Introduction: Great news! We begin a new series of lessons on one of
the most important books of the Bible – Paul’s letter to the church
at Rome. Do you recall starting a new job where you wanted to make a
good impression? If you were the boss, it was important for you to
make the right impression so that the people under you in the
company would help you make the business a success. Paul’s letter to
the Romans is something like that. He has never been to this church.
He is coming, and he wants his relationship to begin on the right
note. How should he start out? Let’s jump into our study and see
how Paul does this!

  1. Paul’s Introduction

    1. Imagine two situations:

      1. In the first, you own a company which seeks to win a
        contract from a much larger corporation. You are
        meeting with the leaders of the corporation in order
        to convince them to give your company the work.

      2. In the second, you have the opportunity to share the
        gospel with a very important person whom you have
        never met.

      3. What do you think you must do in the first
        situation? What do you need to do in the second

        1. Now, let’s turn our attention to Paul’s
          introduction to the Romans.

    2. Read Romans 1:1. How important a city was Rome? (It was
      the capital of the Roman empire!)

      1. Do you think that was reflected in the attitude of
        its citizens? (Probably.)

      2. How would you evaluate Paul’s introduction to the
        church in Rome?

        1. What do you think about Paul starting out
          saying that he is a “servant” of Jesus?

        2. Would you introduce yourself to important
          people by saying that you are a “servant?”

    3. Read Joshua 1:2, Amos 3:7, and Jeremiah 7:25. Have you
      changed your mind about the nature of Paul’s
      introduction? (A typical way to describe the great men of
      God is to say that they are “servants” of God. Paul is
      thus setting himself up in the succession of the
      prophets. On the other hand, Paul might have had a
      broader, less self-important meaning. See 1 Corinthians

    4. Let’s go back to Romans 1:1 again. Paul says that he was
      “called to be an apostle.” When you think of the
      apostles, what comes to mind? (The twelve disciples.)

      1. Should we be concerned about Paul exaggerating? He
        is writing to the residents of the most important
        city in the world and he tells them he is like Moses
        and the twelve disciples! Is this true?

      2. Read Galatians 1:1. Paul starts out another letter
        with this same very great claim. This time he gives
        a bit of an explanation for his claim. He says he
        was sent by Jesus. Is his claim true? (Skim Acts
        chapter 9 and read Acts 9:15. Paul says that what
        happened on the road to Damascus shows that God
        called him on a special mission. Paul was God’s
        “chosen instrument to carry My name before the
        Gentiles.” Thus, Paul was chosen by Jesus, just like
        the twelve disciples, and he is God’s special
        messenger, just like the prophets before him.)

    5. Read Romans 1:2. Paul just told us who he is, now he
      tells us what he is about. What is his mission? (Set
      apart for the gospel of God.)

      1. Any idea why Paul refers to the “Holy Scriptures?”
        (Paul is talking about the Old Testament.)

    6. Assume that Paul had just introduced himself to you in
      this way. What would you conclude?

      1. What does Paul want you to conclude? (Paul wants you
        to reach two conclusions: First, that he has been
        chosen by God to deliver an important message.
        Second, his message originated with God. His
        message is solid, historical, and trustworthy. I
        suspect these are the same kinds of impressions you
        would want to create in the first two situations I
        had you imagine.)

  2. The Gospel Message in Brief

    1. Next, Paul lays out his message. Read Romans 1:3. Who is
      Paul introducing here? (Jesus.)

      1. Notice the interesting way Paul introduces Jesus.
        What two things does he say? (That Jesus was the Son
        of God. He was also the son of King David.)

        1. Was Jesus half and half? (No. Paul says that
          Jesus started out as God, a God who also has a
          “human nature.” Thus, Jesus is fully God and
          fully man. Jesus was one with those He came to

    2. Read Romans 1:4. What else does Paul have to say about
      Jesus? (We have two difficult to understand phrases: “the
      Spirit of Holiness,” and “declared with power to be the
      Son of God.”)

      1. How do you understand “the Spirit of Holiness?”(It
        sounds like the Holy Spirit. God, in some way
        powered (“declared with power”) the proof of Jesus’

      2. If Jesus started out as God, why do we have to prove
        His divinity?

        1. What is the proof that Jesus is God? (His
          resurrection from the dead.)

        2. Some Christians do not believe that Jesus was
          fully God and some do not believe He was
          resurrected from the dead. If you do not get
          these two concepts right, do you understand the
          gospel? (No. These beliefs are at the heart of
          the gospel. They are part of Paul’s gospel

    3. Let’s review. How would you state Paul’s short version of
      the gospel? (Jesus was the Son of God from the beginning.
      Jesus came into a special relationship with humans. He
      powerfully proved He was God by His resurrection from the

  3. The Mission

    1. Read Romans 1:5-6. Paul previously wrote that he was set
      apart for the gospel. What is Paul’s specific gospel
      mission? (To call Gentiles to obey Jesus.)

      1. When we think about Paul and his letter to the
        Romans we think about righteousness by faith. Why
        does he state his mission as a call to obedience?
        (Paul says the obedience comes from faith. One goal
        of righteousness by faith is to create a people who
        are obedient to God’s will.)

  4. The Greeting

    1. Read Romans 1:7-8. We used to have a member of our church
      who would regularly insult other members. When I would
      talk to her about this, she would say, “That’s just the
      way I am. I say things as I see them.” Do you think Paul
      would agree with her? (Paul says several very positive
      things about the Romans. He tells them they are loved by
      God, he calls them “saints” and he compliments them for
      their faith. If you want to persuade people, you do not
      start by insulting them.)

    2. Read Romans 1:9-12. Why do you think Paul told the Romans
      that he prayed for them? (This let them know Paul cared
      for them. Consider how you react to criticism from those
      who care about you versus those who could care less –
      except to be critical.)

    3. Read Romans 1:11-13. Paul has traveled all over, but he
      has not managed to see the Romans. Should they be
      insulted that he has skipped them? (He explains that he
      planned to see them, but was “prevented.”)

      1. Is this just an excuse? What was holding Paul back?
        (Read Romans 15:20-22. Paul’s job was to spread the
        gospel where there were no believers. The Romans
        knew the gospel. Paul is saying “I care,” I just had
        more urgent priorities.)

  5. Righteousness by Faith

    1. Read Romans 1:16. Are you sometimes ashamed to be a

      1. Why? (No doubt it is because you think someone will
        look down on you.)

      2. Why is Paul not ashamed of the gospel? (It is power.
        People are not normally ashamed of power. They are
        ashamed if they have no power.)

      3. What kind of power is this? (It is the power to give
        life eternal. Generally, when humans talk of power,
        they are talking about power to affect the lives of
        other humans. Paul says this gospel power can affect
        lives eternally.)

    2. Read Romans 1:17. What is the goal of the gospel? (To
      make humans righteous.)

      1. How does that happen? (From beginning to end it
        comes by faith.)

    3. Friend, Paul speaks to you just as he spoke to the
      Romans. Will you take him and his message seriously?
      Will you, by faith, determine to obey Jesus?

  6. Next week: Jew and Gentile.