Romans: Justified Through Faith

Romans 1:16-17:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Writer/Church/Dates:

Paul wrote this to the church in Rome during his third missionary journey. This was around 57AD in Corinth.

Literature:

Epistle/Letter – written for purpose

Most Epistles follow this form

Salutation (name of author)

Addressee (name of recipients)

Greeting/Blessing

Prayer of thanksgiving

Body

Final greeting/farewell

Historical Background:

Rome was the largest cosmopolitan city and the central hub for culture and government in the first century AD. It was a melting pot of society, and a pre-existing meeting place for people. Rome attracted men and ideas from all over the known world of the time.

In the New Testament times Rome was in full flourish of growth and near its heights. Rome, much like Babylon, became a symbol of organised paganism and opposition toward Christianity.

In AD50, the Roman Emperor Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome due to their quarrels and riots against the Christians (Acts 18:2). The Romans at this time viewed that Christians were just a Jewish sect, and the Jews had a reputation and mindset of a Messiah who would come and liberate the nation of Israel from their overlords, The Romans.

Main Purpose:

In this letter, Paul is writing to the Roman church to introduce him, and to advise of his intention to visit them in the near future. As well, he writes to tell the Roman church the basis of faith and Christian theology. 

Paul explains that the Gentile has just as much right to Faith as the Jew, and that there is nothing that we can do to afford this faith. Sanctification is through faith alone.

Structure:

Sin: 1:1-3:20

Salvation: 3:21-5:21

Sanctification: 6:1-8:39

Sovereignty: 9:1-12:31

Service: 12:1-16:27

Main Themes:

God’s justification through faith in Jesus is only way to salvation.

There is a tension described between the Jew and the gentile, and how God’s redemption is equal for both.

 

2 Corinthians – Boast in the lord

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

 

 

Writer/Church/Dates: Paul to the church in Corinth.

The church was planted during Paul’s 3rd missionary journey (52-56AD) he wrote this one from Macedonia, later in the same year as the first book.

 

Literature : Epistle/Letter – written for purpose

Most Epistles follow this form

Salutation (name of author)

Addressee (name of recipients)

Greeting/Blessing

Prayer of thanksgiving

Body

Final greeting/farewell

 

Historical Background:

Since Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians there had been false teachers attempting to turn the people against Paul, questioning whether he was qualified to be a leader.

Titus then visited Corinth on Paul’s behalf and managed to speak to the majority of people and showing them the truth of Paul’s credentials and character.

This letter comes after Titus returns to Paul.

 

Main Purpose:

Paul writes to thank the Corinthians for listening to Titus and for their repentance, and as a way of appealing to those who were still unconvinced to try and reassure them of his authority. He speaks of his good character and refers to himself as a called apostle of Christ, while giving all glory to God

 

 

Structure

Prayer and greeting

Assurance of his authority

Assurance of the resurrection

A call to generous living

A warning against false teachers

 

Main Themes

Thanks

Reassurance of the truth

Warning against false teachers

 

 

1 Corinthians – Godly wisdom amongst worldly mindsets

Writer/Church/Dates: Paul to the church in Corinth.

The church was planted during Paul’s 3rd missionary journey (52-56AD) he spent 3 years in Ephesus and wrote this towards the end of his time there.

 

Literature : Epistle/Letter – written for purpose

Most Epistles follow this form

Salutation (name of author)

Addressee (name of recipients)

Greeting/Blessing

Prayer of thanksgiving

Body

Final greeting/farewell

 

Historical Background:

Corinth was an important city during Paul’s lifetime, a centre for industry but also a place where idols were worshipped, a hedonistic city. Paul planted a church here which we read in Acts 18, but it was always going to be tough, a church in the middle of a city so idolatrous and steeped in pagan ritual.

 

Main Purpose:

There were those within the church who had questions regarding their new faith, and the lifestyle being lived by many was questionable. Paul writes to answer some of their questions, but also to challenge their behavior and their abuse of some of Jesus’ instructions. There was also some dissension with regards to which leaders they should listen to, Paul encourages them to take Jesus’ words as the highest authority. He also told them about the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. They needed a mindset change, a real understanding of the crucifixion and just what this meant for them.

 

 

Structure

Prayer and thanksgiving

Rebuking their behaviour

Reassurance and exhortations

 

 

Main Themes

Correction

The Holy Spirit

Christ’s resurrection

2 Thessalonians - Stand firm, live right

2 Thessalonians 2:15

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

 

 

Writer/Church/Dates: Paul to the new converts to Christ in Thessalonica written shortly after 1 Thessalonians around AD 51.

 

Literature : Epistle/Letter – written for purpose

Most Epistles follow this form

Salutation (name of author)

Addressee (name of recipients)

Greeting/Blessing

Prayer of thanksgiving

Body

Final greeting/farewell

 

Historical Background:

The church in Thessalonica has been thrown into confusion by some false teaching regarding the coming of Christ. Paul writes to reaffirm the truth and to further instruct the church on right living.

 

Main Purpose:

A letter to reaffirm the Thessalonian believers of their salvation in Christ and to warn them against being misled by false teachings. Paul also revisits the issue of idleness and exhorts the believers to work to support themselves.

 

Structure

 

1. Thanksgiving & prayer

2. Correcting false teaching

3. Warning against idolness

 

MAIN THEMES

The day of the Lord is still ahead, live according to God’s ways and don’t be idle.

1 Thessalonians – Holy at the coming

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

 

 

Writer/Church/Dates: Paul to the new converts to Christ in Thessalonica written in AD 50 or 51 while Paul was in Corinth with Silas & Timothy

 

Literature : Epistle/Letter – written for purpose

Most Epistles follow this form

Salutation (name of author)

Addressee (name of recipients)

Greeting/Blessing

Prayer of thanksgiving

Body

Final greeting/farewell

 

Historical Background:

Paul had visited Thessalonica to preach the gospel, with good success. However, opposition within the city had risen and Paul was forced to leave earlier than he had planned, leaving the new converts without a long period of instruction in Christ’ ways. In Paul’s absence Timothy had been sent to Thessalonica to see how the new believers were doing. Upon Timothy’s return to Paul & Silas in Corinth this letter was written.

 

Main Purpose:

 

A letter to encourage and instruct the new believers in Christian living so that they might be ready for Christ’s coming.

 

Structure

 

Ch 1 -Thanksgiving

Ch 2 – Narrative of Paul’s ministry

Ch 3 – Prayer report

Ch 4 – Sexual Purity, Loving one another, Working

Ch 5 – The Coming of Christ

 

 

MAIN THEMES

Living a pure life free from sexual immorality, loving one another and working to support yourself, and Christ’s return.

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