Week 1 – Romans 1 & 2

***Please read Romans chapters 1 & 2 before continuing this bible study.***

Historical Context

Authorship and Date

The Epistle, or letter, to the Romans was written by the Apostle Paul, a pivotal figure in early Christianity. Paul’s missionary journeys significantly influenced the spread of the Christian faith across the Roman Empire. Romans is believed to have been written around AD 57-58, during Paul’s third missionary journey, likely while he was in the city of Corinth. This epistle is considered one of Paul’s most systematic and comprehensive theological works, addressing a wide range of doctrinal issues pertinent to both Jewish and Gentile Christians.


Paul’s audience for this letter was the Christian community, known then as “The Way”, in Rome, which consisted of a mix of Jewish and Gentile believers. The Roman church was strategically important due to Rome’s status as the capital of the Roman Empire, a hub of cultural, political, and economic activity. This diverse congregation faced unique challenges, including ethnic and cultural tensions between Jewish and Gentile members, which Paul sought to address in this letter.


Paul wrote Romans with several key objectives in mind. Firstly, he intended to prepare the Roman believers for his anticipated visit. Secondly, he aimed to address and heal the divisions between Jewish and Gentile Christians, fostering unity within the church. Thirdly, Paul wanted to provide a thorough and articulate explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, highlighting its implications for both Jews and Gentiles. Finally, Paul sought to gain the support of the Roman church for his planned missionary journey to Spain, aiming to spread the gospel to the western reaches of the Roman Empire.

Chapter 1: The Righteousness of God Revealed

Greeting and Introduction (1:1-7)

Paul begins his letter with a formal greeting, identifying himself as a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God. He emphasizes the gospel’s promise, which was foretold through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures, centering on Jesus Christ. Paul highlights Jesus’ dual identity as a descendant of David according to the flesh and the Son of God, powerfully affirmed by His resurrection from the dead. This introduction establishes the authority and divine origin of Paul’s message, setting the stage for the words that follow.

Thanksgiving and Prayer (1:8-15)

Paul expresses his gratitude for the faith of the Roman believers, which is renowned throughout the world. He shares his longing to visit them, desiring to impart some spiritual gift to strengthen them and to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Paul’s deep sense of obligation to preach the gospel to all people, both Greeks and non-Greeks, wise and foolish, underscores his commitment to his apostolic mission and the fact the this good news is for ALL people.

Theme Statement (1:16-17)

The central theme of Romans is encapsulated in verses 16 and 17. Paul declares his unashamed confidence in the gospel, which he describes as the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew and then to the Gentile. He explains that in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. This pivotal statement introduces the core message of Romans which is justification by faith.

God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity (1:18-32)

Paul transitions to a sobering discussion of God’s wrath against all ungodliness and wickedness. He explains that God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—are evident in creation, leaving humanity without excuse for their unbelief. Despite this clear revelation, people have suppressed the truth, turning to idolatry and exchanging the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal beings. This rejection of God leads to moral decay, with people indulging in shameful lusts and various forms of wickedness. Paul lists a catalog of sins, including envy, murder, deceit, malice, and disobedience to parents, illustrating the depth of human depravity.

Application to the Modern Church and Christian

Understanding the Gospel

The emphasis on the gospel as the power of God for salvation challenges modern Christians to grasp the profound significance of the gospel message. Understanding that salvation is available to all through faith in Jesus Christ should inspire believers to proclaim this message boldly and without shame.

Faith and Righteousness

Paul’s declaration that righteousness is by faith from first to last underscores the importance of living by faith. This principle calls Christians to trust in God’s provision and grace, recognizing that righteousness is not achieved through human effort but through faith in Jesus Christ. Through both the good and the bad we must maintain faith.

Recognition of Sin

The depiction of humanity’s sinfulness in Romans 1 serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of turning away from God. This challenges the modern church to address sin seriously, encouraging repentance and transformation rather than condoning or ignoring sinful behavior.

Inclusivity of the Gospel

Paul’s affirmation that the gospel is for both Jews and Gentiles highlights its universal nature. This inclusivity should inspire the modern church to embrace diversity and foster unity among believers from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, reflecting the inclusive nature of the gospel. There is no room for “denominations” in The Way. “Christianity” is not supposed to be separated from Judaism. It was meant to be the evolution of Judaism…the next step. Always remember we were “grafted in” and not replanted.

Chapter 2: God’s Righteous Judgment

God’s Judgment of Sin (2:1-16)

In chapter 2, Paul shifts his focus to the theme of God’s righteous judgment. He warns against the hypocrisy of judging others while being guilty of the same sins. Paul emphasizes that God’s judgment is based on truth and that those who judge others are equally accountable to God’s judgment. He explains that God’s kindness, forbearance, and patience are meant to lead people to repentance. Paul underscores the impartiality of God’s judgment, stating that He will judge everyone according to their deeds, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. This section also highlights the concept of natural law, indicating that Gentiles, who do not have the Mosaic Law, sometimes do what the law requires, demonstrating that the law’s requirements are written on their hearts.

The Jews and the Law (2:17-29)

Paul then addresses the Jewish believers, challenging their reliance on the law and their identity as God’s chosen people. He argues that possessing the law and boasting in their relationship with God is insufficient if they fail to keep the law. Paul points out that true circumcision is not merely an outward physical act but a matter of the heart, by the Spirit. This internal transformation, rather than external conformity to religious practices, is what truly matters to God.

Application to the Modern Church and Christian

Avoiding Hypocrisy

Paul’s warning against judging others while committing the same sins calls for self-examination and humility within the modern church. Christians are challenged to address their own shortcomings and avoid a judgmental attitude towards others. “Judge not lest ye be judged” does not mean not to judge others. It simply means to keep in mind that if you do judge others you will also be judged by God by the same standards.

Repentance and God’s Kindness

Recognizing that God’s kindness is meant to lead to repentance should motivate believers to respond to God’s grace with genuine repentance and transformation. This understanding encourages a lifestyle marked by ongoing spiritual growth and renewal. When you truly repent there is both and inward and outward change. There is no other “truth” but this TRUTH.

Impartiality in Judgment

Understanding God’s impartial judgment should inspire fairness and justice in how Christians treat others. Believers are called to reflect God’s impartiality in their interactions, recognizing that all people are accountable to God regardless of their background.

Internal Transformation

The emphasis on true circumcision being a matter of the heart calls Christians to seek inward transformation by the Holy Spirit. This inward change, rather than mere outward religious observance, is essential for a genuine relationship with God.


Romans chapters 1 and 2 provide a foundational understanding of the human condition, the righteousness of God, and the need for the gospel. Paul’s message challenges believers to live by faith, avoid hypocrisy, seek repentance, and embrace the inclusive nature of the gospel. For the modern church, these chapters offer profound insights into the nature of sin, the importance of internal transformation, and the call to live out the gospel with integrity and humility. By applying these principles, Christians can foster a vibrant, authentic faith community that reflects the love and righteousness of God.