The Letters

       The remaining books of the New Testament, from Romans through Revelation, are all letters written either to churches or to individuals, or, in the case of Revelation, to a group of churches.
       The letters of the New Testament are listed below, by author and approximate time of authorship (all dates are AD):

Paul:

Romans                    57
1 Corinthians             55
2 Corinthians             56
Galatians                  52
Ephesians                 63
Philippians                59-61
Colossians                62
1 Thessalonians        50
2 Thessalonians        50
1 Timothy                 62-67
2 Timothy                 62-67
Titus                        63
Philemon                  56-62

James:

James                     45-50

Peter:

1 Peter                    62-64
2 Peter                    64-68

Jude

Jude                        60-65

John

1 John                     85-90
2 John                     90
3 John                     90
Revelation                54-68 or 81-96

Unknown:

Hebrews                    66-70

       Dates are based on information in The Expositors Bible Commentary, vols. 10- 12, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976, 1978, 1981.

The Book of Romans

I. Title

       As with most of the other letters, the letter derives its title from those to whom it is addressed, the church in Rome.

II. Author and Setting

       Paul is the author of the book of Romans. The question naturally arises, "what was the occasion for writing such a letter?" E.F. Harrison writes:

       First, since Paul hoped to go beyond Rome even as far as Spain, he evidently expected to have in the Roman church a base of missionary operation comparable to Antioch in the East. If this was to be realized, he needed to share with the church a rather complete exposition of the gospel he had been preaching for over twenty years. By putting this exposition in writing and sending it ahead, he would give the Christian community in Rome an opportunity to digest the message and be ready to share in the extension of the gospel to the West.
       Another factor may have entered in. The very passage that sets forth his plan and purpose is followed by one requesting prayer for his safety and success as he went on to Judea prior to leaving for Rome. Particularly ominous is his expressed need to be delivered from unbelievers in Judea (Rom 15:31). The plot by the Jews ad Corinth against his life (Acts 20:3) may already have been made and become an omen of future events. Possibly at this point intimations from the Holy Spirit began to warn him about the imprisonment and afflictions that awaited him (Acts 20:23). What if he should not live to declare the gospel in the West? Then he must write a letter so systematic and comprehensive that the church would be able intelligently to continue his work, proclaiming the very gospel he was spelling out for them, taking it in his stead to the furthest reaches of the empire. For all he knew at the time, this letter might be in a sense his last will and testament, a precious deposit bequeathed to the church and through it to the community of the faithful everywhere.

III. An Outline of Romans

I. Introduction 1:1-17
II. The world 1:18-3:20
III. Justification 3:21-5:21
IV. Sanctification 6:1-8:39
V. Israel 9:1-11:36
VI. The practice of righteousness 12:1-15:13
VII. Conclusion 15:14-16:27

Questions on Romans

1. When was the letter to the Romans written?
2. Discuss Romans 9:1-24. What does it have to say about God's sovereignty?
3. What should the Christian's attitude be to government authority?
4. What about the people who never get a chance to hear the gospel?
5. How is righteousness achieved?
6. What does Paul have to say regarding the Law?
7. What comparison and contrast does Paul make between Jesus and Adam?
8. Discuss Romans 7:7-25. Is Paul talking about the struggle in a Christian or a non-Christian? Explain.
9. What does Paul say about the relationship between Israel and the Gentiles? What is Paul's attitude toward Israel?
10. Discuss Romans 11:25-36. Compare Zechariah 12.
11. Discuss Romans 14.