New Testament Survey: Acts to Revelation - Lesson 27

Romans - Integrity

The outline of Paul's letter to the Romans indicates his understanding of the fundamental concepts of the gospel.

Robert Stein
New Testament Survey: Acts to Revelation
Lesson 27
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Romans - Integrity

Lesson Twenty-seven: Romans

Part 2

II. Integrity of the Letter

A. Problems

B. Suggestions

C. Outline of the Letter

  • Acts was written by the same person that wrote the Gospel of Luke and continues where Luke left off with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

  • Luke wrote as a historian and includes details related to geography, political leaders and navigational terms. He was also an eyewitness and acquainted with eyewitnesses of events recorded in Acts.

  • Luke's purpose in writing Acts was give an orderly historical account of events surrounding Christ's ascension, the first followers of Christ and the spread of the early Church.

  • Acts 1:8 is the theme verse for the whole book. The structure of the book of Acts shows how this theme was fulfilled by recording events relating the spread of the gospel geographically.

  • At first, the early Church was made up mostly of Jews who continued to live a Jewish lifestyle.

  • Two events in the early Church were the choosing of an apostle to take the place of Judas Iscariot, and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

  • The elements of conversion in the New Testament are repentance, faith, confession, regeneration and baptism.

  • Many of the early Christians spoke Greek and Aramaic. Stephen was one of the first deacons and was martyred for his faith.

  • The apostle Paul's background as a Jew, training as a Pharisee, and Roman citizenship had a significant influence in his ministry and writings.

  • Paul had a dramatic conversion experience as he was traveling on the road to Damascus.

  • After Paul's conversion, on some areas of his theology his positions stayed the same, and on some areas his positions changed dramatically.

  • Many of the events related to Paul's life and ministry are recorded in the book of Acts.

  • The conversion of Cornelius and Peter's vision were important events in emphasizing the inclusion of Gentiles into the early Church.

  • The church at Antioch sent out Paul, Barnabas and John Mark to preach the gospel. This was Paul's first missionary journey.

  • The Jerusalem Council was a meeting of the early Church leaders to decide how to include Gentiles Christians into what had, up to this point, been a predominantly Jewish Christian group.

  • Barnabas and John Mark went to Cyprus and Paul and Silas went through Asia Minor, then to Macedonia and Greece.

  • Some of the letters from Paul in the New Testament are to an individual and some are to congregations. The letters are written in a form that includes the same general elements in the same order.

  • A main theme of 1 Thessalonians is the second coming of Christ.

  • Paul addresses some issues regarding the second coming of Christ, such as being responsible to work and support yourself in the meantime.

  • On his third missionary journey, Paul spent most of his time in Ephesus.

  • Paul defends his apostleship and explains that the foundation of our relationship with God is based on faith, not works.

  • Paul begins by defending his apostleship. He then explains justification by faith and gives some ethical exhortations. (The lecture does not cover points C. Ethical Exhortations (5:1-6:10) and D. Conclusion (6:11-18), but we included the outline points for your benefit.)

  • Most people agree that Paul wrote both letters to the Corinthians. He answered questions from people in the Corinthian church and addressed problems that had arisen.

  • In 1 Corinthians, Paul emphasizes unity and diversity in the body of Christ, and responds to questions about marriage, spiritual gifts and the Lord's Supper.

  • Paul defends his actions and apostleship and encourages the people in the church in Corinth to contribute to his collection for the poor in Jerusalem.

  • The content of Paul's letter to the church in Rome was shaped by the ethnic background of the congregation and the challenges they were facing at that time.

  • The outline of Paul's letter to the Romans indicates his understanding of the fundamental concepts of the gospel.

  • Paul wrote Romans from the perspective of his calling as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

  • Paul begins Romans by stating the problem of sin and enumerating a few specific sins. His conclusion in chapter 3 is that both the Jews and the Gentiles are under the wrath of God.

  • The divine remedy to the problem of sin and separation from God is justification by a righteous God.

  • The results of God's righteousness include, peace, hope, freedom, living in the Spirit and assurance.

  • Paul was arrested in the Temple in Jerusalem, went on trial in Caesarea, and was transported to Rome and imprisoned awaiting trial before Caesar.

  • A major theme in the book of Philippians is joy in times of adversity.

  • In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the preeminence and supremacy of Christ.

  • Imperative is always based on the indicative.

  • Most scholars agree that Ephesians was written by the apostle Paul, partly because the content follows an outline that is similar to other letters attributed to him that are contained in the New Testament.

  • In Ephesians, Paul emphasizes who we are in Christ and the mystery of the gospel.

  • Paul writes to Philemon about how Philemon should receive his runaway slave Onesimus, who has become a committed disciple of Christ under Paul's influence and is returning to him.

  • Luke does not record the details of Paul's death in the book of Acts.

  • The best argument is for Pauline authorship, possibly with the help of a secretary.

  • Two themes in 1 Timothy are the role and requirements for bishops and elders, and the role of women in ministry.

  • Paul gives instructions to Titus who is a pastor in Crete.

  • Paul gives instruction to Timothy, who is a young pastor.

  • It is unclear who wrote the book of Hebrews.

  • A major theme in Hebrews is the supremacy of Christ. There are also passages that emphasize that perseverance is essential.

  • According to James, true faith results in works.

  • The apostle Peter wrote this letter to encourage Christians to be faithful during a time of suffering.

  • Themes in 1 Peter include the atonement, the new birth and the continuity of the Old and New Testaments.

  • Some people question whether or not 2 Peter was written by the apostle Peter.

