New Testament Survey: Acts-Revelation - Lesson 13

Romans (Part 2)

Romans 4 tells us what kind of faith Abraham had that was saving faith. You are not saved by working for God, but by believing in God. Hope is confident, sure expectation. Paul’s main rhetorical question is, “Can the law transform us?” His implied answer is "no!" (43:03)

Thomas Schreiner
New Testament Survey: Acts-Revelation
Lesson 13
Watching Now
Romans (Part 2)

Flow assignment Philippians 2:5-11

Isaiah 45:20ff

C. Abraham as the father of Jews and Gentiles (Romans 4:1-25)

IV. Hope as a result of righteousness by faith (Romans 5:1-8:39)

A. Assurance of hope (Romans 5:1-11)

B. Hope in Christ's triumph over Adam's sin (Romans 5:12-21)

C. The triumph of grace over the power of sin (Romans 6:1-23)

D. The triumph of grace over the power of the law (Romans 7:1-8:17)

Class Resources
  • Acts is a continuation of the gospel of Luke, which is a historical account of the life and ministry of Jesus. Acts begins with the 40 days that Jesus was on earth after his resurrection, and continues with his ascension and the work of the Holy Spirit in the early church.

  • Dr. Schreiner was not able to record this lecture for the class, but he provided a transcript that we were able to read to create an audio recording. 

    Acts Chapter 1 is an account of Pentecost and the first times the apostles proclaim gospel publicly.

  • The kerygma is the proclamation of the gospel to nonbelievers. The first presentations were made to people who were familiar with the teachings of the Old Testament. (Begins on page 6 of the outline)

  • The kerygma is the proclamation of the gospel to nonbelievers. The first presentations were made to people who were familiar with the teachings of the Old Testament. Steven’s speech and Paul’s conversion are significant events.  (Begins on page 6 of the outline under Acts: Outline Summary, point I, F.) (43:40)

  • Description of the expansion of the gospel to the gentiles.

  • Beginning in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul calls us to watch for the second coming of Jesus by being aware that there will be a great falling away from the faith in the body of Christ and the Lawless One will appear. When God calls us, his calling creates life. (43:16)

  • God chose not the wise, powerful or noble, but the foolish, weak and despised so that we would know that our relationship with God is based on what Christ did, not what we do. Paul boasts in the power of God, not the wisdom or eloquence of his arguments. The only way we know about God is when the Spirit reveals him to us.

  • The core problem of the Corinthians is pride. God turns everything for our benefit, even things that cause pain or death. The fight of faith is to believe this, even when circumstances are difficult. Only God can judge a person’s relationship to God. (43:36)

  • It’s better to be cheated than to take a fellow believer to court. If you are a fully devoted follower of Christ, your behavior will show it. (44:35)

  • Paul believes in cultural flexibility and contextualization. Paul uses the example of a race as a picture of be motivated to live well. He is saved and needs to live in a way to be saved. Whether or not to eat meat offered to idols is still a significant issue in some cultures. (41:23)


  • Audio content is missing at this time for 1 Corinthians chapters 12-16, 2 Corinthians and Romans chapter 1.

    However, a transcription and outline for this material is provided.  

  • The first of a three-part overview of Paul's epistle to the Romans.
  • Romans 4 tells us what kind of faith Abraham had that was saving faith. You are not saved by working for God, but by believing in God. Hope is confident, sure expectation. Paul’s main rhetorical question is, “Can the law transform us?” His implied answer is "no!" (43:03)

  • The law doesn’t give life because commands don’t transform us. Romans 8 says we need the Spirit to transform us. The witness of the Spirit that we are his children is a mystical sense and evidence of our obedience. Paul says all the promises for relationship to God are for the gentiles as well as the Jews. God is in charge of everything. (44:25)

  • Christ is the very image of the invisible God. He partakes of his essence. Jesus is preeminent, because he’s God and he’s the reconciler of all things. Jesus is Lord of Creation and Lord of the Church. Paul calls the Philippians to unity. (46:43)

