians must make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification and does not destroy the work of the Lord (19-21).
6. Regardless of what you believe on cultural or disputable matters, keep it between yourself and God, be faithful to your convictions, and do not force your views on others (22-23).
D. Through graceful treatment and acceptance of one another, as Christ accepts us through grace, we can promote unity among Christians with diverse backgrounds and varied understandings: understanding and application of God’s grace in the church brings peace, joy, and confidence about salvation (15:1-22).
1. The strong are obligated to be like Christ: sensitive to others and bear patiently and gently with the failures of the weak (1-4).
2. God will give us encouragement, a spirit of commitment, and unity (5, 6).
3. Christians, with all of our differences and frailties, should accept one another just as Christ accepts us (7-12).
4. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, trust in God produces peace, joy, and hope (13).
5. Because of having been well taught, faithful Christians were competent to instruct and counsel one another (14-16).
6. Servants of God can glory only in Jesus Christ for the good in them and for their salvation (17-22).
PART 5: CONCLUDING REMARKS–PAUL’S PLANS TO VISIT ROME AND PERSONAL GREETINGS (15:23-16:27)
I. Paul indicates that someone else established the church in Rome, but he had many friends there to greet and whom he wanted to visit (15:23-16:27)
A. Paul planned to come to Rome for a visit (23-29).
1. He had longed for many years to see the Romans (23).
2. He planned to see them on his trip to Spain (24).
3. He wanted them to assist him on his journey, after he enjoyed their company for a while (24).
B. When he wrote this letter, he was on his way to Jerusalem taking money from Macedonia and Achaia to the poor saints in Jerusalem (25-29).
II. Paul wanted the Christians in Rome to join him in his struggles (30-33).
A. He wanted them to aid him by praying for him (31).
1. He wanted them to pray that he would be rescued from unbelievers in Judea (31).
2. He wanted them to pray that his service in Jerusalem would be acceptable by the saints there (31).
B. He wanted to then visit them and be refreshed (32).
© 2004, Dr. Wm. T. (Bill) Lambert
Professor Emeritus – NT Literature and Interpretation
College of Bible and Religion