Thursday, December 22, 2016

Following Paul In Romans - part 2

As we look at this epistle we note that it is deep. Therefore we should start our study by reading through it a couple of times to get the landscape plotted, so to speak. As we read through it we will no doubt notice a large section in it concerning the Jewish reader in Rome as well as the Gentile reader. Therefore we can figure there was some Jewish-Gentile tension in this group.
  The church in Roman might have started out as a Jewish church. It might have been start by a small group of those who had been in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost as spoken of in the book of Acts. They returned to Rome and started the group. Later Gentiles joined.
   Using a Bible dictionary we see that some people through the ages have thought Peter formed this group, but there is no significant evidence to support this premise.
   The Roman historian Suetonius records that the emperor Claudius (A.D. 41-54) expelled the Jews from Rome. We find this recorded in Acts 18:2.
   Reading this epistle a few times shows us that there are a number of themes running through this epistle. Some are gospel and law; the significance of Abraham; the future of Israel.
   Up to this point Paul has not been in Rome.The book of Acts tells us he was brought to Rome in chains.
   He wants them to know that the gospel was spoken of or hinted at by the prophets in the holy scriptures. All they had at that time was the writings we today know as the torah, the writings, the prophets, and so on. We call it the Old Testament. But since the books we know as the New Testament weren't yet in completed form when this epistle was written  in A.D. 57 we must be fair and deal with what was available then. In other words., don't read twentieth century back intro the epistle.
   Verse 8 tells us that this church was well known and talked about.
   Verse 16-17 can be looked on as the theme.
   I recommend to my groups to find one verse per chapter and commit it to memory.  "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word....I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.' Psalm 119:9,11. ESV
   Until next time.

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