  • Summary of main themes in Ephesians. The first three chapters communicate who and what we are in Christ. Chapters 4-6 is the practical outworking. Paul equates maturity with doctrinal purity and stability, not being swayed by every idea. The Christian life isn’t mathematical because it’s a relationship with the Spirit. (43:54)

  • Your view of authorship of biblical documents and how you translate those documents depends quite a bit on your presuppositions. Some people think that because of the vocabulary and the way some subjects are addressed in the Pastoral epistles that Paul did not write them. However, others are convinced that Paul wrote them and offer responses to objections that others have raised. (42:24) This lecture was given by a teaching assistant of Dr. Schreiner's because he had planned to be out of town.

  • God wants to work in our hearts so we are full of love for him and others. Paul gives his testimony as an example that anyone can be saved. God desires to save all, and he elects some. Elders are described as people of character who lead and teach. In Titus, the ethical exhortations are anchored in the gospel. In 2 Timothy, Paul calls on Timothy to suffer for the gospel.

  • We should think of Hebrews as a sermon. The warning passages are exhortations following theological teaching. It was probably not written by Paul. The book was written to Hebrew Christians to warn them against committing apostasy.

  • Christ is more important than Moses. Warning passages encourage us not to drift away or harden our hearts. Since Jesus was fully human, he experienced the full range of temptation, but never gave in. (43:55)

  • The main points in the book of Hebrews beginning with chapter 6. Jesus was a priest in the order of Melchizedek because he was superior to the Levites. Christ’s sacrifice is better than the animal sacrifices because it is once for all. The sacrifices are good because they are a shadow and an image of what is coming, but the sacrifices are temporary and imperfect. (43:55)

  • The author of Hebrews concludes by exhorting people to put into practice the theological truths he has just explained.

  • Defining questions about the content and origin of the epistle of James. (43:01)

  • Summary of the teaching of James on justification and wisdom. (41:58)

  • Peter’s call to look forward to our future inheritance and live as God’s people. (42:35)

  • Flow assignment 1 Peter 2:18-25

    Peter calls followers of Jesus to persevere by responding to suffering in a godly way. (44:48)

  • Concluding verses in 1 Peter and the epistle of 1 John. The purpose of John’s epistles is to give people assurance of their faith.

  • God has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

  • The purpose of Revelation is to encourage suffering saints. (44:47)

  • This lecture was cut short because of technical difficulties during the recording. The audio covers point III. Visions of God, points A and B, beginning with Revelation chapter 4. The next lecture begins at point IV. The Seven Seals, point D.

  • Main ideas in Revelation chapters 6-13.

  • Summary of the last days of judgment and then the creation of the new heavens and new earth. The time for this lecture was shortened to give students time to complete an in-class evaluation. (30:15)

A study of the Acts to Revelation in the framework of the history of the early church. We are missing a few lectures that we hope to record the next time Dr. Schreiner teaches the class. These include lecture numbers 2 and 11, the lecture covering Acts chapters 16-22 and 1 Thessalonians, and the lecture covering Revelation chapter 6.

You may download Dr. Schreiner's complete course outline By clicking on the Resource link and then the Class Outline link. An outline for each lecture displays when you click on the Outline tab on each lecture page.

Dr. Schreiner has developed a system for exegesis. The "Flow and Tracing" handout gives you some information about how he does it. Some lectures include audio of Dr. Schreiner applying this method to specific passages. Dr. Schreiner recommends that you read the chapter in his book, "Interpreting the Pauline Epistles" along with this handout before you try this process.

Dr. Thomas Schreiner
New Testament Survey: Acts-Revelation
Romans (Part 2)
Lesson Transcript


(Any slides, photos, notes or outlines that the lecturer refers to should be down loaded separately. If they are not available, you may be able to find something similar using the Google© search engine.)

