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1. Introduction to Romans

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, a highly respected scholar and teacher of God’s Word, used to say to his students at Dallas Seminary, “Men, you need to be able to reason your way through the Bible, chapter by chapter.” I’m still working on that assignment, and I doubt that I will ever complete it to my satisfaction. I have found it especially valuable to be able to reason my way through various books of the Bible, chapter by chapter. It takes a good deal of effort to be able to do so, but it is certainly worthwhile.

One of the first books of the Bible that we should seek to be able to reason our way through is Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Romans is a book which has significantly impacted the lives of many people down through the ages (as we shall soon see in our study). Paul’s other epistles tend to be written to specific individuals, or to address certain issues or problems. They are either people-centered or problem-centered. They contribute greatly to our knowledge of God, and to our Christian walk. The Book of Romans is distinct in that it was written to a church that Paul had not personally founded. Indeed, Paul wrote to a church he had not yet even visited—the church in Rome. Paul would eventually reach Rome, as the Book of Acts describes, but in a very different way than we would have expected. When he writes this Epistle to the Romans, he does so in a very deliberate fashion, logically tracing out the Gospel from its necessity (man's condemnation as sinners, separated from God—chapters 1-3) to its day-to-day outworking in life (chapters 12-16).

If you can reason your way through Romans, you will have the Gospel under your belt. In another study of Romans, I have expounded the epistle in much greater detail (see “Romans: The Righteousness of God”). In this study, we shall cover the book much more briefly, in a mere 17 lessons (almost a record, for me). The benefit of this series is that it takes us through the Book of Romans at the rate of approximately one chapter per lesson. This facilitates our ability to think through the entire epistle a chapter at a time, thereby following Paul's argument from beginning to end.

As you begin this study, I would challenge you to review the Book of Romans often in your mind, seeking to trace its argument from the very first chapter to wherever your study has brought you. It is my hope that you will then seek to apply what you have learned in your own life, and to share the message of the Gospel it contains with those who are lost and without hope, apart from the faith this Epistle describes and defines. May God bless you in your study of this portion of His Word.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines