The book of Romans


Below is a skeleton outline of Romans.   After you have memorized this outline we will start to put some meat on the bones with exposition and memory verses.  The book of Romans is the most complete explanation of soteriology (doctrine of salvation) in the Bible.  It is the systematic Theology of the Bible.  William Tyndale said that Romans was a light and a way unto the whole Scripture.  Salvation has a very wide and comprehensive meaning in Scripture.  I define it as the work of God to remove and deliver all of His creation from the contamination and consequences of Sin.  This includes the material creation as well as mankind. “Forasmuch as this epistle is the principal and most excellent part of the new testament, and most pure evangelion, that is to say glad tidings and that we call gospel, and also a light and a way in unto the whole Scripture, I think it meet, that every Christian man not only know it by rote and without the book but also exercise himself therein evermore continually, as with the daily bread of the soul. No man verily can read it too often or study it too well: for the more it is studied the easier it is, the more it is chewed the pleasanter it is, and the more groundly it is searched the preciouser things are found in it, so great treasure of spiritual things lieth hid therein.[7]”  William Tyndale I recommend you read the below article on Tyndale. My recommendation is that you master the book of Romans. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “All words are pegs to hang ideas on.”   Here are  8 pegs upon which you can begin to hang your ideas.  Memorize them well.


  1. INTRODUCTION – 1:1-1:17
  2. CONDEMNATION –  1:18-3:20
  3. JUSTIFICATION –   3:21-5:21
  4. SANCTIFICATION – 6:1-8:10
  5. GLORIFICATION – 8:11-8:39
  6. EXPLANATION – 9:1-11:36




  1. APPLICATION – 12:1-16:20
  2. SALUTATION – 16:1-27  

Definitions are the Touchstone & Foundation of correct and accurate Biblical Theology.   There is nothing more practical than correct & accurate theology.

Romans is the key to the understanding of the rest of the Bible.  It is the most systematic theology of all the books of the Bible.  Romans is literally the systematic theology of the Bible.

Master the contents of Romans in order to secure the key for all Scriptural understanding.   First memorize each one of the key words for the eight sections of Romans. Then memorize the chapter and verse divisions for each section. 

Then memorize the definition of each of the theological words:  1) Condemnation, 2) Justification, 3) Sanctification, and 4) Glorification.  Memorize these definitions verbatim.

1.   Introduction to Romans

The book of Romans was not addressed to the Church at Rome, but was simply addressed to the saints that be in Rome. To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:”  Romans 1:7 (KJV).   The churches at Rome were probably small scattered groups of believers.  At this time, no official visit had been made by an Apostle.   The saints at Rome possibly became believers as a result of Jewish Messianic believers that returned from the Feast of Pentacost.

The letter to the Romans is introduction with the qualifications of the Apostle Paul.  He introduces himself as a “slave” of Jesus Christ, an Apostle, selected for the Gospel of God.  He further states the contents of his message: the promises of God to the Jewish people through God’s prophets of the coming Messiah.

The believers at Rome needed to be established in the doctrinal truth of the Good News of salvation.  This letter presents that most systematic theology of salvation in the Holy Scripture.   Paul probably believed this was necessary because no official Apostle had visited the Roman believers to establish them in clear doctrinal understanding.

Romans was written while Paul was in Corinth  “…most scholars would date Romans between A.D. 54 to 59, with a date of 55-56 being preferred.”1

“The consensus of the scholars who contributed to the New King James Version Study Bible say Romans was written in the fall of 57 AD by the Apostle Paul.”2

We know that Paul had a great desire to visit Rome in order to establish the believers there and also because Rome was the center of the civilized world at that time.  Rome was a strategic city for the spread of the Gospel.  Paul states his desire to visit but also states that he has not been able to visit Rome up to the present time.   Paul did get to Rome but not in the way he had planned.   He went there in chains.

Paul was confident that the Gospel of God would have power for salvation even in this proud and illustrious city.  Apparently, there had been Messianic believers already in Rome as early as the reign of Claudius Caesar.  Claudius had expelled some Jews from Rome because of some Jewish quarrel over one named Chrestus.  

“…Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.”  Acts 18:2 (KJV)

According to Wikipedia only some Jews were expelled from Rome but not all.3

 Many scholars believe that this was a conflict between traditional Jews and Messianic believers over the person of Jesus Christ.

During the time of the early Church Messianic Jews were persecuted by traditional unbelieving Jews.  The book of Hebrews was probably written by Paul to Messianic Jews that were suffering from persecution from traditional Jews.   Traditional Jews accused Messianic Jews of being traitors.   This type persecution continued up until the time of Bar Kokhba in (132–136 CE) A.D. when Bar Kokhba fomented a second Jewish war.   At that time Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians separated.  Gentile Christians did not want to be associated with Messianic Jews because Rome did not consider there to be any difference between Messianic Jews and traditional Jews.  Gentile Christians did not want to be consider rabble-rousers and contentious people.   From that time on Christianity took on a decidedly Gentile flavor and even became somewhat anti-semitic.  Because of Bar Kokhba Christianity took a serious bend toward being Gentilized.   All of this deviation culimated in Christianity being made a legal religion under Constantine and “In 395, Emperor Theodosius made Christianity Rome’s new state religion.”5  This joining of the Church and State continued until the Reformation and even beyond.

The theme of Romans is clearly stated in Romans 1:17 “the righteous of God”.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:16-17 (KJV)


2. Condemnation is a judicial, legal, forensic act of God whereby He declares the sinner guilty and worthy of punishment.  Condemnation is not the punishment itself, but is simply the declaration of guilt.   Condemnation is a term that is equal and opposite to Justification.