Flow Assignment Philippians 2:5-11

I will do Philippians in one day when we come to it but I will do Philippians 2:5-11 today. This is perhaps the most important passage in the letter. This is one of those great Christological hymns starting in verse 5, ‘have this attitude in yourselves’, this is the main proposition and everything will support this and everything relates back to being in a ‘humble state’. ‘Because it was also in Christ Jesus,’ because he is your example; it’s possible that he is also saying (the Greek is ambiguous here), the attitude that you already have in Christ. This sits very well with the Pauline indicative and imperative pattern. This is already yours in Christ. If true, Paul would be calling on Christians to display an attitude that we already have by grace. It is already yours and so let it be worked out in your life. You can check the commentaries on that. ‘Who, although he existed in the form of God which means that he was God of God or the image of God; so when it says ‘form of God,’ this idea is not easy to grasp. Perhaps and better, he did not count equality with God something to be ‘exploited’. That is how I would understand this. Instead, he emptied himself and humbled himself. This is his point. This is a remarkable passage on the love of God in Christ. Therefore and thus because of this, ‘God also highly exalted him.’ He did this at the resurrection; God raised him from the dead and bestowed upon him the name that is above every name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.’ Every knee means everyone that you could possible think of. The second point is, ‘and that every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ So God exalted him and bestowed upon him a name that is above every name. We have an action/purpose; so that every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. The exaltation of Jesus brings glory to God. God is glorified in Jesus, but that is not his main thought in this paragraph. His main thought or idea was that he emptied himself by becoming a man and he humbled himself by dying on the Cross. This exaltation was done so that everyone could confess that Jesus was Lord. So, the imperative is having the attitude because that is the way Christ was, thus live this way because in doing so, you are imitating Christ. You will also be exalted; of course not as the Messiah.

Isaiah 45:20

Let’s look at the possibility of universalism in this text? (Universalism is a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved) Let’s look at Isaiah 45:20, ‘assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you survivors of the nations! They have no knowledge those who carry about their wooden idols, and keep on praying to a god that cannot save.’ So those who worship idols have no knowledge. This is a typical Pauline statement but it is in Isaiah. Verse 21, ‘Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.’ This is a very strong emphasis on monotheism. There is only one God. Then we have a great missionary text, ‘look to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, there is no other.’ This is a great text to preach on for the Gospel to be preached everywhere. There is only one way of salvation and that is in God. Now back in Philippians, so every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. One of the implications here, Paul is clearly teaching monotheism and Paul is applying it to Jesus! This is a very clear text on the deity of Christ. I would love to show anyone who is struggling with the deity of Christ, this text. Surely in the Lord, I have righteousness and strength, to him men shall come, but some will not accept him. Some will bow because they are compelled to bow and some will be shamed and humiliated and angry with God and they will be damned. This text is not teaching universalism. Verse 25, all the descendants of Israel will be vindicated by the Lord and will boast in him. We are included in ‘the all’ there, that is us. Those of us who belong to Christ are the Israel of God. We are the true circumcision, the family of Abraham. So some will bow gladly and there is a reference to justification. All who believe in Christ shall be justified in Him. But some will be compelled to bow.

C. Abraham as the father of Jews and gentiles (Romans 4:1-25)

We are in chapter 4 now. What does the last half of chapter 4 say? It tells us what kind of faith Abraham had that was saving faith. You are not saved by working for God but by believing in God. But what does it mean to believe? Before I was a Christian, if someone had asked me whether I believed that Jesus had died for my sins; Yeah, I guess I do; I believe that. Did it make any difference to me? No, not really; it really didn’t have anything to do with my life. But that is not saving faith. It is only mental acknowledgement. For Paul, saving faith is a whole hearted reliance on God. It is the kind of reliance Abraham had which made a difference in his life. So when God said at the end of Roman’s chapter 4, ‘you are going to have all these children,’ in speaking to Abraham and Sarah. It wasn’t just okay, I guess I believe that. He trusted and believed that God (verse 17) could give life to the dead, his dead body and Sarah’s dead womb. Paul makes that very clear. What’s dead in this situation? His body! They can’t produce children but he believed that God could do that. He believed that God could do the impossible and the miraculous. He believed that God could call into existence things that didn’t exist, like children. That God could do that miracle. He looked at his circumstances, his age and considered the obstacles. Faith doesn’t mean that you look at the situation and say, ‘I am going to deny the negative.’ Some people talk that way, ‘never think of the negative.’ Abraham faced the negative straight on, but he believed in God’s promise. Not everybody has this promise as some Christian struggle a lot in having children. This is a promise for Abraham; he believed that God could do it. Verse 20 says that he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.

