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Romans Run-down

Romans is the longest of the “Pauline Epistles” (letters written by St Paul to young churches) in the Bible but none of it is padding. For the cluster group meeting I attended tonight, we were going to study chapter 16 following on from having done the previous chapters before the summer break, so I offered to give a quick summary.

You could condense it down the single word, “righteous” but perhaps it is more helpful to break it into three main sections. Chapters 1-8 give a doctrine of salvation, explaining how we get from sin to sanctification through Jesus. Chapters 9-11 could then be seen as moving to examine a doctrine of God’s sovereignty, particularly the past election, present rejection and future restoration of the Jewish people. Finally, chapters 12-16 move to application – the responsibilities and liberty of Christian believers.

When studying chapter by chapter, I found the middle section hardest to work through but, looking back, I can see how integral it is to the whole. For example, chapter 4 is also all about Jewish heritage (Abraham) while chapter 11 explores the idea of being grafted into Christ, which is a potent image of what it means to be “in Christ” (another essential theme of Paul’s message).

Anyway, that is my potted summary. Tomorrow, I will type up my chapter by chapter run through, picking out a key verse or theme from each chapter of the letter.

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