Perhaps the most important of Paul's letters, the Epistle to the Romans lays out Paul's understanding of the meaning of the life and crucifixion of Christ. Traditionally, the first eleven chapters address doctrinal matters and the last five chapters deal with practical matters.
Many scholars believe this letter was originally written for general consumption and later tailored for various specific churches. Its general nature and profound emphasis on the whole church lends credence to this theory.
Paul probably wrote Romans in Corinth (A.D. 54-58?) about three years before his Roman ministry began and about eight years before his martyrdom at the hands of the Roman government under Nero. At the time the book was written the great controversy in the church was between the Jewish branch and the Gentile branch. Many in the old church believed that one must first become a Jew before one could become a Christian. For the Jewish branch this meant strict adherence to the Laws of Moses, including circumcision. Paul argued against such reliance on formulated laws and writings. He stipulated that man is justified before God "through faith, from beginning to end."
Paul believed God's law required perfection and that no human could live up to God's standards. It was only through the mercy of Christ the Savior that one could be right in the eyes of God. Thus, it was that Paul demonstrated that the Christian is saved by "faith alone".
The study of Romans is essential for those wishing to truly understand Christianity and the role of the Gospels as a "divine force for salvation." Romans contains the underpinnings for much of the doctrine that buttresses the church of Christ.
Romans: A Life Application Bible Study is inexpensive and contains 13 lessons, charts, maps, study questions and notes. Visit our Life Application page for more information on how to use this work in a Bible study.
Romans, by William Barclay is great both as an in-depth study of Paul's Letter to the Romans for a group and as a daily guide for individuals. Visit our page on Barclay for more information on how to use Barclay's works in a Bible study.