Fundamental to Paul’s theology, faith is so important because it honors God. So here, Paul applies it to us; we too are saved as we trust God who raised Christ from the dead. The promise to Abraham ultimately pointed in the direction of Christ. That is what we believe in, his death and resurrection. So we are not surprised that Jesus was handed over because of our trust passes. Isaiah 53:12 says that ‘he bore the sin of many and makes intercession for the transgressors; he poured out his soul to death.’ He was raised because of our justification; so his death and resurrection was the means by which we are right before God.

IV. Hope as a Result of righteousness by Faith (Romans 5:1-8:39).

These chapters are about hope. We hope in God. At the moment, we are righteous by Faith. So what does that mean in our present lives? We are filled with hope, confident and sure expectation. This is what dominates chapters 5-8, the hope that is ours in Christ.

A. Assurance of Hope (Romans 5:1-11).

We can’t live without hope. It makes a difference in everything we do. He gives us examples for this. We have hope even in our trials and difficulties in life because it makes us more like Christ. It points us to the future promise that God has given to us. 5:9 for a while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. We are now justified. We look to that judgement day and wonder what will happen on that day. We know God will be angry with a lot of people because of their sins. But we will be saved; this is in the future, yet we are justified now in the present. This is our hope. We may be tortured to death or whatever. But no matter what happens in this life that will be temporary for we will be saved from the wrath of God which will be much worse.

B. Hope in Christ’s Triumph over Adam’s Sin (Romans 5:12-21)

Most of the time when we get into this discussion, we usually start arguing over original sin. Rightly so that we focus on that, but we need to put this passage into proper context; it needs to be put into the flow of the argument of Romans itself. What is this passage doing here? I believe that this passage is supporting the idea of hope. What happened when Adam came into the world? One big mess! Sin, and this spread to all of us because of one person! So this is the doctrine of original sin. We are all sinners because of Adam. We are the way we are because of our family; this has always been true. That is the way God made life. We shape the way our children grow up. So Adam brought this huge mess into the world, sin. Wow, what a mess! Just consider how quickly we can make a mess of things in our own lives. It doesn’t take long to make a mess of things, anything! We can wreak destruction so quickly. However, to clear messes up, takes an incredible amount of effort and time. And this is Paul’s main point here; Christ and for those who belong to him is cleaning up this mess. And this takes an incredible amount of grace and power. And that is what he is doing and therefore we have a great hope. Because if Christ can clean up such a mess as sin that is in us, we have a tremendous hope and I think this is Paul’s main point here. Verse 13 means, technically speaking, sin is not reckoned as transgression before there was the Law. He is not saying that sin isn’t punished before there was the Law. All who sin, though without the Law are still held accountable. There is a lot of debate on these verses.

Remember the Jew and Gentile issue; what do the Jews believe? Jews believe that you clean this mess up through the Law. You clean up the mess through the Torah and through commandments. That is how you help people to be better. There is a rabbinic sayings, ‘the more Torah, the more life.’ If you have more law, you have more life. You have more people living according to God’s will. That is what Paul believed before he became a Christian. That was the heart and soul of his belief. In verse 20, we have a stunning statement by Paul, ‘the Law came in to increase transgression and as sin increased, grace multiplied all the more.’ So the Law came in to increase sin. So the Law made things worse. What a shocking statement! So the answer is not more commands, but wait; there is no problem with the moral norms of the Law. However, the Law didn’t change people. It just doesn’t. This even stands to reason today; laws don’t change people. Laws themselves don’t transform. Laws lead to rebellion against a specified moral norm and perhaps it also increases the number as well.