  • Themes in 2 Peter include false teachers and the return of the Lord.

  • 1 John is similar to the Gospel of John in style, vocabulary, theology and purpose.

  • John makes a distinction between acts of sin and continuing in sin.

  • Jesus came as God in the flesh and offers us the gift of eternal life.

  • Revelation is a book written in an apocalyptic genre by the apostle John.

  • The philosphy of interepretation you use when you study the book of Revelation determines what you think specific passages in the book are teaching.

  • Chapters 1-12 begins with the seven churches, and includes the seven seals and seven trumpets.

  • Revelation chapters 13-22 focus on the beast, Christ's final victory, final judgment and the millenium.

  • After Christ ascended and the church was spreading, it was helpful to have a written record of Christ's life and the apostles' teaching. All the books included in the New Testament were written before the end of the first century.

  • Each book included in the New Testament had to meet specific criteria. They are arranged with the Gospels first, then letters, then the book of Revelation.

In this second graduate-level class on New Testament Survey, Dr. Robert Stein walks you through the New Testament books Acts through Revelation. In his analysis of the books, you will learn not only the facts but also be challenged with their theological and spiritual significance.


One of the problems that this letter has involves the situation of chapter 16. Paul writes to 28 people in the church at Rome; but he’s never visited the church in Rome. How in the world does he know 28 people in a church he has never visited? Some have suggested therefore that some of these people (like Priscilla and Aquila) we have read of being in the city of Ephesus. You have a reference here to Epaenetus in v. 5, who was the first convert in Asia, which is Ephesus. What’s he doing in Rome, when it seems that he should be in Ephesus?

Some have suggested that perhaps two copies of this letter were made – one that went to Rome, and another that went to Ephesus, and chapter 16 and all these greetings were added to that [Ephesus] letter. It is interesting to note, however, that when Paul writes letters to churches that he’s established he doesn’t give personal greetings in them. On the other hand, there is one other letter that he writes to a church that he did not personally found. In Colossians 1:3-4, it’s evident that Paul has never been at Colossae, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus.” You don’t hear about a person’s faith if you helped ground that faith. And then he says, concerning the grace of God (v. 7), that they “…learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant.” And he continues in v. 9, “So from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will ….” Again, he says that he “has heard” these things.

So, Ephesus is a church that he established and he writes to, but he doesn’t give greetings. Corinth is a church he established; he doesn’t give a list of greetings like this. In the letters to Thessalonica and Philippi there are not long lists like this. But when you get to the end of Colossians, you do find a listing of names. Starting in 4:15, “Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, ‘See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.’” So he writes to a church and there he specifically singles out people he knows, and sends greetings to them. So it may very well be, then, that Paul writes these additions to a church that he has not visited intentionally; whereas to a church that he has visited, it doesn’t seem to be his tendency to do that.

You also have to remember that Jews, for instance, that had been expelled from Rome would most likely have returned, especially if they owned houses and things of this nature. So Jews returning back again would provide opportunity for Paul (who had met Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth and Ephesus, for instance) to send greetings now that they’ve gone back. This would also tie his relationship to that church in some way.

Some have suggested that Priscilla & Aquila’s greeting here seems to argue in favor of his having written this chapter 16 to Ephesus because in chapter 16 of 1 Corinthians that’s where they are located, (v. 19), “The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings ….” So, when Paul writes 1 Corinthians from Ephesus, Aquila & Priscilla are there, and they send greetings because they had been there originally. When they were kicked out of Rome, they came first to the city of Corinth and established their relationship with the church there; but now they’re in Ephesus. How are they now back in Rome? Well, home was where they had been kicked out of – Rome was their hometown, and it would seem quite natural for them to have returned at this time.

Epaenetus, the first convert in Asia – what is he doing in Rome? Well, the very fact that he greets and singles him out as the first convert in Asia would not be necessary if he’s writing to the head church in Asia, Ephesus. It makes much more sense to make this point in writing to the church in Rome (“Greet Epaenetus, who by the way was my first convert in Ephesus”).

The doxology which we have in 16:25-27, occurs in a number of different places in manuscripts,

“Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Christ Jesus! Amen.”

That is found in different places. It’s found in some manuscripts at the end of chapter 15; and in some at the end of chapter 14. Also, if you look at 1:7, the greeting “…to all God’s beloved in Rome”: there are a few manuscripts (not in any way the best manuscripts) that lack that reference to Rome, and also the reference to Rome in 1:15. But those are not the best manuscripts, and are in the minority.

So there have been a number of suggestions as to how all of this took place. As I said, some suggest that Paul wrote two letters: one to Rome, consisting of the first 15 chapters; another to Ephesus, which consisted of the same 15 chapters plus an addendum of chapter 16. And Marcian, who is this early Heretic in the church, left out chapter 15 because it had too much Jewish nature associated with it, and therefore they have this other variety. I think it makes more sense to say that all of this was a single letter, which Paul wrote to Rome. Marcian did omit chapters 15 and 16, which caused all sorts of problems. He put a doxology there, and some put a doxology then after 15, and so we have a little textual variation this way. But for me it’s much easier to see this as a unified letter. It’s not a question once again of whether Paul wrote all 16 chapters, but whether they are a single letter. It’s the same kind of problem of integrity that we have with another major letter, which is 2 Corinthians. No one denies that it’s Pauline, but is it a single letter?

The outline of the letter consists of a salutation, thanksgiving, the main body (which we’ll look at shortly), the exhortation at the end, and the conclusion. We have a very lengthy body in this letter – much more so than in others, where he deals with specific issues. And why and how, we’ll look at that.