Hello again, Friends!
Well, here we are. We’ve finally arrived at chapter one, and let me say right off the bat, thanks for being here. I am not exaggerating when I say that by making the decision to go through the book of Romans we are embarking on one of the greatest journeys a human being can ever undertake.
Now, because of the magnitude and scope of this book, doing a study on it can be very intimidating. (See the first blog in this series – How to Eat an Elephant)
As alluded to there, one of the keys to understanding this book is to very slowly, one bite at a time if you will, go through it. This is one book that really rewards patience. So as we jump into our study, let’s begin getting the big picture of chapter one. We’ll do this by pointing out five things to keep an eye out for as we go through it.
But first, click on this link and take about 5 minutes to read or listen to chapter one.
Now, hopefully you’ve got your coffee, tea, or beverage of choice and are nice and relaxed and ready to start digging in 🙂
5 things to look for in Chapter One
1. There are three main sections to this chapter
- Verses 1-7 cover Paul’s introduction, in which he immediately starts the epistle off with fireworks by declaring some of the deepest truths in Scripture. This section is so dense with truth that the great British Preacher Martyn Lloyd Jones did 12 full messages (approximately 45 minutes apiece) on these 7 verses alone! If you want to go deeper you can listen to any one of his 366 messages on Romans here.
- Verses 8-17 has Paul beginning to directly address the people who make up the church at Rome. He explains that he has longed to visit them, but up until now he’s been prevented from doing so. It’s in these verses that Paul makes the statement “the righteous will live by faith” that almost 1500 years later penetrate the Catholic Monk, Martin Luther’s heart and become the rallying cry of the Reformation that would radically change Western Civilization forever.
- Verses 18-32 – In some of the strongest language in all the Bible, Paul begins to make the case that there is no person – past, present, or future (apart from Jesus himself) – that has ever attained righteousness. Pagans, Jews, Moralists, Religious, Non-Religious. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, masterfully begins to prove that regardless of how somebody may characterize themselves, and regardless of how they may attempt to be acceptable to God – Whatever method they may use, they cannot obtain righteousness on their own.
2. Paul’s personal Mission Statement in verse 1 drives everything he does and is a good “template” for us as well
In verse one Paul first calls himself a slave of Christ Jesus. He then lays out that he’s a “called apostle”. He knows what he’s supposed to be doing with his life. Finally he’s “separated for the gospel of God”. Everything he is and does flows back to The Message for which he will spend his life.
3. Christ is fully God and fully Man
The theological term is the Hypostatic Union, which literally means “the personal union” of Jesus’ two natures. This is at the same time, very easy to understand and yet profound at a level beyond comprehension.
4. Jesus; Christ; Lord
Understanding these three titles of the Son of God is essential to living a full and balanced Christian life.
5. To fully appreciate the very good news contained in the gospel, you have to understand the very bad news
All of mankind is subject to the wrath of God. This is not a popular sentiment these days, but popularity has no bearing on truth. What’s popular today may not be popular tomorrow, but truth will always be true.
So there are five to get us started and get us thinking about this chapter. There is plenty more we will be considering, but for now, these should get our juices flowing and our mind and hearts going in the right direction.
Questions for Reflection
1. Why are you going through the book of Romans? Do you have any expectations on what you hope it will accomplish in your life?
2. Have you ever thought about modeling a personal mission statement for yourself based on Paul’s introduction of himself in verse 1?
That’s it for today. Thanks as always for stopping by 🙂
Until next time my prayer is that God will continue to bless you and yours!