Romans 2020

Paul was the apostle to the gentiles. As such, many of his letters involve explaining the character and requirements of 'the God of the Hebrews' to a world steeped in paganism. In this, he often goes contrary to Rabbinic Judaism, but never against Moses.

The letter to the Romans seems to be addressed to a community struggling to incorporate Jews and Gentiles into the Kingdom of God. 

In speaking to Jews, Paul admonishes them not to look down on the Gentiles coming to faith, nor to feel superior because of their heritage in the Scriptures.

To the Gentiles, his advice is not to get cocky because they have been admitted to the Kingdom. God is perfectly able to prune them off and restore the Jews.

Paul's effort to reconcile the two camps into a single body would ultimately fail as the Synagogue and the Church went their separate ways. 

  • Romans 1, The Just Shall Live By Faith
    The letter starts with an assertion of the TANAK principle that righteousness is by faith. The first chapter describes the pathologies of those who deny God, lack faith and follow after their own vain imaginations.
  • Romans 2, God Shows No Partiality
    There is a very human tendency to assume that God's mercy will be applied to oneself and that He will give that other fellow what he truly deserves. Such presumption is a grave error. God will judge everyone according to His own standards, not man's standards.
  • Romans 3, What Advantage Has the Jew
    Paul continues his discourse on the purpose of the law by explaining why the Jews have had a great advantage because God gave them the Torah. He did that because of His love for His people. The expectation was that they would then spread this blessing to the rest of humanity.
  • Romans 4, Justification by Faith
    The question of circumcision was a big deal in the apostolic age. In Romans 4, Paul explains that circumcision was not necessary for justification in God's eyes. He used the example of Abraham who was justified before he was circumcised. His justification was given because Abraham believed the promises of God.