15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.   Prov 17:15 (KJV)

   Just like in the human court system once a person has been declared guilty, there will be a later sentencing of the guilty person based on his degree of guilt.   In the case of capital crimes that person will be held in prison until his sentence is actually carried out.   

According to Holy Scripture all men are already declared guilty if they do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but their sentencing will take place at the Great White throne Judgment to determine the degree of their guilt and their punishment.   No one that appears before the Great White Throne Judgment is innocent.   This judgment is just to determine the degree of guilt and determine the degree of punishment.

Jesus said,

18 He that believeth on him (Jesus Christ) is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:18 (KJV)

Everyone that has not believed on Jesus Christ is condemned already because he has not believed in God’s provision for their sin.

36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  John 3:36 (KJV)


Jesus said that unbelief is sin.    9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;  John 16:9 (KJV)

Romans 1:18-3:20 clearly shows that all men a condemned: all Gentiles and all Jews.

3. Justification by faith was the doctrine that created the Reformation.   It is one of the most important doctrines, if not the most important doctrine, to understand.

Memorize this definition:    Justification is the judicial, legal, forensic act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous or in right standing with Himself based solely on the death of Jesus Christ for the payment of sins.  

Notice first of all that it is a judical, legal, forenic act of God.  It does not make any actual character changes in the person justified.  Note secondly that it is a legal declaration.   This act of justification is not an impartation of righteousness into you.  It is an imputation of righteousness to your account on the books of God in Heaven.  In justification you are not made righteous, you are counted as righteous in the eyes of God because of Jesus Christ’s payment for your sin.  To use the word “made” implies a change in your character which is not true of the act of justification.  When a person truly believes on Jesus Christ for his salvation God immediately justifies him.  We have included three lengthy articles on Justification by excellent scholars Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, and Jonathan Edwards.

Does God therefore make no changes in that believing sinner?  Yes, indeed God does make essential changes in the believing sinner.  But that is another work of God call regeneration or commonly called “born again”.   God gives the believing sinner a new nature which is the work of regeneration.  When God justifies the believing sinner He is not satisfied to leave him in his sinful condition.   At that very point there are a number of things that God does for the believing sinner.

Also, immediately at the time a person receives Jesus Christ as Saviour, the Holy Spirit of God comes into his life to indwell and empower him in his Christian life.  This indwelling is a permanent thing and takes place immediately upon receiving Jesus Christ.

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.                      Eph 1:13-14 (ESV)

At the same moment that the believing sinner accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord God begins the work of sanctification in him.   The full work of salvation has three aspects: 1) Justification, 2) Sanctification, and 3) Glorification.   But the moment a person believes on Jesus Christ he receives eternal life (John 3:36).   Someone has put it this way.   There are three tenses to our salvation:  1) Past tense – We have been saved from the Penalty of sin– hell, 2)Present tense – We are being saved from the Power of sin, and 3) future tense – We will be saved from the Presence of sin.  These three works of God are the doctrines of salvation: 1) Justification, 2) Sanctification, and                    3) Glorification.

4. Sanctification (progressive)

Our whole Christian life will be a work of sanctification.  Sanctification means to be dedicated and set apart to God.   The word sanctify does not mean to be sinless.   There are several words that come from the Greek root word, “hagios”: 1) holy, 2) holiness, 3) saint, 4) sanctify, and 5) sanctification.   A saint is one who has been “selected and set apart”by God.  He is not sinless but he is “set apart” for God.  He is special to God.  This work of sanctification is probably not completed in this life.   But a person can become fully mature as a Christian in this life.  The word translated “perfect” in the King James version is a word in the Greek that means “mature or of full age.”    It does not mean “sinless perfection.”   Unfortunately, many people do not understand this.  If a person is mature he will not be sinless but he will sin less and less.

5. Glorification is the final act of God whereby He totally perfects us into the likeness of Jesus Christ and gives us new Immortal bodies.   At this point we will no longer be able to sin.  That is truly glorious.  However, until that time we must battle against sin in ourselves and in the World.

Your are also permanently secure in Jesus Christ.   You eternal life is a free gift and it is forever.  Jesus said,

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.  John 10:27-30 (KJV)

However, there is another aspect to your salvation.   God rewards those who serve him faithfully in this life.   Rewards are received for faithful service as a Christian.  Rewards are received for works performed for Jesus Christ.   While eternal life is totally free by grace, through faith, in Christ alone,  rewards are based on a faithful life of serve and good works.  Good works are motivated by a love for God and are things clearly  marked out in the Holy Scriptures as good works.  Christian’s faithfulness and rewards will be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  No truly regenerate person will appear before the Great White Throne Judgment, but all will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to give an account of their Christian life.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  1 Cor 3:11-15 (KJV)

 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  Romans 14:12 (KJV)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.   2 Cor 5:10 (KJV)

Evangelizing the lost is truly a good work which God has commanded all Christians to do.  Evangelization is presenting the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  To evangelize does not mean that we have to actually win a person to Christ.   We just have to proclaim the Good News.  Some will believe and some will not believe.  But we have done the work of God when we do what he said, “Proclaim the Good News!”

Success is obeying his command to proclaim the Good News to every creature. Mark 16:15

Because I thought the book of Romans was so valuable I took two formal courses on the book:  One in college and one in Seminary.   Then I memorized the first eight chapters of Romans which is the doctrinal section.

An explanation of the 3 remaining parts (6. Explanation, 7. Application, and 8. Salutation) of Romans will be added later.  We so far have cover the doctrinal sections of Romans.

  Rev. Thomas L. Clark –  773-934-0592



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