• What is it?
    • Romans contains letters from Paul to the churches of Rome.
    • The church of Rome had existed for a long time and was made up of Jews and Gentiles.  Emporor Claudius had banished the Jews from the church for 5 years.  When the Jews returned there was a split between Gentiles and Jews in how they should follow Jesus and practice their faiths. Paul’s letters were an attempt to explain his faith and unite the Jews and the Gentiles into one faith worshippng Jesus. Paul hoped the Roman churches could become a staging ground to enable Paul to expand the church into Spain and beyond.
    • Romans is structured as follows:
      • Books 1-4: Revealing God’s Righteousness
      • Books 5-8: Creating a New Humanity
      • Books 9-11: Fulfilling God’s Promise to Israel
      • Books 12-16: Unifying the Church
  • Chapter 1 Summary:
    • Paul explains the Good News about Jesus and how he prays to visit others and share his faith.
    • Paul explains in a letter his obligation to educate and be educated and that he is not ashamed of the Good News of Christ.
    • Paul explains how people can see evidence of God through everything God has made. Because of this people have no excuse to not worship God.
    • Unfortunately people traded the truth about God for following their own personal desires (1:25).
    • People abandoned God so God abandoned them, enabling them to indulge in whatever they like. The people quickly fell into sin (including homosexuality). Their lives were filled with sin because of this.
    • The people know that God’s justice requires those that do follow His laws are condemned. Despite this knowledge the people continued sinning and and encouraged others to sin also. They loved their sins more than they loved God. 
  • Shared Judeo-Christian Tradition: Paul, like other early Christians, drew upon the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the developing oral traditions of early Christianity. Concepts like God’s wrath, human sinfulness, and the importance of righteousness were already present in this shared tradition.
  • Focus and Emphasis: While core concepts might be present in earlier writings, Paul’s unique contribution might lie in his emphasis, application, and development of those ideas. In Romans 1, Paul seems to be:
    • Systematically laying out his understanding of sin and salvation: Romans is considered Paul’s most systematic theological work.
      • In Romans 1, Pauk establishes the universality of sin and the need for God’s intervention.
    • Addressing a Gentile audience: Romans is likely directed at a church in Rome with both Jewish and Gentile members. Paul might be explaining concepts familiar to Jews in a way that resonates with Gentiles.
  • Scholarly Opinions on Romans 1’s Novelty:
    • Some scholars argue that Paul presents a more developed concept of God’s wrath in Romans 1 compared to earlier writings. Here, Paul emphasizes God’s righteous judgment against those who suppress the truth.
    • Others argue that the core ideas in Romans 1 are found elsewhere, but Paul’s way of weaving them together and building his theological case is what makes it unique.

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