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Bible Commentaries

Living By Faith: Commentary on Romans & 1st CorinthiansLiving By Faith

- Romans

by Brad Price

The author of this book was Paul (Romans 1:1). Paul wanted to visit the Christians who lived in Rome because, in the first century, Rome was the center of the earth’s power and government. Making a trip to Rome would have also given him a base of operations to take the gospel further west in the ancient world (15:24). Since Paul had previously been unable to come to Rome, he sent this letter (1:10-13).

This epistle (letter) was written from Corinth while Paul was on his third missionary journey (Acts 18:23 f). His third journey took him to Ephesus for two years and three months (Acts 19:1; Acts 19:8-9). He left Ephesus and entered into Macedonia (Acts 20:1). Then, he visited Greece (the same as Achaia, Acts 20:2). The city of Corinth was located in Achaia. Paul remained at Corinth for three months (Acts 20:3), and during this time he wrote this letter. We know this because of the information in Romans 16:23. Gaius was Paul’s host when this letter was written, and since Gaius lived in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14), this letter was written from Corinth. Since this letter was written for people in Rome someone had to take it to them. This messenger may have been Phoebe, a woman mentioned in Romans 16:1. She lived in Cenchrea (a seaport of Corinth).

This letter, contrary to a common belief, was not written to the “Romans.” One could have been a Roman but not a Christian. It was also possible to have been a Christian but not a Roman. There were even those who lived in Rome but were not of a Roman background. This letter was written to Christians who were living in Rome (1:6-7), and both Jews and Gentiles made up this church (Romans 11:13; 17-32; 15:4 f). These Christians lived in a wicked and violent culture.

At least three reasons may be given for the material in this epistle. First, God has always used a system of faith and not law to justify man (Romans 3:20; Romans 3:28). Second, this book refutes the idea that sin glorifies God. There were Christians who believed that if they continued to sin and God continued to forgive them, this “extra forgiveness” would further demonstrate God’s greatness. Third, this book shows how God could send a savior to the Jewish people and yet allow the unbelieving Jews to be unblessed, condemned, and severed from the Messianic blessings (Romans 11:22). Key words in this book include law, righteousness, faith, sin, works, sanctification, and Israel (Jew).



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