Romans 1:1-6

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 5, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

As I wrote about last week, starting this week we’ll be spending all of 2015 writing through the book of Romans. To start off, this week we’re writing on Romans 1:1-6:

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”

When reading any book, it’s helpful to know who the author is and what kind of perspective he or she is writing from. Many books have an “About the Author” section, where the reader is given at least a brief biography of the author. The book of Romans only gives a brief introduction of its, author however. From this we know that the apostle Paul wrote the book, and that he was “called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” But who is this guy?

Much more of Paul’s story is recorded in the book of Acts. He used to be known as Saul rather than Paul, but he changed his name after his life-altering conversion to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. Saul was a member of the Pharisees, the religious rulers of the Jewish people. The Pharisees didn’t like Jesus, because He showed them the errors of their ways and how they weren’t really following what God wanted but rather what they wanted. Saul’s mission at the time was to seek out and kill the first Christians, the ones who followed Jesus’ teachings, because the Pharisees believed they were a threat to the Jewish religion. We know from Acts 7 that Saul was even present at the stoning of Stephen, the first recorded person to die for the Christian faith.

So knowing that, why is this same guy writing a letter about the gospel of God to the Roman people? In Acts 9:1-22, he had a dramatic conversion experience that totally changed his life. I encourage you go to read about it. Now known as Paul, it became his sole mission in life to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and God’s Kingdom. Paul and Peter were the two main leaders of the early church; Peter’s primary mission was to share the gospel with the Jews, while Paul’s primary mission was to share the gospel with the Gentiles (everyone who isn’t a Jew).

This book of Romans is actually a letter, written by Paul to the church in Rome. Scholars are pretty certain that this letter was written in the year 57 A.D., while Paul was on his 3rd missionary journey. At this point, Paul has been preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ for almost 25 years, so he has an opportunity to reflect on what he believes.

We don’t know much today about the church in Rome, which Paul was writing to. Paul didn’t specifically found it, but it can be presumed that it was founded by some who were in Jerusalem for Pentecost in Acts 2, where “visitors from Rome” are mentioned in 2:10. The church in Rome would have likely been made up of both Jews and Gentiles, so there was probably tension existing between the two groups, as evidenced from what Paul writes later in this letter.

Paul’s introduction to this letter to the Romans in 1:1-6 (above) focuses mainly on Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is Paul’s sole focus in life! We at Worldview Warriors have written previously on who Jesus is, why Jesus matters, and why He is the only way to heaven. Jesus is what it’s all about! As Paul says, it is through Jesus Christ that we received grace that we did not deserve. We are all called to be a part of this mission because we belong to Jesus Christ.

Paul’s letter to the church in Rome has many themes to it and covers much of the beliefs of the Christian faith, and I invite you to come along on this journey with us as we dig into the letter this year!