C. The Triumph of Grace Over the Power of Sin (Romans 6:1-23)

In chapter 6, Paul responds to a Jewish objection. Before going on, you need to understand that Romans represent many of Paul’s debates he had with people over the years, the oral debates he had. One of the major Jewish objections which Paul had obviously debated with the Jews was that Christ and grace not being under the Law. They thought that this would lead to more sin and more mess. We need the Torah, they argued, to stop this mess! That is what it is for. But Paul responded, ‘are we to continue in sin so that grace will abound?’ Paul isn’t writing this to people who think this is good. I think Paul is responding to this objection by the Jews, because they are thinking the Gospel in not being under the Law will lead people to sin more; hence, it is not the Gospel. Any Gospel that leads to more sin isn’t a Gospel and not from God. Therefore, we know that you are wrong, they argued. Of course people can take this message and go in any direction they feel fit to. But these Jewish objectors are saying that this is a huge problem. So what was Paul’s answer? We have died to sin in Christ! We are baptized with Christ, dying to the power of sin! Christ died taking all of sins with him to the Cross. The power of sins and death was destroyed! Christ triumphed and conquered those powers. And we died with him.

So the power of sin has been fundamentally broken in a Christian’s life. Christians wrong sin more; they will not sin more. They have been changed; they have died to the power of sin. The power of sin has been broken. I don’t think Paul is saying that Christians can’t sin; you could read the metaphor this way. Look closely at what Paul is saying. He uses words like reign and rule and Lord. He uses the other idea of slavery in this chapter; before being Christians, we were slaves to sins. In other words, we sinned all the time. Everything we did was sinful. Before being a Christian, nothing we did was for the glory of God. Even the nice things that we did were to bring glory to ourselves. Becoming a Christian, the reign, rule and Lordship of sin has been broken in us. Paul is saying that his Gospel is better that the Jew’s gospel because their gospel doesn’t give people the desire to quick sinning. It is because we died with Christ and now when Christians sin, we hate it because the Holy Spirit brings misery into our lives. This is due to the change in us as Christians having the Holy Spirit. We don’t like to sin anymore because the power of sin is broken. It has no rule over us. But the law promotes sin, even though the law is good; even though it is holy and righteous and good.

D. The Triumph of Grace over the Power of the Law (Romans 7:1-8:17)

Who is Paul talking about in this chapter when he says I? Verses 7-12 ask whether or not the Law is sin? Paul says no and that he would not have known sin if it wasn’t for the law. So is it Israel or is it Paul in using the pronoun I here. Could it be Adam? A case could be made for this. I think it may be Paul. He says, ‘I was once alive apart from the law, but with the coming of the commandment sin became alive.’ This fits Adam perfectly. The commandment came and sin arose and he died. This sounds like Adam and Eve in the garden. But it doesn’t matter which it is because it is true for all of us. It is true of Adam that is how sin happened. It is true of Israel; they were redeemed by God, they go into the wilderness and in receiving the commandments, they start sinning. This is true in our personal lives also. All we do is replicate the human story over and over again. Every one of us is Adam after all. So verses 7-12 represent the story of us all. The larger debate amongst evangelicals is verses 13-25 about Christian or non-Christians. Let’s say, ‘Christians’. Well, they delight in God’s law; is this only Christians? In verses 14 – 23 talks about being a slave to sin. The structure of the argument in 7:5 matches 7:7-20 who are non-Christians. 7:6 matches 8:1 and following are Christians. How can Paul say in Romans 6, you are not a slave to sin and then in Romans 8:2 we are set free from the law of death? Then in chapter 7, we are a slave to sin! This is been debated throughout church history and it is still debated today. Perhaps Paul is just thinking of the Law, itself. That is the issue in this chapter. Can the law transform us? That is his question? This is not his main question, Christians or non-Christians. The answer is no, it doesn’t work and non-Christians experience this totally. They are not transformed by the law. But we Christians do experience it as we are not perfect yet. So the main issue is the law, not whether we are talking about Christians vs non-Christians.